I Can See It In Your Walk, Tell ’em When You Talk – 3rd Test Day 1

There’s an issue when you run a blog and the action is taking place either overnight or during work hours – how do you write a day’s report? I think we’ve done this a few times before, but with four of us you’d think we’d have it covered.

The bigger problem is when thee play merges across sleep and work! All four of us are unable to really follow the action in any way other than via score updates on cricinfo. This leads to us providing you with a match report based on, well, our own imagination, and interpretation of the numbers and social media reactions. To put it mildly, this is not the most reliable of reporting sources. That said, we never pretended we were/are reporters.

So what that leads to is a discussion on the bald facts of the day. England have finished it on 305 for 4, which represents a fantastic recovery from 131 for 4, and also a magic moment for Dawid Malan. That England are in a very solid position is very nice. We might lose from here, but we really shouldn’t. The descriptions of the wicket are that it is very flat, has nice, but not electric, pace and is good for batting with a lightning outfield to give values for shots. There have been double the amount of boundaries today compared to the other first days at the Ashes tests this year.

What I have always loved about test cricket is a player’s first test ton. Is it a harbinger of success, of a career to be fulfilled and blossom, or the one cry of defiance in a pool of mediocrity. The hit and miss of our selections have seen several people make tons and disappear – Robson and Lyth come to mind, Compton made two, Ballance four – while Moeen, Stokes and YJB since the last Ashes have gone on to make their second hundred and stay the course. By all accounts it was a proper test match hundred. Watchful determination combined with good shot making. Malan is 30, so not a young pup, and his window is obviously narrow (Cook is only just coming up to 33 and people are saying he’s finished), but today he made the place his own at least until the end of the winter. There was a rule of thumb when I played Fantasy Cricket that if you made runs for Western Australia, I’d stick you in my team for the English season (yes, Michael Hussey!) and there’s a very limited number of players to have made three figures for England at the WACA recently. It bodes well.

But what Malan also needs to be aware of, and I’m pretty sure he is, is that 110 is not enough. Yes, he’s done his bit, but we need him to turn that into 150+ for this to be the telling innings. Yes, a lot of store, perhaps wrongly, is put on three figures, but the innings we remember, certainly in first innings, are the big ones. Dawid is key to our fortunes.

So is Jonny Bairstow, and his promotion up the order to alternate the left and right handers appears, on this small sample size, to have worked. He is 25 runs away from a maiden Ashes ton and again, by all accounts looked in good touch. Bairstow is a little bit of an enigma, and while he tantalises us with the bat there will always be talk of how good he could be if he were played as a pure batsman. Also there are mumblings about a batsman as good as him batting at 7. I remember Adam Gilchrist copping the same flak (no I didn’t). Again, Bairstow adding another 50 will be very handy.

I’m a bit of an oddball, in that I keep a lot of old cricket recorded off the TV, and for some reason I’ve decided to tape this series in its entirety. I think today’s recording will be really pleasant viewing. Will Australia start feeling the pressure? Well, it depends on how many England make, and if they get off to a Warner-assisted flyer. England should make 400+ and then we get to see how Aussie react to a reasonable score. That should be fun.

And so to Alastair Cook. You knew I’d have to mention him. I’m not going to comment on a dismissal I’ve not seen, but if every time Cook was out LBW to a opening bowler was cause to question his eyes, then I’m staggered. When Nasser put that only a fool would right Cook off, he’s using his heart over his head. There’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that. It’s sport. You have those you pull for and those you don’t. I’m not a Cook fan, but I actually think the way the media and some of the social media I see have turned on him is ridiculous. Yes, you read that right. He has not made an Ashes hundred since Sydney in January 2011. That is 34 innings of not getting to three figures. At the other opening end, off the top of my head, there’s been 1. The RootMaths hundred at Lord’s that spawned a meme so tiresome, it was boring by tea time. Alastair Cook’s “demise” is not a sudden one, as these people give the impression of it being, but one over time. I see mentions that we should now move on from Cook, which again, I think is a little premature. The main question to be asked is “Is Alastair Cook one of our best two openers?” If the answer, in the view of the selectors, is yes, then he should play. If Cook himself doesn’t want to, then that’s for him. But if you are awaiting a century from him, then the fact he hasn’t managed one against the Old Enemy or South Africa in around 50 tries now might give you a clue. Who knows, he might be due?

