Ashes – 1st Test Day 1

Oh god. I don’t feel good.

Here is the comments thread for today. Feel free to react to the events of the day, share wisdom or anything else.


110 thoughts on “Ashes – 1st Test Day 1

  1. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 8:54 am

    And we’re off to a flying FICJAM of a start with Martin Samuel:

    The whole thing is built around using Moeen Ali as a human shield again – but two morsels stood out:

    “We all know what Cook is. He’s a lousy captain. If England lose to Australia, a strand of the narrative will undoubtedly concern Cook’s failure to match Michael Clarke’s funky leadership. Yet if he wins — and it is a big if, of course — he will be only the third Englishman to triumph in two home Ashes series. WG Grace and Mike Brearley are the others; so he can’t be a mug”.

    The same stat used by Scyld Berry yesterday. Pure coincidence of course. Does a writer as impressed by his own cleverness link that possibility in any way to how often England have played Australia recently? If England had played Australia in 1970 would Illingworth have two? If England had played Australia in 1983 or 1987 would Gower have two? Of course not.

    “These players [Cook, Bell, Anderson, Broad] are not all clowns or under-achievers. The reason we expect so much is that they dragged English cricket back from the wilderness”.

    “Clowns”? Nice straw man argument. “Under-achievers”? Look at the Ashes’s records of Cook and Anderson and that seems quite an accurate description. Samuel doesn’t, of course. “The wilderness”? WTF? England were in the wilderness when those four came in? Does he know anything about England pre-Flower? What a clown – and that word, this time, fits like a glove.

    Liked by 3 people

    • OscarDaBosca Jul 8, 2015 / 9:30 am

      The MSM loved Flower because he ‘engaged’ with them, they hated Fletcher because he despised them. It is why Flowers successes; T20 wc, no 1 in test cricket and the Ashes away are hyped, and abject series against Pakistan and SA are ignored.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jul 8, 2015 / 9:32 am

      Well ,when you play home series against Australia every 2 years it’s not that big a deal to win two home series. In the old days you would have to stay captain for a 4 year cycle.

      Swann must be a clown if he’s too stupid to understand this. But thanks Mr Swann for telling us that this whole series is only about your mate. Must be a great motivator to all the other players in the team that they are irrelevent.


      • paulewart Jul 8, 2015 / 9:51 am

        He is a clown. Great cricketer, mind.


    • Steve Jul 9, 2015 / 1:37 am

      He makes a comparison with Ponting and its a good one. Ponting was a great batsman but an ordinary captain and his lack of direction in the field was part of the 2005 loss – you could tell Warne was in his ear and more or less directing things any new idea in that series.

      Cooks not as good a bat (although decent) – but he’s probably Ponting’s equal as captain.


  2. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 9:10 am

    First pitch report reckons it’ll be a slow seamer. Tricky decision for whoever wins the toss. Atherton thought they’d bat but a close call.

    Botham has just said Australia are “the Number One side in the world”. Grrrr.


    • thebogfather Jul 8, 2015 / 9:12 am

      We can’t be having any mention of the ‘South African born’ Test side…


    • metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 9:15 am

      To be fair, in the last series Aus did go to SA and win, so ranking-shmanking, I’d say that Aus have a decent claim to be the best at the moment.


      • SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 9:25 am

        The rankings are flawed but –

        1) Last time they went to Australia SA won. And the time before that.
        2) SA don’t go to India and UAE and lose.
        3) Last time they came to England SA won. And the time before that.

        SA aren’t just ranked number one – they are a long way ahead on the table.

        Sorry Meta, but got to disagree with you here.


        • ArushaTZ Jul 8, 2015 / 9:30 am

          Absolutely. South Africa haven’t lost an away series since 2006. That’s the mark of a number one team.


      • metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 9:45 am

        Happy to disagree – I think the trouble with this discussion Test cricket is that absent a dominant team (WI, Aus) then teams play each other so infrequently at times that the team composition is changing quicker than results are coming in.

