3rd Ashes Test, Day 5

The day began with England 127 runs behind, with 6 wickets remaining. Perhaps more importantly for their chances of saving the game, the day started with rain. Lots of rain. It fell overnight and for most of the first two hours, and some of it had managed to make it through the WACA’s rudimentary rain covers, leaving wet patches on several points of the pitch.

This led to scenes of the Aussie groundsmen firing six leaf-blowers at the affected areas of the pitch prior to play beginning, and the England camp were clearly unimpressed with the state of the pitch. An early Lunch was taken, and play eventually resumed for the day at 5am, 3 hours after the scheduled start of play, with England needing to survive 70 overs in the day.

Things didn’t start well for the tourists when Bairstow fell in the second over of the day. He was bowled by a Hazlewood delivery which appeared to stay low off the pitch, a fact that certainly annoyed Jonny and left several England fans reminding their Australian counterparts of the “pitch doctoring” allegations two years ago. Certainly it never seemed like the Australian bowlers needed any help in this series, but they gratefully welcomed the surface they faced today.

In the same over, the new batsman Moeen Ali edged one towards Steve Smith at second slip which the umpires judged not to have carried. The umpires sent the decision upstairs, where the footage wasn’t able to conclusively overturn the ruling on the field. Smith was not pleased.

The next few overs were full of incident and excitement. LBW appeals, bouncers, swinging deliveries and run out opportunities. Malan and Moeen appeared to have weathered the storm of the first hour when Ali played outside the line to a straight ball from Lyon and was given out LBW.

Chris Woakes and Dawid Malan steadied the ship for a few overs, until Malan gloved a ball from wide outside leg to the Aussie wicketkeeper. This wicket effectively ended England’s chances of eking out a draw, barring a surprise rain shower. Overton was peppered with short balls aimed at his injured ribs before he hit a leading edge to Khawaja at gully. In the next over, Broad gloved a short ball from Cummins right into Paine’s gloves.

The next delivery from Cummins struck Jimmy Anderson on the side of the helmet, but fortunately the England bowler was just shaken up by the impact. Chris Woakes did his best to shield Anderson from the strike but the allrounder eventually top-edged a short ball from Cummins, ending the game and the series.

There’s no doubt going to be several posts over the following days and weeks about England’s performances over this series. The simple fact is that they have been outclassed in every facet of the game. Batting, bowling, fielding, and even off the field, Australia are indisputably the better team. England won all three tosses, the weather has been relatively cool, the pitches slower than expected. England have had almost every advantage possible in this series, and not come remotely close to winning or even drawing a game.

With the series beyond reach, several people seem to be suggesting that England try new players in the remaining two games. Certainly on their current form in this series, there’s a case for Cook and Broad to be ‘rested’. It seems bizarre to me the amount of flak Joe Root is receiving from the English media whilst Cook seems to get a free pass. Root literally has more than twice the batting average of England’s all-time top scorer in this series. Despite being England’s most effective bowler this series (which has to be damning with faint praise), I’d also rest Anderson for the last two games. He’s 35 years old, and forcing him to play two dead rubbers on what are likely to be batting-friendly pitches doesn’t do him or England any good.

In Stokes’ absence, neither of England’s allrounders has really stepped up and performed well so far in this series. Moeen Ali averages 19.33 with the bat and 105.33 with the ball, whilst Woakes averages 14.66 with the bat and 51.77 with the ball. Because both of them are not really justifying their places as a batsman or bowler, there has to be a case for replacing them.

All of which really only leaves Bairstow, Root and the newcomers to the side. I genuinely did not rate any of them going into the series but Stoneman, Vince, Malan and Overton have all exceeded my expectations and deserve an opportunity to secure their places long-term. Of course the level of my expectations for these new players were so low that in some ways the worst the players could do is meet them, but fair play to them taking their chances.

Or maybe they won’t change anything at all. After all, it’s not the fault of the coaches, or players, or selectors. As our 100% scientific poll suggests, this series loss is all KP’s fault.

As always, feel free to comment below. Or rant. I’m sure there will be a lot of ranting.


170 thoughts on “3rd Ashes Test, Day 5

  1. Adam H Dec 18, 2017 / 8:51 am

    Disagree with resting Jimmy. Without him Aussie bats will just toy with England, and rack up 800 runs. That won’t be good for the younger bowlers’ confidence.

    But I’d definitely drop Broad and Moeen from next 2 tests. They look mentally shot at the moment.

    As for Cook, I think his time is up, but I’ll let him see through this series. After that I think he will retire. He deserves to go out on his own.


    • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 8:56 am

      I concede he’s been the pick of England’s bowlers, which is exactly why I don’t want him bowling again in this series. So far in this series, Anderson has bowled the most overs, and he’s 35. Expecting him to take on that kind of workload is just begging for him to be injured, and I’m already looking past this series and more towards him still being able to play in 2019.


      • Adam H Dec 18, 2017 / 9:02 am

        I do agree that resting Jimmy will be good for him personally, but what about the other England bowlers though? Remember what happened to Simon Kerrigan back in 2013? I don’t want the younger bowlers to be permanently scarred by conceding something like 750/4 declared at the MCG in front of 90,000 people. Jimmy needs to be there to maintain a modicum of control IMO.


        • metatone Dec 18, 2017 / 9:05 am

          I’d argue that it’s time to be ruthless and treat it as a development game. Tell the young bowlers their aim is to keep the Aussies below 700. Let them know that the coaches will cop all the flak and that they are there to show their potential ready for 4 years hence.

          Of course the flaw in this is that would mean the players trusting that the England setup won’t just stab them in the back at the first sign of media pressure to save e.g. Cook’s career…


          • Adam H Dec 18, 2017 / 9:09 am

            Yeah, if it’s done like that then fair enough. But I doubt they’ll do something so drastic. Will be interesting to see the selection nonetheless.


      • metatone Dec 18, 2017 / 9:02 am

        yep, said it in another comment, but if we’re serious about WC 2019, bowlers need resting now the series is gone.


        • SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 9:13 am

          There’s no way bowlers who don’t play at the MCG should play in NZ or against Pakistan on a juicy May greentop (barring genuine injuries of course).


          • metatone Dec 18, 2017 / 9:29 am

            I don’t know if I agree with that. It seems clear to me looking at our schedule and our injury record that we have to start learning to rotate bowlers.

            Of course, I don’t really want to goose anyone’s figures by giving them the hard games off and I can see that danger. But how will we get any new players blooded if we don’t use the dead rubbers?

            Liked by 1 person

          • SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 9:37 am

            I’m not saying don’t select some fresh players for the MCG, what I’m saying is that those players then get first go when things get a little easier (not that I think the Tests in NZ will be easy by any means). Injuries to Overton and Broad may well force their hand anyway on the first point.

            See the relative treatments handed out to Prior, Bairstow and Carberry last time.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Silk Dec 18, 2017 / 9:19 am

      I don’t think Anderson has bowled particularly well.

      He picked up a 5-fer in the gloom at Adelaide, in conditions which couldn’t have suited him better.

      And he picked up a 4-fer yesterday when Australia were going for the declaration.

      He’s bowled extremely well in patches (I guess the spell yesterday morning, which could have swung the game back in England’s favour, was his best) but at other times he’s been absolutely anonymous and bowled TOO BLOODY SHORT.

      It’s a 6/10 from me. Perhaps a 7/10 for effort.


      • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 9:25 am

        I’m not saying he’s been good. I’m saying he’s been the best of England’s bowlers. With 12 wickets in the series, Anderson has taken 5 more that the next closest English bowler. Pat Cummins has taken 11 wickets, which makes him the least effective Australian bowler. That’s just been the gulf in class between the two sides’ bowling.


