Australia vs. England, 5th Test, Day 4 – Meltdown

The day began as the last one ended, with the Marsh brothers punishing some ordinary bowling from England’s spinners Moeen Ali and Mason Crane. Fortunately, English viewers only had to endure 3 overs before the third new ball was taken. In a surprising turn of events, Root kept Crane bowling with the fresh Kookaburra rather than going with Broad. Anderson at the other end managed to get Shaun Marsh to edge the ball, but it flew between 1st and 2nd slip to the boundary, and then having two LBW shouts in his next over.

The reasons for the odd bowling choices became clear when Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad replaced Crane and Anderson after just a few overs each. The heat in Sydney was exceeding 40°C, and England’s bowlers in particular were feeling the strain. Both Marshes managed to get their hundreds, a galling moment considering the derision the two brothers are considered with by English fans and journalists. England have been so bad at bowling that even the Marshes have prospered. There was a brief bright spot for the tourists as Tom Curran managed to bowl Mitch Marsh with an offcutter in just his second ball of the day. After the wicket fell, England set the field back to restrict Australia’s scoring although a preponderance of loose balls meant Australia were still progressing steadily towards a declaration at Lunch.

After Lunch, the Aussies upped their run rate and with it started to take risks. Shaun Marsh paid the price for reacting slowly to Tim Paine calling for a quick single, and Stoneman managed a direct hit which dismissed Australia’s number five for a mere 156. Mitchell Starc came out swinging, looking to score quickly for a declaration, but after hitting Moeen for six he skied the very next ball to Vince at mid-off. Amusingly, this wicket in an almost completely pointless phase of the game meant that Moeen Ali technically had the best bowling figures of England’s bowlers because he was the only one to have 2 wickets. Cummins came in to partner with Paine, and together they managed to score 36 runs in just 26 deliveries which took Australia’s lead to 303 runs. Steve Smith called the batsmen in from the dressing room, which left England with 46 overs to survive in the day. More importantly, they had to quickly recover after spending the first half of the day in 40°C and having fielded for 193 consecutive overs.

Having spent half of the day fielding in the sweltering Sydney heat and the having to bat with just a few minutes rest, it was perhaps unsurprising that England’s openers did not stay in for long. Stoneman left in the third to a plumb LBW from Mitchell Starc, wasting a DRS review in the process. Amusingly Cook agreed with his decision to ask the third umpire, perhaps reminding himself of the two times he has effectively lost his partner’s wickets by persuading them not to use a review.

Fortunately for England, we all know that Alastair Cook is made of ice-cold steel. He laughs at sweltering heat, he doesn’t sweat, he always delivers in pressure situations, he…

…was bowled by Nathan Lyon for 10 in the 6th over. Cook played on the back foot to a delivery pitching on middle and spinning out to hit the off stump. Cook played an exceptional innings in Melbourne, but it has proven to be an exception to his form in this series. His match totals this winter have been 49, 244*, 21, 53 and 9. This is hardly the form of the greatest opener of all time, and his lack of consistency has put pressure on England’s already shaky middle order. To put this in context, Stoneman outscored Cook in each of the first three games. The three live rubbers, you might say. Not that I’m suggesting that Cook should be dropped, but neither is he playing the kind of cricket which deserves the volume of praise likely to be heaped on him at the end of the tour. He has had simultaneously a great game in Melbourne and a poor series, but due to one massive score he averages 47.00 and that’s all anyone will talk about.

James Vince looked in good form, until… Well you know what happened. The only surprise was when the umpire gave him out for edging a delivery from Nathan Lyon to the wicketkeeper and Vince successfully reviewed it. Even the umpires have been conditioned to assume that if he plays loosely outside off stump then he’s probably nicked it. In the very next over after his reprieve, Pat Cummins managed to get Vince to edge it twice, and the second one went straight into Steve Smith’s hands at slip.

Of England’s batsmen, James Vince is probably the least likely to make the tour to New Zealand. Although he has outscored Stoneman, the repetitive nature of his dismissals makes Vince seem particularly vulnerable. In his 9 innings in Australia, he has edged the ball to the wicketkeeper or slips 6 times. Every team he is likely to face in the future will know to just hang the ball outside off stump and just wait for him to get himself out.

This brought in Dawid Malan, the surprising success of the series. Well, it was a surprise for me. Sean, being a Middlesex fan, probably expected it. Together with Joe Root, the pair attempted to block out the remaining 25 overs of the day but Malan was given out LBW after being hit in front by a straight ball from Nathan Lyon. Not a great dismissal, being stuck deep in the crease playing on the back foot, but he has been England’s highest run scorer so far in the series. Of course, being England’s top scorer in an Ashes defeat isn’t always a guarantee that you won’t be dropped.

Which left Root and Bairstow at the crease. Considering Moeen Ali’s form in Australia this winter, it’s probably fair to say that this is England’s last partnership before the tail begins. The pair of Yorkshiremen safely navigated the following 12 overs to see England through to the close of play. At stumps, England were 93/4 and still 210 runs behind Australia.

It seems fair to say that it would take a miracle of epic proportions for England to even make Australia bat again. More realistically, by the time most of us wake up tomorrow England will almost certainly have lost the series 4-0. Australia have outplayed them with both bat and ball throughout the series, and only a great innings from Cook and a truly abysmal pitch at Melbourne saved England from back-to-back whitewashes.

Talk has already begun on who might lose their job in the aftermath. Perhaps Worcestershire know something we don’t, because they’re apparently chasing Paul Farbrace to be their new head coach. On the field, it would be surprising if Vince, Ball or Curran made the Test squad for New Zealand in a couple of months. Beyond that, I’m not sure much will change in the England camp. All of the public statements from the coaches and Tom Harrison have been to support the current players and staff, attempting to reassure people that everything is fine. If nothing is wrong, then surely no one can be to blame?

As always, please comment on the game (or anything else that comes to mind) below!


240 thoughts on “Australia vs. England, 5th Test, Day 4 – Meltdown

  1. metatone Jan 7, 2018 / 10:08 am

    Some random comments:

    – If Vince plays in NZ I predict he’ll have a tough time, b/c his weakness will be magnified as there is usually a bit of lateral movement in NZ.

    – Similarly, it’s hard to see how NZ pitches are going to suit Crane.

    – If England don’t play Anderson in NZ they’ll lose, if they do, they risk shortening his career noticeably.

    – I fear something similar for Moeen Ali. I have a deep suspicion that England default to “play yourself back into form” when the right answer is “you need to rest until that injury is actually cleared up.” But my views on the England med team are well known in this parish.

    – It looks to me that the biggest failing of the England setup overall is that there was never any rival to Finn. When Finn’s career stumbled (there’s a big piece to be written on that too, but now’s not the time) there was no-one there, at least no-one the England selectors could bear to bring in.

    – I hope Root can put in a big score otherwise he’ll get endless noise from the press about conversion rates.

    – If YJB can put in a big score after keeping wicket for all that time in that heat… I’ll be amazed.

    Liked by 4 people

    • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 10:14 am

      Yeah. England’s team is full of holes right now with no obvious candidates to fill them. There’s every chance that Cook, Broad and Anderson will all retire in the next two years and there isn’t anyone waiting in the wings to replace them either. It’s a real mess, and England could potentially become one of the Test teams bouncing around near the bottom of the ICC Test rankings.


      • thebogfather Jan 7, 2018 / 12:56 pm

        The question that the ECB and MSM refuse to acknowledge is… why are there no obvious candidates for the Test team?

        This should be the first question on BOC’s end of series ‘Ashes Panel’, as it won’t be a question at all proffered and pressed by our MSM, again… #StillSoAngry

        Liked by 1 person

        • Benny Jan 7, 2018 / 7:12 pm

          That was my immediate thought too. After all there are 60+ million people in this country and we’re only trying to find half a dozen cricketers. Apologies to those who’ve heard me moaning about this before.


          • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 8:09 pm

            I would suspect that there are enough players with the raw potential to be solid Test in the system, but for whatever reason (well, the ECB’s incompetence) they aren’t developing to that level.


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 10:56 am

      Vince should not play in New Zealand. We should revamp the team a little. Pick a number three. A new opener. Something. Anything.


      • oreston Jan 7, 2018 / 4:54 pm

        Isn’t that what they’ve been doing repeatedly for the last four years?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Benny Jan 7, 2018 / 7:14 pm

          You never know – maybe they’ll get lucky one day


          • oreston Jan 7, 2018 / 8:03 pm

            Maybe they should just replace the selectors with an infinite number of monkeys and keyboards…


          • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 8:11 pm

            Nah, they’d just keep trying to select the Complete Works Of Shakespeare.


          • oreston Jan 7, 2018 / 8:36 pm

            With Sonnet 18 dedicated to Alastair Cook, no doubt.


          • oreston Jan 7, 2018 / 8:44 pm

            …by the Swann of Avon 🙂


      • man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 8:09 pm

        This smacks of the Selvey “radical change is required” option


      • Amit Jan 8, 2018 / 5:11 am

        Changing the keeper to bring Bairstow up the order would be a good start,,,


  2. dlpthomas Jan 7, 2018 / 10:17 am

    Cook was also dropped by first slip before Lyon go him.


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 10:54 am

      Series marks out of 10 are going to be fun. How do you mark an opener that made 8 scores out of 9 below 40?


      • nonoxcol Jan 7, 2018 / 11:05 am

        I’m looking forward to the scores of Jar Jar Lovejoy (Z minus). If only because he gave Smith 6/10 in 2015 for a double and another ton in the games Aus won on “roads”while failing in the other three games against decent bowling on seam-friendly pitches….

        The double standards have the potential to be both horrific and legendary.


      • Silk Jan 7, 2018 / 1:29 pm

        He’ll get a 7 or an 8. An 8 would be laughable but he’ll still get one, probably in The Mail.


      • dlpthomas Jan 7, 2018 / 1:32 pm

        The 244 not out was an amazing knock but overall he has not done his job. I’d fail him (and I am legendary for being a soft marker)


      • Pontiac Jan 7, 2018 / 5:26 pm

        There will be at least one marks out of 10 article where Cook and Lyon get the same number of marks.


        • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 5:28 pm

          To be fair, Lyon should only get 5 or 6. He’s bowled okay, but it’s England’s poor batting that’s made him look like a 10.


  3. man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 11:04 am

    I must apologise for invoking the name of JJ Warr before the match started. In case his name was unfamiliar, this is his story

    While still studying at Cambridge, Warr was selected for the 1950–51 tour of Australia. He played in two of the five Test matches, with the worst debut bowling performance in Test cricket, taking no wickets but conceding 142 runs, a record which stood until 2009 when Australian Bryce McGain went wicketless while conceding 149 runs against South Africa. He went on to take just one wicket, that of Australia’s number seven, Ian Johnson, caught behind. In those two matches, he conceded 281 runs, the worst bowling figures of any Test cricketer in history until the record was surpassed in 1985 by Sri Lanka’s Roger Wijesuriya. As of 2016 his bowling average remains the worst of any retired England Test player; only Ravi Bopara has a worse average

    At least Crane might be spared that! Gotta take the positives.

    When Mitchell Marsh came in, his first two balls were tentative prods at legbreaks outside off stump. Swann and Boycott went berserk. The latter declaring repeatedly that he “goes at it hard… He won’t last long”, the latter being a dick as usual. The fact that neither ball got very close to the edge of Marsh’s bat and that both were just a touch too short to draw a shot seemed to escape them

    Liked by 1 person

  4. man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 11:09 am

    Before the series, Vaughan declared that Vince had the right game for Australia. He has been maybe the loudest in condemning him. Maybe you should call him the angel of death?


    • oreston Jan 7, 2018 / 12:01 pm

      I can think of pithier epithets for him.

      He had conveniently moved to a position of hedging his bets on Crane ahead of this match, saying that IF England didn’t think he was good enough to play it prove that he was the most absurd selection of all time and that the selectors had got it all wrong (Telegraph article from last week that was also reported by the Australian press – haven’t got time to post the links right now but follow your nose…)


  5. ianrsa Jan 7, 2018 / 11:15 am

    WTF is the point of Swann. I swear he’d fight off Ali Mitchell for the signal honour of having sex with Cook.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thebogfather Jan 7, 2018 / 1:02 pm

      I’m sure he’d be elected unopposed (No offence to AM)…tho’ there may be a call for a groupfck/clusterfck from certain current and ex-members of the MSM

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 11:30 am

    Cook’s series average of 47 is as irrelevant and misleading a statistic as the govts claim to be reducing the government deficit while almost doubling the national debt. And like the idiot politicains who seem clueless as to the difference the English cricket writers are just as deluded as to Cooks real series contribution.

    He has failed completely to offer anything in “the live” games. Even in his match saving performane at Melbourne he was dropped on 68. Yet the media swoon and genuflect in front of him as they have obediently done for the last four years. Their loyalty to Cook is above reproach, alas not so their loyalty, and honesty to the poor hard paying England fan. .

    It was an appropriate end to the day as the same media who were drooling over Englands bowling performance, in admittedly very hot conditions convinced their poor deluded followers that this was a belter of a pitch. As Austalia racked up over 600 the media fainted at the genius of the England attack. Some well known culprits were even boasting about how this proved there were no “dead rubbers.” Shame they didn’t tell that to England’s batsman. Or maybe The Aussie bowlers just revealed how average the England attack really is.

    Once upon a time a former England journalist on a previous ashes series embarrassingly said after the warm up games that England “can’t bat, can’t bowl and can’t field .” He should have been covering this series 20 years later.


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 12:01 pm


      There are still as many questions as answers. Mark Stoneman and James Vince both went cheaply and predictably again while left-handers Cook, despite becoming the youngest man in Test history to reach 12,000 Test runs, and Malan fell to an off-spinner in Nathan Lyon who has been a surprise star of this series.

      A surprise star? Have you not seen Lyon before?


      • Cricketjon Jan 7, 2018 / 12:23 pm

        Been successful for at least four years.

        Perhaps it would be more pertinent to ask Newman who he thought the star of the series would be?

        [ cough ]


      • Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 12:31 pm

        Ha ha

        They never fail do they? Bill Gates couldn’t have programmed a computer program to be more repeating than Newman. Just slip in the “youngest batsman to reach 12000 runs.”

        Totally meaningless stat. Juat like the way Newman covers English cricket. Or should that read Cooks cricket? The whole of the ECB and England are just a vehicle for boy wonder to keep achieving irrelevant feats of nothingness.

        When the pitches are flat England are fucked
        When the pitches are flat England are fucked
        When the pitches are flat England are fucked

        Repeat for eternity……..


      • Rohan Jan 7, 2018 / 1:23 pm

        Nathan Lyon a surprise star!? How can a man with almost 300 test wickets be a surprise……exasperation…….he has 30+ more wickets than that idiot Swann……how, just how, I don’t get it, how can he write that in all seriousness, as a supposed cricket expert and journalist.

        Liked by 1 person

          • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 2:25 pm

            Which puzzled me regarding why we picked so many left-handers. Surely we knew that would be a problem?


          • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 4:36 pm

            But Cowan is right, even if he does have an axe to grind. Knocking over this lot at home doesn’t tell us how things might pan out in SA.


        • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 4:33 pm

          Lyon has 30+ more wickets than Swann? Really?
          Perceptions can really get in the way of reality sometimes. Swann has been billed as such a wonderful spin bowler I would never have thought Lyon had yet gotten close to him.
          Humble Lyon, the Adelaide groundman’s assistant, who looks like Uncle Bob from the family barbie, has surpassed the master spinner Swann? Sometimes there is justice.


          • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 4:37 pm

            After his talk before this series (which may come true, but that’s besides the point), I’m not sure “humble” is the word I’d use to describe Lyon.

            Liked by 1 person

          • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 4:56 pm

            He has 34 more wickets in 14 more matches than Swann at 1.7 more per wicket than Lovejoy.

            The odd thing is you think Swann played more than 60 matches.


          • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 5:34 pm

            Well, he used to be quite self effacing. I guess that changed this year, with a bit of pre-series trash talk from him. He used to be humble, and in fact was citicised for his lack of self belief. He used to appeal in supplication rather than conviction. Those days are gone. He’s grown as a player. Sticking with players can be a gamble, this time it’s paid off.

            I don’t understand your comment LORDCANISLUPUS about thinking Swann playing more than 60 matches.


          • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 5:36 pm

            I meant it felt as though Swann had played more than 60 matches. Speaking like I’m a Londoner.


          • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 6:14 pm

            London, got it.
            London’s apart from the UK. Visited a company at Lathom near Liverpool recently. It’s different up there, the girls don’t wear miniskirts and have pink hair, and no one has holes in their jeans. They were charming.
            Then I came back to London for another meeting and got treated with impatience bordering on contempt by a young black cockney English girl and disdain by Eurostar. London is always fun!


          • Zephirine Jan 8, 2018 / 5:31 pm

            Fred, re London – you misunderstood. Londoners, like Parisians, treat everyone rudely as a kind of compliment. It suggests that you’re too cool to need anyone to grovel to you and you have really important stuff to do so no time to faff about with please and thank you. Eurostar, going from London to Paris, has a double helping of this attitude.

            People who are nice and polite to you in London are usually Spanish.


      • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 2:10 pm

        Or indeed, seen England’s batsmen turn innocuous spinners into superstars with their utter inability to play against spin.


    • Cricketjon Jan 7, 2018 / 12:25 pm

      As I stated on another thread Mark, their evaluation of stats doesn’t go anywhere near the full extent of the mean, the mode and the median.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cricketjon Jan 7, 2018 / 12:25 pm

        That was in response to Marks post


  7. Sri.Grins Jan 7, 2018 / 11:51 am

    Has been a tough 4 days for English fans as also a tough series to go through.

    Difficult to find positives whether you are a English fan disenchanted with the ECB or an English fan who wants their team to put up a fight.

    Anderson has a done a decent job from the second innings in Adelaide

    Malan and Root have contributed decently. Bairstow, Stoneman and Vince have glimmered at times but also faded at others. It may not be the end of the road for Stoneman or Vince but they have a long way to go.

    But that’s it. All other bowlers have been disappointing and the rest of the batting including Cook, the less said the better.

    It is difficult to see what should be done as a neutral.

    My inclination would be to keep Root, Malan, Anderson and Bairstow, give Cook, Broad and Ali a rest for NZ and plump for a completely new look team.

    They can’t do worse than selecting cook, broad, ali etc for NZ and suffering a loss.


    • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 2:07 pm

      I’d think Anderson could use the rest most of all the players. He looked absolutely knackered in the morning session.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Tom Jan 7, 2018 / 12:28 pm

    I’ve run out of thoughts. I have no idea who should tour NZ or not and doubt whoever gets picked will make any difference. I watched the last two sessions today and just became incredibly depressed.

    I hope Anderson plays in NZ but agree it might shorten his career, but when it comes to the experienced players, he’s the only one that has done a good job. Root’s done OK, I’m not sure any other captain would have done better and Bairstow has done as well as could be expected given his workload. Other than that I just don’t know what to say.

    Maybe we’ll do well in the ODIs and the ECB will be back to saying how good the team is and how promising the future is.


  9. Tom Jan 7, 2018 / 12:45 pm

    On an unrelated note, it was very sad to see Dale Steyn injure himself in his comeback test. It seems he’s out for several weeks after just coming back from an unrelated injury that kept him out for a year. In my opinion, he was the best fast bowler since Malcolm Marshall and to put things in perspective for England supporters, he’s in the same age bracket as Anderson, so the end of his career is sooner rather than later.

    I watched his first bowling spell against India after returning and it was almost as if he’d never been away plus he was clearly enjoying himself. I hope he makes it back for a few more test matches. A bowler like him doesn’t come around that often.

    Liked by 3 people

    • nonoxcol Jan 7, 2018 / 12:55 pm

      Comfortably my favourite Test player since Lara and Gilchrist retired. Utter scandal he only ever played five Tests in England* when you look at how many were played by the overseas bowlers he is fit to rank alongside. And no, it wasn’t all down to injury.

