Australia vs England: 2nd Test, Day One

It seems to be a tradition these days to make definitive statements after the opening salvos as to who is on top and which way a game is going.  It’s obviously somewhat dull and trying to repeat almost every game that at this stage no one really knows who has the upper hand, but it’s nevertheless still true much of the time, and it’s true here too.  209-4 is a nothing sort of score that could be a good foundation, or it could fall away to as little as 250 depending on how the “crucial” (yes, again) first session goes.

Of course, if you put a side in to bat, you’re hoping for better, but this was a marginal decision either way, and it’s at least possible Australia would have batted anyway, in which case they’d hardly be shouting their delight from the rooftops at this point, particularly when the two most obviously dangerous batsmen – Warner and Smith – are already back in the hutch.

England took only four wickets, one of them a run out,  but they also maintained decent control, with Australia managing only 2.5 runs an over.  Clearly the Australian media will be piling into their batsmen for being negative.  Then again perhaps not.  England definitely bowled poorly early on, and given the limited shelf life of the Kookaburra ball, red or pink, they probably threw away their best chance of making serious early inroads.  It’s an age old story of England bowlers being at their most effective when they pitch it up and keep it tight on off stump, yet instead bang it in short and wide.  Given the 900 Test wickets between the two attack leaders, it is ever the most inexplicable weakness of England in the field.

Post rain break they were much better, forcing the batsmen to play, and inviting them to drive rather more often, and thus looking vastly more dangerous.  England lacked a little luck, beating the bat often, turning around Smith in the crease before, finally, taking wickets.  They could easily have had more too; Marsh looked reasonably secure late on, but Handscomb led a charmed life, and it is immensely to his credit he survived to the close while looking all at sea.

There is some swing, but not a prodigious amount, and there is some lateral movement, but it’s not jagging about by any means – in other words, a not untypical Adelaide wicket.  England have slightly missed an opportunity to really put a dent in Australia, but they’ve not had an appalling day, and a good one tomorrow will put them in a strong position.

It was highly noticeable that England piled in to Australia verbally all day.  Good on them too, Australia have been quick to sledge England both on and off the field, so England giving it back is exactly the right approach, and one the hosts shouldn’t be surprised at.  It indicates that England have been genuinely annoyed by how much has come their way.  It may yet become unedifying, but unless England are to supinely accept the so called banter that’s intended to undermine them then this is exactly what’s going to happen.  Any handwringing about it should have happened at Brisbane, and since it appeared to cause Smith some discomfort, more will unquestionably follow.

The new ball is only one over old.  England do need to strike early, and strike hard, but they are quite capable of doing that, and if they do then Australia will find themselves under pressure.  That’s not being over-optimistic, it’s a recognition that England’s position is far from the disastrous one some would have people believe.  

It’s game on, and it’s fairly even.  It could have been better, but it could have been worse.  Test cricket: it’s not played over one day.

Day Two Comments from all Insomniacs Below

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79 thoughts on “Australia vs England: 2nd Test, Day One

  1. oreston December 2, 2017 / 6:49 pm

    Must admit to being here under slightly false pretences as I didn’t catch any of the first days’ play (I won’t be able stay up tonight either). A report like this (from editors we’ve learned to trust) is therefore invaluable – you stay awake so some of us don’t have to 🙂
    Dispatching the tail cheaply is of course not England’s speciality. Still, a couple of early breakthroughs and who knows?
    In the meantime, evenly balanced is just how I prefer a Test match to be at this early stage. Not perhaps a fashionable view in these times of instant gratification, when the fizzy, sugary, Tartrazine rush of T20 is all the rage, but that’s not my problem. I’d rather savour a long format game like a large glass of fine malt Scotch – ultimately much more rewarding and without the unpleasant come down. Let’s enjoy five day Tests while we can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Benny December 2, 2017 / 7:12 pm

      Agree with every word. Test cricket is at its best when it’s a battle and so far this Ashes is a battle, apart from Aussies’ fourth innings recently.

      I don’t know who won the first day. I don’t think it’s relevant. If I were a pundit, I’d reply to the inevitable presenter’s question with “no idea. What does it matter?”

