Australia vs. England, 3rd Test, Day 2. Maxie’s take..

I’m a London bus: I waited two years to write a blog post, and then two come along at once. In their wisdom the BOC board have entrusted me with today’s end-of-play report. I’m a little rusty, though, so bear with me.

I can’t claim to have seen every ball, although today I was in the unusual position of starting work very early – 5.30am – but not being very busy. So I kept an eye on proceedings and watched what I could on my phone via the BT Sport app. Which wasn’t perfect, but better than nothing.

England can still win this match, and even though personally I want Australia to win the series – for reasons I explained the other day I agree with a point NonOxCol made. An England victory here would benefit both the series and the Ashes in general. With the exception of 2010/11, every Ashes since 2002/3 has been won by the home side, and the visitors need to up the jeopardy levels lest the whole thing descends further into the mire of predictability.

But if England are to win – and apologies for stating the bleeding obvious – they’ll need at least three wickets in tomorrow’s morning session. From what I saw of their bowling today I’m can’t really see where those wickets will come from, save Australian mistakes (and Smith looks impenetrable). Broad was his most blandly innocuous, Anderson not much better, and a bowler of Woakes’s style will always have a mountain to climb in these conditions. The pitch – admittedly viewed only from my iPhone – is a belter.

Overton was the pick, I suppose, although his dismissal of Warner – who must be gutted at the lost opportunity – came out of nowhere. Is Overton good enough for the test team? I’ll have to reserve judgement there. His whole setup – approach to the wicket, delivery style – screams rustic ungainliness. His run-up is more of a wander-up. That kind of thing can deceive test opponents, as it did Smith at Adelaide, but rarely for long.

The obvious big talking point – apart from the dropped catches – was England’s collapse from 368-4 to 403 all out, in nine overs and forty eight minutes. Yes, it was a total you’d have happily accepted at 131-4 but by this morning you felt they needed 475 to secure control of the game. If England lose further momentum tomorrow morning, and squander the prospect of a meaningful lead, they’ll be left incredibly vulnerable to a third-innings meltdown. As has already been pointed out here, the last time England made 400 in the first innings in Australia was – appropriately enough for this blog – Adelaide 2006.

How to explain the collapse? I’m always a bit sceptical of shoehorning in a simplistic narrative – the kind that attributes the fall of several wickets to the same vague cause. There were poor shots, sure, but sometimes it just happens that three or four batsmen all independently make mistakes in close succession. Then again, England’s tail is increasingly resembling an unusually horrific road accident. In five innings the last five wickets collectively average 71.8.

A school of thought arose that Dawid Malan was to blame by triggering it all with his own dismissal. This is absurd, as NonOxCol pointed out, and I really must pay him royalties for constantly nicking his material. But that’s what we tend to do in England: we say it was all the fault of the top scorer, not of those who failed.

I know it was only second ball, but if anyone should take the rap, it’s Moeen. His stroke was the kind which is hardest to excuse as it was such a nothing shot – neither attack nor defence. I know he has many admirers here, but try as I might I can’t convince myself Moeen is a test-class cricketer, either as batsman (average 34) or bowler (38). Yes, I know there’s some very decent stuff on his CV but it’s just…I think it’s his lack of presence, combined with the air of haziness he gives off early in an innings. Every long-term player has a bad test series but for Moeen this is getting pretty rough now, with scores are 38, 40, 25, 2 and 0, plus only two wickets.

In my earlier piece I wrote:

Now and again I get the odd England twinge, the occasional conflicted moment, when I I forget myself briefly, and feel a brief pang of connection or empathy with the England players and what they’re trying to achieve. For a beat or two I feel English again. It’s usually to do with players. I’m fond of Jonny Bairstow and when he’s batting there’s a part of me that’s pleased to see him do well. Dawid Malan, too.

Lo and behold, both Malan and Bairstow then both score sparkling centuries and rack up a record-breaking partnership of 237 (England’s highest against Australia since the Gabba in 2010). The cricketing gods clearly read this blog. Either that or it’s my magic touch.

Whatever my animosity towards England as a whole, I was genuinely really pleased for Bairstow. Watching the replay of his century-celebrations made me imagine, as it often does, what that specific moment must actually be like. The fulfilment of a childhood fantasy: scoring a century against Australia, in Australia. Malan aside, the only other player in the team who’s done that is Cook, but I doubt he can remember now what it’s like to score an Ashes hundred.

Bairstow played really, really well – and it’s the best test innings I’ve seen him make. He was composed, authoritative, and gritty but also struck the ball very sweetly. I’ve always had a soft spot for him. I like his energy and his attitude. Does his success in this test mean six is the right berth for him? Or should he be higher still in the batting order?

I was glad Bairstow head-butted his helmet, because at the moment everyone recognised what’s blinding obvious, and thanks for Pontiac for making me think about this. England supporters simply don’t care about the drinking incidents. The players know we don’t care, and we know that they know. Nevertheless we all have to endure this priggish pantomime of faux contrition and pompous moralising.

I once interviewed Peter Hayter about Ian Botham, whose boorish roistering wasn’t to everyone’s tastes but most of the people around him seemed to enjoy themselves. Asked to describe him in a nutshell, Hayter called him “the man who lived other men’s dreams”, and he was right. Much of the appeal of cricket is escapism and when you imagine life as an international player, that also includes the off-field fun and games. Youngsters do not grow up dreaming of bleep tests and early bedtimes. No one is deterred from cricket by talk of trays of sambuccas. The messy side of tour life is part of the romance of cricket. Would you rather hear about the team nutritionist or about Keith Miller going straight to Lord’s from the casino?

Finally I’d like to thank you all for the response to my piece ‘Paradise Lost. I’m glad it got a discussion going. And it’s nice to pop in here at BOC, although I doubt I can find the time very often. In the process I’ve got chatting to Sean and remarkably it turns out we went to the same school. It just goes to show that in cricket you can never get very far away from the old boys’ network.

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133 thoughts on “Australia vs. England, 3rd Test, Day 2. Maxie’s take..

