Ashes 1st Test Review – Day 1


First of all, I hope you enjoyed the live blog. A special thanks to Danny who stayed up the whole night to bring you his wry observations on the second half of the day’s play. A magnificent effort. I lasted until lunch….

Having watched the highlights and listened to the varying feedback from punters and journos, yes, journos is that the view is we are very evenly placed. 196 for 4, in 80 overs does not, on the face of it, set the pulses racing, but it was a pretty intense, but somewhat odd opening day. England were thankful that Stoneman, and perhaps more surprisingly Vince, stood up to be counted. In the opening session the Surrey/Durham man showed the same aptitudes he had for his county – he has great temperament and has an impression of technical solidity. He can be much more fluent – I saw him make a magnificent 180+ against the county champions this year – but he did a great job. That ton may still be elusive but we were glad to have him today.

James Vince was the surprise, and if the England management genuinely thought this would happen, they can give me the lottery numbers. Vince played his lovely shots, we know he has those, but seemed a little more selective, waiting for the fuller length at times. I saw him up to lunch, although he struggled a little against Lyon, he was just what England needed. Well done, James. The shame, of course, was the suicide run that stopped him getting to a century. Let’s hope he doesn’t live to regret that.

Malan and Moeen will need to get through the new ball before we can start feeling as though we are in with a decent shout. Bairstow and Woakes will follow with the tail being a little more of concern. If England post a 350+ score they are well in the game, but we’ll only be able to judge when we bowl on it. If England do this despite the failures of Cook and Root, it will be a massive boost. 196 for 4 is neither here nor there. Remembering back to Adelaide in 2002, we finished that day at around 280 for 4, and collapsed in a heap. Brisbane in 2010 saw the Aussies five down for not a lot and then Hussey and Haddin put on 300! Many games, many ways. It’s why we watch.

Over the years we have been accused, well I have, of running an anti-Cook blog. It has to be said that our record run scorer does divide opinion, and neither side has the monopoly on accuracy. But there are some stats that stand out for me. As much as his fans revel in his 2010/11, that magnificent one series does not erase what has happened since. In 30 innings since his 180-odd in Sydney he has not posted a hundred. Now, in innings against the two premier pace attacks in the past six years (Australia and South Africa), Cook has an average of less than 30 in 27 test matches, with the one hundred (back in 2012). There has been a lot of responsibility, and not a little praise, heaped upon Cook in advance of this test, but the anticipation of a successful series is based more on the hope than on the expectation. I, once again, must stress, that of course he should be in the team. His dismissal today was something that could happen to any batsman early in a test innings. But when does this become a worrying trend?

And then there is the skipper. He looked a little out of sorts. Until Root makes test runs in Australia there has to be a little bit of doubt – 207 in 9 innings at an average at just over 25, with one score over 26, is a little blemish on his record, albeit with a small sample size. It’s early days, of course it is, but his dismissal plonking his leg in front of off stump and being beaten by Cummins was not something we are that used to. One game, one innings, but again, a little trend that he could do well arresting. His 87 in Adelaide last time out will need to be repeated, and then some.

I wasn’t overly impressed by the Aussies much vaunted pace attack. I have to say I didn’t get to see a lot of Cummins, but many have said how well he bowled. The dismissals seem to vindicate that. Lyon got the ball to turn on Day 1, which might interest Moeen who likes a little bounce in a wicket (and some of Lyon’s balls got some of that) and the pitch is due to speed up according to our pundits. Hazlewood wasn’t anything to write home about, and Starc flattered to deceive. The wicket wasn’t quite what was expected, but this was hardly trial by fire that we were promised.

I think I’ll reserve judgement on BT Sport’s coverage. Except Lovejoy. BT Sport will have to live with giving this man a commentary gig. The two sessions I endured were teeth-itching. He need strong direction from a producer to stop the laddish bantz, the smart arse one liners, and the desire to be the wittiest in the room and do what he’s being paid to do – commentate on the game. Swann always came off as the sort who fell in love the moment he looked in the mirror, and who thought the funniest person was himself. Shiny Toy has a lot of issues with commentary (conflict of interest, the fact it isn’t radio) and BT have got to stop it becoming the Michael Vaughan Show, but Lovejoy just inspires anger around these parts, and beyond. That’s a dangerous combination. I saw many say how much they miss Athers, Nasser, Michael Holding et al, but do you really miss Bumble, Botham and Gower? Really. A pale comedy act, this generation’s Trueman but without the research, and a former rebel turned Establishment stooge who has mailed it in for a few years now? As a debut, BT did OK. They’ve just set a low ceiling, and they are lumbered with Lovejoy – it’s not as if they weren’t warned.

