England vs Australia: 2nd Test, Day Four

For England to win this match, they probably need to be bowled out sometime around the middle of tomorrow, for the chances of them declaring with any kind of reasonable target are minimal, particularly given their position 1-0 down in the series.  It is fortunate then that the batting line up did their part to remove the possibility of a tricky decision by (yet again) getting out early.  So much has been written about the flaws in the order, and the second innings was little more than a rinse and repeat of the first – Roy getting out early, Burns looking the part as a Test opener without going on to a big score, Root struggling at number three, Denly getting in and getting out again.

Buttler and Stokes arrested the slide batting to the close, but with England just 104 ahead and with only six wickets in hand, posting a challenging score is going to be difficult. As to what would offer a passable chance of victory, anything around 200 would be likely to be less than easy to chase, because although it is really only a two and a bit day pitch, there will be the added pressure of a run chase. Yet it is by no means certain England will get there, it is going to require some support from the tail, and at least one of the remaining batsmen to make a significant contribution.  If more than one does so, then the chances of a definitive result will start to recede, but these are wild fantasies given the batting performances so far, even if the lower order have done well.

Undoubtedly the biggest talking point of the day was Jofra Archer’s duel with Steve Smith.  It was a riveting, thrilling passage of play, with Archer’s speed rising into the mid-nineties and Smith for the first time look genuinely discomfited.  First the blow on the arm, which eventually resulted in Smith going for an X-Ray (fortunately showing no break), and then a sickening blow to the neck which left Smith on the ground, to retire hurt, and then to return for a frantic brief stay at the crease.

There are so many issues arising from this – firstly that Test cricket is testing, and that a fast bowler intimidating batsmen is entirely part of the game, and those who complained about that part are simply not worth listening to.  The next element was the reaction of Jofra Archer, based on he and Jos Buttler smiling and sharing a conversation a good five minutes after the event, but while Smith was still being treated some distance away.  Archer’s reaction was deemed in some quarters to be showing a lack of care, a lack of interest in the welfare of a player hurt.  This is unfair and presuming knowledge of the inner thoughts of another person.  It’s also something to which I can relate to some degree.  Some years back I hit a straight drive back which hit my batting partner (who wasn’t wearing a helmet) flush on the side of the head.  I can recall my reaction to it all too well – yes, absolutely I went to see if he was OK, but I was also utterly bewildered and confused by it.  That initial reaction was not so much to rush to his aid (as it undoubtedly is when a bystander rather than the perpetrator), but a confused one, denial that it had happened, and absolutely nervous laughter and attempts at humour.  It is entirely normal to be so uncertain in terms of reaction, and not to behave in the way that those on the outside might imagine someone should.  The mind in those circumstances is a maelstrom of conflicting thoughts and emotions.

As my batting partner left the field to go to hospital, I carried on batting, entirely on auto-pilot.  I lasted about 5 minutes before the dawning terror of what had just happened came through, and at that point the cricket field was the last place I wanted to be.  I spent much of the rest of the afternoon with a rising sense of concern and became progressively more upset.  I have no idea what was going through Jofra Archer’s thoughts, but I do absolutely recall my own state of mind when something not too dissimilar happened, and I am not prepared to act as judge and jury because someone didn’t react in the way that the court of social media wanted them to do in the moments following a genuinely sickening incident.

The ground did go completely silent as it happened, as grounds do when there is shock and concern, but when Smith came back on to resume his innings, a largely supportive crowd gave a standing ovation, but the ground also contained a few who booed.  Those who did are idiots, but it doesn’t take very many to do it out of a crowd of 30,000 to be extremely noticeable.  And while they might be idiots for doing that, there have been enough instances in Australia, England and elsewhere of related fools to forestall any attempt at claiming the moral high ground by anyone.  That’s not to defend in any way those at Lord’s who booed a brave and fine batsman, it is to acknowledge that morons exist everywhere, and selective outrage either in England or Australia when some in the other country are guilty of it remains endlessly tiresome.  More than that, it operates as a feedback loop, and doubtless there will be some in Australia next time around using that as an excuse to berate English players.  And so it carries on, with some pretending they are the good guys and the opposition supporters are not, with no grounds whatever for such a view.

Those present at the ground reacted with some surprise at the strong reaction on social media, suggesting that the boos that were clearly audible through the TV speakers probably were not indicative of a wider response within the ground.  Either way, it was unedifying and didn’t reflect well on those who did it.

