Fifth Ashes Test: Preview

If ever there was a measure of how far sights had fallen on this tour it was to be found in the way that a draw at Melbourne, on a pitch so batsmen friendly it was rated as poor by the ICC, was treated as a triumph by some.  3-0 down, a series and the Ashes gone, but apparently England ended the year well.  Perhaps in some ways that’s true, when you’ve lost the last seven away Tests and the last eight away Ashes Tests anything better than that is something to take note of, in the same way that just because the ship has gone down doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate the piece of wreckage to which you’re clinging.  Yet denying the disaster that this tour has been remains as pathetic as it was after the Indian tour.  In that case, few expected England to come out on top, but being battered repeatedly and insisting that it was nothing other than the expected – all is well, don’t worry – was a low point for a group of cricket journalists who haven’t been afraid to plumb the depths in recent years.

Here too, the same has happened.  Cook’s unquestionably excellent innings at the MCG doesn’t mean Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth didn’t happen, and pretending that it does invites the contempt it deserves, and not just from the Australians either.  Claiming that it is irrelevant because it’s a dead rubber is nonsensical, ignoring the 3-0 scoreline and a series thrashing is preposterous.  It counts.  Of course it counts, it always did.  But it also always had a slight note against it. Indeed, the England coaching staff clearly didn’t get the memo, for when Trevor Bayliss was asked about selection for the final Test, he said “with the series lost it gives us the opportunity to look at some different people”.   Of course, this shouldn’t need saying, as it is blindingly obvious to anyone paying even a cursory degree of attention, but apparently it does, even though England on the other side of the equation did exactly the same thing when selecting Woakes and Kerrigan at the Oval in 2013.  Writing on cricket is a matter of opinion, but refusing to acknowledge reality in favour of hagiography remains as intellectually dishonest as ever, particularly given the same people were talking about retirement precisely one Test earlier.  Even allowing for finally having something positive to write about, it went much too far.  England played better at Melbourne, the seamers in the first innings were very good, Cook absolutely batted beautifully, while Australia probably lost some intensity, but still saved the match with something to spare.  Fine.  It was better, give Cook plenty of credit.  Move on and don’t overdo it.

Thus, for this game Mason Crane will make his debut.  The SCG pitch is expected to offer some assistance for spinners (interestingly, Nathan Lyon doesn’t have as good a record there as the traditional expectation for turn might suggest) and as a result, Moeen Ali is expected to keep his place.  He hasn’t had a good tour, either with ball or bat, and so this represents something of a reprieve given the initial expectation it might be a straight swap.  Much comment has been made about him not getting overspin, which does raise a few questions:  Firstly whether this is something he’s always had a problem with – the lack of any discussion prior to this tour suggests not – and if it’s just in Australia, why that might be.  He’s clearly not been fit for much of it, with talk of both side strains and finger damage throughout.  If that is the reason why, then England have done him a serious disservice by repeatedly playing him, and then seeing him get a kicking for not performing.  The player narrative shifts from week to week, with no reference to what has been said before, so perhaps the injury claims were overblown instead and he really has just been poor, but it would be nice to once in a while have some degree of consistency in appraisal without the need for excuses first, then a hatchet job.

Crane himself represents something of an unknown quantity at this level.  His first class bowling average is nothing to write home about, but he’s also young and promising.  The biggest fear with him has to be that if he doesn’t have an exceptional time of it, he’ll join the list of those brought in for the final dead rubber of a series (oh, that again) and then never heard about again.  England’s management of leg spinners who fail to be the next Shane Warne doesn’t engender too much confidence.  Maybe it’ll be different this time.

Chris Woakes misses out, having suffered a recurrence of his side injury.  England are saying that it’s precautionary, and hope that he’ll be fit for the ODI series following the Tests, but scepticism about their injury management is probably second only to scepticism about their selection strategy.  Side strains don’t tend to clear up quickly; it seems hopeful to say the least that it will properly heal in such a short time, and risky to then bowl him if it is a problem so soon after being out for so long with the same issue.

Woakes’ absence means that Tom Curran will play, saving him from the possibility of being a one cap wonder, while Jake Ball is nowhere to be seen in the discussions, except to point out that he’s nowhere to be seen.

This will leave England with a line up that requires the top order to get all the runs, for after Jonny Bairstow at six will come a hideously out of form Moeen and a tail that might be nowhere near as abysmal as the legendary Caddick, Giddins, Mulally Tufnell one, but does have the particular distinction of being just as long.  It will be fascinating to see if Cook’s technical work continues here, while Root and Malan too will need to have good Tests.

For Australia it’s easy – Mitchell Starc should return in place of Jackson Bird, although there are suggestions he’ll be rested for the ODI series in preparation for the South Africa Tests, an illustration of their priorities if nothing else.  They have their own batting issues in the top order, but also have Steve Smith, who has been imperious for so long  it has masked the other problems.  How to get him out remains a conundrum that has proved beyond England and might well be the single biggest difference between the sides.

The surface is by all accounts well grassed, and should provide a better contest between bat and ball than last time out.  The trouble is, that looks like very good news for Australia and very bad news for England.  English optimism is in short supply, but always remember Tom Harrison’s soothing words:

“It’s a pity that we’re not in a position to take the Urn home with us, but there’s a lot more to play for over the course of this winter. The health of the game is more than about Ashes series overseas. This is not the moment for kneejerk reactions or rash decisions in respect of performance.

“We have a plan. We’re making progress on that plan. England have been very competitive for large parts of the Ashes series. Those marginal periods of play where you can turn a game, we haven’t been able to do it which has been the difference between the teams in each of the Test matches.

“We understand that it’s extremely disappointing. But this team will be learning from every experience they have on the field and we’ve got a lot more to play for over the course of the one-dayers and the Test series in New Zealand.”

The lack of any critical coverage of what he has said is quite simply remarkable.

 

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139 thoughts on “Fifth Ashes Test: Preview

  1. nonoxcol January 3, 2018 / 6:49 pm

    Quick point of order Mr Chairman: Alan Mulllally has been omitted from the legendary tail of The Oval 1999.

    Caddick, Mullally, Tufnell, Giddins. 27 runs across two innings, for six times out. 18 of the 27 runs were Caddick’s: in a neat reversal of his bowling exploits he made 15 of them in the first innings.

    The others made 9 runs for 4 times out, giving them roughly the same average as Chris Martin.

    Like

    • thelegglance January 3, 2018 / 6:51 pm

      How on earth did I forget that? Must have had a total brainfade. Now, what to do, make a correction? I think so. Ta!

      Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus January 3, 2018 / 7:21 pm

      Perhaps we could use this as the final part of a semi-humorous piece about England cricket in the 1990s? You know, get some talking heads, have a bit of a laugh, and so on. Hell, we could even write a book about it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. LordCanisLupus January 3, 2018 / 7:19 pm

    I dropped Alastair Cook’s quote from 2015 on here last night regarding intensity.

    How about going back to 1997? Came across the test write up from my first ever test match at The Oval in WCM. Mark Taylor said, pre-game, that a fair few of his team just wanted to get on the plane home. That sounds like the intensity of a 2005 Oval test to you? Yet listen to some and the answer is yes, it is. They are taking us for fools.

    No-one is saying that it doesn’t count. No-one should be calling them dead games. But don’t pretend they aren’t what they are. For taking that to its logical conclusion, this upcoming series against Australia in the ODIs is as important as a World Cup or Champions Trophy. Think about it. A match against Australia when the series result is known is as important as one when it is up for grabs. That’s what idiots like #39 are telling us. And, to my big regret, is Alec Stewart.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. LordCanisLupus January 3, 2018 / 7:28 pm

    Fine stuff from Chris. The deliberate refusal by our media to focus on the shortcomings of the Empty Suit is possibly even more craven than that used by them to tell us Paul Downton was doing great behind the scenes, or treating questions with aplomb. Before my flounce out, I’d update the draft glossary entries for both Downton and Harrison. My conclusion is that the latter is merely Downton with threatening behaviours.

    Any other leader of our board dismissing the most important series to cricket supporters in this nation like that would, no should, be hammered. But it passed by. Quietly. Perhaps if we are to treat New Zealand as seriously we should reduce prices to Ashes test below one kidney, or a child into servitude levels.But no, let’s concentrate on him letting Stokes play in the IPL (because m’learned friends would be all over it if they tried to stop him) and ignore the performance of the test team.

    We’re returning to almost 2014 levels of density. But hey, be quiet. You might frighten the horses and the cosy consensus because yes, we are still fighting those 2014 battles, but not in the way the lazy bastards think we are.

    This “retirement” lark is tough.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. thebogfather January 3, 2018 / 7:35 pm

    A brilliant preview from our own ‘slightly more experienced than Crane’ Leggy!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. LordCanisLupus January 3, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    Some Sydney Cricket Ground memories:

    Saw one day, the final one, of a match between New South Wales and South Australia in 2002. NSW’s team was a top, top line up. Included Slater (91), Bevan (114) both Waugh twins, Katich, Brett Lee, MacGill and Bracken. They lost the game because Mark Higgs took four wickets to clinch a tight match.

    Loved a lot of the ground, sitting in the Ladies Stand, I think (reciprocal membership rights with Surrey helped). We moved to the Noble Stand, in the shade, for the end part of the game.

    We had some total bore before every ball shout “come on New South Wales” for at least 20 overs, despite other Aussies telling him to shut it. Unbowed, undaunted he bored us all until the final ball whereupon he exclaimed “oh no, we’ve lost”.

    On an intensity level, I don’t think either of the Waugh twins were taking it very seriously.

    I left thinking the standard wasn’t as high as I thought it was going to be,

    Meanwhile that afternoon, on the TV screens in the SCG, we saw Robert Key hitting the Aussie A attack to get himself into the Adelaide team the next weekend.

    Here’s the scorecard… http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8043/scorecard/121075/new-south-wales-vs-south-australia–sheff-shield-pura-2002-03/ – interesting second innings.

    Got some old photos I might scan in. If I can find them.

    Was a little underwhelmed by the SCG, to be honest. Clearly quite historic, but also clearly going to be overhauled into another concrete bowl. Seemed to be fighting back the sands of time.

    Like

  6. Adam H January 3, 2018 / 8:18 pm

    This will probably be the last time 3 modern English greats — Jimmy, Cook and Broad, will be playing on Australian soil. Let’s hope they can end on a high.

    Like

  7. man in a barrel January 3, 2018 / 8:22 pm

    You can almost understand why the Pressers are focusing on Cook rather than on the impending match because the omens are not good. Woakes is unfit – maybe he wasn’t in great nick all through the series. So that means that the attack will have to be carried by 2 ageing men, one of whom might himself be carrying an injury which might have compromised his effectiveness. For Anderson to bowl 80 overs in the match, he is probably going to cut his pace. We have a part – time off spinner who is short of confidence, possibly injured and toying with his action. We have a débutant leggie who the team and coach seem to know nothing about but he is the greatest prospect since Bill o’Reilly, or possibly Scott Borthwick. And we have a third seamer who seems to have the cutting edge of JJWarr and FR Brown on the 50/51 tour. When Warr finally got the chance to appeal for a wicket, didn’t the umpire ask him how strong his heart was before upholding it?

    I challenge anyone to find the positives in that. Let’s not forget that this team is on uncharted territory: the record for the number of times the side batting first has scored over 400 and lost is already theirs. But they could make it unassailable over the next few days. A toast to Karun Nair, the Indian Bradman

    Liked by 1 person

    • quebecer January 3, 2018 / 10:34 pm

      I’m not sure how you expect me to be optimistic in light of this. You’re making things very difficult.

      Let’s see…. er…

      Ah! How about this: with Woakes out, we can be assured his otherwise inevitably underwhelming performance will not now negatively affect the team.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. jomesy January 3, 2018 / 9:05 pm

    On Ali

    “He’s clearly not been fit for much of it, with talk of both side strains and finger damage throughout. If that is the reason why, then England have done him a serious disservice by repeatedly playing him, and then seeing him get a kicking for not performing.”

    I recall Rashid refusing to play for Yorkshire when not fit (although originally it was for family reasons…presumably then not leaked) and that seemed to be the point when the media came out with the whole lack of confidence/muddled mind/not quick enough rubbish really ramped up.

    Perhaps Ali noticed and felt he had to suck it up.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus January 3, 2018 / 9:19 pm

      Jomesy,

      I think the one that sunk him was pre-Lord’s 2015 where there was some theory that he might play, but then he had an injury. I am pretty sure that was when we saw the infamous “his card is marked”. Might have been 2014. All fades into one these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jomesy January 3, 2018 / 9:51 pm

        Yes – that’s the one I mean. I thought (but may be wrong) the original reason given for his not playing was “family reasons”, which is fine (because you can’t really argue with it and should end things).