Not sure what we’ll do tonight, but I imagine we’ll do a live blog on the 1st session tomorrow night (Friday), weather permitting.

Comments on tonight either below, or in a live blog if we set one up.



71 thoughts on “Ashes 1st Test Review – Day 1

  1. metatone Nov 23, 2017 / 1:43 pm

    Didn’t watch any, didn’t even follow an OBO. Just really rough times st work right now.
    Maybe if we can avoid collapsing tomorrow I’ll get interested. But we’ve often flattered to deceive at The Gabba.


    • Silk Nov 23, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      Me too. Work is a killer. I feel you, bro. (Sis?)


  2. Sir Peter Nov 23, 2017 / 2:45 pm

    Excelsior blogging folks! Stayed up until the Stoneman/Vince 50 partnership. Either side could dominate but who will? I need Woakes to score 84 to win me a fiver. (Actually I said Woakes would score more than Vince in the series – what do I know?) Best not comment on the coverage just yet – I had the sound very low so as not to disturb the missus – but I did hear a ceratin KP did a roundup? Loving the ESPN ad as well…keep it coming…por favor


    • dannycricket Nov 23, 2017 / 3:16 pm

      Yeah. He suggested England should have attacked Lyon, and that he’d rather Lyon’s figures were 3/70 that 0/40 on the day. I kind of understand what he’s saying, but I can’t say I agree.


      • Silk Nov 23, 2017 / 8:59 pm

        Yeah. I disagree with that. Lyon was turning it square. To keep him out is no mean feat.


  3. Sir Peter Nov 23, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    certain – not ceratin but then again…


  4. quebecer Nov 23, 2017 / 3:14 pm

    Don’t mean to sound like an arse, but I kind of expected that from our openers. Cook’s defensive technique looked a little shaky to me in the summer, jabbing down on to the ball rather than coming to meet it, and inevitably, the bat then isn’t always straight. Stoneman did what he does, and it’s great to see.

    Obviously, we were all pleasantly surprised by Vince. I think an important stretch of play was when he managed to not get out against Lyon. Chappelli was saying how there is often more turn early on while there is still moisture in the pitch before it dries out. The rain kept it fresh, of course.

    But do you remember last time out when Carberry weathered the early pace storm only for Lyon to get him? That’s why Vince not getting out was so important, I think.

    I’m a bit worried about Root.


  5. SteveT Nov 23, 2017 / 3:37 pm

    Quite like the look of BT’s highlights programme. Concentrates on the actual cricket for most of the 90 mins. Just a quick interview with James Vince at the end. Always found the 1 hour Verdict far too long. Even in small snippets Lovejoy was bloody irritating though.


    • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2017 / 4:33 pm

      I agree. Their highlights programme was an awful mess last year with far, far too much chat and not enough cricket. Here they did exactly the right thing. The highlights come in at 1 hour 13 minutes once the adverts are extracted, and that feels about right (Sky used to do this, and now they are down to around 48 minutes). Also, personal taste here, I hated Greg James’s tartan shirts. Don’t hate me for that!


  6. SimonH Nov 23, 2017 / 4:58 pm

    It may or may not mean anything but Australia’s last two first innings in Brisbane:

    2015/16 556/4d v NZ (centuries by Warner and Khawaja; NZ bowling Boult/Southee/Bracewell/Neesham/Craig)

    2016/17 429 v Pakistan (centuries by Smith and Handscomb; P bowling Amir/Rahat/Riaz/Yasir)


  7. LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2017 / 6:35 pm

    This amused….

    Sports agency Paragon have chosen the Ashes build-up to publicise the price of booking their leading cricket clients — England’s record Test runscorer Alastair Cook and cricket director Andrew Strauss — for motivation, leadership and elite performance talks. Cook costs £10,000 and Strauss £8,000.


    • dannycricket Nov 23, 2017 / 6:47 pm

      Honestly, these figures seem a little low. If cricket was still a household sport, I’d think they’d be able to charge 10x as much.


      • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2017 / 8:02 pm

        Indeed. Especially for Cook. But for £10k being told how to lead by a man who took us through 2013/14 seems a bit rich for my blood.


