England vs. Australia, 3rd Test preview – The Macbeth Ground

1978. That was the last time an England cricket team won a Test match at the WACA against Australia. So only 39 years of history, woe and tears that this ragtag bunch of tourists have to correct in 2017 in order to keep the Ashes alive. A big task? Yes. A very unlikely ask? Yes. Is it possible? Yes, but you won’t find me throwing any money behind an England win. Much has been made of the Adelaide Test, also known as the Macbeth Test, in which Dmitri’s first blog took it’s name from; however for a Macbeth ground, then the WACA has the hopes and ghosts of many an English batsmen and bowlers as tortured skeletons under the square.

The good news, if there is some, is that this WACA pitch is unlikely to have the pace and bounce of previous WACA pitches and Australia are beatable there too, as South Africa proved last year on what was a bit of a turgid pitch, certainly compared to some of the lightning quick pitches of the past. Also whilst the English cricket team has been busy head-butting the opposition, throwing drinks over each other and generally being a bunch of drunken arses after a couple of sherbets, then at least they don’t seem to have picked up any injuries in their various drunken shenanigans. That being said, the performances at Brisbane and Adelaide don’t fill me with a massive sense of confidence.

I had doubts about the make up of England’s batting and bowling units before the tour started and my various fears have been actively confirmed from the performances of certain individuals from the first 2 Tests. The bowlers have once again either bowled too short (wow what a surprise) or have looked particularly toothless when the ball isn’t swinging i.e. any time apart from the 2nd innings at Adelaide. The batting line up still has more holes than the average sieve and I really don’t see how a middle order of Vince, Malan (who at least has looked to adapt his game, but still looks short of international class) and Moeen, who has always struggled with bounce and pace are going to be able to post a competitive score that allows our bowlers to attack what is an unconvincing Australian batting order. This coupled with Cook’s ongoing struggles against any bowling that is remotely international class (the fact that he keeps getting out to spin, which is supposed to be his strength, is symptomatic of the struggles he is going through), alongside Root who I feel is facing the challenge of being England’s best batsman and captain of a struggling side, has meant that England really haven’t been close to being that competitive in this Ashes series. There has been some talk around shuffling the batting order and bringing in another bowler, but I don’t see anything but an unchanged team for Perth, especially as most have had a nice week or so off after deciding to skip the two day game as they are in such good touch! Thankfully it appears that the English selectors have finally seen a little sense and decided not to chance an injury prone and massively undercooked Mark Wood into the equation. As for Gary Ballance and Mason Crane, then I hope they are enjoying their all expenses paid holiday to Australia, as let’s face it, there isn’t a cat in hells chance that either of them will play in this series.

As for Australia, no doubt they will simply wish for more of the same as they have pretty much got England where they want them. It is appears that we will have a sighting of a second Marsh at Perth, with many tipping Mitch Marsh to replace Handscomb, who has looked pretty horrible with the bat this series. Normally the sighting of a Marsh, let alone two in the Australia team would involve a huge cheers from the English supporters; however we lost at Adelaide due to Shaun’s century and Mitch is actually in pretty good form with the bat in Shield cricket. One can only hope that they revert to their standard approach of being fairly useless in the remaining Tests.

As an aside, I’m not sure if anyone saw the quite dull press conference from Cook yesterday responding to the jibes from Messr’s Pietersen & Johnson. Now, before I get shouted at by the Cook brigade, I think KP was pretty out of order in questioning Cook’s motivation, which to me appeared to be a bit of a cheap shot back. I personally have never questioned Cook’s work ethic or motivation, I simply have questioned whether he is good enough to hold down a place in the England team let alone being England’s greatest player (which he most certainly isn’t). So aside from the normal bland responses from Cook, he did let slip a quite frankly hilarious quote covering his standard self-pity and the chaos that revolves around our administrators:

“Could it be my last series? I’ve no idea. And I’ve said that since I gave up the captaincy. Things change incredibly quickly. I was taught a lesson in 2014 with that World Cup. In the morning I was expecting to lead England in that World Cup and in the afternoon I got a phone call saying they didn’t want me to do it. And that was an hour after a meeting when they said they wanted me to, so you end up living on the edge in professional cricket.”

Yep he still can’t let it go or admit that he is simply wasn’t pulling his weight in an England team that was behind the times and routinely getting hammered by the rest of the world who had embraced a different form of approaching ODI’s. I guess the batting average under 29 and a strike rate under 80 the previous calendar year didn’t resonate either, no wonder the poor little lamb is so still upset about this, he thought he was General Custer, when in reality, he was General Custard. I also guess this was the first time that someone had said had told him he wasn’t the messiah mind! That being said the fact that the ECB only managed to tell him an hour after they had confirmed they wanted to lead the team to the World Cup, shows once again the complete and utter incompetence by those who are running English cricket. Some of those clowns have since being pensioned off, so instead we now have new lunatics running the asylum instead though predictably the results have remained the same.