      *where he has his second worst average after the UAE, giving ignorant bastards an excuse to disparage him forever more.


    • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 2:14 pm

      Maybe Dale Steyn went to Loughborough a year ago to get some advice on how to bowl more quickly without injuring himself?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 12:55 pm

    Cook’s median score for the series was 14! Half of his scores were less than 14. That convinces me of something. For reference, Stoneman’s median is 24 and Vince’s is 18

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 1:04 pm

      Vince and Stoneman had two scores over 50 in this series.

      Cook had one.

      I just listened to the Vaughan wibble on TMS. Stoneman is shot, not scored a run since he got hit on the head, doesn’t practice the short ball. Vince has all the shots, but he should be given another go (although he can understand if not) because the upside is too tempting. Cook got out to a tired shot, he’s tired.

      One nonsense bit, Vince may keep his place because it would be difficult to bring someone out there for the New Zealand tests. When are they? 22 March the first one starts. Half this test squad will be home for a couple of months before it.


      • Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 2:36 pm

        Vince is not a test number 3. Not at the moment anyway. He bats like a millionaire. A lot of his dismissals this tour have been poor, lazy shots. How many tests did he play last summer batting at 3?


      • man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 7:54 pm

        To be fair, Stoneman has looked less composed since the knock on the head. He needs some coaching practise on ducking and weaving and being light on the feet, maybe from a boxing coach. Clearly he likes to get in line but, I guess, is not used to pitches with more bounce than an English suet pudding. I seem to recall that some great openers did boxing training to get them mobile, maybe Hobbs or Hutton, maybe even Boycott. Damn! Another reference I need to locate


      • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 1:23 pm

        It’s their thing. It’s not mine.

        BTW – How did Selfey blag his way on to the BT Sport Packer Documentary? How on earth?


        • Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 2:33 pm

          It’s a giant old boys network of cronyism.


    • man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 7:13 pm

      Pat Cummins’s median score was 24. He’d walk into this England side. His series average is 41


  11. metatone Jan 7, 2018 / 1:38 pm

    So Farbrace has had some things to say:

    My reactions:

    1) All of that mental strength stuff applies to Cook. He took his glimmer out to a big score after the series was gone, but if mental strength is so damn important then the caveats matter.

    2) I personally am not sure this mental strength stuff is so useful. It smacks of the “passion” nonsense we tend to hear when the England football team lose. Rather I’d say we were missing bowlers with the physical talents of pace and spin and many of the batsmen have flawed techniques.


    • Rohan Jan 7, 2018 / 1:48 pm


      “A series like this does expose issues in your team,” said Farbrace. “And we have a choice. You either churn out some positive stuff, or we be honest and say that there are certain areas that are not good enough. That’s every single one of us – players, staff, structures, setup. Everybody needs to look very closely and ask if we have got the right people in the right places.”

      Seems to be at odds with what Harrison said, possibly the closest we will get to an admission that the whole setup appears flawed…..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Quebecer Jan 7, 2018 / 11:02 pm

        It’s not the rust time I’ve heard Farbrace being honest, actually. Earlier on in the series (I think regarding the bowling selections for Adelaide) he was both matter of fact yet none too please saying, look, this is who we’ve got so this is the team we have to field.

        I get the impression (purely my own feeling) that Bayliss looks at this as an employed professional. Not exactly a company man, but still understanding he’s being employed so respects his and his employers respective positions. Nothing wrong with that, of course. However, I wonder if Farbrace is a little less sanguine, if that’s the right word.


    • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 2:34 pm

      Mental strength, or maintaining your concentration and making the right decisions, is absolutely vital for batting. After all, one mistake and you have lost your wicket.

      But England’s more serious problem hasn’t been their batting but instead their bowling. For that, mental strength is less of a factor than their technique and the physical ability to back that up. Only Anderson in the England team actually managed both.


  12. man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 1:44 pm

    I just looked back at Crane bowling to Mitchell Marsh at the start of his innings. Boycott and Hussey were on mike. The first 2 balls were outside off stump and turning away. Marsh prodded down the line of off stump. It looked dramatic but the ball was not very close to the edge. More importantly, the length was just a touch too short and the balls a touch too wide to carry real threat. Boycott was almost wetting his seat.

    The incomparable Anderson failed to keep Sean Marsh on strike and the team didn’t seem to think it worthwhile to get Mitchell facing Crane. What outstanding tacticians we have on the team.

    Sean got a boundary off Crane and then a single. So Mitchell on strike

    Crane bowled another outside off stump, shorter, another push down the line of off stump just to make sure nothing went wrong. So short there was no threat. I am sure Boycott pissed himself at this point.

    Next ball should surely be the googly. No! Tossed up high outside off and Mitchell stroked it into the covers on the half volley.

    Next ball, another the stock ball, a little too short outside off. Marsh plays a shot this time but misses the ball as it turns. Boycott needs the infibrillator at this point

    Next ball is a full toss bunted to mid-on.

    This is just a new batsman getting used to the pitch. The bowling is not really threatening and he has not yet used the googly.

    In the next couple of overs, he actually does beat Mitchell with one pitched on the stumps and finds a thick edge with a couple more but there ends the drama. Marsh crunches two successive fours and is away.

    The lack of any variations – googly, flipper, top-spinner, slider – is a problem. Marsh started uncertainly but was only truly beaten twice or thrice. Legspinners outside off stump are not going to take too many wickets unless you have a demonstrable ability to bring the ball back in to the right-hander

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Jan 7, 2018 / 1:53 pm

      I started out this comment blaming Anderson and Broad, but in fact “bowling dry” is a management failing, which leads to lines and lengths which don’t get hammered by the batsman, but don’t actually threaten the stumps.


    • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 2:39 pm

      It seems weird to me when professional leg spin bowlers don’t have a googly, when I’d assume most village leg spinners do. I guess they bowl it in the nets but can’t bowl it consistently or without massive tells to warn the batsman, but surely this can be fixed in training?


      • man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 3:06 pm

        Crane has been bigged up for a long time. I remember Butch doing it on The Switch Hit a couple of years ago! I suppose that, amongst other things, he lacks game time, match awareness etc. I was yelling out at the screen, “googly on off-stick” and out comes a floated half volley outside off


        • Quebecer Jan 7, 2018 / 9:22 pm

          I know you know spin bowling, but even I could see the need for the google there. Actually, what I saw the need for was Rashid, whose google is excellent and is bowled with real confidence. Crane just doesn’t have that, and at the highest level I don’t think it matters what type of bowler you are, you simply have to have a stock delivery going one way and another that does something different.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Rohan Jan 7, 2018 / 9:33 pm

            I couldn’t agree more with regards Rashid. A very good googly if I remember correctly and when he played in the UAE and India many of the Pakistan and Indian batsmen struggled to pick it, at least that’s what I remember?


          • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 9:49 pm

            The world’s so-called greatest leg spinner ever never really had a googly. Certainly not at the end of his career.


          • quebecer Jan 7, 2018 / 10:11 pm

            Dmitri, true, but he still had three deliveries that were different. Warne’s googly was never his best ball and I think over the years he realized that with the flipper and slider being so good he just didn’t need to bother with the wrong un.


          • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 10:16 pm

            It was the myth that he never let on to. He also ripped a leg spinner further than anyone I’ve ever seen and could control it. A freak.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Quebecer Jan 7, 2018 / 11:04 pm

            I admit it made me smile that at the height of his powers Warne said he was working on a mystery ball – the one that spun back towards him.


  13. Miami Dad's 6 Jan 7, 2018 / 2:05 pm

    I said after Adelaide how exciting this series was for the sheer potential in terms of heads that could role at the end of it. If we are talkimg about retaining Vince, then even that goes out the window.

    I thought Crane looked every bit like he fit into international cricket, or at least he fit in with the rest of the England attack. Toothless, uneconomical, unskilled and easy. I would fancy myself against him.


    • man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 3:02 pm

      If Crane had bowled to Mitchell Marsh pitching middle or leg and middle, then there would have been threat. As it was, the batsman was really just covering his stumps in case something happened. Nevertheless, Boycott was wetting his pants with excitement. Outside off stump has never been anything more than a defensive line by a leggie. Odd that Boycott didn’t say that


      • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 3:44 pm

        Yeah, but it was smart to do. The knock against legspinners is that they’re expensive. In this game, Crane has figures of 193/1 with a strike rate of 288 balls, but an economy of 4.02. Four years ago, Scott Borthwick had match figures of 4/82 with a strike rate of 19.5 but an economy rate of 6.30. England would never consider picking any bowler with an economy around 6, even if he’s a wicket taker. A bland holding legspinner though? Maybe…


        • man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 4:18 pm

          Very true, and the case against Rashid was that his economy rate was about 0.5 higher than Moeen although for a lot more wickets

          Liked by 1 person

      • Quebecer Jan 7, 2018 / 9:18 pm

        As a batsman, especially early on, you love the ball turning away to pitch on or outside off. Easy easy, especially when you know the bowler isn’t strong with the one the other way.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 2:57 pm

    Englands only hope of being competitive in this series rested with the batsman. We always knew that despite being very economical Anderson is not going to knock you over for 200 many times on flat pitches. It was vital that Englands batsman, particulary in the first innings put big scores on the board. 450-500. Then you were in the game. You had the chance of using scoreboard pressure to put the Aussies on the back foot. We couldn’t do it.

    Now in fairness the Aussie bowlers were better in these conditions than ours, but a lot of our batsman got themselves out rather than we’re got out. England don’t play a brand of cricket that is about batting time. Remember Harrison blathering on about positive cricket? Not much use if you get shot out for 300 when 500 is par.

    I’m not sure what… if anything can be done. We have a different financial model that is about quick flashy cricket. Those players are not likely to fare well in test cricket. If they have good techiques and concentration there is no reason why they can’t learn. Buy why bother when there are fortunes to be made batting for 10 overs in 20/20?

    As to the media this has been a shocking tour. They have performed even worse than the team. Idiocy, and Blimp like pronouncements dressed up as knowledge. They are shocked, SHOCKED that Lyon may be not that easy to play.


    • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 3:29 pm

      I couldn’t disagree more. The only way to win any Test match is to take 20 wickets, and we never looked close to doing that even once. The closest we came was the 18 wickets in Adelaide, almost certainly helped by Australia throwing caution to the wind as they tried to score quickly in their second innings to set a target with enough time to bowl England out. Aside from that, England have taken 14, 10, 9 and 7 (assuming they don’t bat again) wickets in the other four Tests.

      The batting obviously hasn’t been even close to good enough either, but the bowling is what has killed it as a contest.


      • Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 3:43 pm

        I understand what you are saying Danny, and yes bowlers do win matches by taking 20 wickets. But batsman have to set matches up. On flat pitches we have a better chance of making runs than taking wickets. Our bowlers just don’t have the pace or the spinning skill to compete.

        However, there is no excuse for the batsman. The pitches have been flat, and not as quick as we feared. They needed to get their heads down and bat time. You can’t make Anderson bowl at 93 miles an hour, or Ali turn the ball like a top. But the batsman can make hundres on these pitches and should have done far better.

        My point is that if we had batted well in the first three test matches we might just have put them under pressure and funny things then happen. Not saying we would have won, but as we held the ashes we only need to draw the series. We should have been able to stay competive on these pitches by batting 5 sessions in the first innings. We were no where near good enough.


  15. man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 3:08 pm

    I guess Malan gets the blame for this. He has already been set up as the scapegoat by Dobell


    • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 3:46 pm

      I’m not yet convinced by Malan. My memory of the summer was that Malan had a lot of problems with the swinging ball. Perhaps one reason he’s done well in this series is that the Kookaburra in Australia rarely swings, and batting at 5 he’s not usually facing the new ball which might swing a little.

      Maybe he’s turned a corner, but I’ll be watching his form in New Zealand and in England to see if this is just a flash in the pan.


      • Silk Jan 7, 2018 / 9:10 pm

        I know nothing but I think Malan will fail and be done in 2 years.


        • metatone Jan 7, 2018 / 10:33 pm

          I’m not confident Malan can do it, but I’ll happily say he’s earned the right to try for now.


          • Silk Jan 8, 2018 / 7:36 am

            Oh yes. Absolutely. At 5. Not dicking him about and moving to 3.


  16. Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 3:34 pm

    Selvey doesn’t rate Vince. Pity the England batting coach can’t help Vince because Selvey rated young Ramprakash and always Cook

    .Here is a taste from his Twitter feed.

    Selvey…….You do realise that you’ve probably seen Vince at his best? It’s not his fault. Nothing left to give.

    Selvey follower……..What to do with a Ramprakash style player that looks classy and gets himself in then throws it away literally every innings?

    Selvey …….Not in the same league as Ramps.

    Follower……….When Ramps was flown to Perth in early 95 and played the 5th test, he looked a class apart, all aussies were wondering why on earth he hadn’t been picked earlier, smacked around McGrath and McDermott with proper class.

    Selvey ……Ramps was best technician of his time. Averaged 40 odd v Aus. Btw

    Flower ………. Can coaches work with Vince and Westley to iron out flaws? Bairstow and Cook were a bit ropey when they were first in international side and made changes to become world class. Or is there no hope for these two and keep looking for someone else?

    Selvey Apart from scoring 60 and 100 in his first Test Cook was certainly ropy when he started.

    Follower……..He tweaked his technique to match his class and ability which he always had. Had a poor run against the Aussies before becoming a true great. Do we see any of that in Vince and possibly Westley?

    Selvey……Not in Vince.


    • CRICKETJON Jan 7, 2018 / 3:44 pm

      At one point there Mark you had the follower described as Flower. Maybe a Freudian slip? Possibly a Flowerdian one. Either way, Flower doesn’t need to argue with Selvey as he is untouchable.


      • Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 3:48 pm

        Oh yes, ha ha.

        Must be A Freudian slip. I can’t write Selvey without including Flower somewhere.


    • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 3:51 pm

      Didn’t Ramprakash do great in county cricket though? Vince hasn’t managed that so he is, if anything, a lot worse pick than Ramprakash ever was.


    • OscarDaBosca Jan 7, 2018 / 3:57 pm

      Would that be on a slow sub-continental wicket in India that St. Cook scored 60 and 100. His best tour of Australia was when they had a really cold summer and the wickets suffered from being slow. He is the archetypal ‘Flat-track bully’ but replace Flat with slow


  17. thelegglance Jan 7, 2018 / 4:57 pm

    On the subject of a post series Ashes Panel, can those who want to be part of it drop me an email to to say so? And I’ll create the questions.

    I’m also going to create a generic @boc email account, but I’ve not had time to do that yet, so this one will do for now!



    • man in a barrel Jan 7, 2018 / 7:57 pm

      Always willing but I don’t think there is a question that I haven’t answered too many times after too much craft gin and designer tonic


  18. Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 5:13 pm

    The only surprising thing that happened on this day was that I learnt Quebecer is open to desecrating his whisky. Everything else went according to plan, although only 4 down was a touch underwhelming. A few mitigating thoughts:

    Quebecer by his own confession is drinking American whisky, so adding something more than a very small ice cube is understandable.

    It was indeed very hot, so a tough day for the bowlers. We all know it wouldn’t made a blind bit of difference if it was 20C and misty, but lets show some charity.

    I agree with Quebecers comments regarding Bairstow that “this is the way I play” is not good enough. Firstly because it’s a poor excuse and secondly because it’s now such a loaded phrase he could at least have found a better way to put it.
    He’s an interesting study because he has such clear talent, but keeps putting his foot in it (or his forehead). I’m sad he has underperformed, I thought he and Stokes would really take the fight to Australia this series, I’m disappointed it didn’t happen.

    England does have an opener with 12 000 test runs. No one else has one of those. Thanks IanRSA for introducing the thought of Swann and Cook having sex, great to have you back. But judging by that photo above, Cook does seem to have erect nipples and a huge cock.

    England was very good at…nope I’m out of ideas.

    I really really hope Australia can get their shit together for the next Ashes and make a contest of it in England.


    • ianrsa Jan 7, 2018 / 7:10 pm

      Thanks Fred.

      Yes Quebecer has proved to be a huge disappointment. Although as you point out the whisky he drinks is sub optimal to start with.


      • Quebecer Jan 7, 2018 / 9:14 pm

        Hold on there! Lagavulin, highland park, and Talisker in that order!

        But Bourbon and single malts are like ODIs and test matches. It is possible to enjoy both, recognizing each for what they are. However, frankly, I wasn’t going to waste single malt on yesterday’s play.

        If I could Internet sue you both for misrepresentation and slander I would.

        Liked by 2 people

        • ianrsa Jan 7, 2018 / 11:07 pm

          More like test matches and T20. One is meant to be savoured the other is the fast food equivalent. To be consumed only in extremis.

          I’d hire Nigel Farrage as my internet lawyer and he’d beat you with deep stupidity.


        • Northern Light Jan 8, 2018 / 12:11 am

          Q, Talisker surely rates above Highland Park? Well, it does in my house anyway. Mind you, right now I’m drinking a mixture of some bizarre apricot liqueur I won at my daughter’s school Christmas Fair with full fat tonic water and ice. Kind of a home made alco-pop. So that shows my level of connoisseurship at the moment. Why waste decent drink on the last day of a forgettable Ashes series, eh?

          Liked by 1 person

          • ianrsa Jan 8, 2018 / 12:48 am

            Hey Northern’, totally agree on Talisker, it’s like angels pissing on your tongue. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          • quebecer Jan 8, 2018 / 1:47 am

            Well, it’s an interesting one. I’d certainly put the Highland Park 18 above Talisker. But one of the things to love about Talisker is they really only do the 12 year old. It’s always struck me as very Scottish, the Talisker attitude: “It’s gud. Wait 6 more years? Why? It’s gud.”

            Liked by 1 person

      • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 10:06 pm

        Oh, OK. I was assming that anything that had that peaty Marsh smell was no longer to your taste.
        My little McClellands Islay saw me through the first session.
        Internet sue me then, I’ll pay you in bitcoin.

        But, about those South Africans, damn shame hey? They’ll just have to get by with three world class fast bowlers, and a good spinner.

        Liked by 1 person

  19. Silk Jan 7, 2018 / 9:22 pm

    In a few hours it will, mercifully, be over. Amen.


  20. Nicholas Jan 7, 2018 / 9:43 pm

    A couple of unrelated points from me, steering away from the actual on-field business as that’s far too depressing for words…

    First, I strongly suspect that this will be the last day’s play featuring England that BT will ever show. I can see the Cricket Australia contract going back to Sky in time for the next Ashes. BT picked this contract up when they were looking to rapidly increase their sports rights share (and were not to splash the case) and put down a marker for the ECB rights. Now that Sky have them sewn up well into the 2020s, it seems as though the CA contract alone makes little commercial sense for BT. In future years, this series will be seen as a weird broadcasting anomaly.

    Secondly – this series has taken all 25 days (i.e. all five tests have gone to the fifth day) – do any of you know the last time that an Ashes series lasted all 25 days?


    • Rohan Jan 7, 2018 / 9:50 pm

      Interesting last point, so if Vaughan et al get their wish for 4 day tests, series like this in the future would be drawn 0-0…..


      • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 10:02 pm

        Well you’d hope the pitches would have had more life in them if they were 4 day games, but yeah.


    • Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 10:01 pm

      BT introduced a TV audience to Lovejoy, and people said no thanks, stick to radio.


      • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 10:04 pm

        BT Sport may not even exist in four years. I think the Disney takeover and the closer alliance with Sky that will result will lead to an easing of the competition, such as it is. It’s why the Premier League are a bit more worried about the next rights issue. The illusion of competition needs to be maintained for the ridiculous costs to cover it to be maintained.


        • Nicholas Jan 7, 2018 / 10:14 pm

          I think BT Sport is still doing a very important job for BT so I would be hugely surprised to see it disappear. However, I think it will slip into a distinct ‘second place’ to Sky. From around 2014-15 it seemed like they were trying to challenge Sky as number 1 player, but they (sensibly, for my money) have backed down from this approach.


