England vs. Australia, 2nd Test, Preview

So after hope turned into angst and then into despair in the First Test at Edgbaston, England head to Lords 1-0 down in the series and into a game they dare not lose. First of all, the weather forecast for tomorrow in London is atrocious, with Friday not looking exactly great either, so if you are a fan of seeing AB de Villiers’ masterclasses or Alastair Cook’s last England century, then you are likely in a for a treat over the next few days. With more than a bit of indifferent weather around at Lords this week and the chances of play tomorrow looking about as likely as a sensible decision by the ECB, then whoever wins the toss probably on Thursday will want to bat first in what is likely to be an uninterrupted day’s play.

England have named their squad of 12 for the game with Jimmy now crocked and Moeen dropped for more humane purposes, it seems like Archer and Leach will play with a toss-up between Denly and Curran for the final position. I very much doubt that they would want to move Stokes up to 4 to accommodate Curran, so my money would be on Denly retaining his place despite looking in no way like an international quality batsman. Of course, the more sensible thing to do might be to admit that the selectors got it horribly wrong in the First Test by playing Roy as an opener instead of dropping him to number 4 and persevering with Bairstow who is not a great wicketkeeper and looks like a walking wicket whenever he walks to the crease. England though don’t do sensible with Ed Smith and his enormous ego in charge of selection and were never going to admit that they made a complete hash of selections for the First Test, so here we go again, with England facing a potent Australian attack with a paper-thin batting unit. Plus ca change!

The demotion of Moeen is the one sensible thing England have done in my opinion in the last week. His brain has looked frazzled, his batting is probably worse than Stuart Broad’s at the moment and he was shown by a competent spinner at Lords. Moeen does seem to divide people the most in this England team, not only on Twitter, but also between the Editors on this blog. I have never been a massive fan and have always wanted England to invest in a spinner who is a natural master of his art, not one who bats and bowls a bit, but many others quite rightly point to his bowling record over the last 12 months as an argument that he should be persevered with as a front line spinner. My major issue is that when he doesn’t take wickets, he is often unable to tie down an end, often going for 4 runs an over, something which must be incredibly difficult to captain when trying to rotate the quicks from the other end. Some may argue that his demotion is harsh on him after 1 Test against Australia; however I personally think that he needs to get away from the game for a little bit to clear his mind and work on some of the fundamentals. There has been some talk that maybe the geniuses at Loughborough had been tinkering with Moeen’s technique too much, thankfully Mike Selvey was on hand to give a typically insightful and nuanced response:

Naturally it would be preferable for his replacement to have bowled some overs recently in the red ball format, but the England brains trust seem to be lacking just that in preparing their players for the Test Match format.

As for Australia, they have made the slightly odd decision to leave out James Pattinson for the Lords Test, despite him looking pretty threatening in the last Test. It may well be that they don’t want to risk injuring him with 4 Tests pretty much back to back or that they don’t think the Lords surface will suit his bowling, but I’d be a little miffed if I were him. I would expect Hazelwood to replace Pattinson in the team as the only change in their team from Edgbaston with Siddle and Cummins making a pretty potent attack on a pitch that might well do a fair bit with overhead conditions.

On a final note, I see that the ECB are doing their best to not just alienate the fans with The Hundred, but also those English coaches who ply their arts in the county set up, by giving The Hundred coaching gigs to as many international coaches as possible. It hardly seems prudent to be throwing large amounts of cash at the likes of Shane Warne and Gary Kirsten (it’s amazing how a fist full of cash can suddenly change your opinion of something isn’t it Shane) when they are struggling to pay their own centrally contracted players at the moment. The lunatics have generally always run the asylum when it comes to English cricket administration, but this is something else, especially when the saying ‘you can’t polish a turd’ springs to mind with this stupid format. Again, plus ca change!

Anyway feel free to comment with any thoughts below on the off chance that we actually get some play tomorrow. Danny did promise to live blog the day before he saw the weather forecast, so I suggest that we make him stay true to his word! Also if you haven’t had a chance to read the Ashes panel yet, then do so here, there are some really good points made and like Dmitri, I would also like to thank those who took the time out to answer the questions. No doubt there will be some more following soon!

 

29 thoughts on “England vs. Australia, 2nd Test, Preview

  1. quebecer Aug 13, 2019 / 10:40 pm

    Sean, I agree about Pattinson. I must admit, given the likely pitch conditions, I’d have kept the same attack as Edgbaston if I were Aus, but perhaps there are injury niggles and concerns they aren’t letting on about. If Starc really did need a rest after the WC the last three tests would seem to be the time to bring him back. I’d also have thought that if they preferred Siddle in Birmingham there would be no reason to sleepy Hazelwood now. So yes, a bit confusing.