Anyone who has seen today, please feel free to carry on the comments below. Hopefully we’ll put up a lead in piece for tonight too. If not, you know what to do.

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33 thoughts on “I Can See It In Your Walk, Tell ’em When You Talk – 3rd Test Day 1

  1. Rooto December 14, 2017 / 3:01 pm

    I’m happiest for q. He deserves it.

    Like

    • Quebecer December 14, 2017 / 5:14 pm

      Yeah, thanks, yeah. Obviously it’s taken a lot of hard work, and I went away and really stripped my optimism down to its basics. Just, you know, hard work, and concentrating on the optimism that got me here in the first place. Credit to my coach obviously, who always believed in unbelievable belief. But yeah. Hard work.

      Like

      • man in a barrel December 14, 2017 / 9:19 pm

        Hard work is the key. Working and running harder will win the day

        Like

      • Sri. Grins December 15, 2017 / 1:27 am

        Thanks Q for the mention 😀

        Like

  2. Benny December 14, 2017 / 4:36 pm

    I watched the first 20 odd minutes and Cook and Stoneman looked comfortable, apart from one real snorter from Starc. Cook then played the wrong shot and was beaten for pace too.

    I saw the highlights at midday. Vince was Vince. Root got one of those down the legside, if you get enough bat on it, you get four. He didn’t.

    Stoneman, Malan and Bairstow all played like top Test batsmen. Defended well and bravely and played many superb shots. Aussies bowled fast, some of it brutal, and dropped 3 catches.

    All the commentators told us it’s a lovely batting wicket. Not sure. It’s a lovely outfield but some of hits that Stonman took weren’t lovely at all.

    There you go – a day’s play in eight lines

    Like

  3. Mark December 14, 2017 / 4:55 pm

    The Perth test is always the horrible one because of time zones. 2.30am start is just a big no no for me. Iam not sitting up till that time to watch one session before another 40 minute delay for lunch. And with the genius invention of day night night cricket Adelaide has gone the same way. As a result I have seen very little live cricket this series. Wtf am I subscribing to BT for? I was hoping that England would still be right in it down for the last two test matches.

    Today has by the sound of it been the best day of the tour so far. And they needed it. However they have to back up a good days play with another. No good getting bowled out for 50-60 tomorrow morning. Need to add another 150 plus and then put the Aussie under pressure.

    I’m glad for Malan, and have to eat some humble pie. I wasn’t a fan of his selection. But he has done as well as anybody. Bairstow was wasted down at 7, and I would like to know which genius came up with that idea?

    But Vince is not a test match number 3. Sorry, but he is too loose. At least he saw off the new ball for a couple of hours. As for Cook who knows? As you say, the decline has been obvious for a while yet the media would not report it because of Cook rules. Now they are shocked, shocked at what has happened. This site has been ahead of the paid media, and has documented the slide.

    Shame about the weather forecast but who knows?

    Like

  4. jomesy December 14, 2017 / 4:59 pm

    Just curious….when you say:

    “I’m a bit of an oddball, in that I keep a lot of old cricket recorded off the TV, and for some reason I’ve decided to tape this series in its entirety.”

    Are you video (i.e. VHS) recording?!

    Like

      • jomesy December 14, 2017 / 7:01 pm

        Chuckles

        Like

  5. Scrim December 14, 2017 / 5:12 pm

    Only caught the first half of the middle session. Just enough to see Root and Stoneman get out.

    If Hazlewood and co bowled as well to Malan and Bairstow as they did to Stoneman then they must have batted extremely well to bat the rest of the day. Stoneman was in all sorts of trouble for half an hour or so there.