      The 3.30 start doesn’t suit me so I guess I’ll be waking up tomorrow to see what I missed – a Cook hundred? Noooooo

      Like

      • Silk December 2, 2017 / 7:43 pm

        Cook isn’t going to score a hundred in 2 sessions on this deck. What time do you get up?

        Liked by 1 person

        • oreston December 2, 2017 / 11:53 pm

          “Cook” and “century” are not words often found in the same sentence in match reports these days. One day soon it may stop being a thought crime to make that observation.

          Like

  2. Silk December 2, 2017 / 7:38 pm

    I don’t like sledging. I think it diminishes the game. I think that some of the things McGrath, to pick a name at random, said on the field tarnish an otherwise brilliant career.

    I stand by my comment earlier that it was Australia’s day. That is not to say I disagree with the article, nor with dimitri’s comments earlier. Since no one can say what will happen in the first hour tomorrow, the game is in the balance.

    But if you win the toss, the conditions are far more like ‘home’ and there are rain delays (which tend, in my view, to favour the bowling side) and you only take 4 wickets, it’s not a great result. (I’d be delighted if England had made had made 200-4 having lost the toss).

    It’s up to the England bowlers to do tomorrow morning/afternoon what they failed to do earlier today /yesterday, and get the ball on the right length.

    If they do that they could take a firm grip on the game. If not Australia could.

    Whoever knows?

    Like

    • thelegglance December 2, 2017 / 7:40 pm

      You can disagree with anything and everything as much as you like! Don’t ever think you can’t, please!

      Like

      • Silk December 2, 2017 / 7:53 pm

        Oh, I’m also changing style. Dimitri told me he’s got “self deprecation” tied up. So, do I go with Boycott (I’m always right, even when I’m wrong) or Botham (as consistent as curds and whey)?

        My inner-city Boycott says “Handscombe and Marsh are rubbish and will go early tomorrow’. My inner Botham says the same.

        If I’m wrong, the Boycott claims it’s because England bowled crap, while Botham insists he’d always known these two would cause us trouble.

        But whinchat approach to take?

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 8:14 pm

          Silk lays it down. Magnificent about the two Bs….

          Be yourself sir. As always.

          Like

      • LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 8:16 pm

        With TLG. Sorry you were the one picked out, as the collateral damage, from Michael Bloody Vaughan!

        Like

  3. Mark December 2, 2017 / 10:21 pm

    I agree with Silk because I don’t have any confidence in England’s batting. England may knock over Aus for say 275. Which might be good if, and it’s a big if they can be relied on to make 350/400

    Happy to be proved wrong.

    Oh, and why yet again do our opening bowlers with 800 wickets between them find it impossible to hit the right lengths? It has happened too often to be put down to a bad day at the office. Too short on this pitch in these conditions is unprofessional.

    Like

    • OscarDaBosca December 2, 2017 / 11:22 pm

      It is somewhat disturbing that I’m an amateur and I can see that they were bowling too short, all of the commentary team could see they were bowling too short, yet until the rain break they continued to bowl it too short.

      This has happened for years, always Broad and Anderson opening and I would suggest it happens at least once a series.

      Of course it also appears to coincide with them utilising the 2nd new ball more effectively in the same innings, and I half expect to wake up tomorrow to England batting (obviously 2 down) having disposed of Australia for about 260odd.

      Of course the realist thinks I’ll get up with Australia 6 down for 350

      Like

      • Silk December 3, 2017 / 7:44 am

        This morning they (except for Broad) bowled to short. As a result Australia have now passed 400.

        Like

        • OscarDaBosca December 3, 2017 / 8:20 am

          Ffs

          Why can they not pitch it up???

          Like

    • quebecer December 3, 2017 / 12:09 am

      Hi Mark. I thought Broad adjusted reasonably quickly, but there was something up with Jimmy. I don’t know. He didn’t look right to me from the get go. I’m just saying there might be more to it than just an inability to hit the right length.

