Australia vs. England, 2nd Test Preview (ish)

Well, I believe we’ve covered the extensive fall out from the Brisbane Test, so much so, that I think there is very little to add on that front. In the build up to tomorrow mornings very early Test, we’ve had the shy waif that is James Anderson, complain about bullying and intimidation from the Aussie bowlers, because naturally butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth (just ask Ravi Jadeja). It also gives the Aussies a little more motivation to bowl short at the tail, so cheers Jimmy, way to go. We’ve also had the fun and games of the YJB alleged friendly headbutt, not that any of us has been remotely interested, in what was a complete non-story (save watching Director Comma squirm a bit).

There are rumours that Moeen might not be able to bowl with his finger injury, which being reported by the media, means he’ll be a batsman only and that spinning duties will be handed to Joe Root, which rather begs the question around why Mason Crane was called up in the first place. Still it sounds like he should come back with a nice tan at least. As for the make up of the bowling unit, I’d still be surprised if Overton replaces Ball. England are praying and hoping this day/night game allows ample opportunity got the ball to swing even if it’s the kookaburra ball. If not, and the pitch is predicted to be as quick as the Aussies say so, then England’s hopes of an Ashes victory could evaporate before our eyes.

As for us, I’m afraid there won’t be much of a live blog, unless Danny is mental enough to get up at 3:30am to lead the charge. We may well try to post in the morning if any of us fancies an early start on Saturday.

For those watching the game, please do comment below and hopefully one of us will be up early enough to add our own views….

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95 thoughts on “Australia vs. England, 2nd Test Preview (ish)

  1. Tony Bennett December 1, 2017 / 10:12 pm

    I think that if I actually had BT Sport I probably would get up to watch the opening session at least. There’s always something special about the opening session. But I don’t have BT Sport and I really don’t envisage waking up just to listen to TMS. When I do listen to it, I end up wanting to switch off quite quickly, as it such a pale shadow of its former glories – I started off in the late 60s with Arlott, CMJ, Trevor Bailey etc. Say no more.

    I have no idea how this match is going to go. Absolutely none. The traditional England bounce-back may well occur. So in a spirit of optimism I look forward to close of play with England 334-3, and James Vince 186 not out.

    Like

    • Sean B December 1, 2017 / 10:28 pm

      Hi Tony, I do have BT Sport but after a long week at work (and a slightly tiring editorial meet last night, I’m going to have to bow to sleep).

      You’re sum up of TMS as it was then compared to now reminds me of many of the commentary today, how I yearn for a CMJ or a Richie Benaud.

      I don’t quite share your optimism but I’d take that all day long…

      Like

      • Tony Bennett December 1, 2017 / 10:39 pm

        Regarding Richie Benaud, he was simply the greatest exponent of tv commentary. I paraphrase, but his advice to tv commentators should have stood the test of time, but has largely been ignored: “don’t tell the viewer something they can already see on their screen”.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sean B December 1, 2017 / 10:45 pm

          Agree 1000%. Damn I miss Richie…

          Like

  2. Silk December 1, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    In a little over 12 hours (or less than 12 hours, if the side batting first collapse in the two sessions) we’ll know whether the gap between the two sides is narrower that the eventual outcome of the first Test suggested, or not.

    Personally I think this pink ball crap suiting England is, er, crap, and England will simply have to play better. Particularly make it count when passing 40.

    If Ali can’t bowl, England are really stuffed. It’s not that Ali was particularly effective in the first Test, but it will leave them totally reliant of 4 bowlers, at least one of whom (Woakes) has been totally ineffective overseas to date, and one is virtually untried (whether it’s Overton, Crane or Ball). Of course, it’s possible that the ball will swing so violently the spinner won’t come into it. But I doubt it.

    Well shall see. Only a few hours to go…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sean B December 1, 2017 / 10:29 pm

      TBH Silk, I’m pretty much in agreement with everything you’ve said there.

      Like

    • Tony Bennett December 1, 2017 / 10:35 pm

      One does feel that if Ali is indeed not fit, the selection for this match is crucial for the series – and likely to be ballsed up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • man in a barrel December 1, 2017 / 10:48 pm

        I still want them to replace Moeen with Overton so we have 5 right arm fast medium, still better than the attack handed to Gower against Pakistan in 1982(?),which included Robin Jackman, Pringle and Ian Greig! That was the real shit sandwich

        Like

        • Tony Bennett December 1, 2017 / 10:58 pm

          God yes. But the attack for the 1st Test v Australia in 1989 takes the biscuit, if I may mix my biscuit with the shit sandwich (and the skipper was Gower this time too): DeFreitas, Foster, Newport and Pringle. Oh, and Gower invited Australia to bat, whereupon they scored 601-7d (Taylor 136, S Waugh 177, Merv Hughes 71 for Chrissake).

