England vs. Australia, 5th Test – The Dead Rubber(ish) Preview

The definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different result; yet this is precisely what the genius commonly known as Ed Smith has decided to run with in the final Ashes Test at the Oval. Now Ed Smith might believe he is considerably more intelligent than you and I, even if he got caught plagiarising from the Economist, but picking exactly the same squad when we have been comprehensively outplayed by our Australian foes, really does smack of complacency and idiocy. With the Ashes already retained by Australia, surely this was the perfect opportunity to blood some new players who are performing in the county game? An opportunity to put their hands up for the upcoming winter series? But no, not so clever Eddie has decided the best course of action is to stick with those batsmen who have time and time again shown they are either simply not good enough for Test Cricket or who have serious technical faults within their game at the moment.

I certainly remember when Andrew Strauss announced to much excitement from the media, a new scouting set up dedicated to bringing young talent through the pipeline (that’s worked well so far). Indeed Strauss declared at the time:

“[It will mean] many eyes, more time, more sight of players, more often, getting different perspectives to make judgements and assessments on these players to give us a better body of information that stays with us forever,”

Now whether Ed Smith has simply ignored these scouts or whether Mo Bobat has more power than many of us initially thought – https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cricket/2019/02/15/meet-mo-bobat-man-behind-english-crickets-scouting-revolution/. The fact is that the best ideas the England selectors could come up with was a white ball specialist who has never batted for 2 sessions in a game and 34 year old decent county pro, who doesn’t have the skills for Test cricket, is a damning indictment in itself.

Naturally the English management and press are building up this game as a way for England to salvage some pride and to stop the Australians from winning the Ashes, rather than retaining them, which in my opinion makes no difference as the urn will be travelling down under after the series. However, the last few days has shown this to be nothing but a smokescreen as various members of the England management team try to absolve themselves of the blame. It always amuses me how ‘good journalism’ suddenly appears in the national newspapers when various ECB individuals have their jobs on the line or a player to brief against. Naturally the ECB never leaks, it just happens to be a weird coincidence that you can bet on when this ‘good journalism’ will appear time and time again! Therefore it is not surprise that there are mummering’s that poor old Ed Smith is being supposedly being undermined by the England coaches and captain:

Of course, like the sun sets in the sky, our favourite Former Chief Correspondent of the Guardian appears on Twitter to back up these claims:

Mr Selvey, of course, knows who pays the bills at the ECB and it was certainly never going to be Trevor Bayliss. The thing with Bayliss is that he has given the likes of Mike Selvey the opportunity to criticise him by not watching county cricket and not showing that much interest in squad announcements. He has also appeared in this series to be counting down the days until his contract ends. Now I’m not saying he’s on the proverbial plane, but there are rumours his duty free is being delivered to the Oval tomorrow.

That being said, you could argue that he has achieved what he was asked to do by winning the World Cup as part of England’s blueprint set out 4 years ago; England’s Test performances may well have got progressively worse under his watch, but then that also comes with the decision to prioritise white ball cricket over Test cricket and by having a Chief of Selectors who is more interested in sampling the local hospitality than doing his job. It will be interesting to see how history judges Bayliss, a man so relaxed it looked like he might fall off his chair at times; He is certainly no Duncan Fletcher but equally is no Peter Moores either. I suspect he knows that he will cop most of the blame for this Ashes series result, after all it comes with the territory, even if Strauss, Morgan and Harrison tried to unfairly hog all of the platitudes after winning the World Cup, which Bayliss was a key part of. The criticism of Bayliss has been that he is too hands off at times, which makes it hard to believe that he is the type of person who would bang his fists on the table demanding a batsmen who can score at four runs an over. It would be fair to say that the narrative of Ed Smith via various media sources shows that he is desperately trying to wash his hands of this debacle. However he will need to do a hell of a lot more to convince the sceptical English fans that the finger of blame shouldn’t be pointed in his direction. A genius is about the furthest thing away from how he has looked this summer.


