Jersey Movie Review

 

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Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Javagal Srinath, Ajay Jadeja, Mohammad Azharuddin, Sanjay Manjrekar …

Shantanu Sugwekar, Amol Muzumdar, Vanka Pratap, Jitendar Singh, Sanjay Raul …

The first set of names are of the people in the 1996 World Cup squad for India.

The second set of names are of the people who played well in the 1996/97 Ranji Trophy. Some of them, like Shantanu Sugwekar and Amol Muzumdar, didn’t even get a chance to represent India. Jersey talks about cricketers belonging to the second set of names.

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The movie opens in 2019 when a book written by an author named Ramya is making waves in New York. It is the top-seller. It’s named ‘Jersey’. The movie then jumps back to 1986 when we are introduced to Arjun, the cricketer on whom the book is based on, is shown as a talented cricketer. Then the movie jumps to 1996 where Arjun is sleeping with his family in the living room, under a leaking roof. He faces lot of the problems that the middle class faced in those days – unpaid rent, growing debts and no income.

There is nothing horrid that happened in the 10 years. It’s not the story of those 10 years. He gives up cricket because he is not selected to the national team even though his name was in the papers the day before. He takes up a job in FCI and as luck has it, he gets suspended. He is dependent on his wife for money and he gets used to the domestic life by watching cricket all day and indulging his 7-year old son.

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Arjun’s life changes when his son wants an Indian Jersey as a gift on his birthday. He moves from pillar to post to get the 500 rupees required for buying the “Jersey”. He even resorts to wanting to steal the money from his wife’s purse and gets caught in the bargain. The next few minutes after that are an indicator to the brilliance in Nani. He doesn’t talk when caught by his wife and reprimanded in front of people and his son. Shraddha Srinath excels in that scene where she brings forth her insecurities, fears and helplessness at their state. A little later, father and son have a moment with each other. It’s a challenge for you to stay unmoved after that scene. Even the stone-hearted people would shed a tear or two.

Some of the best scenes in the movie revolve around the father-son relationship. The change in Arjun in the ten years is his internalisation. Internalisation of grief, happiness, joy and helplessness. But, there is no internalisation when it comes to his son. He enjoys every moment with him, because in the entire world that surrounds him, his son is the only one that doesn’t judge him.

In a quest for the only thing that his son has ever asked him, the Jersey, Arjun falls back on the only thing he knows – cricket. While he wants to play cricket, people want him to coach. He does convince them of his abilities and finds his way to the final fifteen of the Hyderabad Ranji team. The celebration of Nani when he finds out that he has made it is special and it shows.

After that, it’s cricket matches, a stellar season and the climax.

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Gowtam Tinnanuri, as a director, is at the top of his game in this movie. He makes everyone who watches it relate to the story in one way or another. Though you can predict the next scene, you can’t predict how brilliantly the actors performed. The actor’s performances give you a special high. None more so than Nani’s. When the movie’s title was announced, I wondered why would anyone want to name his movie, Jersey. After seeing the movie, one feels, there is no other title that could’ve been apt. His pain staking research is evident and there is one small glitch that might have been overlooked – Nike branded bats in 1996 didn’t exist. He teases us with scenes where we expect he would glorify the protagonist, but he doesn’t. He doesn’t fall for the temptation

It would be an injustice to say that this is Nani’s best. In my eyes, he is one of the best performers in the Telugu Film industry, if not the best. With every movie of his, he sets the bar higher. He has come a long way from being a director’s actor to being a director’s dream. He excels throughout the movie. There are a few scenes that stand as indicators to his greatness as a performer – the scene where he is drinking Badam milk while discussing luck with his friend, the entire birthday scene, the scene with Shraddha Srinath where he tells her that for the first time in ten years, he is getting angry with her. Check for his dialogue modulation there. What about the scene where he literally begs his wife for one final chance? And the scene preceding that ? His acting and the believability of his character is such that your eyes well up with tears regardless of his presence in the scene.

