England’s bowling coach David Saker, speaking at the close of play was strident in his criticism of his bowlers.
It was a disappointing day for all the bowlers. We pride ourselves on really being able to restrict teams from scoring, we put pressure on teams very well. We found it hard today.
Conditions were admittedly very difficult for bowling, and if it wasn’t for the insecurity that comes from the struggling batsmen this day may well have been more positively received.
However, England never really bowled well enough to have Australia 143 for five and when challenged by a pairing who applied themselves suitably England’s shortfalls were exposed. They certainly bowled too short throughout the day, and very few balls were going on to hit the stumps.
All the same, Saker’s criticism was surprising, but reveals management frustration at the failure of their plan to “bowl dry” and, as Saker loosely referred to, take wickets through a build-up of pressure.
Indeed, the frustration at struggles to bowl economically will have been perpetuated by the decision earlier in the day to not select one of the taller, more aggressive trio of Steven Finn, Boyd Rankin and Chris Tremlett who may have been similarly expensive but at least more threatening.
England’s crumb of comfort today was the fielding, which, a symptom of their struggles in Brisbane and Adelaide, was much improved here. Ben Stokes also continues to show promise for the future.