Ashes Panel #006 – Lord’s A Mercy (Mitchell Collapse Mix)

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A little plug – put up 10 more pictures on The Extra Bits from Lord’s on Friday. Have a look, hope you enjoy them. Part 1 is here.

It’s a few days after the disaster at Lord’s and there have been recriminations-a-plenty. So, striking while the iron is hot, and loading up my laptop without opening the piece of crap that is ITunes (which crashed my laptop TWICE last night), here are the latest Ashes Panel responses.

The drill was, as I have ten days between games, to have an immediate reaction, a considered reaction in #007 and a look-forward to Edgbaston for #008. Five questions, responded to at varying lengths by…. Andy In Brum (Andy), My fellow Friday at Lord’s man Keyser Chris (Chris), my fellow Southeastern Sufferer, The Great Bucko (Sean), Cricket Jon (Jon), and our resident Yorkie (Metatone)….

These were sent out on Sunday night and I had all responses by middle of yesterday. Gold stars, and huge thanks, to all.

1. That was an annihilation. Bad day at the office or something more deep-seated?
Andy – If I said both, would that make sense, yes it was a bad day, we’ve proven we’re better than that at Lord v NZ & Cardiff last week. Unfortunately, the flaws that have been bailed out by the middle order & an inspired bowling performance creating a batting collapse.

Our top order is flaky & our bowlers lack penetration on flat decks. Losing Rashid was a massive blow. Even if he would have got spanked, he’d have got wickets.
Jon – I think it is a matter of sustainability. In conditions that suit ( and the evidence is overwhelming that the Lords pitch doesn’t suit our seam attack) and where we have a chance to apply some scoreboard pressure, our guys can keep up from time to time with the best of them. But even in circumstances where, for instance, Darren Bravo is on his way to a match winning knock such as he was against England just three months ago we “go for a walk” in terms of competitive intensity. The heads drop.
It isn’t surprising. One banner you can expect to get rolled out over the next few weeks is that they are halfway through a long campaign in the Test arena and it is affecting the players. Well no shit Sherlock, whose Board agreed to this schedule? I hope the MSM are reading this because if they roll the fatigue banner they will be pooing on their own doorstep ( by virtue of them being the extended media arm of the ECB). In short, it’s a bad day at the office that has a recurring theme. [ I shall now remove the splinters from my backside].

Meta – I feared a humping when I saw the weather forecast. We don’t have the bowling attack to prosper on Chief Executive pitches. We’ve been reliant on Joe Root to get big scores, he was bound to have an off day sooner or later. Aussie bowlers were bound to bowl a bit better than in Cardiff. We’re not good against real pace. Certainly not “a bad day at the office” – this defeat sits in line with the failures against a touring SA and of course the drubbing we had Down Under. Very little has actually changed since then. Surprise, surprise! Sacking KP didn’t make much difference – a cynic might wonder if actually he wasn’t the problem.

