Ashes 3rd Test, Day 1 – I Blame You For The Moonlit Sky

It was a day when nothing seemed to go quite according to plan. I booked a day off, knowing I had a load of things I needed to do, and thought to do the report justice I’d need to watch the early exchanges, and perhaps do all the other stuff later in the day. Of course, the plan should have been reversed. I saw one of the wickets to fall live all day – the first one – and missed the whole of the last session. So this report of the day is on catch-up. Also, most of you will have seen more of the play than I have. Still, I bought some nice shoes, and got to get pissed off at Warner making a 50.

First up, apologies for no Ashes Panel this week. On Sunday I came down with a naughty bout of manflu (I’ve lost a good chunk of weight this week due to it, so out of every negative comes a positive) and by the time I was in any shape to do things, it was too late. Thanks to the team for covering the preparation for this test. Yes, I saw the reactions to the pieces over the weekend, and will say what I always say – we are not a team of writers who agree, we welcome differences, we don’t take many editorial lines (politics is definitely one we don’t want) and yes, things can get tetchy. I’d be surprised if they didn’t. So play on people. More that keeps us together than tears us apart, as it were.

So to today. I’ve never much liked Headingley tests, dating back to when I was a kid. Whenever one was on, it was always the one that seemed to be badly rain affected, it had that pavilion that looked like a council office, and that electronic scoreboard was dreadful. It has those sightscreens with people popping up above white boards, like they were working in a call centre. Today took me back to those days. England won the toss and put Australia in. Harris came in for Bancroft, but did a decent impression of the opener by falling early. Archer bowling, perhaps within himself if the pace gun is to be believed, around the wicket inducing a thick edge to YJB leaving for 8…. and then they all followed off due to rain.

90 minutes later and the players returned – I was working from home a little during this time so didn’t really follow play – and within 20 or so minutes Broad got Khawaja to strangle himself… a flick off the bat, well in front of the pad, carried through comfortably to YJB, and it was 25 for 2. Khawaja becoming immediate bookies favourite to be replaced when Steve Smith returns, and Marnus better get used to number 3! Presumably, as he belted the damn cover off it, and didn’t walk, there will be mass condemnation as a “shit bloke” for Usman. And my tongue is only slightly in my cheek.

Through the rain and the bad light – oh my lord, they took them off for bad light when the floodlights were on, yet again – Warner and Marnus took Australia from peril to comfort. Warner fighting himself, dug in, took toll of what he could, and made his first half century of the series. Marnus looks fit for test cricket (although he has a face of a man who looks as though he’s about to shout “WHY ME!!!!) showing a good deal of courage and application. He’s booked himself in for the rest of the tour.

The Aussies reached 136 for 2 – and in a position of real strength, when Warner nicked a full one from Jofra Archer. In the following over Broad claimed the important scalp of Travis Head, who has been an understated piece of Aussie resistance in the preceding two games, by bowling him with a naughty little cutter – one of the greatest balls he’s ever bowled, according to the increasingly silly Nasser. Head’s duck was followed by a similar contribution from Matthew Wade. Wade could consider himself unlucky in a couple of regards – first the ball took that odd carom off the thigh pad that sends the ball back towards the stumps, rather than the natural line down the leg side….. and the ball hit the stumps with a gentle thud AND the bail fell off. If this were the World Cup, when an earthquake AND tsunami would not remove the bails, Wade would be continuing the resistance.

Paine and Labuschagne kept the England bowlers at bay, as the ball carried on moving, but it couldn’t last (I’ve taped the whole day’s play and watching key moment as I write this). Yes, there was an amusing moment when the captain copped one at half mast, which was shared widely on Twitter while I wandered around Bluewater, and which all club players can share in the agony of the moment. My worst wasn’t while I was batting – I got one four square in the bollocks from an off drive. I recovered, and the oppo paid as I made my then highest ever score in the second innings of the match, and hit my first two sixes. Tim Paine made 11. Woakes pinned him LBW to overturn Chris Gaffaney’s decision of not out. Chris has said to me on the Whatsapp that it didn’t look right. Oh dear, how sad, never mind (in the words of the late great Windsor Davies).