As a passage of play though, it was utterly beguiling.  And there is the additional point about what it means for the remainder of this series.  Extreme pace makes any batsman, no matter how good, uncomfortable.  Smith has looked to be playing on a 25 yard pitch thus far this series, so much time has he had to play the ball.  For the very first time, he looked in trouble, and that means that he’s going to get a whole heap more of the same for the remainder of the series, which is no different at all to the way England players have been targeted by short pitched bowling by Australia, and something Smith himself will both expect and be up for the challenge set.  It means it’s going to be exciting, and intimidatory, and entirely within both the laws and the spirit of the game, just as it was the other way around.  When England were being bounced out by the likes of Mitchell Johnson, the frustration was that England didn’t play it better, not that there was anything at all wrong with the tactic.  In Archer, England have a weapon of not just pace, but extreme pace.  Given the number of overs he bowled this innings, the danger is in him being overbowled rather than used as a strike bowler, and his 25 overs in Australia’s innings ought to be a concern.

Smith aside, England had chipped away at the Australian batting order all day.  Archer was explosive, but Broad had been his usual efficient self with the ball, and collected four well deserved wickets.  Broad continues to be somewhat underappreciated, despite his 450 Test wickets, but his enforced rest over the winter gave him the opportunity to work properly on his bowling, and the results seem fruitful.  At 33, and without quite the athletic physique of his long term opening partner James Anderson, he may not be too far from the end, but his attempt to prolong his career reflects well on him – even his batting appears a touch more confident than it has been, albeit a long way from the days when he was verging on being a genuine all rounder.

Tomorrow might be a depressing day, a dull day or a thrilling day.  And the 98 overs scheduled will have to be bowled, which will make a delightful change.


84 thoughts on “England vs Australia: 2nd Test, Day Four

  1. Murty Aug 17, 2019 / 7:44 pm

    what a tosser – between the ECB and the current england cricket team and the obvious lack of human compassion here there’s no wonder very few people in this country give a toss about the game!


    • Mark Aug 17, 2019 / 9:01 pm

      “it is to acknowledge that morons exist everywhere, and selective outrage either in England or Australia when some in the other country are guilty of it remains endlessly tiresome.“

      How prescient!


  2. quebecer Aug 17, 2019 / 9:39 pm

    I saw the comments (from people I respect) on the previous thread about Archer, but I
    m not sure I agree. Archer is a 90+mph bowler, the short stuff is a major weapon, and it means inevitably there will be batsmen who are hit. Similarly, as a batsman, everyone at the top level accepts that it will happen. So, the issue is how a bowler reacts?

    Accepting that things have chanced since poor Phil Hughes, it’s still worth remembering what fast bowlers have always been. Archer has spoken before of hitting batsmen, and yes, it’s not something that exactly turns him off. But does that put him in the Thommo/Sylvester Clarke category? I’m not sure.

    It was a bit unfortunate that the clip of him laughing with Buttler was shown, but it was a fair few minutes after the event and Smith was palpably OK by then so again, was his reaction reasonable? Professional? Respectful? Personally, I’d say yes, yes, and not quite the point. His job was to be ready to do exactly the same thing again without hesitation. It sounds cold, but it’s the point.

    What’s also interesting is how Smith was so determined to take him on. If you look at the top edge and the other mistimed hook (let alone having been hit on the arm and popping one up near short leg), he wasn’t doing well. There wasn’t a single short ball he actually played well. Quite possibly it was one of those moments of not letting a bowler get the advantage, but some better evasive action (in keeping with Smith’s more usual patience) might have been the option to go with, rather than a determination to take the bowler on. It looked liked machismo (again, hardly a rare quality in top players). In the end, the cumulative effect of Smith’s own batting made him a deer in the headlights when he got hit, as he was with the LBW. As great a batsman as Smith is (and he undoubtedly is), he got hit through less than great batting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Aug 17, 2019 / 9:42 pm

      I don’t think they should have let Smith come out to bat again. I felt it irresponsible.

      But I’m the person who was absolutely furious about Brett Lee’s assault on Piers Morgan when everyone else loved it, so what do I know?

      I’m still furious about it btw. Absolutely raging. Utterly irresponsible.


      • BobW Aug 17, 2019 / 9:56 pm

        Actually LG I agree with you on the Brett Lee thing it was stupid. Actually reckless.
        I think Smith’s mind was still scrambled and was glad when he did get out. Not least because no harm could come to him.
        This stuff about Archer makes me laugh really. He’s one guy at one end. I’m old enough to remember the West Indians back in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s who terrified everyone. Four genuine quick in one side. I really didn’t realise how lucky I was to be watching those guys.
        Archer actually needs to work in his bouncer. I’ve a cricket fanzine somewhere upstairs in my house from the ‘80’s and one of the leading articles in it talks about who has the best throat ball in the game!