As for the game itself, to me and many others, this smacks of a dead rubber. England may well be motivated to win the game and tie the series and Australia might well be going all guns blazing to win the series, but for the average cricket fan, it is a much of a muchness. The Ashes are gone no matter how much people try to build it up. For England, Ben Stokes looks like he might not be able to bowl, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Sam Curran comes in as a bowling allrounder to replace one of the underperforming batsmen, whilst England might be tempted to replace Craig Overton with Chris Woakes. As for Australia, they might be tempted to give Pat Cummins a rest bearing in mind his workload in this series and his previous injury history. I’m not sure it matters too much, especially if England can’t work out how to get Steve Smith out before he reaches another double century. The weather is set fair and you would imagine that batting conditions should be good for the first 3 days, although you can never judge a pitch until England have collapsed on it first!

As ever, feel free to leave your comments below:

UPDATE: England have dropped Roy and Overton for Curran and Woakes, whilst Australia have bought in Mitchell Marsh for Travis Head.


91 thoughts on “England vs. Australia, 5th Test – The Dead Rubber(ish) Preview

  1. Mark Sep 11, 2019 / 12:37 pm

    As usual Selfy implies something he won’t back up with facts. How does he know Smith has been ….”frustrated by intransigence within the ranks.”

    How does he know this because the ECB doesn’t leak. So where has this come from? Another candlelight dinner where insiders pour their heart out to Dr Selvey?

    Has this come from Smith? Why doesn’t Smith tell Giles or whoever is running the dog and pony show now? Has it ever occurred to Selvey that he might be being played. Someone covering their arse.

    Selvey never names names. It’s all …I know things that you don’t know bullshit.

    England has too many chiefs, and not enough tough minded individual players. Whatever you think of Stokes he at least battles it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. man in a barrel Sep 11, 2019 / 12:41 pm

    It makes you wonder what’s behind the insistence that Root bats at 3. Not that the full story will ever emerge. So much about this series has looked as if there is something happening behind the scenes – why the underbowling of Woakes, what is Buttler’s role (eg why does he never even try to cut loose and play his natural game even in a first innings fiasco), just how badly injured are the bowlers, why is Bairstow an automatic selection despite not making runs and not looking very convincing as a keeper. Maybe there is bribery and corruption. I suppose you think there must be hidden agendas. It is almost too shocking to think that they are too thick to see what’s going on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dlpthomas Sep 11, 2019 / 1:03 pm

    Since we can till draw the series, there is no way that this a dead rubber. Furthermore, when Cook got his 200 at Melbourne, many in the English media were insistent that there is no such thing as a dead rubber in an game in an Ashes series. Being a cynic, I wonder if they will still be saying that if the wheels fall off and England loose heavily.

    I love the “photo”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Metatone Sep 11, 2019 / 1:28 pm

    I loathe the assertion that this rubber is not dead, b/c it paves the way for a huge error:

    We’re playing Archer and Stokes (and god knows who else?) even though we know he is is both injured and knackered, with all the danger of shortening his career.


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 11, 2019 / 1:31 pm

      There are no dead rubbers now….there are World Test Match Championship points up for grabs.

      Unlike in New Zealand.


      • Mark Sep 11, 2019 / 2:57 pm

        I would just like to go on the record as saying regard the test match championship as complete crap. Just rearranging the deckchairs on the Test match Titianic.

        Quality of pitches? Piss off, Over rates! Piss off, quality of test match batsman? Piss off. Instead, here’s a pointless shiny new sticker called the “test match championship” to make it look as if the ICC gives a shit.

