Ashes First Test Review – Day 3

The day started with Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh continuing their form from the previous day. After a couple of loose overs to begin both Broad and Anderson managed to build some pressure with consecutive maidens, and on Broad’s third over of the day he managed to draw Marsh into playing a drive on the up from a slower ball. Anderson at mid off caught the looping ball, and England were off to a great start.

After Tim Paine came in, England settled down into a routine to bowl out the 12 remaining overs to the new ball. Jake Ball bowled bouncers outside off the Steve Smith whilst Moeen Ali bowled from the other end to rest the other bowlers in advance of the new ball. It worked to a point, restraining Australia’s strike rate when they might otherwise have been looking to cash in, but didn’t generate any clear chances. One bouncer did cause Smith some discomfort, hitting the shoulder of the bat, but it fell well short of England’s fielders in the ring.

Anderson made a breakthrough in the first over with the new Kookaburra, Tim Paine edging a quick outswinger to Bairstow. This wicket brought Mitchell Starc in, and England sensed the chance to run through the Aussie tail with the new ball. Starc raised the crowd’s hopes with a six smashed straight down the ground from Stuart Broad’s first over in the spell, but those hopes were dashed two balls laters as a leading edge floated back down the wicket where Broad caught it. Pat Cummins and Steve Smith safely negotiated the remaining 6 overs to Lunch, where England fans worried about Anderson’s fitness as the bowler ended his bowling after just three overs in the spell whilst holding his left side.

The second session began poorly for England, with Smith and Cummins slowly accumulating runs through the first hour against Ball, Woakes and Moeen. Broad and Anderson returned to bring a bit more control to proceedings, but couldn’t pierce the Australian defences. Eventually Smith reached his century with an off drive against Broad. It took until the end of the session for England to take another wicket, with Cummins eventually edging a ball to Cook at first slip.

The evening session didn’t go much better for England, although Moeen did bowl Hazlewood early in the session. Smith and Lyon kept going, with Smith taking Australia into the lead by guiding a short delivery from Jake Ball for four. It took an hour for England to take the final Australian wicket, with Lyon edging an offspinner from Root to leg slip.

It didn’t get any better for England when they started batting either. Cook fell in the 4th over after top-edging a pull to long leg, which will disappoint him as he has a good reputation against the short ball. Vince nicked one to slip two overs later, reverting back to his more familiar form. A quick bouncer hit Root on the head, breaking a part of his helmet clean off, but he carried on after a quick inspection from England’s team doctor. Root and Stoneman survived the onslaught, and England ended on 33/2 with a lead of 7.

It’s notable how much better the Australian tail played compared to England’s, especially since that is supposed to be a strength of the tourists. Of course Australia was helped by the fact that they had Smith batting through the innings, but Australia added 153 for their last five wickets whilst England’s tail only managed 56. A lot of that seems to be not a weakness in England’s batting but in their bowling. Australia’s bowlers were able to successfully bounce out England’s tail, or Lyon confused them with his spin. England’s bowlers seemed unable to reliably trouble the Aussies, particularly Ball, Woakes and Moeen.

As always, please comment below. I’m off to bed now!


94 thoughts on “Ashes First Test Review – Day 3

  1. Silk Nov 25, 2017 / 9:20 am

    If it’s correct to say that Khawaja has an irreparable flaw against off-spin (seems true) and Handscombe an irreparable flaw against full-length swing bowling (less convinced of his one) then Aus are basically relying on two men, Warner and Smith, for the bulk of their runs.

    Meanwhile today’s display suggests England are largely reliant on Anderson and Broad for their wickets.

    Funny old world.

    Australia ahead, marginally, but any decent partnership would swing the pendulum back to England.

    My prediction (all have been wrong so far) is draw.


  2. LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 9:26 am

    Martin Samuel mails in a piece, which includes a fair bit of what he wrote yesterday almost parroted (the comparison with Bradman, the Boycott comment, the psyche of not winning at the Gabba), which he posted at sometime before the close because he doesn’t mention his beloved Sheep. This after he’s spent two days popping at Vince for his run out, which he will rue even more now England have let Aussie off the hook.

    Samuel was out in Australia in January 2011. In a test match which would not have decided the urn Samuel let KP have it for a dismissal hooking late on Day 2.

    Samuel is a dreadful, I mean a fucking dreadful cricket journalist. You can make up your mind about his footballing prowess, but his kick off on the piece above is sensational rubbish. He’s as suited to cricket journalism as I am to ice dancing.

    What happened to foot on the throat? That was the plan coming to Sydney, wasn’t it?
    Foot on the throat and no letting up. Retaining the Ashes wasn’t enough, remember? This was about the series win.

    But no mention of Cook in the piece today?

    For Pietersen, it should have been such an easy carrot to resist. Collingwood and Bell had both got out hooking Johnson’s bouncer earlier in the series. Wasn’t Pietersen paying attention? How, at such an important stage in the game, could he fall into the same trap?
    The usual excuses will be advanced, of course, that you have to accept recklessness as part of Pietersen’s nature and, if a coach attempted to banish it from his game, he would also lose the devilment that makes him such a great player.