        • Mark Jan 7, 2018 / 10:20 pm

          I do wonder if we are getting close to the top of sports rights? Anecdotally people I know have cancelled, and they are big sports watchers. I myself find I watch less and less football. In the US people cutting the cable cord is rising. Now that is not all due to sport, and is part of the rise of Netflix. If you have to pay for Sky and BT and Netflix it starts to add up to a nice holiday for the family instead.

          Love him or loath him Murdoch tends to get his business deals right. I find it interesting he is getting out of Sky sports now. It may be for many reasons, but if he thought it was a cash cow for his family he wouldn’t be selling.


          • dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 10:32 pm

            I’d think it might transition towards the model American sports have with each sport having their own comprehensive streaming service with some games also being on FTA TV.


    • Scrim Jan 8, 2018 / 7:37 am

      I read somewhere that 94/95 was the same. All 5 tests went intuitive the 5th day

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 9:51 pm

    People have been going on about this little Marsh hug mid crease that almost got them run out. Yeah yeah, all very amusing, but this clip is actually quite insightful.
    Look at Smith, while everyone is laughing and clapping the ton, and he is too, he still sees the danger, and goes nuts trying to warn them, from the grandstand. He is truly a cricket tragic. You’ve got to love this guy.



  22. dannycricket Jan 7, 2018 / 10:05 pm

    Joe Root has been throwing up and is dehydrated, possibly won’t be available to bat this morning. Especially if the heat is as bad as yesterday, you’d have thought. Is it possible for England just to declare before play and get the whole thing over with?


  23. LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 10:06 pm

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.


    • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 10:13 pm

      England should get Allen Border to have a word with him. He’s usually good in these sort of situations. And I doubt he’s mellowed with age.


      • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 10:14 pm

        Yeah. Because what he did with Dean Jones was fucking stupid. But never let the folk lore get in the way of sense.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 10:40 pm

          Oh, you think I’m taking any of this seriously? It was a joke, probably a poor one.

          For the record, no I don’t think Root needs challenging on his macho credentials, I think he needs a doctor. Heat records were broken yesterday, they were playing cricket in 45C, and professional tennis games in Sydney were abandoned. I know what’s happening there.


          • LordCanisLupus Jan 7, 2018 / 10:42 pm

            Came on the back of seeing someone saying something similar on Twitter, Fred. Sorry if it came across as sniping. I just get fed up with this being held up as Allan Border being a great leader. It was utterly dense. Too much macho bullshit in sport.


          • Deep Purple Fred Jan 7, 2018 / 11:17 pm

            Ah, you see what Twitter does to you?

            Regarding Border and his tough guy leadership, that would be an interesting debate, for another time.

            No, I don’t believe anyone should put their health at risk for professional sport, but I do also recognise that many athletes only find their limit by sometimes exceeding it. Forget cricket on a hot day, have you seen professional skiing? They’re bloody maniacs. Marathon running? Didn’t Jimmy Connors had an IV drip after a hot hard game in NY?

            I’m unhappy about people being hit in the head and I’m glad the Hughes tragedy has led to improved helmuts. I’m sickened by the NFL attitude to brain injury. I’m always impressed by the way Rugby unleashes such incredible violence, but the players always know to keep it within limits. I don’t think sport is worth dying for. But I don’t think any of that implies criticism of Border. He was a tough man, a man for his time, but with his feet on the ground and far more sensible than the likes of Flower for example. Silly commments on twitter aside, Border mostly had it right.


    • Sherwick Jan 7, 2018 / 10:18 pm

      I wouldn’t be suprised if he has a brokwn finger as well..


      • Zephirine Jan 8, 2018 / 12:25 am

        All this intensifies my wish to give Joe Root a big hug at the moment. Yeah, I know, conversions etc., but all the same.


        • Silk Jan 8, 2018 / 7:44 am

          Brave. Sounds like it’s coming out of both ends. I’d steer clear.


          • Zephirine Jan 8, 2018 / 5:36 pm

            Maybe later 🙂


  24. quebecer Jan 8, 2018 / 12:37 am

    With Moeen gone to Lyon’s arm ball (no one saw that coming), it will be interesting to see how Bairstow bats. I’m hoping like a grown up. I’m not optimistic.


    • Deep Purple Fred Jan 8, 2018 / 12:48 am

      “I’m not optimistic.”
      The 2017/2018 Ashes are hereby concluded.


    • Sri. Grins Jan 8, 2018 / 1:45 am

      He has battled well Q. Shown greater patience. Root and bairstow and the tail can pull off a draw. Has happened in Sydney earlier and the pitch does appear not too difficult despite being the 5th day.

      Just 60+ overs to go. I thought that Smith batted on a little more than he needed to. Could have declared at 600.


  25. Pontiac Jan 8, 2018 / 12:40 am

    Just anyone can do this I guess:

    Notice the blue bits directly underneath the orange bits.

    Lyon has always been much more about flight and drift and bounce than the turn which is easier to see on TV. And turning on demand one ball out of six can be just as good as turning all the time and having an arm ball one out of six.


    • Deep Purple Fred Jan 8, 2018 / 12:54 am

      It doesn’t surprise me that a lazy mathematician would note this, makes sense. Lyon is probably your soul mate.


  26. quebecer Jan 8, 2018 / 2:37 am

    Poor old Joe too sick to continue, and Bairstow misses a straight one.

    I’ve always liked Johnny as a cricketer, and even when he was coming through thought him a better bat than James Taylor. I am full of admiration about what he’s done with his keeping and how he ironed out a few things in his batting technique to become the real deal. But since that has happened, I swear, that boy needs to be sat down and given a very stern talking to about growing the fuck up, and doing a whole lot better. He also should not be allowed to dictate whether he keeps the gloves or not, or whether he’s going to go in and play his own game instead of using a nightwatchman.

    Christ, the amount of times he could have avoided getting out in this series! He needs to be told.

    Jesus as soon as Root wasn’t there! We need to stop treating Bairstow like he’s precious, set him straight, take the gloves off him, tell to keep still at the crease, and average 55. Lord above, all that boy needs to do is just bat! Just go and bat and don’t stop! Just bloody bat, Johnny. Take a lesson form their skipper, for goodness sakes.



    • quebecer Jan 8, 2018 / 2:44 am

      Thanks Johnny. Thanks for being an arse and allowing this final humiliation to hit. Stay in and bat for a few hours? No, wouldn’t want to do that. That would show character and the right stuff. Best to play around a straight easy one because you’re not strong enough to simply not.

      Look, I’ve been in a bloody good mood this whole tour and the exercise in optimism is something I’ve fully embraced. But not bloody now. I can deal with being rubbish – but not being so pathetically lame.

      Because at least test cricket and the Australians playing it have integrity, I’m going to watch until the end. 156-8.


      • dlpthomas Jan 8, 2018 / 3:03 am

        Well at least Curran values his wicket


        • quebecer Jan 8, 2018 / 3:04 am

          Perfect nightwatchman.


          • dlpthomas Jan 8, 2018 / 3:06 am

            Should Joe come out to bat?


  27. Sri. Grins Jan 8, 2018 / 2:50 am

    Didn’t realize that root was too ill to continue. Thought he was fine when he came back to bat.

    The moment he retired hurt again, back comes the bad habits.

    I was happy for Q that Johnny seemed to have buckled down pretty lunch and then the moment root is off, he gives up.

    Really tough on you guys. Better planning and luck next time in Oz


    • quebecer Jan 8, 2018 / 3:03 am

      Thanks Sri. I literally couldn’t have done it without you.


  28. dlpthomas Jan 8, 2018 / 3:19 am

    So it’s 4 – 0 and the Australians are so happy they are clapping the Barmy Army. We will see how good this Australian team is when they play the Saffers and how bad we are when we play NZ. (That’s harsh on NZ but I am just a tad unhappy at the moment – a pity-clap for the Barmy Army. Fuck me.)


    • quebecer Jan 8, 2018 / 3:35 am

      Well done for sticking it out, DL, and also thanks for the sanity and insightful thoughts from you throughout. Chapeau, old thing.


      • dlpthomas Jan 8, 2018 / 3:48 am

        And now Mark Taylor is in the Australian dressing room back-slapping (ie interviewing) the players. Well, at least I can now tell my wife I have experienced pain worse than child birth.

        Liked by 2 people

        • dlpthomas Jan 8, 2018 / 9:04 am

          This is really bugging me. After Dobell wrote about the Australian media thinking & acting as if they were part of the Australian team, Peter Lalor of The Australian spoke about being “insulted” by the claim. He might want to watch that segment and re-think his position. There are some very good Australian cricket writers but many of the ex-players in the media seem to think their job is to act as cheer-leaders for the Australian team. And for the record, I wouldn’t want to see Botham in the dressing room back-slapping the English players either (chance would be a fine thing). Maybe I’m just too old but I don’t think here should be camera’s in the dressing-room – the players have earned the right to celebrate in private.


          • Zephirine Jan 8, 2018 / 11:31 am

            “many of the ex-players in the media seem to think their job is to act as cheer-leaders for the Australian team.”

            Ah yes. The English disease.


  29. dlpthomas Jan 8, 2018 / 6:27 am

    Cricket fans can be dickheads. If Joe had got out before lunch he would have been seen as a hero for getting out of his hospital bed to try and save the game for England. Instead, some fans (mostly Australian I would assume) seem to think he’s weak because he didn’t come out after the lunch break and was asleep when the game could, at least in theory, still be saved.

    Last series the Australians get to sledge us about Swann going home early with a broken heart. This time they’ll sledge us about our captain literally shitting himself before going out to bat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dannycricket Jan 8, 2018 / 6:30 am

      The guy came from a hospital bed to try and save a game which was never going to saved. Some people are just never happy…


  30. Silk Jan 8, 2018 / 7:54 am

    STATSBLAST. In this series Joe Root scored more runs, and averaged more, than Alastair Cook. He also passed 37 more than once.

    He also picked up wickets more cheaply than Ali, Crane or Malan.

    Anyone think that this will be reflected in the end of series scores?


