Tell Me About Your Childhood – Preview of Day 4 at the 2nd Ashes Test

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Why Optimism Should Be Banished…..

As I walked to work today, having dropped the beloved border collie off at my brother’s house, I walked down the hill to the station, contemplating the problems England were facing, as at the time we had just lost Woakes. As I strolled to the nirvana of Grove Park Station, the Gateway of Dreams, the Portal to Pressure, so I passed the Favourite Chicken and Ribs fast food emporium on one side of the road. Hmm, glad I’ve never been in there. As I crossed the busy Baring Road, I noticed that the locksmiths were just about to open, and thought, has that always been there? And then it struck. I should use these thoughts in something more constructive. What would Martin Samuel do?

Well, England have proved themselves more than Chicken in this game, even when the ball isn’t tickling their Ribs on what should be their Favourite conditions of the series, and after consuming this, there’s a pain like indigestion at the outcome. And they’ll need a locksmith to get them out of the handcuffs the first innings batting, and their lamentable bowling has put them in. They’ve tied themselves up in chains, and the Ashes will be locked in Australian safe custody if they don’t. Martin would be proud.

OK, I’ve got the Martin Samuel bit out of my head. Let’s do this as I usually do. Or try.

Chris has adroitly summed up the predicament England face in this test match. Unless there is something utterly out of the ordinary, or a ton of rain, England are going 2-0 down. No dressing this up any other way. England will not, in all likelihood, chase down the current lead, let alone the 350 that is much more likely, or the 400+ I suspect we’ll have to. So what tonight was is the equivalent, somewhat, of the moment on the ultimate gameshow, Bullseye, where Jim Bowen shows the crestfallen finalist what they could have won… and we got a bleedin’ speedboat. Sorry, Martin Samuelitis is affecting my brain.

Once again, the batting was a sad state of affairs. Overton top scored with 41 not out, providing some green shoots of new promise, but we all really believe, deep down, he’s another fast-medium trundler who won’t get more than 10 tests. Test match batting is quite often more about temperament than technique (something that should be remembered more often) and Overton and Woakes showed it while their top order colleagues didn’t. The evidence from Brisbane, seized upon by the experts, that our tail would be blown away time after time was made to look the jibberish it was. These are good bowlers, but they are not all time great bowlers. It’s Lyon that’s the difference, the big difference.

The problems with the batting aren’t new. Players come in, are given a few games, and then dropped without any of them sticking. The prettier your shots, the easier on the eye that you are, the more chances you are going to get. See James Vince. England have not produced a batsman that has stuck since Joe Root. Yet he has now gone six tests in Australia without a ton. Alastair Cook remains the best opener in England, but it is now 17 Ashes tests since his last century, or put another way, 33 innings without an Ashes hundred. These are our two “rocks”. We need them to be more igneous and less porous (Samuel, stop it).

I didn’t see the bowling, and nor will I catch the highlights before this goes up. I don’t care much for our bowlers, if truth be told. Stuart Broad can bowl “that spell”. We know, except every time he takes a wicket early in a spell, the twitterati seem to want to think we are at the beginning of one of “those spells”. Word to the wise, wait until he’s taken at least three or you’ll be a Shiny Toy before you know it. Jimmy Anderson has never been my favourite cricketer and seems not to perform far too frequently overseas lately to be given the reverence he has been. Tonight he bowled tightly and nicked a couple of wickets. 48 hours too late. Moeen is the liability with spin we always thought he might be, Woakes has improved for the run out (remember, he missed most of our domestic season) and Overton is this year’s Roland-Jones, even if Roland-Jones is this year’s Roland-Jones. There’s room for more than one.

As always, we really look forward to receiving your views as the day’s play unfolds. There’s the overnight shift from the Tundra and India, aided and abetted by a random insomniac. Then there’s the waking hours, as we react to the horrors that have unfolded in our sleeping hours. I catch up with them all on the commute to the office, and then dip in here and there on the relatively few opportunities. Once play is over, we try to get a report out to comment on the events we’ve seen and react to the comments from those outside our Outside Cricket bubble. An afternoon to digest, and then a preview piece to send you to sleep with all the joys of spring.

As I went up into my loft yesterday to retrieve my Christmas decorations, I noticed on the shelves my parents built up there a whole bunch of those weekly magazines you keep to make up a pseudo encyclopaedia. Mine was the Illustrated History of Aircraft. Also, I opened a box to find some unexpected Halloween decorations. Today’s cricket starts at 3am, or near offer. Will it be a fright night that haunts us all, spells being woven, demons in the wicket, with a horror of an ending? Or will we be flying high, on a jet pace, soaring machine towards the ultimate prize of Ashes glory, a jumbo sized explosion of joy, a Dreamliner of enthusiasm.

Doctors appointment for Samuelitis is at 12 noon. Wish me luck.

Comments below.

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What happens when you are optimistic……
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147 thoughts on “Tell Me About Your Childhood – Preview of Day 4 at the 2nd Ashes Test

  1. BobW December 4, 2017 / 8:49 pm

    Ha! Grove Park to Bromley North. One of the world finest train journeys…
    As someone said on Twitter. Come on England. We could grab defeat from the jaws of abject defeat here… That says it all for me.
    I can already feel someone posting at the end of this series about where exactly have England moved on from four years ago.

    Like

  2. BoredInAustria December 4, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    Jimmy:

    “We should have got more runs,” said Anderson, who went on to pick up two for 16 with the ball. “We’ve got some very frustrated players in the dressing room. All we can do as bowlers is try our best, and that’s what we did. We gave it absolutely everything.”

    Not me guv. It was the batters.

    So nice to see a happy dressing room in Oz this time round.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH December 4, 2017 / 9:25 pm

      England made a score which is roughly on a par with every other visiting team score in D/N Adelaide Tests.

      Australia made their, and anyone else’s, highest score ever in D/N Adelaide Tests and the highest score by any team batting first.

      Okay, “every” and “ever” might amount to only two previous matches but there’s a pattern here and it ain’t “it’s all the batsmen’s fault”.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. man in a barrel December 4, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    Lmao, it was nothing to do with us that the Aussies got 150 more than par.

    I was trying to remember where Grove Park was. I think I went there over 20 years ago for the funeral of a work colleague who dropped dead aged 50. Sorry to throw that in to the mix but it’s better than anything Swann has ever said in his entire life

    Liked by 1 person

  4. OscarDaBosca December 4, 2017 / 9:12 pm

    Should have pitched it up Jimmy.