    But no mention of Cook in the piece today?

    Never happened.cri

    I know, some of you will go “same old Dmitri, obsessed with KP, obsessed with Cook”. But the double standard smacks you in the eye. It has to. Samuel is a lazy, objectionable, useless cricket reporter. Quite what Newman and Booth must think of this clown blurting out effluence like his first three day pieces while, love them or loathe them, they put the hard yards day in, day out is hard to imagine. Samuel shows up, with Sanctimonious Ollie, to bring their special brand of reporting “You cricket guys don’t have enough profile, let me, super football journalist, uber charisma, come in, and lay down some proper sports reporting”. Amazing. I’m amazed they still bother, but then again, Brisbane is probably better than The Hawthorns or some such lovely Premier League venue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 9:49 am


      The dismissal had shades of Cook’s fatal flap at Mitchell Johnson at Adelaide four years ago. But by then England were mentally done and dusted, already on the brink of going 2-0 down.
      This time, there is a game up for grabs. Having watched Smith leave everything short until he was into three figures, Cook was unable to resist the bouncer. It will not be a shot he dwells on in his dotage.
      Worse, it got Australia’s tails up, and England still trailed by nine when Hazlewood squared up James Vince, who could only edge to that man Smith at second slip, his first-innings 83 a distant memory. As so often, the Gabbatoir smelled the blood of several Englishmen.

      Fair enough, but you expect your steely-jawed captain to do better than hook something down fine leg’s throat off the 9th ball of the innings. Joe Root managed 87 in that innings and was dropped shortly thereafter.

      Liew: Nothing to see here.

      Well, not for Cook, as it turned out. It was the fourth over of the innings; Starc’s bouncer was perfect; Cook’s swat off his top lip uncontrolled; Starc’s tumbling catch at long leg, exquisite. James Vince edged to second slip, Root was thwacked in the helmet by Starc before he had scored a run, and with another 40 minutes in the day, a disastrous capitulation threatened.

      Marks: It happens…

      England began their second innings with a deficit of 26. By the time they had cleared it Cook had gone to the opener’s sucker punch. Josh Hazlewood, the least impressive of the Australian pacemen in the first innings, propelled a bouncer; Cook hooked without control and Mitchell Starc on the long-leg boundary held a fine tumbling catch.

      No mention of it being 7 years since his last Ashes ton. No mention of the need for Cook to make big runs now. No. It happens.

      And you know, it does. But when Samuel is running off his considerable gob at Vince being run out, Cook’s mental cock up is given the gentlest of complaint. The double standards for which this blogger picking up on attracts slagging off from people who need to open their eyes.

      Newman seems to be told to focus on injuries – I’d expect a main piece later from their main cricket writer. If not, what must he think that Samuel gets that role… Lee Clayton giving his fellow Hammer a nice little sojourn?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sri.Grins Nov 25, 2017 / 9:50 am

      There are two kinds of people in the world. :-). People who react based on their bias for / against another person and people who try to stick to the scales of justice irrespective of their bias for / against a person.

      A lot of people especially modern journalists fall into the first category.

      The people in the second category who try to be fair often do not have a big enough loyal audience because they are issue based. So people agree with them on some points and disagree with them on some points and thus don’t form a strong personal bond which keeps them loyal.


      • LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 9:53 am

        All that is nice, Sri, but Martin Samuel is a useless cricket journalist. Lots of today’s piece was included from yesterday’s. It was “mailed” in. It’s not his bias, although I know he is (because I know someone who knows him), it’s that you, me, anyone would do a better job.

        If you didn’t know better, you’d say he filed this piece, told his subbie to fill in the rest, and sodded off for a night’s entertainment in Brisbane.


        • Sri.Grins Nov 25, 2017 / 11:52 am

          Reporting double standards have increased and quality of journalists has taken a beating over the last few years. If you read the newspapers published in India, either you would think that we are living in a dictatorship or that India is making remarkable progress. Balanced views are passe :-).

          It does get one worked up but net net very little can be done.


          • LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 3:10 pm

            Absolutely true. I hold opinions, don’t we all, but we do try to back them up. I’m not sure half of these bother.


    • dlpthomas Nov 25, 2017 / 10:27 am

      I must admit my first thought was “shit shot” rapidly followed by “imagine the outcry if KP had done that”.


      • thelegglance Nov 25, 2017 / 1:34 pm

        I don’t mind him playing the shot and getting it wrong. That’s cricket. I do mind the way excuses are made for some players while others are berated for it. It was there to hook, and a fair enough shot to play. He just screwed it up.

        So yes, it happens. No one ever gets out to a really well executed shot, and prodding defensively isn’t going to get England anywhere, they need runs. It’s just that the excuses come down when it’s Cook who gets it wrong.


        • dannycricket Nov 25, 2017 / 1:38 pm

          On the plus side, this makes it more likely that Sean will be paying for drinks after he wins the bet he made that Cook will average under 24 this series.


  3. LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 10:24 am

    Given his well known contempt for any jobbing commenter or writer, I found this interesting:

    Wonder what he thinks about Samuel who couldn’t be bothered to write a lot of fresh copy.


