With Australia only needing another 56 runs to secure victory with all 10 wickets remaining, the result was never in doubt. The only question was whether England could take a few wickets and sow doubts in the minds of the Australian batsmen for the next game. England opened with Broad and Anderson bowling to the Aussies, but like their previous spells they were economical and unthreatening. After a few overs each, Ball and Woakes replaced them and that seemed to signal the last of England’s resolve. Cameron Bancroft did edge a wide Jake Ball delivery through a vacant second slip, but that was the only mishit in the day. Bancroft finished the chase with three fours in a Chris Woakes over.
This will be a frustrating loss for the England team and its fans. This pitch was the best case scenario for them at the Gabba, they won the toss, and they even had a pretty good first day. Although the record books will show a 10 Australian victory, it was genuinely tight for much of the game.
Indeed, England’s batsmen had several opportunities to put themselves in the driving seat which they failed to take advantage of. 6 of England’s top 7 managed an innings of at least 40 runs, Cook being the only exception. Unfortunately, none of them converted their promising starts into a big score and Vince was the only one to get more than 56.
England’s bowling attack didn’t cover itself in glory either, and certainly looked inferior to their Australian counterparts, but I think that holding Australia to 326 runs when Steve Smith scored 141* was a remarkable achievement. They relied heavily on Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson to take the wickets, which makes Anderson’s possible side and shoulder injury even more concerning.
Jake Ball was particularly expensive in the first innings, which might tempt England to replace him with Craig Overton or Tom Curran. Woakes was economical in the first innings but largely without being threatening, and only scoring 17 runs in two innings won’t boost his credentials as an allrounder either. Moeen Ali was not at his best with the ball, perhaps due to a finger injury he suffered early in the game or the injury which kept him out of one of the warmup games, but he was strong with the bat. The most worrying thing for England in the series is that none of the 5 bowlers ever really looked like they had Steve Smith in trouble.
Honestly I’ve avoided looking at England’s bowling in the second innings too closely. With a complete absence of scoreboard pressure, the batsmen have taken apart England’s bowling. It quite honestly seemed like England weren’t especially focussed on either keeping things tight or forcing a wicket, and in the situation I can’t blame them. Their minds are already on the next game, there’s nothing left for them in this one.
Perhaps the most difficult thing for England’s fans and management is trying to avoid judging the players on a single game. Sometimes people just have a bad day at the office. Certainly the first Test of an Ashes series is not without its distractions and diversions. For the experienced players, Australians have tried to remind them as much as possible about the 2013/14 whitewash. For the newer players to the team, the barrage of media attention and fan interest will be something completely alien to them. Maybe the smartest thing for England to do would be to pick the same eleven players and trust their selection?
Or maybe not. Why not post what you would do in the comments below.
Is it better to fight for 3.5 days then fall in a heap?
I think that last day and a half will have done as much damage to Australian self-belief as day one in 2003.
Hopefully something funky will happen at Adelaide.
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That’s a tricky question. It suggests that there isn’t an insurmountable gap in quality between the teams, I suppose. England’s bowling does not seem good enough to recover if their batsmen fail, and apart from Vince in the first innings that’s what happened.
Which last day and a half? The last day and a half went pretty well for Australia, how would that damage their self belief? Australia’s main probelm was only scoring 300 in the first innings.
I notice a few people have been saying England can look forward to Adelaide. That’s what they said last time too, the pitch would be better suited to English batting would take MJ out of the equation…
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I think I’m not coming across right. Need to work on that.
You were just taking the positives from the game. England managed to stop Smith scoring a single run Inthe second innings. All they have to do is repeat that in Adelaide and it’s advantage England.
If my memory serves me right. The first ever day nighter at Adelaide suited the bowlers, so to even things the next day nighter was very much a batting wicket.
If it is another batting wicket I would have expect England to draw at best. We don’t have the bowling to take 20 wickets. Brisbane just demonstrated that.
If England want to win tests we need result wickets to be in with a chance.
On the other hand, Australia scored nearly 400 in the second one (against Philander, Abbott and Rabada) and have won both of their D/N games. Hazlewood’s taken 15 wickets in the two matches.
Sorry, I’m awake now 🙂
Depends. It could instead fuel a sense of annoyance and frustration that they had them down and a determination to go and get them next time.