  1. Silk December 15, 2017 / 3:51 pm

    I wish I was Keith Miller (but alive, obviously).

    Interesting series. I can’t work out if it’s /always/ the case that the first hour of the day is critical, in all matches, but it does really feel like that in most days of this series. If Smith gets another 20, who’d be on him not getting 200?

    On Overton, I wonder if Bresnan’s brief Test bowling career is relevant here. Averaged 24 in his first 10 Tests (which included 2 in Australia and 3 against India). Averaged 52 in his last 10, against broadly the same oppo.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miami Dad's 6 December 15, 2017 / 4:13 pm

      It might be my memory being overly sympathetic to a fella who always looked more suited to working in the local Greggs than to playing international sport, but I think injury took its toll on Bresnan quite badly.

      I think, in spite of being 200 ahead, England are behind in this Test. That isnt to say it is irretrievable, just that Smith is looking bloody immovable right now, and 17 wickets seems a less likely bet than England surrendering a lead then getting bowled out cheaply on day 4.

      Like

      • Mark December 15, 2017 / 4:56 pm

        Yup, and I very much doubt their last 5 wickets will go down for 35 runs. We just don’t have the extreme pace or spin to blast out the tail.

        If they bat all day tomorrow they will be the best part of 100 ahead. I can’t see us getting anywhere near 350 in the second innings.

        Like

        • metatone December 15, 2017 / 5:00 pm

          I’m really loath to advocate “bowling dry” but I do wonder if, in the pursuit of a draw, it might be the right tactic here. Make it take a long time to get 100 ahead and you give the forecast storms more chance to save the game.

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          • Mark December 15, 2017 / 5:29 pm

            Yes, I think it could be us wanting the rain. St Jimmy of Bolton might turn up tomorrow and rip out their remaining batting. But he seems hell bent on a particular length.

            Like

          • SimonH December 15, 2017 / 5:37 pm

            Might get it as well – Sunday forecast has changed from 60% chance of rain to 100% chance!

            Like

      • oreston December 15, 2017 / 4:59 pm

        Yep, that about sums it up (the bit about England likely giving away a lead and imploding in their second innings, not the part about Bresnan working at the pasty emporium…)

        Like

    • metatone December 15, 2017 / 4:54 pm

      Re: 1st hour – beyond the new ball effect at the start of the match, it is a characteristic of Aussie pitches that there’s a little patch in the morning where bowlers get a bit more joy, then it settles down into a long trek through the desert.

      As for Bresnan, people sometimes forget that in 2011 (which is a bit after the 1st 10 tests) his elbow fell apart. They (spits at mention of England medical setup) declared it a success, but if you’d watched his career (yes, I’m a Yorkshire fan, get over it) it was clear he didn’t have the same snap in his action. At Test level this showed in 2 ways. He was less able to surprise batsmen with the “heavy ball” and possibly more importantly he just couldn’t seem to get reverse the way he did before.

      None of which is to say that Overton won’t find it harder as Test teams put the video analysis microscope on him, but I suppose I am saying the England medical setup might be the biggest clear and present danger…

      Liked by 2 people

      • pktroll (@pktroll) December 15, 2017 / 8:27 pm

        Surely part of the problem Bresnan had was that he probably had to bowl quicker than his body could naturally allow to have the successful period that he did. I remember when he played in 2006 in the One Day team, and even when he made his test debut in 2009 versus West Indies, that he looked rather pedestrian compared to his good performances in the 2010/11 Ashes series up until the point his elbow went.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tony Bennett December 15, 2017 / 6:27 pm

      I met Keith Miller once. it was in a pub, of course.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. metatone December 15, 2017 / 4:57 pm

    Re: endless home advantage – someone pointed out to me that the bowling against (and batting of the tail) has been a big story so far in this series and it seems to me that is a lot of the home advantage. England’s bowlers can’t slice through the Aussie tail here, but can at home and vice versa – all thanks to different pitch/weather conditions?

    Although some of this is probably actually about fitness of Aussie quicks at various points over the last 10 years b/c the great fast bowlers of the past did fine at intimidating the England tail in England…

    Like

  3. oreston December 15, 2017 / 5:23 pm

    “Nevertheless we all have to endure this priggish pantomime of faux contrition and pompous moralising.”

    Couldn’t agree more. It seems to be a disease of the wider culture that has seeped into sport. The media, the Twitterati (Twatterati?)* and politicians all pay lip service to the absurd, po-faced construct that sports stars are “role models” who can’t so much as fart without attracting scrutiny. The clubs/teams/governing bodies all go along with it (and indeed over-compensate) because they’re scared witless of being condemned by the self-appointed morality Tsars and of the merest possibility of attracting negative PR. They don’t seem to comprehend that most people don’t share this wearisome self-righteousness and that in their eyes the latest “scandal” usually isn’t bad PR at all but at worst a bit of tittle-tattle to talk about at work and pass the time. (Didn’t it used to be a commonplace saying that there’s no such thing as bad publicity?)

    When this getting-the-apologies-and-punishments-in-first approach is brought to bear on even the the smallest, most innocuous display of individuality (such as the Duckett none-incident) it crosses a line and becomes oppressive. Of course there’s a legitimate public interest if a player is found to be cheating. Occasioning actual bodily harm to someone outside a nightclub in the small hours is newsworthy for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with sport. Pretending that the moral fibre of the nation in general, and the younger generation in particular, has been irredeemably compromised because a cricketer was relaxing in a bar and playing a drinking game (in which no one was hurt or inconvenienced and about which nobody complained) is insane. In consequence, the task of calibrating an appropriate response when something genuinely serious occurs is made far harder than it should be and leaves an organisation such as the ECB open to charges of overreaction, incompetence and rank hypocrisy. For a supposedly intelligent group of managers this is a trap door they fall through far too easily; making sacrificial lambs of players and ruining careers along the way. (Before anyone points out that Ben Duckett’s international career was probably going nowhere fast, that really isn’t the point.)

    *No offence intended to those here who use their Twitter accounts for more positive purposes.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. SimonH December 15, 2017 / 5:42 pm

    Hales just made 32 in T10 – which means he outscored eight England batsmen.