    • metatone Jan 8, 2018 / 8:13 am

      It’ll go the other way – “Cook did his job, a big score, averaged nearly 50, second to Root in the run scoring…”

      Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Jan 8, 2018 / 8:16 am

      This inspired me to look at the stats and Curran’s average and wickets from 3 innings is pretty painful reading.


      • Silk Jan 8, 2018 / 9:30 am

        The batting stats are poor.

        The bowling stats are catastrophic.

        Liked by 1 person

  31. Silk Jan 8, 2018 / 7:56 am

    Captaincy observations. If you’ve got one cautious, aging seamer and 7 shit bowlers from which you can perm any 4, you will look like a shit captain.

    (I don’t think Root is great but no one was complaining in the summer)


    • metatone Jan 8, 2018 / 8:12 am

      Throw in Vince at 3… which seems unlikely to make anyone look good.


        • man in a barrel Jan 8, 2018 / 9:30 am

          Any chance of telling us so we don’t have to open that horrific webpage?


          • Silk Jan 8, 2018 / 9:42 am

            Bird gets a 3 (fair enough). So Nass, to be consistent, gives Curran, Ball and Woakes a 5, and Crane a 7.

            Vince and Stoneman average basically the same as Bancroft. Both of them get a 5. Bancroft gets a 3.

            Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 9:34 am

          Jesus WEPT. This now ranks as one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen in years. What am I missing?


        • man in a barrel Jan 8, 2018 / 9:42 am

          Nasser’s ratings of the Aussies are mostly fair. But every single one of his English ratings needs to be halved. Woakes gets 5 FFS!

          Liked by 1 person

          • man in a barrel Jan 8, 2018 / 9:44 am

            8 for Anderson, while the 4 Aussies who outbowled him get 8.5 or 9….give us a break.

            Liked by 1 person

          • nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 9:47 am

            I have a horrible feeling Swann’s ratings will be even worse…


          • man in a barrel Jan 8, 2018 / 9:50 am

            Mitchell Marsh gets a higher rating than his brother…. Only on planet Nasser


          • nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 11:22 am

            Planet Berry’s ratings are out, but they’re on Telegraph Premium Content (guffaw) so I can’t read anything apart from the comments.

            The comments suggest they were excessively generous to England (shock horror), so I’m looking forward to being fully informed…


      • nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 12:30 pm

        Further juxtaposition:


        • nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 12:36 pm

          I keep seeing new levels in this.

          Bear in mind he has only tweeted twice in response to the Ashes this morning: both times to berate Boycott.


        • nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 12:44 pm

          On behalf of all Guardian readers who ended up here, may I thank you for consistently asking the questions the public wanted in *your* role as a journalist. I particularly liked the way you told one reader he was being impertinent when he asked why the former coach was talking to the current chief selector a few months after presiding over a 5-0 Ashes defeat.

          Liked by 3 people

          • LordCanisLupus Jan 8, 2018 / 12:57 pm

            A real cynic might say that because Sky have given Mr Selfey his little column every week or so it is a requirement for him to trash the opposition. I wasn’t aware that Geoffrey was auditioning for the Head Coach at the ECB job any more than Selfey was by telling us Vince isn’t up to it, Anderson is genius and he went to the same school as Alastair Cook.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Mark Jan 8, 2018 / 1:05 pm

            Selvey obssesed with titles again. The man is a walking, talking pillock. Selvey has no credibility. He is neither a journalist or a pundit. He is an ECB propagandist.

            Boycott in two days has talked more sense that Selvey has in 25 years as a proffesional bullshiter. He has to ask, and answer the questions Mr Selvey because frauds like you have done neither. He is asking the questions and calling out the people who run English cricket. Shame you were not up to the job. Perhaps if you didn’t spend your days sucking up to certain players, and coaches you would have some perspective.

            Liked by 1 person

    • Silk Jan 8, 2018 / 9:35 am

      Dear Jimmy. 4 years ago we lost 5-0. The story then was that the team fell apart but with a few bad apples removed, everything would be fine.

      This time everything in the changing room is lovely, and selection is fine. We lost 4-0. We took fewer wickets than last time.

      i.e. we’ve just got hammered and we can’t blame it on KP, or anyone else. We just weren’t very good. Does this not suggest that England are in /worse/ shape than last time?

      Liked by 1 person

      • nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 9:37 am

        I just said on the Guardian BTL that they remind me of the Met Police in the 60s and 70s, after another porn ring or exposure of police corruption.

        Complacent, paying lip service and learning fuck all because everything is just too cushy and they’re effectively accountable to no-one.

        Liked by 1 person

        • metatone Jan 8, 2018 / 9:53 am

          It all comes back to Flower, it seems to me.
          What has failed most of all? The pipeline of new players… to cover retirements, injuries, loss of form and (Hello Ben Stokes!) idiocy.


          • Sherwick Jan 8, 2018 / 12:09 pm

            Is there any way we can promote Flower again, just like we did after the last debacle?


          • dannycricket Jan 8, 2018 / 9:14 pm

            Strauss’s job might become available…


    • BoredInAustria Jan 8, 2018 / 12:18 pm

      From the Anderson article: “The whitewash four years ago prompted regime change but the leading wicket-taker sees it differently this time.”

      I missed the regime change. A bit like the Romanian revolution. The old guard kept governing. Only, Ceausescu was not shot but made Head of Elite Coaching. They shot someone else instead.

      At least Farbrace sees it different in the discussion with Dobell: “..have we got the right people in the right places…”

      That could be a regime change.

      Liked by 2 people

      • LordCanisLupus Jan 8, 2018 / 1:30 pm

        They believed there was a regime change? So the same people are not about, but Downton was the regime change, not the one culled as a result. Moore was the regime change, but he was Flower’s man. Clarke remained in situ. Cook remained in situ. Sacking a player for reasons undefined but everyone knows because the ECB doesn’t leak, isn’t regime change. Bang on BiA.

        They haven’t got a clue, missed Harrison’s “let them eat cake” round-up just to focus on the bit that mentioned Ben Stokes, and now feign anger? Now?

        They have learned nothing. They care about people like us about as much as they care about analysing Cook’s performance. It’s insulting, it’s annoying and now it’s absolutely no surprise.

        Liked by 1 person

  32. man in a barrel Jan 8, 2018 / 9:36 am

    Bugger! I went to the Mail and read this…. Newman is off his face on something and I want some of what he’s taking

    The positivity that has been so important to England’s limited-overs renaissance has been a negative here in what Anderson described as an ‘attritional’ series because no batsman other than Alastair Cook has had the patience to replicate the extreme concentration and hunger for runs of Smith.

    If Cook gets 7, then I imagine Smith gets about 7,000,000?

    Liked by 1 person

    • nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 9:39 am

      Because he did so ONCE in nine attempts?

      Started well, the post mortem, hasn’t it?


  33. man in a barrel Jan 8, 2018 / 9:48 am

    Newman is so grounded in reality that he looks at himself in the mirror and quotes dialogue from The Hustler to remind himself of his Hollywood career

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Jan 8, 2018 / 11:12 am

      Newman’s article was basically “Joe Root needs to forget about trying to earn tons of money in the IPL and concentrate on captaining England.” It’s the KP line with a nicer tone.

      Any sensible nation would rest Root for this ODI series. Not us. It’s only the IPL that crowds the schedule. Nothing else.


      • man in a barrel Jan 8, 2018 / 11:45 am

        Does any other sport have this belief that you become a better player by resting /not actually playing? A cricketer’s lot is not really so much greater than, say, a tennis player, footballer, rugby player is it? Even when you are fielding, especially with an English captain, you spend something like 4.5 out of 6 hours just standing around. Unless you are actually batting, you are mostly on your backside in the pavilion. For bowlers, obviously, there is much more activity, physical stress and mental exertion, although mental activity is noticeably lower for English bowlers but does it compare with 90+ minutes of almost continuous running?

        Why is it that so many batsmen have back injuries and wicketkeepers don’t? Why are fast medium bowlers so often in rehab? Can’t management see that something is wrong, given that the players spend so little time actually playing or using their skills? In bowling 30 overs, is someone like Anderson really working harder than, say, Murray in a 5 set match?

        I noted that Boycott was curious to know why Root waited for the start of play before setting the field. Couldn’t he remember who was coming out? Especially when they had already been batting for complete sessions. I find it difficult to understand why cricketers complain of burn-out. Is it because they have so much more time to brood? Is it because the dressing-room is full of dickheads – from personal experience, I know that it can be stressful to work with people who annoy you with their habits, mannerisms etc, but you just have to get on with it, don’t you? Most people get through life getting to work at a certain time, doing their job, getting out at the end of the day and repeating it every blinking day, every week. Are cricketers under such abnormal workloads that they need special treatment?


        • Zephirine Jan 8, 2018 / 11:54 am

          Good questions. They spend too much time and energy playing football and doing beep tests if you ask me.


        • Mark Jan 8, 2018 / 12:07 pm

          It’s the curse of central contracts. Originally they were to rest players in particular fast bowlers between test matches. And that was a good idea. It was madness to have our bowlers flogged to death during a test series.

          However, that mission creeped into almost permantely being removed from county cricket. Including batsman. The day to day competitiveness has been removed for endless net sessions. It might also explain why so many of our bowlers are injured. They don’t bowl themselves Into a groove. It’s contestant stop start, and rest.

          The problem is unlike like other sports these players are playing two different professional sports. Test cricket, and ODI cricket. It’s also why we have no one these days who has any expierence of captaincy. No England players play long enough for their countys to become county captains.

          Liked by 1 person

          • AB Jan 8, 2018 / 12:25 pm

            I’ve said this 100 times – bowling in indoor nets is 100 times worse for you, and 100 times more likely to cause an injury than bowling on grass.

            Liked by 2 people

  34. Mark Jan 8, 2018 / 10:44 am

    Seeing as the media have fallen over themselves for the last week to tell us there are no dead rubbers, perhaps they can now explain why we are still so shit?

    Time for England to be reduced to 3 test series in Australia. They don’t merrit a 5 test series. The Ashes were in effect gone after Adelaide, and definitely after Perth. Aus should still keep a five test series in England because they are still capable of winning test matches in England. The ECB eleven are incapable in Australia.


