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Old 11-09-2010, 06:08 AM   #21
welderman
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This was the last series win by England v Australia for 18 years. England possessed very experienced middle order players, their openers, Athey and Broad, exceeded expectations, the England seam attack outperformed the raw and relatively unblooded Australian seamers (only Bruce Reid really bowled well for Australia) and John Emburey demonstrated that an orthodox right arm finger spinner can be highly effective in Australian conditions.

After a really disappointing 1985 tour of England, the Aussies had devoted care and effort to rebuilding and they were quite confident. But the tone was set on the first day of the first test: Ian Botham put on his serious head and played (for me) the most polished and mature innings of his career. His shot making was superb, his scoring rate very quick, but every shot was authentic and full of concentration. His 138 was the bedrock of the England 456 and sent a message that Australia's bowlers held no fears for the England batting. So much of cricket is played inside the heads of the batsman and the bowler in their personal duel, and Botham seemed invincible that day, getting out in the end to the very first loose shot of his intensely disciplined innings. The innings also demonstrated the huge importance of a good start, of being prepared inside your head; Botham did not say "Lets stop talking and play some cricket." He said nothing; he let his bat do the talking.

We need some of this from our team now.
That just about sums it up Scoundrel..I couldn't agree more with you regards a strong middle order..Which included one of the most graceful batsmen i have had the pleasure of seeing..


David Gower..
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Old 11-09-2010, 08:46 AM   #22
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After a really disappointing 1985 tour of England, the Aussies had devoted care and effort to rebuilding and they were quite confident. But the tone was set on the first day of the first test: Ian Botham put on his serious head and played (for me) the most polished and mature innings of his career. His shot making was superb, his scoring rate very quick, but every shot was authentic and full of concentration. His 138...
No doubt about that. It was the best innings I ever saw him play.
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Old 11-09-2010, 10:59 AM   #23
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Isn't cricket great, though?

Last edited by Aubrey; 11-09-2010 at 10:59 AM.. Reason: Typing fixed
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:07 AM   #24
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Isn't cricket great, though?
It is. Or was, it's in a bit of strife at the moment.
Let's hope this series can lift the game back to where it should be.
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Old 11-09-2010, 03:01 PM   #25
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Isn't cricket great, though?
it's a great way of having a few beers in the sun!
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Old 11-09-2010, 03:18 PM   #26
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it's in a bit of strife at the moment.
Let's hope this series can lift the game back to where it should be.
When the sordid allegations against the 3 alleged Pakistan spot bet fixers first broke I thought of Arthur Mailey's superb memoir, Ten For Sixty Six and All That. Mailey was one of the great Aussie leg spinners of the inter-war era (the others were Clarence Grimmett and Charles Fleetwood-Smith); on the dawn of Day Five of the Brisbane Test of 1921, England needed 23 runs to win and had 3 wickets standing. Herbert Collins was Australia's captain and ordered Mailey to bowl, despite Mailey's misgivings (Mailey was an expensive bowler who always described a maiden over as a freak accident). Collins was unequivocal; only wickets could win it and Mailey was easily his best wicket taker, and to paraphrase Collins slightly, if Australia was destined to lose, putting Mailey on meant they had more time to get drunk afterwards. In the event, Mailey wiped the England slate in 2 overs and Australia won by 9 runs.

Before the start of play, Collins, not a huge man physically, spoke to Mailey in the dressing room. "There's a bloke outside just told me it's worth 100 guineas if we chuck the test match. Lets throw the bastard down the stairs." Mailey, a man of sunny and amiable disposition, sprang to his feet, eager to help his skipper do exactly that. The "bloke" was glimpsed disappearing over the horizon.

That was then.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:35 PM   #27
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That News of the World expose is one of the best pieces of journalism I've seen. I wish I was clever enough to set up a sting like that.
Regarding Herbie Collins, I used to know Hunter "Stork" Hendry, who had the time of his death in 1988 was the oldest former Test player. Stork was convinced that Collins had thrown the deciding test at the Oval in the 1926 series when Australian captain.
I've not heard this elsewhere and throwing a Test match is not the easiest thing to achieve, but Collins' decisions in that match are open to criticism, at the very least.
He was a gambler, and he lost the captaincy after that Oval Test.
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Old 11-09-2010, 05:47 PM   #28
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Really it's only the captain who has any real chance of throwing a match and that would be very difficult to do.Otherwise it has to involve quite a few key players and it wouldn't be possible to keep this quiet.
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Old 11-09-2010, 11:30 PM   #29
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Regarding Herbie Collins, I used to know Hunter "Stork" Hendry, who had the time of his death in 1988 was the oldest former Test player. Stork was convinced that Collins had thrown the deciding test at the Oval in the 1926 series when Australian captain.
I've not heard this elsewhere and throwing a Test match is not the easiest thing to achieve, but Collins' decisions in that match are open to criticism, at the very least.
He was a gambler, and he lost the captaincy after that Oval Test.
I'd like to hope Hunter Hendry was mistaken but of course he had better information than most, being a test player from that era of Australian cricket; he certainly knew and played under Collins and his personal assessment cannot be ignored.

