Day 2 at Edgbaston beckons after a fascinating opening day of the Ashes series. As I indicated in my introduction piece on Monday, I wasn’t feeling the vibe of the latest incarnation of the oldest series, but you know, Stuart Broad, England playing an unfit bowler who breaks down, England letting the opposition off the hook, Tom Harrison being interviewed, top quality umpiring, Tom Harrison being interviewed again, various Tweeters getting on my Tweets, and a day sifting job applications in between talking at length to lawyers who earn in an hour what I do in a week sort of raises the temperature. Man, that was a long sentence.
So, to prepare those we are going to ask to be on our panel, we thought we’d give you a couple of questions to opine on before play:
- 284 – good, bad or indifferent? Let’s ignore the eighth wicket going down at 122 (alright, don’t) but as play stands now is this a winning score for Australia?
- Steve Smith – best test batsman at the moment, or is this bubble going to burst (or both)?
- On a level of 1-10, with 1 being chilled, your reaction to your premier bowler getting injured after four overs, having been injured in the run-up to the test?
We won’t be able to live blog today – or if we do, it will be intermittent, but please keep checking in to see if we do provide updates. That said, it was great to see the in-play comments from you, and also thanks to Sean and Danny for all the efforts yesterday. We will try to live blog when the occasion merits it.
Boring Stat Watch
Steve Smith made the joint 99th highest score for Australia in meetings between the two countries. He joins former captains Don Bradman, Greg Chappell and Ricky Ponting in making 144 in Ashes tests. It was the 314th test hundred by an Australian against England.
Stuart Broad took the 254th five wicket plus haul in an innings for England against Australia. These were the joint 207th best figures for England v Australia (Broad has the best figures by anyone not called Laker, of course). Geoff Arnold took 5/86 at Sydney in 1975.
284 is the equal 500th highest score in England v Australia matches. On the five previous occasions the score has been made, the team making 284 has won twice. Australia in 1895, and memorably, England at the MCG in 1982. On the three other occasions, the team making 284 has lost (England at the MCG in 1921, Australia at Lord’s in 1934 – the only time 284 was made in the second innings of the test and England at The Oval in 1972).
In 1982, Australia replied to 284 with 287. In 1972, Australia replied to 284 with 399. In 1934, England had made 440 before Hedley Verity did his thing. In 1921 Australia followed 284 with 389. In the only other time Australia scored 284 in the first innings of the test match against England, we followed up with 65 and 72.
Too Many Tweeters
OK. Statwatch done. Let’s look at ConnWatch…
Now for Shiny Toy…
Four day tests
Birds of a feather
Did Selfey have anything to offer?
Blocked By Paul, Watching Paul
Paul Newman watch…
If there was any concern the Ashes might for once be forced to play second fiddle this summer to an extraordinary World Cup then we need not have worried.
This was a superb and eventful opening day to the biggest Test series of them all from the moment David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, two of the three members of ‘The Banned’, walked out to the most hostile of Edgbaston welcomes.
There was a totally hapless display from umpires Joel Wilson and Aleem Dar that was only partially rescued by the Decision Review System and, frankly, was simply not good enough for the highest level of the game.
There was an atmosphere like no other at any English ground, with the Hollies Stand loudly but never too nastily taunting the disgraced Australians and their captain in Tim Paine who had goaded them on the eve of this always epic contest.
But, above all, there was the controversial figure of Steve Smith, the captain sacked in disgrace in the aftermath of sandpaper-gate, defiantly and brilliantly rescuing his side from the brink of disaster and inspiring them to what looks like a highly competitive score.
and he’s not letting up…
And at the centre of it was the man who haunted England during the last Ashes with his idiosyncratic but world-class batting before his world fell apart when the poisonous culture that had infected his captaincy unravelled spectacularly in Cape Town.
This was Smith’s first Test innings since that cheating scandal 18 months ago but how he made up for lost time with an exceptional 144, more than half their score, that puts Australia on top in this first Test and could well have set the tone for the whole series.
Sadly, no Martin Samuel this time around.
Oh No, Not Him Again
Tom Harrison was on Sky and TMS this lunchtime, presumably because doing the rounds at a mere “warm up” against Ireland to bask in the glow of the World Cup victory wasn’t significant enough. I listened to it this lunchtime, well the TMS bit, and it was every bit as depressing as you would have thought. He did virtually everything he could to avoid mentioning the Hundred by name, but did mention Sky at every opportunity. There will be a massively enhanced partnership next year – I’m not sure what Sky will be doing to enhance it, more repeats of Masterclass? – and somehow in his haze of bigging up Sky, he said 13 million watched the World Cup and of all outlets Sky had the most. Can’t offend the chief partner. According to Tom we will be getting 100 hours of free to air cricket next year. If BBC have 10 matches of 3 hours duration and a couple of other games, where is the rest coming from? Someone tell me. There was more. Much more. But not much new. I saw Gower congratulate Harrison on the World Cup win. We are absolutely stupid. Partners indeed.
So, on to Day 2. Please fire away, please answer the day’s panel questions, please keep the fires burning. It’s going to be an interesting day. I leave you with this on the booing of the Sandpaper Gang..