Shraddha Srinath doesn’t have as much to do as Nani and the actor who played his son. The undertone of her relationship with her husband is brilliantly conveyed in her own words to a colleague, “We are not like other couples. We fight, but we don’t shout on each other.” Look for her reactions when she catches Nani stealing from her purse.

The kid who played their son is another actor who does well. The father-son relationship plays out so bloody well. Nani and this kid, in different scenes, show us that we don’t need faces to emote. Words would’ve a similar effect. Look for the scene where he tells his father that he doesn’t need the Jersey anymore. That’s the scene where Nani also excels and tells him that the fight between his parents is not because of him.

Satyaraj, Pradeep and others perform well in the roles given to them.

Verdict: Watch the movie and watch it again.

Image courtesy : idlebrain.com

All or Nothing: All Blacks. Episode 1 – The Black Jersey

All or nothing

Amazon Prime’s All or Nothing is a docuseries that has them shadowing a team. With All Blacks they follow them for the 2017 season. The series consists of six episodes and the first of them is called “The Black Jersey”

The episode begins with a press conference for announcing the All Blacks Squad, playing after a gap of nearly six months. There is bonhomie as they are assembling after an interval. This is a crucial phase for All Blacks and a third of their players have retired after the 2015 World Cup. So, with the team in transition, coach Steve Hansen has to put the team through the tough yards as they are scheduled to face the Lions ( a team put together with players from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland). They begin the season with a match against Samoa. They win it 78-0.

When the squad trains, we see footage where Hansen is admonishing the players and asking a player to do 20-pushups for the way he handled the ball. With five days to go to the Lions series, Hansen wants to induct a young player on the wing, Rieko Loane. He hands him the no 11 made popular by Jonah Lomu and bloods him in the team in place of Julian Savea, who held the jersey for 5 years. While that shows immense faith on him, it also leads to a lot of pressure on the rookie. 

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The series against Lions is crucial for All Blacks because they have been dominant against them. In the 11 series they played against each other, Lions have only won once. The factor adding spite to the contest is the Lion’s coach – Warren Gatland. Being a New Zealander himself, coaching Lions is seen nothing short of treason. 

The series figures prominently on both the players and coach’s mind. Ben Smith, stand-in captain for the game against Samoa, says, “The series comes around once every 12 years and you might go through career without playing in one. Not everybody gets the opportunity.” He would obviously know better because leading up to the match against Samoa his participation was in doubt as he had concussions twice. 

Coach Steve Hansen spoke from the top of the tree when he said, “We used to be looked down upon by our English Brethren as they used to beat us often. When we started beating them and beating them often, it lead to a lot of animosity.” 

When the squad to face Lions was announced, Ryan Crotty was awarded for his persistence after being given the snub for World Cup. He went back to provincial rugby and earned the coach’s approval with his attitude. 

Successful teams like All Blacks crave some sort of uniformity. The bus driver over the years has been the same for them. He noticed that with experience players boarded the bus through the rear door and settled at the back. The newer player, meanwhile, sat at the front and were in charge of the music. The music they played was an indicator of the mood of the camp. The coach generally discouraged ‘boom-boom, bang-bang’ music. Sonny Bill Williams, a popular player, said that the experience of being on the bus was ‘pretty special’

Attitude is a part of All Blacks’ success: Kieran Read and Steve Hansen, though they come from different paths, stress on the same. Hansen says, “ … Part of being a coach is understanding which player needs a cuddle and which player needs a kick up the backside.” This is a pointer to players being entertained if they keep working hard at getting their games better. Kieran Read, the captain, says of the players who don’t figure in the starting Fifteen and substitutes, “… your role if you are not on the 23 is to prepare the 23 the best way you can.” 

All Blacks are more important than any individual. Everybody knows it and everybody follows it, even the parents of the players. Rieko Loane’s parents want the team to do well and their son to be playing a part in the team doing well. 