          Liked by 2 people

      • thelegglance December 1, 2017 / 11:00 pm

        I can’t help but feel Moeen will bowl. He did in the nets, and it would hardly be unlike England to exaggerate somewhat.

        Like

        • man in a barrel December 1, 2017 / 11:37 pm

          The laws of physiology might be against you without unorthodox recovery techniques. Skin, under normal conditions, takes time to regenerate, let alone harden

          Like

          • thelegglance December 1, 2017 / 11:49 pm

            Sure, but it’s more about my scepticism in terms of England telling the truth. Though in the sense of keeping Australia unsure, that’s fair enough.

            Like

          • thelegglance December 2, 2017 / 8:53 am

            Oh look, Moeen has bowled 8 overs already…

            Like

  3. Mark December 1, 2017 / 11:15 pm

    Yes, I not going to stay up for the start this time. Instead get up early, and see the evening session.

    I fear the worst after Brisbane. I know that if the ball does swing around England could with Broad and Anderson have one of those magical couple of hours that blows the Aussies away in a single session. It could happen.

    But on form, ( England’s batting looks flakey and their back up bowlers look toothless) this could be embarrasing. Added to that the Aussies have pissed all over Englamd in the so called mind games front.

    While one understands that the cupboard is pretty bare I can’t help thinking that the selectors have left us high and dry. We have no spinner apart from a batsman who spins the ball and has a bad finger, and untried novice who seems to be there to hold the drinks tray and see if his face fits. We have a dearth of fit fast bowlers, and a middle order of left handed batsman facing a good spin bowler. They haven’t thought this through.

    But England have Cook, and Root who if they fire could just give England a sniff. But if the lose here I think the wheels might come off, and if this tour ends in another 5-0 this will be way worse than last time. There will be no KP to blame and no Johnson to claim was unplayable.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus December 1, 2017 / 11:25 pm

      I am off to bed now. Not entirely sure what time it starts!

      Like

    • thelegglance December 1, 2017 / 11:54 pm

      Speaking of mind games, one season our captain told the local paper how he was really disappointed with the standard of the league so far that year. Entire team read that and thought “uh oh”. Every opponent in the county also read it and thought “right then…”

      Let’s just say we weren’t threatening to win the title come September 🙂

      Like

      • Tom December 2, 2017 / 10:16 am

        It’s been a long day but thought I could see live test cricket for the first time few a few months. Cricinfo has been posting a link to watching the test live if you are in the Indian subcontinent. So I used my VPN connection to connect to India and the link sent me to updates about the football world cup draw from a Mexican TV station.

        Sigh. For a moment I thought I might be able to update people here on what I was watching. Unfortunately, all I can do is tell you the Mexican presenter was very excited to learn that Mexico had been matched up with Germany.

        Like

  4. man in a barrel December 1, 2017 / 11:40 pm

    I will tune in as and when. The smart view is disaster. But sometimes miracles happen. Maybe Cook will remember what his bat is there for

    Like

  5. dannycricket December 2, 2017 / 12:36 am

    I was planning on going to sleep early and waking up at 3.30. Unfortunately I woke up after a couple of hours and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I’ve given up on that. I’ve go work tomorrow, so I’ll be lucky to see an hour or so today.

    Like

  6. quebecer December 2, 2017 / 3:10 am

    We won the toss! Excellent.

    Like

  7. quebecer December 2, 2017 / 3:12 am

    And will bowl. Fuck.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. quebecer December 2, 2017 / 3:16 am

    Bit of an admission of selection error in the first test, replacing Ball with Overton now.

    Craig Overton is the type of bowler who will take a lots of wickets, in the County Championship, on early season wickets, especially in Div 2.

    Like

  9. quebecer December 2, 2017 / 3:34 am

    So, just me here then? Think I’ll do a little dance then.

    Dah dah dah dah-dah dah, dah dah dah dah-dah dah, dah dah dah dah-dah dah, daaaah dah dah.