    I feel a bit sorry for Archer. I hope hope hope there is someone at mid on saying, keep it smooth, keep the line tight, and just bowl. I don’t doubt Archer’s mind set, but I do worry England will let him down, not the other way around.

    As for Denly, it’s one of those situations where to change the selection admits initial error. Can’t see that happening for a while yet. But the unholy mess we have from #1-#8 has got to the point where I just don’t see a solution now. A few years ago? Perhaps then – and there were plenty of people saying it. But what do we do now? Saying play Bairstow as a batsman now is too late, as he’s not the player now that he could have been. Foakes should play, but there is no chance of that happening with Buttler and Bairstow at #5 and #7, no chance of Bairstow now moving up the order permanently, and little to suggest that Buttler can bat higher than #6, which is where Stokes should bat. There’s no solution that I can see.

    A shout out for Stuart Broad is in order though. I thought he was both excellent and unlucky in the 1st test, and if he’s the same at Lords, we do have a chance.

    Like

    • quebecer Aug 13, 2019 / 11:03 pm

      Well, excellent and NOT unlucky, obviously.

      Like

    • Deep Purple Fred Aug 13, 2019 / 11:38 pm

      Jesus, Selvey, can’t someone hack his account and delete him or something?

      But as regards Pattinson, Sean says “I’d be a little miffed if I were him.”. The problem is, Starc is currently miffed, and Hazelwood, he’s really bloody miffed. So who are you not going to miff? Don’t you dare leave Siddle out. Pattinson has been told to eat raw meat and drag tyres around or something, and they’ll unleash him in the third.

      Don’t worry about Archer. He’s a fast bowler susceptible to injury, and the new great hope before he’s even played a test. In the hands of the ECB, what could go wrong?

      Like

      • Pontiac Aug 14, 2019 / 3:17 am

        Leach might just bowl. That’s dangerous.

        Like

      • Sean Aug 14, 2019 / 8:35 pm

        Hi DPF,

        Am I right in thinking Starc has been out of form in Test Cricket over the past 12 months? I can understand Hazelwood being miffed as whenever I’ve seen him with some helpful conditions, then he always looks the real deal. That being said, I wouldn’t drop Siddle in these conditions.

        Would be nice for England to have the same issues with their bowling, let alone batting line up…

        Like

      • Deep Purple Fred Aug 14, 2019 / 11:48 pm

        My reading is Starc is world class for limited overs, but not quite the same dynamite for tests. Also has had injury issues, so test record is a bit more patchy. Great with the yorkers that are so invaluable in that format, but not quite up there with other skills. Not sure he’s really had an extended run as a test bowler yet. We may not have seen the best of him yet.
        But that’s all relative. But if Starc is your fall back option, you’re in pretty good shape.

        Like

  2. dArthez Aug 14, 2019 / 5:27 am

    Sri Lanka – New Zealand, first Test – review. It was a glorious win for New Zealand. They won the toss, and that has proven good enough for the win in Sri Lanka 90% of the time in the last four years. Not sure why they bother with the cricket, since Sri Lanka has failed to overcome losing the toss all but once, and for that they needed the assistance of an incompetent third umpire to beat Zimbabwe.

    Seriously, the toss is way too important in Sri Lanka (and it is equally telling that all the toss decisions were ‘bat first’).

    Like

    • metatone Aug 14, 2019 / 7:36 am

      Dananjaya doing his best to keep the game interesting…

      Like

  3. metatone Aug 14, 2019 / 7:39 am

    Unless we get really lucky with the weather I don’t see how this game isn’t a draw.
    With that in mind both teams should be looking to bat long and just wear out the opposition bowlers a bit.
    Overall, you’d put more money on Aus being able to do that.
    So, unless Archer can put some doubt into the minds of some Aussie batsmen, I’m predicting a bore draw and some grinding down of England’s bowling. Leach may be targeted.

    Like

  4. metatone Aug 14, 2019 / 7:42 am

    In passing, one thing Test cricket would benefit from would be scheduled rain days. It won’t always help, but if you had Monday scheduled as a catch up day then the odds on getting a decent match together would be much higher.

    Yes, traditionalists won’t like it and yes, it would cost some money, but if the game is to thrive then some effort has to be put into the integrity of the sporting contest.

    Like

    • dArthez Aug 14, 2019 / 7:58 am

      If they were bothered about the integrity of contests, the Sri Lankans long would have ceded control over pitch preparation. Seriously, they keep on serving up win toss = bat first = win games pitches for years without end, and no one in authority is even raising an eyebrow.