    Like

    • oreston December 15, 2017 / 6:14 pm

      T10? I thought this was a cricket blog 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Tregaskis December 15, 2017 / 6:15 pm

    Maxie, it is a very good thing to see you have, at least momentarily, emerged from the oubliette.

    My thoughts on one of your marginal themes. I think the culpability or otherwise of Dawid Malan deserves greater consideration. I know George Dobell’s Cricinfo piece on day two at the WACA focused on Malan to the general irritation of many good folk here.

    I felt much the same on a first read, but, on reading Dobell again, I felt on reflection that he raised a decent point. Certainly one that deserved greater scrutiny.

    Malan and Bairstow were the stand-out, headline players for England, without a doubt. Most of the great work they did unfolded during the first day, which Dobell covered in his report yesterday. But Dobell was not slow to give credit to the more prosaic work of Stoneman in blunting the Australian bowling attack, from which both Malan and Bairstow benefited.

    The key talking point about today’s play was the collapse after Malan’s departure. The last six wickets fell for 35 runs, for goodness sake. This is the only story. Bairstow’s century was heart-warming in a sense, but it had been largely structured the day before and the end of his innings was part of an enduring problem with the tail and his approach when breathing the same air as them. These things happen, but they are happening with uncomfortable regularity for this England team.

    Ali and Woakes were very poor, and Broad, once considered a viable all-rounder, has never been the same since he was hit in the face by a delivery from Varun Aaron in the summer of 2014. Dobell acknowledges these points, and does not seek to absolve them from blame. However, no matter how robust the levée, there is no point in blaming the low-lying areas for the breach and the ensuing flood.

    England left maybe 100 to 150 runs on the park, and, exonerating Stoneman, the top order were as complicit as the longish tail. The reason I feel Dobell examined Malan’s part in all this is because the Surrey man had done the hard work. He had embraced the conditions, tamed the new ball, bettered the bowlers, met everything, in fact, that Australia could throw at him. He had a century under his belt, and was in command of the narrative. He and Bairstow had it in their gift to steer England to the sunlit uplands of safety and a possible win. Then he decided to do something so completely different to the style of play that had served him so well till that point, and have a bash at Lyon. It did not come off. It was maybe unlucky, but it was an unnecessary and expensive risk. This was not a Pietersen “it’s the way I play” moment. It was not the way Malan played. The levée broke. What followed came as no surprise to anyone.

    Malan has a great deal going for him right now. Early promise, actual achievement, gutsy application, but Dobell was right to question his ruthlessness. Steve Smith may yet show Malan how to win a Test match, and I think that was the point Dobell was making.

    I like that Dobell is open to question the orthodoxy. Even ours. And his appreciation of Stoneman’s Cinderella performance is a case in point. Dobell’s take on Malan may not be perceived as fair, it may not even be fair, but it is a question worthy of consideration.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark December 15, 2017 / 7:41 pm

      While I understand your point T, all I ask for is a consistent standard. I don’t mind what that standard is, but it must be the same for all players.

      Would Cook be criticised if he had walked off with 140? I very much doubt it. Instead the eulogies would have been unreadable. And speaking of Cook, he has failed in all 5 innings in this series. The Ashes may have gone before he makes a score.

      Same applies to certain bowlers who keep getting the their lengths wrong. For too long a clique of players have been above reproach. While others can’t even feel good about scoring 140.

      Liked by 4 people

      • Silk December 15, 2017 / 9:01 pm

        How dare you! Anderson took a meaningless fivefer when the second Test was already lost. If that isn’t proof that’s he’s the best bowler in the world right now I don’t know what is.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sean B December 15, 2017 / 9:06 pm

          St. Jimmy of Burnley. Whiter than white. Can’t ever criticise him for bowling too short in the first innings (again)

          Liked by 1 person

          • oreston December 15, 2017 / 9:59 pm

            He’s Teflon Jimmy. Criticism just slides off him.

            Like

    • Benny December 15, 2017 / 8:22 pm

      I think it’s fair to examine how we could have done better, although I wouldn’t wish to take anything away from what Malan and Bairstow did. In my more philosophical frame of my, I think “batsmen get out. Get used to it”.

      I heartily support the respect for Stoneman. I thought he was well nigh brilliant. If we’d had two openers showing his courage and application, I suspect we’d be feeling a lot more optimistic today.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sean B December 15, 2017 / 8:54 pm

        Completely agree Benny, but the media can’t or won’t say that, because Cook is their supposed darling.

        It reminds me of how Carberry was quietly dumped after 2014, despite looking a whole lot better against the Aussie attack than ‘Captain Lionheart’

        Liked by 1 person

        • oreston December 15, 2017 / 10:25 pm

          I thought Carberry was treated shamefully. His dumping from the team was inevitably overshadowed by the KP saga and probably didn’t receive the attention it merited.

          Cook is finally running out of road, I think, so Stoneman will hopefully escape a similar fate.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sean B December 15, 2017 / 10:47 pm

            O, I couldn’t be in any more agreement if I tried. The whole dossier rubbish masked the fact that they dumped him like a stone after that series.

            Of course, he came out and said KP was no issue that trip, which naturally resulted in being kicked into the long grass.

            Naturally it’s still about trust according to Strauss. I.e. your not going to rat on us when we decide to make someone a scapegoat

            Liked by 1 person

    • SimonH December 15, 2017 / 8:45 pm

      “Steve Smith may yet show Malan how to win a Test match, and I think that was the point Dobell was making”.

      Smith is playing his 58th Test, not his 8th, and he didn’t pass 140 until his 23rd Test when he made his 5th Test century (against an atrocious Indian attack who weren’t exactly Starc-Hazlewood-Cummins-Lyon).