    Shame no one was here to see that.

    Like

      • quebecer December 2, 2017 / 3:58 am

        Should have made sure my dressing gown was properly fastened, I admit.

        Like

        • BoredInAustria December 2, 2017 / 6:27 am

          Be careful of frost bite in the tundra… we dont want you to hurt yourself!
          (And could that be declared as a rain dance?)

          Like

    • Pontiac December 2, 2017 / 4:00 am

      I’m here. In Hollywood Beach, FL on holiday.

      So I might as well be in Quebec….

      Like

      • quebecer December 2, 2017 / 4:05 am

        🙂 there’ll be a few of us there, certainly. Temperatures hovering around zero up here though, so you’re doing alright. Have fun!

        Like

  10. quebecer December 2, 2017 / 3:56 am

    Chances of this going down as one of those catastrophic put the oppo in decisions? Very high.

    Plus, early on, Anderson and Broad being too conservative with their length and the batsmen are leaving the ball knowing it’s going over. They have to be be more aggressive and braver, adjusting to bowl slightly fuller, or this decision to field first will be judged as said catastrophe within the hour.

    Like

    • dlpthomas December 2, 2017 / 4:16 am

      I’ve had to tape the start as the dogs are really quite inflexible when it comes to “walkies”. Yes, bowling first could be a very bad decision.

      Like

  11. quebecer December 2, 2017 / 4:08 am

    Woakes on, not looking any better… I’ll take this unplanned solo effort here to the tenth over, but if theres no improvement (in our bowling), I’m going to bail.

    Like

    • dlpthomas December 2, 2017 / 4:17 am

      The challenge is on for “last man standing” *or more accurately, sitting. Fuck, rain.

      Like

  12. quebecer December 2, 2017 / 4:20 am

    Well, after a sterling effort from me, not in any way matched by our bowlers, now with rain falling, my bailing is confirmed. Did my best, but will go to bed safe in the knowledge we still have Craig Overton up our sleeve.

    Merci, bonsoir.

    Like

  13. dlpthomas December 2, 2017 / 4:28 am

    Win the toss and bowl because it is going to swing and then bowl too short. Hmmmm.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pontiac December 2, 2017 / 4:46 am

    Bowling too short. Lights are on at 1510PM local.

    Anderson and Broad are cheap, Woakes spendy.

    There’s south Florida weather going on – 15 whole deliveries and it’s got passingly moist again. Not the downpour type – the passing spritz type.

    The one time I saw a day of cricket at the Oval (Essex. Cook looked… disengaged!) they came off for a shower where it was clear to anyone who looked up at the sky that it would stop in about one minute. (which it did). A spectator stood up and yelled at the top of his lungs: ‘RUBBISH!’ There was applause.

    Like

  15. Pontiac December 2, 2017 / 5:31 am

    I suppose the notion was behind bowling first is that one will be able to wrap up matters or at least break a partnership with the second new ball. Wait.. if one is bowling first one shouldn’t expect to be using the second new ball at all. So perhaps the notion is that it is reverse swing with an old ball all beaten up by the purportedly ‘thatchy’ wicket?

    Whatever the theory was – in practice it’ll be unlikely to get to over huitante today, especialy England aren’t really going to get much spinning done.

    Hokey pokey, covers and sprinkles. Early tea. ‘A chilly 17 degrees.’ C’mon, man.

    Why is it that with the new ball opening bowlers don’t bowl so that it is at least possible that they might hit the stumps? (afraid of getting scored on? hopefully that isn’t so.)

    So: probably 10-15 overs lost.

    Yeens gonna snooz.

    Like

  16. Scrim December 2, 2017 / 5:43 am

    Woke up to BT showing highlights of Adelaide 2010. There was discussion here earlier about terrible spinners of the early 90s for England. I take your terrible spinners and raise you terrible Australian spinners of the post-Warne era.

    Xavier Doherty, ugh.

    Like

  17. dlpthomas December 2, 2017 / 5:51 am

    Still raining and Channel 9 are showing highlights from Adelaide 2006/7. A good host would show Headingley 1981.

    Like

  18. Rooto December 2, 2017 / 5:52 am

    Shiny Toy on TMS talking about a new, er, shiny toy – the Channel 9 Pitch Master, or whatever it’s called. Used various parameters just to tell us what most people’s eyes were already telling them: dry pitch, have a bat.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. BoredInAustria December 2, 2017 / 6:34 am

    Just got up in an icy Vienna.