    When you bowl as abjectly as you did in the first and still too short in the second you should look to yourself before criticising others

    The batsmen were awful, but I don’t imagine Root chose to bowl first and then thought the best thing to do is hardly make the batsmen play a ball until the shine is off it

    Liked by 1 person

  5. SimonH December 4, 2017 / 9:27 pm

    Can we have a photo looking up your nostrils for the full Martin Samuels’ effect?

    Like

  6. Mark December 4, 2017 / 9:31 pm

    I’m just listening to the big cheese on 5 live. It’s utter nonsense. Nothing to do with bowling too short, nothing to do with poor batting technique. All about what has gone on on the field.

    He claims that the Aussie have over stepped the mark. Sledging does not work he says, and then says they have taken it to a lower level. He won’t say what has been said, but claims its is worse than usual.

    The board have not backed Bairstow according to the big cheese. Sounds like excuses to me. It seems they are rattled.

    There is obviously anger from the players for the board not backing Bairstow. The wheels may not have come off at Brisbane, but the wheel nuts have been loosened and if we loose here they are going to fly off by the sound of it.

    Like

    • thelegglance December 4, 2017 / 9:55 pm

      Agree it’s not the central point but I do concur with him that they should have come out backing Bairstow much more strongly. Once it all came out to us, it seemed all about nothing, and they’d have known that far earlier. It was a clear attempt by Australia to rattle England and they should have been told to do one.

      Like

      • Mark December 4, 2017 / 10:27 pm

        Maybe, but I don’t believe it would have made an ounce of difference. They are in this mess because they haven’t delivered on skills.

        Whatever happened in that bar and it may have been totally innocent they are in this mess because they haven’t performed.

        Like

        • thelegglance December 4, 2017 / 11:15 pm

          Quite agree. But feeling the top brass don’t have your back is never a good thing. Oh hang on, we might have been here before…

          Like

  7. man in a barrel December 4, 2017 / 9:48 pm

    If I were an Aussie I’d be asking Anderson about his hip replacement at any opportunity. He is the sort of person who demands to be sledged and then complains.

    Like

    • oreston December 4, 2017 / 10:53 pm

      He probably wouldn’t hear the question properly – his ears aren’t what they were when he was a young fella..

      Like

  8. Zephirine December 4, 2017 / 9:53 pm

    Dmitri, I’m always so jealous that you have a border collie.

    Like

    • BoredInAustria December 4, 2017 / 10:47 pm

      We have one the the house here in Vienna. Answers to the name Max. He gives a short bark each time he leaves the appartment to go “gassy”. And when he come back. Will now think of Dmitri each time.

      Like

        • Deep Purple Fred December 5, 2017 / 12:07 am

          Don’t know about that. My cat farts at me whenever she’s annoyed at me, which seems to be alot of the time. I think she’s a skunk reincarnated as a cat.

          Like

        • Zephirine December 5, 2017 / 1:05 am

          My two large cats would agree with you 🙂 I’ve never told them about my fantasy of owning a border collie, obviously they’d see it as an aberration and probably book me in for therapy.

          Like

          • OscarDaBosca December 5, 2017 / 6:10 am

            It is possible to go from two cats, to two cats and a dog.
            However it takes at least two years for the cats to forgive you for bringing a puppy into their lives

            Like

  9. Deep Purple Fred December 5, 2017 / 12:21 am

    Just checked, Lyon has a highest test score of 40*. I have a feeling he might have a new highest score by the end of tomorrow.
    If England had said “nah, the Bairstow thing was nothing, we’re not even going to comment. Grow up you silly Australian press.”, or if Root hadn’t taken apparently strong exception to Smith having a giggle in a press conference, or if Anderson hadn’t pointed out how they were short of runs yesterday, or if England hadn’t suddenly decided that Australians were sledging (I am shocked, shocked, to find Australia has been sledging) and they better up the ante, then I wouldn’t say this. But the way things are trending, I think it’s inevitable he’ll top 40.

    Like

    • Mark December 5, 2017 / 12:41 am

      Does this circus go on every year down under when other sides tour? Like India? SA, NZ? Or is it just when England turn up?

      Like

      • Scrim December 5, 2017 / 5:44 am

        Most years.

        Last year we had Faf and his minties.

        India, under Kohli, give as good as they get these days. He backed it all up with his performances as well, that was fun.

        Like

        • Blind freddy December 5, 2017 / 9:12 am

          Kohli loves a fight. Those crazy eyes …

          Like

    • Pontiac December 5, 2017 / 12:49 am

      They must be in possession of ludicrously amusing photographs or something. Some player passed out and covered in crisps bags, something like that.

      Like

    • Deep Purple Fred December 5, 2017 / 4:05 am

      Just want to make it clear I didnt write ghat last message. My lawyer took control of my phone.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. Sri.Grins December 5, 2017 / 1:46 am

    Very well written.

    Like

  11. quebecer December 5, 2017 / 2:34 am

    ‘Mornin/’Afternoon/’Evening everyone. It’s a surprisingly warm zero degrees here on the tundra, but with some overnight snow forecast. The type of snow expected is that which the Whapmagoostui Cree term qanittaq-qinu, which translates to, “The snow we expect when quebecer has lost all optimism”. This is, of course, by no means a new term in the local lexicon, and the frequency of use indicates either a good year if heard annually, or a bad year if bi-annually.

    I tried, I really did. Perhaps because of the influence of our Bengaluru Correspondent, I kept as positive as I could for an awfully long time. I had decided against going in to any detail about Woakes, Ali’s off spin, his injury and lack of time at the crease, about Cook’s defensive frailties, about our lack of bowling options, about how we’ve broken Bairstow, about Loughborough, about not picking Hales, about Ramprakash overseeing a decline in our batting, and in general the many errors that lead to what manifests on the field as simply not doing as well as we should. Plus, I really didn’t want to bring anyone down.

    But as my Nan used to say, fuck that. That’s all a thing of the past. However, Right now, I’d settle for two things: Root needs to settle bloody down, for goodness sakes, and Jimmy needs to shut up.

    My Lord, if yesterday showed us anything it was that you don’t need to be that great to make this Australian side look not very good. Ask the South Africans, after all. However, you need to be a bloody site better than we’ve been, and that’s what is so frustrating. Competing well here is hardly unattainable. Heavens, enough England teams have gone on hopeless tours where there really was no possibility of success, but this is not one of them.