      Like

  4. LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 11:12 pm

    Holt interviews KP

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-5139843/Kevin-Pieteresen-Stokes-shouldnt-Ashes-Tour.html

    Not a lot to get your teeth into except, perhaps, this…

    Pietersen is more sympathetic towards Bairstow, although, like Bancroft, puzzled by his chosen mode of greeting. ‘I am still trying to find out how you greet someone with a head-butt,’ he says. ‘I love Jonny Bairstow but I think he’s got a lot of insecurities.
    ‘He wasn’t treated fairly by England’s senior players at all when he came into the team as a youngster. He was properly put under the cosh. They were always taking the p**s out of him. He was targeted by some of the senior players so maybe he is trying to be over-friendly. I don’t know. I wasn’t there.’

    Like

      • thelegglance December 3, 2017 / 1:19 am

        Pietersen’s interview is the usual mix of insightful and bullshit.

        Like

          • thelegglance December 3, 2017 / 1:33 am

            Bullshit with ability is always hard to deal with. But worth the effort.

            Like

        • Sri. Grins December 3, 2017 / 1:58 am

          I don’t know. It seemed pretty decent except for his claim that he could make runs better than the existing team against Oz but that’s his confidence in himself speaking and can’t be called BS.

          Like

    • Silk December 3, 2017 / 7:47 am

      Bairstow lost his father to suicide as a child. What kind of prick thinks taking the piss out of him as an adult, in the workplace, is acceptable?

      He does not need pity. He should be treated with respect, whatever age he is.

      Like

      • Silk December 3, 2017 / 7:48 am

        This story makes me really fucking angry. Was Downton or Strauss in charge at that point? The senior players are fucking arseholes.

        Like

    • OscarDaBosca December 3, 2017 / 8:36 am

      Just read it.
      The comment about don’t swear in public is a nice zinger and he is right about Strauss and it being totally “Director,”s decision.
      As I have said before, my own view is innocent until proven guilt and one’s liberty to earn a living shouldn’t be jeopardised until such time.
      Director, knows better than I, the CPS and all others and has already made the decision.
      I am sure it was in this esteemed blog a few years ago it was mentioned that the knives would be out for Stokes because his face didn’t fit and so it has proved, because regardless of whether he is charged, or convicted, he has already been so by the ECB.

      Anyway I’ve just got up and I’m not sure I want to even watch the evening session. If I was Smith I would put us in because I would expect us 4 down by the close

      Like

  5. LordCanisLupus December 2, 2017 / 11:40 pm

    Tom Blundell completes a century on debut after a painful period through the 90s. Poor Trent Boult put through all that….

    Like

  6. quebecer December 3, 2017 / 12:35 am

    Weird days play yesterday. 200-4 isn’t really anything of a score either way, but Silk’s position regarding fielding first is pretty defensible. You don’t insert the opposition unless it’s for real advantage; you don’t do it and feel happy with honours even on Day 1. Accepted wisdoms often say putting the oppo in means getting them out for under 200 preferably, and certainly under 250, regardless of conditions. It has to be about that, given the problems of batting last on most pitches. It’s hard not to think England’s advantage in putting Australia in has already gone.

    However, this is a bit of a strange test. The best conditions to bat will probably be coming up later on day two and day 3, and it all depends on whether England can get 400+, but then again, it usually does no matter who bats first or who wins the toss.

    Personally, I don’t think the risk/reward was worth it to insert the Aussies.

    P.S. Another problem is that if we lose Root is going to look bad for doing it, even if the result would have been the same had we batted. This is obvious, I know, but Root looked quite jittery at the crease in the 1st test, and heaping extra pressure and scrutiny on him is something I think he (and England as a team, given how much reliance there is on his batting) could do without.

    Like

    • thelegglance December 3, 2017 / 1:16 am

      I’ll just posit this point: is putting the opposition in a mistake if it was based on the seam attack not bowling like diseased camels? Is it the right call, but badly executed? How can we tell? If England lose, does it follow the call is wrong, or that the team made a right Horlicks of a correct decision?

