The End of The Road – Preview and Possible Live Blog – 5th Day

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Day 5. In a new world this won’t exist, so I suppose we had better appreciate them while they are still here. This Day 5 comes to us with very little in the way of suspense. 56 runs to win, 10 wickets in hand, a bowling attack that never looked like taking a wicket, an off field controversy, and all around the England team are naysayers and doom-mongers wittering on about the wheels falling off. Welcome to the Ashes, welcome to the tumult that follows it around.

So, for another four year we can put away the tedious cliche that is Gabbatoir. This was a wicket England could certainly work with and for three days, give or take a session, they were well in the game, putting up a competitive, even at times, leading display. There were plaudits being thrown around for Joe Root’s captaincy, how innovative and proactive it had been. Today I heard Lovejoy effectively say he wasn’t cut out to be captain and should never have been given the job (and, I presume, the pay rise that comes with it).

There was a moment last night on commentary that Lovejoy said that there wasn’t anyone out there leading them in the field. There weren’t enough voices. Bairstow is in’t the most vocal of keepers; Moeen Ali is too laid back; Stoneman is an introvert; Vince is quite; and best of all “Alastair Cook wouldn’t say boo to a goose”. I don’t know, I read too much into things, but if you could put into microcosm what has gone wrong with English cricket since the final days of the Flower regime, this was it. It was his gang that no doubt made all newcomers feel welcome (and others, I know), and if you were particularly vocal in this your face didn’t fit and you were briefed against or sacked. Lordy, I would keep my gob shut in that atmosphere. When the time comes for you to be vocal, who is going to take any notice if you are new or been quiet for years. In the main, not always, England have won a test match since the last Ashes when in front from the start. If we fall behind, there have been a couple of fightbacks, but we fold. It was said about the last tour that this was a team at the end of its tether, with itself, and the individuals that composed it. This is a team which seems to be slightly fearful. They responded well to the early exchanges but as the game went on, they got worse. A lot worse. Not Karun Nair worse, but bad enough.

There will be a lot to chew over in the next few days, and you know we are very responsive to defeats, with plenty of constructive comment, and also poking fun and pointing out the inadequacies of fanboys/girls who somehow think that not cheering hard enough causes this, while the media reaction will be fascinating. Management and the players allowed low expectations to fester last winter as some sort of reason for failure being fine and dandy, but it doesn’t wash when most of the pundits think Australia has two batsmen and a load of filler. Chris Woakes, by acclaim, was the most improved cricketer of the last 18 months, but he’s now back in the spotlight after one anonymous game. Jake Ball was thrown in, more in hope than expectation and now there isn’t a pundit who thinks he will play in Adelaide.

So when David Warner and Cameron Bancroft come out to bat in a couple of hours time, it will be interesting to watch how England play. A display of fight, getting in their faces, trying to inflict a wound or two would signal intent. Just turning up, hoping it is all over in half an hour will be a disappointment.  Lovejoy believed the team never thought for one minute that they could bowl out Australia for fewer than 170, and it came across in their body language (what a load of old bollocks – if they nicked a couple of wickets early no-one would have mentioned how they came out on the field – confirmation bias at its worst) from the start.

I haven’t yet got the chance to see the highlights of yesterday. I’ll load them up onto my phone for the flight to Madrid on Tuesday (a day bloody trip to Madrid) and perhaps comment afterwards. So I’ve not seen the stumping or YJB’s shot. I’ve read enough about them. But between Brisbane and Adelaide we will recover some energy, comment on what we see and hear and importantly, get the second Ashes panel convened.

For those who filled it in, and want to participate the questions are as follows:

  1. So now the Brisbane result is in, what has it shown you about the relative strengths and weaknesses (and some perhaps not highlighted by the mainstream media)
  2. Adelaide at night? In favour of day-night in the Ashes, or are you a reactionary old fuddy duddy?
  3. Put that Steve Smith innings into context. Tell me an Ashes ton you thought was better.
  4. Lots mentioned that Alastair Cook’s form may be in decline. What are your thoughts on this Damascene conversion?
  5. I was quite underwhelmed by the Aussie pace attack for much of the test match, yet now they “blow teams away”. What were your thoughts?
  6. If you have BT Sport – what did you think of their coverage. Try not to focus on Lovejoy.