Anyway enough of that. I don’t think any of us are going to be able to make it up in time or stay up late to live blog this Test. TLG is out of commission this week and neither Dmitri or myself are mental enough to do that with work the next day and even Danny might not be trying to rinse every penny out of his trial BT subscription. As a result, thoughts and views on the first days play below:


112 thoughts on “England vs. Australia, 3rd Test preview – The Macbeth Ground

  1. SimonH Dec 13, 2017 / 7:35 pm

    Whitaker flies in:


    Nice for Ben Duckett to read he’s being sent home in the traditional way.

    “One decision that was made on Wednesday [at a Whitaker-Flower lunch] was for Mark Wood to be seconded to the England squad once the Lions return home this Sunday”.

    So Wood could be selected for the MCG or SCG.

    “Batting coach Ramprakash has been handed a new two-year contract”.

    There goes one potential scapegoat – unless they want to follow the new contract with a sacking in true Donwtonesque style.


    • Mark Dec 13, 2017 / 7:48 pm

      Just remember folks…. the ECB don’t leak! Just in case you have forgotten.

      If England lose in Perth what is the point of risking Mark Wood? Better to give him the next 5 months off.


    • oreston Dec 13, 2017 / 8:24 pm

      Yes but a subsequent sacking would all be handled with such aplomb, doncha know?

      I get that he can only work with the players he’s given, and he shouldn’t be faced with having to try to correct fundamental technique flaws or psychological issues in batsmen selected but unsuitable for Test duty, but I’m still not really clear what Mark Ramprakash has actually accomplished given the state of England’s batting unit during his time as coach. I don’t blame him for it all but I don’t see what difference he’s made. In renewing his contract are they effectively saying that things might’ve been even worse without him? Is that the ECB’s measure of success for the Test team now?


      • Sean B Dec 13, 2017 / 9:30 pm

        I’m in complete agreement O, it’s a baffling one for me. Our batting has hasn’t progressed at all over the past few years, in fact many could say it’s gone backwards, yet a new contract is still forthcoming.

        I still question the wisdom of Ramps as a coach, he had the most beautiful batting technique which should have been ideal for Test cricket, but could never overcome the mental demons to be successful. Not ideal for a coach.


    • man in a barrel Dec 13, 2017 / 9:04 pm

      Disappointed with Ramps. He should have made enough from Strictly to do a Boycott with ECB. What does a batting coach do for an international side? The team should know how to bat already. The coach is there for spotting bad habits, things to work on, not coaching per se. So £5000 for a few sessions with Vince, paid for by Vince. Vince then knows it matters and might work on not getting out in the same way all the time.


      • oreston Dec 13, 2017 / 9:54 pm

        “So £5000 for a few sessions with Vince, paid for by Vince. Vince then knows it matters and might work on not getting out in the same way all the time.”
        You evoke a quaint, 1950s-style world governed by notions such as personal responsibility, pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps and acknowledging that you can learn from those more experienced. Success in this world would seem to require ambition, initiative and hard work.
        I may need to seek the refuge of my safe space until this nasty vision has passed 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sean B Dec 13, 2017 / 9:56 pm

          He has Shiny Toy, no need for any net sessions as far as Mr Vince is concerned. It’s the PR rather than the ability that counts these days….


          • oreston Dec 13, 2017 / 11:18 pm

            Yep, and even winning is of (at best) secondary importance, just as long as the TV and sponsorship money keeps rolling in. Beating some luckless visiting side at home on a green wicket under grey skies once in a while is just enough to keep the peons from complaining they’ve been sold a pup.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. man in a barrel Dec 13, 2017 / 8:58 pm

    Someone thinks that radical change is required. But I don’t speak Selvish so I am none the wiser


  3. man in a barrel Dec 13, 2017 / 9:25 pm

    English débutants who did well at the Waca :

    Rob Key
    Ben Stokes

    Cowdrey, in his 40s, did well against Lillee and Thommo in both innings. Bumble had his box turned inside out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alecpaton Dec 13, 2017 / 9:32 pm

      Cook scored his 1st Ashes century there (also, techinically Stokes wasn’t a debutant, it was his 2nd match, sorry to be a pedant [that’s a lie, I’m never sorry for my pedantry]).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sean B Dec 13, 2017 / 9:44 pm

        Yep, you and many others on the blog are the reason I double check my facts before posting!

