Cricket

Are ODIs too batsman-friendly? Analysis & vote after England's 481

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England’s batsmen caused carnage once again, returning to Trent Bridge to break the record for the highest total in a one-day international for the second time in two years.

Their 481-6 to destroy Australia by 242 runs beat the 444-3 made against Pakistan in 2016.

It continues a trend of devastating batting that has rippled through the ODI game in the past five years.

The magic 400 mark was first passed by Sri Lanka in 2006 and was matched on nine other occasions until the end of 2011.

What followed was a wait of almost three years for the next 400-plus total, but now they arrive with regularity. There have been nine since the end of 2014.

It can be terrific entertainment seeing the ball disappear to all parts (and out of) the ground, but there is an argument to say that one-day internationals are too heavily weighted in favour of batsmen.

Not only are bowlers faced with uber-confident batsman armed with meaty blades, they also have to contend with short boundaries, flat pitches, white balls offering no movement and fielding restrictions that only ever allow a maximum of five men to patrol the perimeter.

Pace bowler James Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker in ODIs, told Test Match Special: “The balance has swayed too far in the batsman’s favour.

“When I went to watch cricket as a kid, the things that stuck out are those moments of brilliance – a catch, a yorker, a six. I can’t remember half of the sixes that were hit at Trent Bridge. It just becomes a blur.

“It’s been an incredible performance, you can’t take that away from England, but from a purists’ point of view I want to see a close game, a battle between bat and ball. The crowd haven’t had that.

“I love seeing a batsman in full flow, but I also love to see off stump cartwheeling out of the ground. If the bowler bowled straight today, he was going to get hit for six.”

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‘The balance is probably about right’ – analysis

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew

It was breathtaking stuff by England, I’ve never seen an exhibition of hitting like it. It was almost too much, so one-sided.

You do have to put these things into context. You almost feared for the Australians because they were completely out of their depth. It demonstrated how the game has changed. These days, an in-form, aggressive, one-day batting line-up in good conditions can completely dismember an opposing attack.

Is the ball not moving an issue? Maybe. It depends what people want to see. However, the modern game has taken out the rather dull passage of middle overs that we used to see, when teams consolidated ready for a final push. Now, it is gung-ho all the way.

Twenty20 has had such an influence on 50-over cricket. Batsmen have realised what they are capable of. Totals of 400 could become the norm and a team will one day make 500. England probably should have done at Trent Bridge.

In terms of the balance between bat and ball, they probably have it about right now. During the 2015 World Cup, teams were only ever allowed four men outside the 30-yard circle. Now they can have five during the last 10 overs of the innings.

But, with confident batsmen wielding big bats and having the experience of T20 tournaments, they go out there and smash it from the off.

I’m an old fast bowler and I wouldn’t have had a clue of how to bowl to England at Trent Bridge. When the ball isn’t doing anything at all, you’re at a loss. It’s just like cannon fodder.

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‘The pitch is terrible for cricket’ – what you said

BBC Sport readers had their say during the match at Trent Bridge, using the hashtag #bbccricket or by emailing Test Match Special.

Bruce Smeath: Jimmy is right in that cricket is definitely favouring the batsmen these days. Calling a ball three inches outside leg a wide is just ludicrous. That said, watching England bat with glorious freedom is delightful, after years of pain.

Gareth Hobson: Bowlers have been neutered by bowling limits. Why not allow batsmen only bat a maximum of 60 balls?

James Vicary: This talk about the match being boring because it’s too easy is nonsense to me. If you want to attract more viewers, this is how – I chose to watch the cricket over the football World Cup because of this match. More flat pitches please and I guarantee you will get more kids playing and watching.

Andy: If the odds are so stacked in favour of the batsmen, what aspiring young cricketer is going to chose to focus on bowling? As a bowler, you’ll just get smashed out the ground all the time, and the batsmen get all the glory. I can’t help but think we’re causing a problem for ourselves in 10 years’ time.

Chris: I would prefer to see a more even competition between bat and ball but is it too defeatist to blame the equipment? Is there no scope for reviewing bowling tactics or the type of bowler we are developing for 50-over cricket?

Matt Chapman: As an Englishmen living in Australia, it’s great watching Australia get smashed all round the ground. But let’s be honest, the pitch was terrible for cricket. Great batting by England but it’s a road. Absolutely nothing in it for the bowlers.

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