        • Elaine Simpson-Long Aug 18, 2019 / 8:11 am

          I think Smith wanted to get back out quick to stop himself being afraid. Like getting back on a horse after a fall. He was clearly not enjoying being back out there, but in the long run, mentally, was the right thing to do. Physically, I do wonder how he feels today


          • BobW Aug 18, 2019 / 10:37 am

            You’re right. After all he probably wanted to carry on batting straight after being hit. Doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for him. Can you imagine the furore if Archer had come on and hit him again?

            Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Aug 18, 2019 / 10:39 am

            And he absolutely would have tried to – not hit him as such, but intimidate him and get him out. I guess it’s one of the things about our game that is hard to understand from the outside, but every bowler would do that, and every batsman would expect them to.


          • Elaine Simpson-Long Aug 18, 2019 / 12:28 pm

            Gather he now has delayed concussion. He did look as if he was on auto pilot on his return


          • LordCanisLupus Aug 18, 2019 / 12:38 pm

            My instant reaction to the news was that the Australian medical staff have a lot of questions to answer. I’m not a neurologist, so I defer to their wisdom, but that particular part of the CA statement looked like backside covering.

            But let’s take it that 30% of concussions are delayed. What do you do with the likes of Smith? It is easy for us to say he shouldn’t have been there, and protected from himself, but what do you do to prevent his going out if he passes all protocols? Are we to stop anyone who gets a blow on the head from carrying on? When is it a full blow and not a glancing blow? When are we worried about someone, how big a worry must it be?

            At the end of the day science and professionals only get you so far. Smith looked disgusted being taken off in the first place. If he admits to feeling bad it is, sadly in modern sport, seen as being “weak as piss” (see the Dean Jones/Allan Border at Chennai story). It is, inevitably, one of those questions that can’t be answered with correct/incorrect binary answers.

            Liked by 1 person

          • dlpthomas Aug 18, 2019 / 2:16 pm

            Wolf Lord
            ‘m not sure how things work in England but if you get taken to an Australian emergency dpt after a significant blow to the head you get observed for at least 4 hours to make sure you don’t deteriorate. After that period it is felt safe to discharge the patient (if they are back to baseline) with a head injury card that details when they should return for further review. Patients often bounce-back with persisting or new symptoms.

            Concussion is a pain in the arse. There are multiple guidelines that keep changing which results in a lot of variation in how it is diagnosed and managed. On top of that you can discharge an athlete with detailed instructions of when they can return to training and the team doc will promptly ignore everything you said.


          • Marek Aug 18, 2019 / 2:35 pm

            I would have thought that the main question that needs answering is about the protocol itself.

            If 30% of concussions are delayed, then what are they even doing testing him within several hours (or maybe even a day) of being hit, let alone sending him back onto the field?

            As to what they can do to stop him returning, presumably the contemporary answer is that, since it’s a workplace, they have a legal obligation to prevent him from doing so if there is still a risk of concussion symptoms. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important that the protocol is correct–because, as you say, if he’s passed the tests then on the face of it he’s OK to continue.

            As to Headingley–I thought the Australian concussion protocol didn’t allow you to play for a week after you’d failed a concussion test. It did with Chris Rogers in the WI in 2015, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen that quoted this year too. It seems to me that the policy-making hand of the CA medical department doesn’t know what the operational hand is doing, and vice versa!


          • dlpthomas Aug 18, 2019 / 3:05 pm


            You “test” the player after he gets hit to see if he needs to go to hospital for a more detailed assessment. If the answer is no, then you need to decided whether or not he is safe to return to play (and I reckon that is a much harder decision)

            It was argued on an Australian sports show this morning that the player should be assessed by an independent doctor. They argued that the team doctor is under a lot of pressure to clear the player to return to the field.

            I don’t know what Cricket Australia’s policy is but given the symptoms Smith has today, there is no way he should play in the next test.


  3. Mark Aug 17, 2019 / 10:10 pm

    This is a rather sobering, but very good account of what it was like to face Jeff Thompson in Australian club cricket after he was dropped by Australia after his debut Test match. He had performed badly in that match, but he had played with a broken bone in his foot. He was angry that he had not been picked again, and blamed the selectors and the bowlers who had replaced him.

    “Jeff Thompson is annoyed.”


    Liked by 1 person

  4. quebecer Aug 17, 2019 / 10:34 pm

    Just a thought about Smith’s technique: everything leads towards his eyes over the ball, hands underneath and bat straight – but it’s quite upright, with a straight back and bent knees. It means when he pulls, his body doesn’t move much (a clear advantage) and one of the things that makes him look like he’s got so much time.