    • nonoxcol Nov 25, 2017 / 12:17 pm

      “Not everyone reads online”, but the kids don’t need their telly to watch cricket.

      Never change, Cyclops.


    • thelegglance Nov 25, 2017 / 1:14 pm

      He’s always been a selective luddite. My amusement at journalists implying a whinge about the Internet (and that’s what this is, however he dresses it up) is always tempered by remembering their glee at the way it destroyed other industries.


      • nonoxcol Nov 25, 2017 / 3:57 pm

        Selective. Some would use a word he really doesn’t like, “agenda”.

        On the one hand he can defend journalists (his kind). Flip his stance and he can defend the ECB. See also his recent stuff about T20 plasters needing to earn lots of dosh. Ok now he’s in like Flynn with his old muckers and their T20. Not ok when it was Kevin and his commercial imperative.

        And there you have his last few years at the Guardian in microcosm.


        • nonoxcol Nov 25, 2017 / 3:58 pm

          “Players”. Not Elastoplast.


        • thelegglance Nov 25, 2017 / 3:59 pm

          If you start from the position that journalists are particularly gifted and special, then you’ll see where he’s coming from. A breed apart worthy of particular respect. He can’t understand why the rest of us don’t accept that particular view.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mark Nov 25, 2017 / 4:14 pm

            He doesn’t get any respect becaue his whole MO has been a smug, supercilious style of talking down to people. He seems to base his insight on so called inside knowledge that as far as I can see comes from drinking or cosy dinners with his well connected sources/ chums who he then defends to eternity.

            It never occurs to him that these people are spinning him a line. That maybe, just maybe they are talking bollocks. “I know stuff…. that you don’t know…that people in the know have told me therefore Iam superior to you.”

            His defence of all things Cook and Flower was shocking in its unprofessionalism.

            Liked by 1 person

        • LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 4:03 pm

          In many ways this end of the cycle has reminded me how far we’ve come, with lazy, agenda-driven, self-absorbed big beasts out to pasture, outside looking in, the cricket version of Smashey and Nicey being packed off to Radio Quiet to play “where’s my pencil”.

          But we still have so far to go with those who think they adorn some sport reporting Mount Olympus swanning in, writing lazy, cliche-ridden, poorly contrived codswallop in a vainglorious attempt to win the admiration of their peers for the Sports Reporter of the Year dinner. Honestly, we know plenty, people we like and we don’t like, who could do a much better job. This isn’t disagreeing with their line, it’s seeing people who flit in and out of the game without picking much up talk as if they are experts. We, and many others see through it, but they still persist.

          And while they do, we’ll call them on it.


          • nonoxcol Nov 25, 2017 / 4:12 pm

            I am not a betting man. I truly loathe betting ads.

            If Ray offered a market on Holt having no clue that Cook played the same effing shot to Johnson when 570 behind at Adelaide in 2013 I would snap his hand off.

            Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 4:21 pm

            My personal favourite is the third day of the Edgbaston test in 2008. The dismissals of two England legends. One is remembered, one never recalled.


          • nonoxcol Nov 25, 2017 / 6:34 pm

            Mike Walters has made the point on Twitter. The first reply is from Holt.

            The rest of the replies make me wonder why any of us ever bothered to pipe up.


          • LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 6:56 pm

            Dean Wilson in the Mirror:

            5. Alastair Cook is already in a serious battle

            Two low scores for Alastair Cook to start the series is not great, but he can come back from that.

            Getting out to a wild hook against the slowest of Australia’s three pacemen is a massive blow that will take some dealing with. Cook has long been one of England’s best hookers and pullers but he was here four years ago and knows how important it is not to give Australia the scent of blood when it comes to the short-ball.

            He has sowed doubts in the minds of the Aussies as to how well he plays the shot and he will get tested plenty more now. Perhaps he will feel relaxed about it because he knows he can play that type of bowling well, but the concern has to be whether he can respond.

            Cook is such an important part of this England side and they need big runs from him. He’s missed out here, but he needs to show what he’s made of in Adelaide and produce.


  4. LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 10:27 am

    Smith mentioning getting off strike a lot in his interview. That’s a very different type of thinking from some of the greats who made sure they nicked strike as much as possible. Smith is different to the norm in more ways than one.


    • LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 10:58 am

      He isn’t bad talking about cricket. That’s the annoyance. The director/ producer needs to tell him to cut the Britain’s Got Talent audition.


      • Distinct Nov 25, 2017 / 1:13 pm

        So much this. When he talks about cricket. Bowling. Field positions. How they should be set to allow the batsmen to play the shots you want………..He us insightful and makes me think. What if HE had been made captain.
        Then captain chuckles comes out and I think…. yes that’s why.. he’s a pillock


        • thelegglance Nov 25, 2017 / 1:15 pm

          He was talking about spin bowling in depth the other night. It was fascinating. Just like Warne, when he talks about the area in which he had exceptional skill, he’s well worth listening to. Otherwise…


    • LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 10:57 am

      For pointing out the obvious we have to be thankful. That’s where we are.