The match starts with the Haka performance, which the players feel connects them to other players in the team and to players in the past. Early into the match, Ben Smith, seems to have had a vertigo and fails the HIA (Head injury assessment). Ryan Crotty, after having worked hard has a hamstring tear. Hansen’s hunch of having Rieko Loane on the wing pays off and the All Blacks take a 1-0 lead in the 3-match series. 

 

Image courtesy: Amazon Prime 

Nani and the travails

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So what makes an actor a superstar? Every actor worth his salt in the industry will have a definition for what makes a superstar. Some express it and some don’t. Out of the very few that expressed what makes one a superstar, Mahesh Babu put it in a concise way when he said, ‘A Superstar is one whose flops also make money’. By that definition, is there a superstar in Telugu Film Industry?

Well, audiences have a much simpler gauge for a superstar. The actor who can impress them with a full-length comic role is the one that they consider good enough for superstardom. That’s where versatility kicks in. Unless an actor plays a comic role, he would find it tough to pave his way to superstardom.

There are exceptions to every rule in Telugu Film Industry. So, there are actors who made it big without actually having starred in a full-length comedy role. The names that come off the top of my head are Krishna, Krishnam Raju, Sobhan Babu, Balakrishna and Pawan Kalyan. Now these are actors who entertained the audience in their own ways.

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Nani is an actor with the right ‘lineage’ for movie industry. It isn’t tough to guess what’s meant by ‘lineage’ here. Yes, it’s the caste that he belongs to. That sect dominates the Telugu Film Industry. He didn’t have it easy. Never. He slogged it out. He made it on his own; a beacon of hope for the present generation actors.

He started out as a clap director for ‘Radha Kalyanam’, assisted the directors in movies like Dhee, Asthram and Allari Bullodu. He hosted a show on the now defunct World space radio.

He made his debut in the movie ‘Ashta Chemma’. His was a good presence, although Swati Reddy, Srinivas Avasarala walked away with the honours from the movie. With time, he gathered hits and flops. Flops more than hits.

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2011 was an year to remember for Nani. He got his first big hit and was noticed for his acting chops. Ala Modhalaindhi was a movie helmed by Nandini Reddy, a friend of his. The movie was a breezy entertainer; a hit and a fillip for most of the people involved with the movie. Nithya Menen stunned people with a brilliant performance and she sang a couple of songs in the movie. Nithya Menen was a seasoned performer though it was her first movie in Telugu. Nani held his own in front of her and the combination sizzled.

Later in the year, he came up with his best performance in Pilla Zamindar. It would be exaggerating to say that he portrayed a character with various shades, but it won’t be wrong to say that his character travels through various shades in the movie. His acting stands out in many sequences. Be it the time he has to behave rudely as a rich Zamindar inherent to the scene where he acts as a servant to a rich zamindar inherent in a drama. In the latter scene, he shifts gears effortlessly from comical apathy to misery.

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In an interview post Eega, Rajamouli while talking about heroes, likened Nani to a Ravi Teja with method. Explained better, it meant that Nani was someone with a lot of spontaneity. That spontaneity, according to Rajamouli, came with the understanding of the character, thinking about the character. While Ravi Teja is the character (however repetitive his roles may get), Nani gets under the skin of the character. It’s no surprise then that Nani’s favourite actor is Kamal Hassan

In 2015, he dubbed his voice for Dulquer Salman in OK Bangaram. At the audio function of the movie, he expressed his desire to work with Mani Ratnam. He wouldn’t have expected the dream to turn into reality before the year ended. There is some spark in his acting. A spark that attracts you towards him. It doesn’t matter if you are among the audience or a director.

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In 2012, he was a part of his biggest hit till date, Eega. The movie featured him in a 29 minute role – he appears in the seventh minute and gets bumped off in the 35th minute. To his credit, he manages to make an impression. Sometimes you need to listen from someone else about what you already feel. A colleague recalled that it’s one of the best cameos he has ever come across. He is a Tamilian and a die-hard Kamal Hassan fan. That would probably gladden Nani.

Eega was a huge success. Did Nani contribute to the success? Yes. Did he get to benefit from the success? No, not exactly. While it would’ve got him more offers than before, it could’ve been self-destructive had the movie flopped. Everybody associated with the film, in starring roles, went a step ahead. It was only Nani who remained he was.