      Liked by 1 person

      • quebecer December 3, 2017 / 1:41 am

        Oh I get you, which is why I said it is going to “look” like the wrong call without victory.

        My disagreement with it was purely weighing up risk/reward in terms of possible advantage on day 1 to disadvantage later on. In this case, I personally didn’t see enough advantage.

        To be honest, i’m also wondering if Jimmy is 100% and if not, they would have known that. Add a third seamer without any form or rhythm and a debutant? I’d have gone for runs on the board first, because there was no way that track was being considered a minefield before play.

        I do appreciate the positive and aggressive move though, and in this test I don’t think it’s as bad a decision as all that, and possibly simply a marginal one. It’s just one where at the time i would stuck rather than twist (and save that for the dancing).

        Like

        • thelegglance December 3, 2017 / 1:45 am

          I guess what I’m saying is that outcome drives the reaction. England could have bowled better and had Australia 150 all out without too much of a stretch of imagination. And then everyone would be saying what a great, brave decision it was. Hussain’s call in 2002 wasn’t exactly helped by England’s bowling being appalling (plus an injury). But who remembers that now?

          Like

          • quebecer December 3, 2017 / 1:52 am

            Well, it is a bit of stretch, old thing…

            I’m not disagreeing with you that much and I also have the tundra luxury of ignoring 95% of the press and 100% of the twitterverse, so ‘reactions’ aren’t as important to me as, say, digging the car out of the snow in the morning to take my kids to ice hockey practice.

            Like

          • thelegglance December 3, 2017 / 1:54 am

            Idly musing rather than anything else 😉 I’ve actually always been tempted to write a day review saying “I have no bloody clue who is winning, no bloody clue where this match is going, and no bloody clue if that’s a good score or not” and just leave it there!

            Like

      • Mark December 3, 2017 / 2:01 am

        Interesting philosophical question. To put a side in one assumes that Root has confidence in his bowling attack. But does he have confidence in his entire attack or just in Broad and Anderson? If so it seems a reckless gamble in the hope that those two bowlers would knock over the Australian top order by lunch…. 80/5….say…..hoping to bowl them out just after tea for 180 odd.

        Also….. putting a side into bat must be balanced by knowing you will bat last. The hope is you bowl them out cheaply, and then build up a large lead which you can then have a small total to chase the last innings. Englands batting is so flakey it’s not guaranteed that they will be relied on to score a good total.

        If England lose this match they will have won both tosses so far. Batted first in Brisbane and lost, and inserted Aus in this test. Perhaps…..they are just not very good? And or the toss is meaningless.

        Like

  7. Pontiac December 3, 2017 / 3:13 am

    Well, Broad got his.

    Like

    • quebecer December 3, 2017 / 3:18 am

      For all the stick Stuart Broad gets, when the battle is at its hottest, you’ve got to love him.

      Like

  8. Sri.Grins December 3, 2017 / 3:18 am

    210/5. For you Q. 🙂

    Like

    • quebecer December 3, 2017 / 3:22 am

      Thank you, Sri. We’ll credit you with that one.

      Oh god oh god oh god I hope Broad gets on one of his tears. As much as anything, there is no better sight in test cricket than Broad ripping through a line up. Yes, for the good of test cricket, that’s it. That’s the reason.

      Like

      • Sri.Grins December 3, 2017 / 4:31 am

        :-D. I understand that it is for the good of test cricket and not because you wish to do a rain dance after 3 days. 🙂

        The OZ selection punts have not turned out badly isn’t it? Marsh, Paine and bancroft

        Interesting. Thankfully, at least I got that bit of the ashes prediction right. :-D.

        Woakes has been the most disappointing bit for me. going by all the comments on the series against Pakistan, I expected him to do quite well.

        There is still time for a few good men to come to the party

        Like

  9. quebecer December 3, 2017 / 3:59 am

    Going to credit Marsh and Paine here for batting well. 241-5 now, and they are doing the right things – and it’s not easy. Despite difficulties and getting beaten plenty, the scoreboard is still moving pretty well. Take note, England.