    I’m grumpy. And hungry. So, over to Sri in the great state of Karnataka.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sri.Grins December 5, 2017 / 11:40 am

      Q, wrong day to have given up on optimism 😀

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus December 5, 2017 / 11:43 am

        No. This could be Exhibit A why you shouldn’t. Stick with the plan. We are still going to lose.

        Like

        • Sri.Grins December 5, 2017 / 1:41 pm

          How does it matter whether the final result is a loss or a win? They have done well unless this we are going to lose is expected to be a reverse jinx? 🙂

          Like

  12. Pontiac December 5, 2017 / 3:13 am

    One thing is certain: England aren’t getting to bowl with another new ball in this test match.

    Like

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

    Lyon and Handscomb under orders to happily play out maidens from Anderson and Broad?

    Like

    • quebecer December 5, 2017 / 3:25 am

      I’d have thought so. And fair enough. Anyway, it’s been a theme for all the Aussies so far. And fair enough.

      Like

  14. Pontiac December 5, 2017 / 3:31 am

    Interesting numbers:

    275/70 = 3.93 > 511/131 = 3.90 > 393/111 = 3.54

    wickets per match for Lyon, Anderson, and Broad respectively.

    I was surprised to see these come out in this order. Would not have been in this same order a year ago!

    Of course, all the numerators will increase today and tomorrow and the denominators will stay the same.

    Lyon gets hit on the grill, then a couple boundaries…. 10 for the over.

    Like

    • quebecer December 5, 2017 / 4:04 am

      If you’re really that awake, how does Lyon compare to Starc and Hazelwood?

      Like

  15. quebecer December 5, 2017 / 3:54 am

    Jimmy gets Handscomb, in a bit of a cliched it was on the cards sooner or later kind of way.

    Like

    • quebecer December 5, 2017 / 4:09 am

      As a thought, excellent catch from Malan. Perhaps a little much needed confident boost?
      Fingers crossed…

      Like

    • Scrim December 5, 2017 / 5:55 am

      Glenn Maxwell made another 96. Might see him in Perth at 5.

      Like

  16. quebecer December 5, 2017 / 3:57 am

    So it’s Marsh and Paine, which is getting a bit descriptive.

    Like

  17. Pontiac December 5, 2017 / 4:02 am

    Anderson starts his 7th over, Broad on his 6th.

    Well, I guess you gotta bet the hand your money’s on…

    Like

  18. quebecer December 5, 2017 / 4:27 am

    As fine an effort as Pontiac has been putting in, I’ve been getting increasingly worried about Our Man in Bengaluru.

    Then I realised it’s about 9:20am there and he probably had to go to work.

    Our thoughts are with you, Sri.

    Like

    • Sri. Grins December 5, 2017 / 6:11 am

      In a early morning meeting. But, tracked the score till 9 wickets down. I continue to be optimistic

      Like

  19. quebecer December 5, 2017 / 4:44 am

    90-7. This is good news. It’s not as if the Aussies have been bashing around for quick runs – we’ve got them 90-7 plain and simple. The lead is almost certainly enough anyway, but that’s not the point (well, not the only point). Smith can’t declare and pretend in a saving face way that this innings doesn’t matter, and this (here I go jinxing it) is a big deal if we can knock the rest over for less than 40 more. It shows they’re brittle, it shows we can bowl them out. It knocks their impregnability.

    Aussie confidence is an amazing and enormous thing. So often they play to (or past) their potential, and the air they carry is an integral factor in this. Although many disagreed, Sri was on to something on the other thread in explaining how there is this weird symbiosis between players, fans and media in Australia, all doing all they can to build up an air of impregnability – regardless of whether it’s real or not.

    The point, of course, is that it doesn’t need to be real; rather, it just has to feel real.

    90-7, however, is an inescapable fact. Yes, we need to make sure it doesn’t get to 170 -9, as then denial can mask it (and yes I know I’ve totally jinxed that), but if we knock these last three over quickly? It’s a big deal even if we lose. But make a good fist of the run chase too? Again, even if we lose, there’s a big picture importance at play.

    Like

    • quebecer December 5, 2017 / 5:06 am

      (Full disclosure: the above sounds more sober than I actually am.)

      Like

  20. quebecer December 5, 2017 / 5:03 am

    Must say, I think bowling Mo at this point is a mistake. Sacking him for 200 odd off two overs makes a difference right now, and I don’t see what the seamers are doing wrong.

    Like

    • quebecer December 5, 2017 / 5:04 am

      Oops, smacking… Marsh gone! just in time. 122-8

      Like

  21. quebecer December 5, 2017 / 5:19 am

    I reckon all out for under 140 just isn’t something Aus can hide behind. C’mon boys…

    Like

  22. quebecer December 5, 2017 / 5:21 am

    Jimmy gets Starc! Brilliant! And 5 for Jimmy! Well done, son!

    And four bouncers to Cummins. That wasn’t bright.

    Like

  23. quebecer December 5, 2017 / 5:32 am

    Look, England. I’ve got a research paper written with a submission deadline for this Friday, and reviewing my findings today I found my findings didn’t actually find what I thought they’d found and found they’d found something else. Serious rewrite needed for my discussion, and for that, I need to go to bed. Take the last bloody wicket PLEASE.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. quebecer December 5, 2017 / 5:36 am

    Hazlewood c Malan b Overton 3 and Australia all out 138.

    Well done England. My brain, sleep debt, and the dodgy pseudo science field I work in thanks you.

    Merci, bonsoir.

    Like

  25. Miami Dad's 6 December 5, 2017 / 5:42 am

    So, 354 to win. Probably as good as England could have hoped for given the batting in the first innings. Probably pie in the sky.

    Like

  26. Scrim December 5, 2017 / 6:06 am

    Why wouldn’t you review that! Umpires call and keep the review at worst!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. OscarDaBosca December 5, 2017 / 6:45 am

    Nice to wake up this morning to see Stoneman hit consecutive 4s of Starc. The pitch still looks fine, but Lyon is spinning it.

    Interesting contest, would be good if our openers could make it through two sessions. This would put some real pressure on Australia on the last day and probably leave us 270 to get in three sessions (unlikely, but hey HDWLIA could become HTFDWWIA 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • OscarDaBosca December 5, 2017 / 7:18 am

      Gah, Cook gone to one that turned (according to ball-tracking), but to the naked eye looked like it was going down leg.

      Lyon has bowled well this morning.

      Big game for Vince, he needs to stick about for the rest of the day.