Chris – In isolation, an aberration. But it’s not in isolation, given England’s recent performances. Anyone who follows me & Dmitri on Twitter knows we were at Lord’s separately on Friday. Separately we straightaway saw the Aussie bowling in the flesh was a step above in that last Friday session compared to us, even accounting for the extra rest Rogers & Smith gave them. It was sensational. And on an allegedly duff pitch. Losing by 400+ at home, at Lord’s, with the sun mostly out? Oh my. England have a bad recent habit of collapses, and it’s under Cooks watch even when he gets (blood-soaked apparently) runs. There has to be some ministerial responsibility on that front.
Sean – It was a complete annihilation and probably one of the most embarrassing performances that England have put in for a long time; however it shows why most people on the blog didn’t embrace the musings of the national media, who had made Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss the saviours of all cricket. We are ranked number 6 in the world and that accurately reflects where we are in international cricket. We haven’t had a front line spinner since Swann retired and a reliable opener since Strauss himself retired as well as a middle order that is consistently inconsistent. The fact that the national media decided to throw eulogies around as if it was going out of fashion and had written off the Aussies, shows how far up the ECB’s backside they all are. I predicted at the beginning that the series would be a tight one and i still think it will be, but we need to sort the top 4 out as Root can’t always be there to dig us out of 40/3 hole.
2. Focus is on the batting, that undoubtedly did not do well – we’ll come to that. But that’s two deeply unimpressive test matches from James Anderson. Reason to be worried?
Andy – Yes, he doesn’t appear to get the ball to move anymore, either normal or reverse swing. That’s very worrying.
Jon – It is understandable that as he gets older Anderson will become less effective on these types of pitches. So yes we have reason to be worried. For this is not a time for change in Planet ECB. This is all about maximising inflow of funds for the Paymasters so my delight at a 180 plays 210 plays 210 seeking 180 shootout, the best type of a Test you could ever see, is something of a sporting fantasy and flies in the face of the modus oppo of these dreadful people who run our game. (Mind you I thought he bowled well in the 2nd inns at Cardiff).
Meta Post 2011 (where he was excellent) Anderson has been neutered when the pitch doesn’t swing. I’ve gone all the way to saying England should have looked at the pitch at Lords and the weather forecast and not picked him. That’s probably a bit of 20/20 hindsight because you couldn’t know it would never swing across the 5 days. Yet at the very least he shouldn’t be using the new ball if there’s no swing… Worried? Yes I am, because if we get 2 more flat pitches, well hard to see how that’s not the series lost…
Chris – Lyth needs more time. We all know that, rightly or wrongly. Bairstow is in sensational county form, and has to play especially given the way he’s been messed around on previous tours. Every stat backs that up. It’ll be for Ballance, because you can’t drop 3 & 4 at the same time, plus Root has to stay at 5. Apropos of nowt, Cook opening but not facing the first ball & leaving it to Lyth is just wrong, hiding behind the captaincy pressure thing to avoid it – just wrong. Cook primarily is an opener. Open.
Sean It’s a concern and has been for a while. Anderson now seems to only be able to perform on those pitches that suit his bowling and provide him with some swing and seam movement. Granted the two pitches we just played on offered nothing for the quicks (unless you happen to be tearing it down at 90+ MPH) but it was a horribly toothless display from our attack (Broad excepted) and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Finn given a go at Edgbaston, though as a Middlesex fan who has watched a lot of him this season, I’m not sure it’s the right call. I think we have to understand that we have bowled Jimmy into the ground over the past few years and it looks like he has lost his nip (or that it has been blunted from years of bowling on flat pitches) and that Father Time may be catching up with him. He may come back, if Edgbaston and/or Trent Bridge offer some sideways movement replicating what happened against India last year, but unfortunately i think we are seeing the gradual winding down of a top drawer test bowler.
3. I confess, I saw none of the 337 for 1 first day. What went wrong?
Andy – Shit dead pitch, good batting, bowling not that penetrative, but it wasn’t bad.
Jon – Nothing much. Australia just applied themselves.
Meta – I didn’t see the whole day. From what I saw we had a bit of bad luck in the morning session, and shelled a couple of chances. And good players on a reasonable batting pitch took advantage. And yet… Jimmy didn’t threaten and Wood looked a bit tired. And Ali was bowling with an injury. Stokes didn’t get it together. Basically we didn’t have enough threat on this kind of pitch. It’s the usual story – real pace or mystery spin takes wickets when the going is tough – and we have neither. As I say above, this is an issue going back to 2012 at least.
Chris – Primarily, 337-1 happened (from what I saw on telly whilst, erm, working) because Rogers & Smith batted really really well. They earnt it. Ignore the bad pitch guff – those runs still had to be scored. Anderson going wicket less is a real worry this early in a series. 4 Tests ago I would have Broad dropped for his terrible scared batting; he bowled terrifically this Test. Anderson needs a question or two raised about him so he ups his game. It’s been a while since that was necessary, but needs must. We may need to think about Mark Wood alternatives later this series as well (not necessarily for the alleged fitness issue – more him slowly being found out? Unless he digs out an imaginary alpaca!)
Sean – I worked from home that day and watched some of it on the TV. The main thing that went wrong was we lost the toss on a flat, flat wicket. Australia batted very well and i thought Rodgers and Smith batted very intelligently (and Davie Warner showed us again why his score outweighs his IQ); however It wasn’t our performance on day 1 that lost us this test, it was the batting on the evening of day 2.
4. What changes would you make to the batting line-up, if any?
Andy – I’m a massive bell fan, but he’s so far out of form, he’s down with Downton looking up at those fishes with lights. So Bairstow for him & Root to 4.
Jon -Remove GB, his runs against poor attacks such as SL, India and WI count for little once you face NZ and Australia. I wouldn’t make any other changes. These are the guys the Paymasters want in the team so let’s lie on the pillows we spent two years plumping. However to not remove GB would be stubborn and I think his replacement should be Compton ( although it won’t be).
Meta – It is still 1-1 and we actually lost this match bowling, long before the batting f!cked up. Hence, I’d give Lyth another chance – also I’m having trouble saying that Carberry or Compton would do better – yet they are the prime candidates in CC at the moment. I’d send Ballance back to CC and pick either Taylor at 3, or promote Bell to 3 and pick KP. Ballance has clearly been worked out and is all over the place. It’s kind of odd as a Yorkshire fan to not pick Bairstow, but he’s not cut out to come in at 3 or 4 – and he’s not clearly better as a package than Root, Buttler or Stokes.
Chris I think move Bell to 3 & play Bairstow at 4. It keeps the changes relatively minimal. Hales should be looked at as well, but maybe not for a Test or two. Firefighting is the order of the day right now. Post-Ashes then we look at the longer term, even considering the third straight potential “difficult winter”… It really is all too predictable this situation. Honestly Dmitri, bet you regret not “piping down” now!
Sean – It’s a difficult one, because a) i don’t think chopping and changing the batting works and b) there is no one (Bairstow excepted) who looks like they could fill one of the problem child spots. I think they will make one change and that will be Bairstow for Ballance (who if he tried to bat any deeper in his crease, would be standing at first slip) with Bell at 3, Root at 4 and Bairstow at 5 – now whether i agree with that decision is a mute point, i just can’t see the management dropping Bell. On a side note, I still believe that we have to give Lyth the whole series before we decide whether he is good enough (I think Bob Willis giving him a 0/10 and calling him out of his depth, was an extraordinary statement for a batsman who has played 4 tests and scored one hundred). I also couldn’t name another opener in the county game at the moment that isn’t out of form or could do a better job again the Mitchells.
5. 103 all out on a featherbed. Can you think of a worse England Ashes batting performance. Go let it out……. pick one. (Not allowed to pick Adelaide 2006).
Andy – Sydney 2013
Jon – There was one in the Boxing Day 1990 Test at MCG where we were 100ish for 1 on top of a lead of 50 and from nowhere 9 wickets fell for 50 runs meaning they within the space of a session only had to chase 200 in a day (which they did). A bit like Melbourne 2013 but without the team meeting.
Meta – Worse batting performance? Hard to choose in my lifetime – Headingley 1989 probably hurt me the most, because it feels in retrospect like a precursor to so many more. Melbourne 1990 being the obvious next one. But in the end, surely the one I have to tag, because it so represents how this team is still Cooky’s is Brisbane 2013…
Chris – Damn you. You knew I would go for the 2006 “Scottish play”… Score-wise, these don’t really compare, but Melbourne & Sydney in 2013/14 and Headingley 2009 spring to the top of my head. Most of those were rescued by an individual or twos scores (“him” twice in Melbourne, Swann & Broads humpty at Headingley ’09); but mostly abject. There have surely been worse – I just can’t bring myself to statsguru those dark places in my soul!
Sean – I’ve been watching English cricket for the past 20 years and unfortunately have seen more English collapses than i’ve eaten hot meals; however the one that sticks with me is the 51 all out at Sabina Park in 2009 in part 1 of the glorious Peter Moore’s reigns. This again was no minefield off a pitch and the West Indies attack was hardly a mirror of the one from 15 years previous led by Walsh and Ambrose (I remember the 46 all out debacle as well), yet we succumbed in such a weak and gutless fashion, so much so that my partner at the time decided to go for a long walk to get away from all of the expletives that I was hurling at the TV (I was in a mood for about a week after that performance). Salt was then rubbed in the wound by the fact that we couldn’t beat a mediocre West Indies side in the remaining games of the series and went down to a 1-0 series defeat, which i still believe should have cost Peter Moores his job first time around. Mind you, England’s collapse against the short ball last Summer in the second innings at Lords against india was pretty rage inducing too. (er…..Ashes, Sean…. still this was too good to leave out.)
As always, some terrific responses, and some decent insight from these outside cricket muppets! Keep an eye out for #007 (no James Bond question) in the next few days!