        • northernlight71 Dec 18, 2017 / 10:10 am

          Last time this happened we dropped our “best of a terrible bunch” batsman. Why not do the same to our “best of a terrible bunch” bowler this time?
          That WOULD make him grumpy. Boo hoo.

          Liked by 1 person

      • metatone Dec 18, 2017 / 9:25 am

        Isn’t this where all the GOAT talk grates?
        It’s not about the figures for me, or even the results.
        If you’re that bloody good, you work out the right length to bowl.
        Then, I can accept maybe you’re unlucky/conditions don’t suit/etc. and the figures don’t come out good.
        But… at this age if you can’t get the simple tactics right…


  2. metatone Dec 18, 2017 / 9:01 am

    I very much support big changes to the team for the remaining games.

    Cook looks a mess when he plays his shots, he needs to be told that he won’t play until he gets sorted out. As much as anything, learning to sort himself out is the key here.

    Broad and Anderson? Well, if you believe (I’m not sure I do, but…) that they should be there to help England challenge for the ODI WC then there’s every case for resting both of them.

    Sadly, Overton should be rested for his health, so England will probably play him.

    Now the series is gone we should be taking a proper analysis of Mo’s injuries (finger and side) because they definitely look like they have affected his bowling. Again, like Overton, injured bowlers shouldn’t be playing.

    Woakes gets a free pass, because with all the other changes I advocate, he’ll be the senior man.

    Not ideal, but we have 2 games to find out which young players can step up and show some fight in a very tough situation. This is me being utterly ruthless. Series is gone and so it’s time to treat it as a couple of development games. Don’t even worry about winning, worry about building to win in 4 years time.


    • Zephirine Dec 18, 2017 / 11:22 am

      “find out which young players can step up and show some fight in a very tough situation”.
      Funnily enough, that’s where you really need Stokes, because he’s the ultimate “Fuck it, let’s just show ’em who we are” player. Root used to be able to do that too, but perhaps not right now.


    • jennyah46 Dec 19, 2017 / 8:49 am

      Selecting injured players really gets up my nose. Wood is an example of how much long term damage it can do. The schedule is absurd and is at the root of the problem.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Dec 19, 2017 / 10:04 am

        The schedule England are playing was the parting gift of the Clarke-Collier gruesome twosome. I expect Harrison and Graves could have ripped it up if they’d wanted to though.


  3. Silk Dec 18, 2017 / 9:25 am

    Incidentally, I don’t buy into this “There’s no one better in England and we’d have lost with whoever we sent out”.

    We were winning at the Gabba. We were in a great position at Adelaide. 48 hours ago, Australia were 200 runs behind England.

    I don’t contest the fact that Aus are, by far, the stronger side in this series, but no one knows what would have happened if we’d selected a genuine spinner (Leach or Rashid). Or recognised that Broad wasn’t fit in this game and picked Curran. Or spent the last 3 months getting Plunkett into the sort of shape where he could bowl genuinely quick, 4 over spells (which, in a side with 4 other bowlers plus Root and Malan, would be enough).

    There were all sorts of things we could have tried. We picked a squad where there was genuinely NO OPTIONS whatsoever (no quick, no spinner we were willing to pick, no reserve opener).

    Also, we picked Jake Ball. Jake Ball who, before the start of the series, had a Test bowling average of 114. And, barring a miracle/a complete breakdown of the other bowlers, will end it with a Test bowling average of 114.

    Well, you can’t accuse him of being inconsistent!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Dec 18, 2017 / 9:32 am

      I’m not buying that away teams are getting thrashed everywhere. So you just accept that and move on? The ECB need to look at themselves.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mdpayne87 Dec 18, 2017 / 9:36 am

        The Ashes appear to be that way though. 8 out of the last 9 won by the home side.


        • LordCanisLupus Dec 18, 2017 / 9:38 am

          Australia aren’t hammered here. Never. Even 2013 as I’m constantly reminded “flattered” us. Our problem is we don’t win on flat wickets by and large. There’s enough of them in county cricket.


      • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 9:43 am

        Since the whitewash in 2013, Australia have played India, New Zealand, West Indies, South Africa and Pakistan at home. The only team to fail to win or draw a single game is Pakistan.

        Or to put it another way, we are less competitive in Australia than India, New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa.


      • Silk Dec 18, 2017 / 11:12 am

        Seem to recall us winning in SA a couple of years ago when no one (or me, at least) gave us any hope. Seem to recall Aus giving us a scare in the Ashes, and giving India a scare in India.

        SA winning in Aus.

        You know all this. They know all this. You care. They really don’t.


    • metatone Dec 18, 2017 / 9:32 am

      Exactly! Exactly!

      We knew we were underdogs – so where was the strategy? Where was the attempt to fix things? To do things differently? Love the idea of utilising the T20 strengths by going with 4 over spells. It also presents the batsmen with new challenges.

      Or: Rashid is flawed in all sorts of ways, but once Mo hurt his finger it’s hard to see Rashid doing worse with the ball and as the cookie crumbles, with the bat too once you look at the figures.


      • Silk Dec 18, 2017 / 11:16 am

        I stands to reason that I’m a better selector than James Whittaker.

        So is my wife, of course. And she hates cricket.


  4. Sherwick Dec 18, 2017 / 9:43 am

    Whst’s Broad’s average this series? 😐


    • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 9:46 am

      Anderson 25.83
      Overton 37.66
      Woakes 51.57
      Root 56.00
      Broad 61.80
      Moeen 105.33
      Ball 115.00
      Malan – No average (13 runs)


      • Sherwick Dec 18, 2017 / 2:24 pm

        Not too shabby then.


  5. SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 9:58 am

    Newman –

    “considerable food for thought for the ECB”.

    Wow, he really captures the anger there.

    “The poor performances of Moeen with both bat and ball has been, along with the absence of Ben Stokes, one of the biggest factors in England’s demise and his place is far from certain for the Melbourne Test on Boxing Day…. They will consider giving Mason Crane, Tom Curran and maybe even Gary Ballance their chance in Melbourne”.

    Reeks of “good journalism”.

    “English cricket has to take a good, long hard look at how it can produce the fast bowlers and spinners required to win overseas”.

    Ah, it’s “English cricket” that’s to blame. Time to give the counties a good lashing (not that it isn’t deserved in many ways).


  6. Mark Dec 18, 2017 / 10:00 am

    The selection meeting for this tour should have been recorded, and no made public for everyone to hear. I really would like to hear the thinking behind this squad. (Not saying it would have changed the result)

    Why was there no spinning alternative to Ali? I don’t count Crane becaue even when Ali had a bad finger which meant he couldn’t spin the ball they still rejected him. Why bring him on tour? Sounds like another Flower observation test to me. Has he had a 200 page multiple choice form to fill out?

    Why were the fast bowlers so samey? Broad and Anderson pick themselves, but what thought went into their back up?

    The England bowling attacks bland nature is why England have not looked like winning any test matches here. However, it’s the battings inability to post good first innings scores that has been the reason we have been blown away. Even when we make 400 you know par will be more like 550. England bet the farm on Adelaide and the pink swinging ball. And then the bowlers bowled the wrong lengths in the first innings.

    Look on the bright side. These matches are going into day 5. So under the new ICC 4 day rules we really got a draw.


    • Miami Dad's Six Dec 18, 2017 / 11:08 am

      Agree on Crane. He’d surely have the highest FC bowling average of a front line bowler to ever get selected for England, if he gets the nod for Melbourne? Looking at his stats, I can’t help but feel that he’s the very definition of ‘unselectable’. I wonder if someone like Dom Bess (same age, with a FC average of 22) over there with the Lions might get a go. Maybe Liam Livingstone, although he’d probably be a like for like with Mo, i.e. a batsman who bowls a bit of spin? Maybe they could both play.