        I then got the impression Yorks weren’t happy so let it slip it wasn’t. Then he had to say he wasn’t fit. Presumably that was his view but the Yorks medics/Yorks board/Yorks captain felt (felt being different to thinking) otherwise. Important game = you are fit or you’re a shirker. Doesn’t really work like that if you’re a spinner.

        Thereafter you’re right, his card was throughly marked.

        Presumably that might be why Root isn’t a supporter….ie he took the Yorks view. Which is a shame because I’d hoped he’d have his own thoughts now as eng captain.

        Anyway, long way of saying I’d probably have done the same as Ali even if I knew I wasn’t match fit if I’d witnessed that.

        So all of it is really desparately sad.

        Liked by 1 person

    • man in a barrel January 3, 2018 / 9:23 pm

      And Selvey milked it for all its worth and then some. When Selvey looks at himself in the mirror, he probably sees a Dalek. He bowled like one

      Like

      • jomesy January 3, 2018 / 9:56 pm

        Correct. I really enjoyed reading deep p fred’s thoughts on selvey…not just us!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. metatone January 3, 2018 / 9:12 pm

    RE: Moeen – assuming some honesty, we know that before the series started he had a side strain and a finger blister. I think it’s fair to assume, given the record of the England medical set up that he was sent out to fail… That said, we were being told Broad was having injury troubles, but not a word of it since he put in a better performance, so “assuming some honesty” may be the wrong thing to do.

    I’ll note in passing that if Broad is carrying an injury then it is just the same old mistake to be playing him in a dead rubber.

    And really for me, that’s where the first frustration re: dead rubber really kicks in. It’s not just about giving other players a chance to find out what they can do, it’s also about not taking career threatening risks with good players with nothing much on the line.

    The list is long if we take the med staff at their word, Broad, Moeen, Woakes, but some sense needs to be applied – and it’s hard to trust England to do it.

    One “positive” for me was Jimmy’s latest outburst (or the latest I saw) where he basically said “we need a proper fast bowler and a spinner in good nick to win down here” – from your lips to the selectors ears, Jimmy. Throw in the ears of Loughborough and those structuring the domestic game while we’re at it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sean B January 3, 2018 / 9:16 pm

    Not sure if this has mentioned elsewhere, I know Simon has these sort of stats at his fingertips:

    Good luck Mason, you’re going to need it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • oreston January 3, 2018 / 11:19 pm

      I’m looking forward to seeing how young Ichabod gets on.

      Like

  11. Quebecer January 3, 2018 / 9:24 pm

    Excellent preview from TLG, who always seems to leave me without any of my own points to make as he’s already covered them all.

    I would just add though, that this is a big game for Stoneman. It would seem he’ll get the series in NZ as well anyway, but that’s it going to be the easiest of tours for an opener, and runs in Sydney might not only be confidence giving, but could also be a career indicator.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jennyah46 January 4, 2018 / 8:57 am

      I’m not entirely sure about Stoneman. I watched him bat late this evening. He looks as if he has the skill and mettle to come through but it’s not exactly happening. He does look the part frequently, which makes him worth a long run.

      Like

  12. man in a barrel January 3, 2018 / 9:25 pm

    Come on Sri… Where’s the optimism? I feel like the ultimate party-pooper

    Like

    • Sri. Grins January 4, 2018 / 1:49 am

      Lots of optimism to share aroubd
      I thought Q was doing a great job reading woakes.

      I agree that intensity levels will be down and while each test counts a dead rubber will not have the same intensity but I remember Ashwin. For the first time in his career outside India, he looked threatening in Sydney. The series was gone 2-0 but the boost to his confidence took him on from there to become a much better bowler.

      So, best of luck to moeen and crane.

      Best of luck to the newbies and root too. I fancy a good chance to score runs and settle their careers.

      Poor Anderson. Too much workload honestly. Reminds me of how zaheer was treated when he was the only guy capable of taking wickets. I don’t like his behavior but certainly a very good bowler anywhere in the world.

      Broad always leaves me puzzled. Seems ordinary most of the time. Then suddenly gets his MOJO and again after a while starts looking ordinary.

      A win or a draw for England beckons.

      I hope it is optimistic enough ☺

      Like

  13. man in a barrel January 3, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    I hope Root enjoys the shit sandwich the selectors have prepared, organic grains, specially cultivated yeast, and a tractor load of abattoir refuse

    Like

  14. Silk January 3, 2018 / 9:40 pm

    So, Chris Woakes.

    Averages 49.50 in Aus (4 Tests)
    81.33 in India (3 Tests)
    98.50 in SA (2 Tests)

    A small sample, spread over only 2 years.

    However, it leaves me deeply unconvinced that he’s part of a pace attack that takes England to number 1 in the world.

    I think, in England want to be the best side, neither Woakes nor Ali are part of our best XI. (Though Ali could make it as a batsman if he gets his mojo back…)

    Like

    • thelegglance January 3, 2018 / 9:43 pm

      Maybe. The problem with England is what it has been for a while now – who is better? It’s always been easy to talk about those in the team, and assume changes would improve things, but while I get that doesn’t mean you never do anything, I can’t say I honestly see bowling options for seam or spin lined up into the distance who would transform the team.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Silk January 3, 2018 / 10:05 pm

        A fair point.

        Wood, it seems to me, has it all to prove. I’d like to have seen him in this game but he’s not fit.

        Garton is just pulling a name from a hat. He’s not even First Class ready right now.

        Porter? I love ‘im as every true man born in Colchester does, but he’s not a quick bowler in any sense. Willey hasn’t progressed as hoped. At 29 (this month) Meaker isn’t going to morph into a Test class bowler. Tom Helm … maybe.

        The Overton’s seem to be the best hope to me. Jamie is quick and Craig has something about Breslad to him.

        Woakes will clearly, if fit, lead the England attack with a Duke ball for the next 5 years. But overseas? Hope I’m wrong but I just don’t see what he offers when the ball doesn’t swing prodigiously.

        Liked by 1 person

        • man in a barrel January 3, 2018 / 11:25 pm

          Hello Mrs Hubbard. Where is the pipeline of bowlers? Did we lose that with the Brexit vote?

          Like

  15. Mark January 3, 2018 / 10:44 pm

    Oh ffs we have just had to have a close up of Lovejoy giving his speech, and handing the cap to the new boy Crane. Is nothing sacred anymore?

    Do we need to zoom in on crickets answer to a Butlins red coat?

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus January 3, 2018 / 11:00 pm

      It beats the garbage I’ve just listened to.

