Friday, 14 August 2015

Test Match - Day Four tactics

So here we are at the last day of a Test Match, which is a bit of a novelty this summer. The Aussies are 90/4 in their second innings and they lead England by 190 runs.

In the series the Aussies lead 4-2. There are four points if you win the Test or two each, if it is a draw. After the Test there are three T20s worth two points each. As the holders of the Ashes England only have to draw the series to retain the Ashes.

The weather looks set fair, which means it looks like we will get in a full day's play (100 overs) and I think they may be able to add another 10 overs (actually 9 it seems) to try and make up for some of the overs lost yesterday, which would mean 108 (now 107) overs available today (allowing for the two lost during the innings changeover)

If you were the respective coaches how would you approach today? Here is what I would do...

Aussie Coach
I would start from the premise that I want 90 overs to bowl England out. That gives 80 overs with one ball and then 10 overs with a new ball at the end if required. I would be quite confident that I could bowl England out in the fourth innings in 90 overs. It took the Aussies 84.4 overs in the second innings of the match. So that would give them about 18 overs this morning to move their score on. I would want another 100 runs if possible to give a lead of around 290.
I would tell Jonassen and Blackwell to adopt a relatively cautious approach for the first 5-10 overs (probably not necessary to tell Blackwell that after yesterday's knock!), but from there on to move up the gears. With wickets in hand they could add plenty in the last 5-10 overs if Jonassen is still there and with Healy, Coyte and Schutt still to come. I would not want to be bowled out for less than 140.
When bowling I would give the new ball to Perry and Schutt and tell them they have four overs each to take as many wickets as possible. I would then chuck the ball to Jonassen and Beams (hopefully she is fit enough to bowl) and tell them to take the rest of the England wickets, with men all around the bat. Game over!!

England Coach
I would tell the girls that they are still in this game. Bowl the Aussies out for 40 more runs and we can win this game at a dawdle!
If this does not happen, and we end up chasing 290 I would still say that we can win and that we need to win, if possible, but that we do not want to lose.
I would tell Katherine Brunt that she is opening the batting with Lauren Winfield, Nat Sciver that she is three, Sarah Taylor that she is four, and Georgia Elwiss that she is five. I would tell them all that they have licence to bat freely, but not just to swing the bat. Hit the bad balls, run the singles and get the scoreboard ticking! They only need to score at just over three an over to win, and if they can get to 150 after 40 overs with just two or three wickets down, then the game will be there to win (140 off 50 overs with six wickets in hand). 
If things don't quite go according to plan and early wickets are lost and the game looks like it is getting away from us, then it will be time to shut up shop with Heather Knight, Charlotte Edwards, Laura Marsh and co into solid defensive mode. 
[Will England actually adopt this approach given their new positive attitude? Not a chance! The sad thing is that they probably won't even give it any consideration].

In about 10 hours we will know what actually happened. It will be a fun day.


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