          • Silk Nov 23, 2017 / 9:53 pm

            I’d pay to hear Monkhouse (alive).

            Cook tell me how to motivate my staff? Not so much.


    • Mark Nov 23, 2017 / 7:22 pm

      Has anyone ever been on one of these motivation, leadership and elite performamce talks and learned from ex sportsman anything they can use in business?

      I can’t help thinking Shareholders of company’s are pissing their money down the drain on these jollies. They might as well go to the theatre or a rock concert.


      • man in a barrel Nov 23, 2017 / 9:51 pm

        Several actually. They all talked about marginal gains. But how do you get a marginal gain in closing the books? It’s not glamorous but you have to do it and not make shocking mistakes. It’s not like riding a bike or running or jumping over hurdles or knocking an out swinger to slip. Cook doesn’t risk fines or court sentences for dubious accounting calls


  8. Mark Nov 23, 2017 / 7:17 pm

    So Lovejoy is now laying into Vince. Saying……”when you get 80 odd you don’t leave it to others you go on and make a big score.”

    Says the man who left the last tour to others and pissed off home.

    Has he ever criticised Cook when he got out for 50 odd?

    The clique do have their favourites.


    • dannycricket Nov 23, 2017 / 7:19 pm

      To be fair, attacking the top scorer for not scoring more is an Ashes tradition for England in Australia.


      • Mark Nov 23, 2017 / 7:25 pm

        It’s one of TLG’s real irritations.

        I wonder if Cook and Root had made 80 odd he would be attacking them and instead blaming the other batsman for not scoring any runs….

        Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2017 / 7:35 pm

          It’s an even bigger irritation of mine borne out of, especially, the Edgbaston test between England and Sri Lanka in 2006. The KP switch hit off Murali. He got out soon after for 140 odd and England collapsed. Fraser, on comms, blamed KP for England’s collapse. Not looking it up but KP got 140 odd out of around 280-300. Yet he copped the blame.

          The English attitude. Right there.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sophie Nov 23, 2017 / 7:48 pm

            I feel like they always do that. Especially when it’s one of the middle order allrounders (including Bairstow) who does the top scoring and none of the specialist batsmen gets much at all.


          • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2017 / 7:56 pm

            If you keep getting out for 80s, then it is an issue. After all, 80s help win test matches but don’t often make the difference. But we’d have taken one score of 80 from Vince in this series, and he did it under the most intense pressure he’d ever have felt. You can’t have a go at him for anything other than a stupid run after a valuable knock.

            Again, a certain other player gets 80 and it’s always “worth a hundred”. I remember getting all sorts of stick for putting 5 out of 97 or something when he got out for 88. All we want to see is consistency. You know, how Root has a conversion problem, but the other big cheese didn’t merit a mention despite having a similar rate in the same time period.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mark Nov 23, 2017 / 8:05 pm

            Ah…..I wondered when we would get the “worth a hundred” line.

            Who can forget…….The greatest ever 95. Or One of the best 16s you will ever see?

            Vince was known for getting out for about 30 odd. When he got to 25 yesterday you could sense the pressure on him.

            Shinny toy is now following KP and saying England have to get after Lyon. I think this is crap. England just need to bat long into this first test match. I would be happy if we bat all day today and score about 240.


  9. LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2017 / 7:20 pm

    Just got the Cricketer and they have the Greatest England Batsman, selected by a poll of experts.

    In a massive surprise the top 5 is Hobbs, Hutton, Hammond, Gooch and Pietersen.

    Cook is 14th. Lamb gets in the top 15 while Thorpe, for instance, does not.

    Cook got two votes (the experts were asked to name their top 5). Mike Selfey and Paul Newman. (Newman had Gooch number 1, KP in 3rd, Cook in 4th and was one of only four who did not include Hobbs or Hutton in their top 5 – others were Selvey, Shiny Toy and Dean Wilson).


    • Mark Nov 23, 2017 / 7:27 pm

      Sorry, where were the experts you speak off?


      • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2017 / 7:47 pm

        Surprisingly measured actually and a little pin prick on the Cook as all time great debate. As I say, I think he’s too low and KP a little too high. But the nod to our legends (I think Hammond might have been above Hutton for instance but it’s just that I am more impressed he batted as well as he did and bowled as well) is great.