        SA are particular victims of this thanks to the uselessness of the ICC.

        Totally agree that SA have been the best team over the last few years.
        My suspicion however is that if this was an SA vs Aus series I’d be (just) betting on an Aus win again.


      • d'Arthez Jul 8, 2015 / 9:54 am

        Um, 2 series losses in 9 years now for South Africa. Both at home against Australia.

        Since losing to Pakistan in 1994/95, Australia have lost 5 series (and I am not even counting a one-off Test against India) before they lost to South Africa in 2008/2009.


  3. metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 9:13 am

    I was musing on the terror that I feel as a fan on this first morning.

    1) We know nothing about the pitch – this might be a pitch where the toss is crucial.
    2) We might lose the toss, or win and do the wrong thing.
    3) We might let the occasion get to us and lose the Test in this first day.
    4) Losing here might be all the more galling if it comes out of our mental weakness, since all the advance reports are that this is a draw pitch.


    • OscarDaBosca Jul 8, 2015 / 9:32 am

      Stephen Fletcher always bowled first when he was unsure because in his words, you can lose a test batting in the first session, you can’t lose it bowling first


  4. Andy Jul 8, 2015 / 9:29 am

    Eng won the toss and have a bat

    [insert Jaws music here…]


    • d'Arthez Jul 8, 2015 / 9:59 am

      And it is raining. Cook will be wondering why he did not insert Australia …


  5. paulewart Jul 8, 2015 / 9:50 am

    Shock horror. A relatively balanced preamble by John Ashdown. What has happened to The Guardian’s editorial position? Well done JA:

    ‘Since then (2013) England have bobbed around looking for a solution to a) the absence of Graeme Swann and b) the absence of a captain. They may not have fully found a solution to the former but at least they have their leader back. Alastair Cook probably splits opinion more than KP and while captaincy may never be all that inspiring his batting can be and that is where a huge chunk of English hope lies.’


  6. Zephirine Jul 8, 2015 / 10:06 am

    At least the Welsh anthem is as good as the Australian one.


    • metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 10:09 am

      This probably marks me out as a bad person, but I’m really not fond of “God Save the Queen” – it’s insipid and embarrassing.


      • Zephirine Jul 8, 2015 / 10:18 am

        We sing GSTQ too slowly, is the problem, it gets dirge-like.


      • Arron Wright Jul 8, 2015 / 10:29 am

        I don’t think you’re a bad person. I absolutely despise it. It embarrasses me, quite frankly. For a nation that has (historically) achieved so much, celebrating hereditary privilege above all else is a complete nonsense.

        Liked by 2 people

      • escort Jul 8, 2015 / 12:05 pm

        Me neither. I much prefer Holiday in the sun or Pretty vacant.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Grenville Jul 8, 2015 / 10:07 am

    Here is my prediction. Aus will smash Eng, 3-1, 4-0 or 4-1. It will be ugly. Stevie Smith will be waving whilst Anderson and Broad are drowning. Warner, who is a bloody brilliant player, will score heavily and generally England will look like chumps. I’m not much of a ‘fan’. I like the game. I’d also like to point out that KP should be at 4. There is no-one in England who can play like he can.


    • Zephirine Jul 8, 2015 / 10:19 am

      Yep, Grenville, I’m pretty much with you there on all points.

      (Even if you’re trying a reverse jinx)


    • OscarDaBosca Jul 8, 2015 / 10:23 am

      So they are going to win more matches in England than they have managed in over 10 years? Don’t get me wrong, I am inclined to see Australia as favourites, but it is a big ask.

      Damn Lyth gone


      • Grenville Jul 8, 2015 / 10:31 am

        The reason is that Australia are now very good and England are a bit rubbish. The WIndies are mediocre. England really struggled against them. Australia have 4 really good bowlers. England have 1 when he’s not knackered. I also think that he’s past it. (Broad can be very good on occassion). I can’t see England restricting the Aussies to under 400. I can’t see the English making much more than 320. Could be wrong, but I think that all this talk of the series being close is a. wishful thinking, b. trying to sell papers (a bit like the Obama – Romney election).