    And the English bowlers, having decided that England will field in 17 degrees, manages to take a wicket …. Woakes hitting the stumps … from mid-off after a misfield by Moeen and Bankroft is run out.

    33/1

    I bet Moeen’s finger is enjoying the cold.

    Like

  20. dlpthomas December 2, 2017 / 7:29 am

    50 runs partnership between Khawaja and Warner. Ali getting a bit of drift but no turn whilst the quicks look steady but unthreatening. This could get ugly.

    Like

  21. dlpthomas December 2, 2017 / 7:32 am

    Woakes!!

    Like

  22. Silk December 2, 2017 / 7:42 am

    Warner gone. Which is bad for England. Not so much because Smith is now in, but rather because Warner threw it away again. Which means his focus second dig will be absolutely, er, focused.

    Agnew and Shiny Toy wetting themselves because ‘polite’ England have started sledging Smith. Hypocrisy is staggering.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dlpthomas December 2, 2017 / 7:43 am

      I’d like to know what Broad said to upset Smith – very chatty out there.

      Like

      • Silk December 2, 2017 / 7:53 am

        Thankfully Vaughan and Agnew have left the commentary box. I was beginning to shout at the radio.

        Simon Mann, thankfully, is a grown up.

        Very interesting part of the game here. Smith doesn’t seem particularly secure. Khawaja, it seems to me, could play a poor shot at any time. Broad bowling well.

        Woakes sounds absolutely toothless.

        Like

        • thelegglance December 2, 2017 / 9:05 am

          Simon Mann is the Mister Dependable of TMS. Not flashy, never appears in hagiographies, but doesn’t piss people off, and quite clearly gets fed up with Swann’s “bantz”

          Liked by 1 person

  23. dlpthomas December 2, 2017 / 8:03 am

    You were right about Khawaja but the catch is dropped on the boundary by Stoneman. Then Smith spanks a boundary.

    Like

  24. dlpthomas December 2, 2017 / 8:07 am

    Record crowd for a days play at the Adelaide oval

    Like

  25. Sri. Grins December 2, 2017 / 9:07 am

    Looks like batsmen scoring at great speed in the other two tests with a 71 ball 100 for grandhomme and virat going at almost a run a ball for 94*.

    The Adelaide match is a lot like the gabba one with Oz showing respect to Anderson and broad and hoping to make runs at a better pace from the rest. Tougher to bat on certainly.

    Does not look currently like a pitch with a lot of demons in it. I think England should do well when it is their turn to bat if they stay calm and don’t allow themselves to be mentally disintegrated by the smart aussies.

    Like

  26. Rooto December 2, 2017 / 9:17 am

    So, what are the chances that the cold temperature means England don’t get any swing in this last session?

    Like

  27. Sri.Grins December 2, 2017 / 9:41 am

    khawaja gone. Kohli scores 20th century. Last 6 50+ scores in Tests: 235, 204, 103*, 104*, 213, 105* (batting)

    Like

    • Sri.Grins December 2, 2017 / 12:40 pm

      Make that last innings 156*. Amazing ability to focus on scoring centuries. Of course, the conditions suit him.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 1:53 pm

        He doesn’t need to do it in England to confirm his greatness, because that would be stupid. But it is going to be really interesting to see if he disposes of those 2014 memories when India tour next year.

        Doesn’t Pujara still average more than him in tests? 🙂 (chekced – he’s just overtaken him with this red-ink score)

        Like

        • Sri.Grins December 2, 2017 / 3:34 pm

          Pujara has a question mark on him in away tests. Virat doesn’t except in England. So, though Pujara scores heavily in India, the away average is far lower.

          Virat suddenly seems to have discovered a different gear at home.

          However, as you mentioned I would still class him as a very good batsman like Cook and not yet like sachin and sunny.

          Once he does well in England, then I will rate him higher because he would have performed in all test countries then.

          So Indian fans are looking forward to Kohli doing well in England. But, the worry is if Anderson and Broad will be as brilliant as they were in England in the last 1-2 years or whether they would turn out to be like Sachin / Laxman etc were in England in 2011.

          Like

          • Sri.Grins December 2, 2017 / 4:23 pm

            Checked cricinfo and confirmed.