As the clock approached 7pm, Jofra got Pattinson to nick an 86mph delivery and Joe Root took a catch at 1st slip that appeared to come to him quicker than he thought. 173 for 6 at 7pm ended up being 179 all out by close as Jofra brushed up the tail in a manner we haven’t seen for a while. Pattinson was followed by Cummins who gave the thinnest of edges through to Bairstow (before the thin spike came up, Pat and Marnus were chortling away, but that soon disappeared, and Cummins looked gobsmacked), giving Archer his 5th.

Stokes then chipped in with the old fashioned full bunger swinging in to pin Labuschagne LBW for 74, a weird ending to a gutsy knock, and he looks nailed on to be the number 3 when Smith returns. The commentators said he appeared to be moaning about the bad light, and that he might have lost it in the gloom. I’m minded to quote Windsor again. Archer took his sixth to finish the innings with his first ball of the 53rd over, when Lyon was plumb LBW for 1. 179 all out, and Jofra Archer taking 6 for 45.

Some early statwatch results. 103rd time an England bowler has taken 6 wickets in an Ashes test, the third time 6 for 45 has been recorded by an England bowler (Johnny Briggs and Derek Underwood the other two) – the 54th equal best for England in all series v Australia. It was the joint third best figures at Headingley in Ashes match-ups (Underwood again, in 1972), and the best since Bob Willis in 1981. It was the best 1st innings figures by an England player against Australia at Leeds. Only Ian Botham, with 6 for 95 in the first innings against Australia in his wonder test, has taken 6 wickets in the 1st innings of the match at Headingley, for England, before today.

The game itself is advanced. Australia had the whip hand when taking 70 runs off the first eleven overs after tea, but England came back with favourable conditions towards the end of the day. There is much to discuss, but on a day when I couldn’t watch a lot, a lot happened.

Finally, alongside the “comments below” invitation, for the Day 2 play, let me give a round of applause to the BOC contributor – not me – who put this Tweet up.

Hope the link works.

To Day 2…..


90 thoughts on “Ashes 3rd Test, Day 1 – I Blame You For The Moonlit Sky

  1. metatone Aug 22, 2019 / 8:39 pm

    Some odd dismissals and some bad luck for Aus, but given how many times the ball passed the bat very closely but didn’t nick… I’m inclined to say luck evened out.

    As anyone who looks at my comments on the previous post can see, I really feared England had thrown it all away. As it is, if they can tough out the morning then at the very least it should be a competitive game. Of course, thanks to our SUPER SELECTOR’s amazing theories of batting line ups, this is far from given…


    • growltiger Aug 23, 2019 / 8:48 am

      On luck and whether it evens out, there is an interesting blog post on CricViz ( which analyses in some detail the ebbs and flows of yesterday’s game, relative to expectation.


    • growltiger Aug 23, 2019 / 8:56 am

      For some reason, my reply got lost in the ether, so this is a second attempt. If the other one shows up too, please forgive repetitions.

      There is an interesting blog on CricViz, and a post on yesterday’s play that analyses the ebbs and flows of luck relative to expectations generated by the CricViz model. On balance, England were a trifle on the lucky side, although not in the morning.

      And then, to another of Metatone’s points, we will have no idea how lucky we were, until the Ed Smith designer batting order has folded (which it will, on average, for under 300). Despite good figures in the remote past for Laker and Lock, and Underwood, this is not a ground where many games are decided by 4th innings spin. So even a small lead could be useful.


      • Metatone Aug 23, 2019 / 9:44 am

        Very interesting piece, thanks for that!

        As for our batting, I’m filled with The Fear.


