A Little Day 3 Report

Courtesy of Sir Peter from yesterday's play
Courtesy of Sir Peter from yesterday’s play

A lovely day, weather set fair, and I’m dragged out food shopping for the morning session. Oh well.

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So I came back home just after Ian Bell was out. Cook seemed immovable, Root was in with him. This was probably our last chance for that major partnership that you need to get out of a massive hole like this. In reality, when you have a hopeless situation you usually need the openers to do so. Or at least one and three. I’m thinking something like this. Or perhaps this. But these two rearguards, fuelled by obstinacy and great talent started at the fag end of Day 3, not an hour or so into it. This then takes you into Kolkata territory, and that’s a once in a lifetime event. We think.

The psychology of simplicity is upon closer examination almost philisophical in its liberalism. And keeping it simple, adhering to the sound founding narratives of test match batting, was the requisite skill set. The workman’s indentikit is ensconced in the fibre of Alastair Cook’s foundations. His venerable, multiplicity of leave, block, leave, block variations were just what the university qualified medical practioner anticipated. He alone stood there, a veritable Rock of Gibraltar, as the ships masquerading as fellow travellers departed one by one. An Emperor, ruling without strong enough yeoman. It was a most ineloquent, morale sapping visage.

The sanctimoniousness of independence is very nearly socialistic in its obfuscation. Yes. That’s me innit.

OK, back to the cricket. I saw Joe Root’s dismissal, and there’s just this little double standard that wrenches at me. When the situation merits it, I’ll mention it. This was the “if KP did that moment” for me. The social media wires would have been alive. The torrent of abuse would have been writ large. Press and TV commentators would be all over it. This was not the first time Joe has done that. Not even this year – remember Lord’s. I’ve not done the stats, and I’m afraid of Tickers’ #rootmaths, but I can’t remember many great hands when the game is there to be saved.

Before people take this out of context, I’m not having a pop at our great young player. I’m having a pop at the double standards. Is it OK for a player to do that and because he shows visually with cursing and flailing of bats his disappointment it is more meritorious than someone who walks off as if it is a normal dismissal? I don’t know. Joe’s a team man, that’s clear. I think that repeats of this dismissal are a little concerning. However, this bad test and suddenly Stuart Broad, who’s also been not so good, seems to have moved into the lead in the Player of the Series ballots if the cognoscenti in the Sky Box (ECB-TV Pravda for the Masses (well, masses of subscribers)) are anything to go by.

Bairstow stuck with Cook for a while, but he doesn’t suggest permanence to me. So while Vaughan is picking him for the UAE tour, Etheridge is adamant on Twitter that he won’t be in the team. I hope that isn’t guesswork, John. Bairstow’s return has been neither here nor there. A useful half century at Trent Bridge suggested he’d sorted himself out a little, but it may be that tests are not for him. Maybe. I hope I’m wrong, but you think he’s going to cope (albeit he was a trifle unfortunate today) with spinning tops in the UAE? I’m not confident.

Stokes, well…. that happens. He’s delivered his fourth bowler wickets in this and previous tests, and he’s played some decent knocks, but we know he can do more. Not been his finest test with the bat.

Which takes me back to Adam Lyth. The conservatism of injustice is really quite prosaic in its trendiness. The dismissals of Lyth have been greeted with the all-knowing Twitter verdict. Off with his head. The consistent part is temperament. That is being questioned. I don’t think anyone believes that Lyth is going to play for England again. He’s had an awful Ashes, played on some funny old wickets, and when on a good surface, facing a big Aussie first innings. I do ask people to remember that hundred at Headingley which was a really, really good knock. He’s not a bad player. But we’ll do more of this in the Ashes round-up after the series is finished, where we’ll also talk about Ian Bell.

England are six down, and we still sent in a night-watchman to protect Moeen Ali. Jos stuck at it tonight but looked horrendously out of nick. The drums are going to start beating for him to score more runs. He needs a successful ODI series, perhaps to get his mojo back.

As an academic once said “the isomorphism of omniscience is in reality quite independent in its hubris” and if you caught Graeme Swann on TMS I know you’d concur. This England team is still a work in progress. It’s like a shed with no roof – you might have the foundations in place, but when tomorrow afternoon’s weather hits, you’d better have a good tarpaulin. At the moment, our batting line-up is that piece of rag you’ve had for years. Full of holes, and liable to leak a lot.