            Che away average is 38+, virat 45+ and Rahane 53+

            Che and virat at 63+ at home. Rahane going through a nightmare run currently and averaging a measy 34+ at home.

            Indian pitches are roads only to batsmen who know how to play spin well. Rahane strangely has a lot of weakness against spin.

            Like

  28. Silk December 2, 2017 / 9:48 am

    Very English performance by Australia so far. 3 batsmen out, largely due to lapse in concentration.

    Khwaja is never really in, is he?

    Like

    • Sri.Grins December 2, 2017 / 10:09 am

      He doesn’t seem as impressive as made out to be. Still quite a distance to go despite the scores he ha made in Oz. Oz still seem to be basically SMITHHHHHHHHHHH followed by WARNer. 🙂

      Like

      • BoredInAustria December 2, 2017 / 10:38 am

        Smith and Warner.
        Sound like a wild west six shooter.

        Like

  29. LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 10:37 am

    Morning all. No, I’ve not just woken up, but I missed most of the play as had things to do this morning.

    I did wake up at about 3 am, but frankly, I needed a ton of sleep. Sorry.

    171 for 4 would be great if they had chosen to bat. As it is, putting them in I think we needed to have a few more down.

    As I switch on, here comes Lovejoy……

    Like

    • Sri.Grins December 2, 2017 / 11:09 am

      🙂 You are very ambitious in your expectations . 171/4 is a score I think many english fans would be quite happy to take with smith and warner back. overton has got smith and probably justified his selection. 🙂

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 1:43 pm

        Adelaide, as far as I have always thought, has been a bat first wicket. The classic if it is overcast, or so on, think about inserting the opposition, but then bat. Yes it doesn’t always hold (MCG 2010, Trent Bridge 2015), and yes there’s something new with the day night test. I thought it was incorrect at the time, and I’m sticking to it.

        But you were right – four down wasn’t bad. I just think you should get more if you insert. It almost has to be a “no-brainer”.

        Like

  30. Silk December 2, 2017 / 11:33 am

    First two balls of the final over of the day, with a brand new ball, have swung in opposite directions.

    Like

  31. Silk December 2, 2017 / 11:37 am

    Australia’s day. Clearly. Chance for England’s bowlers to make amends with new ball tomorrow. If Australia make it through the first 40 overs tomorrow, you fear for England in the second half of the day.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 1:40 pm

      I’ll be polite because I have all due respect for those who take the time to comment on here.

      A week ago we were 196 for 4 at the end of Day 1 at Brisbane. Sure, we weren’t disappointed, but we weren’t exactly saying “we are well on top” here. Today, that looked like a classic, if a touch slow, Adelaide surface to me. People are looking for demons where there don’t appear to be any. 200 for 4 is par for the course and neither of their best two players made a ton. England have work to do, but you always have work to do at Adelaide. It’s a tough wicket to get wickets on. Nearly always has been. What we should be remarking upon is how much bollocks the experts who are paid a ton have spoken about the conditions.

      Australia didn’t exactly look as though were struggling because of the lights. Handscomb looked a bit iffy because he looks a bit iffy!

      Like

      • Silk December 2, 2017 / 2:04 pm

        I take the point, in that if Australia had won the toss and elected to bat, I’d be delighted with 200-4.

        But it does seem to me to be harder to bat towards the end of the day. The new ball swung, appreciably in the last over which Anderson bowled.

        Also, conditions did favour England. Rain breaks always favours the bowling team (I think), and the conditions were made for swing bowling. So, having been put into bat, in conditions which did not make for easy batting, on a pitch which seems very hard to score on, I think Australia will be very pleased.

        Like I said, England can make amends for a poor first hour today (and it was poor), by bowling well with the new ball tomorrow. Oddly enough, they got the wickets of Bancroft, Warner and Khawaja without actually bowling well, then bowled a lot better but only got Smith. Them’s the breaks, I guess.

        I stand by what I said. I don’t think England will enjoy batting in the last session tomorrow. Therefore getting early wickets is very important (which is hardly dazzling insight, I admit).

        I should, of course, caveat all this by pointing out that virtually every prediction I’ve ever made about cricket turned out to be wrong. So what do I know?

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 2:26 pm

          Silk,

          No problem in your interpretation. I can’t deny people the right to see the game differently to me. We remark at every editorial drinks session board meeting that we want to see people disagree, but what we must not ever do is write something to actively get that disagreement out. You have to be honest to yourself.