      Looking at the two squads over there, I’d be tempted to overhaul things and just go:

      Woakes (new ball)

      We might never see Cook or Broad again if that were the case, which would be quite something. I’d quite like to see Foakes given a go too, although Baistow’s glovework has been pretty good.

      Is there any merit in Root opening again? He couldn’t do worse than Cook.


      • Scrim Dec 18, 2017 / 1:13 pm

        The Lions just went home. They either left Australia or arrived home in England yesterday.

        So whoever they pick will have to get back on a plane and fly another 24+ hours all the way back… unless anyone has been secretly kept in Australia.


        • Sherwick Dec 18, 2017 / 1:30 pm

          KP is still in Australia, if that helps?


      • Silk Dec 18, 2017 / 3:14 pm

        IMHO Root should never have stopped opening. But I suspect that ship has sailed.

        If Hameed can show a bit of form, and Cook still wants to play, a top 3 of

        Hameed, Stoneman, Cook

        doesn’t look too shabby. I’m unconvinced that Malan and Vince are any more Test batsmen than Gary Autocorrect, but I’ve been wrong before. 2 of Livingston, Root and Lawrence could make the middle order, then Bairstow, Stokes and 4 bowlers.

        We won’t be in Aus for another 4 years, so presumably that’s time to uncover a quick. We already have at least one good off-spinner and one leggie. Could do with an SLA. Any suggestions?


  7. SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 10:01 am

    BT’s post-match discussion confirmed that Ponting and Gilchrist are off to do the BBL.


    • Mark Dec 18, 2017 / 10:22 am

      Ricky Ponting has been living the dream this series on BT. Surrounded by the constant drivel of Shinny toy on one side, and the idocy of Lovejoy on the other….. He has been on cruise control. Just riding down the middle lane of the freeway on a Harley Davison with a shit eating grin.


      • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 10:39 am

        In many ways, like being captain in a team with McGrath and Warne?


        • Mark Dec 18, 2017 / 11:26 am

          Ha ha…….Very good Danny!


        • Zephirine Dec 18, 2017 / 11:28 am

          Revenge is always sweet, even with a few years’ delay!
          Even when I hated Ponting I always had to admire the way he handled losing the Ashes. No excuses, no whines, no self-justification, he just took it.


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 18, 2017 / 11:39 am

            And then, in 2006, vowed to make sure that it didn’t happen to his champion team again. When Australia lose, they focus.

            Still, prepare a few sporty wickets, win the three tests outside London and robert’s your brother’s sister, and all our fans can worship us again. That after a glorious World Cup win, because we’ve focused really hard on it.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Miami Dad's Six Dec 18, 2017 / 11:22 am

      Are they being replaced? Or are we getting more Boycott, Vaughan and Swann?


      • LordCanisLupus Dec 18, 2017 / 11:35 am

        I’ll do it first on here.

        We are 3-0 down and Lovejoy has been an embarrassment. He’ll be on his way home.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Tom Dec 18, 2017 / 10:15 am

    Joe Root has joined the Dark Side. “Out-skilled”.


  9. Deep Purple Fred Dec 18, 2017 / 10:48 am

    Can’t be too harsh on the lads. It’s a team in transition after all, building for the future. The lads tried their hearts out, there’s alot of character in that dressing room.

    Some of the newer lads do need to learn how to place price on their wicket, instead of giving it away when set.

    Overton will toughen up with time too, and learn how to maintain his standard through a whole test match, but his got Jimmy and Stuie to help him with that.

    And we’ve seen again just what value Cook brings to the team. How reassuring it must have been for Root, when he was struggling to cope with the tough environment of international cricket, to have Cook standing next to him in slips, offering guidance and support.

    Ali will be disappointed with his performance so far. But he’s a class act, and he won’t let being Lyon’s bunny and have his bowling carted to all parts get him down.

    Australia is a tough place to tour, we were a bit surprised by some of the pitches, but it’s been a great learning experience for the lads, and it gives us alot of confidence for the next tour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • northernlight71 Dec 18, 2017 / 11:41 am

      That’s so uncanny, I think I’m beginning to suspect where it’s all gone wrong.
      The ECB has been man-for-man replaced by androids programmed in Sydney.
      The long term plan to downgrade the England Test side and plunge English cricket into an even darker corner has actually been dreamt up in Adelaide, not in London.

      I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse!


      • Deep Purple Fred Dec 18, 2017 / 12:40 pm

        I’ve just heard it so many times!

        Although if I was you I’d be looking at Bayliss very closely.


        • oreston Dec 18, 2017 / 1:28 pm

          Dunno what you mean. We had an Aussie bowling coach a few years back and that worked out well…


          • Deep Purple Fred Dec 18, 2017 / 2:19 pm

            You could always try Mickey Arthur, he’s good for discipline!


          • oreston Dec 18, 2017 / 2:57 pm

            Please don’t give the ECB ideas, Fred! I can just imagine what Arthur’s response to recent (non) events would’ve been. Ben Duckett would’ve had to write out 500 times: “I must not pour drinks over Jimmy. I must not pour drinks over Jimmy…” Everyone would’ve had to contribute a paper with 20 suggestions on how to improve team dynamics. You must bless the day CA sacked the man, while we’re still lumbered with Flower.


          • SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 3:15 pm

            That the Mickey Arthur who coached Pakistan to victory in the CT?….

            A coach who did that for England would get one of those honourary knighthoods and the ECB job of his own choosing for life!


          • Deep Purple Fred Dec 18, 2017 / 3:48 pm

            Yes he did well with Pakistan. The guys who do military-inspired push ups as a victory celebration! Every team has its own culture I guess.

            Some of the stuff from Warne and McGill about the fitness boot camp they had to do is amusing. I think McGill credits it with ending his career, and Warne was not impressed. They even took his fags off him.


          • oreston Dec 18, 2017 / 4:25 pm

            Can’t argue with his achievements with Pakistan, but it’s a very different culture and environment to either England or Australia.
            I wonder if the ECB would look at Gillespie now? An Aussie he may be, but he’s kind of gone native over here and he knows 1000% more about the English First Class game and players than TB. An ex-fast bowler as Coach might not be a bad thing for England either. All completely hypothetical, of course.


          • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 4:26 pm

            I don’t get the impression that Gillespie wants a job which would mean he’d spend more than half of the year away from his home in Australia.


          • oreston Dec 18, 2017 / 4:55 pm

            Oh well, his loss… or maybe in fact just a good instinct for dodging a bullet?
            I see he now has international coaching experience with a brief spell as interim Head Coach for Papua New Guinea under his belt. I realise of course that the England job would be a massive let down after that.


    • quebecer Dec 18, 2017 / 10:14 pm

      I’d reply, but… you know I can’t.

      That must have taken you ages to write, given the giggling interruptions.

      Still, chapeau, I suppose, chapeau.


  10. SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 10:55 am

    Pipe down….


    • Mark Dec 18, 2017 / 11:30 am

      I’d worry about Disney taking over Sky if I were you. They will be looking to cut out the dead wood. They are more ruthless than your idiot chums at the complacent ECB.


      • LordCanisLupus Dec 18, 2017 / 11:36 am

        He’s a Mickey Mouse pundit, and he’s about to be Donald Ducked?

        Will that do?


      • LordCanisLupus Dec 18, 2017 / 12:02 pm

        Hinge and Brackett. We need them back. They’ll set us straight.


    • nonoxcol Dec 18, 2017 / 1:00 pm

      Says the man who credited the coach and system for just about everything that happened between 2009 and 2013.

      Too easy, again.


