Day 5. 10 Wickets. Rain. 90 Overs. Draw needed. Let’s all pray. If you care about England that is. Australia had the best day of the test and are now in the command seats. A day of tension looks like ensuing, although the weather may well play a role. There is some rain forecast.
Steve Smith became the fifth Australian to make a hundred in each innings of an Ashes test – following Warren Bardsley, Arthur Morris, Steve Waugh and Matthew Hayden (I was there). While the media, the press, the social media and pretty much all of the sentient world has fallen into believing he’s some form of mythical beast that cannot be tamed, Smith has dutifully maintained the rate of average not seen since Bradman, who, of course, had to have short-pitched fast bowling banned to maintain his never-to-be-matched statistics. Smith has had to persuade the world he cannot be dismissed, the Keyser Soze of batting.
His 142 was the equal 106th highest individual score by an Australian in matches against England. His 144 is the 98th equal highest. Both Ponting and Smith have 142 and 144 scores v England, but in the case of Punter, obviously not in the same match. Smith has a 141, 142, 143 and 144 in tests v England – a neat statistical quirk (he has a 138 as well). His was the 315th hundred for Australia against England, his tenth, and Matthew Wade followed soon after with a century of his own. Smith’s is the 16th highest score by an Aussie in the 3rd innings of an Ashes test.
Wade’s hundred ranks 239th equal in high scores for Australia v England. It was the seventh score of 110 by an Australian, bringing him alongside Rodney Marsh in the Centenary Test at Melbourne (the only not out 110), Bill Ponsford (twice), Geoff Marsh (in a losing cause in Brisbane ’86), Marcus North and Chris Rogers (at Chester-le-Street in 2015).
Australia’s innings of 487 for 7 ranks as the seventh highest 3rd innings by Australia in Ashes tests (note this includes Centenary and other assorted match-ups between the teams). The highest this century is the 527/5 butchering the roasted England players endured (as did I) at Perth in 2006. Just the one total above 487 in the third innings has not resulted in a win. This was in a six day test in 1947 at Melbourne, which England started the final day on 91/0 and finished 310/7. The 536 included one of Ray Lindwall’s two test centuries. England’s hero in the fourth innings was Cyril Washbrook, who made 112.
Sing When You’re Winning, You Only Sing When You’re Winning
Shiny Toy Watch
It was Jonathan Liew who said of Robbie Savage “he always have an opinion, and if you hang around long enough, you’ll get one opposite to his original one” (or something like that). We lose if Smith stays in, we draw if we keep left handers away from Lyon (simple).
File this under “only an opinion” as long as it’s mine…
Oh…Greatest Ever Watch
We Read Paul So You Don’t Have To…
The ball pitched outside off-stump, spat off the worn and ultra-dry Edgbaston surface and turned sharply to bowl Tim Paine through the gate. It was the perfect off-spinner’s dismissal but it was the moment that summed up England’s desperate first Test plight.
Even Moeen Ali could barely summon up the energy to celebrate a classic example of his art to dismiss the Australian captain because it was far too little and far too late to stop England facing nothing but a monumental fight for survival at their Birmingham fortress.
If only Moeen had been able to conjure up something similar much, much earlier to the man who has produced one of the great Ashes performances here in Steve Smith, then perhaps this first Ashes episode might have been following a very different script.
Paul’s feeling a bit down…
Any plan for England to capitalise on green pitches in this Ashes with last year’s batch of seaming Dukes balls, just as they did in the 2015 series, has gone up in a puff of dust from an Edgbaston surface that instead has been tailor-made for spin.
It has hardly helped that England have been a bowler down since Jimmy Anderson limped off on the first morning while Chris Woakes was mysteriously restricted to just seven overs as Australia piled on the misery and runs.
There is no mention of Root’s captaincy, and there’s a bizarre claim that Root and Denly both out-bowled Moeen, and some old waffle about Smith and the crowd. It’s a crestfallen piece of what might have been.
