The Sporting Chameleon

an absolute cheesecake of a sports blog

Form is temporary, ineptitude is permanent

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AFTER a heavy defeat in the third Ashes test, England made huge strides towards winning the fourth test and retaining the urn this morning in Melbourne.

The English pacemen, James Anderson, Chris Tremlett and Tim Bresnan, did the damage, skittling the beleaguered Australian batting line-up.

Last time out in Perth it was the Australian quicks who did the damage, Mitchell Johnson especially.

No England batsmen threw away their wickets (unlike a few Aussies today), Johnson got them out with fast bowling of the highest quality.

Why then was he so rubbish today?

Today was not the first abject showing from Johnson.

On the contrary, his performance in Perth was the exception to five previous tests against England of dross and one at Headingley in 2009 that was half decent.

He is frequently labelled a “confidence bowler”, someone who bowls well when everything is in his favour, but it takes very little to throw off his groove.

But there can be no bigger confidence boost than bowling your side to test match victory.

Yet just one game after his Perth performance he delivered seven overs for 42 runs and never looked like taking a wicket with Andrew Strauss and Alistair Cook cruising to 157 for 0.

Johnson is the one “match-winner” in Australia’s bowling attack, the joker in the pack who can turn a game in one spell.

But does that justify his selection?

Inconsistency is the most frustrating thing in all sports. Teams or individual who are world beaters one day and awful the next.

If you accept that this a major of Johnson’s game, how often does he have to turn it on for it to be worth picking him?

Prior to this test Australia will have pondered selecting a spinner, Michael Beer, ahead of one of their four pacemen from Perth.

Peter Siddle and his Ming the Merciless beard would have been the most likely bowler to face the axe.

After the first test King Cricket wrote a brilliant piece about Siddle, detailing how he is the opposite of Johnson.

He is capable of moments of inspiration, such as his hat-trick in Brisbane, but he is as consistent a performer as there is. A regular seven our of ten performer.

His match-winning moments are rarer than Johnson’s, but so are the horror shows.

Who would you rather have in your team?

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