Pomicide and Shocker were just a couple of aptly used headlines in the Australian newspapers on Friday (August 7) after the first day of the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on Thursday. Australia were bizarrely bowled out for just 60 in their first innings, with Stuart Broad taking a career-best 8 for 15. Broad was, in turn, praised to the skies by the English dailies, as was Joe Root, who added liberal doses of salt to Australian injuries with an unbeaten 124.
Questions were raised of Michael Clarke’s role in Australia’s cricket future, while the likes of Rod Marsh and Darren Lehmann were also not spared by the hard-nosed Australian scribes.
Meanwhile, over in India, talk revolved around Ajinkya Rahane’s century in the tour-game against the Sri Lanka Board President’s XI and IPL’s future. Elsewhere, a second Kevin Pietersen autobiography also took up column inches.
Aussie players not only ones under pressure for dreadful mess in England (Daily Telegraph)
Those running Australian cricket have failed to find a solution to chronic failings in English conditions now dating back 14 years. Worse still, they’ve got themselves into such a mess with their succession planning that two thirds of this Dad’s Army Ashes squad may never play Test cricket again after this series. The heat is on Australia’s invisible men behind the scenes: national selector Rod Marsh, coach Darren Lehmann, their fellow selectors, and head of team performance Pat Howard.
Rampant England deliver Australia’s blackest day (Sydney Morning Herald)
On such days, it feels on the receiving end as if the world has rounded on them. One calamity begets another, one goad the next provocation. Marsh for Marsh did not add a batsman and cost a bowler. The front-liners wearied, the score mounted, the slights multiplied. One edge fell short, then another, not by accident, for the England batsman rarely jabbed at the ball as the Australians did. But when one at last did carry, it was dropped by Smith, and another overflew the slips. For a final indignity, eight byes disappeared over the wicketkeeper’s head.
Michael Clarke, it’s time to go (Sydney Morning Herald)
What more proof do you need, that the 34 year-old “Pup” is now an Old Dog who has no new tricks, and that life’s a bitch? What more evidence do you want, that we cannot keep picking someone that doesn’t score, no matter how illustrious their previous career has been? Michael, it’s over. You’ve been an extraordinary player, the best of your generation. You’ve been a great servant of the game in general, and Australian cricket in particular. But … it’s over.
Australia all out for 60. Against England? (The Telegraph)
Hindsight tends to impose a false rationale on even the most extraordinary events. And yet almost invariably, these narratives are told in reverse. Yes, the pitch was tasty, but not “60 all out” tasty. Yes, Australia were brittle, but not “60 all out” brittle. Yes, England were on a roll, but still nobody saw this coming.
England may have struck a golden seam and batsman Joe Root could be the greatest of them all (The Telegraph)
For now, it is enough to feel satisfied they are heading in the right direction, making good choices and with the right men in the top jobs: Andrew Straus, Trevor Bayliss, Paul Farbrace, Alastair Cook running the Test team and Eoin Morgan the one-day side. They have simplified the game by allowing players to make decisions without overloading them with information. They have a carefree approach to the game. They have played cricket with a smile, rather than a scowl, on their faces and been encouraged to speak to former players, which is a sign of a team happy enough in their own skin to ask for advice from the outside rather than thinking they are doing things that have never been done before.
It’s time for England to start gloating after day one at Trent Bridge – Aussies goaded us, after all (The Telegraph)
There we go, gloating again. It is an unattractive habit. And yet, there is something about Clarke’s Australians that makes it hard to resist.
They came here with the sort of laconic, drawling insouciance that you used to associate with the furry-lipped juggernauts of the Steve Waugh era. Steve Smith’s pre-series comment that “I don’t think they’ll come close to us, to be honest” stemmed from the same school of cartoonish provocation as Glenn McGrath’s automatic predictions of 5-0 before each series.