Australia aren’t that good a side, it’s not like there’s any excuse for England to end up being repeatedly thrashed (note I’m not saying that won’t happen – I’m saying there’s no excuse for it), and ultimately it comes back to that idea of momentum, which is clearly rubbish as we all know.
There’s no reason at all England can’t play well in Adelaide and win. Whether they do or not is a different matter.
According to a BTL post at the Guardian, Jake Ball’s Test stats to date make Pankaj Singh look like SF Barnes.
He was carrying an ankle injury which kept him out of the two warmups. And to be quite honest, he wouldn’t be in the team if Stokes, Wood, Roland-Jones and Finn weren’t all unavailable.
Well, if there’s one thing we didn’t learn from the last tour, it’s that throwing in unfit bowlers in the hope that they’ll come good doesn’t work.
And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Sport, I mean. It’s not about the losing, it’s about not learning lessons. That’s how you, er, grow.
Alternatively, Craig Overton failed to win the spot and he did play in the warmups. What does that tell you about how Bayliss rates him?
Overton bowled well, but Bayliss went with the bowler he thought would prosper in Aussie conditions, on a hunch, despite the fact that he wasn’t fit.
What that tells me is that Bayliss is channelling the ‘spirit’ of Andy Flower (2013 version, rather than 2011 version).
Is it too much to ask to pick bowlers who are actually fit and bowling?
Send for Mark Wood. That’ll learn ’em.
He’s coming back from injury (again) and will be playing with the Lions starting tonight to regain match fitness. If he starts for the Lions, that surely rules him out of Adelaide at the very least. If he still isn’t up to full speed in that game, that might push him back even further.
I wasn’t being particularly serious.
A Non Ashes comment. Ashwin has been the fastest to 300 wickets . Did it in 54 tests.
One objective of the SL tour done and dusted :-). Ash may not even play in SA.
Now for the second one. Hopefully it will be done.
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The worst part about winning by 10 wickets is that your possibly low on confidence numbers 3 and 5 don’t get any more time in the middle.
In all seriousness, I thoroughly enjoyed this test. It was a real battle for at least 3 days, which is more than we have got out of an Ashes test for quite a while, I guess since 1st test in 2013? Maybe there was another in that series.
I do fear for the rest of this series though. So many things seem to be just barely working for England. Adelaide is even more crucial after the last 3 sessions we’ve seen.
On the Bairstow thing, I do recommend seeing Bancroft’s press conference where he deals with journalists trying to put some meat on the story and he gives them nothing while Smith giggles, most likely because there is nothing. It just makes Bairstow sound socially inept more than anything. “Weird”, “a bit random”, “not what I was expecting”, “I just took it as — I don’t know Jonny Bairstow — but, he says ‘hello’ to people very differently to most others”.
I loved Matt Renshaw and his big clumsy boyish manner, but I’ve wamed to Bancroft pretty quicky as well. Apart from his nice 82*, the way he took that pull shot to the grill at short leg with out flinching, took that shy at the stumps in the groin from Anderson without flinching and returned a stony glare, the way he conducted himself in that interview… He just seems like he’s made of strong stuff, and Bairstow was maybe in more danger of hurting himself than Bancroft. It was always going to be Bancroft as next Australian opener, but he had a dreadful 16/17 and was in no form to be picked when the Australian selectors made big changes last summer.
Responses for the panel coming today, Dmitri.
And we also learned the fascinating fact that in WA they measure players head sizes, and Bancroft has the biggest.
Unless that was just a wind up.
This whole thing has been a series of wind ups, I’m not sure there’s room for one more. Especially considering the size of Cameron Bancroft’s head.
A man after my own name! 🙂
The whole headbutt thing is weird. If it had been a full on butt, then you can be damn sure we would have heard about it before now.
The Aussies have held a stupid incident up their sleeve until a good disruptive time to play it.
Re Bairstow himself – who the hell does something like that to someone they have only just met (as far as I know from what little I’ve read). It just smacks of knobish behaviour tbh. I don’t know how much drink was involved, but still, It would take a good few beers to get me to do something that sounds as stupid as this does.
Maybe I’m just getting old and don’t understand the world anymore.
I like Geoff Lemon, but this complete crap.
