Brothers bowler Chris Smith helped his side beat Highfields in the rain-affected first weekend of Harding-Madsen Shield matches.
Brothers bowler Chris Smith helped his side beat Highfields in the rain-affected first weekend of Harding-Madsen Shield matches. Cordell Richardson

Defining moment for Aussie team

THE national summer of cricket has started with Australia securing a well deserved draw in the First Test against Pakistan in Dubai.

Much was said about the first innings collapse of 10/60 after such a good platform was laid by the openers. However, the fight shown in the second innings was a good sign of what we can expect this Australian summer.

The team was well prepared and trained hard in the nets despite the oppressive heat. The Aussies left no stone unturned in trying to find a solution to our batsmen's fallibility to spin on turning decks. They have used spinners from all over the subcontinent to bowl to the batsmen in the nets.

The reward of a draw from such a precarious position will be a seen as a win in the dressing room but it can could also be a defining moment under coach Justin Langer's new regime.

This team lacks the talent of the previous generation so it is unfair to mark them with that same level.

To make up for it, if this team can show the ticker as they did in the second innings, the general public will be a bit more sympathetic towards their deeds on the field this summer.

With Steve Smith and David Warner missing - two of the best five batsmen in the world - our batting was always going to be a bit thin this season.

Our national depth, even at first-class level, is questionable in the pace, spin and batting departments.

At the moment what is concerning is the lack of skill to see off a good spell of bowling or the ability of a bowler to think through an attacking plan rather than set a ring field and bowl dot balls.

Most batsmen that are argued over by cricket fans only average 35 in first-class cricket, compared the 50 plus players of the previous generation.

Expecting the current crop to start hitting 50 plus scores continuously at highest level is misguided. They will have a good knock but they will miss more often then not.

The batsmen who show some heart in getting runs in tough situations should be selected for higher honours.

In the next few years, the national team will be defending more than attacking in world cricket.

Too often in the recent past, we have selected young players at club, state and national team on potential without them having a understanding of their own games, or an understanding of how to play out those tough periods in certain games.

It is hoped when this tour is over, the players all head back to club and state to impress upon their teammates what is required to get to the top level.

For too long, club and Sheffield Shield was rated as second class institution.

Most of the older generation honed their skill at this level and when they debuted for Australia, they knew their games inside out.

A strong club scene and state cricket matches with players selected on ability and form will make the next batch of Australian cricketers mentally stronger to beat and less likely to take sandpaper onto the field when the going gets tough.

Rain threat again

AFTER many months without a drop, rain looks like the ruining local cricket for the second week running.

The Ipswich Logan Hornets are scheduled to play Toombul in the Queensland Premier Grade.

Toombul will have to chase quick runs if they are to make a game of it. If play is possible, the Hornets will at least be able to attack early with the covers probably being on all week.

Toombul are 2/81 in the top grade with offspinner Nick De Giusti taking 2/6 off five overs.

The Second Grade encounter is intriguing with the game finely balanced. Toombul is 5/146 at Baxter Oval with seamer Brodie Nickson (3/39 off 14) the pick of the bowlers.

In the Harding Madsen Shield, big wins by Brothers and Centrals has them top of each pool.

Centrals (pool A) was the only match completed. Centrals secured a double bonus point win over Souths.

In Pool B, Lockyer Lightning made a successful debut with a good win over the South East Redbacks at Gatton.

Lockyer have three or four cricketers who have played in the Ipswich competition previously, including veteran paceman Matt Muller and former Hornets batsman Josh Reisenleiter. They are led by allrounder Shanley Neuendorf who plays for Forest Hill in the Lockyer competition.

Regan Hoger was the star with an unbeaten 70 off 88 balls to drag the Lightning from 3/12 and 5/61 to a competitive 7/189 after Vaughan Oldham's (3/32) early blitz with his pace. Redbacks fought all the way in chasing their first win but lost wickets in clumps to be bowled out 150.

A weakened Brothers outfit cruised to their target of 75 in 16 overs against Highfields.

Diggers (7/125) threw away wickets chasing a Duckworth Lewis victory over Wests (7/289).

This week, undefeated Centrals and Laidley District meet at Limestone Park in Pool A's crunch match. Centrals have only ever defeated the Bluedogs once in 16 one day outings. Northsiders will have the newly promoted Souths at home.

Brothers take on Diggers at Toowoomba in Pool B's crucial clash. A win here could see the Brothers firming as one of the favourites for the competition.

Weather permitting, Redbacks will host heavyweights Wests and Lockyer will be away at Highfields to complete the round.

Webb Shield line-up

IPSWICH'S Webb Shield team has been selected for their match against Warehouse at Ray Walker Oval tomorrow.

Captain Alex Welsh will lead a strong outfit with plenty of speed to burn from the four pacemen chosen.

The Plunkett Cup, the Reserve Grade team for Webb Shield, also starts tomorrow with the Pioneers away at Logan.

Centrals opener Tim Weber will lead the team, which will hoping to go better than last year's winless record.

Webb Shield team v Warehouse at Marsden No.1 tomorrow: Troy Cooper (Northsiders), Mick Ridgewell (Brothers), Luke Barrett (Centrals), Alex Welsh (Laidley), Charlie Moncada (Fassifern), Josh Ridgewell (Brothers), Ben Swinn (Centrals), Dave Tyler (Centrals), Matt Guest (Centrals), Michael Topp (Laidley), Geoff Klease (Centrals), Damien Brandley (Laidley).