Have a good evening. I’m currently preparing Dried Oatmeal and Cheese Soup with Baked Mystery Meat and Lime Juice. Sounds delicious.

EDIT – Bairstow at Trent Bridge, not Edgbaston, of course.

UPDATE – Oliver Holt – subject of a wonderful description by Mark a while back “people like him (Martin Samuel) and Oliver Holt thought if they didn’t shave on TV, and wore a leather jacket it made them like Keith Richards.” – says don’t you worry your little heads about The Oval.

OK, so England collapsed against Australia at The Kia Oval on Friday afternoon. And, sure, the fifth Test didn’t turn into quite the victory parade we were hoping for. But let’s not be too dismayed. It’s a dead rubber. We’ve already won back the Ashes. The tension has gone out of the series. Worry about it if you want, but the result of the final instalment of a compelling summer of cricket is close to irrelevant.

So, Olly. This is almost an exact replica of the Lord’s test. Explain. Also, how come Aussie put the hammer down when we are down, and we think we can put our feet up when we win? Wasn’t 5-0 the ultimate humiliation for the nation? OK, Olly….

Still, earlier in the article, which is principally about athletics, Olly rails against the “smug commentariat” who sneer against each drug revelation and “giving the impression that their state of denial knows no bounds”.

He’s obviously not been hanging with many of the cricket journos.

All FICJAM-esque cobblers in here courtesy of http://phrasegenerator.com/ – the rest is my fault.

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34 thoughts on “A Little Day 3 Report

  1. Mark Aug 22, 2015 / 10:15 pm

    A few years ago Gus Fraser recounted in the Independent newspaper an amusing story about going into the Aussie dressing room after another heavy England defeat. This time the tormenter in chief was not Shane Warne, but Stuart McGill. (The unluckiest leg spin bowler of all time who’s career happened to occur at the same time as the blonde bombshell) Anyway, they sat and had a few beers then McGill suddenly got up and burst into song. The lines of which went like this….

    “The Pommies are fucked when the decks turn……The Pommies are fucked when the decks turn..”

    In fairness to Gus he found this quite funny. But the Aussie management were non to pleased. McGill was given a reprimand. No doubt this was a private little joke among the Aussie team.

    The reason I bring this up, and to slightly change McGills little song…….

    “The Pommies are fucked when the decks are flat…
    The Pommies are fucked when the decks are flat.”

    England have played 2 test matches on flat pitches this series. They lost at Lords by 400 odd runs and unless it pisses down for 2 days are going to lose here. Added to the 5 -0 loss in Australia, and their failure to win in the WI, England are not very good if the pitches offer no assistance. While you can understand our bowlers struggle, surely our much vaunted batting line up should do a lot better than this?

    Now this is all glossed over by Ed ‘Plato’ Smith as irrelevant. Using the fable of the tortoise & the hare he has convinced himself (if not anyone else) that Cook has turned it all around. The ECB and Strauss have been proved right, so shut up. But apart from the smiling faces, and so called new brand of cricket what has actually changed? Lords and the Oval looked very much like Brisbane and all the other venues of 18 months ago.

    All this will be ignored by the true believers because “we won the ashes.” Plato Smith will bombard us with tales from Ancient Greece or Rome. If this is a little too exotic for your tastes then Graham ‘Ron manager’ Swann can give it to you in the style of Alf Garnett.

    To paraphrase the great Dave Allan. Goodnight, and may your philosopher of choice go with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Aug 22, 2015 / 10:40 pm

      I’ll wager that was after the 1999 Sydney Test, which in my opinion should be used whenever an Aussie moans about doctored pitches. This was the test when Australia opened the bowling with Glen McGrath and….Colin Miller. With MacGill and Warne as the other two bowlers.

      England had Peter Such. Who bowled well.


  2. hatmallet Aug 22, 2015 / 10:47 pm

    Re. Smith, I’m reminded of this advert from a few years ago…


    • MM Aug 23, 2015 / 10:47 am

      Oh yeah, I’m getting that too!

      Nice one, Hat.


  3. SimonH Aug 22, 2015 / 10:54 pm

    Michael ‘I live in the same village you know’ Calvin contributes one of his mercifully rare pieces about cricket (no doubt scheduled when he thought he’d slavering over Cook’s captaincy):


    Still, if Cook the strategist has mysteriously gone AWOL there’s Cook the batsman to celebrate in between paragraph after paragraph on the uselessness of Ian Bell:

    “Cook, who richly deserved an elusive Ashes century on Saturday, embodies old-fashioned virtues such as sustained concentration and constructive patience. His strength of character and sureness of technique have been among the few reliable factors in a series defined by mental lapses and sudden mood swings”.