        Liked by 1 person

      • man in a barrel Dec 13, 2017 / 9:48 pm

        Nice nit-picking!

        Who did The Deerslayer face in 2006? Apologies if LCL has already posted the mugshots. I merely sensed disintegration, the panicky switch to Panesar, the hint of the nuts coming unscrewed. Why is Kwik Fit not a sponsor?

        Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Dec 13, 2017 / 9:39 pm

      If you don’t pitch the ball up at Perth you can kiss goodbye to any LBWs. Players used to playing there know they can leave the ball on length. If Anderson and Broad start banging it in the Aussies will just stand there and watch it fly over the stumps.

      Not saying you can’t bowl short and hostile, but your stock ball needs to be a fuller length.


      • Sean B Dec 13, 2017 / 9:46 pm

        Spot on. Every single Ashes tour to Perth, the bowlers think they’re the new reincarnation of Curtley Ambrose and bowl too short. EVERY.SINGLE.TIME.


        • Mark Dec 13, 2017 / 10:06 pm

          And we are not professional cricketers Sean, and we know this. Have to say I am alarmed at Andersons claim that he is more worried about getting driven if he over pitches and bowls the odd half volley because he doesn’t like giving runs away.

          The new ball doesn’t last long in Aus, you can’t waste it. You may think 2 an over for 7 overs is ok but if you haven’t taken any wickets and you haven’t got a good spinner it will be a long day.


          • Sean B Dec 13, 2017 / 10:13 pm

            Yep but watch them bowl it off a back of length for the first hour and swoon when the Aussie openers leave everything heading over the stumps and then make hay when the ball gets soft. I believe we may have seen it before…


          • BobW Dec 14, 2017 / 7:27 pm

            Someone needs to tell Jimmy, one way to stem the flow of runs is to put your fielders in the right place. That way you can bowl full and keep the runs down.


  4. Silk Dec 13, 2017 / 10:09 pm

    England lose? Just a guess. See you in the morning…


  5. Quebecer Dec 13, 2017 / 10:31 pm

    Well, I for one am full of optimism.


  6. Quebecer Dec 13, 2017 / 10:32 pm

    How did that sound?


      • Quebecer Dec 13, 2017 / 10:41 pm

        Not so bad then.


  7. Tony Bennett Dec 13, 2017 / 10:41 pm

    Selvey thinks radical change is needed. To the batting order, I presume? I tend to think the same, but it can’t be done with this squad, which as the series goes on looks more and more to be the outcome of ludicrously poor planning allied with senseless optimism. Ballance is unselectable (I hope) so what do you do? Shuffle everybody around? Is there anyone out there who thinks England are better off with someone other than Root at three? If Vince has to play, he’d be better off at seven than three. And whatever Root’s protestations about being better at four, I wouldn’t mind betting that he will be at three by the end of the series.


  8. Quebecer Dec 13, 2017 / 10:51 pm

    What I’d really like to see and am hoping for are runs from Stoneman, Malan, and Bairstow. Firstly, Stoneman has the game to cash in at the WACA with its huge expanses square of the wicket. I’ve a feeling the Aussies will target him straight from round the wicket, but here’s hoping the flat deck and lack of movement will help him with that.
    Malan has been very dogged since he came in to the team, and while that’s great to start with, im hoping he might be a bit more expansive as theres the possibility of good rewards to be had for his shots here. He’s a wonderful attacking player and my fingers are firmly crossed that this is the test he might be able to encorpoate that in to his present watchfulness. I’m a bit concerned he’s going to stifle himself in to a tensed up mess otherwise.
    As for Johnny, time to show his mettle. Flat track + test class batsman should mean runs for him, so here’s hoping he can just get in the right head space and simply bat.


    • Sri. Grins Dec 14, 2017 / 3:18 am

      Good assessment Q


    • Pontiac Dec 14, 2017 / 11:47 pm

      From your lips to someone’s ears…


  9. man in a barrel Dec 13, 2017 / 11:39 pm

    Tony Lock spent many years leading Western Australia, nurturing Lillee and Co. It is painful that we don’t have a slow left armer to float it into the Doctor. Monty did quite well as I recall. A better captain might have sorted Gilchrist too.


  10. Matt taylor Dec 14, 2017 / 12:25 am

    As far as the third test goes… Forget it, as you will know from our time at tests together i am a renowned goatmouth and will be amazed if this one goes past sunday lunch.

    One particular word from the post got me thinking, UNIT. There is a lot of focus on team unity and dynamic etc, and a supposedly hard line on any misbehaviour (which i think is largely for show, the Duckett case being a bit like Orson Wells firing an actor in front of the whole cast to pull them into line). However our most succesful times appear to be when half the team hate each-others guts.