      Cook played with a compound fracture of the shin in Abu Dhabi to keep his run going? He’s the mentally toughest cricketer we have ever had. He’s up there with the all time greats. I give in. He’s not human. He is a deity.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark January 3, 2018 / 11:27 pm

        Ahh the England medical team at its finest.

        Like

      • man in a barrel January 3, 2018 / 11:27 pm

        But he is still not up there with Boycott, Sutcliffe and as a captain he does not rank with Jardine, who beat an Aussie side that included Bradman. His test average is close to Cook too

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  16. Mark January 3, 2018 / 10:49 pm

    So are we on this blog taking the credit for the “dead rubber…meaningless test match” meme that has so enraged the in house ECB public relations industry? (sorry English cricket media?)

    It would seem we got more reaction than any performance on the pitch for the first three test matches. Even though I know many on here don’t agree with the concept of a dead rubber you have to admit it seems to have hit a nerve!

    Like

    • thelegglance January 3, 2018 / 10:51 pm

      No, I don’t really think we are noticed to that degree if I’m honest. If we’d suddenly had 50,000 hits then maybe, but although it was a spike, it was nothing like that. Truth is, most cricket fans haven’t heard of us here.

      Like

    • LordCanisLupus January 3, 2018 / 11:03 pm

      Interesting question, but I have to agree with Chris. I think some of the Twitter barbs are at us, but not from media types who have most definitely moved on from us. It was funny a couple of years ago watching the hits we would get from certain locations England were playing at. I don’t think it was the Barmy Army sort, but some of the press.

      We got traction with outside cricket. No doubt. We are also read by some, but nowhere near as often. I am under no illusion that we don’t set an agenda any more, even if we did. But people know about us.

      I know when we’ve hit a nerve when certain people block me on Twitter. They haven’t yet.

      Like

      • Mark January 3, 2018 / 11:24 pm

        Right, interesting….. but I did notice that we started saying dead rubber as Cook ground his way to his first hundred, and then it seemed to be picked up and infuriated the usual suspects.

        I did think that it was interesting how Selvey was so distraught at the number of people saying negative things about Cooks innings on Twitter. ( he doesn’t read us) That would suggest that others (not us) were not in lock step with the official narrative. That seemed to alarm Selvey greatly.

        Like

      • thelegglance January 3, 2018 / 11:28 pm

        To some extent we inevitably become part of the expected furniture. If you’re around for more than a few minutes you can’t forever be the new kid on the block. I suspect more are aware of us, but we’re not the latest flavour of the month. Although maybe I’ll pick on a journalist specifically and that make wake them up.

        Like

  17. man in a barrel January 3, 2018 / 11:29 pm

    Selvey can get alarmed when people ask why he is not paying for a holiday in Australia

    Like

    • thelegglance January 3, 2018 / 11:30 pm

      He gets more alarmed when you ask him about his visiting arrangements with top ECB people.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. man in a barrel January 3, 2018 / 11:34 pm

    Selvey is one of the entitled. He wants other people to pay for his holidays, especially in Australia and the Caribbean

    Like

  19. man in a barrel January 3, 2018 / 11:39 pm

    So Curran is slower than Mitch Marsh. He is a specialist bowler. Explain that. If he were an Asif or Bedser, I could understand his role. But he doesn’t move the ball off the straight. Who selected him and why? WILL ANYBODY OWN UP?

    Like

  20. man in a barrel January 3, 2018 / 11:43 pm

    Christ… Someone has told Vaughan that there is a word “risk”. He is using it 12 times in every sentence

    Like

  21. man in a barrel January 3, 2018 / 11:47 pm

    And I have had enough of watching Cook grab his nuts. The man has no class. Just shove him in a zoo for the cookophiles to watch with his friends the meerkats. He is not really homo sapiens, is he?

    Like

  22. man in a barrel January 3, 2018 / 11:55 pm

    I wonder how Neil Harris is doing. No, I don’t. Why bother with what the mindless cheerleaders are thinking? This forum is a place where we can speak our minds, without witless Neil Harris figures telling us what we ought to be thinking. Root has been given a shit sandwich of a bowling attack. Best of luck. And the full toss blog is to be honest, a shit sandwich of a blog. Mindless support of England? Only fit for the mindless, in my worthless view

    Like

    • dlpthomas January 4, 2018 / 12:47 am

      Does it ever stop??? I can’t believe Sydney folk knock the weather in Melbourne. Cover off and play scheduled to start in just under an hour.

      Like

  23. Pontiac January 4, 2018 / 12:33 am

    “with the series lost it gives us the opportunity to look at some different people”

    Cripes. What are you doing to-morr-ow, girlfriend, that you got curlers in your hair coming over to see me to-day?

    This kind of thing gets me. Where’s the clarity of purpose? When is it going to be jam today? What’s so hard about saying ‘This is an Ashes Test, each one is one of our most important individual matches, and for each match we select the XI that we think will lead to the best result in the series.’ and acting accordingly.

    Like

    • man in a barrel January 4, 2018 / 12:52 am

      Do you expect clear thinking among people who do really difficult jobs such as selecting cricketers who are thick as shit?

      Like

  24. man in a barrel January 4, 2018 / 12:35 am

    It would be such a shame if James could only be proud of Cook scoring meaningless runs on pudding of a pitch. Cynics such as me would ask whether Cook could ever score runs unless the pitch were lifeless

    Like

    • oreston January 4, 2018 / 1:34 am

      Well, the proof of the “pudding” is quite likely going to be in the eating, the next time time he plays on a bunsen or something with pace and bounce.

      At Melbourne The Supreme Being looked in much, much better nick than of late. Sure, he’s been working hard in the nets, but how much of his success was due to the mortuary slab of a pitch playing (from the bowlers’ perspective) stultifyingly true and giving him more time to play each shot? Two dropped catches also featured, although a batsman still has to capitalize when he gets breaks like that and a Test double century made in any circumstances is a significant achievement. What we and the Cult (and actually I don’t include James at TFT among them) differ on so markedly is exactly how significant achievement it was (for England and for Cook) and whether the context (dead rubber, dead pitch that’s been reported as substandard) played any role in it.

      For me the clincher in assessing what part the pitch might’ve played is that even Stuart Broad felt secure enough on it to stick around a while, play some shots and compile a half century. That’s a collector’s item in the latter part of his career.

      Like

  25. man in a barrel January 4, 2018 / 12:53 am

    Just thinking about it, which cricketer would you ask to choose furniture, a new car, an investment plan, a night at the theatre?

