Australia vs. England, 5th Test, Day 3 – Shambles

Pathetic, Embarrassing, Shambolic, Amateur. These are all words that can be used to describe England’s performance in this Test and for most of the Ashes series. This is a decent Australian team in home conditions, but this Australian team is absolutely not a world beater and not even on the same page as previous Australian teams, yet England have time and time again been made to look like a clueless bunch of county pros. I feared the worst when the squad was announced and the performances of England during this series has simply confirmed what we all feared. This has been an absolute hammering, no ifs and no buts and no polishing the so called ‘turd’, this has been a one-sided embarrassment of a series.

There were times in the past when I would have been angry, extremely angry at such a performance, this was when the fire burned brightly from within, but not any more. I simply do not care enough about this team nor about a board who couldn’t give any less of a monkey’s whether the team performs well or not. We have a national performance centre, national bowling and batting coaching leads, enough money to make many other cricket playing countries green with envy, yet we took the field in Sydney with a number 3 who is not cut out for Test Cricket, a spin bowling, batting all-rounder who can do neither task particularly well, a slow and ageing new ball attack, a bog-standard county medium pacer and a 20 year leg spinner with a first class average of over 46. Did anyone really expect anything different from what we have seen in this Test??

The crux of the matter is that none of this will count in 3 months or so. There will be no report, no investigation, just a large ‘sweep it under the rug’ job from the likes of Harrison and Strauss. There may be the odd superficial change such as the selectors getting the bullet or Bayliss being moved sideways, but in essence nothing will change, it will just be referred as another ‘difficult winter’. If you don’t believe me, then take it from the horse’s mouth instead:

“The health of the game is more than just Ashes series overseas,” Harrison said. “We’ve had record-breaking attendances in domestic and international cricket, changed our governance structure, hosted two global events, won the women’s World Cup and launched a participation initiative for kids. We’ve had a successful entry into the broadcast rights market out of which we have secured the financial future of the game until 2024.”

“We are in a process of delivering cricket across three formats. They’re making huge strides across the white-ball game, up to a place where we’re winning 70% or so of our white-ball matches – the ODI side in particular – and the T20 side is making good progress.”

Ah yes, when in doubt mention how secure English cricket is and how the white ball game and in particular T20 is going so well. After all, we have a new T20 competition to sell. Stuff the traditional game, that is only useful when Tests are being played at Lords (anyone else find it hilariously funny that every England commentator praises the Barmy Army to the hilt, yet these individuals wouldn’t be allowed within a 5 mile radius of a Lords Test Match). I have always had a particular dislike of the way that the Premier League has been run, trying to rip every single pound possible out of every fan and in the past I would look at cricket and was thankful for the way it was run. Yes, the ECB have always been incompetent and an old boys club, but their various terrible decisions always smacked of sheer incompetence rather than anything more sinister. Of course, this is no more. It started in 2014, when they decided to fire a rather good, South African born batsman because he was a bit difficult and because they supposedly had a dossier of bad behaviour against him (though naturally this never saw the light of day). That was just the beginning though, nowhere near the coup d’état that are currently witnessing. These last 4 years have seen the rise and rise of naked greed from our administrators, indeed it seems that the ECB are no longer even bothered to cover up their true intentions anymore. It’s not my game, your game or our game anymore; it’s their game and if you don’t like it then tough, you’re obviously not from the right type of family. It doesn’t matter to them that the Test side continues to fall from grace, with the same issues that we have had for the past 4 years. It doesn’t matter to them that most of the counties are dying a slow death, nor does it matter that many don’t want a new T20 competition. Sky have said that they quite fancy it and are willing to pay for it, so therefore it is gospel according to Tom Harrison. Always remember it’s the money stupid.

And what hope do we have? Almost none. We at the blog are some of the few dissenting voices out there and we are just 4 cricket junkies who do this in our spare time. The rest are either having their palms greased by the ECB or are so desperate to be ‘inside cricket’ that they are happy to leave their morals at the door. This is the new world, not for you and I, nor for the fans of our once beautiful game, but for those who are happy to line the pockets of our administrators. This in particular, breaks my heart. I’ve followed England for over 20 years and many of our readers have done so for much longer through the good and the bad. I’ve personally been to at least one home Test match every year for the past 17 years, I’ve also paid from my own pocket to watch England in Australia, West Indies, Sri Lanka and in the UAE, yet I am deemed not a true fan because I dare to ask why our beautiful game is heading down the toilet.

Quite simply, I’m done with this series, I’m done with this team and nearly done with English cricket altogether. The moment that I was no longer classed as a fan but a consumer was the point of no return. I’m sure there are plenty of others out there with deeper pockets than mine that can take my place, but the moment that you turn true fans away from the sport is the moment that no amount of spin or bluff can prevent the death spiral that English cricket will soon find itself in. If this is the future of cricket in this country, then you can count me out for good.

For those who are more committed than myself, then comments on Day 4 below. I won’t be watching mind, 8 hours of sleep seems a far better idea than watching this non-contest….


