James Faulkner: “Everyone was quite surprised by the way the wicket played in Perth, it was very flat and we saw a lot of runs scored” © AFP
James Faulkner predicts more feats of run scoring and further sobering times for bowlers in the second ODI between Australia and India at the Gabba, even though playing conditions have actually eased in favour of the fielding sides since last year’s World Cup.
Batting Powerplays were abolished three months after Australia’s players lifted the trophy at the MCG last March, but a preponderance of flat pitches, spring-loaded bats and powerful hitters mean that scoring has been only subtly affected by the change.
Faulkner pointed out that the Gabba shared the WACA’s tendencies for fast scoring in ODIs, and expected something similar to the series opener when Australia reeled in India’s 309 with something in reserve, on a surface affording less assistance to the bowlers than the hosts had expected.
“Everyone was quite surprised by the way the wicket played in Perth, it was very flat and we saw a lot of runs scored. I think any time you see 300 scored and chased it’s definitely a flat wicket,” he said in Brisbane. “I’m expecting the same sort of scenario here as well, I haven’t seen a one-day wicket that hasn’t been flat here for a fair while, so it should have good pace, carry and be a good contest again.
“In general it’s a tough gig bowling in Perth and here. Runs can be scored so fast due to the pace on the ball, change-ups don’t grip as much as other grounds like the MCG and Canberra that we’ll see later in the series. Everyone got hit the other day so I don’t think you can single out one or two bowlers.”
Commenting on the removal of the Powerplay, Faulkner said the ability of the fielding side to post five boundary riders was a relief. He also felt it meant that batsmen were less likely to contrive their innings by playing within themselves before the chance to hit into unmanned expanses of the outfield caused them to switch to and overtly aggressive posture.
“I did notice a change,” he said. “The big change was the overs leading into the old Powerplay where batters tended to milk it around and stay in and then use that as a launching pad. That was a dangerous time for any team batting, if you lost a wicket before that five-over period it could really halt your momentum.
“Likewise if you didn’t lose a wicket you could really set up a big total. I like the new rules, it goes back to five in the last 10 and it’s still a massive challenge for the bowlers, but it’s a bit more normal instead of players milking it around before.”
While admitting he was trying to “avoid” taking in too much of the Big Bash League while on Australian duty, Faulkner indicated that Australia’s players felt no more pressure to be entertainers than they usually are under their coach Darren Lehmann’s desire for attractive cricket.
“Every time you go onto the ground you try to entertain, I don’t think you specifically go out there and think ‘I want to put on a show’, it’s more worrying about what you can do to contribute to the team,” Faulkner said. “The revolution in T20 cricket and how successful the Big Bash has been this season with the crowd numbers that have attended and also on TV, it’s only going to get bigger.
“It’s an exciting time for cricket in general, you’re seeing a lot more high scores in the one-day format as well. That’s entertaining enough.”
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo