England vs. Australia, 5th Test, Day 1

“In the beginning the Universe was created.
This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”

-Douglas Adams

In a similar vein, Australian captain Tim Paine decided to bowl first after winning the toss this morning. The conditions seemed pretty good for batting, and all it would take was a solid batting performance from England to put the tourists under pressure and potentially rescue a drawn series.

It started relatively well. Burns and Denly put together a partnership of 27 before Denly edged a wide ball to Steve Smith at second slip. This does not sound particularly impressive, and objectively it isn’t, but 27 still represents the highest opening stand achieved by either team in this series. A statistic like this demonstrates that Australia haven’t been an entirely dominant force, regardless of the scorecards. They are by no means a complete side, and it is therefore massively disappointing that England haven’t been able to come close to competing with them despite all of the advantages a home team possesses in Test cricket.

Burns and Root steadied the ship with a partnership for 76 runs, although Root was somewhat lucky to survive three dropped catches through his innings. Burns lost his wicket with a miscued pull shot which was caught at mid on. What followed was, rather than their typical collapse, a slow and inexorable decline into an inevitable defeat. Each batsman seemed to get a start, look somewhat comfortable and get out.

England have a habit of making mediocre Test bowlers with career bowling averages over 40 look like world-beaters. Roston Chase’s eight-fer in the West Indies is a real England lowlight for me. Mitch Marsh was the most recent beneficiary, finishing the day on 4/35. I sometimes wonder how many bowlers in world cricket have their best bowling figures against England, because it must be significantly above average.

Following the quick dismissals of Woakes and Archer, England were 226/8 and staring down the barrel of losing this Test in three days. Fortunately for them, one of their more useful batsmen was coming to the crease to join Jos Buttler in the form of Jack Leach. Leach is not by any means a good batsman. What he is though, is seemingly quite good at not getting himself out. It is an underrated talent, which the specialist batsmen might want to get his advice on. In the six innings he’s batted so far in this series, he’s been out twice. Moreover, his average number of balls faced per dismissal is currently 62. That’s better than Denly, Bairstow, Buttler and Roy. If he lost his wicket early at Headingley, as might be expected of most tailenders, England would be losing this series 3-0. Had he fallen for the same traps as many of the more experienced and skilled batsmen ahead of him today, England would have almost certainly posted a first innings score below 250. It seems like no exaggeration to say that England are in with a shout of drawing this series only because of Jack Leach’s application with the bat.

Which is not to undersell Buttler’s performance today. He was in the Stokes role today, farming the strike and scoring boundaries almost at will. He finished the day on 64*, which is already his highest score of the series, leaving England on 271/8. It’s not a bad total if you look solely on the basis of England being put in to bat after losing the toss, but conditions seemed fairly helpful for the batsmen and most English fans seem disappointed with such a low total.

Buttler will be keen to post a big score and make a statement to selector Ed Smith tomorrow, because his batting has been poor in this series so far. You’d think that his current series average of 24.25 wouldn’t be enough to keep his place in the side, but Bairstow (25.00) and Denly (24.22) aren’t faring any better and England seem oddly reluctant to make significant changes to a losing team.

The day finished eight overs short. It keeps happening, and we’re going to keep talking about it. Trust me, it bores us as much as it bores you.

As always, we look forward to your comments on the game and other stuff below.


86 thoughts on “England vs. Australia, 5th Test, Day 1

  1. metatone Sep 12, 2019 / 6:48 pm

    Didn’t see any play today, but on the face of it, Buttler has looked more like he deserves to retain his place than Bairstow. Maybe they should both go, but given Denly should too, maybe 3 batting changes is too many at one go for the NZ trip.

    Overall, this was a nonsense selection by Ed Smith. No injured players rested, only Roy dropped and he still messed it up. I made a joke about Aus getting Root or Burns out so they could get into the tail – but it proved prophetic.

    I think 4 is too high for Stokes, plus he’s worn out and part-injured – otherwise why so many other bowlers in the side? – but to be fair, he does have good technique. After that tho… well, here we are.

    It’s one thing to guess that – and even be correct – that Curran would score more than Roy, but the point is, not enough more!


