Captain defends Harmy as he sprays it again

Published: Friday, November 24, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
Share this on your social network:
   Facebook Twitter Google+    Comments Mail

Brisbane:England captain Andrew Flintoff defended paceman Steve Harmison after the misfiring strike bowler continued to self-destruct in the Ashes opener at Brisbane's Gabba.

After being ridiculed by both the Australian crowds and the English press for his farcial performance in the first day's play, Harmison continued to spray the ball around on the second day.

He conceded 123 runs for one wicket in Australia's first innings, with his first ball a wide that was greeted with howls of derision by the Gabba crowd.

It was painfully similar to the ball he opened the series with a day earlier, a wide that carried to Flintoff at second slip and was dubbed the "bawl of the century" by London's Sun newspaper.

Rather than regrouping overnight, Harmison sent down a total of four wides Friday and the England camp will have a massive job restoring his confidence for the rest of the series.

Flintoff, who hauled Harmison out of the attack after just two overs on the first day and waited until the seventh over to use him Friday, was left struggling for positives.

"He got better throughout the innings, when it's not going well it does knock your confidence a little bit and Harmy's just striving to get back to his best," Flintoff told reporters.

He admitted Harmison, a dominant figure in England's Ashes triumph last year, could not find his bowling rhythm.

"It's not through the lack of trying or effort," the England captain said.

"He's just struggling for a bit for his rhythm in this game.

Even veteran Australian paceman Glenn McGrath, a relentless competitor who delights in beating the opposition, had some sympathy for his English counterpart.

"I feel for Harmy, his radar wasn't quite switched on," McGrath said.

"We'll see how he goes, he's got a fairly big fight to get back there."

Former Australian paceman Damien Fleming said the lanky Durham quick's situation was "sad".

"There's some mental issues here. He's not confident," Fleming said while commentating on the game on national radio.

Harmison set the scene for England's victory last year by hitting Ricky Ponting in the grille of his helmet with a delivery and the Australian captain said Thursday the home side had been heartened by his poor show at the Gabba.


Write Comments