  2. Mark Aug 22, 2019 / 9:54 pm

    You mean an Australian didn’t walk? I’m shocked! SHOCKED!

    Remember when Healy was giving Mike Atherton some stick for not walking, and Atherton turned round and said….”When in Rome.”

    Healy probably didn’t have a clue what he meant….”What the fuck has Rome got to do with it mate.”


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 22, 2019 / 10:06 pm

      I’m poking fun at media and the teams of course. They are all the same.

      There’s been some gems in Matthew Hayden’s book. Shane Warne got a year ban for a slimming pill and he thought it harsh! England fans were worst winners and worst losers. It’s terrific stuff…. but also some interesting insight into that Aussie team.


      • Mark Aug 22, 2019 / 10:42 pm

        You couldn’t pay me to read that book. My blood pressure couldn’t take it.


  3. quebecer Aug 22, 2019 / 11:20 pm

    I think managing the work load of quick bowlers throughout a year is incredibly difficult, but it’s hard to argue they haven’t got it right with Broad this year. At the very least, he doesn’t look like he’s 98% cortisone, which he certainly has in previous years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thelegglance Aug 23, 2019 / 8:00 am

      As I understand it, Broad used his winter off to re-work his bowling action with a view to extending his career and focusing on what he’s good at, rather than just taking a rest. He seems to have worked hard on his game – even his batting seems to be a bit better, albeit way down on where he was pre-being hit.
      Broad is the most under-appreciated 450 wicket Test bowler in ages. He’s been excellent this series.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mark Aug 23, 2019 / 8:55 am

        Also he was not picked for the World Cup, so he is not burned out this season. He is relatively fresh (for a man with test 450 wickets) this summer,


        • metatone Aug 23, 2019 / 9:47 am

          Yes, I’m starting to think that Woakes is really suffering from overbowling. I know the number of overs he’s had over the last year across lots of ODIs isn’t that high on the face of it, but I think we have to consider that the work and pressure load has told a bit.


  4. Benny Aug 23, 2019 / 2:30 am

    Interesting how pitching the ball up and bowling straight is proving effective.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. quebecer Aug 23, 2019 / 3:37 am

    Oh please oh please sunny day no clouds please please please


    • dArthez Aug 23, 2019 / 11:15 am

      Why? Can England only win when the weather gods favour them? If so, that would be an extremely sad indictment on the ECB.


      • dArthez Aug 23, 2019 / 11:55 am

        It does not look like there is that much cloud cover, but 45/6 under these circumstances make Ireland’s 38 all out under perfect bowling conditions look like the efforts of world beaters.


      • Quebecer Aug 23, 2019 / 1:29 pm

        “Can England only win when the weather gods favour them?”

        Well, yes, obviously. But as you can see, it’s not guaranteed.


  6. dlpthomas Aug 23, 2019 / 7:22 am

    I’d really like to believe that Archer assessed the conditions and then dropped his pace and pitched the ball up. That would be amazing in a player so young. However, I reckon it is far more likely that he’s knackered. Either way, it’s a hell of a start to a test career.

    As is almost always the case, the first session today will be vital – 176 may turn out to be a reasonable score.


    • growltiger Aug 23, 2019 / 8:58 am

      I would like to believe Archer decided to bowl a traditional Headingly pace and length. Since he said so, afterwards, am actually inclined to believe him. And as for the value of 179 on the board, it could well be worth 250 in normal currency.


    • Mark Aug 23, 2019 / 9:11 am

      The real test will be when England go on tour in hotter conditions and on flatter pitches where England are in the field field for 4-5 sessions. Also so far there has been a lot of rain and bad light breaks which give him a breather. The itinerary for the next year is packed.

      I should point out that my concern isnt that he can’t bowl a lot of overs, but more that he can’t bowl a lot of really fast overs. That’s the point. Do you want to bowl him like a stop bowler, or a spear head that will have real pace?