I would bet that Warner took singles because he saw they were available, and taking singles is good, low riskcricket. He didn’t try and bash fours because of the bowling and tactics why would you when you have 3.5 sessions to chase 170? Given that Root is placing a deep point for him from ball 1, the English plan is obviously to stop him scoring boundaries and hope he gets frustrated and does something silly, like in the first innings. Why play into that trap?
Warner and Bancroft would have gone out this morning with a goal of winning by 10 wickets, and Warner did everything perfectly in order to do that.
Listened to R5SX post-mortem on the way into work. Agnew asked Bayliss about the failure to bowl Anderson and Broad at Smith and Cummins after lunch on day three.
“I didn’t really notice, to be honest.”
This will of course be drowned out by the Bairstow nonsense.
Thanks to Selvey, I saw some pre-match practice footage of Bairstow and Cook in the nets. He made a flippant comment about how they always look good in the nets. I was reminded of a singing masterclass (yes) where I was in the audience. The key moment for me was where he talked about not practising your bad habits. Try to avoid picking up bad habits but never ever practise them. I saw Bairstow hitting everything to mid-wicket. I saw Cook fidgeting and falling over to the offside. What do the coaches do?
Eat quinoa and collect paychecks?
Not fair, Danny. I’m sure they don’t only eat quinoa.
Games like this, where you compete for a while before falling away badly are the most psychologically difficult of all. If we lose in Adelaide, its all over. 5-0 again.
And I’ll win 8 quid. Should’ve put a ton on it really.
I didn’t bother watching any of it last night. Had an early night instead.
What do we do now? What can we do with the players they have selected?
One of the problems with the England model, is it is not created to perform away from home. England have surrounded themselves with enormous back room touring staffs, and players learn to rely on others. England have been created to win at home, and play limited over cricket. Pretty 50s and 60s are all the rage. Bowling sides out on flat pitches is not something to concern us. Conditions will be either helpful at home to the bowlers or if it’s a limited over match who cares if we don’t get 10 wickets? All that matters is we score more. Well that theory went up in smoke in the Champions trophy semi final against Pakistan in Cardiff. England never seem to be able to adjust.
England’s inability to finish off oppositions innings is becoming a problem. In many ways this test match had a similar plot line to 4 years ago. Then, Aus were 120 odd for 5, but escaped to get 280. This time round Aus were both 76/4 and 209/7 but they still got away with a first innings lead.
I don’t think the wheels have come off here mentally. (Not yet anyway) but the problem is I don’t think they are good enough in these conditions. Bairstow batting with the tail was a waste of space.Was it the plan for him to just try and blast his way through? What a waste of one of our better batsman. Perhaps Ali should bat with the tail as he plays more freely?
Where are the bowlers that are going to get us 20 wickets? And why are so many crocked? Why do we have all these coaches? Batting coaches, bowling coaches? What is the point of these people? This is the Strauss/Flower doctrine, and they own this mess. This is their model, there type of face fitting. Time for the media to start asking the right questions of the the right people, and not lying to their readers.
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I don’t really understand why an international team would need a batting and bowling coach full stop. And I say this as a qualified cricket coach.
I can see a reason for a good coach to be there. Sometimes you want someone to just say “your arm is dropping”, or “you have started falling over”.
Sometimes I as a player don’t have a clue that something has changed*
I don’t think an England coach should be there to make wholesale changes, or try to re-make someones batting style (such as Ballance).
* I say this as a “occasional” star for my village 2nds….
I don’t think they do make wholesale changes. Not at that level, and Bayliss has been pretty firm about that too.
They have tried it in the past, and it’s been fairly disastrous. But I don’t think anyone is now. Besides, during a series it just can’t be done.
As for changing the team. Would that mean bringing Ballance in?
As for Cook TLG, do you have a view on batsmen standing so far back in their crease. Obviously Ballance does it but Cook seems another too. Maybe I’m old school but I really think a batsman’s stance at delivery should be on the crease or a foot outside in front like Hayden.
No, not really. One size doesn’t fit all, so it’s a matter of how an individual feels. I used to marvel at how rarely Graeme Smith trod on his stumps, given how deep he would get in the crease.
Going deep gives you more time, but increases the chance of lbw. Like so many things in cricket, it’s a trade off.
Exactly spot the bad habits before they get embedded… Just as the singing coach said.
I like Rob Smyth a lot.
But point 2 here, and the manner of its presentation, really grinds my gears.