    • Deep Purple Fred Dec 18, 2017 / 1:11 pm

      They didn’t just get outplayed Selvey, they got smashed. Three times in a row. By a side that’s arguably nothing more than their equal in world cricket. (Although I’m starting to wonder about that).

      Accepting this medocity as something “which does happen” means being doomed to repeat it.

      Your first opener is crocked, you second opener is a debutant, your number 3 is a debutant, your number 4 wildly underperformed, your number 5 is a debutant, your spinner was an injured part-timer…do I have to go on?

      England brought a B Team to the Ashes. Why is that? Maybe some of the players need to think about shot selection but mostly it’s to do with the system and the selectors that put them on the park.

      Aus did well recently in India. They lost, but lost honourably, and outperformed India in many aspects. I understand alot of thought was put into how to play cricket in India, and it paid dividends. But that bunch of 11 players didn’t get to that spot all by themselves, CA made it possible for them to get there.

      “they have been outplayed, which does happen” means no changes required to the organisation, just wait for May so we can start drooling over Anderson’s swing again.

      As always, Selvey is the epitomy of complacency, defending the status quo. If he had integrity as an English cricketer he would be spitting chips at seeing his team get wiped like that.

      He pisses me off, and I’m not even English. I think I’ll go watch some of those Mitch Marsh drives again, just to re-establish my good mood. There should be an Advisory Warning on BOC if you’re going to quote him, I thought we’d seen the last of him.

      Liked by 2 people

      • quebecer Dec 18, 2017 / 10:17 pm

        One of the things you can usually assume is that Australia will play (at least close) to their potential and avoid sabotaging themselves.

        England? Not so much.

        Selvey equally predictable.


      • Pontiac Dec 19, 2017 / 12:55 am


        Given that Australia just had a pretty good tour as things go in spinny India and Bangladesh, who’s to say they’re not making some plans for another particular condition?

        [And honestly, England losing that Test to West Indies, that should have been a big wake up call…]


  11. LordCanisLupus Dec 18, 2017 / 11:02 am

    That this abject performance has so far seen such a measured and calm response means most of us are busy at work or we just don’t care any more.

    Or both.

    Well, I’m livid. And I’ll continue to be until these idiots don’t treat us like we’ve been born yesterday.

    I can’t accept losses like this. I perform like this at work, making excuses, finding reasons not to perform, then I get consequences. I’m not directing it at the players, who do get the consequences, but the backroom staff, the organisation, the senior members of the team. I am out at my Team Lunch today so won’t be in a position to write anything, but I’ll keep my powder dry.

    The most teeth-grinding thing is that two of those most responsible, Coscutter Colin and the Empty Suit (Graves and Harrison, for the uninitiated) probably think they are doing a bang-up job. There’s your issue right there.


    • Mark Dec 18, 2017 / 11:40 am

      Simon nailed it last night Dmitri…..They got away with it last time. So they will again.

      Graves has Strauss as a fire wall, Strauss has a cast of thousands as his fire wall, and Harrison will only make an appearance to tell you about how many of the all inclusive tour packages they sold.

      As to the media, they are the propaganda arm of the ECB. Look at Selvey….spinning for them already. I bet Sky must be delighted they dodged a bullet on this one.


    • Zephirine Dec 18, 2017 / 11:43 am

      I am circling my single wagon around Root, I know he didn’t bat well enough but I think he really needs defending. He is genuinely very new to the captaincy but he is obviously trying as hard as he can and his so-called senior players are, let’s face it, monuments of selfishness.

      I believe in a cricket team as a collection of individuals, but there’s a difference between autonomy and not noticing anyone else exists. Anderson and Broad have played well for England over the years but they’ve always been out for themselves, and Cook’s batting depends entirely on him being in his personal zone or bubble. The support they’ve given Root seems to have varied between not much and none.

      Moeen isn’t fit and probably shouldn’t be playing. Why the hell isn’t Rashid out there?

      Liked by 1 person

      • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 11:59 am

        Yeah, I don’t think Root’s in any danger of being dropped. There might be some briefing against him as captain, but it’s hard to see who’d replace him. Cook is more closely linked to retirement than a return as captain right now, Bairstow seems to have a reputation as a troublemaker in the England camp, and Anderson doesn’t seem to want it. Everyone else seems too busy playing for their position in the side to have more duties thrust upon them.

        As for Rashid, England have pigeonholed him as a limited overs player. I don’t disagree with the concept of trying to keep the Test and shorter format players as specialists, although I think Yorkshire consider Rashid as stronger in first class cricket.


        • oreston Dec 18, 2017 / 12:15 pm

          If I were Adil Rashid, right now I’d be feeling very happy to be as far away from this clusterfuck as possible.


          • SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 2:49 pm

            Those 29 consecutive overs Cook made Rashid bowl in India looked like a deliberate attempt to destroy him – although the possibility Cook really just is that stupid can’t be completely overlooked.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Pontiac Dec 19, 2017 / 12:57 am

            There’s part of the England setup that wants to destroy spinners.


      • quebecer Dec 18, 2017 / 10:24 pm

        I’m with you regarding Root.

        The most unfortunate thing is that even in Brisbane from his first few balls, he looked… jittery. The enviroment surrounding the team clearly had an effect, and he went from being busy at the crease to jumpy.

        But again, where the hell was the batting coach? God, all you need is to say, “Joe! Calm….the…fuck…down. Stay still, drive straight, and leave lots. Repeat after me: Stay still, drive straight, leave lots…”

        And as for the preposterous environment of stress and anxiety created by essentially ourselves, were the ECB set on brining back Stokes had to make other efforts to be seen to be strict on drinking, to force this on to a young captain in his first Ashes tour when they should have been protecting him is so utterly self centred and self defeating it doesn’t bear thinking about.


  12. KidVicious Dec 18, 2017 / 12:49 pm

    I’ve seen a lot of media comment about our lack of fast bowlers in this series being the difference between the two sides. A genuine 90mph+ bowler may well have helped, but we don’t have one, and we knew that at the start of the series. So for me the question should be “where are our skillful bowlers?”

    This obsession with pace is quite frustrating because it doesn’t have a solution. It’s not the only way to win; Vernon Philander has shown that you can have a very successful career, and be pretty successful in Australia, with a focus on skill over pace (he’s not tall either).

    So why don’t out bowlers try things? Varying pace on a full length (not necessarily slower balls) to induce mistimed drives, cutters to try and get something out the surface, Jimmy has a wobbled seam delivery that hasn’t been used, cross seamers etc. They just settle into a routine of 85mph back of the length deliveries.

    Also heard Swann recently criticise Root in a bid to push his mate Broad as captain, as he is “more of a thinking cricketer”. I think it’s an understatement to say there’s been little evidence to back that assertion up.


    • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 1:04 pm

      Yep. The main difference seems to be that the English balls in English conditions are apt to swing and also seam, and therefore there’s no incentive for county bowlers to practice and use techniques like slower balls.


      • KidVicious Dec 18, 2017 / 1:44 pm

        I agree with regards to new bowlers coming through the system. But Woakes has variety in ODIs, and Broad and Anderson have in the past changed their approach. But nothing during that huge partnership.

        I can go full on cynic and say that they want to use Root or the coaches as shields for when things go wrong (as Anderson already did at Adelaide) safe in the knowledge that no-one in the MSM will pick them up on it. Or they are tired, jaded and well beaten already, and just mentally seized up once Smith was set.


        • SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 2:45 pm

          “they are tired, jaded”.

          There’s no reason why Cook, Anderson, Broad or Woakes should be tired. The first three don’t play any cricket except Tests. Woakes missed most of the last English season. The bowling might look less tired if they didn’t take 155 overs to bowl the opposition out (I think I heard that’s the average opposition first innings in the last seven away Tests).