He also starred in Yeto Vellipoyindhi Manasu in the same year. Another of those movies that got him critical acclaim but not the box-office success that he was looking for.

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2013 was an year from hell for Nani. His movie ‘Paisa’ was ready for release but got postponed innumerable times. As a result, he had a sabbatical, that, as of now, seems to have done him good things than bad. It was also in this year that he found out he would be starring in the first movie produced by Yash Raj. Though it was made in Tamil, it was also dubbed in Telugu.

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2014 was the first time that Nani’s releases were not well spaced and it was one of the reasons why the movies, both of them, failed to do well. Both the releases were in February and both bombed! In a repeat of 2013, one of his movies, Jenda pai kapi raju, was delayed. While the Tamil version released in March 2014, the Telugu version failed to see the light of the day in 2014. What followed was a span of more than an year of no releases. Nani endured a lean 2013 and 2014. He was not in danger of being reduced to anonymity, but he was getting forgotten. In two years, a lot of people had their careers moving ahead and a few others had their careers careen downwards. Nani didn’t belong to these extremes, but with Eega his career started to veer between the extremes.

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In 2015, through Nani, filmgoers learnt how the movie-making business had changed over the years. On March 21, 2015, two of his movies released; Yevade Subramanyam and Jenda pai Kapi Raju (phew!).

While 30 years ago it was a measure of superstardom to have couple of your movies releasing on the same day, it showed a lack of planning and a hint of foolishness to have your movies release on the same day. It was out of Nani’s hand and Jenda pai Kapi Raju might not have released for a long time if it didn’t on March 21. With the other movie- Yevade Subramanyam- Nani did something different. He went out of his way to promote it. He needed the movie as much as the movie needed him. He was the lone known face in the cast, apart from Krishnam Raju. The movie provided him with a much needed breather. It was also a movie in which we saw his acting flower. He pretty much did everything in the movie. In hindsight, Yevade Subramanyam is Nani’s Khaleja. Regardless of the box-office performance, it showed people what Nani was capable of. It remains as one of the reasons why his next movie was a blockbuster. Back then this was what I wrote of Nani in Yevade Subramanyam

It takes a lot of courage to accept a movie like this when you are having an extended period of trough and not had a release for more than an year. It’s heartening to see Nani accepting the role because he is among the very few actors in the industry who could’ve done justice to this role. Hope he gets to ride the wave and reach the crest.

Nani is brilliant in the movie. He conveys every single emotion brilliantly in the movie. Ruthless person, an opportunist who is willing to wait for his work to be done, a persistent nag, changed person and a good human being- Nani puts across all these traits and convinces everybody watching the movie that he embodied all these traits well

Bhale Bhale Magadivoy was a movie that led to a lot of cynicism among the movie goers. Why would an upcoming hero accept a project with a director renowned for double entendré. Nani maintained from the first day of the shooting that it won’t be a typical Maruti movie. Yet, a few people were cynical about the content of the movie. How their hopes were belied! The movie ticked a lot of boxes for Nani.

A full-length comic role, a blockbuster, recognition and a lot of hope on himself. If he can land a hit with his next movie, superstardom won’t be far away. Something that Ravi Teja ( a person he was compared to by Rajamouli) also found himself in. He threw it away by appearing in similar roles. You can bet your last penny that Nani won’t.

Shaun Marsh: The Phoenix or the deja vu machine?

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What do you call a man who injures himself before a tour, gets himself fit before the final of a tournament that supposedly has no bearing on the selection of the team to the tour, finds that a middle order batsman, prone to injuries as much as him, is… injured, and called up to make a dash to Johannesburg when he is celebrating the tournament win with his friends? Lucky, or if you want to be more specific- Shaun Marsh.

You never feel assured with the man, not when he is the only guy apart from Shane Watson to have scored a century from number three for Australia in the last three years . Not when you are the only guy apart from Michael Clarke who looked confident in that disaster of a Cape Town Test . Not when you scored 17 runs in 6 innings against India at home. So it was natural that there would be more than a few resenting voices against his selection to the South African tour.