How many times are Sky going to focus their cameras on Ed Smith during the day’s play? It’s getting beyond a joke. I saw very little of the play on Sunday, but there he was, on screen, on three occasions. There with his dutiful little helper, James Taylor, sometimes, but in this test, more often with other of the hob-nob top strata. I would like to be notified by anyone watching when he gets on screen on the final day.
Now count the times James Whitaker, Geoff Miller and David Graveney were on the screens during play. The ego has landed alright. FICJAM. About to be shown the futility of his brilliance.
Comments on Day 5 below.
I’d rather that instead of training the cameras on Ed S they’d ask him some questions – like “why Denly”
Grim reality is that this isn’t an England team built to bat out a day for a draw.
Count the out of formers: Bairstow and Mo
Count the dashers: Roy, Buttler, Bairstow, Mo
One could ask Ed S about that* too.
Or about Anderson picked not fully fit, and rumours of Woakes being troubled by his knee.
*To be clear, it’s a strategic choice and looking at the way Aus’s better run rate has helped put them in a stronger position, it’s not clear that it’s all wrong… but of course we are losing, so it’s not all right either.
The better runrate in the first innings was mostly on the back of the last two wicket stands. If they had plod along at the same rate as England managed in the first innings, we’d be close to 25 overs closer to the finish line.
Second innings included some declaration batting, and with England 1.5 bowlers down (not sure whether Woakes is injured or whether this is Root’s Panesar moment in the Ashes (cf. Cook 2013/14), but the speed at which the Aussies piled on the runs definitely gave them more time than they ought to have had to bowl England out.
Which only goes to highlight the poor tactics employed by England this game.
Also note that the dashers in the first innings contributed runs at less than 2 / over combined. Obviously, part of that is because none of them lasted long, but dashing in Test cricket is a whole different kettle of fish than ODI batting. The only frontline batsmen (ie. not the likes of Afridi and Southee) who have managed to do that pretty well in the last 15 years in Test cricket were Gilchrist and Sehwag (SRs of 80+), and to a lesser extent Warner and de Kock (70+ SRs).
For England the players with the highest career strike rates (batting in top 7, since 2000 (due to incomplete scorecards with regards to number of balls faced) are Prior, Flintoff and Pietersen, with SRs in the low 60s, which are slightly higher than what Buttler has managed.
If we focus on just the fourth innings, the numbers don’t improve that much for the current players: Gooch was batting as quickly in the fourth innings (30 games) as Bairstow (22 games). That is Bairstow scores almost 10 runs fewer per 100 balls, while barely averaging 50% of what Pietersen averaged in the fourth innings (20 vs 38).
Now obviously, that will be influenced by game situations that people face, and we can’t read too much in those statistics. But there is little to suggest that the current crop is particularly well equipped compared to past teams to bat out time.
Ok, I expect us to lose today, but if I had more faith in Ed S then I’d say we were on the cusp of finding a better functioning line up.
Assumptions: Mo is to go back to county life to get some of his batting mojo back. We’ll give Leach a try b/c competent left arm spin might be a good ploy against Smith and a couple of others.
Anderson is injured, assume Woakes is fit, if not, more adjustments needed:
Further thoughts in case of injuries and form issues, but obviously too many changes isn’t good:
If you think Mo should stay, then I’m open to that, but I feel like he needs time to get himself together. Also totally open to the argument that Bairstow is also mentally shot and needs to go back to Yorkshire, but I feel like his ODI form was good, so it’s more about adjustment, while Mo’s general form has been down…
Bairstow seems completely shot in red-ball cricket. If Foakes were not injured, obvious switch. Agree with you on the irrelevance of Denly (omitted from your XI without discussion). Mo is just not working as bowler or batsman, and needs time to get himself back together, as he has done before. Given Foakes unavailable, I would give Buttler the gloves and make a space for Sam Curran, who would do more to spice up the attack than Stone (but, if Archer not fit, he plays too).
Is Foakes injured? He played 72 hours ago and I can’t find any reports that he was injured in that game…
England will have lost the game by lunch, probably. The idea of them batting out the day is ludicrous, unless you’re 1) Michael Vaughan or 2) Haven’t been watching England play Test Cricket for about 8 years.