    Like

    • Benny January 4, 2018 / 11:01 am

      I saw Broad’s car at the Rosebowl a few years back turning heads. Can’t remember the make but reckon Jeremy Clarkson would approve.

      Like

  26. man in a barrel January 4, 2018 / 12:55 am

    The cricketer you would invite out for an evening of bare knuckle fighting must not be mentioned. No potential Dexters, Barbers, Khans in sight. Progress is apparent everywhere

    Like

  27. man in a barrel January 4, 2018 / 1:28 am

    I can only apologise for my lack of class and my desire to see the English fanbois eat shit the shorter the match the likelier that Anderson and Broady might bowl like pros.

    Like

    • quebecer January 4, 2018 / 2:13 am

      Are you OK, old thing? Bit feisty tonight. Think you were actually starting a fight in an empty room there for a minute.

      Like

  28. dlpthomas January 4, 2018 / 2:02 am

    To quote Bill Lawry “the balls doing a bit.” (off the seam rather than through the air) This could be a fun day for the bowlers.

    Like

    • quebecer January 4, 2018 / 2:12 am

      The archetypical get through the first few overs scenario.

      Like

      • dlpthomas January 4, 2018 / 2:25 am

        You may be spot on – 0/28 off 9, suns out and Stoneman 24 off 22. (and now I’ve fucking jinxed him)

        Like

        • quebecer January 4, 2018 / 2:36 am

          Oh Thomas!!! That is utterly on you! You are thiiiiiis close to being sent to bed.

          Like

          • dlpthomas January 4, 2018 / 3:10 am

            I was mid-sentence when he nicked it. Will I ever learn? (Can’t got bed – it’s 2 PM and that’s normally when I get up.)

            Like

  29. Sri.Grins January 4, 2018 / 2:58 am

    Cook seems to be in for the long haul. Cook in form is very good for England.

    Like

    • quebecer January 4, 2018 / 3:07 am

      He’s still not really in control against Cummins though. I’m a bit wary of jumping on any bandwagon (oh that is soooo not true!) but Cook’s issues against pace (or on quicker tracks)… well, there’s a fair bit of evidence and this series really seems to have underlined it.

      Like

      • quebecer January 4, 2018 / 3:20 am

        Of course, Cummins pace has done for Stoneman too so it leaves me pondering what rule good players of pace have in common.

        I only saw the tail end of Gavaskar’s career, but him, certainly, and the only other one that seemed to really be able to handle it was the English batsman Allan Lamb. Lamb wasn’t as short as Sunny, but was hardly a tall man, and both were excellent in the wrists as batsmen too. Yet two others I can I can think of (Dennis Amiss and Mohinder Amarnath) were taller, but both had open stances. Peter Willey did too, but he was different in that he didn’t get his career virtually ended by being brutally hit in the chops. And what Peter Willy had in common with Allan Border (the other fine player of pace that springs to mind) was that they were bloody hard. I suppose that’s the one thing good players of fast bowling have in common – being hard as nails. Brian Close hard.

        What a wonderful story Armanath’s was though, given his astounding revenge on the West Indies – as the slowest of medium pacers in the World Cup final. The most unlikely revenge imaginable, really.

        Like

        • quebecer January 4, 2018 / 3:25 am

          Autocorrect doesn’t like WillEy. Hmmmmm.

          Like

        • dlpthomas January 4, 2018 / 3:53 am

          Robin Smith was a pretty good player of pace bowling (not to mention that fellow Viv Richards). Roy Fredericks took Lillee and Thommo to the cleaners at the WACA in 1976 and that was a fast pitch.

          Like

          • quebecer January 4, 2018 / 4:03 am

            Fredericks was something, by all accounts, against real pace, and yes Viv wasn’t bad – at anything, really. Still think facing the West Indian battery was the truest test though and you’re bang on about Robin Smith – and in all fairness to that Rand hungry Essex fellow, Gooch. I think we’re coming back to the combination of real talent (great eyes) and real honest to goodness fearlessness.

            I would also say every single one of those batsmen got back and across, back and across… get inside the line when hooking, get back and across, back and across no matter what.

            Liked by 1 person

          • dlpthomas January 4, 2018 / 4:12 am

            I remember Viv, batting in a hat, getting hit in the head by Lenny Pascoe (who was quick and mean). Viv gave him a glare, Lenny bounced him again and Viv hooked him for 4 (or maybe 6) and then glared even harder. To play pace you need to be fearless and have a hard head.

            Like

          • Sherwick January 4, 2018 / 9:11 am

            I pity the fool who ever tried to stare down Viv.
            Still remember watching him make 189 in a ODI from a very unlikely position. The entire England team got something like 169 😂

            Like

      • Pontiac January 4, 2018 / 4:04 am

        From your lips to Bradman’s ears….

        Like

  30. dlpthomas January 4, 2018 / 4:08 am

    There was an interesting discussion between Darren Gough and Jon Norman on talksport about “dead rubbers”. Gough was argued that there is no such thing as the opposition is still trying to win. Norman countered with the fact that 5 of the 7 games England won in the ashes during the late 1980 and 1990’s were in dead rubbers. Interestingly, Mark Taylor after one tour to England said that half his team were “already on the plane home” before the 5th test had started. It must be hard to maintain the intensity once the series has been won, especially for the touring side.

    And Cook LBW on review

    Like

  31. quebecer January 4, 2018 / 4:36 am

    Well, I for one am optimistic.

    Not about anything specific. Just generally. Sri really has changed my life.

    P.S. Actually, hundred for Root. I’m feeling it.

    Like

    • Sri.Grins January 4, 2018 / 8:26 am

      :-). Thank you :-D.

      Like

  32. Tom January 4, 2018 / 6:24 am

    Ouch! Khawaja slides to stop a boundary and does a Simon Jones. I hate seeing those incidents after remembering what agony Jones was in when he did it. The odd thing is Khawaja seems to have hurt the other knee, not the one that got stuck in the ground. I hope he’s OK, that looked very nasty.

    Like

    • Nicholas January 4, 2018 / 2:17 pm

      That was the case with Jones too – the sudden stop when your knee sticks in the ground puts a huge amount of strain on your other, straight leg. Jones was particularly unlucky with his, ending up with ligament damage – it seems like Khawaja was reasonably unharmed.

