Ashes 3rd Test, Day 2 Review

C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas le test cricket: c’est de la folie

If Pierre Bosquet were alive today he might have uttered those words…. the French Army general wasn’t too familiar with the suburbs of Birmingham, but if he lived another 150 years and had perchanced upon one of the ECB’s phenomenally expensive match tickets, he’d be shaking his head at this nonsense, every much as he might have done at Cardigan’s finest. Well, maybe not.

But it has to be said, this is madness cricket. We have a slightly helpful wicket, two teams who know their weaknesses are their batting, and with some ridiculous macho bullshit drivel of positivity and aggression come what may. This nearly resulted in a two day test match, the surest way to make a cricket board and a TV station tear their hair out. Two teams playing as if they want two days off, and looking like they’ll do it with something to spare. Someone ring the Belfry and block off those Saturday and Sunday tee times to ruin their weekends!

My phone alert for wickets are going off mid-meeting so that the person sitting next to me thinks I have a nervous tick. I’m looking at the phone constantly, not believing there isn’t an alert within five minutes of the last one. These appear to be two teams who refuse to slow down.

Is it entertaining? Of course it is. The two team’s weaknesses are as stark as their strengths. You can’t predict this nonsense. There are several players nowhere near permanent test class on either team when it comes to the bat. If you get the gun players cheap (Aussie’s top three, The Deer Hunter, FEC and when he’s on Ian Bell) then the rest of the team seem to fold. Moeen Ali being a glorious exception for England, and so far, Peter Nevill for the Aussies. At Lord’s Australia’s batsmen won them the game by applying the scoreboard pressure and putting the wind beneath the bowler’s wings. At Cardiff, we outbowled Australia, and we are doing it here. It’s lovely to see Steven Finn back on song. Some people should be hanging their heads at this. The same theory applied to Thorpe (what else does he bring to the table but runs) was applied to Finn, and the rest is history. He fell apart at the seams after he was dropped and became unselectable (I was screaming at the TV when he was bowling at Trent Bridge in 2013). Now he’s back with a little ole bang, with five for in this innings (and three more on offer) and the England bowling cupboard does not seem so bare – except for the worrying injury to Anderson which is not clear in its severity just yet.

I’d also like to take time out to praise Stuart Broad’s knock. He dug in, supported Moeen Ali, and put on a massively important 87 with our bearded wonder. He’s taken an amazing amount of stick, but he’s responded. Fantastic to see, because he could be really, really useful if it his batting prowess is coming back.

So, Australia are a few ahead with three wickets remaining. TLG has tickets tomorrow, so may have some time off to explore local hostelries. This may not last until lunch. If it’s still going at tea, we might have a right old test match. They somehow eke out 100 more runs, and our mettle will be tested.

But, let’s face it. England’s position est magnifique, and this match has certainly been a folie. Pierre would have been doing his pieces.

48 thoughts on “Ashes 3rd Test, Day 2 Review

  1. Sean B Jul 30, 2015 / 8:16 pm

    I’m there too tomorrow, thought at one stage that I was going to end up watching Middx vs Kent at Radlett (wherever that is) instead! Hoping for some resistance but ultimately an England win.

    Good article, this has been a crazy 2 days of cricket, with each team trying to out macho each other and the result being a procession of poor shots mixed in with the odd good ball (the two Johnson wickets in his first over were absolute snorters). This test series just doesn’t do standard days – too much T20? Not sure myself. Poor old Boycs must be close to self combusting…


    • pktroll (@pktroll) Jul 31, 2015 / 6:30 pm

      Radlett is in Hertfordshire, fairly near Borehamwood and St Albans, about 20odd minutes out of the Thameslink route.

      I was lucky enough to play on their main square in a game 9 years ago. Lovely ground by the way. I got a very laboured 2 not out to help save a ‘timed’ game. I caught some fella who happened to be a South African first class player although it was off a no ball for height. He scored a very easy ton against my lot.


  2. Craig Jul 30, 2015 / 8:30 pm

    Some good bowling on display. You can see just how good by noting how precipitous the drop-off is to the likes of Marsh and Stokes.


  3. SimonH Jul 30, 2015 / 8:36 pm

    Has a team ever won a Test match from Australia’s position today i.e. 4 wickets left when they cleared the first innings’ deficit (without following on)?

    England had only three wickets left at Headingley in ’81 but they were following on in that instance. I was wondering if it had ever happened with a team who batted first.


  4. paulewart Jul 30, 2015 / 8:41 pm

    Great to see Finn bowling well again, amazing the difference a coach can make. On a positive note, the pitch suggests Bayliss has won round one with Director, this bodes well for the future.