80 thoughts on “Ashes Panel #006 – Lord’s A Mercy (Mitchell Collapse Mix)

  1. Sean B Jul 21, 2015 / 7:25 pm

    Oops misread the last question, probably best not to reply to questions after a few beers at Lords the previous day! Definitely agree with Andy – Sydney 2013. A batting display so spineless that our beloved ECB decided to expel our best player into the annals of history – that worked out well for all concerned….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Josh Jul 21, 2015 / 8:02 pm

      Great reading guys, Too many batting collapses but 79 all out in brisbane 02-03 was bad.
      ( BTW Sean – Moores had gone by the West Indies tour 09 – Flower was in charge.)


      • Sean B Jul 21, 2015 / 9:47 pm

        Hi Josh, yes you are absolutely right, he got fired in January that year. My bad (big time) and now come to think of it, I do remember Andy Flower fronting up. Guess I’m still suffering from Post Traumatic Peter Moores Syndrome! It doesn’t leave you 🙂


  2. thebogfather Jul 21, 2015 / 7:43 pm

    Why…does sense/passion/reality only appear here? Well done panelists! can’t wait for #007 – Let me loose Dmitri with some out of bounds type questions!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boz Jul 22, 2015 / 11:25 am

      Here’s one for ya – who will be Alastair Cook’s opening partner in the 2050 bi-weekly Ashes mixed sex 2day Ashes Test Match?


  3. Arron Wright Jul 21, 2015 / 8:25 pm

    Jon straight in with what would have been my answer to Q5. The first really unbelievable thing is that they had already done something uncannily similar in the previous Test, entering the third innings with a lead of 42 and being bowled out for 114. The second really unbelievable thing is that they not only reached 100-odd for 1 in Melbourne, but (something like) 147-3 before being bowled out for 150.

    These two consecutive performances inspired the Mary Whitehouse Experience sketch “Why is the England cricket team so crap?” I’m sure the TV version is on YouTube, but the radio version was funnier.

    Also, I believe the original BBC “House of Cards” was on TV at about the same time: must have been, because Thatcher resigned the day before the Brisbane Test started. Very apt.


  4. LordCanisLupus Jul 21, 2015 / 8:32 pm

    A pearler…355 reasoned away…..facts be damned.