      It is a good thing that they lose half the tosses, so that it is blatantly obvious what is going on there (at least the likes of India, Australia, (and England on occasion) do overcome losing the toss at home. Sri Lanka can’t even be bothered to fight for a draw when they have lost the toss, regardless of the opposition they face.

      But seriously speaking, even if we lose 120 overs due to rain, I still see plenty of chances of getting a result at Lord’s.

      Like

  5. growltiger Aug 14, 2019 / 8:48 am

    Interesting insight into Ed’s selection thinking at yesterday’s press conference. The selection of twelve for this Test was designed to allow a flexible reaction to the weather. Thus, Curran is definitely in, but Denly will play rather than Leach if it rains a lot and we don’t need a spinner. This is evidently a prelude to the next match, where there will be no doubt about needing a spinner, so that Denly will have been dropped in two stages, perhaps remaining in the twelve for one more match before disappearing altogether, an exit reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat. Masterly.

    Like

  6. dlpthomas Aug 14, 2019 / 11:00 am

    Channel 9 are showing highlights from a certain test match in Adelaide.

    Like

    • dlpthomas Aug 14, 2019 / 11:06 am

      550 in the first innings – on way we can loose from here.

      Like

      • dlpthomas Aug 14, 2019 / 11:54 am

        Well that got ugly

        Like

  7. quebecer Aug 14, 2019 / 3:55 pm

    You’ve got to say, that’s a good day for England.

    Like

    • metatone Aug 14, 2019 / 5:06 pm

      Onwards to glorious drawing.

      Like

      • Sean Aug 14, 2019 / 5:28 pm

        I’d need another day of rain before I start predicting draws with this batting unit 🙈

        Liked by 1 person

        • Quebecer Aug 14, 2019 / 6:22 pm

          Yes, metatone with typical English hubris.

          Like

    • Marek Aug 14, 2019 / 7:58 pm

      They’re just playing it in the wrong place: no play at Lord’s, truncated days in Trinidad and Galle…and a full 100 overs in Aberdeen!

      Like

      • Sean Aug 14, 2019 / 8:16 pm

        You might struggle to sell that one to our sub-continental friends….

        Like

  8. thebogfather Aug 14, 2019 / 4:01 pm

    Phew! We survived day one
    Roy unbeaten, didn’t swing for fun
    Jofra came through, fetlock in fine fettle
    YJB showed his inner mettle
    Broady rewarded us with no DRS appeals
    Leach leaked no runs, Rooty ruled the fields
    Stokes never broke anyone’s nose
    Denly cleverly side-stepping the selector’s toes
    Woakes didn’t choke on his favourite ground
    Buttler smiled nicely when interviewed
    Burns left us to yearn for his style so crude
    The rain reigned supreme, The Ashes still our dream…

    Like

    • thebogfather Aug 14, 2019 / 4:11 pm

      Ooops! A line fell astray ^ ‘tween Woakes and Buttler…

      Phew! We survived day one
      Roy unbeaten, didn’t swing for fun
      Jofra came through, fetlock in fine fettle
      YJB showed his inner mettle
      Broady rewarded us with no DRS appeals
      Leach leaked no runs, Rooty ruled the fields
      Stokes never broke anyone’s nose
      Denly cleverly side-stepping the selector’s toes
      Woakes didn’t choke on his favourite ground
      Young Sam was banned from the bars all around
      Buttler smiled so nicely when interviewed
      Burns left us to yearn for his style so crude
      The rain reigned supreme, The Ashes regained is still our dream…

      Like

  9. quebecer Aug 14, 2019 / 5:32 pm

    Guardian reporting Lehmann in line for the coaching job at Headingley in the 100. I have no words.

    Like

    • Sean Aug 14, 2019 / 5:38 pm

      Is there any bloody Australian who hasn’t been offered a gig? Tom Moody looks confirmed too

      Like

      • Deep Purple Fred Aug 14, 2019 / 11:40 pm

        Ian Healy.
        You know you want him. Yes, you do.

        Like

        • quebecer Aug 15, 2019 / 12:39 am

          Have you been offered a franchise yet Fred?

          Like

          • Deep Purple Fred Aug 15, 2019 / 12:56 am

            Couldn’t comment at the moment Q, let’s just say don’t be surprised if Vaughan doesn’t start talking up antipodean coaching chops on TMS tomorrow.

            I did have a few, you know, lunches. I think when I said I’d have KP opening, they started to warm to the idea (they all went red). A bit of antipodean daring, right there.

            Like

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