Nathan Lyon doesn’t need to be Shane Warne, the batsmen will get themselves out. Someone will hang around and make 70-ish. Burns or possibly Denly, just to confuse people. Broad or Woakes will make a brisk, cameo 30.
Saddest of all, I won’t really care if I’m right or not. I’ll be enjoying cycling in the rain with Mini-Northern Light 🙂
There was a time when Bairstow showed real intent in pursuit of a draw (batting for three and half hours against Pakistan at Lord’s in 2016). But that was some time ago. Similarly, Moeen at the beginning of his career batted nearly all day to save a Test, but number 11 fell off the last ball. In reality, there are only three players in the England side with any credentials at the business of batting time in defensive mode; Burns, Root and Stokes. Three out of 11 is not really enough.
What’s the odds on Jason Roy making it to lunch? Actually, I’m not going to get on his back, he was magnificent in the World Cup. But he has been asked to do something that is not his natural game.
I fully expect England to lose (assuming there are enough overs) because England’s batting is not designed to bat time. Prove me wrong guys. Also the weather won’t save England the forecast is for a full day. Tomorrow it’s going to rain, but too late.
The amazing thing about proper five day test match cricket is you can have the upper hand or slight advantage for three days, and then by the end of the day four you are miles behind. No other form of cricket can do that. We should cherish it,
As to shinny toy, why does he think kids like numbers? Are they on the play bus or something? “Today children, we will be looking through the round window, at the numbers.”
And why has cricket got to be reinvented because “kids like it.” How about the people who actually pay to watch. Hint…..not the kids. Of course if you breeze through the entrance turnstyles with the wave of your press card paying punters are irrelevant. This modern madness that kids should run everything……”the kids like numbers…..”the kids watch on their mobiles……..”the kids have short attention spans”……..yea, because they are kids.
If Ed Smith positions himself ala Alex Ferguson in a prominent seat I guess the cameras are going to zoom in. He doesn’t have to watch from there, perhaps he thinks he is backing his picks? Which brings us to the captain. With Ashley Giles as chief supremo, Ed Smith as Pep, and the coach as Jimmy Hill, who needs a captain?
England got busted in this test match. They took a huge gamble with unfit bowlers. It almost payed off, (without Smith it would have) but they ran out of gas. It’s up to the batsman to save them.
I fear it’s going to be a long day……….
I found entering the words “Michael Vaughan greatest ever” into Google immensely satisfying.
As well as Smith, no Kohli, no it’s Smith:
– watching England win an ODI World Cup was the “greatest ever” day he’s had in cricket (my eyebrows still haven’t come down since he said that 3 weeks ago, given he was playing on days like 7th August, 28th August and 12th September 2005, never mind scoring three hundreds against a reasonably useful side in 2002/03)
– his greatest ever touring XI includes some gems such as picking Strauss because he can give him share tips; Mark Butcher for his guitar (no really); Botham because “he’s so famous he can get us on a golf course for free”; Phil Mustard because he’s the only England player he’s ever seen fail to recognise Giles Clarke; and Andy Caddick because “it’s like having your wife on tour with you”.
– Kohli IS the greatest ever ODI player (Twitter). He will be relieved to retain one title.
– “Without question the greatest run out of all time” (Twitter again)
– Big Bash catch greatest ever (Ben Laughlin and Jake Weatherald relay effort)
– World Cup again: “I don’t think there has ever been a better set of England players to sell the game and make sure all the kids are in their gardens, trying to copy them.”
– World Cup again: “This could be England’s *worst* World Cup ever, says Michael Vaughan” (26 June)
– Former England captain, Michael Vaughan has unveiled a leg-spinner whom he calls the greatest ever, and better than Warne (unnamed leggie in Instagram video, 6 months ago)
– Jimmy Anderson is greatest ever England bowler (and this was back in 2013 FFS)
All of these are in the first four pages of the search.