I was at the Gabba that day. I heard Aussies around me tell him to stop being soft and get up, but then change their tune when he was stretchered off. However, I will never forget the weapons grade bell-end who spent almost the entire day calling Matthew Hoggard a wanker all day. The problem with us being sanctimonious about booing, pretending we’re a moral paragon, is that we’re not. Neither are England fans a bunch of scum, as those who tut tut in the comm box about this sort of thing make them out to be. Like everything, you pays your money, you takes your choice. I feel it is unwise for any ex-pro to criticise supporters on how they support the game.
Enough of that. Hope you enjoyed this mish mash. Comment away on Day 2.
I’m glad you used the word “sanctimonious”, because no-one does sanctimony quite like the English. I hasten to add that I’m not just talking about sport, of course. I have my theories as to why this might be, and ironically enough the pernicious half-century influence of an elderly Australian is one of them.
One other observation: it’s remarkable how many of the more extreme frothers on Twitter have a football avatar or mention it in the first sentence of their bio. The same holds for extreme views on other controversial subjects.
I felt uncomfortable, to say the least, with the booing of landmarks and Smith’s dismissal. Didn’t care about the welcome, lunch/tea/rain, or Warner and Bancroft, but I really can’t recall 50s, 100s and ends to great innings being booed like that before. The attempts of TMS and C5 to ignore it and describe “standing ovations” instead were excruciating.
From inside the ground it wasn’t too bad. I wanted to boo, because the excuses and lies post them being caught was worse than the actual offence (every single professional sportsperson cheats (or try’s for marginal gains) – witness any time the ball goes for a throw in football), but I couldn’t because I just couldn’t. However people did applaud and stand for the 100 and when he was out, they just booed at the same time.
Worse was England’s refusal to leave the field when it rained (albeit briefly).
Anyway off to day 2 today, very intrigued by this match and I’ll answer the questions briefly (I will be in the US for the majority of these Ashes so won’t have anything much to say after tomorrow (LCL breathes a sigh of relief 😂)
1. I first came to Edgbaston to watch an Ashes test in 2001 and saw Steve Waugh bat on one leg whilst going past 240 for about 3 or 4. Context is everything though, at 122-8 we thought it was going to be easy, however we now have a test match. If you asked me going in would I think bowling them out for 284 I would have taken it, so yes it’s a competitive score but an England team of yesteryear (2005) would have licked their lips thought of 450+ and pressure all on Australia. Would love to see us close by the evening for the loss of 4 wickets, suspect we will be 265-7!
2. Great batsman – fun to watch, so idiosyncratic pre and post batting, then so still for the delivery
3. 11 – stupid stupid stupid
They have the internet in the US, OdB. You could listen to Guerilla Cricket without a geo block.
On a family holiday to Florida – I’ll let you explain that to my wife and daughter!!
Smith may not be pretty but he gets the job done. Not only did he rescue the team, it may turn out to be a match winning innings (we may well know by lunch time). And in his first test back. England clearly have no idea how to get him out and I wonder if the first thing the new coach should do is think about whether or not we need a new captain.
Hay Bluff looks nice.
284 is definitely a very competitive score in my view. This looks like a low-scoring series, and the pressure of the match combined with a flakey English batting order could make this a match defining score.
Smith is annoying, ugly, brilliant and the best Test batsman in the world. Boak.
The selection of Anderson was a gamble. Is the first Test of an Ashes series (with five Tests in seven weeks) the place for a gamble?
Not to this contributer.
On the final point, I was there and booed them all. I stood up and clapped the ton – whilst booing. Panto, peurile stuff, but it is only sport after all – don’t take life too seriously.
There are many things about sport fandom that I actively despise. But I don’t have the right to impose my view on anyone else. Sport allows for individual reactions, letting off steam, your own feelings. I have never understood what possesses an individual to wake up and think “you know what, I’ll take my trumpet to the ground today”. That is well ahead in my list of peeves.
But at the top are sanctimonious ex pros and commentators who preached of the end of the world when the Cape Town incident took place, being judge and jury on supporters having their views. Then they love the raucous atmosphere at Edgbaston but only if it’s a safe space for them. I booed Ponting back in the day. I was probably wrong, but I’m not apologising. Just as I won’t apologise for not giving Cook a standing ovation last year. I didn’t tell people to sit down. It’s their choice.
I definitely would have booed Ponting. He was brilliant enough to warrant it, and feisty enough to make it worthwhile. I wouldn’t boo Ed Cowan. I barely bothered to boo Bancroft. If I couldn’t pick him out in the street, why waste my energy?
The media types haven’t ever been fans, and will never understand that 25000 people will all react differently to a prompt such as a ball-tamperer making a century on return.
Most wouldn’t know the price of a ticket. They wouldn’t have a clue where to park, or what train/bus/tube you need to get to even get there. They don’t have to find a ticket collection point whilst thousands of people walk in different directions at 10:30am. They don’t take cover if it rains, dont get sunburnt knees, can move about if they get uncomfortable in their seats, they don’t pay over a tenner for a burger van “meal”, £90 for a ticket, and they don’t take time out of their limited annual leave to be there. Booooooo
On the booing I will say this…….