Please DO NOT answer the questions in the comments, but send them to dmitriold@hotmail.co.uk . If we get too many, I’ll pick the best of them. I don’t expect too many.

Now to the Live Blog. I’ve not spoken to Danny, who might run it tonight. I have to pack the border collie off to my brother very early tomorrow and had very little sleep last night, so I’m going to bed before the day’s play. If we run a blog it will be below. If not, please put your comments below. Our thanks for our friends, old and new, for making the Live Blog and Review such a success. We are glad we can provide such an outlet. Hope you enjoyed it too.

Pray for a miracle.

0004 Broad bowls the first over, Warner scores 3 and Australia only need 53 more.

0009 Anderson from the other end. Warner gets a single and Australia need 52.

0016 Another 2 overs gone, another 6 runs scored. 48 required.

0032 Woakes and Ball have taken over now, 37 needed.

0047 Slow going, 30 more runs needed.

0050 Bancroft edges a Jake Ball delivery through a vacant second slip. Another 4 runs on the board, and that’s 25 more required.

0102 Single figures needed now…

0109 And that’s it. Cameron Bancroft hits a looping drive straight over a short mid off to the boundary, and AUSTRALIA HAVE WON BY 10 WICKETS.

0131 Bayliss: England need to score hundreds. Stunning insight there.

0132 Overton next in line in the squad it seems, and he’ll be watching Mark Wood’s progress in the Lions.

0133 Bayliss says the Bairstow incident is blown out of all proportion but also that he needs “a stern talking to”. A bit muddled.

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33 thoughts on “The End of The Road – Preview and Possible Live Blog – 5th Day

  1. Mark November 26, 2017 / 10:47 pm

    Cameron Bancroft sounds like a 1930s Movie star. The Moon shined bright over Mississippi staring Cameron Bancroft.

    Lovejoy sounds like a self serving prat. He has suddenly become an annoying expert on everything. Batting masterclass on how to play spin bowlers. Expert cumulus clouds, and on players body language.

    Beware the backlash. There are still grudges being settled. Some never wanted Cook to leave the captaincy. After 4 years of not one minor criticism of the then captain they are all coming out of the woodwork now. It’s open season. As if Cook had a barking Sargent major voice?

    It’s all bullshit. To cover over the lack of skill in these conditions. The Andy Flower birds are coming home to roost. Meanwhile take a look at the photo that Simon put up in the thread below of the next model of Flower robots. The full squad of 29!! Ffs how are players going to learn to think for themselves?

    In other news I just flipped over to Match of the day 2 and it’s like the game show The Chase. They have gone all chuckle brothers.

    Like

  2. Silk November 26, 2017 / 10:51 pm

    At what point do they realise Strauss is part of the problem, not the solution, and get rid?

    I suppose so long as the money is coming in, it doesn’t matter, does it?

    Anyway, goodnight. I’m not staying up for the last rites. I look forward to the morning headlines. “England blow Australia away for remarkable win”, “England win ‘Impossible victory'”, and, “Jake Ball tears the heart out of Australia to leave England smiling”

    Like

    • Mark November 26, 2017 / 10:57 pm

      DING DING DING! We have a winner. I was wondering when Stauss’s name would come up. I suspect if England had won this match he would have appeared.

      Never forget he sits in on the selection meetings, and if KP is anything to go by he has a veto.

      Like

  3. Sophie November 26, 2017 / 11:09 pm

    To be fair to Lovejoy, he said Root shouldn’t be captain before he was made captain. Because he has no authority in the dressing room.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus November 26, 2017 / 11:12 pm

      He has said that. But how does he know now. I’ll bet he has now. I don’t think Joe is anyone’s fool.

      Like

      • Sophie November 26, 2017 / 11:20 pm

        Yeah, that’s what I thought back then as well. Of course, for all I know, he might sit in their dressing room all the time.

        Like

    • Mark November 26, 2017 / 11:28 pm

      Lovejoy was a Cook fanboy as Test captain through and through. His only criticsm of him was when he said Cook should not be in the ODI team.