          What we are getting from the punditerati, and their jobbing followers on Twitter, is, in my opinion, doing it to get disagreement, then picking those who attack the messenger (who in the case of Shiny Toy deserves it) to say how right they are.

          I think 200 for 4 is not a position of towering strength, but it also doesn’t mean Australia won’t win comfortably. We are seeing hopes deliberately suppressed for this English team to protect certain people. I always think Vaughan has an angle (more of that later). I didn’t see the early exchanges, and thus you are in a better position than me to judge. Hence why we enjoy such insight (well I do).

          That last para is the sort of self-effacing nonsense I try on. Don’t nick my routine!

          Like

  32. Benny December 2, 2017 / 12:19 pm

    My wife has given me a stinker of a cold so I was dead to the world overnight. Crawled out of bed to catch the last hour. Saw Anderson not bowling dangerously – 79 mph !!!!!

    I reckon 209 -4 is not bad considering you wouldn’t normally think that Aus have a lot of batting talent left to come.

    Suggest a career with the Muppet Show beckons for Lovejoy

    Like

  33. man in a barrel December 2, 2017 / 12:26 pm

    Broad looked in pain towards the end of play. Anderson seriously down on pace too. Woakes expensive. Ten overs for Moeen while Anderson and Broad did about 20 each. A few problems for Root managing this attack.

    Like

    • thelegglance December 2, 2017 / 12:43 pm

      Mmm, Broad looked more pissed off with his bowling than in pain to me. But who knows.

      Like

  34. LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 1:32 pm

    I’ve had it up to here with the Twitterati. Jesus H Christ. 200 for 4 at Adelaide is honours even unless there’s something funky going on, which in the hour I watched it wasn’t. Any other interpretation is based on the relative perceptions of the strength of the two teams. England fans think we’re not up to it, ergo we have had a bad day because Australia are not 200 all out. If we are batting at 200 for 4 on this wicket, do you think we will be crowing about how great a day we’ve had? Of course not. We’d be all over Twitter saying how it was honours even, now we need a big innings from so and so now…. One test match of a poor lower order and we are now dead certs to be rolled each time.

    Let the game breathe. England were 295 for 4 in 2002 and we all thought we were behind in the game because of the strength of the Aussie batting and that Vaughan was dismissed last ball of the day. In 2006 England were 266 for 3 and the Aussie media were saying we’d had a bad day due to slow scoring.

    You know it’s annoying when someone comes up to you, who knows nothing about cricket, and in the middle of the test asks “who is winning?” Twitter, and especially Shiny Toy, is full of it. Stop.

    If we thought these were two equally matched teams, we’d be saying the game is in the balance. The first might not be true, and it’s why we play the series, while the second is true. If we go on to get battered, it isn’t because of this, it is because we can’t bat for toffee.

    At fucking simmering point with this nonsense.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 2:08 pm

    I’ve also noticed that the subject of Cook’s place in the cricketing firmament is being debated again.

    You don’t make 11000 runs if you are a muppet. Cook is not a muppet with the bat. Don’t contend that people like me think he is. Wilful misrepresentation.

    You cannot ignore that his stats against better teams are not as good as they are against others, and especially those with acknowledged good pace attacks (Australia and South Africa). If cricket had a Hall of Fame for the very top, top class players, Cook would be enshrined in the Hall of the Very Good. I don’t think anything I’ve ever said would be contrary to this.

    He has had runs of poor form, and whereas others were vilified by the media, in his case it was the only time I can honestly say I’ve seen the media actively look for any sign of a green shoot. That 95 at Southampton was Exhibit A. It was a horrible, scratchy knock of a man out of form. Respected pundits (Athers) said he “was back to somewhere near his best”. We remember 2010/11, Athers and others, and knew what it looked like. It looked like his 162 at Lord’s in 2015.

    If you contend Cook is useless, then you defend that. If you think he’s up there with the pantheon of greats, well then even his biggest fans (the media, the writers) don’t think that when asked honestly (see the Cricketer poll).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Silk December 2, 2017 / 2:26 pm

      He’ll never have a better chance than this series to address those (including me) who see his weakness against good quick bowling as placing him, like you rightly said, in the Very Good camp.

      Unfortunately for Cook and England, I can’t see it happening at this stage of his career. (But see not above about me being wrong about everything).