      Malan perhaps shouldn’t have hit against the spin – but the pitch hadn’t taken any spin and everyone had been saying they needed to get after Lyon (if not then, when?). By all means criticise Malan for not playing a once-in-a-generation innings but maybe after criticising some of the others who haven’t lived up to basic expectations. It’s difficult not to feel that most of those escaping proper and legitimate censure are either part of the untouchable senior player inner circle or are connected to a certain county.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Mark December 15, 2017 / 9:04 pm

        I don’t mind Malan being given a bit of criticsm, but, and it’s a big but……you can’t do that while covering for all of Cooks failures. When he fails the media go into overdrive to make excuses.

        It’s England clique rules. One rule for the clique, and one for everyone else. Seeing Lovejoy, and St Jimmy and St Broad and the greatest living Englishman I’m not surprised KP was non to happy in that dressing room. It must have been horrendous, and then having the big cheese bellowing at everyone. No wonder he was looking out the window.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sean B December 15, 2017 / 9:07 pm

          But, but, but the dossier etc 🙈🙈

          Like

    • Silk December 15, 2017 / 8:59 pm

      I think a tad unfair. Malan is a hard hitting one day batsman playing against type in the test side. He’d earned the right to go at Lyon.

      It didn’t come off. The fact that Ali went wafty and Woakes is the biggest disappointment since Chris Lewis is hardly his fault.

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      • Mark December 15, 2017 / 9:07 pm

        Exactly,

        and is it not the same people attacking Malan for that shot who used to get very worked up about Comptons scoring rate. “He’s too slow, snail pace, doesn’t rotate the strike”….. Blah, blah, blah.

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        • Sean B December 15, 2017 / 9:14 pm

          Always much easier to trot out the ECB mandate…..

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    • Quebecer December 15, 2017 / 10:26 pm

      Hello Tregs. Simon H down the thread gets close to my thoughts on Dobell’s position, and why I think he’s not correct in this instance. I think it can be expressed best as reasonable expectation. Malan played as well as Dobell described, managing to integrate some of his natural stylish stroke play into the previously shown grit and ability to stay in. He also, crucially, negotiated the first part of the day as well. So let’s be clear, Malan checked off the two biggest things that could be asked of him. However, to expect him to press on like a true test veteran in terms of turning 140 in to 180+?

      Test batsmen take years to acquire that skill – and it is an acquired skill. Dobell was, as you say, full of praise and qualification in his criticism too, but is it fair critical analysis? In my opinion it is far closer to wishful thinking. Maybe having now scored his first test century so well, Malan might begin to learn the next things required of a top international player, but to suggest he already should have is an unreasonable expectation.

      Also, it wasn’t the turning point.

      England’s progress through the morning was good, and it was reasonable to accept the loss of one of the overnight players before lunch. Bairstow had passed 100 and was fully in again, and I think Malan’s job in terms of what could reasonably be expected was done and then some.

      No, the reasonable expectation was that Ali and Woakes might occupy the crease – and that’s all they had to do. With Bairstow set, they didn’t need to do much at all. That they couldn’t manage even that was the turning point, and you just knew Bairstow would be next out having now changed his head space.
      So, reasonable and unreasonable expectations sums it up for me, and I don’t think Dobell is being completely reasonable.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Quebecer December 15, 2017 / 10:27 pm

        Apologies – meant as a reply to Tregaskis!

        Like

    • SimonH December 16, 2017 / 7:38 am

      “Broad, once considered a viable all-rounder, has never been the same since he was hit in the face by a delivery from Varun Aaron in the summer of 2014”.

      This myth (repeated by Barney Ronay today) doesn’t stand up. Broad’s batting had been in decline since 2012. In the 28 Tests prior to being hit, Broad had averaged 18 with the bat with just one fifty. Broad was hit because his batting had declined as much as the other way round.

      It’s part of the general decline in England batting 2012-14 that the media completely missed (except for he of the “career of two halves”) because they were still drunk on High Flowerism. Their excuse for continuing to not realise it is a bit more mystifying (except a general reluctance to think a new thought or listen to voices outside the charmed circle).

      Liked by 2 people

  6. SimonH December 15, 2017 / 10:13 pm

    Does anyone know what was the last England first century by a player that exceeded 140 a) at all? b) made overseas against a good attack?

    I’m guessing it was YJB’s 150* in CT. He was in his 22nd Test, it was an extremely high scoring game (600 played 600) and the SA attack of Morkel-Rabada-Morris-Piedt would be borderline “good” in my book (especially as Rabada was very raw then). Are there any others since KP in 2005?

    Like

    • Tony Bennett December 15, 2017 / 10:51 pm

      My memory takes me back to Ramprakash getting 154 against the West Indies in Barbados in 1998. Everybody was thinking it was the breakthrough, but it wasn’t, as we now know. We can’t predict the future. And nor could Malan, so I don’t blame him for England’s capitulation.

      Like

    • man in a barrel December 16, 2017 / 12:42 am

      Even the Deerslaying greatest of all time only got about 106, with no criticism of not being ruthless enough. Dobell has gone full-bore twat here, as has Tregaskes. Let them call me a prick. I hope that at least I am not a moron

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    • quebecer December 16, 2017 / 3:58 am

      “Are there any others since KP in 2005?”

      Well, Stuart Broad obviously.

      🙂

      Like

      • Rob December 16, 2017 / 12:44 pm

        Not overseas – though perhaps Lords is now considered overseas

        Like

  7. man in a barrel December 15, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    I enjoy the convention that Starc is not bowling well but…. Everyone is saying that all the time. Even the great LCL says that Starc doesn’t seem the real deal. Is that 20 wickets he has got already? In my pre-series opinion poll, I had him down for 30 wickets and he is looking good for that. In tandem with Napoléon and, as people outside the UK used to say about Botham, better a lucky bowler than a great bowler

    Liked by 1 person

  8. dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 2:49 am

    Smith gets his hundred – 22nd of his career. The wicket looks flat and the attack a bit toothless so it could be a long day………..

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    • dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 3:00 am

      Most of his runs have come on the off side which is interesting. I always think of him as predominately a leg side player.

      Like

  9. dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 3:24 am

    Oooh, out of nowhere Moen strikes! A little bit of turn and Marsh caught at slip.

    Like

  10. Pontiac December 16, 2017 / 3:26 am

    Moeen got a bit of turn, S. Marsh has to sit.