    However, it does mean that with being square on and with a straight upright back, it’s hard for him to duck a bouncer coming at real speed. I was thinking of how badly Woakes played Cummins short stuff when, because of his action, Cummins actually pitches quite short for his bouncer and as soon as he hits that length a batsman should be able to duck under it. When Archer gets his bouncer right it isn’t quite as short and ‘leaps’ a little. Archer is also (astoundingly) a bit quicker than Cummins, so the more upright Smith has problems ducking under the ball, meaning that when not attacking it, his evasive action is a little more difficult to execute.

    Of course, Smith is known for hours of practice, so he’ll no doubt get to work, but it will be interesting to see how he reacts. Getting hit like that can affect any batsman, and the thing is, this afternoon as Archer’s spell progressed, it seemed increasingly likely. It wasn’t a one-off freak delivery at all and Smith will know that.


    • thelegglance Aug 17, 2019 / 10:46 pm

      Should he not be then able to get inside the line of it then? If he’s already that far across? Interested in your view?


      • quebecer Aug 17, 2019 / 11:15 pm

        I think the ball that hit him was actually over off stump though, hitting on the back of the head. The way to play that is either duck or sway backwards, right? But swaying backwards goes against his movement, ducking is hard for him, and he just had nowhere to go. His movement back and across is so pronounced that he’s in a naturally good position to hook or pull, but to get inside the line and leave means to duck and let it pass over your left shoulder, and being square on makes that hard.



        • thelegglance Aug 17, 2019 / 11:21 pm

          Yes pretty much agree – though at this kind of speed it’s a coaching level that’s beyond me. I’d have always though that he gets so far across that he ought to be able to control avoiding it way better than most batsmen who stay inside the line to pull. But maybe I’m wrong, I will admit I didn’t see a huge amount technically! But you’re spot on that being turned around will limit options.
          Of course, it could be that it’s not technical, that it’s as simple as a bloke bowling at 96mph and fuck me that’s fast.
          I did laugh at a tweet saying Smith was being hurried. Well, yes – serious pace does that. But maybe we’ve found his weakness – ridiculous, terrifying speed.

          Liked by 1 person

          • quebecer Aug 17, 2019 / 11:32 pm

            So you’re saying the fact that it’s perfectly directed 96mph bouncer that leapt a bit and followed him after he’d been set up by several others is a bit of a factor? And that it might be a bit tough for anyone? And that it’s not exactly as normal in test cricket as it used to be so little chance of previous experience with it or developing a technique that takes it in to account? Crazy talk.

            Liked by 1 person

          • thelegglance Aug 17, 2019 / 11:34 pm

            Sorry, sorry, I don’t know what I was thinking…


        • Deep Purple Fred Aug 17, 2019 / 11:34 pm

          “But maybe we’ve found his weakness – ridiculous, terrifying speed.”
          Yes! It always makes me laugh when people say things like “he has a weakness against late movement”, or “he doesn’t play the one that seams back in very well”. My favourite: “he’s vulnerable to that line outside the off stump.”

          Liked by 1 person

        • riverman21 Aug 18, 2019 / 8:38 am

          Very interesting Quebecer.

          Smith’s strength against all other bowlers is his weakness V Archer. Watching back he left himself with nowhere to go. A more technically orthodox batsman would have been able to sway inside the line a la Robin Smith.

          I wonder whether that spell from Jofra is a complete game changer. Australia may still win this test but the dynamic of the series is completely changed and Smith may never be the same again.


          • thelegglance Aug 18, 2019 / 8:47 am

            I’d slightly disagree with the bit about other batsmen being more able to get out of the way. Historically absolutely, but helmets and white ball cricket has changed the entire technique, and batsmen tend to stay outside the line now. It’s the whole reason they can belt it over midwicket, which is just not possible with the traditional technique.
            More batsmen get hit now because they have nowhere to go when they get it wrong. Ponting is a good example – he was utterly fantastic against the short ball, but his staying outside the line meant he got hit if he got it wrong.
            Pre-helmets you couldn’t take that risk, hence the back, across and inside the line. Not many do it that way these days.
            I think I am coming more down on the side of Smith being hit more because it was a seriously rapid piece of bowling that was too fast for him than anything else. I don’t mean that as any criticism, 95mph is pretty much too quick for anyone to play with anything other than trepidation.