Straw man, followed by blithe ignorance of the actual stats the sceptics are putting forward, and this from a man who puts together very good statistical analysis on a regular basis (including in Wisden). Infuriating.
I don’t like Smyth much at all. But I’m not his target audience so it’s probably not surprising.
I do find it astounding he can write that. “No evidence has been offered against Cook, just a vague intuition that he is guilty of being past it, your honour.” Wrong and smart-arse clever in the same sentence. Evidence is everywhere if you want to look, especially in respect to Australia. Obviously he doesn’t want to look.
It may be too early to drop him just yet, but this article suggests he’s got a few years of underperformance available to him yet, before evidence is considered to be offered. I expect we’ll start hearing about how good he is for the dressing room, leadership, experience etc to explain his ongoing importance. I guess his steel rod is still in place, we might start hearing about that again soon.
I also object to the assumptions in the first point. Apparently he’s surprised that Australians can bring anything other than brawn to a cricket field. “They are far more flexible than many realised…” Who’d have thought, Australian cricketers actually think about cricket! I thought all that success came from having really big muscles, and being really mean on the field and calling people names.
They must have spent weeks looking at the bowling lineup, counting up Anderson and Broad on their fingers (luckily there were only two of them) and then eventually hatching the cunning plan of seeing them off and waiting for the rookie third seamer or part-time spinner. Geniuses! God knows their coach would have been no help, everyone knows he’s just a boozing, racist, boofhead who’s only coaching trick is to get people to have fun. England can rest assured, after hatching that sophisticated strategy, their brains will be scrambled for the rest of the tour.
This Australian team came close to solving the Indian conundrum. They lost their recent tour, but performed admirably, and showed great intelligence and flexibility in the way they played India. Over ther last few decades, Australia has been at ther forefront of creative innovation in the way cricket is played.
I like Smyth even less now.
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Fred, this is easily my favourite post of the Ashes so far. Thanks! (I’m not just saying that to return your BTL compliment back in 2013/14, either) You’d think they might have learned from the relentless belittling of Johnson a few years back…
I like Smyth’s writing, general knowledge and love of the game. However, I must confess: nowhere near as much as I did before the KP Wars, when he followed Selvey’s line with almost everyone who wrote into the OBO, came BTL to defend poor Mike against all that dreadful impertinence and, yes, blithely ignored the evidence and questioning a lot of BTL posters were putting forward. He even praised the *press coverage* of the August 2012 business to one OBO correspondent, which was flabbergasting to anyone with two functioning eyes. It’s frankly bloody hilarious to see him write this given the way Selvey wrote about Pietersen for three or four long years.
This thing, of course, just goes to show how deep Selvey’s influence still runs over there. It’s like the eleventh commandment: thou shalt not seriously question Alastair Cook (or Andy Flower).
This grinds my gears. It is a legit point. One behemoth innings distorts averages every bit as much as taking one out. You make the point that without it the returns are enormously less impressive while remembering that the innings took place and in entirely merit worthy. Just adding #[name] maths is lazy and follows the crowd. Pointing out Bell had a poor average if you omitted his cheap runs against Bangladesh was a point to make. Or do you ignore the strength of opposition?
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Four and a half year unbroken reign as the most tedious cricket hashtag on Twitter. Impressive.
The original #maths case has always annoyed me, because it is an entirely legitimate point to make about that specific innings. It was made with a 200 plus lead, under far less pressure than Root experienced throughout his other four home Tests against Australia. I thought, and still think, that Bell should have been MotM (and I would have picked Swann before Root as well). And now anyone making that point is laughed out of town because of that infernal hashtag.
With Cook, these big innings are blips in an observable decline that stretches over 100+ innings and four years. People as esteemed as the late Martin Crowe were prepared to use this argument against Pietersen. It just puzzles me why the great and good are so much less willing to deploy it for Cook. Trott was also a classic case, where some of us spotted a decline from Barrington to Gatting in terms of average within 18 months of Cardiff 2011, yet it took until the ill-fated recall for the press at large to even mention it.
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The Root issue was that the 190 should be discounted because he was dropped on 3, I believe. Slightly silly, but not without some sort of consideration. This has always been the issue to me. I consider they have a point. The opposite also applies. Using a meme to shut down discussion is not good. When you have good points to make and do so after using that, it’s a problem for me.