      • dlpthomas Aug 23, 2019 / 9:34 am

        One problem is that Root seems a bit reluctant to bowl Woakes. If Jimmy is fit for the next test he will presumably replace Woakes and that may result in Archer being used in short, sharp spells (at least for this series).


      • growltiger Aug 23, 2019 / 1:45 pm

        I would much prefer the spearhead. But he seems to have given it a Headingly slant, yesterday. It was, on balance, good that he was able to bowl enough to take 6 wickets. Woakes and Stokes were awful (and I don’t just mean their batting).


  7. thelegglance Aug 23, 2019 / 8:01 am

    The bit about Paine’s lbw – the ball tracking was, shall we say, surprising.


  8. Mark Aug 23, 2019 / 9:18 am

    Big day for England’s batsman! This could be the crucial day of trying to turn around this series if they have any chance of winning the Ashes. The bowlers have done their job, the weather is set fair, and it’s up to the batsman to bat the day, and preferably well into tomorrow.

    They need to be targeting a score of 350+ How many times have they scored 400 in the first innings of a test match over the last few years? Not many I bet.


    • metatone Aug 23, 2019 / 9:53 am

      hollow laughter… I’ll be pleasantly surprised if we manage 250. Hoping most optimistically for a 100 run lead.


      • Mark Aug 23, 2019 / 4:23 pm

        250 was dream land!

        How’s the hollow laughter?


  9. metatone Aug 23, 2019 / 10:10 am

    Roy looks all at sea against Hazlewood


    • thelegglance Aug 23, 2019 / 10:12 am

      He does, but Warner looked all at sea against Broad yesterday. The difference is that Roy hasn’t yet worked out how to survive when it’s like this.


      • metatone Aug 23, 2019 / 10:19 am

        Clearly so.


        • metatone Aug 23, 2019 / 10:23 am

          That said, it’s an odd dismissal, you put that ball in front of England ODI opener Jason Roy in a 50 over game and he doesn’t edge it, he hits it hard from the middle of the bat.


  10. metatone Aug 23, 2019 / 10:27 am

    Root goes for a duck, 2nd ball.

    I really think moving him to 3 has not been a positive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • LordCanisLupus Aug 23, 2019 / 10:37 am

      Batting average now down to 48. Very confident KP will finish his career with a better average than Joe Root.


      • metatone Aug 23, 2019 / 10:43 am

        On the one hand, KP was more talented, so not a total surprise, on the other… I think it reflects messing Root around a fair bit.


    • Prime.Evil Aug 23, 2019 / 10:52 am

      It matters little whether he bats 3 or 4 if in practical terms, Root is an opener. When was the last time he got to the crease after 30 overs? He’s forever at the crease after a handful of overs. The openers are not doing their job.

      Roy’s test career should come to an abrupt end at the end of the series unless he learns to be a proper test opener.


      • thelegglance Aug 23, 2019 / 10:58 am

        Why would he learn to be a proper Test opener? Even the coach admits he isn’t one, he’s a middle order player. Whether he might or might not succeed, it’s not even giving him a chance if they’re going to keep making him go out to face the new ball.

        Deciding Pietersen should open would have been considered barking mad, why on earth it was felt reasonable for Roy is beyond me.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Prime.Evil Aug 23, 2019 / 11:13 am

          Why set him up to fail?


        • Benny Aug 23, 2019 / 12:51 pm

          From the logic that a successful white ball opener can be a successful red ball opener, why not put Bairstow or specialist bat Buttler up there but they didn’t?