  8. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 10:13 am

    Waiting for the drizzle (and interminable pre-match nonsense – even Gower sounds fed up) to stop, here’s some guff from Rob Steen (modestly writing on behalf of the great British sporting public to Captain Fantastic):

    It’s all twaddle – but three lowlights stand out:

    “For all the slip-ups and cock-ups, and despite that horrendously depressing Christmas you lumbered us with in 2013, you still command our compassion, our patience and our affection”.

    That horse had probably bolted long ago – but people like Rob Steen (and Berry and Newman and the rest of them) telling us we must feel like that kills the faintest possibility of it being true.

    “You’re already up there with David Gower and Douglas Jardine as one of only three England captains to have won an Ashes rubber and a series in India”.

    Makes a change from being up there with WG and Brearley I suppose (but have no fear he mentions that as well).

    “So, do you really have, as that Radio Times article suggested, “the toughest job in British sport”? It’s devilishly hard to think of a tougher one”.

    Really? What utter garbage. I’d say more – but there might be some play in a moment….


  9. volkerelle Jul 8, 2015 / 10:14 am

    Moeen not moving his lips during the anthem? Is he the Mesut Özil of the England (&Wales) cricket team?


  10. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 10:19 am

    Bloody hell, the third and fifth balls kept low.


  11. d'Arthez Jul 8, 2015 / 10:20 am

    Have they imported pitches from India?


  12. Phil Jul 8, 2015 / 10:22 am

    Pitch is a right pudding. Does not bode well.


  13. d'Arthez Jul 8, 2015 / 10:23 am

    Lyth goes for 6. Always on the cards. Hazlewood has his first.


    • metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 10:26 am

      Looked like he was done by the slow pace of the pitch there – he was well into the shot before the ball arrived.


      • metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 10:28 am

        Seeing it again, probably not giving Hazlewood enough credit for moving the ball off the seam.


    • SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 10:30 am

      The ball swung to leg then seamed to off on pitching – very good ball and a good low catch.

      Starc swinging it so much he can’t make the batsman play enough.

      Clarke using a leg gully for Cook – looks a good idea to me.


  14. Grenville Jul 8, 2015 / 10:38 am

    Watching Johnson, I think that he has changed his action. He seems straighter. I think that wil make hum easier to play. In the last ashes and against SA you couldn’t see the ball out of the hand (I think), now I reckon you can. I think it should make life easier for the English batsman.


  15. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 10:46 am

    Johnson over 90 mph in first over. Ballance looks a little better than he did against NZ. Cloud cover lifting and seen the sun a couple of times. Watson could be tricky on this pitch.


  16. metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 10:58 am

    Lyon getting a bit of grip off the pitch. Very strange pitch overall I’d say.


    • SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 10:59 am

      Did I just see Cook dance down the pitch in Lyon’s first over?


      • metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 11:16 am

        Score 1 for Lyon – and for Tickner’s betting advice.
        Chef out for 20 – and you have to wonder if this pitch would have suited Rashid…


  17. Arron Wright Jul 8, 2015 / 11:16 am

    Now then Andy and Mike, tell us more about Lyon and that warm-up game, why don’t you….? No? Nothing to say?

    Liked by 1 person

    • SteveT Jul 8, 2015 / 11:22 am

      Anyone remember Warne in warm up match v Worcs in 1993, bowled stock leg-spinners and got carted by Hick. The rest is history

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Jul 8, 2015 / 11:24 am

        Yes, I wanted to post that, but would have been mocked by professional point-missers for “comparing Lyon to Warne”.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. d'Arthez Jul 8, 2015 / 11:16 am

    Cook gone for 20. Worst specialist opener in Home Ashes since WW1, continued …

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Jul 8, 2015 / 11:18 am

      Ah yes, looking forward to BrearleyWatch this summer. Or if things get really bad, ButcherWatch…

      Liked by 1 person

    • d'Arthez Jul 8, 2015 / 11:20 am

      Cook gone to Lyon, who was supposedly the weak link. And Bell does not last long. Just 1 run, before being taken out lbw by Starc.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 11:16 am

    Remember he who always fronts up?