The man is clickbait in human form.
9th wrong decision for Wilson. Root was leg before air. Comfortably missing the stumps, and that should have been fairly obvious.
Whereas Dar has improved after Day 1 (and generally umpired well after a horrific day 1, Wilson keeps mucking things up.
Wilson should fake a nose-bleed and get some-one else to take over. His confidence must be shot to hell.
Shortly followed by #10 for Wilson. Honestly, with DRS in place, why not have Australian and English umpires?
LikeLiked by 1 person
What’s the record for the highest number of incorrect decisions by an umpire in a match? This must be close.
And a marginal lbw not given by Wilson. Fair enough in itself, but if you give lbws that are clearly going to miss the stumps, then such marginal decisions won’t look good either way.
Worse, Root gone to Lyon as well.85/4, and still 9 minutes left in the session or so. Fair to say, Lyon is comfortably outbowling Moeen. Sure, the pitch has not improved, but has not deteriorated that much in 24 hours either.
Honestly, I really don’t see how Moeen can retain his spot for Lord’s next Test. It would be a massive gamble if he is picked.
I know a few people here don’t rate Lyon but I reckon he’s an excellent bowler. He also learns on the job – his first tour of India was OK but his second tour was excellent. I suspect he will have learned a few things from his last tour of England and have a really good series.
Is that true that people don’t rate Lyon? I thought get everyone was over that.
You could argue my piece yesterday didn’t put Nathan Lyon in the top drawer of all time spinners, and I will stick by that. But he’s a really good test match bowler, and he had a good day today. Should we be pulling up in pools of sweat at having to face him? No. This isn’t Murali at Galle.
hah, did you do that?
Certainly not – just saw a screenshot on Twitter.
In spite of S Ravi’s sterling efforts, I used to think the late Javed Akhtar at Headingley 1998 was the benchmark for terrible umpiring.
BC Cooray set a standard not easily matched. Mr Wilson appears to think it’s a level to aspire to.
Wilson is also standing in the third Test. I dread to think of what would have happened if S. Ravi was the guy at the other end …
The reference to blind cricket umpires did not last long.
Also Dar’s decision that Root was offering a shot with the bat behind the pad is a bit dubious. Root might well have been a goner if that had been given in Lyon’s first over.
If that standard had been applied to Head and Wade against Denly, we might have a closer game on our hands too.
I actually think that is how it should have gone, but I’m not going to complain overly about a small amount of consistency given all the other issues…
Yeah, that was really not an unreasonable decision. I have seen those given – but as long as there is consistency in such decisions in a particular game, it is fine by me. I did not watch all of Wade and Head’s innings yesterday and the day before so if they had similar escapes, then there is no argument: Dar made the right decision here.
Umpiring standards have to be consistent on such matters throughout the game.
Roy just gone, 60/2. Lyon strikes. Not the best shot he could have played there.
Only 11 overs in the first hour.
Not a great overrate, and Wilson is certainly not helping matters in that respect. I thought the fans came to see cricket, and not to see umpires make all kinds of howlers. Will the ICC start refunding fans for the overs lost due to incompetent umpiring?
Fuck me that was stupid by Roy.
Depressingly predictable that one.
I thought he looked OK up until that brain fart. I’m crossing my fingers for a big one from Denly.
Yes, I had had a bit of hope for him up to that point, but in comes the brain storm and splat go the stumps…
In retrospect, it perhaps wasn’t a great idea for the English batsmen to watch this before today’s innings:
Just got out of meetings that I’ve been in all morning and I am not in the least bit surprised.
For those watching, how many times have they shown Ed Smith on screen?
I have to laugh. Give Lyon the “he’s not Murali” build up, and he’s running through us just like Murali.
It’s funny, really. It really is!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Credit to Roy – was still the batsman who lasted longest in the innings.
Awful by Roy. Absolutely brainless.
I really like Denly and am desperate for him to do well, but even I don’t think he should have been picked. It’s a real weird one from Ed SMith, Master of Six-Dimensional Selection
You had to jinx him
Just had a look at the results, having thought that the “Fortress Edgbaston” thing was overblown.