  11. Sir Peter Aug 23, 2019 / 10:38 am

    Windsor Davies will have a better opening average than ReyRoy


  12. Sir Peter Aug 23, 2019 / 10:43 am

    And let him skipper


  13. Sir Peter Aug 23, 2019 / 10:48 am

    Windsor not Jason (and I’m referring to test cricket)


  14. thebogfather Aug 23, 2019 / 11:08 am

    The sun as planned, relapses to elect for a bit of shining
    Early fun as England, collapse, selectorial sh!t-show so defining…

    He wears Shades does our Ed
    So can’t see the depth of his dearth
    He be ThePlagiarist, ECB fed
    Max-Headroom, so inept, feeds our mirth
    Yet sadly he selects the squads
    So badly, he collects knowing nods
    Of those who can see through his being funky
    Chose by ECB, yet nothing but a corporate flunky
    Another one of the right type of person
    Smothered by his own FICJAM perversion
    Thankfully less and less believe
    When he goes, we won’t grieve…

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Aug 23, 2019 / 11:25 am

      Very much looking forward to Ed Smith’s next victory lap.

      This abomination of a test batting line-up is beautiful in its stupidity. Akin to Eric Morecambe’s piano playing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Aug 23, 2019 / 12:24 pm

        Yes, but Eic Morecambe was trying to be funny. Ed Smith thinks he is a serious selector.


  15. metatone Aug 23, 2019 / 11:13 am

    I’m now sort of hoping we can restrict Aus to a 50 run lead, but I fear it may be 100.


  16. LordCanisLupus Aug 23, 2019 / 11:37 am

    Meanwhile, a cautionary, and very sad tale….

    I have rarely been as outraged at the treatment of a player by an idiot media, egged on by a ridiculous comment or two from management. I really wish Hameed well. He seemed to have the temperament to make it big.

    Perhaps next time, we’ll cool the jets on the next big thing. Oh No. Here’s Jofra (anyone want to join the sweepstake for the date the stress fracture in the back is diagnosed?)

    Liked by 2 people

    • dlpthomas Aug 23, 2019 / 11:41 am

      That’s really sad. From memory he started the season with a double hundred against the students and I was hoping for big things. Any chance some-one else will sign him?


    • dArthez Aug 23, 2019 / 12:14 pm

      Really sad. Looked like someone with a lot of potential, but undoubtedly the scrutiny and the modern demands of the game (white ball cricket) played its part.

      Will he become the youngest Test player to willingly retire from cricket, if he leaves the game altogether after this year?


    • Marek Aug 23, 2019 / 1:39 pm

      Could be cautionary on a number of levels I suspect. Looks like an absolutely gigantic breakdown of communication/clash of personalities. I was interested by how offhand the Lancs statement about him was compared to the usual ones–and there are some interesting (and pretty ascerbic) comments below the Twitter announcement.

      Will also be interested to see if Parkinson follows him out given that Chapple doesn’t seem to believe in playing specialist spinners in red-ball cricket!


    • quebecer Aug 23, 2019 / 3:30 pm

      I know there were fingers involved, but as I remember, Has was only really playing red ball cricket for Lancs when he got his England call up. After his England debut and coming back after broken fingers, I distinctly recall how he was then trying to crack the white ball game. It was THEN that his batting disintegrated. What’s interesting is that it was exactly when Joe Root started really going after a T20 career that his batting imploded. Lessons indeed. Not sure what they are though.


      • dannycricket Aug 23, 2019 / 3:47 pm

        One lesson would be that it’s more lucrative being a T20 cricketer than a first-class specialist, for both club and player. Counties, all other things being equal, will pick players more suited for the shorter formats because that’s where they make their money. Players will sacrifice their first-class abilities to enhance their career lifespan and earning potential. One thing the ECB have to do is reverse that trend. Maybe offer a £1m bounty (£500k each to the player and his team(s)) if a batsman averages over 50 during a calendar year, having played more than 10 Tests.

        To put the current dire batting into context: In the 8 complete years from 2011-2018, there have been four players who would have qualified for a payout (Bairstow, Cook and Root twice). In 2010 alone there were three (Cook, Trott and Bell).


  17. Leningrad Cowboy Aug 23, 2019 / 11:41 am

    Stokes’ dismissal was incredibly bad. One of the worst shots that I’ve ever seen in Test cricket.