  2. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 7:02 pm

    Leach has lasted 31 balls – more than Denly, Woakes, Curran and Archer, and almost as many as Stokes.


  3. Marees Sep 12, 2019 / 7:20 pm

    England have to decide who their wicket keeper is.

    All others picked for batting should bat ABOVE the designated wicket keeper


  4. MM Sep 12, 2019 / 7:22 pm

    8 overs not bowled? That’s 24 penalty runs to us!!! I will get this innovation implemented, goddammit : )

    Out of interest, can anyone calculate how many runs per over the Aussies have gone for in the last 3 years of tests? Someone’s gonna have a swish algorithm or summat. Peter Moores-y… are you there with yer laptop? I guessed 3 per over in a previous post.

    I was very, very pleased for Buttler today. Would be marvellous if he got a ton in partnership with Jack Leach. But most of our overnight batters get knocked over early, don’t they? Leach-y excepted, of course : )


      • dArthez Sep 12, 2019 / 7:42 pm

        If England are on their way to winning a game in Australia, while the Aussies are batting, members of the crowd will be standing in front of the sightscreen all day long then. And England will then lose despite not being able to bowl a single ball. Just a random example. Basically the touring team will have to bring some Ultras to keep the locals from doing that.

        Same with the people who throw back the balls after boundaries. If the home side is losing, while batting, they will take 30 minutes to return EVERY SINGLE ball. And get rewarded many a run for their efforts.

        Sounds absurd? Never underestimate how much such rules can get bent, to benefit one team or the other.


          • dArthez Sep 13, 2019 / 4:45 am

            The Aussie security guards? Sure …

            And can you imagine what would happen if it was an India – Pakistan game? Forget Kashmir then …


        • Steve Sep 13, 2019 / 6:47 am

          Don’t assume Aussie fans are as bad sports as you Brits.


      • MM Sep 12, 2019 / 7:50 pm

        8 overs x 6 balls = 48
        48 balls x 6 runs = holy unholy deterrents Batman! 288 runs!!

        So, in theory, England will have summat like 550 on the board when they restart in the morning? The Aussies will be running around like the Anthill Mob between the overs. I like it : )

        Reckon that’ll prevent every bad over-rate instantly… unless batters start using spectacles to bat in when it suits them. Yes, I see them flaws now.


        • dArthez Sep 12, 2019 / 8:24 pm

          Can you imagine what the result would be of time-wasting like Leach, Overton and Buttler might have done in Manchester? Waste 8 overs of time, and England would have won, despite refusing to bat. And while obviously they can’t waste 30 overs in a single session, the time-wasting would have started at the start of the fourth innings.

          Let’s look at the last Test for instance, fourth evening:
          Burns gone. So Root takes 2 minutes, 59 seconds to get out in the middle to face his first ball (just so that he can’t be timed out), in order to attempt to get a free 36 runs for a poor overrate. Same with Roy. Time wasting would have contributed more than Roy in any innings of his Ashes Test career.

          You can even think of a situation where a side is starting a chase of 150 on the fourth night, and then win by having 6 batsmen timed out, resulting in a poor overrate (because obviously that would take about 20 minutes out of the game, which is roughly 4 or 5 overs)…

          I know, it sounds absurd. But if the rules allow for the absurd, then we know the absurd will soon be commonplace. Gamesmanship is a massive part of cricket and other sport, so it would be hopelessly naive to think that such rules would work as intended.


          • dannycricket Sep 12, 2019 / 8:36 pm

            Oh absolutely. It would solve the issue of the bowling team causing slow over rates though. In this kind of situation, I’m in favour of addressing these issues as they occur. Eventually, if you keep figuring out new solutions for the issues which come up, a new set of laws will have evolved which are both fair and keep over rates where they should be.

            Liked by 1 person

          • dArthez Sep 13, 2019 / 9:23 am

            Can I refer back to the farcical 1/0 declaration by Somerset 4 decades ago, in a 50 – over competition?


            Undoubtedly it is still the shortest completed decisive game of professional cricket ever played, and it lasted all of 16 legal deliveries.