The sanctimony coming for the Aussie media is sounding like the oh so famous elastic lines….. that, if you remember are always moving, and only the Aussies get to decide what constitutes crossing them. Screw that. I don’t remember anyone voting to make the Aussies the arbitrators of what constites acceptable behaviour.
Also, the only people who pay to enter a sports stadium are the fans. NOT the players, NOT the coaches (which in cricket is a whole battalion of people) NOT the officials, and their chums, and NOT the media. They all get in for free. Now you could argue the TV companies pay for the right to broadcast, but they don’t do it out the kindness of their heart, and they pass those costs on, with a profit added, to their customers, who are …..again the fans.
Is the booing silly? Yes? Is some of it juvenile? Yes, but its a pantomime, and Smith is a pantomime villain. Don’t get me wrong, if some moron decided to wander out onto the field and take a swing at him that would be completely unacceptable.
If the fans were a bit more wise they would realise that Smith is like Steve Waugh. The more you pile in, the more he performs. Warner is a hot head, and might do something silly…like fail to review!
I’m not overly enamoured by team ECB, or team Aussie CA, but the Aussie media, and the English pundits always manage to remind me who is really important. The much maligned paying fans.
1 284 is a par score I guess. It may well turn out to be a winning score. England need to bat the day, and then see where they are. Can any team now bat a day’s play in England?
2 Steve Smith is the best test batsman at the moment, if the judgement call is getting the job done. There are many more pleasing on the eye players, but would you back any other player on either side to bat for your life?
3 Anderson is getting older, these things happen. It’s a miracle he has been so injury free through his test career. It’s only a talking point because the England medical team have been suspect in the past. It looks like Mark Wood is out for the series, Archer is recovering, and Anderson maybe out for tests two & three.
This all puts huge pressure on England’s batsman today. They need to match or better the Aussies. If they fall in a heap England could be in big trouble in this series. If they go one down with a broken bowling attack it may be bye bye Ashes.
It’s only the second day, but today may play a huge role in deciding the Ashes 2019. How about that for hyperbole?
And I will say that for personal reasons I am deeply, deeply uncomfortable with extended public shaming, would cite this article (below) by one of our sometime contributors in support of my position, and ask if the whole thing really warrants the kind of comparisons I’ve been seeing BTL today, e.g. to Ben Johnson and Lance Armstrong, along with comments such as “I’m still at the ‘hope they die in a fire’ stage.” Also, some of the 2005 team were paraded at lunchtime, presumably to a hero’s welcome, and I think everyone here knows they weren’t exactly whiter than white when it came to ball-tampering. Sanctimony goes both ways.
I never commented on this via BOC or anywhere else at the time, because I found the tone of the debate incredibly partisan, jingoistic, sneering, triumphalist, sanctimonious and frankly dull. I’m sure there was nuance in there somewhere, but the tone was so repulsive it put me off looking for any. But there you go. Yesterday pushed me a bit far. I’m certainly not trying to make Smith out to be any kind of hero or martyr, but I really don’t like where this whole thing is going. It doesn’t *sound* like mere pantomime from where I’m sitting.
I suspect Tim Paine’s comments about Edgbaston not being intimidating might have had a fair bit to do with it yesterday. A desire to prove him wrong and so on.
It’s a problem when there’s a belief that one side is morally superior to the other, which is palpable nonsense. Equally part of the reason I suspect the focus on those three happened, given various Australian cricketers’ belief that they were the cricket police of the world drove much of the antipathy.
The one thing that always puzzled me was the outrage that ball tampering went on. It always has, always will. Hell, it goes on at club level, and telling people that caused them to react with amazement.
Putting more than three men together in the same place greatly reduces the chances of intelligent behaviour. If they’re under 25, the chances are even slimmer, add alchohol and it’s all over. The problem probably lies with people who expect better from crowds, even cricket ones.
If Australia is the target, it becomes turbo-charged, criticising Australia is just one of the norms of cricket. Even here, a few days ago someone said all Australians are pricks. Without any qualification. I guess it was just a pantomime comment.
I was at at Lords once when Ponting was dismissed. What struck me wasn’t the delight from the crowd, nor the abuse he got on the way back, but the contempt and loathing in people voices as they yelled at him. It wasn’t a joke, they genuinely seemed to loathe him. It was like something from Orwell’s orchestrated hate sessions in 1984. And this was Lords.
I’m not defending Smith, nor CA’s treatment of him, nor English booing, nor Australia in general. I just know that such reactions from crowds and blog commenters are standard, and are just part of the background noise against which cricket is played.
English and Australians goad each other. You did it so we’re going to do it (both sides say this). It’s a way of the crowd being involved in their own minds rather than just spectators. Generally speaking, unless it goes too far and is something like racial, I’m in complete agreement that it’s just part of the background noise and not something to get irate about whoever is doing it.
Roy gone for a low score. No one could have foreseen that, against a quality red ball attack, with most of his runs coming in lucky edges.
Bring back Leach. Can’t do much worse, and provides an extra bowling option.