There is a reason I don’t read much elsewhere now. It’s a bloody shame.
You know which geek did not like that tweet. 😉
Karun Nair averages 62 in tests. Take out his 303 not out (I ask you) and it is 11.83. Five of his innings at under 12 and one at 300. Which represents his career in the best way? It’s a small sample size too.
To me, one of the more fascinating things about tone of coverage in a particular paper was in the Telegraph back then. When Pringle was Chief Cricket Driveller there, Nick Hoult’s output followed that line more or less completely. The moment our Del got the bullet, Hoult’s output changed dramatically, to the point I reversed my view of him completely. He flowered, essentially, and has been one of the best cricket correspondents around for the last few years.
Was there a directive? I find that a bit hard to believe to be honest. Maybe more a groupthink perhaps, and that can apply anywhere. But if you look at the Guardian’s output back then and now, although you still get the pro-Cook line from some of them, Ali Martin is much more critical, and has less of an agenda. Now, maybe it’s a matter of longevity – we all build up prejudices over time, and re-examining those isn’t that easy. So maybe Hoult and Martin will in 10 years time be as guilty as anyone else, who knows?
And of course there’s one alternative – that Smith just has a different opinion. That’s ok too, even if we might find it disagreeable.
“And of course there’s one alternative – that Smith just has a different opinion. That’s ok too, even if we might find it disagreeable.”
As someone said, you’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. “No evidence has been offered against Cook” is just plain silly. He should embrace the evidence and interpret it, if he wants to make his case (and there may well be a good case to make), not stick his fingers in his ears.
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I paused over that bit before writing it, and the reason I went ahead is because I don’t think you can draw the correlation equalling causation line with absolute certainty. It could be a drop off in form rather than a decline. So I would argue that it’s opinion, and that’s all. At the present time, Cook could turn this around and enter a golden period in his career. Do I think that likely? No. Is it possible? Yes. So I think I’ll stand by it being a matter of opinion for now, irrespective of what my own is.
Nonoxcol, You are the last person I would expect to compliment someone just out of politeness!
I think Smyth (and Bull especially) annoy me because they make the writing about themselves. It’s all very clever writing, to be sure, but I’m interested in the cricket, not the talent, broad knowledge and cleverness of the writer. The best writer is one who you hardly notice, but who nonetheless paints the picture. I know it seems to be an English tradition to evaluate and admire good sports writers, so I guess they are just working in that tradition, but I find Hoops and Dobell, for example, good because I get a good insight and picture, without the personality of the writer being constantly imposed. I also have this reservation with Kimber to some extent, but at least he is generally interested in challenging and questioning events.
You’re right, when Smyth left the Guardian, he then made guest appearences to snipe at people, some of whom had been long term knowledgeable commentors with sound arguments. It was quite surprising, I took him as someone who fancied his own eccentricity, his own unique take on things, drinking the Selvey/Establishment koolaid was unexpected.
But the Cook train has left the station now, they don’t need to defend him anymore. No one will have egg on their faces if he goes or is gently pushed at this point.
It’s an old journalistic game, when someone nears the end there’s always a position to take in defending him, it happens with Federer all the time (and the bugger keeps justifying their faith!), but if you wanted to argue the point, you don’t need to say stupid things like there is no evidence of his decline.
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They are just waking up to the fact that Bairstow is struggling to score runs. Cook at least gets a big score every 2 years but JB is really in the doldrums and whacking every ball to mid-wicket in the nets might not be the way out
It seems to be axiomatic at the Guardian nowadays that readers are as interested in the personality of the journalist as they are in the content of the piece, if not more. Everything is an opinion column, unless it’s actually got Associated Press written at the top. The house style is to establish your individual ‘voice’ and then purvey it relentlessly, and Smyth has always been very good at that.
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You’re right Zeph, the Guardian is very funky and opinionated these days. None of that boring report the information stuff, it’s got to have attitude.
And the Guardians laughable moderation continues. Someone called Brisvegan also took exception to the comments on Australian cricketing intelligence, triggering a debate about whether Smyth was being patronising or not. Uncle Vernon made a simple, short comment, something like “My initial reading was that Smyth was being condescending”. Guess what happened next?
UncleVernon MouthoftheMersey 1h ago
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs.