    • northernlight71 Nov 25, 2017 / 1:23 pm

      He doesn’t mean “brainstorm” he means “brain freeze” surely? A Brainstorm is generally meant to result in something new or inspirational. At least it always did when I was an English student.


      • thelegglance Nov 25, 2017 / 1:24 pm

        Can mean it the way he uses it too. ‘had a brainstorm’ etc.


        • northernlight71 Nov 25, 2017 / 1:42 pm

          I accept that it *can* be used that way but the first thing it makes me think of is the opposite of what he wants me to think. My dad always told me that journalism was about trying to communicate with people who theoretically had no idea what you were talking about, and using vocabulary and constructions that didn’t artificially limit your audience or their ability to understand what you’re trying to say . . .

          I’m making too much of this now, aren’t I?!


      • dlpthomas Nov 25, 2017 / 1:44 pm

        Or “Brain fart” (I’m down with the kids)


        • thelegglance Nov 25, 2017 / 1:52 pm

          Sign of getting older: the personal transition from blond moment to senior moment…


          • oreston Nov 25, 2017 / 4:53 pm

            Doesn’t “blonde moment” usually have as much of a gender-based connotation as an age-related one? I make no comment as to whether it’s a term one should actually use (unless perhaps humourously in sympathetic company, or maybe self-deprecatingly). We probably don’t want to get into all that…


          • thelegglance Nov 25, 2017 / 5:06 pm

            Not given the masculine spelling or the fact that I’m blond!


  5. Silk Nov 25, 2017 / 11:00 am

    The obvious (possibly wrong) conclusion about Cook is that he’s shot, he knows he’s shot, and it’s muddled his thinking. He knows that sooner or later he’ll get a full ball on off which he’ll either nick or miss. So when he sees the short ball he’s going to try to get runs.

    He never really had it against good quality quick bowling, but if he’s totally lost it, it isn’t coming back.


    • thelegglance Nov 25, 2017 / 1:18 pm

      He’s been in decline for a while. Still our best opener, but the returns have been diminishing in a way that even the press are starting to have to acknowledge.

      His technique is all over the place at the moment – head too far across, meaning the front foot goes nowhere and the back foot comes round to stop him overbalancing. He’s always been fighting his technique, nothing unusual in that, but he now appears to be losing.

      I’d like to be wrong, God knows England need him this series. But to have these problems at the start of the series is not good at all.


  6. Mark Nov 25, 2017 / 11:07 am

    Why do we put ourselves through this? 3 days of being slightly ahead pissed away in a couple of hours.

    England have had many advantages they could only dream about in this test match. First the pitch was not the super fast paced one that everybody feared. Second, they won the toss and got off to a good start. 400 was there for the taking. 3rd, the weather has been reasonable 25/26 not the oppressive 34/35 that it can be in Brisbane. Just for the record England are not a great side. They are average. That’s what makes all the media hype even more loopy.

    England are not going to bowl Australia out on this tour for reasonable scores with just Broad & Anderson. Not going to happen. Theses two aging bowlers can’t bowl all the time. They need back up. And England don’t have either pace or spin. Ali is a batsman who bowls off spinners. Every now and again he surprises people with a good spell or a magic ball that knocks over a good batsman. But he doesn’t do it when it matters consistantly enough.

    England s inability to knock over the tail on flat pitches is legendary. Why is Rashid not in this squad? He turns the ball and on this pitch would get bounce. By all accounts they think he is too expensive. He went at 4 an over in India. But he took wickets? England will never stop with the tyrany of bowling dry. And I belive on here he would been a real handful against the tail. If the tail is going to add 150 everytime it’s worth playing him to just stop that. Too late I fear as this was a pitch to suit him.

    Then we come to the batting of Cook. This test match has been a disater for the so called greatest living Englishman. I don’t give a shit About 2010/11. It was the exception not the rule as far as his ashes career goes. One of the worst Assie attacks I have ever seen and the media spout endless platitudes about their hero. The next time you hear the clown car of Swann or Vaughn bang on about that tour you want to hurl a brick through your tv. I repeat what I said before. If he had played 25 years ago and opened with Mike Atherton he would have struggled to make 5000 test runs. The medias failure to understand this or to cover up for him has revealed them to be mostly charlatans who steal a living from their poor put upon readers. Cook is a flat track pop gun attack bully. Always has been.

    I predict complete collapse tomorrow, England will do well to set Aus anything over 200. Watch Lyon rip the guts out of the batting. the weather forecast was for rain but it didn’t show up. England need the rain to show up now and wash away 2 or 3 sessions.


  7. SimonH Nov 25, 2017 / 11:11 am

    Holt leads off on Cook!

    First paragraph:

    “It was some time after 4pm on Saturday and the Gabba was in tumult. Alastair Cook and Mark Stoneman walked the long, slow walk to the middle and the denizens of the top tier, the most raucous section of this bear-pit of a stadium, slammed their plastic seat bottoms against their metal supports and added their yells, screams, jeers and whistles to a cacophony of chaos”.

    Overwritten much? I need a lie-down before trying to digest more of this.

    If England win this, I’m waiting for one of the hacks to put it down to Cook’s genius pre-match mind games.


    • LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 3:05 pm

      It’s truly woeful, but then again what do we expect. I have, I’m afraid, to report that Holt has bought the Cook as saviour hook, line and sinker.

      Cook knew he had to try to produce something similar. Smith had shown an iron will. Now it was Cook’s turn. England needed him to display all the stoicism and skill that has made him one of the country’s greatest batsmen. He might not be captain any more but how they needed his experience to lead them by example. Not so long ago, you would not have picked any other man for the job.

      Come on then, everyone. The irony is that the innings he did play that should have been lauded was overshadowed by Stokes hitting a rapid ton. Other than that, not long ago would be 2012. 5 years.

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 3:18 pm

        I’m banging my head against the living room wall. It’s garbage from Holt. It’s overwrought (it was late in the day, Australia were bowling, and they were drunk) about the atmosphere. But it was a piece designed purely to say Cookie is such a good egg we should let this lie.

        The Australians celebrated wildly but a sense of disbelief spread around the England supporters in the ground. It was so un-Cook. It was so uncharacteristic. A man is who is usually the epitome of patience had lost his head. A team player to the tips of his toes, he had just thrown his wicket away at a crucial moment in the match. Only people who whistle in the dressing room are supposed to do that.

        I wasn’t shocked. It happens. He’s done it before. What pisses me off is that when others do it there isn’t a sense of finding ways to defend him – they whistle, they are too intense, they have no temperament. Which planet does this man inhabit?

        Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol Nov 25, 2017 / 3:51 pm

          I wish we still did a top 3 in your poll….


          • LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 3:56 pm

            That piece really should have ended with:

            “will this do”

            Lazy, over-written, cliche-ridden, ill researched, pathetic nonsense. If I’m Newman and Booth, I’m livid these clowns are allowed to swan over there and act the big-time charlie.


        • Mark Nov 25, 2017 / 3:55 pm

          “one of the country’s greatest batsmen” …..” A team player to the tips of his toes”

          Stop laughing at the back.

          Holt never went in with an open mind. (Just as he didn’t do regards Morgan ) He turned up with a pre set narrative. He might as well of phoned it in from an airport west of Timbuktu.


  8. dlpthomas Nov 25, 2017 / 11:41 am

    Did anyone catch Broad’s interview at the end of play where he talked about trying to keep the Australians in the field long enough for their bowlers to reach a “critical work load”? I remember when cricket was about runs and wickets. I also remember my coach at school saying “cricket is a simple game made complicated by idiots”.


    • Mark Nov 25, 2017 / 11:49 am

      Brian Clough, and Shankly said the same about football. A simple game complicated by fools. Now we are surrounded by the Ed Smiths and the ping pong man with numerous crack pot theories.

      If England bat well, and score runs they do by default keep Aus in the field. Can the remaining 8 wickets keep Aus in the field for 3 sessions tomorrow?


      • SimonH Nov 25, 2017 / 11:58 am

        It’s pretty much what Australia have done to England – and it makes sense when the opposition’s opening attack is the wrong side of 30.


  9. Mark Nov 25, 2017 / 11:44 am

    Dmitri, remember the old days of Hold the back Page? Who would have thought these young leather jacket clad, unshaven punks would ever come to poison the world of cricket writing?

    Sitting in Alex Feguson press conferences, and giggling like litte school children as each of them got banned was about their limit. It never occurred to them to criticise. They never had the balls to say……. “hang on, this is is wrong, a manger should not be allowed to throw jounalists out of a press conference.” ……..” A manager shouldn’t be allowed to intimidate referees with impunity.” Instead they genuflected in front of him. So no surprise what they learned there they have brought to cricket. Now they genuflect in front of Cook.

    Oh to be Newman. A lifes work pissed up the wall. Replaced by the punks. They do edgy you see. They are the assasins. Well, not if your name is Cook, or Andrew Strauss they don’t. It’s pure soft ball then…served up on a silver platter of duck and peach. However, If Morgan or KP needs a kicking for defying the establishment ECB they send for Billy the Kid. More like The Milky bar kid.

    It’s a sign of how far cricket journalism has fallen that the punks are allowed even a million miles from the hallowed grass. The Mail must be awash with cash to be letting these blokes steal a jolly holiday round Aus. No wonder Selvey is crying into his coffee. It’s almost a Greek tragedy!


    • LordCanisLupus Nov 25, 2017 / 3:09 pm

      I think Newman got the press conference. Remember, we are told by Selfey how tough their job is. Sitting around watching cricket while every so often posting some social media. Then a match report that has to be filed. Then press conference and interview reaction. The Mail has Newman, Booth and Samuel, with Holt pitching in for the Mail on Sunday. Back home Nasser Hussain (I assume) and Bumble (definitely) are also on call doing what we do. It’s a cast of thousands. We produce plenty of output and it isn’t even our jobs.

      Hold the Back Page. Making journos “important”. Has there ever been a bigger folly?


  10. SimonH Nov 25, 2017 / 11:52 am

    Berry after day two is looking like a severe case of premature ejaculation:

    “Whatever the result, England have performed to the best of their ability”.