    • man in a barrel Aug 23, 2019 / 12:00 pm

      Wasn’t it a result of the pressure? Like a spinner suddenly throwing up a juicy looking floater and the batsman holing out at deep mid off?


  18. dlpthomas Aug 23, 2019 / 11:45 am

    Just enough time left to be bowled out in the session.


    • dArthez Aug 23, 2019 / 12:11 pm

      England achieved to avoid that ignominy. Think the top order rates that as “Mission: Successfully completed”. Would not be surprised if FICJAM concurs.

      Mind you, one would rate 54/6 in gloomy conditions as pathetic, so I am wondering what adjectives will be used to describe this top order performance.


      • dlpthomas Aug 23, 2019 / 12:17 pm

        It’s a once in a generation batting line up but not in a good way.


        • oreston Aug 23, 2019 / 5:47 pm

          Or maybe it’s the new normal?


  19. dArthez Aug 23, 2019 / 12:57 pm

    56/8, with both “set” batsmen gone seven balls after lunch break.

    with only Denly getting into double digits (of the top 8 batsmen, undoubtedly one of the bowlers will top score), and the only batsman to last more than 30 balls (Burns is second best with 28). For someone who is supposedly not fit to be in the team (and legitimate arguments can be made for that), how can all the consistent non-performances be ignored endlessly?


    • dArthez Aug 23, 2019 / 3:04 pm

      By the way, 12 out is the lowest top score for an England batsman in a completed innings (10 wickets fallen).


  20. riverman21 Aug 23, 2019 / 1:09 pm

    10/67 and all that.
    Looking forward to tonight comments.


  21. dlpthomas Aug 23, 2019 / 1:12 pm

    I predicted Australia to win the series 3 – 1. In hindsight, I can’t believe I was so optimistic.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. dlpthomas Aug 23, 2019 / 1:15 pm

    The last 18 wickets have fallen for 110 runs.


  23. metatone Aug 23, 2019 / 1:15 pm

    So at the start of the year, I would (being me, I understand others feel differently) taken a WC win and an Ashes loss, so I’m not about to get greedy. That said I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that the Test team should be more competitive than this.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. dArthez Aug 23, 2019 / 1:24 pm

    Warner gone with a terrible review.

    Aussies just need to bat time …


  25. rpoultz Aug 23, 2019 / 1:35 pm

    There has been some bad shots but to be honest England set themselves up to fail it seems. For instance picking Buttler and Roy, and previously others who have done well in white ball cricket just smacks of the ECB not wanting them to ‘jog’ international cricket on and go globe trotting with the T20 comps.

    Another point is that the ECB had last years balls remade so they would swing and seam. I am not excusing some of the shots and ability to last but it doesn’t help when you have a world class bowling line up coming at you and the ECB are giving them the tools to do it. England probably backed themselves to score just enough more than Oz for it to not be an issue.


  26. growltiger Aug 23, 2019 / 2:04 pm

    How does this match pan out, now? Australia surely cannot be rolled for less than another 179, in which case England will be set 300+ and three days to survive. On present form, they will achieve neither objective. Match over by tomorrow evening?


    • dArthez Aug 23, 2019 / 2:11 pm

      Anything is possible. What people tend to forget about Australia’s 47 all out in 2011 is that it was preceded by a sub-100 total from South Africa, who had barely avoided the follow on. And yet, with a target of 236, South Africa lost just two wickets (the second of which was when the target was just 14 runs away).

      Australia need to bat for some time – England are still in this.


  27. quebecer Aug 23, 2019 / 3:05 pm

    So, Jofra has just adjusted his line to Marnus who is playing excellently. Jof then goes around the wicket, and Root fails to understand why a leg slip is required. Marnus puts one right there. Small potatoes today, I know, but still.