You will NOT criticise our writers. You will NOT disagree with our writers. You will NOT abuse our writers, (and calling their position condescending is abuse). Comment is free, as long as you agree with us.
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Isn’t MouthoftheMersey Gary Naylor?
You can criticise our writers all you want. Well not me, obviously, but the other 3.
Yes, that’s Naylor.
Player rating nonsense time:
What would Smith have to do to gain that last 0.5? Bring about world peace? Get a new jaw-line? Run a sheep farm?
“You would still back him, once he gets in, to make the big scores his team desperately need”. You know who.
Meanwhile, it appears that in some cases (like certain opening bowlers or opening batsmen) the second innings doesn’t count.
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At least it’s not Lovejoy’s 2015 Ashes vintage. His punditry career should have ended on the spot there and then.
Impressed that Woakes and Ball score 4, there. Wonder what they’d have to do to score 2.
Impressed that 2-77 gets Anderson a 7.5.
Phew! I’ve finally caught up with your prodigious output, but too late to add anything that hasn’t been said already. Apart from saying thanks for the shout-out when Moeen got Khawaja on day 2, and I’d like to cast doubt on quebecer’s ability to judge just when the wheels come off. He said they were still on after day 3, but they were clearly already coming off. But how would he know anyway? The man drives a sledge!
Excellent work everybody, you have been my primary source of news for this test (along with TMS). I’m both grateful and admirative (is that a word?) of your efforts, and I’d recommend an ‘early to bed and early to rise’ strategy for the next two tests.
Thanks! The larger issue for the next game is that I think they’re due to finish at 10.30am, by which time we’ll all probably be at work for at least 3 of the days, so the reports will be quite a bit laters than in this game.
@rooto, awesome ‘sledge’ about Q . 😀
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Ah, Rooto, good point, how could I have missed that? What’s the point arguing the toss with Quebecer about wheels when he think’s it’s something you make pottery on?
But in fact I have been watching this closely and I think probably the wheels are still attached, albeit shaky. England hasn’t turned into a gibbering wreck, it’s just got limited resources, and didn’t make the most of them. Only two real seamers, Stokes out, Bairstow inexplicably absent, Ali subdued, and a handful of rookies, it was always going to be tough. I don’t know what they can do to turn it around, they can’t magic new players out of nowhere. It’s going to need the core players to perform at their best which they certainly didn’t do in Bbn.
This may follow the same pattern as last time, where they’re beaten again in Adelaide, and then Perth becomes the start of the real nightmare. Wheels often fall off crossing the Nullarbor.
I’m paying today with the mother of all eye strain headaches. Got a 2:45 start tomorrow as well.
Bloody hell… just minding my own business here.
But so you know, I drive the dogs, the dogs pull the sled.
Oh, and I totally take back the tactical genius comment.
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As you may have noticed, I’m more interested in what happens on the pitch, rather than the media. However, today I’m absolutely fuming about the Bairstow BS that everyone is running with.
England lost the first Test by 10 wickets. They appear to have 2 functioning bowlers. They picked a bowler who’d bowled 15.4 overs, then broken down, in the first Test. He got 1/100+.
By golly, I’d be talking about the cricket. But bloody Agnew is instead trying to channel a mix of Mary Whitehouse and Mr Chips.
Makes my blood boil.
First day of the Lions’ match:
Can’t find a scorecard anywhere – it’s either because it isn’t a f/c match or because everyone else is copying Cricinfo and has decided making basic infoirmation unfindable is the way of the future.
“The match concludes the first half of the Lions’ Australian trip in Brisbane. They fly to Perth later this week to switch the focus to white-ball skills”.
Pardon me, but this is effing insane.
“Amar Vardi made the most of an unexpected chance with the England Lions to take the individual honours from a tough first day of their three-day match against a Queensland selection…”
Queensland selection? That makes the opposition sound like a tin of biscuits. Can’t the ECB employ anyone who speaks or writes like a normal person?
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Could just be their autocorrect getting mixed up by “Queensland Select XI”. It might not even be an employee writing it, but an intern.
Queensland declared on 396-8. If Vardi took 4 and Leach 1 then (a) Wood and Tcurran didn’t take many wickets despite Jennings praising them, and (b) Queensland scored at a bloody clip (declaring before the close – Lions reached 19 without loss).