    Whats more for a team with quote ‘our best ever batsman and bowler plus the best batsman in the world today’ – Flintoff on Cook, Anderson and Root, could you really describe the openers, middle order or bowling attack as ‘units’?

    It is a running joke how many openers Cook has partnered since Strauss. The middle order feels non existant without Stokes’ hitting. In the past even scratchy players like Collingwood and Geraint Jones knew how to compliment and enable KP and Flintoff to play freely.

    Also despite nearly a thousand wickets between them will anyone talk about the Anderson and Broad era? I never think of them as a bowling partnership working in tandem the same way one cant mention Walsh without Ambrose, Donald and Pollock, Mcgrath and Lee etc.

    Work on the partnerships on the field and maybe the team will bond off it, rather than insisting on a false team spirit and excluding players whose face doesnt fit.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Sri. Grins Dec 14, 2017 / 2:35 am

    Q, do we optimists still have the other 2.5?

    Jokes apart, wishing all of you a very happy day when end of day score leaves you feeling better now that catharsis has happened thanks to Maxie


  12. quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 2:45 am

    Thank you Sri, old thing.

    I didn’t have time to post on Maxie’s thread, but Stoneman just played a cover drive that is the evidence as to why I refuse to let anyone take this game away from me.

    I went through all the feelings discussed there, but ended up with the same conclusion as Dmitri. The game belongs to itself, no matter what people in suits do, and I love the game.


    • Sri. Grins Dec 14, 2017 / 3:48 am

      Q, do you think we will get more converts to put their hands up?

      I agree with you on cricket. I don’t really care about bcci and whether they have treated a player badly because history is replete with such cases.

      I would watch even kids playing with a rubber ball and no stumps so why would I want to give up that enjoyment, give up on wanting India to win every match or wanting my favorite cricketers to do well?


      • quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 4:07 am

        Oh, they are too wise and jaded for that. It’s -18 degrees where I am right now following 20cms of snow. Such things makes me refuse point blank to be downhearted at the beginning of a test match. I’ll wait until day 3 fr that, thank you very much.

        Maxie’s article made me think quite a bit actually, and I’ve plenty to say about it. But one thing is that as always happens with me in the world, it’s not so much what happens or what this in positions of authority do hat really gets to me, but more how people react. My faith in my fellow humans is so often rocked to its foundations at such times. Even a quick glance at the BTL idiots the other day on the Cook piece makes me despair. That those people won the day over there is beyond my comprehension.

        However, here’s the thing: I don’t bother with the Guardian at all now. The articles tell me nothing and the comments are impossible to get through. So, I’ve committed to this blog. I think the writing here is excellent, the people interesting, and I also think it’s important: this is the future. I want to support this place. I don’t need to read journalism that neither informs or questions. I don’t do the twitter thing, and my time is hardly unlimited – so I’m here. I think this blog matters. I’ve decided to let this place be my primary source.

        I think this is a good response to all the points made and feelings shown on Maxie’s thread. I refuse to play ‘their’ game any more, and will love OUR game without any of them. Heck, Sri, even when it’s just you, me, and Pontiac. Fine by me.

        Liked by 3 people

        • Sri. Grins Dec 14, 2017 / 5:14 am

          Agree completely


      • man in a barrel Dec 14, 2017 / 10:40 am

        The replays showed no evidence at all that he had gloved it, as far as I could see. Didn’t Aleem Dar need something conclusive?


  13. Benny Dec 14, 2017 / 2:46 am

    Here I am at 2.40 watching. England openers looking confident. Starc has bowled one snorter but so far we’ve seen 5 boundaries – yes, really


    • quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 2:52 am



      • quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 2:53 am


        All good. We’re fine. Just checking in on you.


  14. quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 2:48 am

    3.3 overs in and my words on Stoneman earlier looking staggeringly insightful. 3.3! Result!


  15. Benny Dec 14, 2017 / 2:53 am

    OK Cook’s gone lbw. Played back to a full ball, the wally. Starc too quick for him. Think I’ll give up now


    • quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 2:58 am

      Aw c’mon! Stoneman and Vince about to look superb as they put these Aussies to the sword!


  16. Miami Dad's 6 Dec 14, 2017 / 2:54 am

    Cook out plumb LBW. He is a walking wicket, mentally shot to pieces.


  17. quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 2:56 am

    Cook gone. No probs. Bound to happen. Now we can get on with our innings – although it might be difficult without, as Zeph ironically termed it given the latest love fest, Cook’s wonderful wonderfulness.