    • metatone Aug 23, 2019 / 3:17 pm

      Big shakeup I hope after we lose the Ashes… not because I don’t like any of the players, but so much is clearly just not working…


  28. quebecer Aug 23, 2019 / 3:55 pm

    Oh FFS… Joe manages to drop a dolly twice.


  29. rpoultz Aug 23, 2019 / 3:57 pm

    Interesting to see certain people on Twitter recommending Root give up the captaincy. Don’t ever remember them questioning Cook as much, even with a 5-0 ashes behind him…

    Liked by 1 person

  30. riverman21 Aug 23, 2019 / 3:58 pm

    Penny drop Lord. Tamsin Archer!


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 23, 2019 / 4:03 pm

      Did we fly to the moon too soon?

      When we can’t even bat for more than a couple of hours?

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Mark Aug 23, 2019 / 4:21 pm

    Ok so the big question…..

    Has batting in England got more difficult in the last 25 years? I accept that the ball moves about more in Englamd than abroad. (See Mike Hendrick, Ian Botham, Gilmore) The ball has always done more off the pitch and in the air than many warmer countries.

    However, I remember when sides could make 350….400….450 quite routinely …..Even on some occasions 600. Yet this is all now gone, and we see low scores as the norm. Leeds always tends to do quite a bit, but England were bowled out for not very much by Ireland.

    1 Are the bowlers fantastically better?
    2 Are the balls different? Are they making them more prone to movement?
    3 Are the pitches very different?
    4 Are the batsman just not able to bat in test matches these days?

    I realise you will always get low scores, but the is now almost the norm. What do we think? If they are going to pick ODI batsman,perhaps they should provide ODI flat tracks?


    • LordCanisLupus Aug 23, 2019 / 4:36 pm

      The case of Jos Buttler is an interesting one. Jos has talent in abundance, and if tests were played on flat decks, little movement, and he gets himself in, I am sure he could be a very decent middle order player. England increasingly don’t want to go down that route because it is seen as a road to ruin – we want to get into bowling contests, not batting ones. Last year he came back into the team and was lauded by some vocal media members for his results – and Ed Smith certainly basked in it. That decision making was backed up by a decent tour of Sri Lanka on slow decks and with an attacking gameplan (and a not great bowling attack), but things have gone awry ever since. Today he was relegated to number 7 in the order. Picked only for his batting, he is coming in at 7. Think about that.

      The results are diminishing, the drop down the order has been from 5 to 7, and the same problems that got him dropped during the last home Ashes series are manifesting themselves here. Tipped to be the next captain across all formats, Ben Stokes now has the test vice-captaincy. Jos is a one day titan, but the murmurs should be out for him as a test player. A frontline batsman making one test ton in 35 or so tests? Really?

      I do like a little bit of “I told you so” and I did last year. England can’t pin their hopes on scrappy 70s to win test matches. Not against Australia. Not regularly. But despite winning the test match that I said that about, a know it all told me my place, and so I sit back, relax and watch the chickens come home to roost. The next few weeks are going to be interesting to watch on the justifications for this nonsense, not seeking to improve.

      But hey. What do I know. What do we all know. We don’t have answers, because there are no short-term fixes. But there is a chance to change thinking, to build ideas for the future. We need another Fletcher, a captain like Hussain. Some, many, new players won’t work. But some will. I believe that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mark Aug 23, 2019 / 5:00 pm

        Dmitri “ we want to get into bowling contests, not batting ones.“

        Ok, but does that mean they are fixing the pitches? They can’t do anything about the weather, but they could ask the ball manufacturers to make the balls more likely to do something.

        Perhaps we should use Kookaburras? But we will lose because our batsman will be out scored.

        But this plan to create bowling contests would always be suspect the moment the opposition had an equally good bowling attack.

        I hope they are not charging £150 per ticket for this shower of shite. It’s day light robbery.

        What pisses me off is I’m sure this is what the ECB want. Three to four day cricket tests with lots of action. Cricket reduced to basketball.