155 thoughts on “Australia vs. England, 5th Test, Day 3 – Shambles

  1. LordCanisLupus Jan 6, 2018 / 1:24 pm

    Fourth word spectacularly incorrect. They get paid fortunes for putting this in. Not just the players, but coaches, support staff, ECB management.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sean B Jan 6, 2018 / 1:26 pm

      And yet behave like total amateurs…


      • LordCanisLupus Jan 6, 2018 / 1:32 pm

        Don’t worry, if we lose this test match the series review will be, and you know it…

        “Cook saved England from a whitewash”.

        Liked by 1 person

        • OscarDaBosca Jan 6, 2018 / 2:23 pm

          Oh god, I hadn’t thought of that. I now hope Root gets a second innings century to save the match and everyone from the various love letters to Alistair.

          Still one thing, at least with a significantly worse team we haven’t been whitewashed, which in my mind proves what an incompetent captain Saint Alistair was.


          • jennyah46 Jan 6, 2018 / 3:17 pm

            It’s Alastair Oscar.


  2. Mark Jan 6, 2018 / 1:57 pm

    Tom Harrison’s car sales.

    While we are sorry that the car you purchased from us last month is not in a fit state for you to drive home today, and it is sad the engine has fallen out, we do think there are other positives to focus on. Just feel the quality of the leather interior trim, the top of the range stereo system, and the in car safety package. We shouldn’t therefore let a knee jerk reaction to the lack of performance of the engine over shadow the whole package of buying a new car from us.

    Don’t worry……..we have a plan, or rather our in house mechanics have a plan to get the engine back into tour car ASAP. Don’t ask me what the plan is or when it will be put into action. There were moments last week when the engine did briefly start up, and sounded sweet as a nut…..unfortunately we just couldn’t get it to stay running long enough before oil started pouring out onto the concrete. Just relax in the knowledge that a plan does exist.

    We understand that it’s extremely disappointing that your new car experience from us may not have lived up to your dreams. But I can assure you our team will be learning from the events, and mistakes they have made in the workshop. The good news is we always have a selection of other very desirable cars coming round the corner if this one doesn’t meet your expectations. And as a loyal customer we always have very competitive financial packages on offer so we can re-negotiate a very good deal as a part exchange if we can’t fix this one.

    I’m sure you will take heart from the fact that as your engine sits on the workbench some of our team were at Silverstone yesterday testing out our own in house racing car, and we have had great results this year with our all womans racing team who have just finished with good performances in the London to Brighton rally. When it comes cars we are the specialists!

    Liked by 3 people

    • LordCanisLupus Jan 6, 2018 / 2:29 pm

      “Have you seen how good our shiny new bicycles are. Cycling is the future.”


    • Rooto Jan 6, 2018 / 2:59 pm

      The English cricket team prefers kipping on its back. Beautiful plumage!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. OscarDaBosca Jan 6, 2018 / 2:21 pm

    Entirely agree Sean, as I said yesterday they are no longer having my money.
    I actually don’t mind T20, but just have one tournament in a short period of time, invite overseas players and sell the rights to pump money back to the counties.
    Strauss is not a fool so instead he lies to us all if he thinks that any of this is for the health of the game. Playing 4 day matches in early spring and late summer is just going to lead to more medium-fast swingers who are ineffective anywhere else in the world, spinners won’t get a look in and we will end up with an England team featuring 4 identikit Woakes style bowlers, effective at home, but scaring the children away from home.
    Ah well as long as they keep making money from Sky and BT what does the long term health of the game matter anyway?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Miami Dad's 6 Jan 6, 2018 / 2:29 pm

      In a summer with both India and Pakistan visiting, I assume England somehow decided against a super 3 or 4 (+ Ireland) team competition in favour of yet another bilateral series against both, with Australia visiting too. Crazy.


  4. Miami Dad's 6 Jan 6, 2018 / 2:26 pm

    What a disappointment.

    This is the legacy of the sacking of Pietersen, the obliteration of Steven Finn, the ‘management’ of Panesar, the face not fitting of Patel, Compton and others, the suffocation of Trott, the injury rehabilitation and workload management of about 300 different prospects, and more.

    It is also the legacy of molly-coddling of Cook, the promotion of Strauss, the untouchableness of Anderson and Broad, the self preservation of Teflon Flower, and the hegemony of the ECB, and in turn the ICC.

    Odds on us regaining the Ashes in the next 3 series? Low, unless Kwiffed.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Benny Jan 6, 2018 / 2:43 pm

    I don’t think you should dismiss ECB’s incompetence so lightly. A thriving county championship (including proper pitches, effective scouting and some marketing) would surely bring more money into the coffers at the very least. Additionally, why would anyone continue to employ our selectors?


  6. LordCanisLupus Jan 6, 2018 / 4:45 pm

    oooooh. Do we have a rival on the horizon?


    • Mark Jan 6, 2018 / 5:53 pm

      The mind boggles at what his definition of weird is? And who he thinks is normal?


    • Northern Light Jan 7, 2018 / 12:41 am

      He wants a Web Designer who doesn’t SEEM weird. Set up to fail at the first hurdle!


  7. Grenville Jan 6, 2018 / 4:56 pm

    Apropos of unfitting faces and the discussion of classism and racism in the ECB, I’m surprised that Craig Overton’s outrageous attack on Ashar Zaidi at the subsequent ECB cover up hasn’t been more widely discussed in our media (in fact, no-one has mentioned it, as far as I aware). You don’t tell Pakistani players to go back to their own fucking country and face next to no consequences unless your bit of the world doesn’t give a shit about racism.