        Look over there….. more 20/20


        • Sean Sep 11, 2019 / 4:27 pm

          Reminds me of the golden days of the ‘Andrew Strauss super series’


      • dannycricket Sep 11, 2019 / 3:37 pm

        Whilst perhaps not worthless, the game tomorrow is worth less in terms of the Championship than almost any other England game. Therefore, if resting players or trying out new ones tomorrow increases the likelihood of winning an extra Test in South Africa this winter, England should absolutely do it. They obviously haven’t because they’re idiots, but they should!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. man in a barrel Sep 11, 2019 / 1:59 pm

    On another thread, nonoxcol quoted this:

    “Preparing for what proved his final Test innings, in 2014, Robson seemed transfixed as he watched a montage of his previous dismissals on television. “It wasn’t his fault,” Cook says. “The TV was on, we’re waiting to bat and he saw himself get out again and again. Unfortunately he was out the same way and hasn’t played since.”

    I read this with incredulity and then re-read it, this time with something like anger growing inside me. There it is, the robotic, emotional deadness of Cook’s captaincy in a nutshell.

    The captain sees a fellow player in trouble so what does he do? Does he offer a word of encouragement or even advice? No, he does nothing. Nor do any of the other members of the team do anything. Nor does the manager, the selector, anyone of the hundreds of coaches and backroom staff, right down to the assistant dietitian or second assistant toenail clipper. None of them even had the gumption to turn off the screen.

    They truly are thick. There is no need to look out for machiavellian cunning plans

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Sep 11, 2019 / 2:50 pm

      20.5 beaten for pace! That is Aaron’s mandate and Robson has missed a straight ball. It was full, it was hurtling towards the stumps and the batsman, who seemed to be in leave-the-ball mode, was quite late on the shot

      Sam Robson’s last test innings was 37.

      In the 1st test he was LBW for 59
      In the 2nd test he was caught behind and LBW to a spin bowler for 17 and 7
      In the 3rd test he caught at third slip for 26 and caught at first slip, I think, for 13
      In the 4th test he was bowled leaving a booming inswinger for 6.

      In all seriousness, what the heaven is he talking about? What common mode of dismissal? Does he not mean Lyth nicking off all the time?

      Liked by 2 people

      • man in a barrel Sep 11, 2019 / 2:59 pm

        Of his 11 innings:

        Caught 5 times
        Bowled 4 times
        LBW twice

        I wish I could like Cook. He seems a nice enough bloke now that he has retired from Tests but he is just says so many stupid and self-regarding things. And you wonder how many more little inaccuracies are in there that just happen to undermine the player about whom he is commenting. Robotic and emotionally dead.

        Liked by 1 person

        • man in a barrel Sep 11, 2019 / 3:13 pm

          What makes it worse is that Robson scored 336 runs (including 1 century) and the mighty Cook amassed an unassailable 376 in those 11 innings (including the unforgettable and triumphant 95 at Southampton. I suppose he had to rub in the fact that he was 40 runs better in 11 innings than the nervous and anxious newbie

          Liked by 1 person

        • nonoxcol Sep 11, 2019 / 3:16 pm

          I also thought some of the covering remarks in that article were very Cook 2014: from memory “the last thing I want to do is take credit for [Stokes]”; “you have to know when to move on” (after celebrating the World Cup win).

          They always strike me as things he feels he has to say. And come across as robotic, as you say. I’m never buying this idea that he doesn’t have arrogance and an enormous ego, because without it he wouldn’t have achieved what he has. Ditto the ostensibly more obnoxious characters like KP and Swann. And when things go against him you see it quite clearly: the World Cup 2015 captaincy, the so-called friend outburst, “I won a series in India, I have inner steel”. But that ridiculous notion was forced down our throat day after day in 2014 (and since), to much resentment.

          Last word: it’s an under-explored factor in the failures of openers since 2012/13, so much so that when Tim de Lisle dared to explore the idea there was more pearl-clutching than a maiden aunts’ trip to Amsterdam. (Jennings isn’t the best example: it’s a shame we didn’t hear this re Compton, Carberry and Robson, especially as the latter’s initial success coincided with Cook’s worst trot)


          Liked by 1 person

          • Mark Sep 11, 2019 / 3:36 pm

            There has always been a cult like status about him. And like cult leaders he never stuck me as particularly nice. I never bought into the …..he’s such a great guy drivel.