          Australia were hauled around Asia just before the series playing Tests in Bangladesh and earning some white-ball moolah in India. Starc and Hazlewood missed most of it but Smith, Cummins and Warner played most of those games.


          • KidVicious Dec 18, 2017 / 4:01 pm

            I agree Simon, and I’m not excusing them. Mentally tired perhaps, as in “here we go again…f*** this…we’ve lost…just go through the motions”


        • Silk Dec 18, 2017 / 3:16 pm

          Woakes just isn’t very good.

          (That said, Anderson wasn’t very good, outside of England, in 2006, and he turned it around)


          • quebecer Dec 18, 2017 / 10:27 pm

            Yes Silk! Thank you for saying it before I had to. He’s 28, only has two 5 wicket hauls in his whole career – both in the same cloudy Lords test against an all at sea Pakistan team.

            It just shows how if you manage to have an accepted wisdom applied to you as the next in line, it really doesn’t matter what you actually do. And he’s Anderson’s replacement??? Good lord.


    • AB Dec 18, 2017 / 4:23 pm

      Part of Philander’s success is due to the fact that he isn’t in a bowling attack with three other blokes who all also bowl like Vernon Philander.

      During his career, South Africa had that combo of the seriously quick one, the tall bouncy one and the nagging seam movement one that has featured in many high quality attacks over the years.

      Variety is important in bowling attacks. Starc, Hazlewood, Cummins and Lyon are four excellent but also very different bowlers.

      Liked by 1 person

      • SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 5:19 pm

        Spot on AB – and it’s what makes the treatment of the younger Finn so infuriating.

        Liked by 1 person

      • quebecer Dec 18, 2017 / 10:29 pm

        I can’t like comments here by clicking, so ‘LIKE’!


        • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 10:32 pm

          Can’t you? There’s a few different views available on the site, but on the one I’m using there’s a star under the comment I can click on.


      • Pontiac Dec 19, 2017 / 1:02 am

        Co-signed, co-signed, co-signed.

        England’s bowling attack problems are really the same underlying problem that keeps them from having either quicks or spinners. Both are needed at the same time. And it’s not even availability-of, in terms of people eligible in England to take those roles.

        It is simply because the England coaching and team system by the will of a number of different individuals and entities is currently and for the last 4-6 years simply set up to destroy quick bowlers and spinners.


  13. man in a barrel Dec 18, 2017 / 12:56 pm

    What makes me seethe is that they capitulated in such a supine way. Only Malan and Overton, possibly Vince, Stoneman and Bairstow can be proud of themselves. Even back in the 90s, when we set out with bowlers such as DeFreitas, McCague, Joey Benjamin, and Tufnell skipping in and out of psychiatric institutions, they put up more of a fight


  14. nonoxcol Dec 18, 2017 / 1:37 pm

    Guardian Goodies corner:

    “There are some posters BTL who are have been desperate to see the eviction and humiliation of Cook since you know when and they will be circling like vultures now.”


    • Zephirine Dec 18, 2017 / 1:54 pm

      C’est nous:


    • thelegglance Dec 18, 2017 / 7:11 pm

      It’s such an irony that it’s us nasty horrible types who are actually the ones saying that if he’s one of the two best openers in England (and he still is) he should play.

      Are they so thick they can’t understand this principle of selection?

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Sherwick Dec 18, 2017 / 2:13 pm

    “I’m still the man for the job” of England coach vs the Australians, says Australia-born Bayliss:

    He certainly is the man for the job, if that job is losing the Ashes very, very quickly.

    By the way, how is Chairman of Selectors, James ‘one Test’ Whitaker doing?
    Has he said anything yet since “Pietersen will never play for England again” a few years ago?


    • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 2:20 pm

      Whitaker seemed to be all over the place doing interviews when Gary Ballance was doing well and England’s batting lineup looked rock solid…


      • Sherwick Dec 18, 2017 / 2:27 pm

        I’m wondering if the Chairman of Selectors bears any responsibility for the terrible selection of players for this Ashes series?


          • oreston Dec 18, 2017 / 3:00 pm

            Yeah, get with the programme Sherwick! 🙂


          • Sherwick Dec 18, 2017 / 5:46 pm

            Silly me for even suggesting that the Chairman of Selectors has anything even remotely to do with team selection.


  16. SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 3:11 pm

    Would Stokes have changed the result? Three reasons to think not:

    1) His record in Australia is P4 L4.
    2) Ashwin caused him no end of trouble last winter so why wouldn’t Lyon?
    3) He almost stopped bowling on the second half of the India tour (for reasons never adequately explained).

    If he played, who would have missed out? Probably Overton – or Malan.


      • thelegglance Dec 18, 2017 / 7:13 pm

        Don’t think so. They played with Malan in the summer. They wanted the batting down to Moeen at 8.


        • Silk Dec 18, 2017 / 10:39 pm

          Sorry, being dense. Ali as the ‘spinner’. Stokes plus 3 other quicks. Which means Woakes, Anderson and Broad. So no Ball/Overton.

          Which, given how well Overton bowled…

          (And that, had they made a change, Ball would have been the man to come in :-0 )


  17. Silk Dec 18, 2017 / 3:21 pm

    So (a) I’m no batsman and (b) Starc is fast, but in this picture (http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/42377115) Vince seems to be right back on his stumps to a good length ball.

    If he gets forward, doesn’t he have a better chance of getting some bat on that?


    • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 3:43 pm

      This does seem a little harsh. If he played forward, but on the line the ball was travelling in before it hit the crack, presumably he still would have completely missed it and been bowled.


      • Miami Dad's Six Dec 18, 2017 / 4:26 pm

        I thought that a little bit too*.

        To start with, a “42 centimetre deviation” is a bit misleading. By the time it got to the stumps it would have been about that, but Vince was stood on his crease (1.2 metres out?), and as you say, if he gets a decent stride forward of say a metre or so on top of that, you’re probably looking at something more akin to half that. Given the width of a bat is 10cm, it becomes a much more minor adjustment if he’s fully forward than it was in the instance of him missing it by the width of two bats. Obviously tricky as hell to adjust to something like that when it is coming at 90mph, and it was a really good ball, no question. But it still pitched outside off and hit off stump – whilst Vince was stood on his crease trying to clip it to square leg. It didn’t look right.

        On top of that, Vince has all 3 stumps in view. Steve Smith might have gotten out to the same ball, but I doubt he’d have been bowled. LBW or a leading edge to gully, maybe.

        * I am so crap at batting it is unbelievable, so I am open to this being called out as complete nonsense..

        Liked by 1 person

        • thelegglance Dec 18, 2017 / 7:25 pm

          Honestly? I don’t think there’s a batsman in history who could have survived that, or got near it. The only way anyone could is to have been in completely the wrong position in the first place.

          Movement like that is totally impossible to play at that kind of pace.


          • northernlight71 Dec 18, 2017 / 9:01 pm

            My take – for what it’s worth – is that there might be no way on earth that any batsman would have been able to survive that delivery, but that doesn’t mean one couldn’t look at Vince and say “that was such a bad way to play it, the delivery could have been not even half as good and still castled him.”
            If you see what I mean.


          • thelegglance Dec 18, 2017 / 9:03 pm

            A ball that moves like that makes anyone look stupid. You try to adjust and don’t get close. I couldn’t in truth say that Vince did a single thing wrong.


    • KidVicious Dec 18, 2017 / 4:28 pm

      I’m not a huge advocate of Vince; nothing personal, it just seems as though he is a representation of others’ vested interests in the game.

      But sometimes you just have to say well played to the opponent. I watched it after event and even knowing what to expect, was still taken aback by how much it moved. In real time it just looks
      unplayable. Don’t mind being bowled out, get frustrated with batsman getting themselves out.