      Like

  28. thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 7:24 am

    Mmmm. That Cook DRS ball tracking looked, quite frankly, bollocks. That looked like it was sliding down leg, maybe clipping the outside of leg stump. Instead it showed it smashing into it full on.

    Just me?

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus December 5, 2017 / 7:25 am

      On a train, squire.

      There have been a couple of odd ones. In Aussie favour. Tin foil hat?

      Like

      • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 7:28 am

        Querying it is the new heresy. DRS is right because it says so, and because it says so it’s right.

        Can’t be wrong. Oh no.

        Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol December 5, 2017 / 7:39 am

      Absolutely not just you. Have only seen a still and heard TMS, but spluttering in disbelief.

      Have always, always said that ball tracking should never have been taken as gospel. It just isn’t consistent at all. No problem with line technology (though I would like benefit of the doubt retained instead of endless replays to try and prove a definitive when you clearly can’t). And no issue with anything that can prove or disprove a nick.

      But ball tracking? That guy Hawkins is stealing a living.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus December 5, 2017 / 7:42 am

        My amusement is at all the people saying Cook has gone. This looks like the end. I am laughing inside. Must all have broken jaws from this knee-jerk reaction.

        Like

        • OscarDaBosca December 5, 2017 / 11:05 am

          Even Agnew on TMS said this could be his last series to murmurs of agreement from Booth and the bloke from the Sun

          Like

          • LordCanisLupus December 5, 2017 / 11:06 am

            From the decline that was denied to he’s got to go in two test matches. You have to chuckle.

            Like

          • OscarDaBosca December 5, 2017 / 11:16 am

            It would take a heart of stone not to howl with laughter. I was driving and I thought I’d misheard them when they all agreed that it was probably his last series.

            They didn’t bring it up though, the Australian they had mentioned it, as well as saying that they were all too negative to believe that England could win, and he also pointed out that 2-0 would flatter this Australian side.

            They are so wedded to their narrative that they struggle to change it, even when the bleedin obvious is pointed out to them

            Like

      • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 7:45 am

        it’s Virtual Eye that’s used for series in Australia, not Hawkeye.

        I have my concerns over any ball tracking system, but Hawkeye was at least developed specifically as such. Virtual Eye is a graphics display system that their own makers protested shouldn’t be used for predictive ball tracking.

        *sigh*…but no one can ever doubt it. Never.

        Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 7:53 am

            I saw. The classic way of shutting down any questioning of ball tracking.

            Like

        • nonoxcol December 5, 2017 / 7:57 am

          Didn’t know that, probably because ‘Hawkeye’ has become a generic term like ‘hoover’. Geoff Lemon is using it all the time for example.

          Kind of makes it worse.

          As a side issue, OC#24 is never more irritating than when evangelising about ball tracking systems and mocking everyone with even a modicum of scepticism.

          Like

      • AB December 5, 2017 / 10:47 am

        It’s fine to be sceptical, but Hawkeye has been tested to death and found to be accurate to within 1mm (which is why umpire’s call exists).

        I’d need to see damn good evidence that it was wrong before I started genuinely doubting its accuracy.

        Liked by 1 person

        • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 10:50 am

          Two things: once again, I’ll point out its not Hawkeye. Second, no you are incorrect, it has been tested to that level for tracking what happened, not what it predicts. The ICC did test it, but have not released the results, so no, there are no independent verified tests available.

          Liked by 1 person

          • AB December 5, 2017 / 11:26 am

            Meh. You and I obviously have different sources of information. I’ve watched a documentary on it. They did 3 years of testing the PREDICTIVE element before it was used in test matches.

            Its not hard to test. You bowl 10,000 balls at a set of stumps with various angles, and degrees of spin and swing, and just switch on the software to only track the ball to within 2 metres of the stumps, and then you compare the prediction with what actually happened.

            Do you seriously think they would unilaterally adopt its use in high-stakes professional sport without undergoing rigorous testing? I know this is the ICC…. but still… That’s a conspiracy theory akin to denying the moon landings.

            Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 11:34 am

            No, you’re avoiding both points made. Firstly that the system being used isn’t Hawkeye but a less efficacious one, and secondly that I specifically said it had been tested, but that the results had not been released. So you do not know the outcome of it, and nor do you know anything about the testing of Virtual Eye, because the only one that has been announced as being tested is Hawkeye.

            Like

          • AB December 5, 2017 / 11:46 am

            I don’t want to argue, but you did say that its predictive capacity had not been tested. This is incorrect. It has.

            And the results were “released”, in that they told us what they were – accurate to within 1mm, with some caveats for when the ball lands less than 6 inches in front of the pad or the pad is more than 3m from the stumps.

            However there is no peer-reviewed paper published in a publically available scientific journal as far as I am aware, but I might be wrong.

            I don’t know about “virtual eye”. I will try to find out what kind of testing they have done and what the results were.

            Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 11:51 am

            If you don’t want to argue then don’t misrepresent. I said, and I quote “the ICC did test it but haven’t released the results”. Which is true, and I worded that deliberately and carefully. How Hawkeye performs is totally irrelevant to when discussing how a different system performs. And the quoted accuracy refers to actual tracking, not predictive.

            While you’re looking up about Virtual Eye, do note the articles from the creator of it saying it shouldn’t be relied on for predictive decision making, and the criticism about its relative accuracy compared to Hawkeye.

            Liked by 1 person

          • AB December 5, 2017 / 12:09 pm

            I apologise if I have misunderstood you. When you said

            “it has been tested to that level for tracking what happened, not what it predicts”,

            I inferred that you meant its prediction abilities had not been tested to that level. Obviously my comprehension skills are sub-standard as you didn’t mean that at all.

            My understanding from watching the documentary is that Hawkeye’s Prediction is accurate to 1mm, not its tracking.

            Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 12:14 pm

            Now you raise a genuinely interesting point there. Hawkeye actually claims to have ‘millimetre accuracy’, which is an interesting form of words, but no not for predictive, for tracking. I’ve never seen a claim from them specifying predictive accuracy, nor from anyone else. If you can find it, I’d love to see it, because believe me, I have searched.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Scrim December 5, 2017 / 8:21 am

      I feel like England gets every 50:50 when Australia tours England. 😉

      There are some aspects of ball tracking that should be easy, if I remember my first year vector physics. If we assume the effect of drift/swing after the ball has pitched to be negligible (which it should be for a spinner), then the only forces acting upon the ball will be gravity, which is constant and easy to apply to a prediction, and air resistance, which should be steady and calculable from unless a gust blows through mid delivery.