    • alecpaton Jan 8, 2018 / 12:37 pm

      If England are going to play 5 test series, then they need to be treated as such when they go away.

      People talk endlessly about how flash-on-the-pan T20 is affecting the game as a whole, but in that case the Ashes should go the other way entirely and be test cricket in excelsis. England (and by which I mean the ECB) should clear the decks entirely ahead of the series and allow the players time off to recuperate and prepare before going out to Australia well in advance of the 1st test.

      Warm up games should be proper 4 day affairs against full strength Sheffield Shield teams so that England have time to make sure they’re playing the best possible team and give it sufficient opportunity to groove itself.

      People imagine that there is a diminishing appetite and audience for long-form games, even as popular culture embraces the door-stopper novel and the box-set, binge-watch television series.

      The Ashes is a big deal and should be treated as such with more than just plaintive appeals to a semi-forgotten past (Jimmy, Cook and to a lesser extent Broad are the only players who were on the international radar in 2005- still the bench mark for modern Ashes series even after all the protagonists have moved from the outfield to the commentary box).

      Of course, this is all for nothing if sides don’t actually have the talent on the park (and lest we forget, this Aussie batting line-up is nominally worse than the one that was rick-rolled for 60 all-out), but we should acknowledge that wanting the Ashes to be the centrepiece of our cricketing world we should treat it as such.


      • Mark Jan 8, 2018 / 12:57 pm

        I agree. It amazes me the Barmy army are so happy. The English cricket team are taking the piss out of them. They spend a fortune following them around, and the team do no preparation.


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 8, 2018 / 1:11 pm

          I ask myself a lot, are they just the old lot reincarnated, or is this now a parody of a supporters group?

          I went in 2002-3, as you all know by now, and expected us to get hammered. And we did, but I didn’t let it ruin a fabulous holiday in Australia, the best I’ve ever had and likely to ever have (sorry beloved). I joined in with the fun, but it was gallows humour because we were up against a fantastic team in their own back yard. Like this team we had our days, Day 2 at Brisbane, Day 1 at Adelaide, but you knew they were better, and all we wanted to see was improvement. We got Vaughan, some early Harmison (his spell in the 4th test as the Aussies fell over the line was a harbinger) and some spirit. We knew they were overmatched, but some rose to it.

          Forward to now. We’ve been World #1 since, had champion players, a team we really (well I did) enjoy watching until we went joyless and fell apart. Now the Barmy Army seem to be some corporate entity, almost a shell of itself, and it’s no wonder the players love them because they don’t seem to criticise anyone. I think fans need to criticise their team, show them when they aren’t happy. Sure, get behind them, but if they aren’t reciprocating, then they are entitled to be criticised. Maybe the newer elements are like me, they aren’t going to let this ruin their holiday, but it’s all a bit “Twelfth Man” for me these days. What did someone call that organisation, the Tufty Club?

          There are look backs to the previous series. The last series out there reminded me of the break-up of a top dollar band, falling apart in recriminations as they weren’t as successful any more. This series reminds me of Steps. Bland, harmless, sweet, lovely and absolutely effing horrendous. And without the hits.

          Liked by 1 person

  35. ianrsa Jan 8, 2018 / 11:18 am

    Well that was almost satisfying.


  36. Zephirine Jan 8, 2018 / 11:51 am

    Too many nice boys from minor public schools who know there are flaws in their technique but can’t quite be bothered to sort them out.
    Too much money once you get into the England side.
    Too hard to get dropped, unless you’re an opener.
    No replacements in the pipeline for senior players.
    No fast bowlers, except perpetually injured ones.
    Spinners not good enough, injured or they won’t select them.
    Too many players who don’t understand that one-day cricket is a sport but Test cricket is a war game, i.e. you need strategy, more strategy and thinking while playing.
    Anything else?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Mark Jan 8, 2018 / 12:11 pm

      Crane being given a 7 just shows how idiotic the pundit class are. These ratings are stupid anyway. He played one test match against others who have played all 5. It’s simple nonsense to fill column inches and avoid putting the blame where it really belongs. Namely the ECB.


  37. nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 12:11 pm

    I wonder how much overlap there is between the “at least it wasn’t a whitewash” crowd and the “at least it’s not the nineties they were SO bad” crowd.

    Just for them:

    This was a worse series result than every Ashes tour in the 90s, and would have been the joint worst Ashes result home or away in what you might call the “long 90s”, i.e. 1989-2002/03.

    It goes without saying (doesn’t it?) that the Australian side of the “long 90s” was probably better than this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jan 8, 2018 / 12:16 pm

      Dobell is flogging the idea that this series is so much better than last time. It’s just not true. This is a far less potent Australian team than last time. They were beatable this year but England were not up to it and they don’t have the excuses from last time. Players going home injured, Ot retiring mid tour. Players being disruptive. (never any proof given)

      England have just be shit this time. End of story.


    • AB Jan 8, 2018 / 12:20 pm

      I’d identify it is as “Warne’s Australia” from 1993 to 2007. Although he was never captain, he was always the dominant cricketer around which everything else revolved.


  38. AB Jan 8, 2018 / 12:13 pm

    So if it takes around 10-15 years between a kid first watching cricket on the tv and being inspired to take up cricket, and finally fulfilling their ambition of breaking into the test squad, what event around 10-15 years ago might explain this sudden lack of test quality players?

    Its not rocket science. If you have a smaller pool of players to select from, the quality of your best XI is going to decrease. By taking cricket off FTA tv in 2006, the ECB basically reduced its young player pool a decade later to private school pupils and the sons of keen amateurs. This is a massive reduction in quantity, and a massive reduction in quality is bound to follow.

    Now the average age of a spectator is a lot older than a professional cricketer – but following the same logic, we look set for a similarly catastrophic collapse in gate and tv revenues within the next decade or so.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Mark Jan 8, 2018 / 12:53 pm

      The ECB are clueless what to do about lack of people playing cricket and in the schools.. They try to hide the numbers by adding in the number of girls and woman playing cricket which disguises the number of boys not playing cricket.

      They have no answer because money is everything. That means cricket just disappeared from viability 20 years ago. Hardly anyone under 30 has ever seen any crcket on a regular basis.


      • AB Jan 8, 2018 / 1:13 pm

        The thing is, if the ECB were a limited company, their shareprice would reflect the future earning potential of the sport and the organisation. Idiotic decisions like removing cricket from FTA tv and hence destroying their long term revenue streams would cause the share price to collapse and a hostile takeover would be implemented with new administration put in place.

        But the ECB administration don’t run the ECB like a professional company (and they certainly don’t run it like a responsible governing body). They run it as a private revenue stream for themselves – as long as it remains financially solvent for the duration of their careers, then fuck it.

        Tom Harrison is quite literally destroying an entire sport simply as a means of boosting his own income. I mean we’ve seen evil, corrupt capitalism before, but this really takes the piss.

        Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Jan 8, 2018 / 12:59 pm

      Sons of keen amateurs as well as older cricket fans.

      What do we get for being those people, evangelising about the long form, loving the game? Harrison calling us “obsessives” when he should have been saying “thanks”.


  39. nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 12:58 pm

    More player ratings. These might start out looking reasonable.

    Then we get to Mason Crane…


  40. KidVicious Jan 8, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    I have a question for you all, at the risk of pre-empting the Q&A. At what point do people feel the Ashes swung? Not the point at which ‘the momentum’ shifted to Australia, but the point at which England having an outside chance changed to a whitewash? I’ll share my views in a second.

    I keep reading that “aside from Anderson the bowling was poor”… “Anderson was the best bowler”… “the only person who can hold there head high is Anderson”…. Well sorry, not for me. I don’t deny his efforts in Sydney in particular were excellent, and he did really put a shift in, but we really shouldn’t be surprised when our best bowler and highest ever wicket taker is the best bowler in the series. I take that as a given.

    For me the series really turned on that first morning in Adelaide. All the respected wisdom (for want of a better phrase) stated that for England to have a chance we had to win in Adelaide, as it would be the closest thing to replicating home conditions where we are strong. Root inserted the opposition, because he believed that was his best chance of winning the game and somewhat controlling the conditions.

    But they bowled too short, the legacy-length of bowling dry. Not to take wickets, but to contain – the failing of English cricket abroad for the last 5 years. I hold Anderson primarily responsible for that as the leader of the bowling attack.

    There were catastrophic failures in selection, injury management etc etc etc. But on the field, given the tools available, this was the moment when any slim chance disappeared, and I think Anderson should not escape critical analysis – 8/10 in some ratings – we never took 20 wickets ffs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus Jan 8, 2018 / 1:17 pm

      Anderson doesn’t deserve an 8, but it’s the way of the world these days, and I make you right. The first day at Adelaide, when Root backed his bowlers, was the clincher. Anderson taking five wickets there when the game is up, four at the back end of 650 in Perth and game efforts in dead rubbers are not 8/10 material, but what does it matter?

      We needed to tie two or three hundreds together in an innings. We don’t. Australia did. Missing the opportunity at Brisbane also hurt a lot when they were four down and well behind.

      Liked by 1 person

      • KidVicious Jan 8, 2018 / 2:24 pm

        I agree completely; insufficient number of runs and batsman struggled. But everybody knew that going into the series, and the media blame is pointing in the direction of the batsman.

        By contrast, insufficient number of wickets and bowlers struggled. Which few outside BOC mentioned, and the media is not really covering it beyond “we need a spinner and we need pace”. We have what we have, and we didn’t utilise it properly.. Just wanted to point that out specifically as it is rarely mentioned in the main, and of course no-one is held to account. It’s why I singled out Anderson as a senior player, VC and our best bowler.