    Now for the other Marsh. And right before the new ball.

    (Does this end with a Lyon 50? I hope it does.)

    Like

    • dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 3:31 am

      I reckon Cummins could get 50. Starc can bat better than his shown so far this series, too. Overton bowling well

      Like

      • Pontiac December 16, 2017 / 3:50 am

        And, well, I’m not any professiona Testl cricket captain or anything but why is it that Root is not junk-balling until the new ball comes up? Why is Anderson bowling over 79?

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        • Pontiac December 16, 2017 / 4:17 am

          Oh, two overs only for Broad? That’s going to piss him off.

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          • Pontiac December 16, 2017 / 4:21 am

            Ah, change of ends.

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      • Pontiac December 16, 2017 / 4:28 am

        7.3 over old ball and no slips.

        C’mon, man.

        C’mon.

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  11. Sri.Grins December 16, 2017 / 4:24 am

    293/4 looks like another important 3rd innings coming up. hope england do well and put the pressure back on oz assuming that no major rain disruptions occur.

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  12. nonoxcol December 16, 2017 / 6:02 am

    As symbolic extinctions of hope and spirit go, waking up to a Mitchell Marsh unbeaten fifty is right up there with Orwell’s boot on a human face.

    See you in 2019!

    😉

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sherwick December 16, 2017 / 6:05 am

    Aus now 368-4.
    We were also 368-4…

    Like

  14. Sherwick December 16, 2017 / 6:09 am

    Now 369-4, so for the first time in the match Aus are officially ahead.

    Like

  15. SimonH December 16, 2017 / 6:18 am

    Pleased for Mitch Marsh who had become one of those players that gets spoken about with a kind of media-encouraged contempt (often home fans being the worst offenders) that I find one of the least attractive elements of the modern game.

    As I’m typing, Root gives Anderson the last Review (did he dare say no?) – but it turns out to be a no-ball. DRS showed it was ‘Umpire’s Call’ so the on-field ‘not out’ would have stood.

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    • SimonH December 16, 2017 / 6:38 am

      Mitch Marsh can play a bit…

      Exhibit A: 87 against Yasir Shah in UAE when Australia were being hammered (only Root made a higher score for England in the same circumstances).
      Exhibit B: he holds the record for most sixes hit off Dale Steyn in ODIs (or he used to – not sure if he’s since lost it).

      Like

  16. dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 6:49 am

    I don’t want to seem overly pessimistic but I’m starting to get a bit nervous about the series against New Zealand.

    Like

  17. dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 6:51 am

    Broad bowling in the 120’s. Doesn’t Malan bowl a bit of leg spin – worth a try???

    Like

    • Miami Dad's 6 December 16, 2017 / 7:21 am

      At this point, England’s “battery” of right arm over the wicket seamers at 80-85mph have bowled 101 overs for 3 wickets. Mo has bowled just 17 overs for his 1, and also produced about the only ball to deviate all game.

      Malan, Root or anyone ought to have been tried by now. Some variety in the attack would be great right about now. Although had Rashid or Crane or Plunkett recorded the figures of Broad and Anderson, it would be their selection that was to blame for England being toothless.

      We knew England were 100 runs short. We still know that. 400-4 is also a failure on top of that.

      Like

      • dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 8:53 am

        Malan on to bowl…………………….
        #make me captain

        Like

  18. dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 7:18 am

    I’m trying to be happy for Marsh. It’s not working. If only we had an all-rounder.

    Like

    • Silk December 16, 2017 / 8:47 am

      The problem is we have too many all-rounders. If only we had more specialists. In this Test we’ve got 6 all rounders. Cook, Vince, Ali, Anderson, Broad and Woakes. Can’t bat, can’t bowl. (Like me)

      Like

      • dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 8:55 am

        Our all rounders are starting to look the bits and pieces players we used in the late 80’s and 90’s.

        Like

  19. Scrim December 16, 2017 / 7:20 am

    I don’t know what to say.

    I still don’t like the apparent logic behind MMarsh’s selection (given that he was selected over Handscomb or Maxwell because of his bowling, not his batting), but who can argue with a 100 like that? Some of those straight drives were just beautiful. Good on him.

    Like

  20. SimonH December 16, 2017 / 7:58 am

    They should call up Liam Dawson and complete the sense of India series’ deja vu.

    Like

  21. BoredInAustria December 16, 2017 / 8:02 am

    Smith seems to be having the last laugh.

    Time for scapegoating: The English batting is all the fault of Malan not being Smith. And the English bowlers’ performance (especially Stuart “McGrath” Broad) is all down to Overton really not bringing his share. Cracked rib? Oh Jimmy has had those as well. Do not complain old boy. Plus, Jimmy should not sweat too much. Not good for a Brut man to sweat.

    And probably Hales. But otherwise the dressing room is one happy bunch:

    “The only player I can see who is jogging up to people between overs and talking to everyone is Joe Root. He looks marooned. Nobody is helping him out. Where are the senior players? What would it mean to Craig Overton if at the end of this over Alastair Cook ran 40 yards over to him and said ‘you’re a lion heart mate, bowling with a cracked rib. It means so much to us, keep going.’ Let’s see if anyone does that. – Swann, TMS”

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol December 16, 2017 / 8:06 am

      On BT he has said England aren’t bowling badly, and picked out (drum roll) Stoneman and Malan for their poor body language in the field.

      Only Robbie Savage has ever been more execrable than this. For Savage and the Class of 92 read Swann and anyone he bowled with.

      Oh thank fuck, here’s Vic Marks to replace him.

      Like

      • SimonH December 16, 2017 / 8:33 am

        First thing Ricky Ponting said when I started watching was “what England lack are bowlers to back up Anderson and Broad”.

        At least those back-up bowlers have taken 3 wickets while the GOATs have 0/173 at this time. Are they contracturally obliged to talk this bs?