      Swing, drift, seam, spin, variable bounce and these sorts of things are very difficult to predict (hence why batsmen are deceived by it too), and I get your concerns there.

      In the case of the Cook dismissal, you have the point where it pitched, and the point where it strikes the pad. We can see these marked on the tracking – I don’t think you are arguing with those points? Just in terms of the direction the ball takes (ignoring height), why do any of you expect it to not follow a straight line from the point where it pitches, to where it strikes, to where it reaches the stumps?

      Like

      • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 8:27 am

        Why are you assuming that’s what it correctly showed?

        Like

        • Scrim December 5, 2017 / 9:20 am

          Why am I assuming that the line connecting 2 points is straight and has been linearly extrapolated?

          Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 9:23 am

            That doesn’t mean it’s what it showed though.

            Like

          • Scrim December 5, 2017 / 11:35 am

            What am I missing?

            We can forget about height. All that matters here is direction in the X-Y plane. The tracking was good. We have the point where it pitched, and the point where it struck the pad. It travels in what can be assumed to be a straight line. It extrapolates the path with what can be assumed to be a straight line.

            This is a case where bounce is irrelevant (never going over) and no sideways movement after deviating off the pitch is observed or expected.

            It doesn’t matter if it is Hawkeye or Virtualeye or Goldeneye. The prediction will still be based on the same use of vectors.

            Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 11:39 am

            Of course it matters. It’s a question of the accuracy of the sampling of the ball tracking. What you’re doing is assuming initially that the tracking is correct. It takes a fractional difference in the sampling accuracy to change the dynamic of the outcome, and posting an image of the tracked line merely demonstrates a picture of what Virtual Eye thinks is happening. It’s the very definition of self supporting evidence.

            Liked by 1 person

          • AB December 5, 2017 / 11:49 am

            You can see the actual image of the ball on the picture in the same place as the tracking software claims it to be, no?

            If the ball was clearly visible 6 inches to the left of where the tracking software thinks it is, I would agree that there is a clear problem. But that isn’t the case.

            Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 11:53 am

            Yes, it shows the actual predicted path by Virtual Eye and thus justifies it’s own decision. You do realise it only needs to be fractionally wrong at any point to change the outcome?

            Like

          • AB December 5, 2017 / 12:13 pm

            I don’t understand your argument. Are you claiming that the tracking for this particular delivery between release and contact with pad was erroneous? What is your justification for that? It looks accurate to me, that is to say, I can’t see any discrepancy between the path of the ball to the naked eye and the pink line. Can you?

            Or are you claiming that the it is the predictive element (which predicts a straight line between contact with pad and the point of hitting the stumps) is erroneous? Do you think the ball wouldn’t have continued to travel in a straight line had the pad not been there?

            Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 12:19 pm

            No, it’s that you can’t tell. It’s too blunt an instrument to be able to know if it sampled the path of the ball correctly without seeing the raw data. What you or I can see isn’t relevant to anything, we can’t see that level of detail, and over the 8 feet or so of the predicted path, the smallest error magnifies immensely.

            Put it this way, if the sampling of the ball position at time of impact with the pad is fractionally out, then it does change the predicted path, and it doesn’t need much to change that, and you won’t be able to tell on the ball tracking either because the algorithm would change to suggest a degree of swing in flight. After impact, it is then deemed to continue on the same path.

            Like

          • LordCanisLupus December 5, 2017 / 12:21 pm

            I know I am old fashioned here, but I watch sport for enjoyment and fun. At its best, like this is, it is compelling and lights up the humdrum of ordinary life.

            Do you know how much I hate money driving sport. When that is added to technology and sport. It’s turning sport into business. Not a business, but business. Corporate v corporate where the loss of money, the pursuit of betting gains, and payments well beyond the scope of mere mortals. Technology is a wonderful thing, except when it isn’t.

            Debating tracking, predictive paths, vector planes and all such jazz is not what I watch sport for. I want the umpire’s decision respected, but also want to think he/she is against my team because it comforts me. It gives me a crutch to lean on when we lose. A part of a sport’s soul dies when you let machines take over. Baseball has this dilemma over the strike zone. I hope the home plate umpire is never replaced. If it is not used on the Sunday afternoon recreational game, then it should not be at the “top level”. Otherwise it is not the same sport, it’s a different, corporate, hard-nosed business version.

            I’m in a minority, I know. But there’s always been a comfort when you’ve been given out LBW by the opposition umpire that he’s an effin’ cheat, but when you do it, you are honest as the day is long. Fact is, they were probably both out. That’s part of the fun, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time.

            Liked by 2 people

          • AB December 5, 2017 / 12:43 pm

            “over the 8 feet or so of the predicted path, the smallest error magnifies immensely”

            An exaggeration. A cricket ball in flight is not a chaotic system. Its actually pretty easy to predict, else batting would be physically impossible. Any error in measurement will propagate in a straightforward linear fashion.

            The key parameters are the distance X between the ball pitching and contact with the pad, and the distance Y between the pad and the stumps. If we assume that Y = 4X (a reasonable assumption), then any error in the measurement of the balls path along distance X will be multiplied by 4 when predicting distance Y.

            An error of 1mm in the location of the ball when hitting the pad would lead to an error of ~ 4mm when hitting the stumps.

            An (absolutely enormous) error of 5mm in the location of the ball when hitting the pad would lead to an error of ~ 2cm when hitting the stumps.

            Neither of these would be sufficient to change the decision. Cook was clearly out, the ball was clearly hitting leg stump.

            Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 12:47 pm

            No, that’s much, much too simplistic. You’re assuming solely location at one point is the only factor to suffer divergence.

            Like

          • AB December 5, 2017 / 12:46 pm

            I’d rather just not be given out for the 4th time that season on a ball that clearly pitched 6 inches outside leg stump, or hit my on the thigh, or whatever, especially when as a spinner I’ve been denied about 20 decent front foot appeals that would all have been out on DRS.

            Crappy umpires making crappy decisions are really not a welcome “part” of cricket.

            Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 12:48 pm

            For sure. It’s not about the system itself, which is undoubtedly an improvement in accuracy on the naked eye.

            Like

          • LordCanisLupus December 5, 2017 / 12:58 pm

            The game survived a couple of centuries without all this and seemed to do OK.

            See also CricProf / CricViz etc. I like stats too, but now it’s all about “analytics”.