  18. Pontiac Dec 14, 2017 / 3:14 am

    Lots of sugar in the bowling.


  19. quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 3:18 am

    Cummins looks quick immediately.

    Benny reminded me of a story:

    At my old club in London, there used to be an old fella who did the ground called Albert. An ex copper, apparently he’d been a very good player back in his day, but by the time I knew him, he had become only a phenomenal drinker. Widely known for a superhuman capacity, he still played in the 4ths or 5ths and would go on our club tours. Where ever he went, the locals would see it as a drinking challenge, but Albert never lost. A friend told me on a tour game a few years before my time there, Albert had received a few of those challenges on consecutive days just prior to him captaining a game. Having slept goodness knows where, he arrived (in his whites) 5 minutes before the 1pm start, strode to the middle for the toss, said “Headswe’llbat,” and instead of coming back to he pavilion, kept walking to other side of the ground, where he lay down under a tree and went to sleep.

    After half an hour, our team sent it’s youngest and most innocent player running over to Albert. Said youngster got to the tree and delivered the panicked message, “Albert! Albert!” It’s 1:30 and we’re 9 down!”

    From under his hat and without moving a muscle, Albert replied, “Declare.”


    • quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 3:21 am

      Bloody i pad autocorrect apostrophe catastrophe. Still, cricket, eh?


    • BoredInAustria Dec 14, 2017 / 6:09 am

      I captained our school’s first XI. We had a bit of a challenge too get a good team together (many willing, few capable). We had a star in Haydn, that was a great opening bat and a gifted wicket keeper. And a fantastic bloke.

      The problem each Saterday morning was:
      a) Would Haydn turn up after the night before, and
      b) If he does turn up, in what state is he after the night before.

      The next crisis was, if I win the toss, do I:
      a) send Haydn in to bat, or
      b) let him keep.


  20. Pontiac Dec 14, 2017 / 3:24 am

    Interesting strategy on the bowling rotation – 4 from Starc, short break/change of ends then on again.


    • Pontiac Dec 14, 2017 / 3:28 am

      It’ll be interesting to see how much this bounces when Lyon gets on.


      • quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 4:19 am

        Re your point about Lyon: seems we actually have a plan this time.


        • Pontiac Dec 14, 2017 / 6:04 am

          Not sure they can read his length well enough but trying to mess with it instead of just standing there is at least a start, yeah…


    • quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 3:31 am

      I was wondering about that too. I think when you’ve got Cummins waiting, it perhaps makes the decision for you?

      Hazelwood looks to be putting more in to things.

      It also seems they are going for Stoneman outside off. I think this is risky for them. It might well come off as he will play that ball, but as with Warner, there’s a fair chance the batsman might win that duel.


      • Pontiac Dec 14, 2017 / 3:39 am

        There’s lots of gambling going on, that’s for sure on both sides. I don’t have any idea what par is. High run rate, but there seems to be plenty of risk too.


        • quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 3:49 am

          I’m OK with Stoneman playing like this, I must admit. It’s his game, and the pitch looks pretty flat, and this ground can reward a brave left hander at the top of the order looking to play shots square of the wicket. I think attacking is the way to go here.


          • Pontiac Dec 14, 2017 / 3:57 am

            The Australian quicks are showing a serious lack of patience.


  21. Sri. Grins Dec 14, 2017 / 3:52 am

    69/1 good Vince seems to be catching up too


  22. Sri. Grins Dec 14, 2017 / 4:27 am

    Dumb shot from vince


    • Pontiac Dec 14, 2017 / 4:29 am

      If you’re shutting up the shop, you shut up the shop. You don’t shut up the shop then crack the door open and unlock the safe to make change for someone who wants to buy a pack of gum with a hundred.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 4:28 am

    It’s wrong to dislike cricketers, especially those on your own team. But James Vince is making himself particularly hard to like. As lunch approaches:
    Vince c Paine b Hazlewood 25


    • quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 4:30 am

      Very needless, and not bright at all.


  24. quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 4:46 am

    Well, that’s lunch, and for me, bed. It’s funny how even after pinning my colours to the masts of Stoneman, Malan, and Bairstow in this innings, I’m still really annoyed at Cook and Vince.

    91-2 after the first session is… I’m not sure. There are runnnnnns in this wicket though. This isn’t a test we should lose, it really isn’t.

    Nite nite to Pontiac and our man in Bengaluru,


    • Pontiac Dec 14, 2017 / 5:15 am

      The adjustments after lunch are going to matter a lot.

      I got the sense that the batters weren’t operating at all risk free but also that the quicks were alternately too full and too short.