            Liked by 1 person

          • riverman21 Aug 18, 2019 / 10:08 am

            Thank you for the reply. I need to reassess a bit LGL as it isnt the 80s! Probably a metaphor for my life. Anyways if the staying outside the line is the preferred method of modern batsman then doesnt that give Smith an issue in that he is so committed to that movement that allows him to access the leg side isn’t he going to continue to get into a lot of trouble v Archer?

            Whatever the outcome of the series for me its giving us some of the most interesting Trst cricket for years.


          • thelegglance Aug 18, 2019 / 10:21 am

            That’s the bit that Fred is talking about, that though he gets across, he’s also squared up which makes it harder for him to avoid the ball. His technique against the short ball is pretty decent, as befits such a fabulous player, but he has flaws and Archer is going to target them.

            Smith will be up for the challenge of course, but it must be a really horrible feeling after having been hit once to know that you’re going to get far more of it.


    • Deep Purple Fred Aug 17, 2019 / 11:27 pm

      If I understand what you’re saying correctly, his prooblem is he’s quite front on, so he can’t evade the ball by leaning back or forward like a batsman would who has a more side on stance. But that just means he has to move laterally, sway to the left or right. Doesn’t seem impossible. Even better in some ways because you don’t have to take your eyes off the ball. It’s not conventional positioning and reaction, but nothing he does is conventional.

      “Getting hit like that can affect any batsman, and the thing is, this afternoon as Archer’s spell progressed, it seemed increasingly likely.”
      Yes, and very telling that when he came back out, his second shot was a wild hoik, and his third was a strong drive. I think he was very pissed off, and very determined. Everything I have seen about this guy tells me he’s not going to be cowed or confused by this, but rather, determined to get on top of it. I think he came back out and batted in anger today, but with time he’ll process it. He must face bowling like this all the time in the nets.

      I agree with Bobw above. Much as I wanted him to get a 100, I was kind of relieved that with Archer limbering up, he got sent back to the pavillion. It didn’t seem wise he was out there. First the hoik and then leaving a straight ball for the dismissal, he clearly wasn’t entirely present.


      • thelegglance Aug 17, 2019 / 11:33 pm

        Well, the coaching for short pitched bowling changed a few years ago. The classic coaching was the back and across, inside the line approach. It was set before the advent of helmets, and is by the way why Andrew Hilditch could be fed bouncers – the ball was only going one way.

        Apart from Viv Richards, who was a lunatic, it’s pretty much how everyone played it – inside the line, hook to long leg. But recently batsmen stay outside the line and pull/hook over midwicket.

        But Smith appears to my eyes to be more old fashioned. What your post fascinated me about is whether the initial back and across is undone by being square on.

        The answer is I don’t know.


        • quebecer Aug 18, 2019 / 12:36 am

          I was also trying to think of players who played pace well back in the day who were very square on and came up with Amiss, Amarnath, and Peter Willey. Setting aside the fact that Amarnath and Amiss both ended up getting hit badly and struggled to recover, the idea of being square on to play pace has been around a while.

          But as we’re all saying, Smith is just so unique it’s hard to figure out. Then I was thinking how everything Smith does is to get in exactly the position so his eyes are over the ball and hands just below the eyes. but I think there’s lots of red herrings here – it might be the fact that couple with being square on and moving as he does, he’s very straight backed (if anything leaning backwards a little) and I wondered whether it was that characteristic that undid him today. Ducking is hard, and the sway can’t go too far (there is already some torsion of the trunk), and as TLG points out, side on has advantages here. So when he gets one right where he did, he just had nowhere to go – as I think he realized preposterously early because he seemed to go through a couple of ideas before thinking, shit…

          But I’m very much the same as TLG on the I don’t know front.


          • BobW Aug 18, 2019 / 10:44 am

            Interesting when you talk of the players who played pace very well. As LG says techniques have changed dramatically now. I remember Greg Chappell for a while having an outstanding average against the West Indies quick with a classic side on stance.


          • metatone Aug 18, 2019 / 6:53 pm

            Ducking basically runs out of road if you start too late because you’re not pushing off against anything really, you’re relying on gravity and that acceleration is limited.


  5. Mark Aug 17, 2019 / 11:12 pm

    The Archer thing has taken all the attention away from another England top order failure yet again.

    Unless the remaining six wickets can add another 120-150 I see another defeat and at 2-0 the Ashes gone.

    I’m not optimistic England will get those runs.


    • Deep Purple Fred Aug 17, 2019 / 11:47 pm

      Yes, in other news today, Root got a golden duck to continue his calamitous tailspin, and England is 4 for 100 in the third innings, setting themselves up for defeat. Lucky everyone’s talking about Smith/Archer, because it was a pretty poor day. They can be happy they wrapped up the Australian tail, but that’s about it.
      They better have a good first session or two Sunday, otherwise their goose is cooked. (The usual caveats apply: bad weather, Australia can collapse almost as well as England can, and with a day lost it may be too late to force a victory).