    That is a poor argument based on one match. A batsman can make one mistake and be out. Facing high quality bowling means you are more likely to make that mistake. That is why first class batsman step down to play for the seconds or club teams – they can get time at the crease and score loads of cheap runs.
    Pietersen knows this and that is why he chose to bat at 4 in the Second Division well away from the best county bowlers and the new ball. Those runs were in high scoring match on a very flat wicket against the bottom team (who have been bottom for 3 seasons). Using them to advance a claim to be able to bat convincingly against this Australian attack is ridiculous in cricketing terms. Pietersen wanted to get back in on the back of a social media campaign. Thank God we haven’t sunk to that level yet.
    Leave him playing for the Zouks where he is happy and doing no harm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Arron Wright Jul 21, 2015 / 8:40 pm

      He is a total arsehole. I am about to start my 10th anniversary Ashes DVD watch. Presumably WCTT has already burned his and donated the ashes to some doos.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Jul 21, 2015 / 9:36 pm

        Mention wctt at the moment and one image starts straight away in my head:

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Jul 21, 2015 / 9:44 pm

        I tell you what (after watching Lord’s Day 1), the spontaneity of the wicket celebrations from the 2005 team makes a striking contrast with the ritual, mechanical fist-bumping and hand-slapping of New England (TM).

        Almost everything about this lot is ersatz by comparison. My word, there’s nothing like watching the real thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart Jul 22, 2015 / 6:16 am

        But he goes to cricket matches, don’t y’know.

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Jul 22, 2015 / 7:53 am

          Don’t want to pick on one too much. There are plenty out there who don’t share my views and that’s fine. The problem I have is when it veers from facts. And to dismiss a 355? Come on. Big Al hasn’t done it in 2nd division cricket in his rare forays. That’s being silly.


      • Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 9:18 am

        @LCL – You do him a courtesy he most assuredly does not deserve. I wrote more but I’ll leave it there.


      • ianrsa Jul 22, 2015 / 12:06 pm

        Die ou is a reg fokken bleksom and a doos.


    • Sherwick Jul 21, 2015 / 9:20 pm

      One question: how did the other bstsmen do when KP scored 355*?


    • Zephirine Jul 21, 2015 / 9:42 pm

      wctt has got frightfully grand lately, quite the authority. Almost Selveyan.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Jul 21, 2015 / 10:15 pm

        He goes to games, I hear, so his opinion counts for more. Know your place.

        Liked by 1 person

      • ianrsa Jul 22, 2015 / 12:07 pm

        Right kind of family dont’cha know.


  5. man in a barrel Jul 21, 2015 / 8:36 pm

    the Sky team were saying that Englaqnd needs to play in English conditions to achieve parity….Gower suggested it and eventually Nasser came on board. But, without looking at the stats, which team is better equipped to deal with an English greentop? I suspect, without looking at the stats, that Rogers and Voges know more about batting in English conditions than the English top order.

    And besides, Anderson, Stokes and Wood are not seam bowlers, so how will seam-friendly conditions help them? Am I going crazy? Anderson’s best results do not come from him bowling on a greentop. He is a SWING bowler.

    Liked by 2 people

    • SimonH Jul 21, 2015 / 8:57 pm

      Absolutely – but add in that they’re (apparently) requesting greentops while playing a middle order of Bairstow, Stokes, Buttler and Ali. How’s that for joined up thinking? Then add that a greentop was exactly what they asked for last year at Lord’s against India – Mick Hunt obliged, they bowled like drains and lost.

      Still, if they get their required greentop England’ll be bowled out by Hazlewood,and probably Mitch Marsh rather than MJ which will make all the difference. I’d say at least it’ll stop the whining – but you know it’ll just move on to something else.

      Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Jul 21, 2015 / 9:18 pm

      Isn’t the hidden horror of this England bowling attack that Anderson and Stokes (one innings in Sydney apart) only really threaten wickets when the ball swings – but no-one in England cricket actually knows how to predict if it’s going to swing or not.


      • Sean B Jul 21, 2015 / 9:50 pm

        Absolutely, nailed it one. Swinging ball – world beaters, ball doesn’t swing – umm any other ideas? How about we lob it into the centre of the pitch as hard as we can (Cook nods furiously)….

        Liked by 2 people

  6. man in a barrel Jul 21, 2015 / 10:53 pm

    the cricinfo stats do not make it easy tom isolate test from county matches…maybe I will have to do the heavy lifting but the gut says that Cook hjas never batted on a greentop for Essex, whereas Rogers might have spent a few hours for Middlesex. Where do we get these pundits from? Shpould they not be sent back to Borstall?


  7. man in a barrel Jul 21, 2015 / 11:02 pm

    Damn…I could not help myself…

    Cook has played 182 innings ouside tests at an average of 48.04.

    Rogers has played 481 innings outside tests at an average of 50.55.