      There’s definitely been orders to start attacking Lyon but so far it’s too early to tell how that’s going to go. He seems to have lined up in the last couple overs, but by that time the batters were clearly changing tactics.

      It all feels like it could just as easily have been 0/100 or 4/80.


  25. nonoxcol Dec 14, 2017 / 5:49 am

    On the positive side, 69 in 5 innings.
    On the negative side, I have literally just woken up to FICJAM AND Lovejoy together! How can TMS do this – both at once? HOW????

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Dec 14, 2017 / 6:08 am

      They’re like a meal of pate de foie gras and warm Carling. Separately, revolting even to think about. Together, hideousness beyond imagination.

      No prizes for working out which is which.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Maxie Allen cricket (@MaxieCricket) Dec 14, 2017 / 6:50 am

        “They’re like a meal of pate de foie gras and warm Carling. Separately, revolting even to think about. Together, hideousness beyond imagination”.

        Wonderful analogy.


        • nonoxcol Dec 14, 2017 / 9:58 am

          Thanks! But just to prove that opinions are like arseholes…


      • OscarDaBosca Dec 14, 2017 / 7:41 am

        Just woke up and FICJAM just did the report on radio 4. I know the score, and I know Stoneman was dismissed, but he didn’t bother to tell me who is currently batting, who was out, or what anyone had scored.
        I guess no one else had written it down for him to ‘borrow’

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Dec 14, 2017 / 10:28 am

        “A meal of pate de foie gras and warm Carling.”

        Genius! nobody is going to beat that analogy today!


  26. Pontiac Dec 14, 2017 / 5:51 am

    Well, there’s the adrenaline. And Root goes.

    This is fascinating, in that this bowling intensity can’t be sustained. I suppose the presence of Marsh makes it possible. But it’s a gamble. Whoever’s there in a half hour is going to have an easier life.


  27. Rooto Dec 14, 2017 / 5:51 am

    Wow! I was listening before lunch and the difference in atmosphere is impressive. A squadron of sharks have sensed blood in the water. If they can all keep up this pressure, I’d be surprised to see England get beyond 200.


  28. Rooto Dec 14, 2017 / 5:56 am

    Jim Maxwell! Yay!


    • Rooto Dec 14, 2017 / 5:58 am

      My enthusiasm partly for Jim’s improved health, partly because he’s a good commentator, partly because he replaced FICJAM.

      Liked by 2 people

  29. Pontiac Dec 14, 2017 / 6:10 am

    Well, *that* will be a controversy.

    The language in US sports is very clear: clear evidence to indicate that the call on the field was wrong. The ABC commentators both think that the DRS decision was rubbish.


    • Pontiac Dec 14, 2017 / 6:15 am

      It also came out /very/ quickly. Rubbish.


      • Rooto Dec 14, 2017 / 6:29 am

        Mixed reactions on TMS. Lovejoy wasn’t having it, but Simon Mann gave it out. I didn’t see it, but I know whose judgement I trust more out of those two!


        • Maxie Allen cricket (@MaxieCricket) Dec 14, 2017 / 6:55 am

          I’m watching via BT Sport on my phone (I’m at work on an early shift). So only have a small screen to work from. On the replays, you can barely see what’s going on as the ball is at the very top of the frame. But from what you can see, the glove which the ball brushes is not holding the bat.


        • Quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 7:27 am

          I used to know Simon Mann. I think he’s a good commentator but can solidly affirm he’s a non-cricketer with no intuitive understanding of the game.

          I just woke up to say that.

          Bon nuit, Roo.


  30. Maxie Allen cricket (@MaxieCricket) Dec 14, 2017 / 6:59 am

    Just going back to Cook’s press conference – it’s very striking that on the eve of his 150th cap, the one episode he sought fit to mention was his sacking as ODI captain. As if his was a hard-luck story. As if he had been hard done by – rather than the reality, which is that he is the most indulged individual in the history of English cricket.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mark Dec 14, 2017 / 10:21 am

      Great spot Maxie, and so true. It pleases me that the decsion to get rid of him as ODI captain still annoys him because it destroys the media myth that he always puts the team first. It’s always about him! Always has been.

      Worlds most indulged sportsman.


  31. Rooto Dec 14, 2017 / 7:35 am

    Stopped clock time: I agree with #39 that getting ‘strangled’ down the leg side is legitimate and not ‘unlucky’ (© FICJAM).
    However time moves on, and #39 finishes with the Colemanballs-esque “England need to still be batting when Australia take that second new ball”.


  32. nonoxcol Dec 14, 2017 / 9:03 am

    Yay, someone has overtaken Vince’s 83!