The Oval test of 1926 marked the end of several careers because the series defeat went down like a turd sandwich in Australia. One of those departures was Arthur Mailey, which is a bit strange because he played very well in the game, taking 9 wickets for 266, far better than any of his colleagues. There may have been some politics involved. Certainly there was a dressing room incident of some description which was reported in Australia, in which Mailey was alleged to have misbehaved arrogantly in the immediate aftermath of the defeat. Mailey's cricket bat may have discovered the power of flight on his return to the dressing room. In his book he sort of sidesteps "misbehaviour" but staunchly refutes "arrogance", commenting grimly that he showed the proper humility required of a number 11 batsman who has just failed to score 290 runs and win the game.

As for Collins, I don't believe one man, even the captain, can throw a game unaided. That needs collusion. The scorecard of the 1926 Oval test match is intriguing.

http://www.cricinfo.com/australia/en...tch/62553.html

The first two innings left the game quite evenly balanced. The decisive factor was an opening stand of 172 runs between Jack Hobbs (exactly 100, b Sid Gregory) and Herbert Sutcliffe, a great Yorkshireman, who was eventually clean bowled by Mailey for 161. Hobbs and Sutcliffe were one of the best opening pairs England has ever had; a great stand from them doesn't invite any sinister interpretation. I note that extras was the 3rd top scorer in England's innings and even Frank Woolley was dismissed cheaply; only Maurice Tate at no 9 exceeded 30 runs after Sutcliffe was dismissed. The ongoing question was and still is why did Collins give 41 overs to Arthur Richardson, an inexperienced player and who was really a batsman who could bowl a bit (offbreaks at medium pace, a bit like Peter Willey); the pitch was rain affected and Collins had the 2 best spinners then in circulation in Grimmett and Mailey. But here's a possible explanation of what happened:
  • There was heavy overnight rain when England were 0/49 on their second innings. This is verified.
  • Mailey and Grimmett did not make any impression until after the opening patnership was broken by Sid Gregory, a fast bowler. This is verified.
  • Even Mailey, noted for his endurance and heroic long spells, could not bowl all day. It was a rain-affected pitch and once the England innings began to stretch into several sessions, Collins called on a spinner (Richardson) to share the burden. That's not a ridiculous decision. When Nathan Hauritz needed support or was not on the field, Ricky Ponting called on Marcus North to bowl his occasional offspin and Marcus North did not set the world on fire, but did bowl more than competently and showed skill, intelligence and commitment when his mettle was tested. Arthur Richardson's statistics in the Oval test were decent and what you would expect of a second string bowler. If the conditions were really so helpful to spin, Mailey and Grimmett wouldn't have needed his support. I suspect the pitch was soaking wet, which favours batting, then later on the pitch started to dry off, and this is when the ball turns very sharply in the hands of a good spinner. Hobbs and Sutcliffe had the use of the wicket before it started to dry off and took full advantage. After Sutcliffe was out, nobody on either side scored more than 33 runs and the spinners did most of the damage. Australia's top scorer was Oldfield, their wicket-keeper, a batsman of modest pretensions but who could read spin better than most, having kept to Mailey for more than 6 years.

More significant than the partnership of Hobbs and Sutcliffe was Australia's batting collapse in the 4th innings. Statistics never tell all the story but 125 all out is a rotten, diabolical performance. Bertie Oldfield at no 9 top scored with 23 and Wilfred Rhodes took 4 wickets, so the Oval pitch must have been turning quite a lot. Even so, 125 was just inexcuseable when England had just scored 436 on exactly the same track, and I suspect this extraordinary degree of underperformance was why so many players were axed (Mailey quite unjustly IMHO) and why this dark murmur of skullduggery has lingered on, a whole lifetime into the present day. That and Collins' well documented gambling addiction, which however was expressed on the racecourse, the dog track and in poker.

I think there's plenty of reasonable doubt. Herbert Collins couldn't make it rain, God did that. Herbert Collins could have underbowled Mailey and Grimmett and set unhelpful fields, but neither of these men would have sat still for being deliberately undermined in field placings and Oldfield, a longstanding friend and collaborator of Mailey's in the field, would not have held his peace over such a thing either. In no way could Collins have induced all ten of his colleagues to register scores below 25 runs in the last knock. England's bowlers did that.

If Collins was suspected of serially throwing games, the Oval test might fit into a pattern. But it was an isolated event. This is the main reason why I am inclined to think that Collins was innocent, because crookedness is a habit, a lifestyle choice, and I am unaware of a serial track record in his case. I dont think anyone throws just one game in their whole career; they either never throw a game or they throw games whenever a good opportunity to make quick cash arises. But I guess we'll never know for sure.
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Old 11-10-2010, 01:54 AM   #30
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But I guess we'll never know for sure.
No, exactly, and Herbie Collins isn't here to defend himself. He certainly wasn't a serial offender.
If he was here I would definitely ask him why he bowled a part-timer for 42 overs and left his best bowlers cooling their heels. It's fair enough to have a plan, but when it doesn't work you have to change things. Even I can see that, and he was the Australian captain so I think it should have been pretty clear.
Maybe they just had a popgun attack, I don't know.
It rained again before the Australain fourth innings, so they were on a sticky like England had been but the game was gone by then.

I've got a book here somewhere on all the Australian captains, which I haven't been able to put my hand on. I will see what I can dig up.
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