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Jan 6, 2018 / 5:10 pm

      I was *very* angry at the time about that incident – but I have to admit I’d forgotten that it was C. Overton. That’s very depressing.


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 6, 2018 / 5:16 pm

      Jonathan Liew has definitely mentioned it. If you are making a comment on the Independent not being part of the media then I stand corrected.:-)


      • nonoxcol Jan 6, 2018 / 5:22 pm

        Ah, but Liew is also the only man who mentioned Vardy and the “Jap” incident after Leicester got good.

        (Certainly Paddy Barclay would never, on recent evidence…)


      • Grenville Jan 6, 2018 / 9:25 pm

        Thank you for the spot. I don’t read all that widely but I did try to highlight that. I am very glad that somebody in the English media did their job. There is something to see here.


    • dannycricket Jan 6, 2018 / 6:50 pm

      I think Zaidi has said since that Overton never apologised personally to him too. It was particularly noteworthy for the contrast between the way the ECB handled this incident with the way they treated Andrew Gale. The only reason Overton received any punishment at all was because he already had accrued some disciplinary points, otherwise he’d basically have got off scot-free.

      Of course, racism has never been particularly harshly dealt with in English cricket. Of the 30 players to play on Rebel tours in Apartheid South Africa, by my reckoning 16 have since gone on to hold positions of power and influence. Chairmen, coaches and umpires, all with at least questionable reputations regarding racism. Indeed, the current Middlesex CCC chairman is the only player to go on both English Rebel tours, John Emburey. Yet another reason for me to hate Middlesex…


      • Sean B Jan 6, 2018 / 7:01 pm

        Was going to make exactly the same point as you. Gale had the book thrown at him whereas Overton got away with a slapped wrist.

        Not liking this for Middx mind….


        • dannycricket Jan 6, 2018 / 7:29 pm

          1) They don’t have a ground, and therefore I don’t consider them a real county team. Several minor counties have their own ground, and in my opinion one of these should replace Middlesex.

          2) The ground Middlesex play on isn’t level. Not even close. This is fine for a village club where two men and a dog are going to watch, but not a professional ground. Also, their groundsman Mike Hunt generally delivers the most dull and boring pitches known to man for international games. Games which, again, they shouldn’t get until they literally level the playing field.

          3) They have John Emburey as their chairman.

          4) They had the gall to complain about having points deducted for their massively slow over rate against Surrey. It later came out that they’re often behind the rate, but their scorer Don Shelley has been very effective in persuading the match officials to grant them allowances for various minor interruptions. Indeed, apparently he has the nickname “The Magician” because he makes over rate penalties disappear. Over rates are something I care quite strongly about, and Middlesex seem to be particularly skilled at flouting this law.

          5) Their sponsors. Going through them alphabetically, there’s a “luxury leather goods” shop, a “luxury shopping destination”, four golf clubs, a diamond and jewellery merchant, and last but by no means least Porsche.

          So yeah, sod ’em.


          • Sean B Jan 6, 2018 / 7:40 pm

            Like a spear through my heart Danny. A spear I tell you!!


          • dannycricket Jan 6, 2018 / 8:09 pm

            Oh, and let’s not forget the MCC members. A bunch of old men in stupid ties and blazers (and sometimes really stupid hats).


  8. Scrim Jan 6, 2018 / 5:44 pm

    Even as an Australian, I’m just about done with the Ashes. This test in Cape Town is far more interesting.

    Hardik Pandya with an early candidate for innings of the year. A fantastic counter attacking innings, he really deserved a century so I’m gutted he fell just short. Great, calculated shotmaking against a truly top class bowling lineup. Classic cover drives, skipping down the wicket and whipping Philander through the leg side like he was a spinner, ramp shots off Morkel. Followed it up with a couple of wickets too.

    And unfortunately the dream SA attack had only lasted 60 overs. Steyn has badly damaged his heel out for 4-6 weeks. Let’s hope it isn’t the end for him just yet.


  9. oreston Jan 6, 2018 / 6:16 pm

    Did anyone else catch that strange moment on TMS in the wee small hours when Lovejoy and (I think it was) Dan Norcross were comparing the relative handsomeness of members of the male England team? Ben Foakes was on as a sub fielder and put in an impressive diving stop on the boundary, which somehow led to a discussion of what a good looking lad he apparently is. Swann then countered with the lovelorn confession that, “I’m more of an Alastair Cook man myself.” I know it was all part of the oh-so side splittingly funny banter but bloody hell… We make sarcastic comments about the pundit class having damp tissue moments over AC, but with the likes of Lovejoy satire really is redundant.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Deep Purple Fred Jan 6, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    You know what? Bugger it. I’m going to stay up tonight and watch a bit of Australian grinding, and if things go well enough, a bit of English capitulation. I know it’s without tension, I know it’s predictable, I know the English could have avoided it, but I don’t care.
    Australia may get embarrassed by some swing merchant under grey skies in England soon enough. Make hay while the sun shines, literally. Enjoy the scenic ground. Unfortunately Australian TV is not vulgar enough anymore to focus cameras on the lovely girls in the crowd, but despite that the visuals are still a tonic for the soul as the rain and cold closes in here.
    Marsh and Marsh. Maybe a bit of Paine. Then Starc. Better than whisky for the cold.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pontiac Jan 6, 2018 / 9:05 pm

      I’d like to see Lyon take at least 5.