    Two decent days and Berry had to rush in with the claim that nobody could now possibly blame management for anything on this tour (and probably therefore ever). Is it indisputable England have really made the best of their ability? Was the best English batting talent given the greatest possible opportunity to be there? Or was some of it put to the hatchet with accusations of “disruptive”, “his eyes have gone” and “scores too slowly, the weirdo”? Are the bowlers in the best possible condition? Three possible starters are too injured even to be there and 40% of the attack out there looks to be carrying some sort of injury. Who knows – but given their track record, do they deserve the benefit of the doubt? What about the players who weren’t even considered because they’ve been turned into white-ball specialists? That’s another two, maybe three, talents ruled out. And then there’s the team’s talismanic player sitting at home – have England made the best of him? The fault, if fault it were, is mostly his but has he really been managed as well as possible?

    All of this is dabatable, of course. Berry isn’t interested in debating it – he’s interested in clutching at straws to defend management and close debate down. If it was just him and just this one article it wouldn’t matter – but it’s just a particularly stark example of something we’ve seen again and again this decade in English cricket-writing.


    • Mark Nov 25, 2017 / 12:51 pm

      So they are dusting down the old fall back……

      Namely…”No one could have foreseen…… Blah blah.”

      English cricket has created the safest, least pressure on their prefered idols. No criticism, no consequences, just all praise. If it all goes wrong …….no one could have predicted. However if your face doesn’t fit there is nowhere to hide.

      Very easy to pull this off when the media is so shamelessly in on the con.


  11. man in a barrel Nov 25, 2017 / 11:56 am

    Ali Martin writes that Anderson went to get some strapping on his shoulder. Alarm bells are starting to ring. Remember that mysterious injury that turned out to be a fractured scapula? Has it properly healed?


  12. AB Nov 25, 2017 / 12:24 pm

    Just listened to the highlights. Did Vaughan at any point mention anything else other than how amazing his client James Vince is?

    Talk about conflict of interests, ye gods.


  13. Mark Nov 25, 2017 / 12:43 pm

    About the only thing Swann said of any sense was to point out that MCGrath just tried to keep hitting the top of off stump. Nothing fancy, just simple disipline, and consitency. No crack pot theories of trying to bowl in lots of strange places. No Sandurst motivation handbooks. Just keep trying to hit the top of off stump.

    You won’t get wickets all the time, but perhaps if you are good enought to do it, and set the right field you might just get a batsman, even as limpet like as Smith to make a mistake. Either miss one or edge one.

    When Swann talks about bowling, particularly spin bowling he knows what he is talking about. They just need to shut him up on all the other subjects.


    • dannycricket Nov 25, 2017 / 1:13 pm

      The problem with that strategy on Australian pitches is that there’s no sideways movement through swing or seam (at least after 20 overs or so) and little variation in height so far. Basically, if you pick the line correctly then it should be safe.

      I think, without the ability to send down bouncers like the Aussie bowlers can, the England attack did everything they could against Smith. We may just have to concede that the bowlers available to England at the moment aren’t good enough in these conditions.


      • thelegglance Nov 25, 2017 / 1:28 pm

        Broad takes wickets in Australian conditions. He was exceptional even amid the wreckage of the last tour. I’m not sure either bowling attack looks particularly potent on this pitch, perhaps with the exception of Lyon over Moeen. There are suggestions Moeen isn’t really fit – certainly he’s not ripping the ball as hard as normal.


        • dannycricket Nov 25, 2017 / 1:35 pm

          What are the spin options if Moeen doesn’t play? Mason Crane would play, I assume, and Leach would come up from the Lions squad. How good are they playing bouncers?


          • thelegglance Nov 25, 2017 / 1:37 pm

            It’s not feasible because of how much it weakens the batting if he’s not there. Losing one all rounder is a problem. Losing two is a disaster.


          • dannycricket Nov 25, 2017 / 1:40 pm

            Most teams manage with one allrounder, although Woakes is the weakest batsman of the three I’d think. There’s always Collingwood to bring in, of course. Or just bring Stokes straight back in without any suspensions. It’s what Australia would do.


          • thelegglance Nov 25, 2017 / 1:43 pm

            Indeed. But all teams set up to focus on their strengths, and if you remove those strengths it’s a real problem with the balance of the side because it’s what they’re used to. When England were playing four bowlers and no all rounders bar Prior, it wouldn’t have been an issue. But this is how this England side are structured.


          • Silk Nov 25, 2017 / 4:07 pm

            While Bairstow made a decent case for batting at 6 (he looks a fish out of water with the tail), Woakes made no convincing case for batting at 7. Woakes, Broad, Ball, Crane, Anderson is not a tail I’d like to go in with.

            Hopefully Woakes will show more batting prowess tomorrow. In the last hour.


          • dannycricket Nov 25, 2017 / 4:46 pm

            You think England will survive 5 hours today? Is there rain forecast?


      • Silk Nov 25, 2017 / 1:28 pm

        But but but…

        I was told Woakes was twice the bowler he’d been on debut, that he was genuinely quick nowadays, and anyway, he’d ripped through Pakistan.

        What happened?


