Wagging tail syndrome: Bumper barrages not working as numbers show Australia’s worst for last-wicket stands


It’s official: Australia are finding it harder to finish off an innings than any other nation. On a milestone day for Australia in Adelaide, Josh Hazlewood bagged 4-44 to have the West Indies all out for 188.

In doing so, Hazlewood also passed 250 wickets and made Australia’s quartet the first in history to play together in a Test after having all passed the milestone.

Cummins also claimed 4-41, taking his returns for the summer to 23 wickets at 11.69.

Australia’s bowling is firing. They are the most relentless attack in the world and their demolition of the West Indies middle order was a showcase of how the team have risen to No.1 in the world.

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But it was also the same old story for Australia when it came to the tail.

Shamar Joseph hits out. (Photo by Mark Brake – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

The West Indies would have been all out for less than 140 if not for Shamar Joseph (36) and Kemar Roach (17no) putting on 55 for the final wicket.

It was the third 10th-wicket stand of 50 or more in the past year against Australia. 

In that time, only two other half-century stands have been put on for the final wicket against other nations.

And the average of 19.4 runs Australia have leaked for the last wicket is the highest of any Test team in the past 12 months.

While the Windies’ runs are unlikely to prove crucial in this Test, Australia’s late-innings troubles have been costly in the past.

Ben Stokes and Ollie Robinson’s 38 for the last English wicket at Headingley helped change the third Test in last year’s Ashes, as Australia were denied an outright series win.

Australia didn’t rely so much on the short ball on Wednesday, but analysis from broadcasters Channel 7 showed only one of the 83 balls they bowled during the last partnership would have hit the stumps.

Hazlewood admitted after play that they perhaps need to spend more time looking at the tail, and how to set up better individual plans for the No.10 and No.11 batters.

“But when it’s a debutant (like Joseph), it’s probably even more difficult.  You don’t know his strengths and weaknesses that well,” Hazlewood said.

(Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

“I think all the bowlers can just bat these days. At the very start of my career 10 and 11 was pretty easy-going, and now 10 years on it’s a little bit different. 

“They can all hang on to it. They’ve all got good confidence. They’ve got a couple of shots. 

“Often the best ball to the top six is probably the easiest ball to slog sometimes.

“So it’s just maybe mixing it up a bit more. Obviously the bouncer plays a part, so it’s just sequencing those balls, working them out.”

Last-wicket stands vs Australia in past 12 months

86 – Aamir Jamal and Mir Hamza (Pak) at SCG
66 – Jimmy Anderson and Jonny Bairstow (Eng) at Old Trafford
55 – Shamar Joseph and Kemar Roach (WI) at Adelaide Oval
38 – Ollie Robinson and Ben Stokes (Eng) at Headingley
25 – James Anderson and Josh Tongue (Eng) at Lord’s

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