        The ECB and media can pontificate all they like about what is needed for 4 years time and sweep all failures for this time round under the carpet. Just like they will at the next failure. “Building for the next “


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 8, 2018 / 2:36 pm

          Don’t mention “building”. Mark loves all that 🙂

          We aren’t stable geniuses here, we really aren’t. We don’t pretend to have quick fixes. We don’t pretend to know the answers. I think we all love the international game more than the county game, and reflect that in our writing. I think we know of players at our own counties, in some shape or form (if we care about it) but not more than any average Joe/Josephine. But what we can spot is being treated as idiots, and given what I’ve seen online, BTL, on Twitter and in our papers, that art seems to have been replaced with acceptance of being hammered. We’ve been canned 4-0 in successive 5 test match tours away. Absolutely hammered. Coincidences a plenty. Cook scored runs in the tests we drew. We scored 350-450 and still got walloped. The press thought we would beforehand. Our bowling was toothless. Bayliss still appears a mystery. Something must be done will no doubt be followed by nothing. And the ECB will be the ECB.

          Our blog is attacked because it refused to swallow the 2014 bullshit, called the guilty parties on it, and yes, called the supporters on it too. And I’d do it again if I hadn’t given up the ghost after the childlike nonsense that arose from Cook’s 244. I can comment here and let my feelings run a little more free than ATL. I frankly wouldn’t know where to start, but I’d probably start with Harrison. He’s evil. Evil for the game. He thinks he’s doing the right thing, which is worrying. Strauss has obvious flaws, which Dobell is calling him on, and Bayliss seems a waste of space if all he is there to do is to create a good environment. I have no clue what Chuckles does. Root should have his captaincy reviewed, and then a decision made. Unlike four years ago there really appears no alternative. TINA reigns. The senior pros need to consider their positions and decide if they think it is right to go on. Then the gaps in the team need to be addressed. Of course Loughborough needs to be looked at, but so does what happened to Hameed, what might happen to Crane, and what is happening to Stokes.

          There’s a lot to go on. A shame I’ll be doing it BTL, but I’m also sure Chris, Danny and Sean will be forensic.

          Liked by 2 people

          • KidVicious Jan 8, 2018 / 3:48 pm

            Very well said. The groundwork you have laid is fantastic, and the blog is in great hands. It’s the one place where ATL and BTL are both worth reading, word for word.


    • man in a barrel Jan 8, 2018 / 1:51 pm

      Tbh I would shift it back to Brisbane. That Vince run out was a body blow. England looked set for 400+ but found themselves at 145/3. This became 246/5 and finally 302. This team relies on big runs from the tail and this demonstrated that the Aussie bowling would not let this happen.

      Then Australia found themselves at 175/5 but managed to get a first innings lead. The English bowling was not penetrative enough.

      From the end of the first innings, it was clear that England would struggle unless the top order fired and the bowling improved. Neither happened to the extent necessary


    • dannycricket Jan 8, 2018 / 10:39 pm

      Early in 2014? The “plans” were set in place then, and this is their fruit. England were outclassed in every aspect of the game, both on and off the field.


  41. AB Jan 8, 2018 / 1:17 pm

    We lost the Ashes the moment we buried our heads in the sand after the last debacle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • metatone Jan 8, 2018 / 1:26 pm

      I sort of think that’s why they moved MS along. Not that the replacements/remainers are perfect, but do seem less reliant on “mates views” inside the England setup.


        • LordCanisLupus Jan 8, 2018 / 3:58 pm

          Your eyes are just drawn to this. Drawn to it like you would be to the thing you covet the most. Drawn to it like a car crash on the motorway…

          The new managing director of England cricket, Paul Downton, an inspired appointment following the retirement of Hugh Morris, will conduct a searching debrief involving management, captain, the new national selector James Whitaker, and very likely players as well.

          Inspired is just about the perfect description.

          And BTL there are some Sri Grins quotes absolutely chock full of “pessimism”. Say it isn’t so, Sri….

          Liked by 1 person

          • Sri. Grins Jan 9, 2018 / 1:47 am

            I was realistic about India’S chances against England in England in 2014. The scoreline proves it. This time I am realistic and think that India has a better chance to win in England than 2014. No pessimism at all. Knew India did not have the bowlers in 2014


        • Silk Jan 8, 2018 / 4:29 pm

          I’ve read that twice.

          It doesn’t say anything, does it? It’s just words. There’s no message or meaning there (beyond Alasdair Cook should remain captain for unclear reasons, and Andy Flower should remain coach because we were really crap when he took over).


          • LordCanisLupus Jan 8, 2018 / 4:44 pm

            It pulls more punches than a boxer told to throw a fight. It has as much gravitas as a Steps record. It has as much insight as Donald Trump asked to define genius. It has as much direction for the way forward as a blind man on a bicycle with no wheels.

            But we should bow to his knowledge. That blog was such a missed opportunity.

            Liked by 1 person

          • nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 5:26 pm

            And then it got even better when he denied that he meant to suggest Flower had issued an ultimatum…


          • nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 6:09 pm

            Comments on pages 3 and 4 are even better. Early responses to the ultimatum piece (on which comments were not opened). Several posters getting it spot on straight away.


          • LordCanisLupus Jan 8, 2018 / 6:31 pm

            Tom must be suffering from heat stroke. Where do you start with Root getting 4 and Crane 5. Root the same as Vince and Stoneman. It’s mad!

            Liked by 1 person

  42. metatone Jan 8, 2018 / 1:33 pm

    Ok, time for the world’s stupidest question:

    I can understand that spinners don’t prosper in our broken Spring/Autumn county cricket schedule. I can also understand that easy lateral movement makes a medium pacer more dangerous.

    However, why do genuine pace bowlers not prosper at this time of year? One might think it would be (a la Dale Steyn or Malcolm Marshall) a real winning combination, pace and movement?


    • LordCanisLupus Jan 8, 2018 / 1:35 pm

      Just an observation.

      In the early part of last season wasn’t the Division 1 leading wicket taker Simon Harmer? Is he a pace bowler?


      • metatone Jan 8, 2018 / 1:41 pm

        Was it the early part? I thought he only burst forth with a pile of wickets in June?


      • Silk Jan 8, 2018 / 1:42 pm

        Harmer’s an SLA, isn’t he?


        • Silk Jan 8, 2018 / 1:43 pm

          My mistake. He’s an offie. I guess that shows how little I get to Chelmsford these days.


    • Silk Jan 8, 2018 / 1:47 pm

      I suspect it’s not so much “Why do genuine pace bowlers not prosper at this time of year?” as “Why put the effort in to bowling fast?”.

      Also, I suspect whole genuine pace would take a lot of wickets in England in May, you are also going to go for more runs. cf. the Aussie bowlers having inferior economy rates to the English ones in this series.

      Darren Stevens on a green top must be bloody annoying to play against. Hard to middle the ball, and if you get a decent edge along the ground it’s blocked in the slips rather than flying to the boundary.

      Liked by 1 person

    • AB Jan 8, 2018 / 4:28 pm

      Not a huge amount of point in steaming in to bang the ball into a rice pudding. 90mph in, 50mph out. Ball sits up like a gentle underarm lob. 4 runs, thanks, worth a lot when 200 plays 200.

      Just put the ball there, seam proud, at 80mph, and the pitch will do the rest. Many bowlers find that by pulling their pace back to ~ 80mph, they maximise both their accuracy and the amount of movement they get off the pitch.


  43. man in a barrel Jan 8, 2018 / 1:59 pm

    I suppose it makes me a tragic but Swann actually referred to Paynter and his heroics in 1932-33 but he called him a Yorkie! The rest of the panel didn’t know what he was talking about. Vaughan didn’t know that Paynter was Lancastrian. 😣


  44. Maxie Allen cricket (@MaxieCricket) Jan 8, 2018 / 4:15 pm

    A few random thoughts..apologies if these have already come up (haven’t had the chance to read everything).

    Where does this rank among English catastrophes in Australia? In a sense it felt less horrific than 2013/13 and less agonising for supporters than 2006/7. But it was more dismal – and sadder – than either. Australia were good but not awesome (much weaker than they were in those other two series) and England folded so limply and so meekly.

    Where in England’s planning had they even conceived the scenario that Mason Crane and Tom Curran would be batting together in a vain attempt to stave off an innings defeat and 4-0? Was that something they envisaged on the flight over from London? Put it like that and you realise just what a nightmare it became.

    With Strauss on compassionate leave, where is Tom Harrison? He should be fronting up – right now – to face the press and take responsibility for this calamity?

    The final result underlined the irrelevance of Cook’s 244 and his failures when it counted.

    As TLG argued a few weeks ago, the fundamental cause of all this was the utter inadequacy of the response to the 2013/14 series. That much is entirely self-evident. Then again, it was 5-0 then, and only 4-0 this time – so maybe sacking Pietersen did help, after all…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Silk Jan 8, 2018 / 4:24 pm

      More dismal, as you say.

      Last time, even if you accepted (which I didn’t) that we had to move on from KP, there were causes for optimism. You could sense that with the injection of some fresh blood and fresh leadership (which we didn’t really get) the team could improve.

      Stokes will, probably, improve this side, but I don’t think Stoneman is going to end his Test career with an average over 40, which means we have problems, and no obvious answers, at 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 and 10.

      That’s more than half the team (for those wot can’t count to 6).


    • Zephirine Jan 8, 2018 / 5:50 pm

      The Sydney Test in 2014 was extraordinary, I remember commenting that the players were ‘mentally on strike’. There was a sort of sullen-ness about the body language. They were just hating every moment of it.

      This time, I didn’t watch enough play to judge, but I get the impression the England players were more resigned. Yes, they’d lost badly, but they can live with it. I don’t think they’ll remember it as the tour from hell.

      Is that an improvement or not?


  45. nonoxcol Jan 8, 2018 / 5:34 pm

    Decent player ratings from the Guardian!

    With the usual caveat regarding Anderson.


  46. Mark Jan 8, 2018 / 5:53 pm

    From Dobell……

    “The problem is the ECB chief executive, Tom Harrison, trying to kid us that English cricket is in good health, and Andrew Strauss who has achieved little in his time as director of England cricket other than settling a couple of old scores: getting rid of Peter Moores and Kevin Pietersen. If teams are judged by their success in global events – as Strauss has always said – it is worth remembering they did worse in the 2017 Champions Trophy than the 2013 Champions Trophy.”

    Settling old scores is all the ECB is about, and so is most of the English cricket media. What’s left of it.


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