      Like

  33. Rooto January 4, 2018 / 6:38 am

    A chat on TMS which helps to place the commentators on the side of good or bad. The question was Peak Gooch or Root? Which would you pick? Swann chose the dark side. Vic Marks won my admiration by pointing out that Gower had a better average than Gooch (though not peak Gooch), and choosing Root. Ficjam veered to Gooch.

    Like

    • Tom January 4, 2018 / 6:52 am

      Why would anyone *not* pick Gooch in his peak? His batting was phenomenal. His 154* in 1991 against the WI at Headingley will remain in my memory for the rest of my life.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tom January 4, 2018 / 8:50 am

        PS. Via youtube – for any young whippersnappers who may not have seen Gooch’s innings 😉

        Short version: https://youtu.be/JN83JiFmwVU

        Long version: https://youtu.be/UhVQCkbPvcQ

        WI’s attack was Ambrose, Walsh, Marshall and Patterson and although the pitch was a little slow, it was a bowler’s pitch. The outfield wasn’t the quickest either. Nor was it a dead rubber.

        Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol January 4, 2018 / 7:36 am

      Yeah, sorry, peak Gooch beats just about any England batsman I’ve seen. Not sure of the rationale for setting up an opener v middle order bat debate in the first place? Peak Gooch v Cook might have been more interesting.

      Like

      • Quebecer January 4, 2018 / 7:46 am

        I suppose one consideration is that “peak” Gooch was when he was banned? Actually, though, I’m not sure.

        Like

        • nonoxcol January 4, 2018 / 7:50 am

          Surely peak Gooch is circa 1990-94? He only averaged in the mid 30s when he was banned, didn’t he?

          Like

        • Quebecer January 4, 2018 / 7:56 am

          Best top 5 in my cricketing awareness lifetime? Boycott, Gooch, Gower, Root, Pietersen. With huge apologies to Thorpe and Smith.

          Like

          • Sherwick January 4, 2018 / 9:14 am

            Peak Gooch certainly doesn’t beat peak Pietersen IMHO. There’s juat something about watching KP go through the gears 😀

            Like

          • Tom January 4, 2018 / 10:19 am

            Agree with Sherwick. Pietersen had just something a little more special than Gooch, but if you only include openers, then Gooch has it. As for the other batsmen Quebecer mention, I’m having a hard time disagreeing. Smith was wonderful to watch against the quicks, not so much against spin, but Thorpe has a special place in my memory, he was a superb batsman when England was so poor. I just don’t think he can edge out any on that list. He’d be in my top ten list.

            Not going back to the old days when the world was in black and white, but I like this batting order – peak form of course:

            1. Boycott
            2. Gooch
            3. Root
            4. Pietersen
            5. Gower
            6. Thorpe

            The order may need fiddling. And if we’re going by what people remember watching:

            7. Botham
            8. Knott
            9. Broad*
            10. Anderson
            11. Willis

            *The number 9. spot is troubling me. I don’t want a large tail, but I remember watching Derek Underwood and want him in my team, but it lengthens the tail. Maybe alternate them depending on the pitch. And then there’s Gough.

            Like

          • ianrsa January 4, 2018 / 11:06 am

            Hey Quebecer, I missed your reply on the other thread so happy, happy and merry, merry to you as well.
            We’ve moved to the top of the south island a town called Nelson. There’s always a spare bed mate.

            Like

          • Quebecer January 4, 2018 / 5:33 pm

            Tom, can I help out with the #9 spot and say I think it really has to be Swann?

            Liked by 1 person

  34. nonoxcol January 4, 2018 / 8:02 am

    I think I’m genuinely more upset by that wicket than any other to have fallen this series. Not out of blame, as I can’t see it. But because I’m just imagining its effect on Newman’s report, and feel like gnawing my own face off with anticipatory anger.

    I very much doubt he will disappoint.

    Like

    • nonoxcol January 4, 2018 / 8:03 am

      I meant Root’s, of course. Because Bairstow falling will make it even worse….

      Like

    • Deep Purple Fred January 4, 2018 / 8:37 am

      Please don’t take this comment as in anyway an endorsement of Newman, but it has to be said. Whatever he writes it’s hard to imagine it being excoriating enough. That was an absolutely terrible piece of cricket.
      The day is in the balance, and almost over. You are facing Australia’s stike bowler who is keen to make a final mark on the day. He has a new ball in his hand, brand new. You’ve already hit a boundary, and the next ball you are beaten and get lucky it runs off for another boundary. The day is already won, there are two overs of play left to play out. TO PLAY OUT. Do not get out. Just, don’t. Then you flick to square leg.
      Stupid, stupid, stupid. Bairstow’s subsequent dismissal only serves to underline the stupidity.
      Every time England gets a toehold in this series, they quickly cede it. Sometimes it’s because the opposition won’t be denied, but in this case it was gifted.
      Root has confirmed his descent from great to merely good.

      Like

      • LordCanisLupus January 4, 2018 / 8:42 am

        I’ve not seen it but it does not sound good.

        However, sorry to keep pointing this out but for nigh on two years our previous captain had a great problem converting any scores to 100. Root scored two test tons last summer. Memory suggests he got one in India last winter. This will be his first series without a hundred in quite a while. Let’s get some perspective.

        Check. First series since Bangladesh away without a ton.

        Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol January 4, 2018 / 8:55 am

        Fred.

        Not disputing that, but see LCL below. Utterly sick of this shit to be honest. It is still the case that Cook has only passed fifty four times in his last 27 innings (Root: 11 in the same period). He has also scored only three centuries in Test wins (all at home) since May 2013. Root has nine (two away). Even during this poor conversion rate era Root had two to Cook’s one last summer. Cook has played his fair share of dreadful shots to get out, plenty of them as captain. He did not and will not cop anything like what Root gets for it.

        Like

      • Deep Purple Fred January 4, 2018 / 9:30 am

        Fully understand that, and I know much of English cricket is judged through the prism of Cook, but my point was indepedent of all that. Regardless of whether Cook is seen as the second coming of either Bradman or Ramprakash, that judgment of Root remains.
        It doesn’t have anything to do with Cook. Nor KP : )

        Like

        • Quebecer January 4, 2018 / 6:32 pm

          It pains me slightly, but I lean towards Fred’s point here. It was a terrible dismissal, and shows how Root hasn’t been right all series. He’s been jumpy, and anxious and I’m also really annoyed that we have a batting coach who has had 5 tests to help offset this and failed.

          Fred is correct: this was a crucial mistake that just shouldn’t have happened.

          P.S. Not anywhere near as bad as Cook sticking that one down fine leg’s throats first up last time we were there.