        • man in a barrel Nov 23, 2017 / 9:25 pm

          Hammond was also a very good slipper. Hutton was a specialist mid on


      • nonoxcol Nov 23, 2017 / 8:01 pm

        Are they sure they’ve got Pringle’s votes right? I need a lie down if so….


        • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2017 / 8:06 pm

          David Frith is my favourite. Nothing good made their debut for England post the mid 1950s.


          • nonoxcol Nov 23, 2017 / 8:15 pm

            See also Michael Henderson… I know, whoda thunk it?


        • man in a barrel Nov 23, 2017 / 9:44 pm

          Without Gooch as skipper, who would have kept on picking Pringle? After the Ashes tour of 82,RGD Willis was sceptical of his ability


      • BoredInAustria Nov 23, 2017 / 8:54 pm

        Has Boycott got a contract at ISM?


      • Silk Nov 23, 2017 / 9:07 pm

        I was going to ask how Allan Lamb was better than, to pick a few names at random, Hendren, Leyland, Thorpe, Graveney, Robin Smith and Dexter. But then noticed it was Lovejoy doing the picking.

        Tehnically this isn’t the top 15 batsmen. It’s the top 5. To get the top 15 you’d need to give 15 choices to everyone. I sincerely doubt Lamb would be 15th if you’d given everyone another 5 picks each. (Not that Lamb was bad.)

        I’m not old enough, but people say May was very, very good. Better than 13th, perhaps?


      • jomesy Nov 23, 2017 / 9:14 pm

        See you next Tuesday the pair of them. I used to love, love, cricket. Now I just can’t wait to see the back of Cook. Sadly I’ll probably be dead before that happens.

        Anyway, cynicism put aside, back to my children and the cricket. I hope they can fall in love. I hope they don’t end up feeling like me.


      • man in a barrel Nov 23, 2017 / 9:32 pm

        Barrington above May, and no show for Graveney. A certain FSR would be fulminating. No Dexter, no Cowdrey? Even such is time! I know that Gooch at Headingley is the greatest innings ever but did they compare it to Cowdrey at Melbourne, against Lindwall and Miller, when Hutton, Bailey Compton and May were blown away?


    • dannycricket Nov 23, 2017 / 7:34 pm

      Gooch surprises me. He has a much lower career average than openers Cook and Boycott, and Cook never went on a Rebel tour. Honestly I doubt I’d put Gooch in my top 20 English batsmen of all time.


      • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2017 / 7:40 pm

        Second half of career, based on batting and not the extraneous stuff, and he deserves a very high position. He played Warne as well as he played the quickies. I think KP is probably a little too high, and Cook possibly a little too low, which is surprising. Thorpe gets little love… Anyone who has Allan Lamb in our top 5 needs serious assistance. Oh look, it’s Lovejoy who put him there!


        • Mark Nov 23, 2017 / 7:51 pm

          I don’t think Cook is too low. Despite his claim that this era is as good as it has ever been I just don’t buy it. He missed the great Aussie team of two decades, and the great WI team. He missed the great Pakistan fast bowling duo, and there has not been a real top notch spinner like Warne or Murali in the last 6-7 years.

          I wish I could of seen Cook play against the really great fast bowlers of the 70s 80s and 90s. If he had been partnering Mike Atherton as opener I doubt he would have got half the runs he has scored.


          • Silk Nov 23, 2017 / 9:08 pm

            For me, Cook’s the greatest English batsman in Asia since, er, Hobbs? But on all surfaces, he wouldn’t make my top 20.


          • LordCanisLupus Nov 23, 2017 / 8:21 pm

            Gooch had a very, very slow start to his test career. Yes, we are judging across the piece for this, and I think he might be a little too high, but at his peak, he scored runs against the WIndies, and then against Australia when a cricketing OAP.

            But it’s a point well worth making.

            I also say one of the big myths is Gower was crap against the West Indies. Check out his away average against the greatest pace attack I have ever seen. It’s not at all bad. He wasn’t much cop at home…against them.


        • man in a barrel Nov 23, 2017 / 9:33 pm

          Thorpe was the kind of unobtrusive batsman you don’t notice till you look up and he is on 40


          • man in a barrel Nov 23, 2017 / 9:40 pm

            I did the analysis once and Gooch playing under Gower was MUCH worse than Gower playing under Gooch. Who got the sack? Just another reason to despise Gooch…


      • nonoxcol Nov 23, 2017 / 8:10 pm

        Gooch 1990-94 is the greatest English batsman I’ve ever seen. Apart from Pietersen 2005-08, it isn’t even a close contest. Gooch certainly played the greatest Test innings I’ve seen by an English batsman and second greatest I’ve seen by anyone.