            And I was right to do so because every now and then he would drop his guard and reveal a petulant, self entitled nature to him.

            As to his band of fans, they all resemble cult followers. But unlike those who sometimes escape from a cult, I doubt they will ever be reprogrammed back to normality.


          • man in a barrel Sep 11, 2019 / 3:41 pm

            I must stop reading that article. I keep coming across passages that make me squirm. The man is a snake:

            ” I did guide [Stokes] a little and had that affinity with him. But the last thing I want is to take any credit for what he’s done”

            Everything he says seems to loop back to himself. He makes Boycott seem objective


          • thelegglance Sep 11, 2019 / 4:34 pm

            I find it rather hard to believe that any international batsman wouldn’t be self absorbed, selfish, arrogant and self-centred. Given what they have to go through to make it to the top of the game, it would be surprising if they weren’t.
            What gets me is not that Cook will be like this, it’s the pretence that he isn’t, and that he’s completely different to a Pietersen or a Swann. Of course he isn’t. He’s going to be by most measures extraordinarily selfish, he wouldn’t have succeeded otherwise.
            And that’s the game that gets played in the media – nice guy, nasty guy, when it’s just variations on the same personality needed to get to the top. They trample over others. They have to.

            Liked by 2 people

          • Mark Sep 11, 2019 / 5:14 pm

            Legglance nails it!! Of course he would be self absorbed and selfish. As you say, it goes with being a driven sportsman. But notice that only selected types are allowed to be that way in the England set up. If your face doesn’t fit then you’re odd, selfish, weird.

            This quote is classic

            “” I did guide [Stokes] a little and had that affinity with him. But the last thing I want is to take any credit for what he’s done”

            Put it up there with “my so called friends…..”

            Isn’t it about time he apologised for throwing a temper tantrum after he was dropped from the last World Cup? He said a lot of things that turned out to be bullshit…..since his sacking laid the ground work for the World Cup win this summer.

            How about…..”my sacking as a crap ODI player, and captain lead to our great victory?”

            Pity we don’t have a functional cricket media and not a lot of ECB brown nosers. If the likes of Agnew and Selvey can’t see what a piece of work he is then they should reserve judgement on other people they have criticised.


        • dArthez Sep 11, 2019 / 5:37 pm

          Yeah, so much worse than 40% caught fielder, 30% caught wicketkeeper, 20% lbw, and 10% bowled.

          Because that was Cook.

          But at least in his last 5 years of Test cricket (from May 2014) onwards, he roughly achieved the same distribution of dismissals. So even in his method of failure, Cook was consistent.

          Liked by 2 people

    • Grenville Sep 11, 2019 / 6:50 pm

      When I read the interview I was struck by the presumption that Robson’s Test career was over. Perhaps that presumption is not there, but it seemed stupid and nasty to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pontiac Sep 11, 2019 / 4:48 pm

    Here’s some free comedy. The Australians are challenging Mitchell Marsh to play as well as Stokes.

    As some of us say it, *facepaw*.


    • Sean Sep 11, 2019 / 7:58 pm

      I’m hoping he plays as well as…well Mitchell Marsh really.

      Liked by 1 person

      • man in a barrel Sep 11, 2019 / 8:11 pm

        Head was not doing very well, so why not give yourself another bowler in case someone breaks down. After all Cummins has worked very hard. He is also capable of destroying medium pacers on flat pitches


        • Sean Sep 11, 2019 / 8:14 pm

          Fair enough argument. I’d have personally rested Cummins for Siddle. Head has had his moments in the series, certainly surprised he has been dropped before Wade.


          • man in a barrel Sep 11, 2019 / 8:23 pm

            What are the tracks like at the Oval this year… When was the last time they used a pitch designed to last more than a few hours?