  6. deja misrah Aug 18, 2019 / 1:08 am

    formidable ignorance and arrogance here – just a game innit as you say?


  7. BoredInAustria Aug 18, 2019 / 7:32 am

    Great post and fascinating analysis BTL. What I love about the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. thelegglance Aug 18, 2019 / 9:00 am

    Incidentally, I think it’s distinctly possible that Archer at some point will bowl a ball of 100mph. Which is extraordinary. I do remember when Shoiab Akhtar did that, and Nick Knight calmly nudged it down to long leg.


  9. thebogfather Aug 18, 2019 / 9:09 am

    Some fabulous discussion here, both in the main post and btl – puts much of the pro-scribes to shame – well done all and thank you.

    Hope the bloody rain doesn’t screw up what could be an intense day of cricket, tho’ with 98 overs that have to be bowled, we could be into twilight zone* territory…

    *England saving a match under pressure.


  10. LordCanisLupus Aug 18, 2019 / 10:02 am


    For those that did it last time, would you be prepared to turn the Ashes Panel around in 24 hours? Otherwise I will hold back until after the Headingley test.

    Any other volunteers to answer questions by close tomorrow (Monday), please let me know.


    • nonoxcol Aug 18, 2019 / 10:38 am

      I hope you cover systemic issues in English cricket. Jason Roy has played 10 first-class games in three years according to Ramps on TMS, and he’s opening the batting in the Ashes. It is so insane you have to be deeply embedded in the ECB culture not to recognise the portents of doom. Chickens, home, roost. I think Flower’s might be the last proper 1 to 11 high-class Test side we ever see here, although England c. 2015-17 would get a pass.

      I fucking hate Giles Clarke and his idiot money-orientated cronies so much. And it’s about to get 💯 times worse.

      I’m especially narked today because I really want England to win this match or (if the bloody rain ruins it) the next one. One-sided series depress me.

      Liked by 2 people

      • thebogfather Aug 18, 2019 / 11:30 am

        Base the Ashes Panel Q’s on NOC’s rant, Ramps today on TMS talking well but telling us pants, ECB player and season management, our having a Test coach who’s on holiday and spent, and for the final etude, Ed Smith, time to be rude.


      • dArthez Aug 18, 2019 / 11:36 am

        If England win this match, the problem is that the ECB will deny there is a problem (series will probably end 3-2 then to either side, probably England, and then we’ll be subjected to 4 more years of crowing that all is well).

        Maybe a 5-0 loss is needed before the madness ends, but even I am beginning to have my doubts about that.

        Liked by 2 people

        • nonoxcol Aug 18, 2019 / 11:45 am

          Also, they were a lucky ricochet (and random one off playing condition!) away from not even being able to justify their disproportionate investment in white ball cricket.

          Whereas I don’t see any justification for the 💯 apart from pure avarice.


          • OscarDaBosca Aug 18, 2019 / 12:04 pm

            I hate to disagree, but the investment got them to the final, helped them absolutely destroy Australia in the semi, and gave them the confidence to think they could win the thing because they are the best ODI team in the world.
            All sport at the highest level is about fine margins (often known as luck) if the ball hadn’t gone for an extra 4 he may have hit the last for 6. If my Aunt had balls…
            I don’t like the ECB anymore than any of us on here, but the investment did pay off, and it was more than a couple of moments in the final.
            However the result of that investment is a series of English batters coming from CC who don’t play enough red ball cricket anymore to know how to construct an innings over 20+ overs


          • Escort Aug 18, 2019 / 3:39 pm

            Had the ricochet not occurred I’m pretty sure Ben Stokes would have played the final deliveries differently, Don’t you think?


        • Elaine Simpson-Long Aug 18, 2019 / 12:31 pm

          Well we have had. 5-9 series before and look what happened after that….


          • Elaine Simpson-Long Aug 18, 2019 / 12:32 pm

            5-0. Ipad keyboard!


          • thebogfather Aug 18, 2019 / 12:45 pm

            Perhaps 5-9 is a ‘StraussySuperSeries’ result? (waddya mean there’s no 5 ODI’s and 3 T20’s leading up to Halloween… ?)


    • thebogfather Aug 18, 2019 / 11:25 am

      Yes, I’m in, even with rhyming sins my vice
      So much to scribe about so hope the Q’s entice!