    Which one is more used to “English” conditions….?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. waikatoguy Jul 22, 2015 / 12:53 am

    A quick point about Lyth facing the first ball of an innings rather than Cook. Some openers quite prefer this. The thinking is that the first ball a bowler bowls is often a slow warm ball, so why not face it. Its the best way to avoid getting a golden duck. Its much better than standing down the other end for the opening balls and then having to start by facing the 5th or 6th of the over after the bowler has started to iron out the run and action. Some openers are conscious of this and much prefer to face the first ball. Perhaps Lyth is one of these.


    • metatone Jul 22, 2015 / 8:37 am

      And indeed, even against Australia, Lyth’s scores are: 6, 37, 0, 7
      So while it’s all disappointing, it’s not like he’s getting out first ball all the time.


    • Andy Jul 22, 2015 / 9:11 am

      I think I read somewhere that it’s Cook who doesn’t like to face teh first ball. He ‘almost’ never does (can’t say never never)


      • scrim Jul 22, 2015 / 11:16 am

        Having a look through his listed batting position, it seems Cook has faced the first ball whenever Carberry, Root, Compton, or Trott was his batting partner, and was at the other end whenever he batted with Strauss, Vaughan, or Lyth. He and Robson took turns.

        Looking at Lyth’s recent county games, he always seems to face the first ball for Yorkshire. Maybe he has a strong preference for that, but Cook is flexible.

        I wouldn’t read much into it. You could end up facing the second ball anyway, so what difference does it make. Whatever makes the two of them most comfortable… as comfortable as you can be with Mitch Starc bowling 90mph at you.


  9. Culex Jul 22, 2015 / 5:01 am

    Interesting article at Cricinfo regarding the state of Indian Cricket coverage.

    “Here every commentator signs a contract where he undertakes not to comment on or criticise matters connected to team selection, or to say anything that might be seen by the BCCI’s panjandrums as lése majesté. No player who knows what’s good for him will contradict the board, not unless he wants to be exiled to the outer wilderness.”

    “Listening to David Gower, Michael Atherton and Shane Warne commentating on the Ashes, you know that they aren’t censoring themselves. They have their tics and foibles and they can be intensely irritating, but they speak as independent professionals, not as helots in suits.”

    I’ve seen some criticism of Sky’s coverage, and how it is too close to the ECB. But the Indian situation sounds a lot worse.


    • LordCanisLupus Jul 22, 2015 / 7:57 am

      Think we knew it was that explicit. I find it a grave shame that fiery opinionated people like Sunil Gavaskar are totally emasculated. If you fear other people’s opinions then you have something to hide. Robust criticism keeps people honest and evaluates what they do. I know it is tough to take but I can’t stop it, so why do corporate types censor? I think we all know why.

      Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Jul 22, 2015 / 8:35 am

      Ganguly is one of the best commentators at the moment – not least because he doesn’t seem afraid to criticise anyone.

      Does he rein it in on Indian TV? I’m going mainly by his appearances on Sky and during the WC.


      • metatone Jul 22, 2015 / 8:38 am

        I’d be very surprised if Ganguly reined it in on Indian TV. He’s much like Boycott – stubborn, headstrong and with a high opinion of himself. (For good and for ill.)

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 6:39 am

    Dmitri, just seen your (well, Tregaskis’s) conversation on Twitter in which someone regurgitates Selvey’s “tired” excuse for Cook. Remarkable stuff. Lapse in concentration from Stokes and he got pilloried over a whole paragraph by the same writer.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus Jul 22, 2015 / 7:00 am

      Indian cricketers are flogged from pillar to post and I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a tired excuse for them. Our captain plays one form of the game and three days out in English “heat” and he’s knackered?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 7:16 am

        The same conversation drew my attention to Nasser Hussain’s marks out of ten in the Mail.

        Couldn’t possibly be as barmy as Berry’s, but this rankled:

        “Bit of a sloppy, lazy shot in the second innings which has not been like him of late.”

        Except, as I demonstrated to kpateldf24 via cricinfo, all four of his dismissals in this series have been sloppy or lazy to a considerable degree, and three of them were for 20 or less. I don’t see how anyone can think he’s at the same level he was against NZ, yet that seems to be the consensus among the “well-informed”.

        PS – if matching Bradman for the first time since the 30s doesn’t get you a ten, what does?

        PPS – nice to see that an actual captain of England thinks Michael Clarke did a bit more than win the effing toss.

        Liked by 2 people

      • pktroll (@pktroll) Jul 22, 2015 / 8:49 am

        Arron, re comments about Cook’s dismissals, at least in the test just gone some of that could be attributed to Australian pressure, i.e. a lack of scoring opportunities. In the first innings on 96 he had been at the crease for a long, long time without getting to a ton, and he plays a loose shot and gets bowled. 2nd innings you can argue that not being able to find enough scoring shots, he tried to create room to play his favourite cut shot and gets caught in no-mans land and nicks off. Against NZ, Southee and Henry gave him enough misdirected stuff to cash in compared to this Aussie attack.

        The first test he was actually very careless on both occasions.

        That said both tests to a point illustrate what you say, that the less junk a batsman gets, the more scope there is for them to get themselves out.


      • Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 8:59 am

        @PK, it is – as Metatone says – more a case of the rank double standards that have been insulting cricket fans for two and a half years (if not longer, if you take into account what they used to write when Pietersen got out on 94, 96 or 99).

        Liked by 1 person

    • dvyk Jul 22, 2015 / 8:38 am

      I’m glad to see people picking up on Selvey’s “tired” excuse. I hope they remember he used it in WI after a “weary” Cooky got out because he was tired from batting for almost a whole day, the poor tired thing. KP hit three times as many runs in a day and didn’t get tired. But he’s too old now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • metatone Jul 22, 2015 / 8:44 am

        It’s the inconsistency that rankles for me.
        Stokes made a glaring mental error – but there’s no defence of his tiredness, even though he’d actually been bowling, rather than standing around in the field.

        Liked by 2 people

      • SimonH Jul 22, 2015 / 9:55 am

        If anything, the weariness angle goes beyond the usual double standards because physical and mental toughness are the first qualities of Cook cited in the usual hagiographies.

        I wonder if the press box were all of a flutter at the prospect of Cook carrying his bat? Consider the last time an England opener carried his bat – in 1997 Atherton made 94*, captained the side in NZ’s second innings and then went out and made a 300 ball century as England pulled off a 300+ run chase. (Okay, 1997 NZ weren’t as good as these Aussies – but given the quality of opposition Atherton faced for most of his career he deserves this one).

        Or how about this for its physical endurance (let alone its cricketing skill):


        • LordCanisLupus Jul 22, 2015 / 9:57 am

          On another tack, maxie mentions kp in a post and the derision follows on Twitter.


      • Benny Jul 22, 2015 / 11:06 am

        Missed Selvey’s “tired” excuse. Well, I don’t read him – much prefer Douglas Adams for my fantasy. Cook has batted for 474 minutes so far this series. In Brisbane 2010 he batted for 908 minutes in one match, then got a ton in the next. How does that add up?


        • LordCanisLupus Jul 22, 2015 / 11:12 am

          I can’t copy Selfey ‘ latest tweet. Someone put it up.

          It’s a classic. He even spells Paul Hayward’s name incorrectly.


      • Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 11:15 am

        If anyone can recognise a puff piece, Selvey can.


      • Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 11:25 am

        Are you going to put up Elizabeth Ammon’s response to your tweet? If they ever put those two on the same CWOTV I might renew my Sky subscription.


        • LordCanisLupus Jul 22, 2015 / 11:27 am

          Can’t link on twitter on the phone. You can link if you like!

          Meanwhile having a very tedious KP discussion if you are remotely interested.


      • Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 11:29 am

        Hope this gets “two birds with one stone”:


      • Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 11:44 am

        It’s gaining some traction, which is pleasing.


  11. Mark Jul 22, 2015 / 9:49 am

    I just love it when they come out with the ‘tired’ excuse for Cook. Or indeed any excuse. We have been served up a whole menu of excuses over the last 2 years.

    But I just laugh because it shows how bankrupt they are. Selvey and Pringle have nothing. Just excuses, and constant double standards. They are forced to do this because they have to cover for the ECBs lies and dishonesty.

    It amuses me they have to keep the constant propaganda up. It just shows their great white dope is an empty suit. He has to be constantly protected because he is not very good either as a leader or a great batsman. He’s Mr Average. They know it, but they won’t admit it. It just makes them look even more idiotic, and duplicitous.

    2 WASTED YEARS. That’s the ECB legacy.


    • Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 10:01 am

      SimonH (in his Guardian guise) recently referred to an impressive two-innings effort from Michael Atherton against NZ in Christchurch from 1997. 94* in the first innings, captaincy, then 118 off 300 balls in a chase of over 300.

      Can you even *conceive* any journalist of the time putting it down to tiredness if he’d got out to a loose shot for 11 in the chase? If you have any doubt, consider that, a few years later, Michael Henderson slagged off Atherton for a slow hundred in Karachi that went on to prove vital to one of England’s most famous wins. [Imagine that now: it would be the innings of Cook’s life and he would never have battled harder]


      • Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 10:02 am

        Ha! Well there you go, he’s gone and done the parallel posting trick on me (see above)!


      • Mark Jul 22, 2015 / 1:04 pm

        Selvey has spent 2 years writing Cook puff pieces. He knows puff when he sees it. He specialises in it.

        “Puff the magic dragon” by Peter Paul and Mary, with a bit of licence by me.

        “Puff, the magic Selvey lived by the sea
        And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Bullshit Lee,
        Little Alastair Cooky loved that rascal puff,
        And brought him Waitrose wine and sealing wax and other fancy stuff. oh

        Puff, the magic Selvey lived by the sea
        And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called bullshit Lee,
        Puff, the magic Selvey lived by the sea
        And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called bullshit Lee.

        Together they would travel on a boat with sponsors sail
        Cooky kept a lookout perched on puffs gigantic tail,
        Noble kings and princes would bow whene’r they came,
        Pirate ships would lower their flag when Selvey roared out his name. oh!

