Cricket

England vs Australia, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Jason Behrendorff's sterling five-wicket haul lights the candle of unity in the Australian camp

  • Gaurav Joshi
  • June 26th, 2019
  • 10:18:02 IST

The Unity Candle lighting ceremony is probably the most common rituals done at weddings. The two outer candles are lit by respective family members, before the couple light the middle candle to symbolise connecting together the bride and groom.  However, things were different at Jason Behrendorff's wedding.  As revealed in the Inside The Furnace Podcast", Behrendorff and his wife decided to alter the traditional methods and replace it with a cricketing theme. Candles were replaced by stumps and the placement of bails would symbolise the togetherness.

Jason Behrendorff celebrates picking up a wicket against England. AP

Jason Behrendorff celebrates picking up a wicket against England. AP

Behrendorff would have enjoyed enormously assembling the stumps at his wedding, but on a cricketing field, he has got immense satisfaction in dislodging the three begs. Behrendorff’s second ball against James Vince was one of the ball's of the tournament, as it curved late to slide past the inside edge and cannon into the woodwork. The spectators at Lord’s had barely got back into their seats after the innings break and a majority of them let out ‘Wow!’ as they say the replay on the large screen.

Australia had lost all the momentum after managing just 86 in the last 116 balls of their innings and losing five wickets in the process. The visitors needed a spark to reignite them and Behrendorff lethal inswinger had once again restored that belief.

It was only Behrendorff's second match of the World Cup, he had been left out of the first four games and was almost touted as a ‘secondary' option in case Mitchell Starc was rested or had a niggle. But during the Indian Premier League (IPL), Behrendorff had made it quite clear that both the left-arm bowlers could pair up in the playing XI and still have a significant impact. On Tuesday, the two combined to pick up nine wickets between them as Australia thrashed England by 64 runs at the home of cricket.

For a long time now Behrendorff has been touted as a special talent in the Australian cricketing circles, but a series of back injuries had curtailed several comebacks.  The fast bowler has always been a fighter and a hard worker. Recently, Behrendorff's wife, Juvelle, told Inside The Furnace Podcast that her husband had only two weeks of holidays in the past five years.

Over that time, Behrendorff might have lost a yard of pace, but his ability to swing the new ball has always remained. The ball to Vince had sent shockwaves through the England dressing room. The middle order was conscious of the ball and Behrendorff ensured they were kept guessing. He tried the booming inswinger only on a handful of occasions, instead preferring to angle the ball across and keep the batsmen guessing.

Behrendorff first spell read 6-0-26-1, but realising his potency with the newish ball, Finch only gave him a rest for two overs before reinstating him back into the attack for additional over. Four balls later, he caught Jonny Bairstow napping with a short ball. It was the first bouncer Behrendorff had attempted and he resulted in immediate glory. Two wickets apiece to Starc and Behrendorff inside the 15 overs had destroyed the flamboyant England batting.

The decision to give Behrendorff the new ball ahead of Pat Cummins was also marginal and largely based on match-ups along with the overcast skies. In his previous outing at the World Cup, Behrendorff had been introduced as a first change bowler, but today, the Australians think-tank believed he could rattle the furniture with the aid of pitch and the overhead conditions.  By the time Behrendorff had retrieved into the outfield for an extended breather, he had figures of 7-0-28-2. He had done his job by taking wickets with the new ball and also ignited a friendly competition with Starc.

The inclusion of Behrendorff also allowed Australia the luxury of holding back Cummins. It meant that England could not take the avenue of simply surviving the initial burst and then attacking the second tier attack of Glenn Maxwell and Marcus Stoinis. Cummins’ impact through the middle overs also ensured England weren't able to gain momentum, meaning by the time Behrendorff was reintroduced the required run-rate had skyrocketed to nine runs an over.

Behrendorff used the exceeding run-rate to his advantage by mixing up his deliveries perfectly.  He bowled a couple of bumpers, changed the angle by coming around the wicket and also used his long fingers to apply off-cut on the ball. The variation was far too good for the England top-order as most of them hold out on the fence miscuing lofted drives and slogs. Behrendorff finished the day with figures of 5-44 from his 10 overs and too at the home of cricket against the old enemy.

But perhaps the telling moment came when David Warner caught Jofra Archer on the long-off boundary to give Behrendorff his fifth wicket of the day. All the Australian fielders ran from various corners of the field and hugged him with pure delight. Behrendorff's sterling performance had lit the candle of unity in the Australian camp.

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Updated Date: June 26, 2019 10:18:02 IST

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