      • Sean B Jan 6, 2018 / 9:13 pm

        I think you’ll probably be granted your wish, IF England can see off the new ball…


    • Deep Purple Fred Jan 6, 2018 / 9:52 pm

      Its not really better than whisky, but goes well together.


      • quebecer Jan 6, 2018 / 11:13 pm

        I’m going with bourbon tonight and will enjoy my whiskey sour.

        If Bairstow gets a ton I’ll make whiskey gingers.

        If we collapse I’ll make Old Fashioneds.

        Liked by 2 people

  11. man in a barrel Jan 6, 2018 / 7:02 pm

    I’m quite enjoying how all the English pundits are making fools of themselves. Boycott said that Mitchell Marsh was unlikely to hang around for long; Swann and Mitchell were droning on endlessly about the Crane no ball; everyone was expecting Crane to take a wicket any moment now….

    The lack of objectivity really bugs me


    • Mark Jan 6, 2018 / 9:11 pm

      Lovejoys reaction to the Crane no ball was off the scale. I’ve never seen anything like it. He has never been so animated…even over Cook.

      It makes me suspicious……..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sean B Jan 6, 2018 / 9:14 pm

        I’m just surprised that he didn’t head home after Perth…


      • thelegglance Jan 6, 2018 / 9:14 pm

        It makes me think he’s a cock of the highest order.

        Oh sorry, I’m one of the editors. I should be more circumspect.


        Liked by 2 people

        • Silk Jan 6, 2018 / 9:23 pm

          Not right now thank you. I’m typing.


        • Mark Jan 6, 2018 / 9:41 pm

          it didn’t help that they were all in bright pink outfits. It was one of the most surreal scenes in cricket punditry. Pink sticks of rock arguing with each other and attacking the umpire.

          I wonder what The cricket paper makes of slagging off the integrity of the umpire?


          • Sean B Jan 6, 2018 / 9:43 pm

            #39 would’ve given his front teeth to be part of that punditry panel TBF…


          • LordCanisLupus Jan 6, 2018 / 9:50 pm


            Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Jan 6, 2018 / 9:50 pm

            I’ve deliberately not cut that part out of the day’s play. It had better be worth it.


          • Mark Jan 6, 2018 / 9:57 pm

            Oh thanks a lot boss. That’s cheered me up no end!

            His sister does quite interesting history shows on the BBC about Antiquity. There must be a mine of crazy characters who are similar to the BT sports cricket pundits.


          • Silk Jan 6, 2018 / 10:06 pm

            I think I understand why #39 is so upset. He’s under the impression that if Finn, TRJ, Overton and Wood had been fit England could have fielded 15 and won that way.

            Seriously. Wood? Test average 40? Finn? Dropped on the last tour for being ‘unselectable’. Overton? How did that work out at Adelaide?

            Anderson, Broad, Ali, Woakes was our first choice line-up going into this series. All of them would be selected over the 4 injured bowlers.

            It’s BS.

            We spent 4 years developing crap players. And got humped, twice. First in India, now here.

            Liked by 2 people

  12. Mark Jan 6, 2018 / 9:22 pm

    What I would like now is for one or more of the selectors to break cover, and come out and admit if this was really their team or was it names given to them by Strauss/Flower?

    Who was pushing for Crane to be selected? and who thought Vince was a number 3 Test batsman? Then they should form a circular firing squad. Not before they reveal what thought they gave to getting 20 wickets in Australia on flat pitches.


  13. LordCanisLupus Jan 6, 2018 / 9:25 pm

    Oh good. This time next week we’ll be settling down to watch the ODI series. Terrific.


  14. Silk Jan 6, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    Selvey knows his cricket. He really does. If he could put the baggage to one side…

    “Anyone who thinks Southee, Boult, Wagner and Santner will be a breeze after Australia are labouring under a serious misapprehension .”


    • Mark Jan 6, 2018 / 9:48 pm

      He would never had written that line under a Cook captaincy.


    • nonoxcol Jan 6, 2018 / 10:24 pm

      Two things.
      1) I don’t think that’s a particularly profound insight, especially as England were an adhesive bail away from losing the 2012/13 series to a side containing three of those bowlers, under “The Pragmatist”, i.e. his best friend who can do no fucking wrong ever.
      2) There are dozens of other writers who know their cricket and *don’t* come with the same obscenely obvious biases and *don’t* drip with arrogance and contempt for a specific proportion of their readership. I don’t really get why anyone would miss him.

      Liked by 2 people

      • northernlight71 Jan 7, 2018 / 12:48 am

        His wife might miss him.
        But then again, I heard he was the one that taught her to throw….


  15. Deep Purple Fred Jan 6, 2018 / 9:47 pm

    Oh look. A dummy spit from Bairstow. It woz technology wot done it, gov!
    Tech is the least of your problems.
    Livlihoods are determined by runs scored and wickets taken, not the odd boderline decision.