    It was amazing how quick the outfield was compared to the Gabba or Adelaide. Anything that best the infield was almost always 4. Value for shots, value for edges and miscues as well.

    Mitch Marsh never fails to disappoint. That was about as easy a slips catch as you could hope to get. I saw a couple of his overs, and really, what’s the point? He’s in the team for 7 overs a day of that? For all the fuss the selectors make about having an allrounder, it doesn’t seem to matter if it is Marsh, Cartwright, Maxwell or a specialist batsman at 6 – the 5th bowler is hardly used, because they aren’t good enough. Marsh bowled in just a couple of matches before this one after his shoulder injury. He really needs a season or two, (not a month or two) of good Shield cricket under his belt. He isn’t a better player than when he left the team due to injury earlier this year, averaging 20 with the bat and 40 with the ball.

    Like

    • SimonH December 14, 2017 / 6:29 pm

      Dropping Handscomb has taken out one of Australia’s most reliable close fielders. Does Marsh normally field at first slip? It’s not a position I’ve seen him in before in international cricket. He was in the gully last year when he took this catch:

      Like

      • Scrim December 14, 2017 / 7:13 pm

        I don’t recall him ever fielding at first slip for Australia. Apparently he does for WA.

        Like

  6. man in a barrel December 14, 2017 / 5:14 pm

    Smith had a very average day as captain in my humble opinion. They put a man at deep square on the hook for Stoneman although he doesn’t seem to hook. More tellingly, if they had posted a short leg they would have got him for about 20 or so because he kept trying to ride the bounce on the shorter-pitched deliveries and was playing off the splice or gloves quite a lot. Eventually they put in a shortish gully and short leg but it was 3 overs too late. A quickish but very bouncy pitch and no short leg? That was captaincy of Cook quality.

    Cook was done for pace pure and simple. He was just not in position and had to try to bring the bat round his pad.

    Like

    • oreston December 14, 2017 / 7:10 pm

      My suspicion is that his reaction times have slowed a little, which is a concerning thought for a player who’s still not quite 33. It’s obviously a matter of incredibly fine margins but facing genuine pace it’s as though he now just doesn’t always have time to get himself into a proper shape – or occasionally even to process the correct shot selection. Then again he’s also struggled against spin in the last year, so there’s evidently more to it than that. Whatever’s going wrong is clearly beyond any coach’s ability to remediate. He looked mentally shot when he relinquished the captaincy but returning to the ranks hasn’t reignited his batting mojo. Some are trotting out his double century at Edgbaston last summer, as though that proves anything more than that he’s still a capable enough flat track bully against lesser opposition. In summary, as a top level Test batsman I think he’s just about spent and at the tail end of a three-to-four year decline. The only questions are in what manner his career will be ended and how soon. Replacing him is another matter altogether. Our old friend TINA will doubtless be the last line of defence. (I wonder what Alice thinks of TINA. Is she jealous?)

      Liked by 1 person

      • man in a barrel December 14, 2017 / 10:04 pm

        How many balls had he faced? The pitch looked weird: reasonable pace, massive bounce. A full yorker was a great delivery in the circumstances. I don’t know why they stopped using it

        Like

        • oreston December 15, 2017 / 12:15 am

          He’d faced 16 balls (which is neither here nor there, really). Yes, it was a good delivery but the yorker might been their plan to get Cook and you can see why it would’ve been (just as there was always going to be a bouncer barrage at some stage during the morning).
          69 runs from 5 innings so far this series tells its own story. Unless by some miracle he’s suddenly reborn, and plays an unforeseeably remarkable hand during the remainder of the tour, I don’t think there’s any getting away from the conclusion that his powers are in terminal decline. I find the deterioration of the skills of a once seemingly invincible sportsman a sad thing to witness (setting aside all the other nonsense that has defined Cook’s career). I really hope for his sake, and for the benefit of whatever legacy history grants him, that he has the wisdom to go gracefully and of his own volition. He’s been given a hell of a lot more leeway than any of his umpteen post-Strauss opening partners – or arguably than his contemporaries such as Bell – so it really would be taking the piss for him to try to linger on once it becomes obvious to all that there’s no way he’s going to pull out of this slump. I don’t blame any player for raging against the dying of the light, but once it’s died for heavens’ sake go and do something else and let somebody new have a go (…assuming they can find that somebody).