I just don’t think Wood is the answer. Even if he can stay fit, there’s little to nothing in his career to date which suggests he’s going to be a good Test bowler.
He’s quick. So was Harmison.
Sadly you may well be right. England and the journos are already clutching at various straws on this tour: Cook will come good and emulate 2010-11, Wood will make a miraculous recovery and give us pace at Perth, we’ve a great chance to bounce back under lights/in conditions that favour swing at Adelaide (won’t the Aussie bowlers also get something out of it? Have none of them ever taken wickets there? And anyway then what? History and common sense suggest we’ll struggle at the WACA and be 2-1 down in the best likely scenario).
If the wheels haven’t quite come off yet then someone at the very least needs to have a good look at the axle – but have they got the right tools or parts to fix it? (OK, that’s one very tired analogy thrashed to death…)
It’s too late to fix it, bar tossing Overton in for Ball (there’s a /chance/ Woakes will find some form with the bat, and if the ball swings under the lights, Woakes is more likely to find it than Ball).
I thought that, perhaps, we wouldn’t miss Stokes because Woakes would step up with bat and ball. I wasn’t sure, but I had hope. Those hopes appear to be dashed. I can’t help thinking, now, that we are really going to miss Stokes. Not so much for his batting, but for his bowling. He’s got the bowling to make something happen on Aussie wickets, I think. (Maybe that’s just sepia tinged nonsense).
If we had Stokes, we could drop Ali, pick a proper spinner and go Stokes, Woakes, Broad, Anderson, Spinner, or stick with Ali and go Stokes, Ali, Broad, Anderson, Spinner. Both those options look more penetrating than what we have now. (Reserve to change my judgement 180 degrees by Day 3 at Adelaide).
Assuming Stokes was absolved of all blame and arrived in Oz on the next plane ready to save us (!) who would be the “proper spinner” to replace Moeen (surely not young Crane?) and wouldn’t that weaken the batting? I suppose Overton is the next proverbial cab off the rank but I’m afraid another over-used analogy (one that makes reference to the limited utility of repositioning foldaway seating apparatus aboard a notoriously unlucky early 20th Century ocean going passenger vessel) does rather come to mind.
If there was hypothetically a “proper spinner” to come in, I’d have thought Moeen would be good enough with the bat to displace Malan.
My proper spinner, is Leach, of course.
But it’s far too late for that. He should have been playing Tests all summer.
Their bowlers are dead good too, not that much quicker (but a little) and they have more used to the conditions.
I’m not entirely sure where Adelaide optimism gets us. England will need to bat well. Very well. Also we get really down about Perth despite us playing our least worst match there last time (I’m not going to mention the MCG, makes me too angry).
At some point England will put an innings together, and at one point we should bowl Australia out very cheaply. I know. Optimism. So not me.
Hoo hoo, that final act at the MCG. My *word*, I’d almost forgotten.
“The captain did his best and no blame should be attached to him.”
I believe the last time we actually won an Ashes Test in Perth was 1978. That’s why I’m a bit down about it (…and I suppose I always associate it with Thommo and 1974). We didn’t win there even in ’86 (although that was at least a creditable draw) or 2010 (which wasn’t). Our “least worst” match in 2013? Your glass half full attitude is admirable, M’Lud!
Look, the wheels are on!
On, I tell you. Couldn’t be more on. That’s right. On.
I can see the batting firing. I can even imagine a Cook ton, if he gets a start.
Struggling to see England bowling Australia out. Really struggling. Maybe Overton is the second coming of Alec Bedser. Maybe.
Maybe they won’t even pick him.
“They’re not thugs”. Strauss rips up the preceived wisdom since Tricky Dick said “I’m not a crook” and supposedly destroyed his Presidency.
What to do? “Can we get Cooky photographed with something Australian and cuddly? Not a platypus – they’re surprisingly vicious. How about a wombat?”
I didn’t bother commenting at the time of that photo but I think most koala zoos don’t let you touch the animal. They’re sensitive and grumpy creatures and it’s best not to touch them. I’m not an expert on this matter, but a couple of places I’ve been to wouldn’t let us near them, and asked us to speak quietly. But hey, why let animal welfare get in the way of a photo shoot? Presumably they frisked Cook for weapons first.
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Queensland and South Australia still allow it, the other states don’t. I’ve a vague recollection that SA were on about banning it too.