  5. Mark Jul 30, 2015 / 8:55 pm

    This is only going to reinforce all those who want 4 day test cricket. Maybe we are seeing the future here. 20/20 style test matches. Of course most places in the world won’t create these types of pitches.

    But it isn’t just the pitch. In recent years we seem to see very one side contests once day 1 has gone substantively to one side. The fight back within a test match seems a quaint idea these days. (Hope that doesn’t jinx England tomorrow.)


  6. SimonH Jul 30, 2015 / 9:32 pm

    Some talk about what would be a tough target. People invariably understate what a team needs. 150 is often mentioned but only six times have a team defended under 150 in the last two decades:

    Australia aren’t one of them.


    • Rooto Jul 31, 2015 / 5:33 am

      And going by your list there, only once in the last ten years. The famous 72 in Abu Dhabi that had me still believing when we were 9 down, so small was the target.


  7. OscarDaBosca Jul 30, 2015 / 9:33 pm

    Having been there for the past two days there was a brief moment after Warner went when I thought I might witness a whole test match in two days. The pitch looked fine today, nice carry, decent bounce, but some of the batting was abject. Finn looked to have rhythm in his run up from his first over yesterday and this afternoon seemed to be very quick (whether he was is difficult to tell from the stand).


  8. Rohan Jul 30, 2015 / 9:44 pm

    This is what I texted my brother earlier today and more than happy to repeat it here:

    ‘I don’t like Cook and I hate the ECB for their treatment of KP, but it was great to see Steven Finn bowl so well and fast, after Flower/Saker and England nearly destroyed him 2 years ago!’

    I should add that ‘don’t like Cook’ was probably not quite what I meant (it was a quickly fired off text). I would rather say I do not respect Cook, think he is a poor captain and dislike the way he has clearly benefited from preferential treatment from the ECB, selectors and team management.


    • LordCanisLupus Jul 30, 2015 / 10:08 pm

      I’m sort of wondering who these people are who put this current Australian team alongside those of 10-15 years ago? Are they allowed out unaccompanied?

      Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart Jul 31, 2015 / 7:33 am

        That’s how collective and cultural memory works Dmitri: it is torn from the past, used only to bolster the imperatives of today’s argument.


      • Mark Jul 31, 2015 / 7:42 am

        There is a real hatred of the 2005 Ashes team from the pro Cook zombies. I have only realised how deep it goes with this being the 10 year anniversary. They really, really hate it. And it seems to be getting worse. Just the mere mention of it gets them very angry.

        Of course the reasons are obvious. England were captained by Vaughn who makes their man look like a village cricket captain. KP was strutting his stuff, and Duncun Fletcher was coach. Oh and they were playing one of the great teams of all times.

        This really does seem to annoy them. It brings out all the inadequcy of every trying the believe in. Captain coach comparisons they lose that one. And of course their man has never beaten an Aussie team as good. As FDR said about the elites in the 1930s “I welcome their hate.”

        It pleases me they hate one of Englands greatest triumphs so much, and it shows their love of Cook trumps there love of England. They are very stupid people.

        Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart Jul 31, 2015 / 7:50 am

        It’s not just the supporters and journalists, its the players too. Not so much the current crop, but the 2009-13 group: those not involved clearly resented those who played, hence the ludicrous comparisons that Vaughan shot down at the time. It was a toxic group of players coached by a toxic martinet.


      • Mark Jul 31, 2015 / 8:08 am

        Your dead right Paulewart.

        I was quite stunned to read in that Miller piece about Cook a few weeks ago that Cook arrogantly believed he should have been playing in the 2005 team. I don’t know if this is true, but it smacks of this mans sense of entitlement.

        There was a poison injected into the post 2005 team. Probably out of jealousy. It has been very destructive.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Jul 31, 2015 / 8:24 am

        “Cook arrogantly believed he should have been playing in the 2005 team.”

        I’m sorry, but BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! What absolute deluded b****cks. Would not have won at Edgbaston for a start, and that’s the series.

        Have you got a link?

        I have, honestly, seen someone BTL argue that Cook’s home record v Australia isn’t that bad because of the 214 he scored for Essex in between the fourth and fifth Ashes Tests of 2005. See if you can’t drive the proverbial coach and horses through that in thirty seconds’ perusal of this, bearing in mind also that several minds may have been focused on what was to come:

        Honestly, give me an England Sliding Doors moment from this century and I’d take Tres never being ill over even Simon Jones’s injury. We never would have had to put up with the cult. Imagine…

        Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH Jul 31, 2015 / 8:06 am

      Viv Richards (and Clive Lloyd and Gordon Greenidge) was “never really tested” because of Holding and Garner and Marshall.