            As I said, I know, I’m an old fuddy duddy on this. I can accept other views apply. But I sometimes wish we all remember our roots in sport and what it meant to us as kids. Playing. Enjoying. Not a bloody job. Not corporate world invading something fun.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sri.Grins December 5, 2017 / 12:57 pm

            That’s exactly why the BCCI objected , Lord. 🙂 😀

            Seriously, the BCCI copped a lot of flak for the stance on the DRS which was more because of media management by the same journos inside cricket 🙂 than any logical thinking with journos attributing all kinds of reasons for BCCI’s reluctance.

            Like

          • LordCanisLupus December 5, 2017 / 1:01 pm

            Well the line we had was that Sachin didn’t fancy being given out LBW, because you used to have nail the top players in front of middle, and on the ankles, to get a verdict. And even in Australia that wasn’t enough.

            Have I offended enough of our readership with this response?

            Like

          • Scrim December 5, 2017 / 1:00 pm

            The good old days of pre-DRS 😉

            Like

          • KidVicious December 5, 2017 / 1:16 pm

            Interesting parallel, only a few weeks ago I was reading about the spaceship Columbia disaster. A piece of foam insulation broke off one of the connectors and hit the wing. They used image tracking to predict where the foam hit. One conclusion of the accident report indicated that the frame rate and image capture during take off could not be accurately use to predict the trajectory of the debris, and that one of the lessons learnt was to better capture the objects path.

            I guess my rambling point suggests these systems are not infallible. But they’re not supposed to be. They are there for clangers, which I think is inside edges, or going 1ft over the stumps or down leg side. If anyone, bowlers, batsman or captains relies on DRS to win them the game, they haven’t done enough to deserve the win anyway.

            As an aside, well played Jimmy. Was very critical yesterday, so only fair to be gracious when he gets it right. Vince though. Wow!

            Like

          • RufusSG December 5, 2017 / 1:30 pm

            You’re right that we mustn’t lose sight of what makes cricket fun, but I’d counter that the stakes are massively greater for the international cricketer who cops a rough one. If the Sunday club cricketer gets given out caught behind off his pad or whatever, then whilst it can absolutely suck like hell the wider ramifications are pretty minimal: he still has his real-world job to return to. For the professional cricketer in the same scenario, the price of much failure is far more significant: getting a rough one in an already poor run of form could end up costing this person their career and income further down the line. A system of technology that allows professionals as fair a test of their skills on the world stage as possible before they get flung on the scrapheap, whatever its imperfections, seems a fair price to pay.

            It might be more comforting for a punter to believe the umpires are biased against us, but the test cricketer who never plays international cricket again after being given out lbw to a ball going a foot over the stumps probably doesn’t think he had much fun that day either.

            Like

          • AB December 5, 2017 / 1:58 pm

            Does anyone seriously think that cricket would be less fun with infallible robot umpires?

            There must be something I’m missing here. I’ve always seen umpires as a necessary evil (independent umpires are actually an unnecessary evil IMO – they’re generally less competent and more biased than a bloke from the batting side)

            Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 2:04 pm

            You know, there’s such a thing as nuance. Being surprised by a single instance and slightly puzzled does not mean throwing a hissy fit over the whole system and wanting it scrapped. Not everything is black and white

            Like

        • AB December 5, 2017 / 10:50 am

          There are two parts to hawkeye – the ball-tracking part that collects data about the ball from the moment it leaves the hand to the moment it hits the pad, and the prediction part, that simply extrapolates the measured path from the point of pitching to the stumps.

          Which bit do you think it got wrong?

          Like

          • Sophie December 5, 2017 / 11:20 am

            I know it. is. not. Hawkeye, but from the paper I read and linked here about half a year ago (I think I got it from the Hawkeye wikipedia page) I seem to remember that they said, sometimes Hawkeye doesn’t even have the time to collect enough data points to even properly calculate the path it went before hitting the pad, let alone make an accurate prediction of where it would go afterwards.

            What bothers me most about DRS, though, is that none of the commentators seems to understand how it works. I’m not an expert on cricket let alone talking about it on the TV, but I have a vague idea of what it does. They drive me mad when they go, “if it hits it’s out, simple as!” Thing is, the balltracker doesn’t show what would have happened, it’s a prediction and there’s a certain amount of uncertainty and that’s where umpire’s call comes in. The TV stations really should be doing workshops on that.

            Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 11:24 am

            Indeed. Concentric circles around the degree of probability and confidence in the prediction would be a more accurate representation of what it is showing. You’re spot on, the one thing it definitely does not show, at any time, is the ball ‘clipping’ a stump. It shows a low probability of it hitting, and that is all. It’s not the manufacturer’s fault, they’re open about what it shows, it’s the way TV and ICC represent it.

            Like

          • AB December 5, 2017 / 11:40 am

            The question still stands – which bit do you think was wrong?

            Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 11:41 am

            Firstly are you accepting the points made or denying them?

            Like

          • AB December 5, 2017 / 11:50 am

            Which points? I agree that the system they are using is one called “virtual eye” rather than “hawkeye”, but I don’t know whether there are significant differences in its accuracy or not.

            Like

      • AB December 5, 2017 / 12:52 pm

        The maths remains valid. The software will automatically fit a 3D parabolic curve to the measured points. Any measurement errors will be random and will largely cancel out – you’d have to have a serious systematic error (that would be visible to the naked eye) in order to generate sufficiently constructive error terms to create a significantly erroneous predictive path – and we’re still only talking about a few centimetres, and Cook would still have been out.

        Like

        • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 12:57 pm

          On a few centimetres he wouldn’t have been out. He was given not out on the field. The most important parts of the measurement is not from point of release, but from the point the ball pitches to the impact with the pad. The parabola you point out has little relevance given the vagaries of ball and pitch; the only bit that matters is that very short part post pitching. And that’s where it gets complex and errors can be magnified.

          No one is saying it’s not generally correct.

          Like

          • AB December 5, 2017 / 1:17 pm

            The ball was hitting the inside of leg stump. It would need to be 5cm further to the legside to have been umpires call.

            Not even a perfect storm of measurement errors would get it wrong by 5cm. Absolute worst case scenario, in which all measurements of the ball after pitching are wrong to the maximum value, and in the worst possible direction, would still lead to an error of less than 2cm.

            I dunno why there is so much fuss about this decision. It looked out to me. If there is one thing we have learnt from the DRS era, its that balls are rarely going as far down the legside as they often look to the naked eye.

            Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 1:22 pm

            Your maths is awry. A stump is 3.49cm wide. The ball would need to be more than 50% across to be not out on umpire’s call. Given the inside of the stump is where it showed as hitting, it’s more likely about 2cm or so.

