London: The Australian cricket team’s wobbly start to their one-day tour of England has attracted lukewarm praise.
According to a newspaper, the Australian bowling looks thoroughly ordinary in the run-up to Tuesday’s first ODI against England.
Middlesex batters Owais Shah, so far out of England contention that he is unlikely even to make the Lions squad, collected 92 without alarm, while Scott Newman, one of county cricket’s great underachievers, smashed late runs all too easily.
Missing through various ailments are Mitchell Johnson, Brett Lee, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle, while the international days of Nathan Bracken and Stuart Clark appear over, and Dirk Nannes and Shaun Tait are not required.
Of the bowlers only Doug Bollinger impressed on Saturday. The left-armer has certainly changed since he was with Worcestershire in 2007, not least in the acquisition of some extra hair. He will have enjoyed dismissing NSW teammate David Warner early on Saturday.
Ryan Harris appears to possess a similar attitude but, on Saturday’s evidence, lacks the same menace. He is brisk but certainly no sleep-wrecker; a description equally applicable to Clint McKay, who was hardly a success for Yorkshire recently.
Shane Watson makes bowling look hard work. Nathan Hauritz bowled his off-spinners tidily.
Australia’s selectors like all-rounder Steve Smith. A first-class batting average of 56 is naturally persuasive, even if he is very unorthodox, as demonstrated by one tennis-style smash/pull in a game-finishing cameo in the batting power play on Saturday.