    Remember how Lyon wouldn’t be effective because he depends too much on bounce? (TM George Dobell)

    But he wasn’t bowled so it doesn’t really count.


    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 11:19 am

      Oddly, Lyon is getting some bounce, even though the seamers are generally getting less.
      It might be worth re-configuring strategy against Lyon, he’s more of an over-spinner than anything.


      • SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 11:44 am

        It’s not as if Cook hasn’t been out trying to cut Lyon before. I’m sure I can remember at least two previously dismissals that way.


      • d'Arthez Jul 8, 2015 / 12:05 pm

        Then you remember at least three more than any of the established writing press corps do.


  20. Phil Jul 8, 2015 / 11:20 am

    Bell continues his great form of the summer. Going downhill.


    • metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 11:22 am

      Leaves England at 43-3, just as many here predicted/feared.


      • metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 11:23 am

        Have to say it seems really obtuse to be playing Bell instead of Pietersen…


    • Arron Wright Jul 8, 2015 / 11:22 am

      This is pretty serious now, I’m afraid. (I can’t believe I’m saying this, but) Cook was making fifties and thirties during his rum spell, not binary against all-comers.


  21. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 11:27 am

    Bell LBW was ‘umpire’s call’. Looked plumb initially and no review but it nearly did too much.

    Root first ball saved from plumb LBW by inside edge. Second ball dropped by Haddin.


    • d'Arthez Jul 8, 2015 / 11:34 am

      I missed the Hawkeye projection due to crappy internet. May miss the remainder of the play as well. How much was it hitting? it looked like a good shout in real time.


      • Phil Jul 8, 2015 / 11:38 am

        It was clipping leg, about 40% ball.


      • OscarDaBosca Jul 8, 2015 / 11:57 am

        It looked plumb in real time, right on the toe in front of legstump


  22. Mike Jul 8, 2015 / 11:33 am

    Post Bell is in terminal decline on the G, and watch the poster known as “thepoesteye” go into uncontrollable paroxysms of rage. Has his average now dipped under 30 for the last 2 years?

    In all seriousness, who didn’t see this coming? Apart from our assembled inky media…

    I’m actually going to defend Cook for trying to go after Lyon, it’s the right thing to do, in theory, to try and not let the off spinner wheel away at 1/2 an over on day one…


    • metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 11:43 am

      Fair point about attacking the spinner on Day 1.
      Would help my mood if he hadn’t looked so inept playing the shot.


  23. Culex Jul 8, 2015 / 11:35 am

    Root is doing well. So far at least. Compared to those who went before…


  24. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 11:36 am

    Hmmm… didn’t the original story come from that well-known KP-fanboy Sam Peters?


    • SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 11:41 am

      Curiouser and curiouser……

      Nothing against Ponting who’s a terrific commentator and shown some really good insights already. But what’s happened to Warne? Has something been done…..?


      • Zephirine Jul 8, 2015 / 7:33 pm

        Warne is playing poker somewhere, I think.


  25. Mark Jul 8, 2015 / 11:40 am

    Can’t be too hard on Cook. After all, he only averages under 30 in all Ashes series except the “magic series” that Selvey and his chums think was the only Ashes test series ever.

    On the radio Swann has been banging on about Lyon and his bowling figures at Essex. That worked out well. Oh and Swann informs us he never pays the toll to cross the bridge out of principle. He goes up the M50. Which is fine if you are going back to the Midlands but not much good if you are going south.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Jul 8, 2015 / 11:44 am

      “Swann has been banging on about Lyon and his bowling figures at Essex”

      Well there’s a f***ing shock.