        Puff, the magic Selvey lived by the sea
        And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called bullshit Lee,

        Dragons live forever but not so little boys
        Painted wings and giant strings make way for other toys.
        One sad night it happened, Cooky came no more
        And Puff that mighty Selvey, he ceased his fearless roar.

        His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
        Selvey no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
        Without his life-long friend, Selvey could not be brave,
        So Puff that mighty Selvey sadly slipped into his cave. oh!

        Puff, the magic Selvey lived by the sea
        And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called bullshit Lee, “

        Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Jul 22, 2015 / 3:47 pm

        Apparently, Atherton’s innings deserves to be forgotten because that NZ attack was “rubbish”. Cairns and Doull combined had 300+ Test wickets at less than 30. Some bloke called Vettori was the spinner. But that’s the Guardian BTL these days.

        On the Tim Wigmore thread, someone reckons the main problem is England and NZ play each other too much…..


      • Mark Jul 22, 2015 / 4:42 pm

        “Apparently, Atherton’s innings deserves to be forgotten because that NZ attack was “rubbish”

        The Aussie attack in 2011 was not much kop either. Johnson was playing, but was a shadow of what he was to become. And Harris missed some of the test matches. The only one they got their act together in was at Perth, and England lost in 3 days.

        Yet 2011 is held up as the greatest series of all time. Better than Larwoodmand Jardines tour or Illingworth and Snow in 1971.

        This is why I don’t take these clowns seriously.


  12. ianrsa Jul 22, 2015 / 12:23 pm

    Great Panel again and some interesting analyses.

    I note that the consensus appears to be that this pitch didn’t swing for Anderson therefore he was effectively neutered. So is it a case of he is finding it difficult to swing the ball or that this pitch wasn’t swinging for him?

    I can’t see it being the latter as Hazlewood and both Mitches managed to get the ball to swing and to swing late. Is this a function of their pace and Anderson can’t match that I wonder?


    • pktroll (@pktroll) Jul 22, 2015 / 1:20 pm

      I can’t see that being the case with Hazelwood as he’s barely quicker than Anderson. I take your point re the Mitches, it is not that they got the ball to swing much or that often but at the pace they did it, it only needs a couple of inches movement at 90 odd mph and that is enough.


    • metatone Jul 22, 2015 / 3:29 pm

      There’s someone who posts the NASA study (and often misquotes it to prove their points) about swing. What you can conclude from that study is that no-one really understands what makes for swing or not at the speeds Hazlewood and Anderson bowl. I’ve heard suggestions that there’s a mix of weather and of the specific ball (and seam height variation) in use.

      (We have a reasonable model for late swing at the Starc/Johnson pace.)

      I think, to be fair to Jimmy, he has enough history of being good at swinging it that it’s not just that Hazlewood is better at it than he is…


      • man in a barrel Jul 22, 2015 / 4:05 pm

        What do you make of the thoughts in this blogpost?

        “So, conditions that minimize atmospheric turbulence at and below the height from which the ball is delivered are what really matter – it’s UNDERHEAD conditions that count.

        Nor is the ECB in ignorance of this, as Jasoon Palmer reported for the BBC science pages here. They have been reading the work of Dr David James and his colleagues John Hart at Sheffield and Danielle MacDonald at AUT University in New Zealand.

        “When the ground heats, it makes convection currents which make the air rise off the cricket pitch – that creates turbulence in the air on a sunny day.”

        “On a cloudy day you get stiller air, because you don’t get these convection currents coming off the ground.”


      • ianrsa Jul 22, 2015 / 4:45 pm

        Hi Meta,

        No I don’t think it’s a case of Hazlewood being better than Anderson at swinging the ball. What I’m asking is; why can the three Australians swing it late and at pace but Anderson, supposedly the best exponent of the art in England can’t.

        And I don’t believe it’s a case of ‘it swung on a particular day’ because the Australians swung it pretty consistently throughout the match.


      • metatone Jul 22, 2015 / 5:42 pm


        1) At pace is a different thing. Jimmy has never consistently bowled at the pace of Starc/Johnson – and as I allude to in my previous comment, it’s a different issue. If we had a bowler of that speed who could swing it, he probably would have. (So far in the series when Wood has been up in pace, he has gotten shape in similar conditions to Starc – but he was way down on pace in this game.)

        2) I kept pretty good track of the swing across the days (I’ve been on this issue since 2012, so I’ve kind of got obsessed.) Hazlewood didn’t swing it consistently – in particular there was only a short period of the 1st innings where it worked for him. So I think there are condition effects at work – either in the air or the ball…


      • metatone Jul 22, 2015 / 5:48 pm

        @Man in a Barrel

        That’s the best theoretical understanding we have of the situation.
        It matches up the Trent Bridge evidence, along with the Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox) evidence.

        However, I’m not aware of anyone having done the pitch measurements to prove it (and along the way to proving it, discover if there are differences in pitch surface that relate to swing.)