    • Metatone Aug 18, 2019 / 6:13 pm

      I should have time during the day tomorrow to do Ashes panelling if you need another one.


  11. nonoxcol Aug 18, 2019 / 10:53 am

    By the way all my hits yesterday and today are showing up as being from Poland. I’m actually in Newcastle-upon-Tyne this weekend. It’s cloudy, but not exactly Baltic…


  12. thelegglance Aug 18, 2019 / 11:04 am

    Being reported Smith is out of the Test with concussion. Which I would guess rules him out of the third Test too.


    • nonoxcol Aug 18, 2019 / 12:36 pm

      Window into humanity watch:

      There are people out there who have declared Smith’s concussion to be karma “for being a cheating ball-tampering bastard.”

      Warner and Bancroft’s triple failures not enough “karma” for these people, apparently.

      Anyway, I do hope The Crucible and Lord of the Flies stay on the English Lit syllabus.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dlpthomas Aug 18, 2019 / 12:51 pm

        A reminder, if anyone needed one, that some people are arseholes.

        The Final Word and Following On podcasts had good discussions about Smith getting hit and both dismissed the accusation that Archer was laughing at Smith.


      • dArthez Aug 18, 2019 / 4:44 pm

        Was Cook’s karma then 4 years of consistent failures after piss-gate?


  13. jomesy Aug 18, 2019 / 11:55 am

    That spell from Archer was utterly thrilling – fantastic test cricket. It was awful to see Smith go down and glad it’s no more serious. In terms of your comments about Archer you’re absolutely correct. Two personal incidents come to mind but only one cricket related. I was bowling and the batsman top edged a shortish ball and it flew – flew! – straight into his face and knocked him out. By the time I’d got to him his eye was already closing over from the swelling. I didn’t know what to do – and I couldn’t say anything to him as he was unconscious. I felt guilty and sick but also, oddly, a bit angry as didn’t see why I should feel guilty since I wasnt trying to hit him and it’s wasnt a really short ball. I also walked away because I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t bowl anything remotely short for a long time afterwards and for the rest of that match ALL I wanted to know was whether the guy was ok. Fortunately he was but I’ll never forget the image of him leaving on an orange stretcher, the confused state it left me in and the umpire telling the new batsmen “two more to come” as though nothing had really happened.
    @ Fred – I hope your right about Smith being able to ride this out but personally I have my doubts and expect it may take a while.
    To end on a brighter note, I am soooo excited about Jofra. What a talent.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jomesy Aug 18, 2019 / 12:39 pm

      Ps – should add:

      1. I thought Leach looked good yesterday too – I hope he establishes himself.

      2. Enjoying MJ on TMS – good insights and comes across as a really decent bloke.


      • dlpthomas Aug 18, 2019 / 12:56 pm

        I thought Leach bowled well, too. I’m quite looking forward to seeing him bowl again latter today (much latter)


    • Deep Purple Fred Aug 18, 2019 / 5:07 pm

      We’ll see Jomesy. His retirtement from the game today suggests it was more serious than it seemed yesterday. I only made that comment because he seems so indestructible. His story is so improbable the usual rules don’t apply.


      • jomesy Aug 18, 2019 / 8:11 pm

        Agree Fred – he’s on a different level. But he’ll have to watch that hit to try and address and I think, with the whack on the arm, it’ll be damned hard to get over it quickly. If he does, then well done to him…he’ll go up (even further) in my estimation.


  14. jomesy Aug 18, 2019 / 12:12 pm

    Was my last comment inappropriate?! Can’t see how it was…


    • thelegglance Aug 18, 2019 / 12:14 pm

      No, not at all – it just went into spam for some reason. I’ve released it now.

      Sometimes they just do, often when a symbol like @ is included, and we don’t realise until someone points out their comment hasn’t posted.


      • jomesy Aug 18, 2019 / 12:15 pm

        Cheers TLG


  15. Tom Aug 18, 2019 / 1:09 pm

    Hello, my friends.

    What a test match. You’ve all covered the things I might have said. I want to wish Smith a speedy recovery, I was watching the match live when it happened and couldn’t help thinking of what happened to Phillip Hughes.

    The booing upset me and the comments about Archer and Buttler upset me as well. I think they were coping with things in their way.

    However, Archer’s spell was what makes test cricket special. It made me think of the WI bowlers back in 1980 and 84 (I was a bit too young to understand what happened in 76). But it showed that even the best batsman in the world can both smack the best bowlers around the ground and then get into trouble. A match-up of the best in the world and true test cricket.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. dArthez Aug 18, 2019 / 2:20 pm

    Looks like England are happy with the draw, if they feel they can’t defend 243 from 50 overs.