        Liked by 3 people

        • dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 8:52 am

          You should listen to Steve Harmison and Jon Norman on the Ashes Inquest podcast talk about how Jimmy will be remembered as the best seam bowler of all time. Apparently. it’s also a myth that Jimmy isn’t as good outside of England. Jon (who I normally like) got quite worked up about that one.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Mark December 16, 2017 / 10:03 am

            Harmison is off his rocker, has been for a while with his Cook worship. Now Jimmy is the greatest Blah blah blah. I’m telling you….They are all nuts!

            Flintoff a few weeks before the tour did his All Time England team on the Savage/ Ping pong jamboree. His best all time spinner that he would choose? 150 years of test cricket?……

            Ashely Giles!!! I don’t think there was a single player from before the 1990s. Half the current team were in his best ever.

            Shinny toy said something similar before the tour. Something like this team had 5/6 of the best cricketers to ever leave English shores?

            They have all drunk the cool aid and it’s very strong!

            As for Loveyoy the man is out of his depth. Any subject other than spin bowling and he is a clown. these people are stealing a living. Money for old rope.

            Like

          • Silk December 16, 2017 / 12:49 pm

            Ironically, the only English player of the current generation to make the Cricinfo All Time XI, when it was announced abut 5 years ago, was … KP.

            There’s no way any of the current lot are going to displace any of

            Hobbs, Hutton, Barrington, Hammond, KP, Botham, Knott, Trueman, Larwood, Underwood and Barnes.

            And bearing in mind the fact that Hobbs and Hutton were picked as the two greatest openers from any country, in Test history, ever (I disagree with that. I’d have Sunny in there with Hobbs), I don’t see Cookie become England’s greatest ever opener any time soon!

            Like

          • SimonH December 16, 2017 / 12:57 pm

            “Shinny toy said something similar before the tour. Something like this team had 5/6 of the best cricketers to ever leave English shores?”

            It was even worse than that – he said the best 7 ever (Cook, Anderson, Broad, Root, Bairstow, Ali, Woakes). No laughing at the back.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Sean B December 16, 2017 / 1:07 pm

            Surprised he didn’t include Vince in that lot…

            Like

      • whiterose76 December 16, 2017 / 9:10 am

        Jar Jar is STILL banging on about this. Not the bowlers’ fault at all – all due to a lack of support in the field.

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus December 16, 2017 / 9:16 am

          You know, you could just pack it all in, couldn’t you Jar Jar Lovejoy. That rallies the troops.

          Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol December 16, 2017 / 9:20 am

          Yep, according to the OBO he just repeated it on BT Sport.

          Like

          • LordCanisLupus December 16, 2017 / 9:27 am

            shiny toy paired root and Cook’s performances. 230 runs between them. Nice.

            Like

          • nonoxcol December 16, 2017 / 9:33 am

            I’m in to “hate is a strong word but” territory. Think back to how he slagged top scorer Compton not the underperforming Cook in SA. Bloke should be nowhere near a commentary box.

            Like

    • thebogfather December 16, 2017 / 11:49 am

      BIA – I actually thought that LoveJoy’s thoughts (when you remove the ‘bantz’) regarding the lack of on field support for the bowlers was spot on. Apart from Root and Bairstow, there seemed to be no real encouragement from the ‘seniors’. Cook, as our GOAT ex captain, should have made an effort to enthuse rather than sulking over his own poor form, Anderson and Broad appeard to ignore Overton, even tho’ he was trying his hardest (with official ECB slight injury).
      As for the tour management…. well Bayliss must go, at least as Test team coach.

      Like

      • Mark December 16, 2017 / 1:33 pm

        No, won’t have IT sir! Sheep is made of steel. He never bends or breaks. The steel chin of England never wavers. How can you claim that he only thinks of himself? He is a team man trough and through.

        The ECB pundits told me that Root would have no better man next to him advising him. I won’t have it I tell you. Cook is England, and England is Cook or something……

        I need to go and have a sit down…….

        Like

  22. metatone December 16, 2017 / 8:14 am

    Woke up – not surprised by the score, but the predictability is in itself rather depressing.

    I guess for me a 0-5 makes my argument very easy: we really could not have done worse, so we could have dropped Cook and looked for an opener with potential. We could have played Rashid, we could have demoted Broad and Anderson to the 3rd and 4th trundling seamers they are on these wickets.

    Would the young players have risen to the challenge and only lost 4-1? (Or even 4-0 with a draw?) Who can say? But really, what have we gained from being so predictable and so stupid? We know Broad and Anderson and Cook don’t do it on these pitches against this opposition. When are we going to act on that knowledge? When are we going to bring through someone who might?

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Rpoultz December 16, 2017 / 8:18 am

    Interesting that the most skilful Anderson is not bowling much at all. Always feel him and broad will only bowl in situations that are good for them. Suspect saving the firgures has much to do with it.

    Like

    • BoredInAustria December 16, 2017 / 8:31 am

      And sweat. James Anderson is a proud ambassador for BRUT. Find out more @BRUTforMen

      Liked by 1 person

    • man in a barrel December 16, 2017 / 1:02 pm

      In the first session the punters were talking about the cracks. Did no one think to try bowling some cutters? I only saw the first session and the last hour but all I saw was gunbarrel straight military medium and one delivery that Moeen actually got to hit some footmarks.

      Like

  24. SimonH December 16, 2017 / 8:41 am

    England look absolutely bereft of ideas. I’d like to think Root will get as angry as KP did with Moores when he was offering nothing.

    Then again, KP had played under Fletcher and expected the coach to come up with ideas. Hussain used to say that Fletcher would come up with ten new ideas an hour – nine would be crazy but one would be golddust and it was his job to spot the good ones. Root has only known the Moores-Flower-Bayliss culture of obedience and one-dimensionality. They’re going to be gunning for you anyway Joe so you might as well go down standing up for yourself. Just don’t believe them that they want the truth in your post-tour report and that you can safely go away on holiday….

    Liked by 3 people

      • Sean B December 16, 2017 / 9:29 am

        I’m looking forward to the Nathan Lyon century tomorrow and then him spinning us out for under 150

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus December 16, 2017 / 9:30 am

          You think we’ll bet to Lyon? That’s optimism. Either a wicket now of 5 tomorrow?