      Like

    • nonoxcol December 2, 2017 / 4:29 pm

      Assume you have read the Gideon Haigh article linked by Tregaskis?

      Interesting little anecdote re Hussey that runs somewhat counter to the usual English narrative….

      Like

        • nonoxcol December 2, 2017 / 5:27 pm

          Personal milestones don’t mean anything to Alastair, he’s a team man.

          Like

        • Silk December 2, 2017 / 5:47 pm

          Haigh writes dispassionately and accurately. It’s a very fine article highlighting strengths and weaknesses, and what they mean for Cook at this stage of his career.

          But he (Haigh) has a significant advantage. He’s not English. So his analysis is free of all the baggage that comes when an English journalist writes about the same subject.

          Setting Cook up as the epitome of an English cricketer did not neither Cook, nor the rest of the side, any favours at all

          Liked by 1 person

          • nonoxcol December 2, 2017 / 5:57 pm

            This has always been the essence of my main objection, of course. It started for me when Selvey put him in his lifetime best England Ashes side ahead of Boycott, based (then) on one great series out of three. And my word it snowballed from there.

            Like

          • LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 6:40 pm

            It’s no more, no less than someone analysing the data beneath the numbers to come to a conclusion. Cook has been a mainstay of a world class side for a decent part of his career. He was, though, cossetted by the media. It will be interesting to see what happens to Root if this tour goes the same way as 2013-14 and whether the press will be as understanding. I’ll bet Bayliss doesn’t get the same magic carpet as Flower!

            Like

          • Deep Purple Fred December 2, 2017 / 6:35 pm

            So an English journalist can’t write dispassionately? Objectively? That’s quite a concession, if that’s what you mean.

            Like

  36. LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 2:29 pm

    Not sure if it’s me, but isn’t everything Shiny Toy says just getting on your nerves. I keep thinking “what is your angle”. Like if we lose 5-0 he can come riding in to the ECB as a white knight…..

    When they ran through the wickets and he says “good catch by James Vince”, I thought back to the time in Vince’s first go around about how the Toy went on about his fielding.

    Dan Liebke’s point is so far off the mark on Twitter he might as well be on Saturn.

    Like

  37. man in a barrel December 2, 2017 / 2:46 pm

    If England can hold Australia to something around 300, then the game is set up well. The 2 guys at the crease are flaky and there is not much to come. But it does seem to depend too much on Anderson and Broad. Those guys should not be bowling the bulk of the overs. But, a good new ball spell from Anderson, if he has the puff, could be key to the match

    Like

  38. SimonH December 2, 2017 / 4:06 pm

    What’s a good score here? The usual cliche is we’ll have more of an idea when both sides have bowled….

    But trying to find some guide before then, my 2p worth is that pre-D/N Adelaide records don’t mean very much. The game has been changed – not so much by the lights or the ball IMO but by the amount of grass they leave on the wicket now.

    The trouble with the D/N matches is that the sample size is so small. However looking at what we have, there are six completed innings in the two D/N Tests (I’m taking SA’s 259/9d as a completed innings) and five of them were between 202 and 259. The only score above 259 was Australia’s 383 last year and two points about that are: 1) SA had won the series and may have unconsciously eased up, and 2) SA crazily dropped Maharaj and played Shamsi who’s more of a one-day bowler and was totally ineffective.

    The big wild card, which I haven’t seen anywhere but I started watching after lunch and would have missed it if it was mentioned at the start, is what the groundsman did with his rotor blades. Lifting them by a reported 2mms raised the scoring last year compared to the year before (from 200 to 250 for the visitors and from 220 to 380 for the home team). However if the groundsman hasn’t done much different then such history as we have would suggest Australia are above par (if not massively).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Silk December 2, 2017 / 4:32 pm

      No idea. But pitch is slow and hard to score on. Batsmen don’t seem to get ‘in’. If Australia make 300 they’ll be pretty happy, I think they’d be ecstatic with 350+.

      Then England will score 600 in 5 sessions and win the game.

      Like

      • SimonH December 2, 2017 / 5:27 pm

        The scorecard does seem to suggest that the batsman can cop an ‘out’ ball at any time. Khawaja was out to a bit of post-break doziness but Warner and Smith both got balls that moved considerably.

        All the talk about swing pre-match also rather obscured the truth that in both D/N matches it was more seam movement that took wickets as the ball grips the grass.