      • nonoxcol Dec 14, 2017 / 9:11 am

        Boom tish!

        On a more sober note, the more severe the famine, the greater the over-reaction when the rains finally come. Call it Southampton Syndrome.


        • LordCanisLupus Dec 14, 2017 / 9:12 am

          My main amusement is how some have come to a sudden realisation that he’s struggling. And turned with the herd. I might like him to score a ton to see the reaction.


          • nonoxcol Dec 14, 2017 / 9:16 am

            I’ve seen this before; we all have. The number of pieces analysing Pietersen’s decline from 50 to 44 in the two halves of his career outstrips the total number written about Trott’s drop-off post-Cardiff 2011, the entire last third of Strauss’s career, and proper statistical analysis of the most recent third of Cook’s, put together.

            Which is partly why you get comment sections like that Guardian one the other day.


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 14, 2017 / 9:25 am

            Maybe. But this was/ is different. This has seen absolute denial. More full thoughts later.


          • nonoxcol Dec 14, 2017 / 9:36 am

            My argument would be that there was a strong element of denial re Strauss and Trott as well, because of who they were (the same leeway was never granted to Bell, for example, who actually had the highest 2009-13 average of the lot).

            The first mention of Trott’s decline by someone with clout was Andy Zaltzman, in what ended up being his penultimate Test.

            And as for Strauss, it was all “telling the Saffers how to get him out”, “Pietersen drove him out” and “what a fine captain”, totally covering up his diminishing returns.


          • Miami Dad's Six Dec 14, 2017 / 1:29 pm

            To be fair, it is only 7 years and 34 innings since his last ton against Australia.


  33. whiterose76 Dec 14, 2017 / 9:40 am

    OK. Blood officially boiled. Put TMS on for five minutes to hear Swann call Malan stupid, irresponsible, dull, boring and not very bright for not having a launch at Steve Smith to get his hundred before the new ball. Perhaps Malan realises it’s not all about him and there is a match and series in the balance. I need a new, completely unique word to describe our favourite commentator.Any suggestions?

    Liked by 2 people

    • nonoxcol Dec 14, 2017 / 9:46 am

      I don’t think there are any swear-words strong enough for him. I really don’t. He’s that bad.


    • OscarDaBosca Dec 14, 2017 / 11:21 am

      Heard exactly the same. The man is a fool, the point about the last hour was for the two batsmen to survive it, take a little shine off the new ball and go in 4 wickets down.
      They did really well, he go to his 100, has taken a little shine off and will go into the morning confident.
      Nice to see England come out on top for once, however they need to bat for at least an hour tomorrow together to get that ball nice and soft. Early wickets and we could be in trouble, but for now I am actually happy with our performance.
      Oh and Cook got out to a straight one, LBW at the WACA. Which shouldn’t but it makes me smile to hear Shiny Toy defend him and his eyes on TMS, which is a massive irony as everyone but Shiny Toy knew when his eyes went all those years ago,.


  34. whiterose76 Dec 14, 2017 / 9:54 am

    According to a mate of mine he’s a complete Colin (I think as in Colin Hunt from the Fast Show). That’ll do me.


    • nonoxcol Dec 14, 2017 / 10:07 am

      This has occurred to me before…. but I’m not sure C Hunt was quite as offensive a human being.


  35. Mark Dec 14, 2017 / 10:35 am

    So have we now reached a point where we are looking for an opening partner for Stoneman?

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Sri. Grins Dec 14, 2017 / 10:47 am

    Q, we optimists won the day. 😀☺


    • OscarDaBosca Dec 14, 2017 / 11:59 am

      Indeed we did


  37. Zephirine Dec 14, 2017 / 10:51 am

    “What I’d really like to see and am hoping for are runs from Stoneman, Malan, and Bairstow. “ Quebecer, further up the thread. Perhaps they read this blog….

    I fear this match will be a draw, as apparently rain is forecast for Days 4 and 5, but hey, good stuff so far.


    • OscarDaBosca Dec 14, 2017 / 1:08 pm

      I heard the same and it concerns me that England will play well and end up with a draw.


    • Quebecer Dec 14, 2017 / 5:01 pm

      Firstly, yeah, it sometimes annoys people when I do that. In all fairness, I should probably use my time machine for good, but this is more fun.

      Secondly, I personally am optimistic it will be a draw!


  38. man in a barrel Dec 14, 2017 / 10:52 am

    I wrote in one of my pieces that Cook has been lucky for some time that all the focus has been on the guy at the other end. Now that Stoneman has made a couple of 50s, they have suddenly noticed that The Deerslayer is not making many runs


  39. Tony Bennett Dec 14, 2017 / 11:02 am

    What odds against Cook playing his final Test in this series? He can be replaced by his county colleague Nick Browne for the NZ series.