    • quebecer Jan 7, 2018 / 2:20 am

      I have always liked Bairstow he cricketer, but this isn’t the only thing that’s annoyed me. His reaction to the nightwatchman thing was certainly mostly his fault, although either Root or Bayliss should have told him to get his pads off and Curran to get his on regardless of what Bairstow wanted. But what Johhny the said about his dismissal? With a shrug, “It’s the way I play.”

      You know what, Johnny? Play BETTER.


  16. Silk Jan 6, 2018 / 9:50 pm

    Can we have the Ashes Panel back for one last Hurrah please, once the inevitable has concluded?

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Jan 6, 2018 / 9:52 pm


      Unless someone tells me what Ed Smith wrote, because the intro sounds like weapons grade drivel.


      • Silk Jan 6, 2018 / 9:56 pm

        I’ll translate.

        “You might think that the sky is blue, but it is in fact a peculiar shade of green, and only appears to be blue to you BECAUSE YOU ARE TOO STUPID to realise that it is green”

        Does that help?


      • Mark Jan 6, 2018 / 10:01 pm

        “One point in defence of Cook”

        Only one?

        We have had a million from you clowns.


        • Silk Jan 6, 2018 / 10:11 pm

          You get one for free. There’s a paywall between you and the rest of them.


          • Sean B Jan 6, 2018 / 10:13 pm

            And you’d waste that on an Ed Smith article???


  17. man in a barrel Jan 6, 2018 / 10:15 pm

    Strange that Hutton, Hobbs and Sutcliffe were openers. Strange that on the list if top scorers in Ashes series we see names like Hayden, Hobbs and Boycott. Didn’t Vaughan open in 202-03?


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 6, 2018 / 10:19 pm

      Sunil Gavaskar, a man of similar longevity, and run volume, averaged 51.12.

      Just in case you think it’s all because of playing in India, he averaged 70 in the West Indies.

      Liked by 1 person

      • thelegglance Jan 6, 2018 / 10:21 pm

        Yeah, but everyone knows the West Indies are rubbish…


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 6, 2018 / 10:24 pm

          Alastair Cook has two fewer centuries than Sunil, in 59 more innings. But yeah. Tough to be an opener.

          Liked by 1 person

  18. man in a barrel Jan 6, 2018 / 10:35 pm

    One thing has surprised and impressed me: Broady and Jimmy have played 5 matches. It must be a long time since they have bowled so many overs in a series. Incidentally, has anyone run the figures on how many overs it has taken to reach the end of an innings overseas v an innings in England, eg how many overs did they bowl at Karun Nair v any of the matches last August?


    • Sean B Jan 6, 2018 / 10:40 pm

      I think they basically ran Rashid into the ground before dumping him, if my memory of the Indian tour is correct. 38 overs on the spin??


      • LordCanisLupus Jan 6, 2018 / 10:48 pm


        If Cook did that…

        Anyway. It wasn’t that innings he did that. In fact he bowled fewer than 30 overs.

        1. 31 and 14.3
        2. 34.4 and 24
        3. 38 and 5
        4. 55.3
        5. 29.4

        Overs by test.


    • thelegglance Jan 6, 2018 / 10:42 pm

      Anderson has bowled more overs this series than any other in his career. 2010/11 was his previous record.


      • Mark Jan 6, 2018 / 11:23 pm

        So far in this series we have yet to take 20 wickets in any of the test matches.

        first test 10

        Second test 18

        Third test 09

        Fourth test 14

        And we have only taken 4 wickets in this game, and it doesn’t look as if Aus will need to bat again in this match.


        • dannycricket Jan 6, 2018 / 11:44 pm

          I looked it up, England managed the same ‘feat’ of not managing to take 20 wickets in a single Ashes game in 2006/7 and at home in 2001.


          • Mark Jan 6, 2018 / 11:51 pm

            I’m not surprised about 2007. 2001 must have been bad because we were at home.


        • Deep Purple Fred Jan 6, 2018 / 11:54 pm

          England has dismissed Lyon in this series. That’s not something that should be taken for granted.


    • Mark Jan 6, 2018 / 11:41 pm

      Perhaps he’s got a sore finger.


    • Deep Purple Fred Jan 6, 2018 / 11:53 pm

      Crane gets the new ball? Radical thinking from Root. Nothing to lose I guess. What’s Broad going to do with it?


      • nonoxcol Jan 7, 2018 / 12:06 am

        I’m bewildered by this, I really am. The talking up of Crane seems to be “looked good in the nets” in extremis. As an Australian observer, is he actually that much better than Xavier Doherty or Michael Beer (who were royally panned by English fans)? Or do we come across as *that* desperate for an uplifting story?


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 12:16 am

          It does remind me of how the media corps lost it over Hameed. But at least that young lad had made an 80 and a 50 to set them off. Crane bowls leg and turns it a bit. Ian Salisbury has to wonder if he was born 30 years too soon!