          • Sean Sep 11, 2019 / 8:26 pm

            Toss a coin. It might be flat, it might spin, it’s genuinely impossible to know.


          • man in a barrel Sep 11, 2019 / 8:49 pm

            Stokes has 8 wickets at over 40 off 95 overs. Not a brilliant record. Agreed, I would have brought in Siddle but the idea of setting England a monster target is the tempter here. As long as the weather holds. Otherwise, pick Siddle and bowl them out faster


    • man in a barrel Sep 11, 2019 / 10:17 pm

      Voges got 70 in the Oval Test 2015. This could be ominous. But, heck it’s Autumn already. We might be setting up igloos on the Hallowed Square


    • nonoxcol Sep 12, 2019 / 1:51 pm

      Yeah, as soon as I saw this post I remembered Marsh hitting two hundreds and finishing second in the averages behind Smith in the last Ashes and thought it was a gargantuan fate-tempter.

      I’m sure Fred is p***ing himself right now…


      • nonoxcol Sep 12, 2019 / 1:52 pm

        For clarity, by “this post” I meant Pontiac’s about Marsh and Stokes…


  7. man in a barrel Sep 11, 2019 / 7:54 pm

    Interesting review of The Edge, wondering why there was not more questioning and cross
    -checking of the interviews, eg asking Finn or Panesar what the atmosphere in the dressing room was like?

    Liked by 1 person

    • LordCanisLupus Sep 11, 2019 / 9:25 pm

      Barney Douglas was, I think I read, media manager at the ECB. I’m not sure that going too deep was on the agenda. It certainly danced around the text gate and KP sacking incidents.

      Liked by 2 people

      • man in a barrel Sep 11, 2019 / 10:22 pm

        Yes, he has used his video clips plus Swanny’s (yuck) vlogs and other materials. But… Games players are not usually mature adults these days. No longer are they made to become mature by a 40 year-old senior pro


  8. man in a barrel Sep 11, 2019 / 8:02 pm

    The thing that is rarely discussed is the use of Swann as a factual resource. He seems to have the kind of personality who needs, even demands, to be loved. So when he was under criticism for leaving the 14-15 tour, he could latch on to Pietersen and play for sympathy. However when the tide turned and it was clear that KP was going to be a scapegoat and non-person, he became a chief accuser in order to suck up brownie points. Never use him if you want factual evidence. He will always give you the evidence he believes that you desire

    Liked by 1 person

    • dArthez Sep 12, 2019 / 9:38 am

      He probably learned that from the ECB itself. After all we have heard several conflicting explanations about the post-Textgate “reintegration” as well. All of whom were on the payroll of the ECB – and I would not be surprised if several of the key players themselves have contradicted their own public statements several times. And we’re not just talking about different perspectives, we’re talking about mutually exclusive chains of events here.

      And who can forget Strauss’ accidental microphone moment, which basically told us that everything he had said about Pietersen was nothing but lies? Mike Selvey rated it as a highlight of the year.
      Jellyfish have more spine than several administrators and former players (and journalists) involved over that period.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. dlpthomas Sep 12, 2019 / 10:16 am

    And so the bad decisions continue…..


  10. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 10:34 am

    It looks like a slow pitch with a bit of bounce. If we can get through 10 overs without losing a wicket, we ought to get to 400+


    • dlpthomas Sep 12, 2019 / 10:45 am



  11. nonoxcol Sep 12, 2019 / 10:47 am

    According to a comment on Cricinfo, the highest opening partnership of the English summer is still 32…

    by Porterfield and McCollum for Ireland.

    (By the way, going back to the first Ashes panel, did anyone say Burns, Denly, Root for the England top 3 at The Oval?)