            It caused quite a bit of chaos, but as the rules were it was perfectly permissible to do just that. Completely against the spirit of the game, but who cares? Certainly Brian rose did not, else he would not have happily declared at 1/0. Oh, and in case anyone was wondering, he played Test cricket for England AFTER the event as well (which he was not exactly shunned for completely ignoring the spirit of cricket).

            If the rules allow for exploitation, there will always be a genius who will exploit the rules. Good luck sorting out a mess over such an event when it is a high-profile international game, between say Pakistan and India.


          • LordCanisLupus Sep 13, 2019 / 10:01 am

            Like Australia deliberately taking all the time in the world to beat West Indies in the 1999 World Cup to try to engineer New Zealand’s exit? I seem to recall they took an awful long time to knock off 160-odd after an early scare.

            Liked by 1 person

          • dArthez Sep 13, 2019 / 10:47 am

            There are countless examples from all over the world. When given the opportunity, every competitive side will push the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not. My point simply remains that cricket is too complex a game, to allow for easy solutions to a very persistent and very annoying problem.


        • Mark Sep 12, 2019 / 8:51 pm

          Also, am I right in thinking they were eight overs short after the extra half hour? Which means they were even further behind the clock at 6pm.

          My solution is take away their breaks. If come lunch time they are five overs short they stay out there until they have made up the five overs. Which at say five mins per over would mean they would get a 15 minute lunch break.

          Then, when they were three overs short at tea they only get a five minute tea break. Faced with the possibility of of bowling 90 overs a day with only twenty minutes break all day they will get on with it.

          In addition scrap the drinks break if they are behind, unless it is really hot. Most bowlers get drinks on the boundary anyway at third man, and I don’t belive fielders can’t last two hours without a drink.

          As a paying customer they are trespassing on my time if I have to stay late to get my moneys worth. So they should make up the overs on their time.

          Now of course the batting side could mess about to keep the fielding side out there all day. However, that would be copied by the other side in the next innings. My guess is both teams would soon come to realise they were killing each other by batting with no breaks at all, and would get on with it.


          • dannycricket Sep 12, 2019 / 9:13 pm

            I think that’s worse for the fans. This already happens in ODIs, where the scheduled interval can be cut from 60 to 30 minutes due to slow over rates. That means people at the ground have practically no time to queue for food, drink and toilets and so are more likely to miss some play. Why should spectators be punished for the players’ wrongdoing?


          • man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 9:21 pm

            Drinks breaks. When you can bring out a glass of water for a thirsty player? It was not hot hot hot out there. Why a ten minutes minute break for drinks every session? In tropical climes, the drinks break is a good idea. In London in September when the temperature is under 20 Celsius…!!!!


          • dannycricket Sep 12, 2019 / 9:27 pm

            I assume they’re there as ad breaks more than anything else. Of course, in most countries cricket is played in weather a lot hotter than London in September.


          • Mark Sep 12, 2019 / 9:32 pm

            Yes, it would hurt the fans to start with Danny…. I have to agree with that. But I think faced with the reality of losing their breaks and having to field for nearly six hours straight without a rest…. the players would get a bloody move on.

            We could make a start by eliminating drinks breaks. That would save five or so overs per day.

            Failing that, firing squads!

            Liked by 1 person

          • dArthez Sep 13, 2019 / 4:47 am

            Actually not a bad idea. It might not be great for the fans but that may well result in the bowlers in losing their wits.

            See Headingley, final session for example..


  5. Annie Weatherly-Barton Sep 12, 2019 / 8:17 pm

    What’s happening? I thought it couldn’t get any worse then it does. Someone needs to give the ECB kick up the backside and get rid of the whole lot and start again. What’s happening now is just awful.


  6. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 8:35 pm

    Bob Massie had one match where he took a shed load of wickets. He never again did anything similar. Perhaps this is going to be Mitch’s Match. I guess he is aiming for a 16 for, not so many of them are there?


  7. Rob Sep 12, 2019 / 9:50 pm

    Would you prefer Richie Benaud’s option of fining the bowling captain £10,000 for each over short?

    Or £100,000 per over short?