        Like

  39. Mark December 2, 2017 / 4:12 pm

    My view about putting sides in is that you either want to bowl them out for under 250 (preferably 200) or in the event you think the pitch will flatten out into a belter on days 2/3 then you might except a score less than 300.

    That assumes of course you are confident your own batting line up will score 450 on days 2/3. I’m not confident England will score 450 on any surface. Australia are already well on their way to a score of 300+ which rather suggest to me England have missed the boat. They have one chance tomorrow with the new ball or they are under pressure. England so far in this series have seen their bowlers become less potent as the game goes on.

    In addition, if you put a side into bat it means the likely reality is that you will bat last. I have little to no confidence of England batting well under pressure in the 4th innings.

    Was this a bold choice born out of confidence of bowling Aus out cheaply? Or a decision made out of weakness, and fear of exposing your batsman to the oppositions attack?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Silk December 2, 2017 / 4:34 pm

      I think Root made a not unreasonable call given the synoptic conditions, forecast and his bowling attack.

      Unfortunately his bowlers didn’t back his decision up, but they have another chance before tea tomorrow.

      Like

  40. man in a barrel December 2, 2017 / 5:55 pm

    There doesn’t seem to be much threat of rain, so play should end before noon UK time

    Like

  41. Deep Purple Fred December 2, 2017 / 6:21 pm

    4/200 is neither here nor there. It is utterly inconclusive, it’s just the opening volleys in a battle. Nothing has been proven today. Anyone who draws conclusions is either an idiot, doing it for fun, or getting paid to do it and so needs to say something.
    I don’t have much doubt Australia will win, and 5-0 is looming, as I don’t think this team has what it takes to win in Australia, but nothing was decided today.
    The media has been so utterly obsessed with Smith, but there is some other talent in the team too. Australia is entirely capable of winning with nothing more than 40 from Smith.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 6:37 pm

      Nothing turns me off a “pundit” who says “I am paid to have an opinion”.

      It’s gobshite-central.

      For the vast part of your paid day, Mr Shiny Toy Vaughan, you are required to describe the action to us, analyse what you see, and if you have any valuable insight into the proceedings, all well and good, more strings to your bow. The last part is BY FAR the smallest part of your remit. We want, well I do, professional broadcasters, not someone who wants to provoke debate. If debate needs to be provoked, you are not better than Robbie Savage, or most of the denizens of Talk Sport.

      So, Fred, your opening salvo is applauded here. Let the game breathe, let the ebb flow and the flow ebb. Don’t think getting “ahead of the game” is expressing opinion. It’s Shiny Toy being the me me me me.

      Like

      • Deep Purple Fred December 2, 2017 / 7:12 pm

        I saw a bit of the coverage today glimpsed between other things, including a panel during lunch with Boycott, Ponting, Vaughan, and a couple of others I forget, hosted by some guy I don’t know, he asked them what one thing they would change in test cricket. They made various comments which were more or less interesting: Ponting said nothing but green seamers and dust bowls so bowlers get more opportunity. Vaughan said we need a bit of colour on the shirts, along with names and numbers. Everyone has a number. Then he looked at the host like he’d just delivered a profound vision into the future. WTF? He get paid for that?
        So yes, there is pressure on these people to say interesting and provocative things. Unfortunately most of them succumb to that pressure, even if they have nothing interesting to say.
        For all his sins, Boycott’s alright.

        Like

    • Mark December 2, 2017 / 10:13 pm

      I guess I must be an idiot then according to you. I’m certainly not being paid to give my opinion.

      Now you may be right and England may go on to win. However, based on what I have seen of this team I suspect that England are in trouble after only one day. The reason?

      Very simple. England struggle away from home against good attacks to score much more than 300 per innings. Plus…. they will bat last, and I would not back them to score much more than 200 to win under pressure.

      Bizarrely after saying anyone who thinks so is an idiot you then tell us that you expect Aus to win and 5-0 is looming. So at the end of the day you actualy agree with us idiots!

      Like

  42. Deep Purple Fred December 2, 2017 / 6:32 pm

    I wasn’t around to see Quebecers dance but I caught it on the highlight reel. You better get that dressing gown sorted out son, bloody hell. In your defence, it is pretty cold up there.
    But good on you for providing commentary when the rest of the world is otherwise indisposed. It’s a hell of a time to start a test match.

    Like

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