          Liked by 1 person

        • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 12:30 am

          Well England certainly is on the lookout for a good news story, given all that’s happened. Many positives have been taken. And fair enough, having a young leggie come in and not get destroyed is good, maybe it will lead to something.
          I’ve only seen a little so far but aside from the odd full tosses he seems to do fine. Australia is in no mood to be respecting anyone at the moment, and he’s done OK. But I think that may change today, once the winning lead is secure I suspect they may try to hurt him. He’s not the messiah but he seems to be a good prospect. I’m sure England will nurture him responsibly.

          What has stuck in my head is Harrison saying “unfortunately we’re not in a position to take the urn home with us”. For some reason that really tickles me, brilliant use of language. I’ve been playing with it:
          “Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to tell Angelina Jolie to stop bothering me while I’m trying to sleep”.
          “Unfortunately, I’m not in a position to tie my yacht up in the Bahamas this year”.


          • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 12:57 am

            Old school.
            No aspersions need be cast around here on Ms Joile thank you.


    • nonoxcol Jan 7, 2018 / 12:17 am

      And now he’s back on. With a new ball.

      Is Root trying to get sacked?


      • nonoxcol Jan 7, 2018 / 12:32 am

        Has he now taken Anderson off after three maidens to allow Moeen to swap ends?

        If I cared I’d have gone full Fred Trueman by now.

        And if this was Cook captaining he would be (deservedly) ridiculed in post after post.


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 12:40 am

          Can’t bowl many overs. Broad looks in pieces before he bowled a ball.


      • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 12:00 am

        Timeless Test?

        If I was Smith I would want a 250-300 lead, I’d want England tired, and I’d want any possible shine taken off Crane’s debut. It’s a hot day. I’d bat through to tea, or if I wanted to be clever put England in a bit before tea to give them two starts to navigate. So I reckon we’ve got about two sessions of batting.


        • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 12:30 am

          Yeah, you’d expect them to reach that before Tea. Declaring then would give them 4 sessions to bowl out England, which will probably be more than enough after fielding for most of the day in this heat.


          • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 12:51 am

            At this pace they’ll be at 700 before tea and our lot will have sunstroke.

            KP must be whistling away….


    • oreston Jan 7, 2018 / 12:38 am

      I agree with Fred (although not sure how much “shine”Crane’s debut has actually had). I reckon Smith will declare when they’ve racked up at least 650 or sometime around tea (whichever comes first). Or maybe when Jimmy’s had to bowl about 50 overs and is moved to announce his immediate retirement at the end of the match. Doesn’t take a genius to see that Smith’s going for a total demolition job and has no intention either of batting again or leaving open any likelihood of a draw.
      Not staying up tonight though. F**k that…


  19. Mark Jan 6, 2018 / 11:55 pm

    I would have liked to see Crane bowl at Brisbane. The pitch turned from day one and there was bounce. But England were not brave enough. It’s all done by numbers it seems. They had penciled him in for Sydney before they took off from Heathrow.


  20. Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 12:13 am

    What do you call two Marsh tons?
    A swamp!


    • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 12:40 am

      A 2 cent Marsh.


      • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 12:43 am

        This is Karun Nair territory.

        If Botham were on comms and this was England he’d want us to declare before lunch.


      • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 12:55 am

        If Shaun kicks on a bit the answer will be “more than England combined”.


    • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 12:46 am

      Marsh De(ux)scent


      • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 12:50 am

        Simon “Blocked Me” Wilde taking the positives.

        Comparing this to the Nairmare is not good.


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 12:59 am

          We’ve been battered. But at least you took your battering without fighting among yourselves and your head coach going mad. So there’s that positive.


          • Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 1:15 am

            That is the meme they are pushing very hard. Its is not as bad as 4 years ago.

            So why didn’t Cook get sacked then? Why did you protect such an incompetent captain? Why did he not get more fight out of his team?

            They spin so hard they fall over.

            Liked by 1 person

          • metatone Jan 7, 2018 / 8:40 am

            Is there anything worse than pity-gracious words from McGrath? If anyone in the England camp cared at all, this should prompt major changes for the future.


      • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 1:08 am

        Aussies held back by the “genius of Jimmy” That’s brilliant! The same Jimmy who was taken off after a few overs?

        Nah, in the words of Paul Keating: Because mate, I wanna do you slowly. There’s gotta be a bit of sport in this for all of us. There’s gonna be no easy execution for you.


    • quebecer Jan 7, 2018 / 3:14 am

      I’d call them England’s gift to South Africa.


  21. LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 12:21 am

    Is Dean saying we don’t play “dead rubbers”?

    Well, look at the end of this article (which is also extremely amusing given where we are now).


    • Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 1:09 am

      How come we only made 346 then genius?

      It pleases me that the “dead rubber” meme has so annoyed them.


  22. nonoxcol Jan 7, 2018 / 12:40 am

    Apparently Lovejoy started his day on BT by “arguing” that Australians shouldn’t boo Mason Crane. So now he’s managed to make both Boycott and Shiny Toy sound like the voice of reason in less than 24 hours, simply by pointing out the obvious.

    How is it even possible to be thicker and more one-eyed than Robbie Savage?


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 12:46 am

      Sunshine on his head. Bet he stays for the one dayers too. We lucky people.


    • Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 1:05 am

      Robbie Savage is Einstein compared to Lovejoy.