      Javed Miandad was “never really tested” because he had Imran and Wasim and Waqar.

      Martin Crowe has “never really tested” because he had Richard Hadlee.

      In fact, no batsman can ever be said to be great if he played for a team with a great bowler or two!

      Hutton? With Trueman, Statham and Laker about? A walk in in the park! Sobers? With Hall and Gibbs? My mum could have scored those runs! Bradman? Pah! It was all Clarrie Grimmett and Bill O’Reilly…..


      • Mark Jul 31, 2015 / 8:11 am

        And the man who has never really been tested is their blue eyed boy Cook.

        He has had the good fortune to play his career against so few great bowlers. His triumps have been against aging or poor teams.

        Liked by 1 person

      • OscarDaBosca Jul 31, 2015 / 8:58 am

        Arron, thats a tough decision, I genuinely believe that Simon Jones would have been one of Englands greatest bowlers if he hadn’t got injured, but Tres would probably be retiring after this series and would have been England’s highest run scorer.


      • Arron Wright Jul 31, 2015 / 9:10 am

        Sure it’s tough, of course it is. But two things sway it for me. First MT had a longer career and his last full year, against three tough opponents, was one of his best. So everyone expected him to be a fixture for just as long again, whereas I think we all knew SJ might be susceptible to further injuries. And second, the nauseating cult surrounding Cook, which has made me actively dislike him more than any England cricketer since Gatting. The fact that Trescothick’s achievements are all but forgotten in the rush to canonise his successor is just one of many crappy consequences.


      • OscarDaBosca Jul 31, 2015 / 10:47 am

        It is interesting that in an alternative reality we would probably have Compton and Tres as an opening partnership, with Tres retiring at the end of this series. His replacement would be obvious (Hales)


    • OscarDaBosca Jul 31, 2015 / 10:42 am

      I can’t go below the line any more… Under every wctt comment I just want to write ‘prick’ which is childish and pointless but he/she is a prize plum.

      As for kpatel24 words absolutely fail me the lack of insight

      So I just read digest and no longer engage

      Liked by 1 person

  9. MP Jul 30, 2015 / 11:11 pm

    No Anderson for the rest of the match and likely the series. If the Aussies could eke out another 100 runs tomorrow it could get interesting…


  10. Steve Jul 31, 2015 / 1:06 am

    Starc is effectively batting for his spot.

    He needs to score a fifty so he has a big enough total to bowl at and then do so accurately otherwise he will be dropped for Siddle’s control. Hazelwood has also been more wayward than expected but is at least taking wickets at 22 runs a piece.

    Still if Anderson goes Australia will at least fancy themselves a good chance to win one of the last two tests and retain the ashes.


  11. Arron Wright Jul 31, 2015 / 5:20 am

    I see Maxie’s been called a dreadful bloke, a tosser and a prick by someone apparently unaware of the praise directed at Strauss after Cardiff, and who would rather no-one published that picture of Cook and a dead deer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Jul 31, 2015 / 6:54 am

      Getting stick from him is a badge of honour.

      I have thought about publishing that picture on here a few times, especially during the barrage of “what a nice guy” articles last year but haven’t. I hate pictures of dead animals killed by people for fun and hate them popping up on Facebook or Twitter timelines. So I’ve never done it. I did think that calling him The Deer Hunter in the wake of the Cecil the Lion furore a much more appropriate thing to my sensitivities.

      Life rolls on. ….

      Liked by 1 person

      • Arron Wright Jul 31, 2015 / 7:30 am

        With that, it isn’t just the picture, it’s the entire tone of the article (written by none other than Martin Samuel!) which suggests that Cook can literally do no wrong, and there’s no allowance at all for the very notion that some cricket fans might be upset by his choice of leisure pursuits, or perhaps more importantly the pride he demonstrates in his killing abilities. It really is an awful piece of work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Jul 31, 2015 / 7:56 am

        It just reinforces my belief Cook is really not very bright.

        No surprise it was a Samuel puff piece. He is just another one of the fine young things of the Hold the back page generation. When journalists naively thought they had become rock stars. People like him and Oliver Holt thought if they didn’t shave on TV, and wore a leather jacket it made them like Keith Richards.

        No, it just made them look like pillocks. Kissing Alex Fergusons arse was about as hip as they could manage.

        Liked by 1 person

      • paulewart Jul 31, 2015 / 9:03 am

        Garry fecking Bushell.