    Two fifties in defeats (probably) = “reliable”. Three fifties in winning games = you should be dropped but Cook’s so magnificent he will keep you in the team.

    Has anyone broken the news to Calvin that Cook doesn’t select the team? Or maybe he does – about the only point of interest in ECB-TV’s Cook puff piece on Thursday before play was that Cook “sat in on” the selection meeting for this Test.

    Talking of selection, anyone else noticed that Jason Roy has found he is going to be dropped in the traditional manner – by some ‘good journalism’ discovering that Ali and Hales will be the ODI openers?


    • Arron Wright Aug 22, 2015 / 11:01 pm


      Because fifteen Ashes Tests without one at home, ever, and fifteen without one in two years of relentless Ashes cricket, home and away, just isn’t enough evidence when stacked against his bloody virtues.

      They mention the absence of a home Ashes hundred quite a lot these days. But they never mention the sub-30 average that goes with it. Can’t imagine why.


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 22, 2015 / 11:04 pm

        I’m going through my old cricketer magazines and at the moment I’m reading September 2012. He who cannot be mentioned is on the cover. Fascinating edition when reviewed now.


      • Boz Aug 23, 2015 / 12:09 am

        When Cook retires they’re going to make an new Ark Royal out of him

        Liked by 1 person

    • OscarDaBosca Aug 23, 2015 / 6:02 am

      Really, I thought Roy was a bit agricultural in his technique, but he seemed to be bloody effective (which is surely the point in ODI cricket as an opener)

      If that’s true it is really ridiculous


      • hatmallet Aug 23, 2015 / 8:05 am

        Wasn’t it always obvious that Ali would come back in for Roy?


    • Arron Wright Aug 23, 2015 / 8:05 am

      Who was it that averaged 53.5 in defeats and 23.2 in victories, anyone know?


    • BoerInAustria Aug 23, 2015 / 8:21 am

      Calvin now a traitor:

      Kevin Pietersen – 05 August: “Adam Lyth is finding out the difference between Test cricket and county cricket,”

      WTT – 5 Aug 2015: I see the Great Traitor has done his bit for his mate Warne and the Australians by looking to undermine Lyth further: and, as usual the Guardian gives him some cheap publicity (or more likely come back Kevin fans we miss the advertising revenue you bring).

      Michael Cavin – 22 August: Who will benefit from Adam Lyth’s manifest inability to transfer assurance and application from county cricket to the international arena?”


      • LordCanisLupus Aug 23, 2015 / 8:31 am

        So what about Bob Willis who said much more on the subject after Lord’s. But I’m not entitled to comment because I’m obsessed.


      • MM Aug 23, 2015 / 10:51 am

        The Great Traitor? Jesus.


      • MM Aug 23, 2015 / 10:52 am

        I didn’t mean to imply Jesus was a Great Traitor. Sorry. You know what I meant… it’s exasperation.


  4. LordCanisLupus Aug 22, 2015 / 11:24 pm

    A big thank you to a loyal and devoted follower of the blog for the link. Much appreciated. Glad you enjoyed the KP reference. You’ll be thrilled to know there will be lots more!


    • Arron Wright Aug 23, 2015 / 7:35 am

      Your “obsession” is nothing compared to that of many English cricket writers and broadcasters with Alastair Cook.


  5. metatone Aug 23, 2015 / 8:08 am

    Random reactions:

    I’ve saw a lot more of Bairstow when he was younger and I was still getting to Yorkshire games regularly. I’ve never been particularly certain that he’s a Test no. 5 – he’s more of a 7 and a wicketkeeper. Which shouldn’t surprise. Add in that a 5 has more responsibility when Stokes (or any young all rounder) is coming in at 6 and it’s easy to see why he’s not looking the part.

    Yet, I have to ask, given that KP is not going to be selected, who is actually banging on the door to take his slot in the UAE?

    I too loathe the double-standard around dismissals. Never mind KP, imagine if Bell had tried to respond to the short-ball barrage he was getting by hooking one and got out…

    Lyth – I think we’re entitled to wonder if it might all have gone better if he’d had the extra games in the WI to get into a groove – but I can’t say he deserves more games. An opener who keeps getting out to balls he could have left? Not in the right place mentally for Test cricket right now. If you can’t outperform Cook in this series, it’s hard to say you’re the future of England Test opening.