  23. nonoxcol Jan 7, 2018 / 1:05 am

    Devon Malcolm’s 28-year record for most runs conceded by an England bowler on debut has gone.

    Looking forward to the positive “spin” on that.


    • Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 1:10 am

      It’s hot!

      Will that do?


  24. dlpthomas Jan 7, 2018 / 1:19 am

    This has been painful to watch. However, Anderson bowled beautifully this morning and he clearly doesn’t believe in “dead rubbers”.


  25. Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 1:27 am

    Dobell can be good value:


  26. dlpthomas Jan 7, 2018 / 1:39 am

    Interesting comment by SimonH over at the Full Toss: “Last time, England took 77 wickets in the five Tests. So far, the tally this time stands at 55”


    • dlpthomas Jan 7, 2018 / 2:54 am

      To date, England have bowled over a 1000 over in the series for 58 wickets. Australia have taken 80 wickets in 793 overs. (and that may be close to 90 wickets later today)


  27. Sri.Grins Jan 7, 2018 / 2:37 am

    In Oz England have reached the standard set by Indian bowling in Oz. Can’t take 20 wickets in a test unless conditions are ‘favorable’. 🙂

    I wonder how you guys started mirroring us..


    • dlpthomas Jan 7, 2018 / 2:55 am

      But your boys can bat (and bat and bat)


      • Sri.Grins Jan 7, 2018 / 3:46 am

        🙂 unfortunately not showing that bat and bat and bat in SA so far. :-). I remain optimistic or Q will become downhearted and start mixing more weird concoctions 🙂


        • quebecer Jan 7, 2018 / 4:00 am

          Pandya is having a bit of a game!


          • Sri.Grins Jan 7, 2018 / 4:09 am

            yes, he will be a real asset not as good as Stokes but certainly a valuable asset for India away.


  28. dlpthomas Jan 7, 2018 / 3:09 am

    Misfield, 4, 300 lead and declaration. Can some-one please remind me why I love test cricket? Also, am I the only one who is a bit nervous about the NZ tour???


    • Silk Jan 7, 2018 / 8:38 am

      If by ‘nervous’ you mean “think we will get dismantled” then, yes.

      Can you imagine how NZ would go if, perish the thought, Anderson wasn’t fit?


      • metatone Jan 7, 2018 / 8:46 am

        NZ pitches normally suit English bowling a bit more. So I suspect we’ll manage something face saving.


  29. oreston Jan 7, 2018 / 3:14 am

    Very inconsiderate of Smith to declare before Crane was able to complete his first double century.

    (Turn off phone and back to sleep now…)

    Liked by 1 person

  30. quebecer Jan 7, 2018 / 3:43 am

    I genuinely like whiskey sours, but I’m optimistic I’ll get to mix myself an Old Fashioned before bed.


  31. Sri.Grins Jan 7, 2018 / 4:11 am

    cook has compiled as impressive 10 making this a sum total of of an impressive 49 for the test.

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Jan 7, 2018 / 7:53 am


      244* is an outlier, not #Cookmaths.


    • Sherwick Jan 7, 2018 / 8:02 am

      I think you mean ‘convincing’, as in “cook has compiled a convincing 10 making this a sum total of of a convincing 49 for the test.


    • man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 10:51 am

      If even Sri thinks England are shot, then we must be a limp carcase being chewed up by vultures


  32. dlpthomas Jan 7, 2018 / 5:04 am

    And Vince knicks off again. I know a lot of better judges than me feel England should persist with Vince buy I really have my doubts.


    • quebecer Jan 7, 2018 / 5:41 am

      Name these judges of whom you speak.


      • dlpthomas Jan 7, 2018 / 5:54 am

        Ian Chappell in particular but most of the Channel 9 boys. I suppose it could be a devious scheme to keep him in the side for Australia’s benefit.


        • quebecer Jan 7, 2018 / 6:12 am

          Exactly. It’s like us and what we’ve done for the Marshes.


          • dlpthomas Jan 7, 2018 / 6:45 am

            That may have backfired.


          • Sherwick Jan 7, 2018 / 8:03 am

            Damn, foiled again!


  33. BoredInAustria Jan 7, 2018 / 8:25 am

    Vic Marks in the G

    “Then Nathan Lyon was introduced for the sixth over. His first ball fizzed past Alastair Cook’s outside edge; his fifth one spun just as viciously and clipped the top of off-stump. So this pitch was turning, after all.”

    After 100 overs of spin by the ECB XI (And no Malan to cast any shadow on boy wonder)


  34. Silk Jan 7, 2018 / 8:40 am

    Well, that was predictable.

    It’s odd. Since the Aussie collapse at Adelaide, it’s been totally, completely, utterly predictable. A computer could have come up with these scorecards.

    I’ve not woken up one morning an thought “Well, that’s a surprise!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Jan 7, 2018 / 9:05 am

      This is what flashes me back to the 90s and what depresses me so much. (Much like the last tour Down Under, tbh.) It’s that every problem we’d identified over the past year or more turned out just like we said it would:

      1) Cook wouldn’t do the business when it mattered.
      2) Root would fail to solve his conversion problems and look (if I’m provocative) yes a little young and a little lost as captain.
      3) Rest of the batting would suffer from the inconsistency of throwing in new faces without enough lead in matches. Some worked, some didn’t, but it all added an air of fragility.
      4) The bowlers chosen just didn’t have it for these pitches. No attempt was made across the year to find ones who did.