Stuart Broad hits zone at Trent Bridge to send Australia batsmen into twilight (The Guardian)
His wickets often come in rushes. He would be a good subject for students of that much studied, little-understood phenomenon sports people like to call “the zone” since he has spent so much time there in the eight years he has been playing for England. In psychology it is known as flow, a name coined by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, distinguished professor at California’s Claremont Graduate University. High performance characterised by complete absorption in the task.
Joe Root adds a touch of Dexter to complete England’s fairytale day (The Guardian)
Root purred. It is not sacrilegious to suggest that there were echoes of Ted Dexter in his batting. Sometimes he would stand on tiptoe and demonstrate the back-foot drive with a perfectly vertical bat, the sort of stroke often present in the coaching manuals of the 60s and 70s (possibly augmented by a grainy photo of Lord Ted) but seldom seen on a cricket field. The stroke is too difficult for most.
‘The Trent Bridge 60’ is the dirtiest day of modern times (The Independent)
Sixty all out sits so lonely and naked at the bottom of a scorecard, baffling each way you look at it. Maybe at a juniors game, or perhaps a lopsided village hit out on a nightmare track. Not at the game’s highest level, and certainly not in an era where the scales have never been more tilted in favour of bat over ball.
Australia all out for 60 – a tall tale that has turned into stuff of legend (The Independent)
Nasser Hussain observed with typical acuity that Broad’s struggle to be taken to the hearts of the nation like Jimmy Anderson – as he should be – is born of his cussed personality. There is ego. There can be a vanity about his reluctance, as a bowler, to defer to a captain’s choice of field. There is the dog’s abuse he will inflict on fielders who cause a blot on his figures. There are not generally any pleasantries when he walks past you in the mornings. He’s never out until the replays compel him to leave. Yet the mesmerising and belief-defying spectacle he offered up here was the apotheosis of a summer in which Broad has laid claim to be not merely a very good player but a great one.
NZ’s smugness valve should remain shut (New Zealand Herald)
New Zealand might also take a skerrick of credit for England’s performances. Their recent 1-1 drawn series was quality cricket played at an outstanding cadence in an uplifting spirit between two respectful teams. The only aspect lacking was a deciding test. Whether the same can be said for the Ashes remains a moot point. There is still time to play in this test and the series, but history suggests Australia will struggle to prevent the spiritual return of the urn. The smugness valve in the New Zealand camp will also remain clamped shut.
In practice, Indians far from perfect (Indian Express)
Ajinkya Rahane knows a thing or two about having to go the extra mile to get noticed by the national selectors. He could someday write a thesis on it. It was in the midst of the Rajitha maelstrom that he walked out to bat. And eventually it was he who saved the blushes for the visitors against a third-string Sri Lankan attack with a breezy unbeaten century. It was a typically rear-guard Rahane effort, walking into a crisis and steering the team out of it without ever looking too bothered about it.
Owners discuss 8-team model (Mumbai Mirror)
Royal Challengers Bangalore, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils officials, who met the BCCI/IPL officials on Wednesday and Thursday, insisted that the time may not be right for auctioning two new teams as the franchises may suffer serious value depreciation. While KKR and DD officials called on the IPL working group, RCB’s Vijay Mallya joined the discussion via video conferencing.
Unfazed Wasim Akram to continue bowling camp (Dawn)
After escaping unhurt in a traffic accident and subsequent firing at his vehicle, former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram will continue with his hunt for premium fast bowlers in the country. “Wasim Akram is in trauma but all right. He is staying in Karachi and will continue supervising the camp for fast bowlers at the National Stadium,” a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) spokesperson said. “What happened with him yesterday was tragic, but he is determined to complete the training camp.”
Kevin Pietersen to tone it all down as he brings out another book in October (The Daily Mail)
The Pietersen autobiography published last autumn was so scathing of various England personnel that it sealed his international exile. But the second book, which is a new deal with publishers Little, Brown rather than a contracted sequel, will be a lot less controversial. It will concentrate on Pietersen’s expert views on a range of cricket subjects which are a lot more sound than his many fractured relationships within the game.