          Like

      • Sri.Grins December 16, 2017 / 3:34 pm

        Christmas gift always from England to the colonies? 🙂

        Like

  25. BoredInAustria December 16, 2017 / 8:48 am

    Cricbuzz: This is the highest 5th wicket partnership in an Ashes Test at the WACA. Any guesses regarding the previous best? 237 between Malan and Bairstow in the first innings.

    #blameMalan

    Like

  26. dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 8:59 am

    If we loose 5 – 0 this time, will there be a serious inquiry or just a quick look for a scapegoat? I worry they will prepare green tops for India, win and pretend this tour never happened.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sri.Grins December 16, 2017 / 3:38 pm

      Actually green tops represent out best chance of winning in England. :-). So, one hopes England prepare green tops

      Like

  27. BoredInAustria December 16, 2017 / 9:17 am

    3rd test 140 overs in we discover who can hold up one end?
    I blame Malan for not wanting to bowl earlier.

    Liked by 4 people

    • man in a barrel December 16, 2017 / 12:59 pm

      Loving the outbreak of Dobell logic. Tregaskis probably thinks this is a good point as well

      Like

  28. Tom December 16, 2017 / 9:31 am

    England missed a trick earlier on. Ali bowled well early on and should have bowled a little earlier, but Overton bowled really well with the old ball and should have been kept on once the new ball was taken. I think he could have taken a wicket or two. Turning to Broad and Anderson was unimaginative when someone was actually giving Smith and Marsh something to think about.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. SimonH December 16, 2017 / 9:41 am

    The Bayliss-Farbrace part of this is a bit of a shocker:

    Nice #interimcoachmaths on the 2009-12 part.

    Like

    • Silk December 16, 2017 / 10:18 am

      I suspect that statistic is more related to the ageing of Broad and Anderson than anything else. Not that I’m impressed by the current coaches or anything.

      Like

    • Mark December 16, 2017 / 10:19 am

      And how many overs did Flower bowl between 2009 and 2012 Mr Liew? How many overs have Bayliss and Farace bowedl since? If this is an example of modern edgy thinking I would prefer they bring back Henry Blofeld.

      There is plenty to blame the current management for, but simplistic stats like that is not one of them. England don’t have the bowlers to do the job on flat pitches. Has been the same for years. Go back to the last Ashes in England. They lost both test matches in London on flat pitches. It’s not rocket science to see what the problem is. But somehow the English media have missed this simple truth for the last 4 years.

      Money for old rope.

      Like

      • BoredInAustria December 16, 2017 / 10:59 am

        Just randomly: Bowling 2009 – 2012

        A certain Mr Swann:
        Test debut India v England at Chennai, Dec 11-15, 2008
        Australia v England at Perth, Dec 13-17, 2013
        Mat 60 Wkts 255

        Like

  30. Sri. Grins December 16, 2017 / 9:42 am

    Q, we better do the rain / snow dance. ☺

    Like

      • Sri. Grins December 16, 2017 / 10:45 am

        ☺. I have not lost hope of a draw either due to good batting or die to rain. After all England just need to survive this test to have a chance at the ashes

        Like

  31. Sri. Grins December 16, 2017 / 9:44 am

    The bowling seems to resemble I Dian bowling away. I am puzzled.

    Like

  32. dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 10:01 am

    If I was being philosophical I would say it is days like this that make us appreciate the good days all the more. However, I think I will just say fuckety, fuck, fuck fuck!

    Like

  33. Rohan December 16, 2017 / 10:12 am

    What thoroughly pisses me off is that all of you on here saw this coming, your predicted the toothlessness of the clique twins and the runlessness of former captain Cock. So why could those inside cricket who coach the team, run the ECB and are all so cricket experienced not foresee any problems at all? It’s all so predictably sad unless your inside cricket……..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark December 16, 2017 / 10:23 am

      The cool side is very strong, and they drink gallons of the stuff.

      Like

    • dlpthomas December 16, 2017 / 11:53 am

      I’m deeply suspicious that those “inside cricket” care more about making money than winning test matches.

      Like

  34. Sherwick December 16, 2017 / 10:13 am

    “As symbolic extinctions of hope and spirit go, waking up to a Mitchell Marsh unbeaten fifty is right up there with Orwell’s boot on a human face.”

    Could be worse.. you could have woken up to a Mitchell Marsh unbeaten one hundred and fifty..

    Liked by 1 person

    • OscarDaBosca December 16, 2017 / 10:23 am

      Snap, I am somehow simultaneously not surprised and deeply saddened.
      So now looking to the heavens for some relief. The thing is the pitch is obviously flat, but I’m not sure we have the batsmen to hang around for a long period of time just playing for weather and a draw

      Like

  35. SimonH December 16, 2017 / 10:29 am

    Chuckles did the post-match presser. “Australia have definitely had the better of the day”.

    Australia are always being told they should use the Duke ball more. Why don’t England play some CC and Lions’ home games with the Kookabura?

    Like

    • Silk December 16, 2017 / 10:33 am

      England focusing on their ‘white ball’ skills. Which will make the inevitable exit from the WC at the first knock-out stage all the more galling.

      Like

      • SimonH December 16, 2017 / 11:43 am

        Chuckles in all his post-match I’m-getting-nostalgic-for-Moores-or-Downton-it’s-that-bad horror…

        Like

        • MM December 16, 2017 / 12:04 pm

          As long as we are competing in the body language stakes I’m totally cool with losing the Ashes at the earliest possible moment. Way to go!

          (ffs!)

          Liked by 2 people

          • BoredInAustria December 16, 2017 / 12:11 pm

            “I thought our body language was pretty good today…” = No head butting today..yet.

            Like

  36. Silk December 16, 2017 / 10:32 am

    STATS BLAST – Australia’s least effective bowler, in terms of bowling average in this series so far: Pat Cummins, whose wickets have come at 30.9. England’s most effective bowler: James Anderson, whose wickets have come at 34.9.