  26. Mike Jul 8, 2015 / 11:40 am

    Apparently, someone on cricinfo’s commentary has answered my Bell question, he’s averaging 28.9 since the 2013 Ashes.

    That is appalling from your #4.

    Again, it’s not like we have a world class #4 with 8000 plus test runs we’re ignoring is it?


    • Phil Jul 8, 2015 / 11:49 am

      Just to show how bad he has been, if you take away his centuries against india and WI, he only averages 19.9 in all his other 28 innings since the Ashes 2013


      • Tybalt Jul 8, 2015 / 2:29 pm

        No one has good averages when you take away their centuries though. Be sensible.


    • Mark Jul 8, 2015 / 11:51 am

      Absolutely Mike! But he’s devisive apparently. The ECB won’t even let go in the commentary box never mind bat at 4.


  27. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 11:47 am

    A prediction from the Betway Gimp:


  28. metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 11:49 am

    Looks like an abysmal choice to bat first – a rain interrupted day, tricky for batting. We’ll be all out by tomorrow afternoon (if not sooner.) Tomorrow afternoon the sun comes out and Aus will have the best of the batting conditions…


  29. Andy Jul 8, 2015 / 12:18 pm

    Boycott was apparently bemoaning the aggressive shots getting people out, then glorying root playing an attacking shot!

    Cant win!


    • Culex Jul 8, 2015 / 12:49 pm

      He’d probably argue that there’s a difference between “aggressive” and “reckless.”

      The former scores runs, the latter gets you out. That’s the only difference, as the two styles look very similar.


  30. paulewart Jul 8, 2015 / 12:34 pm

    Cook really is an impressionable clot isn’t he? First the interview suggesting he couldn’t possibly change the way the team played cricket, then the argument that he is now able to change the way the team plays cricket, then his frankly risible attempt to demonstrate the team’s new values via a series of absurd photographs and his dancing down the wicket to Nathan Lyon. I’ve long argued that the biggest problem with Cook is that he’s dim. The evidence is once again before us. Either that or he’s been made to feel that his place is under threat. Unlikely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jul 8, 2015 / 12:48 pm

      This is was I thought was odd about his interview yesterday. He was talking as if he was now captain of the ODI team. He was saying this team is freer to play shots than the Strauss team he inherited. It doesn’t make any sense at all.

      Whether that played a role in his dismissal I don’t know. But you’re right Paul, he comes across as just dim.


      • amit Jul 8, 2015 / 12:55 pm

        Revisionist is more like it. Given the friends (and trends) in media, the whole story arc revolves around the heroics of Captain Cook. Extremely keen on ensuring that no one but himself gets the credit for the positive play from the team. Morgan had no role to play, it would seem.


      • paulewart Jul 8, 2015 / 1:29 pm

        He’s just about bright enough to have appointed Teflon as his sponsor.


  31. lionel joseph Jul 8, 2015 / 12:36 pm

    Atherton talking about how players should be able to say no to the coach.

    Remind me how that went with KP and Flower?

    Liked by 2 people

    • amit Jul 8, 2015 / 12:48 pm

      A strong coach and a weak captain is probably not the place to voice a contradictory view.
      A strong captain, a weak coach and a backstabbing board is also not the place to voice such a view.
      in short, if you can think, keep it to yourself, if you are in the English setup.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. amit Jul 8, 2015 / 12:43 pm

    That “drop” of Root was where the session turned positive for England. Imagine being 4 down in first session of the test – not too many ways back from that disaster. But, I would think the aussie bowlers are still adjusting their radars. On the basis of what I have seen so far, I don’t expect England to make it through to end of day.


    • amit Jul 8, 2015 / 3:54 pm

      Looking stupid right now. Aren’t I?


  33. Zephirine Jul 8, 2015 / 1:00 pm

    Bayliss in a chat with Ian Ward on Sky wasn’t exactly jumping up and down about how wonderful the captain is.

    Not that he seems to jump up and down about much.