The selectors seem to have a lot of faith in him. He is yet to repay that faith with a consistent run. It can be argued that he hasn’t been given a fair run in the baggy green cap. His run with injuries hasn’t helped him either. Today, when he came to the crease, the score read 24/2 and a lot hinged on the way he would bat. He saw Amla drop a tough chance off him and then saw Doolan mesmerised by three away swingers out of four by McLaren. All the three outswingers beat the outside edge of Doolan’s bat. In between all that, he served notice of the talent that first impressed Steve Waugh and a generation of selectors. The drive he played off Morkel, by literally walking to the pitch of the delivery, will remain in the minds of the people lucky enough to have witnessed it. As the time spent at the crease grew, he grew confident to play the strokes he wanted to. The off drive off the bowling of Morkel, the skip down the pitch and lofted shot off Peterson, the straight drive off Steyn and the cut off Duminy- all these shots are the hallmarks of a good player.

Every single time we think that he has turned a corner, he either gets bogged down by an injury or has an inconsistent run. Today, he put his down and concentrated on getting himself in. Once he got the initial nerves calmed, he started playing the strokes. The period between lunch and tea was tough on him as it looked that he was hobbling. Though he seemed to be pain, he rotated the strike well.

He grew nervous as he got closer to the century. He got an outside edge on 96 that did not carry to the fielders behind and inside edge that didn’t hit the stumps. At the present stage in his career, it will be said that he has taken a turn for the better only if performs well in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.

Image Courtesy: Cricket Australia facebook page

Finally, Australia win

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Under the Southern Cross I stand,

A sprig of wattle in my hand,

A native of my native land,

Australia, you f*****g beauty

 

Nathan Lyon had to wait 316 days to sing this song in the dressing room. In the interim Australia played 9 tests and lost 7 of them. Coming as it does after these setbacks, singing the song must have been doubly sweet for Lyon.

After that 5-0 sweep in 2006/07, this is the first time in four tries that Australia has gone ahead in the series. The last time Ashes was played down under, it did begin well, but it fell apart in the last three days as England put up 517 runs for the loss of just one wicket. Though they did manage to level that series at Perth, they were taken apart in the next two tests. In fact, the beating in the three tests was comprehensive- they lost all of them by an innings and more.

The two series that they played in England weren’t as comprehensive as the score line suggested. They lost the 2009 series by 2-1 and the 2013 series by 3-0. They matched up to England in most aspects in both the series, but came up short in the sessions that mattered, which were inevitably won by England. A lot can be deduced from the fact that England crossed on 5 occasions, but didn’t cross 400 even once. Australia did cross 400 twice, but apart from these instances, they never crossed 300 in the series.

A lot of pre series talk was centered around Mitchell Johnson and how he was going to wade into England’s batting order. If his previous exploits in Ashes Tests were anything to go by, he had more chances of coming up short than actually succeeding. The fact that he came to the crease at 132/6 and scored 64 runs in a partnership of 114 runs with Haddin was seen as a positive sign by many. Yes, it was positive, with the manner in which those runs were scored. He resisted the temptation to go over the top and concentrated on staying put at the wicket.

Though it didn’t seem so at that point of time, that partnership marked the first time in many tests that Australia found themselves in a corner and dug themselves out of it. They had made a habit of losing the games from point where they were delicately poised.

Trott’s wicket just before the lunch on the second day and the way they ran through the middle order and lower middle order in the second session was a pointer to Australia slowly climbing back to a point where they dominated the sessions that mattered.

At 77/2 on the second day, there was a danger of Australia collapsing, as the captain was founding wanting against the short ball in the first innings. Clarke imposed himself on the game by attacking the short deliveries aimed at him. The way he and Warner went about attacking the bowlers meant that it was the third time Aussies found themselves in a hole and managed to get out of it.