        Meanwhile, Lovejoy is an absolute cock-end and that simply cannot be said often enough, even when it’s a non-sequitur.


        • dannycricket Nov 23, 2017 / 8:19 pm

          But again, notaway from home. If you look at the figures for England’s batsmen 1990-1994 away from home, Gooch in this period had a worse average than Lamb, Atherton, Hick and Smith. Gooch’s reputation is built on his home record, which was all televised, whilst his poor away form was hidden somewhat by it being on Sky Sports or before 1990 not being on TV at all.


          • nonoxcol Nov 23, 2017 / 8:43 pm

            And that constituted two Tests against Ambrose, Walsh and Marshall in which one big fifty and an average of 43 (tour ended by a broken finger) was way above par; four against rampant Australians in which he scored over fifty in five consecutive innings out of the eight he played and failed only in Perth; three against New Zealand in which he managed a hundred; and two in India either side of a dodgy curry, in the worst England cricket tour of my lifetime apart from 2013/14. He also captained in every one of these matches. Finally there were two Tests as a 41-year-old in Brisbane and Melbourne, against peak Warne. He had a bad series, even batting down the order, but then again it was no worse than Cook’s in 2013/14.

            I can live with that, to be honest, given how he was ranked no.1 batsman in the world for two and a half years in that period.


  10. man in a barrel Nov 23, 2017 / 7:30 pm

    Did anybody vote for Sutcliffe? It ought to be hard to ignore someone who scored 4500 runs at 60 having made his debut aged 30


    • thelegglance Nov 23, 2017 / 9:12 pm

      Ken Barrington always seems to be the one overlooked. I don’t think he was the most exciting of batsmen, but his record is exceptional.


      • man in a barrel Nov 23, 2017 / 9:36 pm

        Tenacious is the word. His talks with Greig on the 76 tour of India about how to play spin should have been recorded. That must have been a real think tank


  11. Mark Nov 23, 2017 / 9:28 pm

    Who really has a scoobie how WG Grace played? There are so few people left now who saw many of the players of the 1930 s and 40s.


    • man in a barrel Nov 23, 2017 / 9:38 pm

      Just compare his averages at his peak to the rest : he was at least 10 runs better than the rest on uncovered pitches. No one now is consistently 10 runs better on average


      • jomesy Nov 23, 2017 / 10:26 pm

        He also refused to be out when he was out. (Wish I could do that, I’d have a great average…).


      • Mark Nov 23, 2017 / 10:59 pm

        Sure… can look at averages, and make judgements about players in particular era’s and as you have done….create your own average system.

        But who can hostley say hand on heart which batsman ……WG Grace/Bradman/Gooch would play Jeff Thompson or Shame Warne best? Nobody really knows. Would Nradman play the WI 4 man pace attack well?

        Would Tiger Woods win golf majors 80 years ago with old technology golf clubs and balls and badly cut greens? Who the frig knows?


          • Mark Nov 23, 2017 / 11:02 pm

            And completely inconclusive.


        • man in a barrel Nov 23, 2017 / 11:44 pm

          Too much has changed in golf. Steel shafted clubs. Huge club heads. Bat dimensions haven’t changed. But pitches now are flatter than in the 1880s. No one now is 10 runs better on average than the rest. And that wasn’t the case even in 1900. The Doctor was probably just as unique as Bradman… And he took 3000 wickets as well. But he was a poor medic! Let’s take our mercies


          • Mark Nov 24, 2017 / 12:03 am

            Judging how poorly the modern batsman played Johnson 4 years ago..imagine how they would have played Lillie and Thompson without helmets?


          • thelegglance Nov 24, 2017 / 12:06 am

            Different technique without helmets. You get inside the line more than modern players. It’s why hooks went down to fine leg in the old days, and often in front of square now.


    • Silk Nov 23, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      He changed batting, they say. Good enough for me.


  12. man in a barrel Nov 23, 2017 / 11:37 pm

    Cowdrey matched up to Lindwall and Miller. At the age of 42, he did better against Lillee and Thomson than some… Eg Bumble


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