      (There’s more detail in each of these, but we’ve all been over it enough.)

      Now I’m not saying any of this was easy to solve (and of course Stokes absence, self-inflicted as it was by both him and the England setup didn’t help) – but it is so wearying that none of it shows any progress, not talking about “solved” – just some progress.


    • Cricketjon Jan 7, 2018 / 12:13 pm

      With one exception perhaps. I was surprised to wake up and find Aus all out for 327 having been in a decent position at the end of Day 1 at the CookCG.


  35. Rohan Jan 7, 2018 / 8:42 am

    I decided not to watch any of Day 4, nor check my phone for updates during the night. I have just woken up and read the comments and the BBC live feed and all I can say, is it is far worse than I thought it would be. I mean on every front, the score, match situation, tweets from the usual suspects, TMS/BT SPORT comments from the usual pundits, the spin from ECB, Farbrace’s post match interview, debate on Vince. There’s more I could list, but you all know it.

    I’ll say one last thing again, it’s all so predictable, but what’s sad is that BOC saw it coming and predicted it. The rest either ignored it, didn’t want to know or were to far in with the ECB to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Northern Light Jan 7, 2018 / 8:43 am

    Oh heavens. Is it me or does Paul Farbrace sound like any number of anonymous football managers in the Championship?

    Oh, and for the stats folks out there. Innings 9, Runs: 346, Ave 47, HS 244*.
    But a run of 2, 7, 37, 16, 7, 14, 244, 39 and 10. Which one of those doesn’t seem to fit the pattern?!

    Liked by 3 people

    • metatone Jan 7, 2018 / 8:57 am

      It’s actually a very interesting question with Cook now IMO. He’ll win you 1 match in 10 so with a big score, when conditions suit him, but the rest of the time he’s a passenger.

      I’m sure there have been players like this before, but I’d be interested in how people view the tradeoff? We know both are going to continue, he’ll keep being a passenger and occasionally he’ll manage a big score. At what point are the big scores too far apart to justify the lack of production in other matches?


    • Riverman21 Jan 7, 2018 / 9:24 am

      Never fear. The BBC managed to shoehorn in a caption Cook goes past 12000 runs.


      • Silk Jan 7, 2018 / 9:31 am

        He got a good ball, Shiny Toy feels obliged to remind us.

        Liked by 1 person

    • dlpthomas Jan 7, 2018 / 10:10 am

      Eight scores less than his career average so I would say he failed 8 out of 9 innings. 244 not out was a great knock but we didn’t win that game so it doesn’t make up for the rest of his performances.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Silk Jan 7, 2018 / 9:03 am

    STATSBLAST! The 5 bowlers England played in the previous Test ended the series with averages of 27.8, 47.7, 49.5, 100.0 and 115.0

    The 5 bowlers England played in /this/ previous Test ended the series with averages of 27.8, 47.7, 100.0, 115.0 and 193.0


    • nonoxcol Jan 7, 2018 / 9:13 am

      And the guy with 193 is a huge prospect, being compared to an all-time great.

      Apparently Moeen’s average (115) is the worst ever for someone taking 5 wickets or more in a series.

      Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Jan 7, 2018 / 9:19 am

      We need to talk about Crane and we need to separate judgement of him from judgement of his selection for the tour. I’d guess from those who watched overnight, he’s young, he gave it a good try and he may have a future some day.

      Once you have this tour party, then in this situation you pick Crane and see how it goes, I advocated that before this game. And he’s proven he can hold himself together under serious pressure. So that’s a plus.

      But I think you have to look at his figures and go back and say, this was the wrong selection for the touring party. He isn’t particularly ready. He wasn’t the backup needed in case of injury.
      And frankly 48 overs at the fag end was actually a waste developmentally (we’ll never know how good Rashid could have been if he hadn’t spent basically a year carrying drinks for England instead of bowling).


      • Silk Jan 7, 2018 / 9:35 am

        Crane was never going to play in a live Test. Never. Hell, they preferred Curran, the 9th (at least) choice seamer over him in the last test.

        We all knew Crane was a dead pick before the series started.

        Hell, anyone with a passing interest in English cricket could have written the script of this tour before a ball had been bowled.

        Liked by 4 people

      • Rohan Jan 7, 2018 / 1:03 pm

        Metatone you have a point, but for me, the issue is the clear, blatant and preferential treatment he has recieved from all of those inside cricket, when compared to the last leggie that England selected.

        I am a Rashid fanboy, however, I think with a better captain, he would have done better in the tests he has played for England. Personally I would have taken Rashid on this tour over Crane any day.

        I think Morgan knows how to captain Rashid. Cook didn’t have a clue and, sadly, according to what I have heard on here Root doesn’t want to/doesn’t like the guy……waste of great talent and potential in my opinion.

        Liked by 4 people

  38. Cricketjon Jan 7, 2018 / 12:10 pm

    Are the MSM familiar with the concept of the mean, the mode and the median?

    Liked by 1 person

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