    In the end though, I think it is worth recognising that any normal team (i.e. not the great WI or Aus sides of the past) is going to lose more matches than they win when they play 5 bowlers and don’t manage to contain the opposition’s batting. Let them get 500 and it looks a lot like the game is draw or lose – and that puts extra pressure on. The purpose of the 5 bowler strategy is not to get to this situation. Which requires that the 5 bowlers can do the business not only at TB or Edgbaston, but also in some other places.

    Now you can choose where to put the emphasis. Is the Broad/Wood/Finn/Anderson quad lacking threat at Lords/Oval/UAE? (Of course, in each case, only 3 of them played, but no glory either way.) Or is it that pitches like this highlight the vulnerabilities of Stokes and Ali? Either way, the next series could be ugly if we don’t think it through.

    Liked by 2 people

    • SimonH Aug 23, 2015 / 9:14 am

      Are England really playing five bowlers though? It’s more three bowlers and two batting all-rounders. That balance works in some conditions – but not in others.

      By the way, I’m surprised by the lack of comment in the MSM about the under-bowling of Ali in Australia’s innings given how much the pitch has turned. Three possible explanations strike me –
      1) They’d decided conditions would help the seamers and once again Cook couldn’t adjust when a pre-conceived plan wasn’t working out.
      2) Ali was proving quite expensive while also posing some wicket-taking threat – once again Cook put an illusory control ahead of wickets.
      3) Ali isn’t able to bowl long spells either because he still has some legacy of his intercostal injury or they fear another injury.


      • metatone Aug 23, 2015 / 9:28 am

        Fair point about the 2 all rounders. And flat pitches are one place it definitely seems not to work.

        I didn’t see enough of play to assess Ali’s bowling.

        Did he look threatening? (Even if expensive.)
        Did he look smooth? (Earlier when his intercostal was bothering him you could see it in his action.)

        My dark thoughts are that the MSM have politely agreed not to look into Ali’s bowling too hard, because:

        a) They all signed up to the idea that this pitch wouldn’t suit spin, so we could put the Rashid question back in the cupboard until the UAE.

        b) It starts a chain reaction of questions about the team balance/selection in general.

        c) It highlights one of Cook’s big continuing captaincy issues, he doesn’t seem to have the hang of handling spinners. It also echoes a longstanding problem in English cricket, we don’t handle spinners well anywhere in the setup, it seems.


      • hatmallet Aug 23, 2015 / 10:01 am

        England are never going to play five specialist bowlers though. To get a fifth genuine option was always going to require an all rounder, whilst Ali is there because of lack of alternatives (though if there was a better front line bowler then Ali would still be in contention for the all rounder role or a top order position).


  6. Gambrinus Aug 23, 2015 / 9:02 am

    Anyone know what’s up with thefulltoss? When I try to go there I get a “temporarily unavailable ” message.


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 23, 2015 / 9:09 am

      They were hacked. I got a spyware alarm when I went on it on Friday at work. If you’ve been on there the last few days, I’d run a scan or malwarebytes just to be safe.

      They hope it will be up in 48 hours.


      • Gambrinus Aug 23, 2015 / 9:39 am

        Bummer. Thanks.


      • Lydia Thayer Aug 25, 2015 / 6:03 am

        Any clues to who did it?


  7. Ian Aug 23, 2015 / 9:11 am

    CWOTV. Brenkley, Ŵilson and Hoult. Taking apart Warne’s composite XI sure his XI looks odd but when you dig deeper can understand it. They would all swap Nevill for Buttler and of course they would all get Cook in to captain.


    • hatmallet Aug 23, 2015 / 10:04 am

      Only caught the last section regarding the country schedule. Discussion was sensible though I’m sure there was plenty of bullshittery beforehand!


  8. metatone Aug 23, 2015 / 9:35 am

    Random question: In your opinion – what’s the best England batting performance in the follow-on innings since 1981?


  9. Ian Aug 23, 2015 / 9:40 am

    I was in Ahmedabad in 2012. That was pretty good although we lost eventually. Cook and Prior took that into halfway through day 5 when we expected to lose halfway through day 4. Can’t think of any others off top of my head.


  10. MM Aug 23, 2015 / 10:59 am

    Thanks for the phrase generator.


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