    When your ‘best’ bowler averages 4 runs per wicket more than their ‘worst’ bowler … Well, ’nuff said.

    (Also, what on earth has happened to Stuart Broad? My gut feel was that he was the one English bowler who’d do alright on this tour.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark December 16, 2017 / 10:38 am

      Someone should show that stat to Jonathan Liew. He thinks the coaches take wickets.

      As Ian Chappel once said….. show me the coach who has ever scored a run, taken a catch or picked up a wicket.

      Like

  37. BoredInAustria December 16, 2017 / 10:49 am

    So for some Analysis:

    Simon Hughes – “Mitch Marsh was an ordinary batsman. He averaged 21 before today. But Steve Smith had set him an almighty platform. This pitch is flat. It’s like batting in the nets against a bowling machine.”

    So, it is not Mitch, he is ordinary. But the platform Smith set. But in Englands case, it is the fault of the one that set the platform. And just imagine that IF Malan had an “almighty platform” set by the best best ever and the current best bestest.

    And those Australians have swopped the pitch again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark December 16, 2017 / 10:56 am

      Obviously Australia had a better bowling machine than England did then!

      39 doesn’t even like test cricket anymore. He wants 4 day test cricket and lots of 20/20. (The very definition of flat pitches and bowling machines)

      Like

    • SimonH December 16, 2017 / 11:00 am

      Perhaps if Smith had worried that the tail would fold under him he would have tried more and got out?

      I’m going to go out on a limb and say that all The Analyst knows about Marsh is his headline average and his general media repuation (which must be true because everyone in the pressbox says it). It might just be that he hasn’t the foggiest about Marsh’s strong recent Shield form, his tough runs in UAE or his ball-striking in ODIs.

      Liked by 3 people

      • SimonH December 16, 2017 / 12:10 pm

        Add the double century he made for Australia A in 2014 – he came in at 99/6 and scored 211 including 10 sixes off an attack including Yadav, Bumrah and Ojha.

        Like

  38. SimonH December 16, 2017 / 10:52 am

    Newman’s not at his worst – he does at least notice Anderson and Broad didn’t take a hatful and he at last allows that Root is an inexperienced captain.

    However there is “It was on the fourth day in Perth last time that England fell apart and both the series and one of their finest teams began to unravel, with the divisions in the ranks well and truly exposed by the time they lost for a fifth time in Sydney. Their breakdown has come a day earlier this time but this is a united England team at a different stage of their development and it is highly unlikely they will go down the same path towards internal destruction”.

    I’m not quite sure how he reckons Day Four in Perth last time was when the wheels came off – was that the day of the Gooch/Pietersen row? They looked pretty well off before then to me (probably when all the catches went down in Adelaide). What’s more interesting to me is how Newman sees “unity” as a good in itself. Isn’t the point to win the match? Who cares if they’re best buds or can barely tolerate each other? Team unity is hardly difficult to achieve if you’re not worried about on-field quality.

    “Unless England can change the script very quickly, this series can only be a hugely damaging experience for their inexperienced captain in Joe Root and one that could hasten the end for several senior players”.

    This could mean something – or it could mean nothing. Let’s see.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/cricket/article-5185799/Steve-Smith-double-ton-England-staring-Ashes-defeat.html

    Like

    • SimonH December 16, 2017 / 11:58 am

      Sportsmail doesn’t usually let us down though and here comes Martin Samuel to the rescue:

      “And Root was there to observe it all, at close quarters. What does he take from this? Inspiration, or desperation? Is he moved to make the necessary changes to his own game and attitude, or does he leave Perth demoralised at being made to look inferior.

      Fabio Capello, the former England manager, thought Wayne Rooney’s underwhelming performance in the 2010 World Cup was a direct result of comparing himself to other stars of the world game – the ones that appeared with him in Nike commercials – and coming up short”.

      He wins awards for stuff like this.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark December 16, 2017 / 12:24 pm

        Is he still out there? The crises at West Ham must have abated.

        Like

  39. man in a barrel December 16, 2017 / 11:52 am

    Surely it’s time for Ravi Bopara to get a recall. I dreamt last night of Mark Ealham. I wonder if he is still playing

    Like

  40. SimonH December 16, 2017 / 12:41 pm

    Two “Bluffborough”s and a “donkey sanctuary” in GD’s match report. He’s ticking.

    Like

    • Deep Purple Fred December 16, 2017 / 1:09 pm

      From Dobell about the bowlers:
      Like being violinists in a war zone, they found their subtle skills irrelevant at a time when henchmen were required. Anderson is an artist but, if you want to knock down a wall, a violin isn’t much use. Sometimes you need a hammer.”

      There we go again, Australia is all brawn, as Smyth suggested. Only English skills are actual skills. Ryan Harris had no skills. Johnson had so skills, nor Cummins, Starc or Hazelwood. They’re just henchmen.
      Speed and swing are not mutually exclusive.
      There’s not really any need to disparage Australian skills just because England can’t bowl fast.

      Liked by 2 people

      • man in a barrel December 16, 2017 / 3:46 pm

        George “prick” Dobell is coming along fast on Selvey’s shoulder

        Like

      • Sri.Grins December 16, 2017 / 3:51 pm

        Probably the root cause of why England does not focus on pace. The people in charge think that skills are more important.

        Hope that Root channelises his inner Kohli. Taking the mickey from aussies seems to work for Kohli 🙂

        Like

      • man in a barrel December 16, 2017 / 4:06 pm

        I hope someone can list the subtle skills of Stuart Broad. The fact that his hot streaks are so widely spaced suggest to me that he doesn’t really understand what he does, otherwise it would be a repeatable skill

        Like

        • Benny December 16, 2017 / 4:20 pm

          It’s stuck in my mind that, in the previous test, Broad sent down a ball and on the bottom right of my tv screen up popped 87 mph. Broad can bowl quickly and I’m pretty sure that earlier in his career, Anderson was reaching 90 mph. They can bowl quickly but choose not to. They may be thinking that they’ll get tired faster if they put everything into it but I reckon, if they get batsmen out, they won’t need to bowl for too long.

          Like

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