      Seeing as he was in the dressing-room under Cooks captaincy Lovejoy is not a good judge in my opinion. I suspect he was allowed by Cook to get away with being a dick in the dressing room. He was part of a clique of mostly senior bowlers who ruled the roost.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Benny November 26, 2017 / 11:17 pm

    The Big Worry for me is that, OK we lost a test match (it happens) but there is no obvious way to fix things. It was always fingers crossed for the new boys (and for Cook as well really) but you rather want an Ashes team to be more settled and performing.

    Where now? Wood is going to turn out for the Lions whose manager was a complete disaster with our bowlers and injuries on our last Ashes contest in Australia.

    Still, I’m enjoying watching the battle going on and the BOC coverage is fun.

    Like

    • oreston November 26, 2017 / 11:33 pm

      That article reads like something by Mary Whitehouse – all prim and tight-lipped judgmental. The Aussie media (…and some of our own) will spin this for all its worth, the ECB will no doubt basically do their best to bury it, notwithstanding the usual pious pronouncement or two by Director Comma. Who knows what really happened? Can’t have been THAT serious if it’s taken a couple of weeks to come out. No one’s been arrested, no one went to hospital.

      Like

      • SimonH November 26, 2017 / 11:50 pm

        Talking of Mary Whitehouse, Vaughan didn’t exactly underplay it in the pre-match build-up. Something along the lines of the players agreed a code of conduct among themselves and if Bairstow broke it on the first night in Australia, he’s “in a whole lot of trouble”.

        As always with Vaughan, one wonders…. who is Ben Foakes signed up to?

        Like

        • dannycricket November 26, 2017 / 11:58 pm

          Well he’s not on the ISM Website, although Mason Crane, Ben Stokes and Paul Collingwood are if you hear him suggesting them.

          Like

        • oreston November 27, 2017 / 12:13 am

          Is he? Couldn’t see any mention of Foakes on “their” site. But yes, one wonders. Could just be Vaughan being Vaughan, though. Was Boycott there? Vaughan always tries to be “blunt” and “no nonsense” in Sir Geoffreys presence. Dunno what he’s trying to prove. No one’s ever going to really confuse him with Brian Close.

          Like

    • thelegglance November 27, 2017 / 12:22 am

      And yet Agnew and Chris Stocks are tweeting that there seems to be far less in it than they expected.

      Personally, I’m slightly suspicious of a story that takes several weeks to come out like this.

      Like

  5. oreston November 26, 2017 / 11:21 pm

    I understand the ECB privately gave up on this match during the final session yesterday when their big idea of making approaches to the Isle of Avalon was knocked back and King Arthur’s representatives made it clear that he wasn’t interested in awakening, joining the Ashes squad and going on as a substitute fielder. The attack looked a little toothless and it had been hoped that the mystical presence of Excalibur on the pitch might somehow stem the flow of runs, but it was not to be…

    Like

  6. Mark November 26, 2017 / 11:38 pm

    Ricky Ponting must be pissing himself laughing. He is hiding it well. Far better than Lovejoy would be if he was a guest on Aussie tv and the situation was reversed he would be insufferable.

    Like

  7. Benny November 27, 2017 / 1:41 am

    I felt England had given up before walking out this morning. Anderson and Broad had a couple of overs then signed off. Can’t imagine that in Botham and Willis’s time.

    173-0 !!! Blimey

    Like

  8. quebecer November 27, 2017 / 2:04 am

    Bloody hell.

    Like

  9. Zephirine November 27, 2017 / 2:11 am

    Interesting interview with Root, who was basically saying no, England weren’t crap, they did a lot of things right to begin with but didn’t sustain. Whether or not you agree, it was an analysis and not just a string of cliches. he also managed to be positive without sounding deluded.

    I would guess that Root is gaining his authority from the fact that he thinks. The praise from the team for his careful preparation and having fallback plans highlights that they haven’t had much of that sort of thing in recent years. Swann may have enjoyed the Cook era but this is a different way of doing things.

    Like

    • quebecer November 27, 2017 / 3:37 am

      Hey zeph.

      Firstly, sending my best to you from up here on the snowy wastes. Snowy? Yes, because Sri told me to do a rain dance, which I did, but because it’s late November on the tundra it predictably resulted in a deluge of snow. He means well, Sri, but still.