  34. amit Jul 8, 2015 / 1:22 pm

    A lot of streaky shots, but Root is still here and has a 50. More importantly, GB has lasted longer than the entire NZ series.
    Things could’ve been a lot worse.


  35. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    Hampshire doing our bit to show that writing off Saeed Ajmal because of his remodeled action might have been a bit premature.


  36. Arron Wright Jul 8, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    Why hasn’t the Godfather of Funk(y captaincy) used Shane Watson yet then?


  37. Tybalt Jul 8, 2015 / 2:27 pm

    Things are going well. Root imperious.

    Bell, though, come on. We’re close to the end of his run here. We’ll see, if this continues for three more innings, whether Bayliss believes more in form or “class”.


  38. Arron Wright Jul 8, 2015 / 2:36 pm

    It’s a good day for James Whitaker. Bet he does interviews later…


    • LordCanisLupus Jul 8, 2015 / 2:38 pm

      I watched half an hour of play after lunch. First impression was the pitch is a pudding as someone said earlier.


      • amit Jul 8, 2015 / 3:56 pm

        Seemed like the only way to neutralize the Aussie bowling. But broad and stokes might just be sitting up to be hit with their usual lengths. Ouch.


  39. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 2:48 pm

    There are 24 days to go in the series. Never judge a pitch until both sides have batted on it.

    What’s the betting there’ll be a few on these evening’s threads who don’t remember either of those?


    • Arron Wright Jul 8, 2015 / 2:54 pm

      kpatelfd24 will be saying the Ashes are as good as won.


      • OscarDaBosca Jul 8, 2015 / 3:06 pm

        how very true


  40. Mark Jul 8, 2015 / 2:48 pm

    Don’t know what the media are going to write about tomorrow. According to the pre Ashes talk England are a one man team. I’m not sure the cricket writers know the names of any of our other batsman.


  41. Mike Jul 8, 2015 / 2:52 pm

    Great recovery and scored at a decent lick too. I should note, a solid effort from Ballance given my concerns prior to today, as well as Root. Good stuff in the circumstances.

    As I mentioned above, not saying it’s the end for Bell by any stretch and I do feel he’s been often messed around a bit incomparison with others, but his form for getting on 2 years has been horrendous.

    A tough decison will have to be made sooner rather than later if this continues in his next innings, regardless of team results.


    • Zephirine Jul 8, 2015 / 3:28 pm

      I think Bell will retire from international cricket after this series. Just a hunch.


  42. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 4:40 pm

    E v SL 2014: First Test Root makes a lot of runs, England don’t win game, lose next game and series.
    E v I 2014: First Test Root makes a lot of runs. England don’t win game and lose next game.
    E v WI 2015: First Test Root makes a lot of runs. England don’t win game or series.
    E v NZ 2015: First Tests Root makes a lot of runs. England lose next game and don’t win series.

    Point? Not getting at Root obviously – just pointing out that his century doesn’t mean the match or the series are necessarily won. Indeed, England have often started strongly and then faded in recent series.


    • paulewart Jul 8, 2015 / 6:33 pm

      Shhh…you’re ruining the narrative, you heretic.


  43. d'Arthez Jul 8, 2015 / 4:55 pm

    It seems Starc has found his mojo. First taking care of Root (134 runs late, courtesy of a drop), and now Stokes gets himself bowled. 293/6, and while it is not as disastrous as 43/3 (or 4), you feel that England have lost quite a bit of terrain with that. This does not look like a pitch where you can reasonably expect to bowl the opposition out for 300.


  44. metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 6:35 pm

    Agree with lots of others. Happy about the fightback, but this looks like a hard pitch for England to take wickets.


  45. Arron Wright Jul 8, 2015 / 6:48 pm

    Half of Simon Hughes’s tweets today are about Bell being crap.

    Shame Bell doesn’t wait at the boundary rope to let the batsmen cross first, otherwise he’d be left alone.


  46. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 7:28 pm

    How should Ali and Broad play it tomorrow?