      • Mark Nov 25, 2017 / 4:01 pm

        MCGrath played a lot of his cricket on those same very unresponsive Australian pitches. Some might say with so little side way movement he found another way. He didn’t have express pace. But he just wouldn’t stop hounding the batsman. Every ball right on the money. You miss, I hit or Knick you off.


        • SimonH Nov 25, 2017 / 8:26 pm

          McGrath had such a good nip-backer that batsmen usually felt they had to play at balls that would hit the top of a fourth stump.

          He was also brilliant at never getting so wide the batsman could play him through the off-side with a horizontal bat – they had to play him with a straight bat which left them vulnerable to any movement. The only batsman I ever saw who really cracked him was Vaughan who was able to get low enough to pull those deliveries.


  14. Deep Purple Fred Nov 25, 2017 / 1:02 pm

    It took less than three days. The wheels haven’t fallen off exactly, but there’s some worrying sounds coming from the back axle, and it’s starting to steer a bit funny.

    Cruel gods, you’ve given Australia one of its best batsmen in a generation, at a time when ge’s sorely needed, but made him almost painful to watch, stylistically.


    • quebecer Nov 25, 2017 / 7:20 pm

      Pfff, stop it. The only worrying sound was Jimmy going “ouch”. To my mind, there have been few surprises so far. England aren’t a bad side and are far better led than the last time here. We’ll be generally competitive, although we will have the odd disaster. Vince in the 1st innings was a surprise, a nice one, but Cook and Woakes in particular not delivering is no shock really. Smith? not a surprise. He’s on a different level.

      This game is still very much on. Aus slightly ahead? Thanks to Smith, yes, certainly. but England are usually 30 odd for 2. This is what we do. Sometimes we end up shot out for 180, sometimes we get 450, but we’re normally 30 odd for 2.

      The thing is, especially in Aus, before a series we get easily drawn in to an overhype of the Australian team. I don’t think there is much difference between the sides (although the difference there is is in Australia’s favour),

      In terms of our batting, I’m more worried about Johnny B than anyone else right now, but in terms of wheels coming off? Not so. Going in to Day 4 with all three results almost equally possible? England being this competitive in Brisbane? Wheels on, my friend, firmly on.

      (So far)


      • Deep Purple Fred Nov 25, 2017 / 10:21 pm

        Aus slightly ahead, but not just because of Smith. Also because two bowlers managed to hang around, and then the other one promply took two wickets.

        I know England has this Anderson/Broad/Cook core of old hands, and a great batsman in Root, but I don’t think that’s enough. It was telling to watch Ball yesterday, as he bounced balls six feet over Smith’s head, and then see the purebred Anderson take over, it was like watching a boy and then a man.
        There’s some other talent in the team, Ali and Bairstow especially, but I think they’re way undergunned, once Australia hits top gear, which they haven’t yet.

        One or two good hours for Australia in this coming Brisbane morning, and England are screwed.
        But then a double ton from Root and Australia is screwed. But I know what’s more likely.


        • quebecer Nov 26, 2017 / 12:24 am

          You’re right about the difference between Ball and Anderson and just how apparent it was. However, it’s only been one innings from a bowler who is in his first test down under. Much will depend on how Ball and Woakes go from here. Looking at it positively, they have a lot of time to get things right and perform better, and as Stoneman and Malan showed in our first innings, we don’t need everyone to be pulling up trees to be competitive, just do their part well.

          Of course, it’s also fair to be more negative (or Australian, in your case) and say the performances show the weakness between our real test players and those who are perhaps not quite in that category.

          Interestingly, if you were English making that last claim, it would be a horrendous jinx and insure the double ton. But these things don’t seem to apply down under. It’s strange the differences between our countries: we have ‘the fear’ and jinxing, and you have marsupials.


      • Sri. Grins Nov 26, 2017 / 1:23 am

        Q ,
        ☺ traces of optimism?


  15. thelegglance Nov 25, 2017 / 1:23 pm

    A lead of about 200 is the minimum for England to have a realistic chance (not counting meltdowns, which can happen, but shouldn’t be relied upon). For that to happen, it needs Root to do what Smith did. Like so often with England, it’s not that it can’t happen, it’s that the chances of it are so small that no one expects it. England’s biggest problem as a team is not that they aren’t capable, it’s that they crack under pressure.

    Thinking that a morning collapse is on the cards is not just English pessimism, it’s a doubt that they’ll stand up to the pressure.


    • Mark Nov 25, 2017 / 3:46 pm

      He has dished out more criticism to Roots captaincy than he ever did in 4 years of England’s previous captain.

      Dobbell is questioning if the hunger is there for Cook anymore, and not his eye sight. 2011 is yet again offered forward as solace. Although he does, unlike any other of the mainstream journalists point out Cooks poor record in pretty much every other Ashes series.

      But this will not wash. It can’t be put down to a fading of Cooks man of Steele credentials. We were told these would never fade. They would never rust. Hint, he never was as good as they kept telling us. Not bad. Not useless. But he was never truly great. That is the fraud that has been pushed on us for over 4 years.