    • Sean Sep 12, 2019 / 11:17 am

      We might well revisit that after the Test. Not sure any of us did mind…


  12. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 10:49 am

    Oh dear, Denly out after 8.3 overs. The pitch looks like one of those slow steamers that Selvey jizzes about as being perfect for England to play on


  13. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 11:00 am

    This pitch has run fest written all over it. Very little margin of error for the bowlers. Anything slightly short sits up and demands a spanking


      • dlpthomas Sep 12, 2019 / 11:18 am

        I’d just about take that


      • dlpthomas Sep 12, 2019 / 4:04 pm

        Definitely take 275 now.


        • LordCanisLupus Sep 12, 2019 / 4:13 pm

          I once wrote…

          I maintain, and will until I go blue in the face, that without big hundreds, the opportunity to make massive scores to insure them against flat wickets and insufficient power bowling, England need people to be regularly scoring big centuries. Jos showed it wasn’t impossible – and he’s going to have to get used to being stranded if he keeps this form up – and yet our top batsmen have now got one ton between them in the last five test matches. I’m worried. Sorry, that’s just a bloody fact. While we might get a wicket we can bowl teams out on in this green and pleasant land, it’s not going to get us much further if we can’t string big innings together.

          There are no easy answers and we (I) am not pretending there are. There is no solution easily to hand, so that’s why maybe I’m a little more down on this team than others who seem to suspend critical thinking on the basis of an upward tick in a single test. The fundamental issues apply still.

          I got pilloried by one person in particular who said England have won the test but they are doing it all wrong…. intimating that I didn’t have a clue.

          Another summer, another one where no-one gets over 150. Relying on miracles.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. dlpthomas Sep 12, 2019 / 11:49 am

    Root dropped twice. Now he needs to cash in.


    • Sean Sep 12, 2019 / 11:53 am

      Nice of the Aussie team to pay homage to Jason Roy on his home ground..


  15. Mark Sep 12, 2019 / 12:33 pm

    86/1 at lunch with some good fortune for Root. I still wouldn’t bet England will get 400 though!

    Already 5 overs behind the over rate. And that is with only one wicket down and not many morning reviews. But nobody cares, and the punters keep paying their money so I’m obviously a kill joy.

    Look over there….A new test championship..


  16. Sean Sep 12, 2019 / 12:42 pm



    • Mark Sep 12, 2019 / 12:49 pm

      He will have his ECB access cut off if he keeps writing the truth.

      Doesn’t he know that Cook is now a knight? Sir Jellyfish of jellyfish harbour.

      Always thought it funny when a certain ex Essex player was begging Cook to come out of retirement for the last two tests. Had nt he been reading Cooks stats for home Ashes?

      Liked by 1 person

    • mdpayne87 Sep 12, 2019 / 1:08 pm

      Haha, I said to myself when I saw that tweet that it would be up on here within an hour. You didn’t disappoint.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sean Sep 12, 2019 / 1:20 pm

        Like shelling peas 😂


  17. dArthez Sep 12, 2019 / 1:50 pm

    Root has been dropped thrice, and the total is still 130/3.

    Stokes just fell to Mitchell Marsh.


    • Sean Sep 12, 2019 / 1:56 pm

      England looking like they really can’t be arsed to be there. Certainly performing as if it’s a dead rubber..


      • dlpthomas Sep 12, 2019 / 2:02 pm

        Given that Australia has dropped 3 catches, maybe neither side wants to be there.


        • Sean Sep 12, 2019 / 6:20 pm

          TBF, he didn’t really need to with MM acting as the 4th bowler.


  18. Mark Sep 12, 2019 / 3:01 pm

    169/3 at tea in 52 overs…….now 8 overs behind rate.

    I know, I know I will get my coat……..


    • Sean Sep 12, 2019 / 3:03 pm

      I’m completely with you on this. Makes a mockery of the cricketing fans paying £120+ for a ticket.


  19. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 3:04 pm

    Given the way Mitchell Marsh is swinging it, England should be relieved that they left Starc out. England have strengthened their team even by replacing a batsman with a bowling all-rounder. Australia have arguably weakened their team. Their best attack played at Old Trafford. They haven’t strengthened it for these conditions. Nor is the batting looking stronger unless the pitch is even flatter than it looks at the moment. The changes seem defensive, giving themselves another bowling option on what might be a dead pitch


  20. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 3:31 pm

    Wow, Cummins!