          Like

  35. nonoxcol January 4, 2018 / 8:43 am

    Guess who wrote a preview focusing on Mason Crane:

    http://www.skysports.com/cricket/news/35559/11193019/mike-selvey-mason-crane-must-attack-if-he-makes-ashes-debut-moeen-ali-will-be-back

    I’m sure you’ll all be heartened, as I was, to see the manifest goodwill he has towards English leg-spinners at the start of their Test career.

    Aside from Crane, two other spinners are referred to. One has a record of 38 wickets from 10 Tests, all of them overseas, at an average of 42.78, with 1 five-wicket innings and 4 four-wicket innings.

    The other has a record of 19 wickets from his last 10 overseas Tests, at an average of 61.63, with 1 five-wicket innings and 0 four-wicket innings.

    One played all his overseas Tests in Asia or the UAE. Fortunately the other has also played 10 Tests in Asia and the UAE, so we can compare directly without his record being distorted by a lousy series in Australia. In those 10 Tests in Asia and the UAE, his record is 30 wickets at an average of 44.63, with 1 five-wicket innings and 0 four-wicket innings.

    Just don’t expect this inconvenient comparison to be publicised anywhere else any time soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Deep Purple Fred January 4, 2018 / 9:22 am

      The striking this about that piece is the grammer. Specifically, the sentence structure. Barely a sentence more than two clauses long. Guess who has a new editor, who is clearly not afraid to clean up the mess? It’s almost readable.

      Like

      • ianrsa January 4, 2018 / 11:09 am

        Hi Fred, I missed you and Quebecer on the other post. I tend to agree with you on Mr. Lemon, he was pretty ordinary.

        I think I’ll stick with the current name. As you say IanNZ doesn’t seem to carry the same cachet. 😉

        Like

    • BoredInAustria January 4, 2018 / 9:36 am

      “there is no better time to see whether Crane is made of what the novelist Tom Wolfe called ‘the right stuff’.”

      Unlike the Frail One. Being Outside The Right Stuff.

      And then this fantastic logic:
      “What he will find, however, as did Adil Rashid, is that while the frenetic nature of white-ball cricket creates wicket-taking opportunities, a Test match batsman of any calibre will play the good balls knowing, in Rashid’s case anyway, that a bad one will come along sooner rather than later. But in recognising this, Crane must avoid the temptation then to try and minimise the bad ball if it means compromising his spinning capacity.”

      So:
      The Frail One bowls bad balls. Although he takes wickets. Bad balls are frail.
      The New One need not worry about bad balls. As long as he attacks. Attack is great.

      Maybe Selvey is also writing Trumps Tweets.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Mark January 4, 2018 / 10:26 am

        Isn’t Selveys claim that there is no better time to play a young spin bowler just a mealy mouthed way of admitting this is a dead rubber?

        Like

        • Tom January 4, 2018 / 11:58 am

          You need to ask Simon Kerrigan.

          Like

    • metatone January 4, 2018 / 9:42 am

      I’m feeling dim this morning, can you name the two spinners you are comparing figures for? (My animosity doesn’t allow me to give Selvey any clicks.)

      Like

      • nonoxcol January 4, 2018 / 9:46 am

        The first is Rashid, the other is Moeen Ali.

        In other words, Rashid’s record is superior across all Tests played in Asia and the UAE.

        Like

        • metatone January 4, 2018 / 9:51 am

          I suspected as much. Treatment of Rashid has been a criminal waste.

          Like

  36. nonoxcol January 4, 2018 / 9:35 am

    I really must stop visiting the Guardian BTL. Here’s a comment on an English batsman of relatively recent vintage – can you guess who?

    “If there is an example of someone overhyped who did not make the most of his talent it is X. He was fine when things were running well for him and against pop gun attacks in England, but rarely up for the fight when things got tough. Or perhaps he just wasn’t good enough.”

    Like

    • Mark January 4, 2018 / 10:08 am

      Probably written by the same genius who claimed in the last test that Cook was better than Lara because Lara bats in the Carabean and it’s easy to bat out there.

      The Englisn cricket media have done a magnificent job in turning a sizeable amount of England fans into morons.

      Like

    • LordCanisLupus January 4, 2018 / 10:26 am

      Talking of the guardian. This one really is losing it…

      There’s one reaction that is jaw dropping.

      Like

      • Tom January 4, 2018 / 10:40 am

        Try living in the US these days. Our president does this kind of thing every day! 😉

        Like

      • OscarDaBosca January 4, 2018 / 10:41 am

        I saw that and I don’t get it. Perhaps I am being really naive and am missing the antisemitism in the previous comment. As an aside reading Wenger’s post match comments he didn’t seem any more Wengerish than usual (i.e. hates not winning and looks for reasons beyond him and his team, plus having briefly watched it last night, it didn’t look a penalty, and the commentators didn’t seem to think so either).

        Like

        • LordCanisLupus January 4, 2018 / 10:47 am

          What struck me is that three opening gambit was “you, you there on Twitter. You are oddballs.” Then her says that.

          He’s well regarded around our parts for his Millwall reporting. But Lord he makes it hard.

          Like

      • Mark January 4, 2018 / 10:41 am

        Wow. Is Barney a Jewish name?

        Was Barney Rubble a Jewish character? Or is Ronay showing a wafer thin skin?

        Usual media…..they can dish it out but can’t take it.

        Like

        • thelegglance January 4, 2018 / 10:50 am

          I suppose Barnabas is, but hardly exclusively. Simon is actually a Jewish name, and mine is Greek. It’s a stupid response, I’d no idea he was Jewish and don’t care either either way.

          Like

          • Mark January 4, 2018 / 11:19 am

            No niether, did I.

            He seems to have a chip on his shoulder about it though if he is going to react like that.

            Like

    • OscarDaBosca January 4, 2018 / 10:29 am

      My guess at the description if it wasn’t BTL Guardian nonsense would be Cook. However experience makes me shake my head and go with Pietersen.

      Like

      • nonoxcol January 4, 2018 / 10:34 am

        Of course it’s Pietersen. All those pop gun attacks like McGrath/Warne/Lee/Clark, Vaas/Murali, Steyn/Morkel/Philander, etc. All those easy times like the Oval 2005, India at world no.1 and captain after conceding 387-4 a week earlier, India 2012 1-0 down, Colombo 2012 1-0 down, Headingley 2012 1-0 down, blah de blah de blah.

        Who else could it be?