      He made the absolute most of what he had. And he is to be congratulated for that. Many players do not for-fill their potential. Cook sqeezed every last drop of ability out. But he was never the great player that pretended.


    • Mark Nov 25, 2017 / 4:41 pm

      The spin is in. The line is is pushed ……..

      The late session was so hostile it’s amazing anyone survived. Stoneman did fantastic to survive, and Root was hit on the head.

      The pretext is of course, without naming him, a big get out of jail free card. Like there has never been a hostile enviroment for an ashes series late in the day?

      He seems very confident England will get 230 ahead, and defend it. I’m not convinced at all.


      • dannycricket Nov 25, 2017 / 4:48 pm

        230 is gettable, so long as the middle/lower order doesn’t collapse like it did in the first innings. I think the more important target would be to survive the day. I can’t envision any target they could set tonight which Australia couldn’t reach within a full day.


        • Silk Nov 25, 2017 / 8:22 pm

          I agree. Bat the day. Anything beyond that is a bonus.


  16. Grenville Nov 25, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    I think that England will make 270- 300 runs with Root and Ali making most of the runs backed up by Malan and Woakes. England let the aussies of the hook and Cook used it to add some pressure, but I see no evidence of a car crash, just a bad session and a half. The Aussie attack is good but there are some tough characters in this England side. They are still to bat.


    • Silk Nov 25, 2017 / 6:41 pm

      Optimistic. Would likely lead to a draw, as that would take us well into day 5.

      I reckon England’s best chance of a win is getting bowled out at the close, with a lead of 250 ish. To do that, need a big score from someone.


      • Grenville Nov 25, 2017 / 7:55 pm

        I think that a draw is the most likely result, though I wouldn’t put it past someone to pull off something fantastic, but 3 or 4 reasonable partnerships are an eminent possibility.


  17. quebecer Nov 25, 2017 / 7:23 pm

    Quick thought on Shaun Marsh: I wonder if this test shows exactly why Aussies tend to be so annoyed with hm. Clearly, he can play – he always showed that. Yet for some reason… I find such things fascinating. What IS it that makes him fail? I don’t know if we have any insight here for Aussies on this board, but can I ask, is he maybe… a bit dim? Could it be that?


    • Silk Nov 25, 2017 / 7:46 pm

      I dunno about that, but if moeen (or Root!) dismiss khwaja cheaply in the second innings, surely Marsh moves to 3 and Big Show, off the back of his double ton, comes in at 6?


      • SimonH Nov 25, 2017 / 8:35 pm

        Khawaja might get one more chance on the back of a big century under lights in Adelaide last year off Philander, Rabada and Abbott.

        Another option would be for Marsh to open to fit Maxwell in.


    • Deep Purple Fred Nov 25, 2017 / 9:16 pm

      Oi, who are you calling dim, bignose?
      And was Ian Bell a rocket scientist? Does Alistair Cook push the boundaries of quantum physics?

      No reason to fall into name calling just because Smith scored 140*, the Australian tail wagged, England threw away the whip hand, Ball is not all that, Anderson’s probably injured and the tour’s already teetering.

      We’ll maybe it is a good reason, but I expected better from you.


      • quebecer Nov 25, 2017 / 10:16 pm

        Ok ok sorry for teasing on the choice of language. I am serious about trying to understand why some players don’t achieve as they might though. The ability to self analyze and do so productively is certainly a quality needed for most players to succeed, and there can be emotional and/or intellectual factors that impede this.

        Yes, Bell struggled with this, while KP did not. Ramprakash did, Thorpe did not. I do think each case should be looked at individually and the emotional/intellectual effects not be seen as a dichotomy.

        So, I ask again, as a scientific inquiry, is Marsh’s problem that he’s a bit – no. I won’t. Kidding. But if I were Australian, he’d frustrate the hell out of me, and me being me I would love to understand his issues.


        • Deep Purple Fred Nov 25, 2017 / 10:52 pm

          Yeah I know, you have a point. Warner was apparently the dimmest of the lot, but he had the last laugh as he worked out what he needed to do to make the most of his talent, and did it. Not dim at all, he just gives a good impression of it.

          Smith is probably the best example of this, who somehow got into the team, probably just because he was a blond legspinner and no one else had worked out since Warne, and apparently he told good jokes, and then promptly reinvented himself as a world class batsman. Where the fuck did that come from? He certainly figured out his own shit, because certainly no one taught him to play like that, in fact he’s probably had coaches on his back since the day he started. “Stop moving around when the bowlers approaches Steve, you’ll never get anywhere with a technique like that. You can’t glance down to leg with a ball way outside off, and cut out those stupid cross bat shots, you’ll nick off everytime, you bloody idiot.”

          Anderson has worked things out and elevated his effectiveness as a result, and it will be fascinating to see what he does with the last few years of his career. And yet Harmisson didn’t seem to know what to do with what he had.

          Martina Navratilova said she was was still fiddling with and perfecting her serve during her last competitive game.

          If you sense I’m waffling and not addressing the Marsh question, you’re right. Part of Marsh’s problems have been injury, but not all. Aside from that, I’ve no idea what’s behind his inconsistency.


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