    Like

  10. quebecer December 3, 2017 / 4:01 am

    Overton is bowling well, but right now we miss TRJ.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus December 3, 2017 / 4:03 am

      Awake briefly. Overton was bowling under 80 mph most balls. Hmmmm.

      Like

  11. Pontiac December 3, 2017 / 4:34 am

    Paine’s smashed digits may be a factor in the next innings.

    Like

  12. Sri.Grins December 3, 2017 / 4:35 am

    Kohli 175* . Hmmmmmm. hoping that Rohit harnesses his talent better and becomes another reliable bat. We need all the help we can get including rain dances in 2018-19. 😀

    Like

  13. Sri.Grins December 3, 2017 / 5:10 am

    294/6. Paine gone for the short ball tactic to overton

    Like

  14. Pontiac December 3, 2017 / 5:11 am

    6/294. So far this scorecard reminds me of one a couple years ago in the West Indies where none of the WI batsmen got more than 60 but they all got at least 35 or something like that and the score at the end was solid. Marsh seems to be in sheet anchor mode.

    Like

  15. Sri.Grins December 3, 2017 / 5:20 am

    201* Virat.off 238 balls.

    Like

  16. Sri.Grins December 3, 2017 / 5:21 am

    6 double centuries in the last 17 months.

    Like

  17. Pontiac December 3, 2017 / 5:28 am

    That is a substantial body of work. And that is a ferocious strike rate.

    Like

    • Sri.Grins December 3, 2017 / 5:34 am

      Yes. He seems to be in ODI mode in SR. He mentioned in the conference that he is looking to improve his SR and also focusing on fitness because of the away tests. He feels that key to the team’s chances away vs SA / Eng / OZ is if he scores faster and bats longer while scoring faster (if and when he gets in and doesn’t get dismissed early).

      Not sure how it will work away but we will see 🙂

      Like

  18. Sri.Grins December 3, 2017 / 5:58 am

    Broad strikes Q. . A little later but better than never. Starc gone

    Like

    • Sri.Grins December 3, 2017 / 5:59 am

      Short ball tactic working again

      Like

    • Quebecer December 3, 2017 / 6:18 am

      Huh? You woke me up. Thanks though. Nite, Sri.

      Like

  19. dlpthomas December 3, 2017 / 6:57 am

    We’re in deep, deep trouble. Lot of discussion about whether or not Australia will declare at tea – they will be very keen to bowl tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • oreston December 3, 2017 / 8:01 am

      Just woke up to see Oz go past 400 and Marsh (genius selection) get a century. England’s four-pronged, right arm “pace” attack has clearly struggled. If we bat well enough to match this (not impossible, but a “big if”) we’re probably only looking at a draw even in that best case scenario. Back to sleep for a little while…

      Like

  20. dlpthomas December 3, 2017 / 7:04 am

    Roots turning it. That does not bode well

    Like

  21. dlpthomas December 3, 2017 / 7:22 am

    Reports out of NZ that Stokes just got a side strain. Perhaps the universe is trying to tell the ECB something.

    Like

    • BoredInAustria December 3, 2017 / 7:26 am

      Anything in the rumour that it was from laughing at the Bairstow head-butt?

      Liked by 1 person

      • dlpthomas December 3, 2017 / 7:37 am

        Something tells me Stokes knows a bit about head-butting.
        “That’s not a head-butt. This is a head-butt”.

        Like

        • BoredInAustria December 3, 2017 / 7:48 am

          with a perfect Crocodile Dundee drawl…

          Like

          • Sherwick December 3, 2017 / 7:52 am

            From the Australian-born er New Zealand-born Stokes?

            Like

  22. dlpthomas December 3, 2017 / 7:42 am

    Marsh, Bancroft and Paine – maybe the Australian selectors know something after all. Who’d have thunk it.

    Like

    • Silk December 3, 2017 / 7:54 am

      Yep. I mocked them. Oops.

      I still think Big Show should be in the side.

      Like

      • dlpthomas December 3, 2017 / 8:16 am

        I thought Jake Lehmann had a chance but I suspect they held his facial hair against him. I certainly wouldn’t let him hold it against me.