    1) Try to blitz it? If it comes off, get Australia down and leave more time to bowl them out.
    2) Bat normally? Wear both batsmen and wicket by keeping them in the field for as long as possible.


    • metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 8:27 pm

      I think you have to bat normally at this stage in a match, I don’t think time is a priority.
      Of course, you might argue that for both Broad and Ali, normal is a pretty attacking stance.


  47. SimonH Jul 8, 2015 / 7:36 pm

    Can Newman find a way of giving a large slice of the credit to Cook within three sentences? It’s a challenge – but our man is equal to the task:

    “All the pain and hurt of the 5-0 humiliation that led to so many recriminations was in danger of flooding back when England crashed to 43 for three on the first morning of the most important Test series of them all. Yet this is a new England, a reinvigorated side who made good the promise of their captain and new coach that they would take the fight to Australia”.

    Mission accomplished.


    • Phil Jul 8, 2015 / 8:07 pm

      Not quite sure what fight has been taken. This was an average England performance at a slightly above average run rate (3.9) on a batting pitch. We were a Haddin drop away from an awful score, and only Root really excelled. The bookies (always a good indicator) make Australia slight favorites over the draw, but it is still close.

      Australia 6/4
      Draw 7/4
      England 9/4

      If we are all out before lunch (likely with the tail exposed) Then I am not hopeful, as I expect AUS to put at least 500 on this pitch, with better weather for the next two days. Will Broad and
      Andserson get any swing? Will they bowl full and straight? Or will they return to their bad habits of recent. Can Ali do anything? Our bowling gives me no confidence.


      • Mark Jul 8, 2015 / 8:32 pm

        The weather forecast for Sunday is not good. So this could be a 4 day test match. In which case Englands score today may be better than it looks in terms of not losing the game.


      • metatone Jul 8, 2015 / 9:01 pm

        I don’t think anyone can say (with a straight face) that they have confidence in our bowling.
        It’s all hope and fear and prayer at this stage…


      • Rohan Jul 8, 2015 / 9:12 pm

        Agree completely re bowling. Starc and Johnson were at 90mph and got some late swing, but we’re not devastating. Our 80mph plodders, however, will get easy to read/follow swing from the hand/arm and will be easier to play. Except maybe Wood. Ps I would not have picked Ali, Rashid for me.


  48. Rohan Jul 8, 2015 / 9:06 pm

    Not really sure what to make of today’s cricket, but I should be accustomed to this, after all it’s the way I often feel after watching England over the past 18 months. Ambivalent. That’s the word.

    I wanted desperately for Cook to fail, then found myself rooting (pardon the pun) for Ballance and Root and really enjoying their work. Yet, is it wrong to admit this, I wanted to see Starc and Johnson blow us away. There was something mesmerising, thrilling and animalistic in the way Johnson bowled in the whitewash. I was hoping to see more of it from him and Starc!

    I think Starc and Johson bowling at 90 clicks was an ominous sign. This pitch was described as a pudding, a slow low seamer. If they bowl fast on this, what could they do on a pitch with some life. 93 clicks and more I reckon. Now that would be fun to watch.

    I really liked the fact that Root, Ballance, Butler and Ali played it simple. See ball, hit ball. If the gap is there, go for it. In his SKY interview this is what Root intimated. Shastri got it spot on when he said it was a good sign that Root’s approach was simple and indicative of a clear mind. The point about Root stating he hoped today was the first of more hundreds in this series, was also well analysed by Shastri on the verdict.

    Lastly back to Cook. My wife heard the sports news on her way home, circa 7pm and their focus (not sure which channel) was that Cook was out for 20! Smacks of his glorious 95, whilst somebodies (Ballance) century in the same innings is lost in the ether. More Cult of Cook evidence. His attempt to unsettle Lyon was laughable. A blatant act to try and claim he set the positivity tone and take the praise for anything that might have (and did in this case) come after.

    Anyway, all in all a day of mixed emotions, both for and against us……


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