    • AB Dec 18, 2017 / 4:38 pm

      Orthodox technique to a ball on leg stump is to pivot around your front toe and play the outside half of the ball. You can’t stride forward down the line of leg to a 90mph delivery – its simply not physically possible.

      By which I mean, no professional batsman would have played that delivery any different.

      Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Dec 18, 2017 / 6:59 pm

      No not really. For the ball on leg stump and outside, you stay back in the crease and bring the bat through straight. One of the biggest coaching flaws for years was the idea you could get a big stride in inside the line of the ball to play an on drive or leg glance – about the only batsman I ever saw remotely get close to that for that kind of line was Greg Chappell, and now batsmen are specifically coached not to try. You simply don’t have time to do that,the small movement is about getting the weight distribution right so it doesn’t go in the air – or through square leg rather than midwicket.

      Essentially for the expected line of the ball and the shot being played, Vince was in a good
      position. His bad luck it did what it did.


  18. SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    Ali Martin’s summary of the post-match comments is very much in the “don’t expect any heads to roll” line.

    It’ll be interesting to hear the tone when the ODI side are playing. Apparently they justify everything the ECB have done. Someone (Vaughan probably) said they can go anywhere in the world and win (which must be shock to India who beat them but never mind that). Things could get nasty if they tank as well. Watch out Eoin….


  19. Maxie Allen cricket (@MaxieCricket) Dec 18, 2017 / 4:10 pm

    The last thing England wanted to do was win the 2015 Ashes.

    That victory – in which England’s heavy defeats in two of the tests are always forgotten – served only to paper over the cracks and vindicate the bogus philosophy of the ECB and team management.

    That series was largely won due to a handful of isolated strong individual performances – in particular Broad and Root – and some very brittle Australian batting, especially their catastrophic collapse at Trent Bridge.

    It was not won because England had re-thought, re-evaluated, and re-built after the “difficult winter” of 2013/14.

    After that calamity, they simply picked an irrelevant scapegoat, and then carried on exactly as before. Their pretence at rebuilding amounted to precisely nothing except a determination to pick obedient automatons, whom they somehow hoped would crystallise around a captain with zero leadership skills and whose own batting had become perilously unreliable.

    And that has brought us directly to where we are today.

    Much of what I say here adds little to TLG’s excellent post yesterday, but I firmly believe the 2015 Ashes were pivotal. They served as the false corroboration for a regime and ethos doomed to disaster. The reclamation of the urn in August 2015 condemned England to complacency and misguided self-satisfaction.

    Meanwhile, cricket remains inaccessible to the vast majority of the British public, which is fatally narrowing the youth player base which is suppose to supply fresh blood to the England setup. Today’s eighteen year olds would have been six when cricket was last on free television.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Dec 18, 2017 / 4:39 pm

      It’s worth remembering that the first test match in Cardiff in 2015 was won by England late on the forth day before the rain came. The next day it rained hard all day in Cardiff. Had England not got the job done on the forth evening the test match final day would have been washed out, and the game drawn. That would have lead to the series being tied. No “redemption for Cook”

      Of course this is all ifs and buts. But as you say it let the ECB spin an illusion that all was well, and their policies were working. The media were ecstatic, and didn’t want to look deeply at the fools gold they had been served up.


  20. Silk Dec 18, 2017 / 4:22 pm

    Building on what SimonH says above, we’d better pray that England get humped in the ODIs in both Australia and NZ.

    If we lose both ODI series, maybe even lose them heavily, then there’s no place to hide.

    Given we lost in SA and India, should we really expect to win in Aus or NZ?


    • metatone Dec 18, 2017 / 5:38 pm

      I may be wrong, but I think England are a better ODI side than Test side so I don’t expect a humping. That said I haven’t looked into the injury situation, which is often our downfall.


      • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 5:43 pm

        They are for sure. The main difference is that in ODIs the bowlers don’t have to take 10 wickets, and the opposition batsmen have to attack and maintain a higher scoring rate. Even then, the bowlers seem to concede above par totals and rely on some extraordinary batsmen to bail them out.


      • thelegglance Dec 18, 2017 / 7:14 pm

        They also even won the ODI series last time I think.


  21. SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 5:57 pm

    James dropping some intriguing hints at TFT that the T20 plans are in big trouble and facing imminent implosion.


    • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 6:22 pm

      I’m not as confident as James, although he cites “sources” which I obviously don’t have access to.

      I was just starting to write a post for the gap before Christmas here about it, using THIS ARTICLE from Charles Sale in the Daily Mail last Thursday. Basically he describes a joint letter from the 10 non-host counties saying essentially that since they signed on the dotted line in April that the ECB haven’t kept their promise to keep them involved in the process.

      But at this stage, I’m not sure that 10 major counties could actually stop it. It’s passed the vote on the ECB’s board by 38-3. I don’t know what majority these counties would need to overrule this, but it’s presumably at least 21. That would require a combination of major counties and at least a few minor counties (who all voted for it).

      The other question is the TV money. I’ve not seen anyone publish the splits for how much the different TV packages got, but the ECB would presumably have to return the money given for the TV rights from the BBC and Sky and possibly pay some penalties too. And the counties would have to forgo the £1.4m (off the top of my head) annual payoff the ECB promised them for agreeing to the competition.

      All of which is to say that I think it’s too late to avoid the new T20 competition. The major counties signed away their biggest leverage over the past year, and I’m not sure they could stop it now unless the potential hosts back out and there’s nowhere to play the games.


  22. man in a barrel Dec 18, 2017 / 6:04 pm

    This time around we don’t even have Scott Borthwick and Boyd Rankin to throw into the mix


  23. Tony Bennett Dec 18, 2017 / 6:07 pm

    I heard Root say something along the lines that he himself had to take a fair share of responsibility for England’s defeat. I genuinely feel sorry for the guy. What experience of captaincy has he had? Virtually none before his appointment in the summer. It’s a huge task to be expected to lead a weak side against a much stronger and more confident one, away from home, but it is so much worse if you don’t have much experience of captaincy or leadership. And it can’t be easy to inherit a side which contains a few highly experienced members who are accustomed to getting their own way.

    Poor Root was lumbered with the Next Captain tag while Cook was still doing the job, in the same way that Cook was when Strauss was there. Now I actually think that Root has shown signs of being a fairly imaginative skipper and – although it doesn’t take much – he is likely to be far better than Cook ever was. But this doesn’t make the ECB’s approach to captaincy any more acceptable. That approach seems largely to be based on identifying the golden boy and waiting for the incumbent to move out of the way.

    There is no attempt to discover whether the candidate actually has any aptitude for leadership, strategy, or man-management. There is no attempt to develop the candidate’s captaincy skills away from the Test arena. The County Championship is now sadly almost an irrelevance yet there was a time when captaincy skills could be honed over several years. How many county captains are even in the current England side? I think there is one on the squad – Ballance. Vince and Stoneman have been white-ball captains, and Malan too I think, but this is scarcely usable evidence. Leading the Lions might have been a staging post, but how many Lions captains have even established themselves in the Test side?

    A few years ago I entertained the foolish hope that Eoin Morgan would be appointed Test captain – here’s a real leader who has imagination and originality. But of course that was never going to happen while the anointed was still there, and Morgan has now (criminally) been allowed to concentrate entirely on white ball cricket. Obviously his Test batting record is short of outstanding. But he could easily have been persisted with in the middle order if there had been any proper planning. And I would rather have a Test captain who can average 30 and lead the side effectively, than one whose outstanding contribution as a batsman is threatened by the burden of captaincy.


  24. SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 6:19 pm

    Smyth’s 10 moments that decided the Ashes is Selveyesque.In fact. it’s worse.