            There’s no fuss about the decision in terms of it being some kind of raging injustice, it’s about the DRS not Cook.

            Like

        • AB December 5, 2017 / 1:33 pm

          From 50:50 hitting one edge of the stump to 50:50 hitting the other edge is exactly 3.5cm then. So there is still no way in hell the software got this one wrong.

          Like

          • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 1:35 pm

            Um, in no way shape or form was it hitting the inside edge of the leg stump. That would mean hitting part of middle too. The software showed it hitting the inside half of leg stump. So about 2cm is correct.

            Come on AB, you can disagree without exaggerating!

            Like

    • OscarDaBosca December 5, 2017 / 10:39 am

      No, I thought the same looked like it pitched and went towards leg, yet according to DRS it pitched and straightened towards middle and off

      Like

      • Scrim December 5, 2017 / 12:12 pm

        What happened up until it hit his pad cannot be debated. It pitched middle and leg, and straightened, somewhat, heading towards leg. The footage we got shows that. The ball tracking shows that as well.

        From there, it was *predicted* to continue on that path and hit leg.

        It did not head towards middle and off. Neither tracking or prediction suggested that.

        Here is the final result of the ball tracking (pink) & prediction (blue)

        Like

        • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 12:22 pm

          Yes it can, for the reasons I’ve posted elsewhere. The extrapolation of the data depends on exactly when the sampling was done on impact. You absolutely can’t assume (in all cases I mean, generally it is true) that the line you are seeing is exactly a correct path of the ball, the algorithm makes assumptions and the visual representation is too blunt an instrument to be able to tell one way or the other.

          A couple of millimetres out (again, you wouldn’t be able to see that) changes the outcome substantially.

          Like

          • Scrim December 5, 2017 / 1:09 pm

            In broad terms, it certainly didn’t turn to middle and off as suggested by Oscardabosca. Not according to the naked eye, to the tracking, or the prediction.

            Whether it might be a few mm off here and there in the tracking or not is subjective as you want to make it, but it straightened somewhat in the direction of leg.

            Like

          • OscarDaBosca December 5, 2017 / 2:11 pm

            I agree, I didn’t mean that it went towards middle and off, its what I thought their ball tracker suggested.

            To my eye it was always going down leg from where it pitched to where it hit him on the pad, the ball tracker suggested more turn than I thought there was.

            Doesn’t matter anyway, he’s out

            Like

      • northernlight71 December 5, 2017 / 12:14 pm

        I’d like to know why Cook is playing French Cricket. Nothing to do with DRS at all!

        Like

      • SimonH December 5, 2017 / 12:41 pm

        My take is that the replay they were showing while we waited for the review was not directly behind the bowler’s arm which meant we could see all three stumps at the moment of impact and made it feel as if the ball was heading down the legside. It’s also worth pointing out that without DRS Root would be out.

        I’d be a heck of a lot happier though if one of these decisions like Cook’s went against the home team

        Like

        • man in a barrel December 5, 2017 / 2:56 pm

          I think that’s a valid point. The angle used for the broadcast and replay showed it probably sliding down to leg, possibly clipping the stump. Ball-tracking showed a slightly different angle so that the ball was hitting middle and leg. It is probably a question of camera alignment. We know that Hawkeye is very frequently recalibrated during a match.

          Like

      • Mark December 5, 2017 / 12:42 pm

        Typical Aussies…..they won’t use the top of the range model. Instead they have to use some piece of shit Heath Robinson contraption probably knocked out by some farmer in Alice Springs, and delivered in a plastic yellow three wheel van!

        Same with the ball they use.

        Like

  29. SimonH December 5, 2017 / 8:10 am

    The good news gets a broadcast when it fits in with a board narrative:

    Like

  30. northernlight71 December 5, 2017 / 10:37 am

    Is nobody commenting because everyone’s at work/asleep, or for fear of taking a wicket?
    All I’ll say is that England are playing cricket at last and, whatever happens, at least people will stop going on about Australia as if they were the reincarnations of the Lillee/Thomson era with Nathan Lyon starring as the second coming of Warne.
    Odds still don’t favour an England win, but hopefully we might see a bit more competitiveness in the next few games either way…..

    Like

    • thelegglance December 5, 2017 / 10:38 am

      I was just about to comment that you can tell when there are slight stirrings of hope, because people go silent. 🙂

      Like

    • LordCanisLupus December 5, 2017 / 10:39 am

      I’ve been in meetings all morning. Just to note that we are only slightly behind yesterday’s hit rate at the same time. Draw your own conclusions!

      Like

    • SimonH December 5, 2017 / 12:35 pm

      This is the same Australian attack (save Cummins fir Bird) that Pakistan came with 30 runs of chasing nearly 500 against.

      Like

  31. OscarDaBosca December 5, 2017 / 10:48 am

    I am working with Indians online and they are loving it as much as I am.

    I fell out of love with cricket for a long time (thanks Alistair and ECB), but continued to read this blog, but didn’t comment because I wasn’t really watching it and had nothing positive to contribute.

    But thanks to LCL, TLG and it being an Ashes series I have rediscovered everything I love about cricket.

    This is a good match now, and whatever the result we have exposed the Australians for being as ordinary as we are.

    Also listened to TMS at lunchtime and heard John Etheridge write off Englands chances, sorry John you report for the Sun, which in my book means your a fake, get a job for a proper paper and I might take you seriously, but cricket correspondent for the Sun is an oxymoron.

    Also John, still waiting for your report…..

    Like

  32. OscarDaBosca December 5, 2017 / 10:50 am

    fucky fuck fuck fuck fuck. Good ball. Malan had plated really well. Ali needs to just stay in to the morning.

    Like

    • OscarDaBosca December 5, 2017 / 10:50 am

      okay they’ve bought Woakes in. Not the worst idea

      Like

    • OscarDaBosca December 5, 2017 / 11:04 am

      Bloody quick that one, however Boycott made a really good point that Root had the strike for the previous 4 overs, and then it was Malan’s first ball in ages and ridiculously quick.

      Still 178 to go, albeit 4 down. If Woakes can match his previous innings score and Bairstow can be sensible and not T20 Johnny we could be in with a chance, still 20-80 but a chance nonetheless

      Like

  33. nonoxcol December 5, 2017 / 11:17 am

    Well I will say this. Today is the first time in ages (including Headingley in August) that I’ve felt seriously jealous of the people who can watch the Test match. It is the first time in four years I have genuinely wanted England to win. When it comes to games and scenarios that potentially create legends (however unlikely it remains), I can’t get enough of it. If Root is still in when I get up at 5:30am I will be getting very excited.