  40. Tom Dec 14, 2017 / 11:11 am

    I wanted to watch the first day so much, connected to India via Cricinfo’s link and once again ended up watching some Mexican show.

    So I went to the pub instead and ended up explaining cricket to a Swiss TV person – it was fun!

    Since I haven’t seen the action, all I can say is that I am so glad Bairstow is batting higher in the order. I suggested this in the comments in a previous post and suspect many agreed. What’s the sense of having one of your best batsmen at no. 7?

    Anyway, since I wasn’t able to watch any live action, is there anything on the pitch that’ll help the English bowlers? From the comentary I read, it seemed the pitch wasn’t that quick but faster than expected, but there was little seam movement. Was there any sign of swing?


    • Miami Dad's Six Dec 14, 2017 / 1:03 pm

      Starc got shape rather than swing, but only very occasionally and only when bowling very full. It might have even been reverse around the 60 over mark, but it wasn’t significant. Cummins got a couple to creep back into Bairstow in the final session. But no, not much from what I saw (the first session and the last hour or so). I didn’t think Australia bowled very well, to be honest. Full and straight for Cook, outside off stump for Vince – easy plans executed easily. Stoneman didn’t look right against the short stuff but still managed to make 50 due to a host of half volleys early doors that saw him race into the 30s at better than a run a ball. Root they were a little fortunate in a leg side strangle, then with Malan and Bairstow the Australians just sort of petered out in the final session.

      To be fair to England, they were positive against Lyon for the first time. In the 2005 Ashes, England went after Warne and although he still took a shedload of wickets, it meant that they were never quietly choked to death. They have actually learnt something from the first two Tests, and were getting down the pitch and slog sweeping, not letting him settle.

      Obviously, even with a flat pitch, we’ve got the most skilful bowler in the world and the greatest fast bowler ever on our side.

      Liked by 1 person

  41. Maxie Allen cricket (@MaxieCricket) Dec 14, 2017 / 12:27 pm

    Changing tack…the story about Disney acquiring Fox’s TV arm. As I understand it, this means Disney will own Sky Sports, and they already own ESPN (and Cricinfo). Disney have bigger fish to fry than cricket, but in the long term this is bound to have some major implications for the global cricket TV rights market, namely consolidation.

    In the UK, it means that Rupert Murdoch and his newspapers will no longer have any equity in Sky’s sports portfolio, and hence no more lobbying to keep cricket off the ‘crown jewels’ list.

    Apologies if I have misinterpreted any of this but it’s a developing story!


    • Mark Dec 14, 2017 / 1:04 pm

      As I understand it Fox News and Fox sports will be formed into a new company, and not sold to Disney. However, Foxs sports 39% stake in Sky will be sold to Disney.

      It seems as if Murdoch is getting out of UK sky sports, but not American sport. Make of that what you will. Maybe he believes tv rights in UK has reached peak level. On the other hand he is now well into his eighties and perhaps has decided to cash in rather than hand on to his sons. Who knows?,

      The UK govt investigation into Sky and Foxes 39% stake in in it may not be relevent now. Disney does not own The Sun or the The Times. Disney wants to go up against Net-flicks, and has pulled its films from the platform. They want to move aggressively into the digital platform field.


      • Zephirine Dec 14, 2017 / 1:33 pm

        It’s the battle of the digital giants and the impression seems to be that Murdoch isn’t interested in it, he’d rather stick to old-fashioned news media and bossing politicians around.


        • LordCanisLupus Dec 14, 2017 / 1:48 pm

          Sky massively overpaid for football and their content has suffered a lot accordingly. The repackaging of separate channels was an elaborate hoax, offering no meaningful savings. What that means for sports rights in the UK going on is interesting. Disney is massive, but they also aren’t stupid, and they can survive without all the Premier League packages. If they want to compete with Netflix and Amazon (as well as Facebook and other platforms) they are going to need to be smarter. And they will be.

          But if they hire Graeme Swann, all bets are off.

          Liked by 1 person

          • nonoxcol Dec 14, 2017 / 2:01 pm

            One would hope this is as likely as Disney insisting Jar Jar Binks comes back to Star Wars. It would certainly be as welcome.

            Liked by 1 person

  42. whiterose76 Dec 14, 2017 / 3:49 pm

    That’s exactly who he is – a strange character brought in for ‘comic relief’ and ends up spoiling one of the great historical series of our time…

    Liked by 2 people

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