    • nonoxcol Dec 18, 2017 / 6:27 pm

      Can’t wait for comments to open. If they ever do. Nothing even implied about the failings of the Big Three, eh? Just those key moments involving Vince, Malan, Ali, Root, DRS and Uncle Tom Cobleigh.


      • SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 6:50 pm

        1) Unlucky and/or undisciplined
        2) Vince mistake
        3) Smith lucky
        4) Our boys are too nice
        5)Australia cheat
        6) Blame Root
        7) Australia cheat again
        8) The good Australian Pat Cummins.
        9) Superficial praise for Smith which is really an excuse to blame Malan (and Root by implication)
        10) Six inches of carry

        Not worth a mention: senior batsman can’t make a fifty; senior bowlers blow big opportunity and blame others; crucial all-rounder has a ‘mare; Jake Ball turns out not to be ideal for Australian conditions; Woakes turns out not to be the next Jacques Kallis; the collapsing tail; Shaun Marsh; Mitch Marsh; Nathan Lyon; the top wicket-taker in the series…

        Pat Cummins seems the one Australian all the English press like. There’s a social anthropology paper to be written on why the English press seem to like certain foreign players while barely mustering a grudging appreciation for others. I like Cummins too – but the lack of appreciation of Starc is bizarre.

        Perhaps NOC or someone else who’s still on the Guardian could be very rude to that fool on the Vic Marks’ thread who tells a “hilarious” tale about how awful England bowlers were in the 1990s and can’t even get his basic facts right.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Mark Dec 18, 2017 / 6:52 pm

          You missed out the Bristol police.

          Expect to see a lot of stuff about how Stokes would have won the ashes for England.


          • thelegglance Dec 18, 2017 / 7:19 pm

            New Zealand born Ben Stokes. Come now, Mark…


        • nonoxcol Dec 18, 2017 / 9:59 pm

          Is that Gelion with his “Packer was in the 80s” crap, or FlightGuileandPies with the “early 90s West Indian tour” thing?

          If the former, I’ve tried alongside many others: the guy is like a mis-programmed BTL Terminator. If the latter, the double figure number of recommends it received tells you why I cannot be bothered.


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 18, 2017 / 10:04 pm

            Any sighting of the usual useful idiots? WestCork, Palfreyman at al?


          • quebecer Dec 18, 2017 / 10:41 pm

            I honestly can’t get through a page of those comments any more. The articles tell me nothing, the comments are on a par. Not even theHarry bothers now, and he was very much the last left standing. There’s not even westcork for me to be viciously unkind to.


          • Zephirine Dec 19, 2017 / 12:13 am

            Palfreyman crops up here and there on various threads, as does the admirable jno50. Westcork seems to have vanished, perhaps waiting for the county cricket blog where they seem to like him.

            But those really cool people like GentlemanofLeisure – long gone.

            Even some of the mad ones used to be fun, back in the day there was a guy called Mizrahi who hated Ian Bell with a passion, it was like reading Basil Fawlty.


          • Deep Purple Fred Dec 19, 2017 / 12:19 am

            Bloody hell, westcork was the straw that broke the camels back for me, and he didn’t even bother hanging around? We gave him the place, the ingrate!

            I dipped my toe in for a look, it’s as bad as its ever been, but there does seem to be a lot more criticism of the ECB and Sky money than before, and not just from the usual suspects (since they mostly left anyway, nothernlights lights is plugging on I see). Probably not enough for critical mass, but it does seem to have more skeptics than anytime since the great exit around the KP/Big 3/Selvey/Downton/”The Web We Want” period exit, when so many walked away from it.

            Whatever did happen to the web we want? Did we get it?


          • Sri. Grins Dec 19, 2017 / 1:53 am

            Actually, westcork mellowed down a bit over the last two years.


          • quebecer Dec 19, 2017 / 3:02 am

            Actually, DaddyPig knows his stuff and i will stop and read if i see him, and Jimevans was good, but the peson I actually miss (out of the English contributors) is jno. Fine fellow.


          • Silk Dec 19, 2017 / 7:56 am

            Dunno if what I wrote was worth reading but I stopped posting for professional, non cricket, reasons. And don’t miss it. Boc, and a drive by on the full toss, will do for me.


          • Quebecer Dec 19, 2017 / 8:02 am

            Silk, I like reading you here: who were you there?


          • Silk Dec 19, 2017 / 10:01 am

            james_s_davey (but sssh! It’s a secret! Don’t tell the internet)


          • Quebecer Dec 19, 2017 / 4:07 pm

            Ah! Such a clue with the initial. Clever. Well, hellooooo, for one thing, and also, don’t worry because the Internet is brilliant for keeping secrets.


  25. SimonH Dec 18, 2017 / 7:05 pm

    Glad he’s put this one straight….


    • Mark Dec 18, 2017 / 7:11 pm

      What a pretentious c***!

      Only Selvey The prig could care up about jumped up titles.


      • Tuffers86 Dec 18, 2017 / 9:56 pm

        For fuck sake. Why didn’t the tosser DM him?


      • LordCanisLupus Dec 18, 2017 / 10:07 pm

        Can’t have his best mate dissed. No way.

        I’ve had it with people like him. That he’s got to pick a point with #39, an ocean going fraud speaks volumes. The man who brought us the “Peter Moores return is a good idea” meme needs to look at himself in the mirror and give it up.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Silk Dec 18, 2017 / 10:40 pm

          What’s that, you say? Peter Moores? Return? Well, if Andy doesn’t feel the time is right we could do a lot worse…


          • quebecer Dec 18, 2017 / 10:44 pm

            I don’t think anyone has been as verbose in their criticism of Peter Moores than I have. But oddly, I wouldn’t be against him being on the selection committee.


          • thelegglance Dec 18, 2017 / 10:48 pm

            His county record suggests he’s actually adept at developing young players. The Lions might even be something he’d excel at.


  26. quebecer Dec 18, 2017 / 10:50 pm

    Poor old David Malan. He really did have an exceptionally good test. A fine century and a 50 and our best bowler, too.


    • Sherwick Dec 18, 2017 / 11:09 pm

      He’s a bit uppity if yiu ask me. Showing up our glorious Man of Steel like that.


    • dannycricket Dec 18, 2017 / 11:15 pm

      He’s not taken a wicket yet though. Which is a somewhat crucial aspect of bowling in Test matches, not that you’d know that from the other bowlers.


      • Sherwick Dec 19, 2017 / 6:32 am

        Crucial, but overrated IMHO.
        Bowl dry is what counts.
        Unless you can’t bowl dry.
        Then you’re er.. stuffed.


        • BoredInAustria Dec 19, 2017 / 8:49 am

          Not stuffed


    • Deep Purple Fred Dec 19, 2017 / 12:06 am

      You must be pretty chuffed the way it panned out Q. Your insights and hopes came to fruition, and a couple of guys you’ve been watching announced themselves. Maybe you should be a coach.

      You did lose the Ashes, but at least you got Stoneman, Malan and maybe Vince. Despite the broader context, it must be a great time for Malan.

      And you won’t physically lose the Ashes, the little wooden trinket will remain at Lords. Too fragile to travel my arse, it’s about time Aus called Eng out on that. It doesn’t have to be a 12 month sea voyage anymore. If something as delicate as the English cricket team can make it, I’m sure the urn will survive.


      • quebecer Dec 19, 2017 / 1:31 am

        Hmmmm autocorrect clearly doesn’t quite get why it’s DaWid Malan.

        I am glad for Malan, yes. And it’s good news for us too, obviously, as we desperately need to find players in nearly all positions. I’ve got my fingers crossed for Stoneman… we’ll see how he responds at the MCG. If he’s got the right stuff, he’ll come out strong and confident of runs on what is, after all, a road, but he did take a bit of a beating in Perth… Still, plenty of runs to be had in Melbourne and I hope Malan, Stoneman, Vince and Bairstow concentrate on that and nothing else.

