150 all out plays 81-7

It’s lunchtime on the second day of the second Australia v New Zealand test. Yesterday the Kiwis capitulated to 150 all out and so far today, needing just to bat decently to establish a commanding lead, the Australians have slumped to 81-7. It’s an very green wicket, but the batting has been terrible on both sides. No batsman has looked comfortable playing the moving ball and they have just gone after anything with width. It is a technique that is acceptable on a shirtfront, but on a pitch as green as the outfield batsmen have to show more patience. Rahul Dravid showed in England last summer that even against a good attack on a difficult pitch a batsman with proper technique can prosper, but he seems to be one of only a handful of batsmen prepared to grind out an innings.

I don’t have anything against most T20, but batsmen must get out of the mindset that they have to score runs quickly. If you look at the list of the highest run scorers last year only two of the top ten have a strike rate over 55. Amongst those ten the highest strike rate is KP’s 64.12. It is not necessary that all batsmen play like Geoff Boycott, and it’s certainly not a guarantee of runs, but they have to know how to alter their game when the situation demands it. It’s not a skill that is extinct, nor one that will go extinct, but it does seem to be less common than it used to be. The result is the sub 200 scores of which we have seen so many recently.

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