        Liked by 1 person

        • OscarDaBosca January 4, 2018 / 10:37 am

          Obsessed to put it mildly. I gave up BTL a long time ago due to the madness.

          Like

        • LordCanisLupus January 4, 2018 / 10:45 am

          Fun fact. James Vince has one more score of over 50 than Cook on this tour.

          Selvey has eyes for Vince. Done. Dusted. Be gone.

          Like

  37. metatone January 4, 2018 / 9:50 am

    Root’s dismissal sounds infuriating but also suggests to me that making him captain might have been a mistake. If his concentration is failing now more than in the past you have to look at the load he is under. Yes, Smith is doing it, but there’s no shame in not matching a man who is currently in such a purple patch.

    Of course, as with every selection conundrum we’re left with the problem of alternatives. Cook was just not good as Captain. Anderson doesn’t seem to have the right temperament and Broad is only marginally better a lot of the time. Which leaves basically no-one who is nailed on for their place.

    Like

    • Scrim January 4, 2018 / 10:10 am

      Root’s poor run of 50 to 100 conversion stretches back to before he was captain. After the second of his centuries in the 2015 Ashes he has 5 centuries and 23 50s (22 if you excluded one not out).

      In that time
      3 centuries & 14 (13 dismissed) 50s not as captain
      2 centures & 9 50s as captain

      Like

    • Mark January 4, 2018 / 10:18 am

      Root was never made captain for his skill as a captain. (Like most players selected for England in the modern era they play virtually no county cricket, and if picked for England at a young age no captaincy experience)

      Root was pre selected as Cooks successor by people who think coming from “The right sort of family and the right sort of school” are the importamt criteria.

      Are they sponsor friendly, and do they project an image that fits the brand of the ECB. And in any case the tactics and strategy of the team will be decided by the new football managers type coach.

      Like

  38. Mark Chapman January 4, 2018 / 11:25 am

    Root would be helped by not having 3 unsettled positions in the top 6. And a few sessions with Steve Peters.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus January 4, 2018 / 11:30 am

      Salbutamol is the answer. Works for me and other great athletes.

      Like

      • Mark Chapman January 4, 2018 / 11:38 am

        Think that Adderall might be more useful for Joe!

        Like

    • LordCanisLupus January 4, 2018 / 11:42 am

      What was controversial about the reviewed decision for Cook?

      The rest is hysterical gibberish.

      Like

      • nonoxcol January 4, 2018 / 11:52 am

        Root – several paragraphs of disappointment, dereliction of duty that makes you want to scream
        Malan – rode his luck
        Stoneman – edged one he could have left
        Vince – awful shot
        Cook – dismissed controversially, Melbourne, “convincing 39”

        There are still people who think we have the agenda.

        Like

        • jomesy January 4, 2018 / 12:37 pm

          I thought this was the worst paragraph:

          “There is no doubt now about Alastair Cook’s future after his double hundred in Melbourne and the former captain confirmed yesterday in an interview with Michael Vaughan on BT that he still has a lot of cricket left in him.”

          Glad he confirmed it. Can he tell me the numbers for tomorrow’s Lotto too?

          Like

    • Sherwick January 4, 2018 / 11:55 am

      A convincing 39?
      What would an unconvincing 39 be like?

      Like

    • Zephirine January 4, 2018 / 12:07 pm

      A convincing 39…. oh well, that’s all right then.

      Like

      • Mark January 4, 2018 / 12:55 pm

        “A convincing 39”

        Ha ha ha ha ha. It’s up there with one of the best 16s I have ever seen or the greatest 95 ever scored. This is in house Cook bingo.

        By the way, no one called 39 is ever convincing!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Tom January 4, 2018 / 1:55 pm

      It’s articles like that which make me understand why the UK is going down the drain. Forgive me for saying so, I’m a patriot, but I’m thinking Newman is just another of the Daily Wail’s idiots, most of whom can’t spell and certainly can’t put a paragraph together. That article has annoyed me so much I’m going to bed now, but if I can find any of my native pals out here who do the voodoo doll stuff, I’ll be inserting a sharp needle up Newman’s arse.

      Like

    • Sri.Grins January 4, 2018 / 3:38 pm

      🙂 A convincing 39? Well if Cook made 14, it would have been a convincing 14. 🙂

      Like

      • Sherwick January 4, 2018 / 7:34 pm

        What if he made 0?

        Like

  39. Sri.Grins January 4, 2018 / 3:45 pm

    Having said that about Cook, he is still an integral part of the 11. As many have pointed out, he is currently the best opener England have.

    Stoneman could have grabbed the reputation but has not show the discipline cook has. Agree that top notch pace may find him out but how many such bowlers exist outside SA and Oz

    Anyway, will be keen to see how Cook goes against NZ who now have a wonderful bowling attack. If he averages less than 30 there, he is definitely not likely to help England except in the sub continent or in England/WI but in view of the paucity of openers, England may still have to stick with him.

    It is amazing as I always thought England had good openers relative to India as they are used to playing pace, seam and swing in England. What happened?

    Like

    • Silk January 4, 2018 / 5:17 pm

      Arguably we still have good openers. But the selectors seem unwilling to give them a run. Sam Robson is the obvious example. Youngish when picked. Score a ton and a 50 in his first 7 Tests. Dumped. (In the same 7 matches Cook did score more runs than Robson, but didn’t score 100 once. He did, of course, score the greatest 95 ever seen by man).

      Compton. Did OK. Dumped.

      Carberry. Better than Cook on the same tour. Dumped.

      Lyth was never good enough and his record suggested his good form for Yorks was a purple patch, rather than sustainable class. How players with the technique of Hales and Jennings were ever selected is beyond me. The results were … predictable.

      Like

  40. Deep Purple Fred January 4, 2018 / 5:04 pm

    ” If he averages less than 30 there, he is definitely not likely to help England except in the sub continent or in England/WI but in view of the paucity of openers, England may still have to stick with him.”

    So what you’re suggesting is that he’s only effective against second rate attacks but England will have to stick with him because he’s all they’ve got? You’d be hung, drawn and quartered if you suggested that in any other forum!

    Get with the agenda. He’s back! He has thousands of runs left in him!

    Like

    • Sri. Grins January 5, 2018 / 1:23 am

      I have no doubt he will score thousands of runs.

      I meant second rate pace attacks. Not every Indian batsman is good against pace but they do end up making thousands of runs. Nothing to find fault with. It is just that cook is not sunil gavaskar and very few openers end up being close to Sunny

      Like

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