        “If something as delicate as the English cricket team can make it, I’m sure the urn will survive.”

        Yeah, yeah, alright, chuckles. Might we expect more of your wit to entertain yourself in the coming days?


        • Deep Purple Fred Dec 19, 2017 / 10:29 am

          An Irishman, an Englishman, and a South African walked into a bar. It was The Avenue bar in Perth.
          It was the English ODI team.

          Lots of chuckles to come!


          • oreston Dec 19, 2017 / 12:59 pm

            I seem to recall Kepler Wessels wasn’t “too fragile to travel.” (Yep, I know that’s going back a bit…)


          • Deep Purple Fred Dec 19, 2017 / 2:47 pm

            The Wessels Affair is surely past the statute of limitations now?


          • Quebecer Dec 19, 2017 / 4:08 pm



          • oreston Dec 19, 2017 / 5:12 pm

            Just kidding. He’s pretty much the exception that proves the rule.


  27. Deep Purple Fred Dec 18, 2017 / 11:57 pm

    One thing you can be sure of. No Australian cricketer will be pouring beer on anyone else’s head tonight. Nope, out of the question. Totally professional outfit, mutual respect all round, respect for the elders, standards of behaviour, responsible drinking, no dickheads policy etc. That’s why they win, hopefully the ECB will be able to implement this standard too.

    Right now, Smith is probably giving Marsh a few extra throwdowns (he threw it away when he was set on 181 after all), Starc is getting physio on his heel, and Josh is in the ice bath. Warner is probably curled up with a novel.

    I wonder if anyone is at The Avenue tonight? Or as the English press called it “the notorious Avenue bar”


  28. Pontiac Dec 19, 2017 / 1:26 am

    There’s a great replay highlight of Lyon’s LBW of Ali on the cricket.com.au site. It has a slow motion replay of the ball before the actual LBW ball, which itself was a LBW shout turned down because of being an inside edge.

    It gives a fascinating view of one of Lyon’s straight balls. You can see the ball has full revs perfectly around the seam so it dips the same, but the seam angle slowly gyrates in flight from about NE to N…


  29. SimonH Dec 19, 2017 / 10:59 am

    “With fast bowling, it’s almost the case that you need to take budding quick bowlers out of the county system and contract them to the ECB. They need to be identified at a young age and looked after so that they don’t spend their career losing pace on the county circuit”.

    I’d like to say Nasser is joking – but he isn’t. Safeguard young quicks by handing them over to the ECB? What could possibly go wrong?

    “Why does it always need an Ashes disaster to make us realise we’re lacking pace? Fix the roof while the sun is shining, not while it’s raining”.

    Whose job was it to realise and what should happen to them? Silence.

    “Maybe we also need to look at the structure of the season, because as things stand lots of Championship matches are being played in April or September, which are seam-friendly but not spin-friendly”.

    And who was responsible for that? More silence.

    “What has concerned me with England’s batsmen over the past few years is the repetitive nature of their dismissals, particularly with the guys who are in and out of the team. Look at Gary Ballance, who was dropped because of an obvious technical flaw, then went away, didn’t change much because he believes in his method, and was picked again without having improved. That’s where the selectors need to pick more on character”.

    Ballance doesn’t lack character, he lacks technique. What Hussain wants is a recipe for more face-fitting and briefings about “mental fragility” and “weirdness”. It’ll just be more of the same.



      • SimonH Dec 19, 2017 / 12:12 pm

        Ah, you beat me to it!

        “England are facing a whitewash because their leading players let them down”.

        The order of Root, Broad, Anderson, Cook was predictable… but half a sentence! Half a bleedin’ sentence!


      • LordCanisLupus Dec 19, 2017 / 12:39 pm

        It’s pathalogical. If you point it out now you might need to revisit past comments. Root and Cook’s conversion rates recently are remarkably similar. As we know.

        Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol Dec 19, 2017 / 1:11 pm

          I see my milkshake has already brought a very silly boy to the yard, who for some bizarre reason thinks my stats relate to Root.


          • LordCanisLupus Dec 19, 2017 / 8:53 pm

            Cavalier, one of the useful idiots, has a belter of a point…

            It’s a conspiracy. KP would have been hounded out by now.

            He was. And it was. (a couple of weeks later)


          • nonoxcol Dec 19, 2017 / 11:54 pm

            Melmouth is surely the wctt de nos jours. Him or AngloCeltSoundSystem. Or maybe SnivellingWretch, although his entire schtick appears to consist of calling out clivejw, like some woefully unfunny version of Father Ted’s Golden Cleric speech.

            “And now, we move on to the anti-Cook brigade.”


      • Deep Purple Fred Dec 19, 2017 / 1:25 pm

        I wonder if Root isn’t suffering from this whole Fab 4 things that’s emerged, and the endless debate about who’s the best. I know some sports fans think it’s good fun, some nationalists consider it a matter of pride, and journalists like such devices, but who really cares that four good batsmen have emerged around the same time? They’re four individuals, each to be enjoyed in their own way. Kohli’s challenges, cricket schedule, risks and rewards, support systems, skills, execution etc have nothing in common with Smiths nor Williamsons nor Roots, he’s living his own reality. They all are.

        If the other three weren’t around Root would just be enjoyed as a really good batsmen, without these tedious comparisons to another cricketer who’s living a different life, and serves as no useful point of comparison.

        It usually takes players time to emerge to their full greatness, if that’s what they’re destined for. Root’s just having a tough tour that’s all, hardly unheard of. One thing I’m pretty sure of, he is going to make Australia pay for this, somewhere down the line.

        The media just has to get into a froth because they need to have something provocative to say. You’d think “Cook’s finished” might be sufficiently provocative and probably more accurate.

        I do wonder what’s happened to him though, he’s been a shadow of his usual self, and I thought he had the temperament to cope with the Ashes. Even if he lost I’d expect him to find refuge in scoring runs.


  30. Silk Dec 19, 2017 / 12:21 pm

    NonOxCol nailed it there. As did RegWilkins.

    ” Mark Stoneman has batted with grit, and James Vince with grace. Between them, they’ve done enough, if not more.” “pretty 50s, gritty 50s, brilliant as they are, don’t win Tests. Hundreds do. ” – So Andy since you can’t have it both ways, Stoneman and Vince haven’t done enough. Only Malan has really shone and Bairstow a good supporting act.

    And TopperHarley

    “Well, it’s not like there were any other candidates for front-line spinner.
    Certainly not one who took twenty wickets in four Tests against India last winter. No sirree, nothing to see here.”

    Liked by 1 person

  31. SimonH Dec 19, 2017 / 1:11 pm

    Nice of them to shove Overton out in front of the media at a time like this:

    “I am nursing a hairline fracture to my rib but the doctor warned me it could become much worse if I landed the wrong way – a proper fracture, or even a punctured lung. No one needs that”.

    “I won’t rule myself out of Melbourne. I accept it’s unlikely, but I’m so desperate to play that I won’t accept I’m not going to until the doctors tell me absolutely otherwise”.

    This is utter madness (and I’m not blaming Overton of course)

    Liked by 1 person

    • oreston Dec 19, 2017 / 1:48 pm

      So if, as he says, “…the doctor warned me it could become much worse if I landed the wrong way – a proper fracture, or even a punctured lung” then why hasn’t he ALREADY been ruled out not only of Melbourne but the rest of the series? (Even a hairline fracture doesn’t heal in two or three weeks.) In fact why the hell did he play at Perth? There are no words (or at least no polite ones) to describe how wrong this is.


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