    Or perhaps penalty wickets? Run penalties do not seem to work in the Ranji Trophy


    • dannycricket Sep 12, 2019 / 10:02 pm

      Honestly I think the simplest solution, in the UK at least, would if spectators and TV companies had to be refunded for any play which they were deprived of. Taking money, and serious money, from the ECB would solve it in a heartbeat.

      Liked by 2 people

      • man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 10:17 pm

        Simple and effective and the broadcasters would love the predictability


  8. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 10:19 pm

    Why on Earth does it take 5 minutes to set a field for guys who have been not out overnight, or for the opening over once you have won the toss and sent the oppo in?


  9. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 11:04 pm

    The main thing is about making umpires responsible for telling skipper to get a move on, and letting umpires levy fines on slow motion captains… Yes Eoin, I’m looking at you


    • dannycricket Sep 13, 2019 / 5:32 am

      Before this season, umpires were responsible and did fine captains. Even banning them on their second offence. It did nothing to stop it, even on the rare occasions it was enforced.


    • dannycricket Sep 13, 2019 / 5:51 am

      These things are relative. Chris Woakes averages 22.80 with the bat in this series, which isn’t great. It still compares well to specialist batsmen Roy (13.75), Denly (24.22), Buttler (24.25) and Bairstow (25.00). Likewise, he has taken more wickets at a better average (9 @ 29.00) than Leach (8 @ 30.37), Stokes (8 @ 45.25), or Overton (2 @ 53.50). And he’s the only English bowler to get Smith out twice.


  10. BobW Sep 12, 2019 / 11:08 pm

    Pretty depressing all round today. Root dropped three times before finally being put out if his (and mine) misery!
    It’s clear the batsmen don’t have the mentality to bat for a long period of time.
    Nice to see Buttler bat well at the end. He really needs to be batting at five in my opinion. Stokes at six. If Buttler cannot cope at five then find a batsman who can.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. man in a barrel Sep 12, 2019 / 11:40 pm

    No comment about the play today. This is telling. Australia’s 3rd team were bowling and England had no answers. What has happened to Woakes so that he does not not how to bat?


    • Burly Sep 13, 2019 / 10:28 am

      3rd team? It’s still Hazlewood and Cummins and Lyon, with Siddle (rotated in). And yes, Mitch Marsh, who genuinely bowled well.


  12. Pontiac Sep 13, 2019 / 12:34 am

    Well, Mitchell Marsh, *facepaw*.

    Not the way I had expected though!


  13. LordCanisLupus Sep 13, 2019 / 10:25 am

    KP opening his mouth on Leach and the English media and fans who think no ill of the team pile in. Peter Hayter at it again…

    KP wasn’t overly fair on Leach, but he isn’t keen on him being a figure of fun (he’s by no mean unique in not getting our humour on things like this – my American beloved still does not get deprecating humour). He points out that he hasn’t won test matches with his bowling – he’s not wrong, but a bit harsh. I don’t think he believes Leach is a laughing stock as a cricketer, but that we, yet again, prefer to worship the grafters rather than the talented.The Aussies possibly mocked him, and he thinks that’s not on.

    I didn’t hear the interview, I read the post, and probably (definitely) have a bias.

    But the press and media will bang on.


  14. LordCanisLupus Sep 13, 2019 / 10:45 am

    Now we know how long it takes a sound engineer to manufacture a snick. Why waste that skill on Warner?


    • metatone Sep 13, 2019 / 10:47 am

      Weirdest UltraEdge I’ve ever seen.


      • Burly Sep 13, 2019 / 11:08 am

        Bat creak I reckon. Ball looked in front of the bat.


    • dArthez Sep 13, 2019 / 11:18 am

      It looked a bit odd. But obviously cameras cannot capture every bit of movement (even if you took 10000 frames per second for a ball travelling 72 mph (116 km/h, or 32 metres per second), that is still 0.32 centimetres between frames. We may or may not be able to deduce if there was an edge, without actually seeing the moment of the edge (or having a still of it).

      Any review system introduces the possibility of overturning correct decisions to become incorrect ones (and I certainly would not argue that Erasmus definitely got it wrong – or right for that matter). That may or may not be the case here.