        Paine has copped a couple on his dodgy index finger so hopefully he is OK

        Like

  23. dlpthomas December 3, 2017 / 7:45 am

    Once I get over my bitterness, I will acknowledge that Marsh has batted really well.

    Like

  24. dlpthomas December 3, 2017 / 7:51 am

    Cook and Vince collide and the catch goes to ground. Sums it all up, really.

    Like

  25. Silk December 3, 2017 / 7:55 am

    Vince’s fielding really is good. Thanks for sharing that with us, Michael.

    Like

  26. BoredInAustria December 3, 2017 / 8:27 am

    A crucial session coming up…
    😉

    Like

  27. OscarDaBosca December 3, 2017 / 8:56 am

    So I get up to do some work for a customer, hoping but not really expecting anything apart from Aus 400 for not much.
    To make things worse I have to deal with Lovejoy on commentary, a couple of T20 innings and now a session that can only end in tears for England.

    If, and its a massive if we can somehow get away with a draw in this match (and it doesn’t seem like the pitch is too quick and a ‘typical’ Adelaide pitch), we can lose in Perth (we always lose in Perth) and then win in Melbourne and Sidney to retain the Ashes??

    Hope springs eternal….

    Like

  28. OscarDaBosca December 3, 2017 / 8:57 am

    I meant overs not innings..

    Like

  29. Deep Purple Fred December 3, 2017 / 8:58 am

    Goose, meet the oven.

    Like

  30. northernlight71 December 3, 2017 / 9:04 am

    I’m trying to be fair to England…… Anderson clearly isn’t fit, but are they wrong to assume that a half-fit Anderson is still a better bet than a fully fit back-up bowler? Possibly not.
    Of course, then you ask why there are no decent bowlers waiting in the wings. And you start to think about Loughborough. And Andy Flower. And David Saker. And you start to get depressed. Even before you’ve checked the scorecard . . .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Silk December 3, 2017 / 10:43 am

      Half fit Anderson + less than half fit Giles. 2006/07.

      Virtually every bowler in the squad half fit, or worse. 2013/14.

      They don’t learn. Which suggests that they are REALLY STUPID.

      Like

  31. Silk December 3, 2017 / 9:04 am

    England to score 600 in 200 overs, and win this game.

    Like

    • OscarDaBosca December 3, 2017 / 9:39 am

      Yes, that’s what I’m hoping for. However I think we will be batting 3rd in the innings!

      Like

  32. oreston December 3, 2017 / 9:04 am

    Awake properly now. Australia declare at 442/8 with Marsh unbeaten on 126 – even indulging in a couple of overs’ worth of hit ‘n’ giggle at the end, just to rub salt into the wounds, You have to wonder at what point in this series England will actually manage to take 20 wickets in a match.

    Like

  33. oreston December 3, 2017 / 9:16 am

    Starc sending down 93 mph firecrackers. Still, we know just how accomplished Chef is against pace…

    Like

  34. Mark December 3, 2017 / 9:49 am

    I see now why the ECB is so in favour of 4 day test cricket. We can’t bowl sides out so we may as well play for the draw.

    This England team is weaker than 4 years ago. The cupboard seems to be bare. Although I still am not convinced we select on merrit. Too many players are pushed aside for non cricket reasons. We are obssesed with management theory rather than technical ability. We have no spin bowlers. Or if we do the selectors don’t think they are good enough to be selected. Perhaps it’s the selectors that need to be dropped. But then again as Strauss has veto power on players selection perhaps he should be dropped?

    I have this awful nagging feeling that the Strauss/Flower access is still running English cricket. I see no point to the coach. What does he do all day?

    Like

    • northernlight71 December 3, 2017 / 10:02 am

      Aw, look mate, the coach sits in the corner in a floppy hat and . . . er . . . he . . .
      No, I have nothing.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus December 3, 2017 / 10:16 am

        If the ECB want to really troll us, they’ll fire Bayliss after losing the Ashes and then replace him with Andy Flower!

        Like

        • Silk December 3, 2017 / 10:44 am

          I really would not be surprised.

          Like

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