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Deep Purple Fred December 14, 2017 / 6:53 pm

    Hang on, what? That can’t be right. Who’s been messing with the script?
    Ach, it’s only day one.

    Like

    • Sri. Grins December 15, 2017 / 1:30 am

      Q and me with occasional support. ☺

      Like

  8. Silk December 14, 2017 / 8:29 pm

    I’d have bet on Vince and Woakes being more likely than Malan to score the first English ton of the series. Shows what I know.

    Then again, who rated Sean Marsh? Anyone?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rooto December 14, 2017 / 8:51 pm

      Don’t worry. I’m the guy who said – at the fall of the 4th wicket – that England would be all out for less than 200…
      Just be proud that you predict with your heart, not your head (I tell myself).

      Liked by 1 person

    • man in a barrel December 14, 2017 / 9:23 pm

      I belatedly ran the TIMA analysis on Marsh S. Let’s say it was more promising than The Deerslayer

      Like

  9. man in a barrel December 14, 2017 / 9:25 pm

    It seems odd that Vince is getting close to twenty test innings with only one fifty to his name, unlike a few other people

    Like

  10. Mark December 14, 2017 / 9:25 pm

    Rant number 5768

    I hate BT. I don’t want to hate them, but when they treat their paying customers like shit, I hate them. Iam watching the test highlights because I can’t stay up all night watching live. So what do I get for my momey?

    1st the screen is split into 3. Down the left side I get endless football league fixtures and tables that I don’t want. They flash constantly.

    2nd, across he bottom I get endless quotes from idiotic football managers like Mourinio. I don’t give a shit what that jumped up little prat has to say. I am trying to watch the cricket.

    3rd Miraculously when they go for a commercial brake the screen reverts to full size. So when your advertisers want to sell me something they get to use the full screen. When I want to watch the cricket, I get a reduced screen size. You obviously prefer their money to your viewers.

    Well fuck you BT. I have championed some competion to Sky, but you obviously have total contempt for you customers. You employ that moron on commemtary, and now I get about 40% of my screen size removed.

    I hear Disney is taking over Sky. You can kiss goodbye to any cricket coverage in the future. They are a much bigger global player than Sky is.

    Like

    • northernlight71 December 14, 2017 / 9:34 pm

      I’ve done a quick count Mark, and I think you’re actually on rant 5773.

      😉

      Like

      • Mark December 14, 2017 / 10:00 pm

        Thank you for keeping count!

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus December 14, 2017 / 9:47 pm

      Avoid BT Sport 3 like the plague if you have Virgin Media. You can get rid of the sidebars on Sky and BT vision.

      Like

    • Mark December 14, 2017 / 10:09 pm

      I’m an old fart, I can just about switch the bloody thing on. Please enlighten me how I get rid of these things?

      I am on Sky, with a basic Sky remote. I am assuming the removal will be on the Sky remote, and not my tv remote? Tried pressing help and that just does subtitles. Nothing else seems to work.

      Like

  11. man in a barrel December 14, 2017 / 9:52 pm

    On the commentary, someone said that Cook had spent a few hours with a coach who is not Ramps. I immediately noticed that he was more still in the crease. Only 1 trigger movement instead of the 5. I thought the guy said Thorpe. Thorpe was very still at the crease, so it seems possible. Anyone else catch that?

    Like

  12. man in a barrel December 14, 2017 / 10:01 pm

    Also, Vince played well for an hour but he never once hit runs in the C. His defence was good but his only attacking strokes are square of the wicket on the off side. A straight push at Perth gets runs, as Stoneman showed. How long has Vince been playing cricket? I knew from an early age that a straight drive always gets runs: the problem is playing the shot 😄

    Like

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