      Anyway, hellooooo zeph! I didn’t see the Root interview but always trust your judgement. From your synopsis, I’m reassured. A bit. I actually do agree that we did quite a bit right, but I think where I get less positive is in the stance that it doesn’t really mean anything if you can’t get the rest right. It’s such a tough game, this, so hard. Like going to India, you just can’t afford to be much less than perfect, and in all honesty, we just weren’t close to that. So many small things that can derail and lead to larger mishaps, and within a blink of an eye, catastrophe.

      Can we do better? Oh heck yes. And we’d better as one of the things you can guarantee from an Aussie team is that they will perform at (or close to) their potential. I think they did that here.

      Ali in front of Bairstow was an error. Our squad selection meaning we had to go with Ball and Woakes an error. Not bowling our best players after the break in their first innings an error. Cook’s shot second up was a terrible error. Those things alone will do it.

      In the larger scheme of things, i think we’ve messed up Johnny B as the batsman he should be and we need. I’m also worried about Root’s batting. He’s terribly skittish, and two easy fixes that I think have to be in his head from now: first, leave off forcing and driving off the back foot until he’s got 150 and/or leave Australia; second, he must reassess what he should drive straight rather than aim through midwicket. He’s coming across his stumps a lot, which is ok if you take full balls on middle and off straight, but in aiming to midwicket he’s over balancing and missing. And in general, at the crease, he needs to just…calm…down…a little.

      Like

      • quebecer November 27, 2017 / 3:52 am

        Oops missed a subject verb agreement ‘s’ on ‘leave’. What I meant was he can do it once he leaves Australia, not that he should stop doing it or leave Australia. That would be a bit of an ultimatum.

        Like

      • Sri. Grins November 27, 2017 / 4:57 am

        Q,☺. The rain dance worked here too. I guess the fault lies then with English fans in Brisbane.

        Errors though occur in cricket and I don’t think we can blame the batsmen or the bowlers or fielders for making them. Both Oz and England made errors. Oz probably benefited from the fact that either the errors were fewer or that they did not prove as expensive.

        England played the second innings badly. The Oz attack is good but not great. The support bowlers proved in effective and the lack of a spinner who was fit also played a role. Lyon was just superb. Crucial wickets in both innings.

        I am still optimistic about England’s chances.

        Like

        • quebecer November 27, 2017 / 5:27 am

          Your optimism is the only thing keeping me going, Sri.

          However, you should still come over and shovel the snow so I can gat my car out in the morning.

          Like

          • dlpthomas November 27, 2017 / 5:47 am

            The snow looks awesome. There’s way too much sunshine in Sydney.

            Like

          • quebecer November 27, 2017 / 5:49 am

            Grrrrrrrr…

            Like

          • Sri. Grins November 27, 2017 / 6:12 am

            ☺. Q, simply awesome picture . It proves that you should have gone to watch the match at the gabba. Your rain dance would have worked.

            England will get enough chances to win so that they can cheer you and others up.

            Meanwhile, sl collapsing unfortunately.

            Like

          • Scrim November 27, 2017 / 7:20 am

            I live barely 500km south of the arctic circle, 200m above sea level, and can safely say I’ve never had that much snow in a night! But I know those feels, Q.

            Like

      • Zephirine November 27, 2017 / 3:08 pm

        Late reply so you’ve probably moved on to another snowdrift…. Always good to read your comments Q, I am about and reading things here but at odd times owing to boring work.

        Thing that always strikes me about Root, off-stage as it were, is he doesn’t look like an athlete, especially about the shoulders. He’s a bit stoopy and hunchy, looks more as if he’s in Australia for a field trip to research lesser-known varieties of eucalyptus rather than to stride about like a warrior hitting things with a great big bat. If I were his coach I would worry about tension in his upper back, especially as he has some sort of back problem apparently. Perhaps he should do Pilates or Alexander technique.

        However, I think he has mental resilience, which is what’s needed.

        Like

  10. Sri.Grins November 27, 2017 / 4:07 am

    Responses sent to the questions

    Like

  11. Deep Purple Fred November 27, 2017 / 7:47 am

    Favourite quote of the test match: Cam Bancroft “Johnny says hello in a way diffferent to most other people”.
    Classic Australian laconic meets English eccentric.
    Good to see Smith laughing his head off in then press conference too.

    Like

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