        Piss off ECB, and the crawling brown nosing media that have proppped you up for the last five years.

        Liked by 1 person

      • growltiger Aug 23, 2019 / 5:03 pm

        I don’t know anything either. So here is my post-mortem for this match, sparked by your reflections on Buttler.

        The last specialist bat that I can remember being asked to come in at 7 was the unfortunate Ian Ward, a more than competent and pretty dogged county opener that we would give our eye-teeth for today (actually a sort of more orthodox looking Burns – not sure which was actually the better). They dropped him because there was supposed to be no opening at the top of the order. Likewise, it is absolutely no good keeping Buttler just because “we” want him in the side if he bats ineffectually at 7 and doesn’t keep wicket. On a rolling basis, Buttler’s red-ball batting has certainly crossed over with that of Sam Curran, who would bring more to the side, batting down there. There are people who say Buttler cannot be dropped because on a 12-month look-back he is the side’s top run scorer (or something fatuous of the kind), but that statistic is looking quite droopy.

        I am afraid I think that the whole Roy experiment should now be abandoned. We hear that in the nets he practises slogging, rather than leaving. That’s fine, but won’t improve his results, which could scarcely be worse. Like Buttler, Roy should be taken back into the ODI squad, and kept there. Denly’s top-scoring innings today was so painful it must surely be his last but one. Another opener who is an actual county professional in that slot must now be selected; if not Sibley, it is hard to see why not, on the only evidence available. The dropping of Roy and Denly makes room for another better class bat capable of playing long innings in red-ball cricket, namely Pope, who has made two double-hundreds in four innings this season (with time out in between to recover from a dislocated shoulder).

        In the field, this match, there have been some signs of more authority from Root, although he is so preoccupied that it has so far led to a duck and a dropped catch at slip (complete dolly). It is also interesting that Broad gives Root some credit for encouraging him, Broad, to pitch the ball up and encourage the drive. But the overall shape of things is looking pretty pear-like for Root. It really doesn’t look as if he needs the poisoned chalice, whereas Stokes looks up for it. Of course, the Bayliss replacement will be influential, and needs to be someone fairly mean, with a focus on Tests and knowledge of the county scene (what is left of it).

        Finally, this train-crash planning for more and more ephemeral white ball cricket has to be reversed. It is already too late, because the ECB is hugely committed to the marginalisation of red-ball cricket, but (as George Dobell says) the reason we get these results is that the system is broken. Proper improvement – as opposed to sides selected on a slightly more rational basis – will only come if the conveyor belt is repaired.


        • Distinct Aug 23, 2019 / 6:10 pm

          Its simple Basics.
          Top Order Test match Batting. First question should be “DO I need to hit it”
          T20 and One day has developed to the point Every batsman is taught to hit EVERY ball.


  32. quebecer Aug 23, 2019 / 4:39 pm

    And more Root errors: how is it that Leach is bowling well but the batsmen are scoring at 4+ an over mainly by nudging the ball to fielders in the ring?

    Stokes has been excellent in his spell right now.


  33. dlpthomas Aug 23, 2019 / 4:53 pm

    Archer leaving the ground – commentators saying its just cramp………


  34. quebecer Aug 23, 2019 / 4:55 pm

    Shit shit shit… Archer hamstring?? Cramp please!!! Odd thing to wish on someone.


  35. dArthez Aug 23, 2019 / 4:55 pm

    Looks like Archer has broken down in his second Test. Sadly.

    Not unexpected,


  36. metatone Aug 23, 2019 / 6:08 pm

    So Aus end the day 17 runs of a 300 lead.
    Not much left to say for now, game over, series over.
    Please let it be Ed Smith’s selectorial career over.


    • Mark Aug 23, 2019 / 6:23 pm

      Never mind Sky are starting Birmingham Bears Vs Worcestershire in the 20/20 Blast.

      I bet both of them score more than England did.

      Liked by 1 person

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