      • emasl Jul 31, 2015 / 6:20 pm

        I put that pic up on FB and Maxie picked it up. I wondered whether to put it up or not because I am aware that Cook lives on a farm and animals have to be culled etc. That I understand and take into account. But what did it for me is the photograph and the pose. OK you cull a deer but WHY would you want a pic of you sitting by it with the gun that did the deed? It is that more than anything that I simply cannot understand and which has confirmed my feeling that the doe eyed one is not a nice person


  12. Rooto Jul 31, 2015 / 5:28 am

    Wasn’t it Napoleon himself who said “I’d rather have a lucky captain than a good one”?


  13. Boz Jul 31, 2015 / 5:41 am


    cricket is dead – long live cricket

    There’ll be a West End Musical being written as we speak …………..


  14. paulewart Jul 31, 2015 / 7:35 am

    Flower v Bayliss made explicit:

    Asked about his own return to the side, Finn added: “I’m enjoying playing cricket. I used to put myself under a huge amount of pressure when I played. But at the moment, the way this environment is set up, we just want to go out and enjoy with smiles on our faces. There have been some dark times but every cricketer has ups and downs and to come out of the other side is a good feeling.”


    • OscarDaBosca Jul 31, 2015 / 9:01 am

      Interesting, the Time’s quote includes this little beauty.
      “The way this environment is set up, we are playing with a can-do attitude. We used to play very attritional cricket because it suited the players we had.”

      So, Mr Finn, you’re saying that your wicket taking was ignored because you also went for runs….

      Liked by 1 person

    • Fred Jul 31, 2015 / 10:43 am

      Would you care to elaborate on that Ian? I’d like to know what the hell happened yesterday, because at the moment I have no idea. The bowling was good, bit it wasn’t an Anderson Special, nor one of Broad’s occassional sprees. The pitch is somewhat challenging but not especially.
      And yet this is the result. I don’t get it. Maybe its a perfect storm situation, where Clarke’s decline, Smith’s inevitable eventual failure, and the weakness of a few rookies have all combined to creat this cock-up.


      • ianrsa Jul 31, 2015 / 11:21 am

        Aaaaggghh! Spit, chew, grind teeth, abuse my children, Tony Abbot a couple of walls and a door.

        Is that the kind of elaboration you had in mind Fred? Because it’s about all I’ve got.

        You’re perfect storm analogy is perhaps the best thesis for this shambles god knows i’ve got none. Awful bowling but some excellent bowling as well. Total lack of consistency. England should never have been allowed to make 220 never mind 281 in their first innings when we had them on the ropes. Lyon bowled wonderfully but the pace bowlers failed to apply consistent pressure at the other end.

        And the batting…Aaaggghh!


      • Arron Wright Jul 31, 2015 / 11:44 am

        I’d be going up the wall if I were Australian. Imagine what you could have done here if even one more of your batsmen had applied himself properly.


      • ianrsa Jul 31, 2015 / 11:50 am

        Absolutely Arron and when you see the way that Nevill and Starc have done just that the tooth grinding is becomes frenetic.


      • Fred Jul 31, 2015 / 11:57 am

        Well the annoying thing is, there was no reason why they couldn’t have. Two of them were dismissed while leaving, for gods sake.
        All we can say is they will put this behind them and move on to the next test, those that are retained anyway.
        You’re right Ian, the blame can be pretty evenly spread, except perhaps Lyon. Watson had a great game too.


      • Pontiac Jul 31, 2015 / 1:52 pm

        Your 3,4,5,6 collectively score 50, all taken together, over the whole damn match. Imagine if they had collectively averaged 16.5 instead of 6.5.

        I was thinking after Cardiff that, hey, not going on is bad but 30 runs is 30 runs.


  15. metatone Jul 31, 2015 / 7:43 am

    Bilious inadequates like myself were calling for Anderson to be rested in the WI because of the schedule coming up this year. I think events show our logic was sound (although plenty of room to discuss exactly how much rest was needed.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • paulewart Jul 31, 2015 / 7:47 am

      But they couldn’t, could they? Because they’d tied themselves in knots: Moores had to be seen to be given the chance to save his job: all long-term planning was out of the window. So, Jimmy’s injury is yet another legacy of the ECB’s botched thinking post 2013/14,.


      • Mark Jul 31, 2015 / 8:01 am


        That’s why they brought Trott back and didn’t play Lyth or the leg spinner. Moores was in the last chance saloon. Cook was desperately trying to stop KP from coming back. Shows there priorities were wrong.

        Liked by 1 person

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