  17. nonoxcol Aug 18, 2019 / 2:34 pm

    I fancy England to Cardiff 2011 this.

    Unless Root keeps ignoring Woakes again.


  18. dlpthomas Aug 18, 2019 / 3:07 pm

    Does anyone remember when people were arguing Archer shouldn’t be picked because he would disrupt the side? Maybe they meant disrupt the Australian side.


    • BobW Aug 18, 2019 / 3:44 pm

      It was quite a pertinent article by Jonathan Liew at the time. But it’s funny how when a new player makes an impact how people’s mind change.


  19. dlpthomas Aug 18, 2019 / 3:10 pm

    I don’t want to see anyone hurt but I am loving seeing an English fast bowler dish it out.


  20. dArthez Aug 18, 2019 / 4:29 pm

    Think England are overbowling Archer here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Aug 18, 2019 / 4:50 pm

      He won’t be a fast bowler for long playing under English management. He has now bowled 40 odd overs in this test match and it’s only been going for three days.

      I was surprised to hear Bob Willis say it’s up to Archer how many overs he bowls. While that is understandable a fit young guy is always going to want to bowl more. But the body will struggle in the end.

      If they want to have him bowl at 93/95 miles an hour you can’t work him like a shire horse.

      I am also now convinced Woakes is carrying an injury and they are trying to protect it.


  21. Quebecer Aug 18, 2019 / 5:06 pm

    Jason Roy really is having a ‘mare.


    • dArthez Aug 18, 2019 / 6:01 pm

      Jason Roy and David Warner, a combination for the ages. Both have extremely bad series. with the bat and in the field.


      • Quebecer Aug 18, 2019 / 6:39 pm

        Can’t help wondering if batting failures are affecting them in the field.


  22. Quebecer Aug 18, 2019 / 5:43 pm

    Oh Marnus! Batted so well but… Props for the innings, mind you.

    Really weird how it looked like it hit the ground from front on but up from the fingers from the side view.


    • dlpthomas Aug 18, 2019 / 5:44 pm

      Ian Healy was adamant it was a clean catch. Must admit I had doubts from both angles.


    • dlpthomas Aug 18, 2019 / 5:45 pm

      When it comes to Man of the Match, do we combine the runs of Smith and Labuschagne?


  23. Quebecer Aug 18, 2019 / 5:47 pm

    Again, really bad ducking to avoid the bouncer, this time from Wade. He ducks, but only by bending the knees. He doesn’t actually bend his back at all so has his head sticking straight up.


  24. dlpthomas Aug 18, 2019 / 6:03 pm

    Amazing catch by Denly. England still have a chance.


  25. Quebecer Aug 18, 2019 / 6:06 pm

    Just when I thought Paine was handling the short stuff reasonably well, he decides hooking is a good idea. Australia don’t usually help their opposition like this.


    • Deep Purple Fred Aug 18, 2019 / 6:18 pm

      Australia will always want to get on top, fight aggression with aggression, etc. Doesn’t always work out.


  26. dArthez Aug 18, 2019 / 6:21 pm

    Looks like the Aussies have not learned the lesson from Cardiff 2009 …


  27. metatone Aug 18, 2019 / 7:17 pm

    Arriving all too late to contribute to the big thread, but since I called ahead of the match that Archer’s bouncer might give Smith trouble, I thought it might be worth digging into why.

    Note: when I called that he would have trouble, I expected him to misjudge and top edge, not misjudge and get hit dangerously.

    Ok, so when Smith is going through his motion, he ends up with his head still, over hands when the ball arrives. However, his head is definitely moving when he judges length. You can see when he starts to move forward or back his head is moving from side to side. But, I hear you ask, isn’t Smith famously a good judge of length? Yes, but.

    He’s doing a lot of premeditating using an excellent intuition for angles. The fast bowlers who give him trouble – Malinga with yorker, now Archer with the bouncer have slightly different angles to most. Of course, unless you’re fast enough – like those two – his hand speed gives him time to adjust most of the time. If you take a look at video you’ll see his hands are due to come through far too low – where a ball from eg Broad of that length would be.

    Lots of spot on discussion already about why he found it hard to avoid the ball once he realised he’d got it wrong, nothing to add there.


    • BobW Aug 18, 2019 / 7:51 pm

      I’d agree with you about his premeditation. Smith is not always in the same place at the crease six balls out of six. This makes it hard for a bowler to bowl to a set plan in my book. Couple that with his excellent hand eye coordination, he’s pretty formidable. The fact that the balls haven’t swung a great deal has benefitted him too.


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