When Cook and Bell were building their partnership, most of the bowlers looked ineffective, but they didn’t stop trying. They were backed up brilliant fielding. A lot of runs were cut down by good fielding. Siddle managed to break the partnership by finding the extra bounce- by landing the ball on one of the cracks on the pitch- and drawing Bell into jabbing it.

The same bounce also accounted for Cook, but the bowler was Lyon. Mopping the tail off was left to Johnson and his mean short deliveries. Root, Tremlett and rain in that order seemed to delay the inevitable. Harris subjected Tremlett to a short ball barrage and finally got his wicket.

When James Anderson strode to the crease, he was met by a few taunts by Bailey. The umpires intervened at the right time, but that didn’t stop Clarke and Anderson from going eye-to-eye. Clarke said to Anderson, “get ready for a f*****g broken arm”. This was different from the Clarke that seemed to sink into his jumper most of the time when the going was tough for his team. Today was different. Peter Siddle launched into Anderson after he was dismissed by Johnson.

Johnson was a deserving man of the match for the 103 runs he scored in the match and the nine wickets he took by intimidatory bowling. Though he was the man of the match, there were three people running him close for that award. The bowling looks to be safe hands. It is the batting that needs some sorting.

When asked about how they would brace themselves for Johnson in the second Test, Cook put it beautifully when he said, “We have faced Johnson before and have had success against him. There is no reason why we can’t do it again”.

The win for Australia has opened up the possibility of a close Ashes, something that hasn’t happened for a few years now

Image courtesy: Cricket Australia  

Batting stars of Australia

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Yesterday after Australia bundled out England for 136 and had a lead of 151 runs, the ghosts of Cape Town must have made their visit to Clarke’s mind. In that Test, they had a lead of 188 runs and were bundled out for 47. That pitch and attack were very different from what they have now at hand. So, the sight of Warner smashing a full delivery past covers off Anderson might have been reassuring for the captain.

While Rogers was intent on grinding down the attack, Warner showed that he learnt his lessons from first innings well. He showed more initiative in taking singles and doubles when the boundaries weren’t on offer because of the well spread out field.

So, when Anderson attacked the pads of consecutive balls in the first over of the day, it seemed that Australia might be in for a tough day. The feeling was accentuated when Broad claimed Rogers off the first ball he bowled today. Rogers was disappointed because he moved back early and was in a position to cut, but somehow contrived to get himself dismissed.

Watson was defensive from the outset and in the initial period of play Warner didn’t get much of the strike. When Watson pulled Tremlett for a boundary, it did seem that he would start off from where he left in the final Test in England. The next short ball that Tremlett bowled; Watson top-edged and was dismissed.

At 75/2, Australia seemed to be in a spot of bother. It was a no brainer after the first innings’ dismissal that Broad would be on as soon as Clarke came to the crease. He bowled a couple of short balls and Clarke made his intentions clear when he pulled both of them. The first went to deep midwicket and the second pull was played behind the square.

After that point, Clarke was surprised by a short ball only once. He seemed to be buzzing with confidence today, so much so that after playing a drive off a wide ball, he shrieked ‘yeahhhhhhhhhhh’ in appreciation of the shot he played.

One of the best aspect of this partnership was the way they both handled Swann. Because they moved their feet well to his bowling, he was forced to alter the length of his deliveries, which the batsmen were quick to pounce upon.

Another thing impressive about these batsmen was the way they ran. Warner got a sum total of 37 runs from 2’s and 3’s. Clarke too totalled the same. In the entire innings, Clarke was troubled by Swann in the 43rd over. Warner credited his footwork for the runs he got today. He said he was concrete footed against spin early in the year and did some work on the foot movement through the year. He was glad that it paid off.

Warner reached his century first and looked to attack once he crossed the milestone. He lofted Broad straight back over his head for a six and fell in the same over. Bailey was initially quiet against the pace bowlers and exploded when Swann and Root bowled in tandem. Clarke reached his century and fell to Swann while trying to up the rate.