    Is it my imagination or has he cranked up his pace a bit?


  21. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 3:33 pm

    Eleven runs off the last 10 overs. England are being outdone in the bowling dry stakes


  22. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 3:49 pm

    Curran is a lucky player… Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good


    • Sean Sep 12, 2019 / 4:05 pm

      When you have an English batting line up like this.


  23. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 4:06 pm

    Marsh has 35 wickets in 31 matches. England really are bad at batting


    • dlpthomas Sep 12, 2019 / 4:09 pm

      This is the best I have seen him bowl.


  24. dlpthomas Sep 12, 2019 / 4:06 pm

    Time for Buttler to justify his place.


  25. dArthez Sep 12, 2019 / 4:11 pm

    What is more humiliating? 205/7 on a flat pitch, despite quite a few drops, or Mitchell Marsh having four wickets?


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 12, 2019 / 4:14 pm

      Him making 180 plus at Perth, following it up with another ton at Sydney was getting to Karun Nair levels of shame.

      Liked by 2 people

  26. Mark Sep 12, 2019 / 4:11 pm

    199/6…..England are incabable of batting big in the first innings. It’s been true on almost all surfaces over the last five years. Doesn’t matter if they get a good start or it’s a flat pitch or they get a lot of luck with dropped catches.

    I don’t think it matters who the coach is…it’s down to poor technique and mental failures. England are a 300/350 side. And that’s on a good day.

    If Smith makes a big score here England will be chasing this game again.

    Oh, and only 26 overs to make up in the last hour. So the extra half an hour has become standard extra time.


  27. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 4:12 pm

    The Aussies could be batting today. We are lucky they didn’t pick Marsh before this match. I never thought I would be typing that


    • Mark Sep 12, 2019 / 4:24 pm

      Looking for the first ECB journalist to say the magical words……”Dead rubber.” as a defence. Who will dare?

      Can Mr Harrison explain how his new 16.4 is going to help this inibility to bat long and make big scores? The problem is not 100 balls it is the total failure of England batsman to make 100 runs.

      Instead of The new 100, the focus should be about the lack of big test hundred scores.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dlpthomas Sep 12, 2019 / 4:28 pm

        Holding called it a dead rubber earlier today.


        • Mark Sep 12, 2019 / 4:42 pm

          Right, but I would probably exempt Michael Holding as an ECB mouth piece.


          • dlpthomas Sep 12, 2019 / 4:53 pm



  28. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 4:18 pm

    Why do we have a drinks interval, it’s not exactly tropical here today? This ought to be the moment for Buttler to throw the bat. He is just about clinging on to his wicket by his fingernails so he has nothing to lose


  29. MM Sep 12, 2019 / 5:05 pm

    Thought of a process by which slack over-rates in tests can be combated. If anyone else has already pulled this down from the noosphere before me I apologise profusely. I’m not trying to go all Ed Smith: Plagiarist.

    1. Take the average the number of runs your side’s bowling has conceded per over in tests for the past, say, 3 years.

    2. Multiply that figure by the number of overs not bowled in a given day.

    So… if you have conceded 3 runs per over during the last 3 years of tests, and you are 10 overs short on day one, you concede 30 penalty runs for that day. These are added as extras at the end of the day’s play.

    3. Get to a certain number of penalty runs in a certain number of tests and the captain is automatically banned. He’ll know when a ban is coming from quite a long way off if he carries on taking the pee out of the public.

    4. There will be a league of shame! This will run alongside the test championship. If your over-rate is good it can positively alter your position in the championship. Not sure of that mechanism yet but if the ICC (or whatever they are called) want to give me some big dollar for my idea I’m sure they can make it work. I am currently a bit short (being unemployed) so I’ll take medium dollar, thanks.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sean Sep 12, 2019 / 5:12 pm

      Definite merit to that. Something HAS to be done to make these teams bowl their allotted overs.