England haven’t lost to anyone there since Graeme Smith in 2008. The Aus and WI Tests at the start of this century are their only other defeats in Birmingham since the two and a half day green trampoline in 1995.
(Also, until 2008 only Aus and WI had *ever* beaten them there)
It is not the ‘winningest’ ground in England. But I suppose the ECB were desperate to shoot themselves in the foot a couple of years ago …
That honour goes to Durham (6 games, 6 wins). But a W/L ratio of 3.5 is still second best in England. Most venues with perfect records (no losses) have not seen more than 2 or 3 games, with Durham’s 6 games being the best.
Noticeably behind Karachi (10.5), Centurion (9.5) and Mohali (7.0). The winningest ground in Australia is the Gabba (4.88), slightly ahead of Hobart (4.5) (all venues with a minimum of 10 games played).
Maybe limited overs circus acts such as Roy and Buttler do not work in test cricket.
If you’re not thinking outside the box, then you aren’t wanted. Ed Smith does not deal with mere convention. He’s here to think the unthinkable.
So, with Roy seemingly out of his depth at Test level, and Bairstow swinging at thin air…perhaps Ed should plagiarise his white ball team selection and let them open so to enthuse each other….after all, an occasional 90-1, 102-2 off 18 overs is better than our usual 38-3…
Then if they do reach a ton, send in Jos next with free reign…only then, not before, send in the couple of slower compilers that remain. At least until someone gives the plagiarist the number of a Mitchell, North East or some SA bloke comiing through the kolpak/youth engagement (pounds) system
Expect at least two ‘definitely’ fit bowlers to be selected for Lords
Well, England seem desperate not to even last till drink in the post-Lunch session.
Buttler gone shortly after lunch, and Bairstow and Stokes did not last long.
– Average since he made 93 v India: 16.94 (and that includes a hundred in SL)
– Average since start of 2018 English season: 22.91
– Since start of English season: 2 hundreds, 3 fifties, only 1 other score of 30 or above (exactly 30), 6 ducks, 4 other single-figure scores.
– Number of Tests you have to go back for his cumulative average to exceed 30: 31 (second Test v India 2016/17)
If i were Robin Smith I’d be pissed off.
Really struggling to remember the last time an Ashes Test saw such dominance/capitulation in the last two days after being closely fought for three.
Might get my books out later. Currently the closest thing I can think of is Edgbaston 1985, but that was only two rain-ruined days and one innings before Gower and Robinson got to work in the Saturday sun.
Actually this was more like the whole 1985 series condensed into one Test.
I can think of one closely fought for four days, and then dominance and capitulation on Day 5. I might even have named a blog after it!
Headingley 1989 was pretty closely fought, although batting dominated, before we packed it in on Day 5.
Ha, now I feel very silly forgetting that! I have very different memories of that series I suppose, given I was in hospital. It doesn’t readily spring to mind and I have no visual references in my memory banks, except the oft-repeated first ball.
I forget who said it, but one of the wise commenters here said it : England had 3 chances to press home an advantage and failed to each time, 2 with the ball and 1 with the bat. You can’t do that and win Test matches.
It will be very interesting to see how many changes England make for the next test. Jimmy’s out and it’s not clear that Woakes is fit to bowl. On top of that questions need to be asked about Moeen, Bairstow, Denly and maybe even Buttler.
Also, Joe Root’s average is just 1.81 above Pietersen’s now. The regression to mean, brought on by the added burden of captaining this scientific experiment in selections, is almost complete.
If Root had a 2013/14 series, he might be very close to KP’s average by the end of it. I think he needs 150 runs from around 8 innings to fall to it.
We’re ruining him.
LikeLiked by 2 people
As ever, one problem is who else is guaranteed selection?
Broad? Stokes? Would you want to put that pressure on them?
Bit early for Burns…
I suppose Woakes would be a good pick, he seems grounded, but then there are the rumours about his knee…