    Now then Shiny Toy, #39 and the rest of your foolish band, what do you have to say to this?

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus December 5, 2017 / 11:21 am

      At least I got Tim Wigmore discussing my tweet to the same effect.

      I don’t remember #39 and Shiny Toy differentiating between tests for 4 and 5 day lengths. Shiny Toy doesn’t do nuance.

      Like

    • OscarDaBosca December 5, 2017 / 11:35 am

      If Root scores 150 I genuinely believe we will win. However it will be really tight and we will be 7/8 wickets down.

      Or else he will go early and we will struggle to get within 50

      Like

      • oreston December 5, 2017 / 1:03 pm

        Moral victories are only of limited value, but even getting to within 50 runs of winning tomorrow would represent a remarkable turnaround given that England barely turned up for the first three days. Hopefully Root will stick around for at least two sessions and create a little uptick in that bothersome conversion rate. Jimmy is being feted for his first five wicket haul Down Under. While it’s a welcome achievement, isn’t that stat nonetheless as much an indictment as a cause for celebration?

        Liked by 1 person

    • jomesy December 5, 2017 / 9:03 pm

      I’m close (and closer now Cook’s out and can’t be part of it).

      Like

  34. Sri.Grins December 5, 2017 / 11:48 am

    Meanwhile India on course to equaling an Australian record of most continous series wins. Of course, there is a gulf of class probably between the Oz team and the current indian team where the wins have mostly come at home but a record is a record 🙂 :-D.

    Like

  35. SimonH December 5, 2017 / 12:50 pm

    Even he gets it….

    “Nobody, but nobody, should be advocating four-day Test matches. Not having seen this play out. Not having witnessed the 2017-18 Ashes so far.

    And he even nails who is responsible:

    “To the shame of English cricket, the ECB are one of the leading proponents of four day Tests. Officially, they have a neutral stance. Behind the scenes, that is not the case. Tom Harrison, the chief executive, is certainly an advocate”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark December 5, 2017 / 1:22 pm

      Ton Harrison should be sacked.Both of these two test matches would have ended in draws in my view if we had four day tests.

      They can claim that they will bowl 105 overs per day but they have not proved it. We struggle to bowl 90 overs in six and half hours. How long is a day’s play going to be? 7 hours 45 minues?

      And that is before any rain. You will never make up the overs lost because it will take all day to bowl 105. Forget making up any from yesterday that were rained off.

      Harrison and 39 are double agents of doom. Working inside the system to destroy test cricket. I wish they would go work in the cheese industry. Come up with a new, super non smelling bland profitable cheese.

      Like

  36. Mark December 5, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    50- 75 more in the first innings would have been nice. At least England have put up more of an effort second time arround, but I fear it’s too little too late. Will be delighted to be proved wrong.

    This is what is so frustrating about this tour. Australia are not that great. If we go down to heavy defeat it will be much worse than 4 years ago because they did get ambushed by Johnson. Nobody saw it coming because he had never bowled consistently for long periods.

    This is a good attack, but not of that quality. The pitches have not been express quick. No reason for England not to make 350-400 first innings in both matches. And the bowlers could have restricted Aus if they had pitched it in the right places.

    I suspect this will be a what could have been tour…..

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus December 5, 2017 / 1:03 pm

      Not sure why we bother watching it. The computer will know the answer and tell us!

      *Not entirely serious response”

      Like

  37. man in a barrel December 5, 2017 / 1:04 pm

    In that last hour, Australia were trying too hard. Lyon seemed to forget what had worked for him and was firing it in too flat and just short of the rough. Only Cummins remained cool enough to remember to let the ball do the work. Run in and bowl at the spot that gets you wickets. Don’t try to force something out of the pitch. If the Aussies don’t settle to their work, England might just get there

    Like

  38. LordCanisLupus December 5, 2017 / 1:12 pm

    Martin Samuel may be right on the main issue in this piece (4 day test nonsense), but it does still read like someone trying ever so hard to win an award, while giving the impression he’s just come across some of the stuff he is writing about.

    “Steve Smith looked upward at the night sky, his face a scowl of regret and frustration. He had blown his reviews, dropped a catch and England’s batsmen were closing in as relentlessly as the dark. A Test match that had once looked to have been heading incontrovertibly in Australia’s direction was now in the balance, and edging towards a gladiatorial conclusion.”

    May lord have mercy. Sounds more like the bleedin’ Da Vinci Code.

    (Edit – God that first sentence was awful. But then this isn’t my job!)

    I love his ending. He gets on a roll… He won’t be stopped!

    In Australian parlance that it a $1 or $2 coin – so, at the current exchange rate, top price £1.13, bottom 56p. Whether England last one session, or pull off one of the greatest comebacks in modern Ashes history, it represents the best value for any elite sports event this year. And that is what four-day Tests would deny the fans. Whoever supports the plan should be banned from every cricket ground in the country. Every country.

    Hang ’em. Flog ’em. Wet Liberals. Carry on like that and I might even ask him if he’d fancy writing on here.

    Like

    • Mark December 5, 2017 / 1:31 pm

      Haven’t they called him back to Blighty yet? His beloved West Ham need him desperately.

      The Hold the back page young guns have moved from leather jackets and Alice bands to middle age, cashmere sweaters and membership of the golf club.

      Who knew all it took was to dump Cook as captain and they would all turn on the ECB? Where have you been boys? We’ve been here all along!

      Like

  39. Deep Purple Fred December 5, 2017 / 1:28 pm

    Oh! England’s arrived! Looks like we’ll have a series after all, great stuff. England’s big guns have lived up to their reputation.
    Some people say test match cricket is slow and boring. I went to see the Cincinnati Bengals play the Pittsburgh Steelers last night, talk about teeeedious.
    Day 5 of a test match with everything to play for. World leading batsman vs fast pace attack. A spinner who could win or lose the game in 20 mins. A pitch that’s fair to both teams. Pivotal game in the series, pivotal day.
    I still think it will be 5-0, but at least someone’s screwed the wheels firmly back on.

    Like

      • Deep Purple Fred December 5, 2017 / 2:41 pm

        For the moment. Big brother.

        Like

  40. man in a barrel December 5, 2017 / 1:33 pm

    The way those wheels are getting loosened and tightened makes me wonder if the ECB should try for sponsorship from Kwik-Fit

    Liked by 2 people

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