    • dArthez Sep 12, 2019 / 5:20 pm

      That works like a charm for sides that struggle to bowl out a side in the fourth innings when the target is nominal. Sides could then actively wait taking the last wicket until another 80 overs have been bowled, thus reducing the penalty incurred in future matches. They can easily achieve that by negative bowling, refusing to appeal for wickets etc.

      What is stopping someone like Leach (as a batsman) then from wiping his glasses (don’t think anyone else at the moment plays with glasses) after every ball he bats? Or the physio for the batsmen to come in after every ball bowled?

      And what to do when overs are lost due to incompetent umpiring (Wilson’s 8 wrong decisions in the first Test spring to mind)? Bit ludicrous to blame the bowling side for an incompetent umpire.

      Bonus points for bowling overs really quickly will lead to say Sri Lanka bowling 50 overs in a session with spinners in the fourth innings, especially when the target is still a few hundred runs away.

      The only benefit I see in this proposal is that teams will be happy to play teams like Zimbabwe, due to doctoring overrate possibilities.

      And well, you can say it is not cricket, but we all know that gamesmanship trumps sportsmanship these days.

      Liked by 1 person

      • MM Sep 12, 2019 / 5:33 pm

        There’s always a clever so-and-so ready to pee on yer chips : ) and you were very quick there, Mr Darthez. Crushed my hopes of cricket-related fame and riches : )

        To be fair to my blurted-out-far-too-quickly idea, I hear them grumbling on Test Match Special about over-rates but I never hear them bringing a solution to the microphone. This has been an issue most of all my life and that’s 50 years.

        And I’m desperate to sell any old tossed-off idea for a few quid.


        • dArthez Sep 12, 2019 / 7:14 pm

          Sorry to rain on your parade. Obviously I think it is an issue that needs to be addressed. And sorry to hear of your unemployment. Hope you can find something decent soon.

          Cricket is a complex game, which can offer all kinds of situations, it is very difficult to sort such issues out by any means. (300/2 from 90 overs can be a poor effort in the fourth innings. but 100/9 from 90 can be a great effort to salvage the draw in the 4th innings). Par scores for a day can change massively during a game, and even during a session (due to change in weather conditions for instance).

          Mathematical models will fail. Cricket is just too complex to allow for “easy” elegant solutions (one of the reasons DLS works is that limited overs games have to be decisive or ties. That is not the case in Test cricket).

          The problem is that time wasting can be beneficial to both the batting and the fielding side, and that those things often change during the game (the Lord’s Test is a good example). And, related to that, that some of the time wastes are beyond the control of the players (extreme heat, umpires being incompetent, people walking in front of the sight screen, balls being lost), and thus that it is not always on the bowling side. And obviously you can’t penalise a side for all those things beyond the control of players.


          • MM Sep 12, 2019 / 7:57 pm

            Thanks for the kind employment wishes. It’ll happen. Always does.

            Much peace and happiness to all here.


    • nonoxcol Sep 12, 2019 / 5:35 pm

      I wish you all the best with your job search. I’ve been there and it’s horrible. Have faith that it will get better.


      • MM Sep 12, 2019 / 5:53 pm

        Good man. Seriously, thank you.

        I do have faith that things will get better but right now I’ve exhausted the PPI claims and Mrs MM wants nice things, and pronto.

        If the ECB (or ICC or whoever/whatever) want me for a very low-maintenance ideas man they can reply to this post. That’ll do it.

        Strauss-y has a new post, hasn’t he? I will happily be his driver, or sharpen his biros, or clean his luxury corporate commode for him. Anything to keep Mrs MM in nice things.

        Liked by 1 person

  30. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 6:19 pm

    Lyon didn’t bowl much did he? I guess his finger hasn’t yet healed up


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