Cricket: Shaun Tait will be a thorn in England’s side again
England are hoping they have tamed Shaun Tait as they seek to restate their supremacy over Australia in today's fifth and final NatWest Series match at Lord's.
Tait's return to one-day internationals, after a 16-month hiatus, has coincided with an Australian resurgence.
England hung on to win by one wicket at Old Trafford, a third successive victory which wrapped up the series, despite Tait's impact as Australia opted to replace the injured Nathan Hauritz's off-spin with the fragile Tait's extreme pace.
Ricky Ponting, who has to manage the 27-year-old's workload into spells often as short as two and sometimes even one over, has seen enough to admit there is a temptation to try to talk him into a return to Test cricket.
It is a moot point whether Tait's body could stand that. But alongside fellow fast bowler Ryan Harris, he has done enough — with combined figures of four for 51 in defeat at Old Trafford and victory at The Oval — to rattle England.
Andrew Strauss has departed once to Tait and once to Harris, but not before making 124 runs in his last two innings and said: “Tait is quick — and over the first couple of games it has taken us a while to get used to his action again, because the trajectory he fires the ball at is different to most bowlers.”
The England captain is reluctant to nominate any one bowler as the quickest he has faced — but acknowledges Tait is among the contenders.
“The speedgun says he's right up there,” he said.
“He has done pretty well, but we believe there are still opportunities to score off him if he doesn't get it quite right.”