        Which is to say, we have a bowling attack and no good way to optimise the pitch for it (beyond building new stands) – after all, you can’t get cloudy/sunny weather to order, esp. not in England.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. SimonH Jul 22, 2015 / 12:38 pm

    TFT has a posting of Cook’s collected dismissals against MJ. That in turn leads on to:


    • jomesy Jul 22, 2015 / 4:04 pm

      He looked very tired in almost every dismissal but what really stuck out for me was how few times he was actually bowled. I can’t think of a finer English batsman.


  14. SimonH Jul 22, 2015 / 12:52 pm

    Brilliant article from Tim Wigmore on the 10 team WC in the Guardian.

    The Guardian – the newspaper for two weeks after a crisis. I’m only surprised Selvey didn’t insert a line about that nice Giles Clarke doesn’t draw a salary you know.


      • Zephirine Jul 22, 2015 / 5:55 pm

        My God, Sarah Taylor’s a brave woman.


      • SimonH Jul 22, 2015 / 5:58 pm

        Sorry if the image put you off your tea!


    • Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 1:36 pm

      Amazing the sort of s**t that goes down while people call a man who sent some texts and wrote an angry book “a disgrace to cricket” and “a pest that won’t go away”. The black armband and Giles Clarke sections were particularly enraging.

      I hate cricket sometimes, I really do.


  15. Arron Wright Jul 22, 2015 / 2:06 pm

    Have we had any comment on this lately?

    The Women’s Ashes:

    Taunton, Bristol, Worcester, Canterbury, Chelmsford, Hove, Cardiff.

    I assume we all know where the men’s event is being held, as many of us raised objections about the geographical spread of Tests at the time.

    But here’s a reminder of the other men’s internationals (marked *) and tour games:

    Canterbury, Chelmsford, Derby, Northampton, Cardiff*, Southampton*, London*, Manchester*, Leeds*, Manchester*

    Absolutely *nothing* – either men or women – more than 10 miles north of the Trent (Derby is only just north of the river) until September 8th, and even then two very late summer matches are in the most commonly rainy location. Every county from Birmingham south has at least one match: two of the other six (including a Test ground) have nothing, of those six only Derby and Nottingham have anything in the summer holidays/warmest months.


    • Mike Jul 22, 2015 / 2:40 pm

      You would have thought, and call me insane, given the lack of northern exposure for the mens team, it would have been perfect to have the women playing at Manchester, Leeds and Durham whilst the men are down south, no?


      • metatone Jul 22, 2015 / 3:43 pm

        It’s just symptomatic of the way the ECB doesn’t understand what it means to promote the game.

        There should be a women’s game in the North.
        There should be a women’s T20 double-header with the men.

        But short-term money always comes first…


  16. dvyk Jul 22, 2015 / 3:49 pm

    Does anyone know when all this Cooky-mania started? I just remembered this from 2011… Maybe this marks the start of it–

    It’s quite a shameful piece, even by Martin Samuel’s standards, and has all the hallmarks of a promotional piece set up by agents to enhance the reputation of someone who has been marked for bright a future (and therefore for special treatment and investment). It has Cooky happily mounting a framed photo of himself holding a baby deer that he courageously shot dead on his farm. It’s a typical stupid idea from some image manager or something.

    Interestingly, however, the photo was taken by the DM’s own photographer the day before, so the whole thing was completely contrived just for the article.

    I don’t want to derail this thread with the ethics of hunting or meat-eating, and yes I know some of the Australians (Symonds & McGrath for eg., have done or still do hunt wild animals for pleasure), but I do want to point out that this is a crassly contrived attempt at building up Cook’s image as a “real man”…. And they are prepared to shoot a baby deer to try to achieve it. (If I had a fraction of an ounce of sympathy for Cook I would see something symbolic in him slaughtering an innocent part of his doe-eyed self…)

    (For the record, I first read of it here–


    • SteveT Jul 22, 2015 / 4:07 pm

      Utter shameless puffery!

      Selfey would be jealous.


  17. SimonH Jul 22, 2015 / 6:03 pm

    Pakistan have won their ODI series in SL. I’d heard that if they won it they qualify for the 2017 CT – can anyone confirm this? Does it mean WI miss out?

    I’m keen on Pakistan qualifying because they play ODIs differently to almost everyone else. The game needs variety – and inspirational bowlers!


    • d'Arthez Jul 22, 2015 / 8:37 pm

      Not yet confirmed. Will depend on the results in the tri-series, but you’d expect Pakistan to qualify now (it would require them to have appalling results in the tri-series).

      That is assuming that the ICC don’t bend the rules, to make certain the West Indies will fit in. And that is certainly not beyond the ICC, though Giles Clarke will be interested in the growing purchasing power of the middle classes of Bangladesh as well.


  18. Boz Jul 22, 2015 / 7:29 pm

    There’s been precious little said about the rise of Lancashire on these pages …. maybe it’s because they are 32 points clear of some southern county …. however, after a record stand and another blistering win I would like to say well done Lancashire, the first division awaits ….


    • metatone Jul 22, 2015 / 7:44 pm

      I’d rather enjoyed Div 1 without our mortal enemies… I guess it was never going to last… 😉


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