Shaun Tait reminded us once again of the potency of real pace. Not surprisingly he went through England’s top order in a way that gave England a hard task in their one-dayer against Australia at Lords. Whenever the pace is ‘ratcheted up’ above the more normal 90 – 92 mph batsmen struggle, and always have done, especially when sideways movement is added to the delivery. Shaun Tait bowled around the 100 mph mark with inswing and outswing, with the new ball, and few were able to play it. In the past Lillee & Thompson, Shoaib Aktar, Waqar Younis, Marshall, Holding, Roberts, Daniel, and a long list of other West Indians, have caused havoc when upping the pace about the norm!
If Tait stays fit this winter his pace will challenge our batsmen greatly. We have had to contend with McGrath and Lee but the extra 8 – 10 miles an hour will make it a different game. Forget night watchmen scoring runs, in the form of Jimmy Anderson & Co, it will be hard for those batting in the last four to contribute too, and I am speaking as somebody who did the ‘nighters’ job more than most.
Last Saturday also showed the benefit of having wickets still left, with twenty overs to go, paid huge dividends when posting a good score – aided by their superb fielding and catching. Although England won the series, Australian gave the England captain & selectors enough to worry about when considering the Ashes Tour this winter.