Haddin and Johnson continued from the first innings but in an attacking mode. Haddin, in particular, looked to attack every single ball that he faced. Johnson was subjected to a short ball barrage by the fast bowlers. He withstood that and attacked them when they erred in line and length. He was also brutal against the spinners.

At 75/2, when it looked like the familiar old tale for Australia, they managed to turn it around. The growth of Warner as a batsman augurs well for them not just for this series but also for the upcoming series’

Image courtesy: Cricket Australia Facebook page 

Australian bowling attack

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In a press conference after his retirement, when asked about the Ashes, Sachin Tendulkar picked the name of Mitchell Johnson as the bowler who might make a difference to the Australian squad. A part of that faith must have come from watching him at close quarters as a team mate at Mumbai Indian. A part might have been gathered from the batsmen in the Indian cricket team.

Going into the first Test, the view, if you were following the coverage, was that Mitchell Johnson was going to be a huge factor in the series. The hype around him was so huge that, his captain, picked him to be the man of the series with a rider attached. The rider was, if he was selected in the eleven.

Johnson and Lyon must have been the last names to be pencilled in. In fact, New South Wales team management was informed a couple of hours before the start of the game that Lyon would be playing in the XI and wouldn’t be making the trip to Sydney. Instead, Faulkner made the trip to Adelaide.

Mitchell Johnson was given the new ball and the first ball he bowled was a full-toss down the leg side, much to the amusement of Barmy Army. In his second over, which was bowled to Cook, his bowling lacked the sense of direction. One was down the leg side and another one was short on the off stump, both deliveries were asking to be hit. Cook obliged and got himself a couple of boundaries. Harris, at the other end was also taking his time to settle down and he bowled a few deliveries that beat the outside edge of the batsmen.

Mitchell Johnson was removed from the attack when Carberry upper cut him for a boundary. All the while he was bowling from over the wicket. Harris removed Cook with a well thought out delivery. He got the line closer to off stump and the ball didn’t move as much as Cook expected and he got the outside edge. In walked Trott. An invitation for Johnson to come back into the attack, but he didn’t face Mitchell Johnson for some time as Carberry looked comfortable against him. The first ball that Trott faced from Johnson was a bouncer. He got his gloves in front of the face and the ball flew to the no man’s land in the off side. After that, Trott started moving inside the line to play the short ball barrage. He was dismissed off the last ball before lunch.

Though Australia didn’t go into lunch with ascendancy, they were kept in the game by those two wickets. After lunch, Pietersen was also peppered with short deliveries. Barring a few, he played them very well. He was dropped by Siddle of his own bowling. That didn’t cost Australia much as Pietersen’s flick was intercepted at midwicket by Bailey. It was the introduction of Lyon that put some doubts in the mind of Carberry. With a guard outside the off stump, Carberry was beaten in flight, turn and bounce. Lyon’ s first three overs were all maidens.

It was now that Johnson decided to go around the wicket. He bowled a couple of short deliveries to Carberry. He fended the first one off and was beaten by pace as he looked to hook one away.  The third ball was aimed at the throat and Carberry edged it to the slip cordon. From that moment on, the innings veered towards disaster as England lost 3 wickets in thirteen balls. Bell and Prior fell to inside edges to short leg. Lyon was on a hattrick and bowled a ball that Broad left easily. Root was caught driving and the edge was easily taken in the slip cordon. A few deliveries later, Johnson also accounted for Swann by bluffing him. Swann was expecting a short ball and received a good length delivery that he edged to short leg.

Tremlett, who looked to be putting up a decent partnership with Broad was terrorised with short deliveries by Harris. He was dismissed fending off one to Lyon at leg gully. Siddle was brought back into the attack and was immediately punished by Broad. His figures before this spell read 15 runs conceded off 10 overs. The phase of play where Siddle and Lyon strangulated the run flow was a huge contributor to the collapse. Broad was dismissed by Siddle as he was looking for some runs and to cut the lead.

If Australian bowlers can continue this form into the second innings, they can be assured of a win in eight attempts against England.

Images Courtesy: Cricket Australia