      We have at least half a dozen examples from Test cricket of correct decisions being overturned (and at least another free wicket as a result of that, since a review was incorrectly denied to the batsman, and then the next batsmen could not review when an lbw appeal was going to miss the stumps by a foot).

      As I have been banging on for quite some time, DRS can be tampered with, or suffer malfunctions (I remember a case of England not being able to review an lbw against the West Indies, due to the cameras being occupied) and since it is not open for public scrutiny, we are just left trusting the system, and the third umpire to do the right thing. And they too are fallible.


      • metatone Sep 13, 2019 / 11:19 am

        That’s an excellent point about frame rates.
        Warner also didn’t seem all that surprised.


        • LordCanisLupus Sep 13, 2019 / 11:29 am

          And they’ve just shown Labuschagne possibly cuffing it down legside and no-one appealed.

          Still, the umpire is a jerk if he doesn’t give them out.


  15. dArthez Sep 13, 2019 / 10:49 am

    I suppose it is a success for Warner that he did not get out to Broad these days, and survived four whole balls against Broad. Third highest score of his tour – an innings of all of 5 runs.

    That makes it 84/9 for the series for Warner, with nearly 3 quarters of his runs coming in one innings. Tailenders have been dropped for better batting returns.


  16. metatone Sep 13, 2019 / 11:03 am

    Jofra looking much better than in the last Test at the moment.
    Fingers crossed he can get through the game.


  17. metatone Sep 13, 2019 / 11:21 am

    Ponting points out the obvious that Smith looks like he’s having to work hardest when the bowlers are targeting his outside edge. Wish England’s analysis brains trust was up to this simple level of analysis.


  18. metatone Sep 13, 2019 / 11:39 am

    I see Root’s campaign to break Archer is ongoing.
    Someone needs to advise Archer that when he gets to the 7th over of a spell, start bowling leg spin.


    • nonoxcol Sep 13, 2019 / 11:45 am

      I know Quebecer gently mocked me for saying this, but I think he’s a worse captain than Cook *and* his batting has suffered even more.

      I see something of Larkin in this – he’s been fucked up by mismanagement and so he’s fucking up someone else in his turn…

      Liked by 2 people

      • Mark Sep 13, 2019 / 11:57 am

        Root has been a terrible captain in this series. Bizarre bowling changes, bowlers ignored or frozen out for no reason, others oberbowled.Negative defensive field settings, the usual England diesease of not knowing how to attack with spin bowling.

        Root has become like Cook…..TINA.


        • metatone Sep 13, 2019 / 12:09 pm

          It’s actually logical – who has Root most seen captain in this era, who was he going to model himself on? Cook.


          • Mark Sep 13, 2019 / 1:37 pm

            Yes, and nothing has changed since the Flower era. It’s the same mentality as far as I can see.


  19. Mark Sep 13, 2019 / 11:50 am

    From cricinfo….

    “Andrew Strauss, England’s former director of cricket, is set for a new role with the England and Wales Cricket Board [ECB] following his appointment as the chair of the board’s cricket committee.

    “His new role will involve “monitoring and developing the delivery” of men’s and women’s professional cricket, as well as disability cricket, national counties, clubs and universities cricket and the talent pathway, the ECB said in a release.”

    I swear to god they just make up jobs for people. It’s unbelievable! “Talent pathway” wtf is that? Sounds like the yellow brick road.

    You don’t need to read self help books when you work for the ECB, they just make up jobs out of thin air.


    And we still can’t get a top order to make 450.


    • LordCanisLupus Sep 13, 2019 / 12:46 pm

      So they basically replaced Strauss with Flower (temp) and then Giles (permanently) and as they didn’t really have a job for Strauss, they stick him in between Giles and Harrison.

      That extra TV money doesn’t spend itself you know.


      • Mark Sep 13, 2019 / 1:35 pm

        I know, no wonder Harrison keeps prasing Sky. They are making all these people rich.

        The governing body for cricket has become a giant gravy train for the right sort of people. And most of the cricket media dreams of getting a job on the carpet ride to riches.

        Strauss and Flower replaced KP and Moore’s all those years ago as captain and coach and the jobs just keep on coming.


  20. metatone Sep 13, 2019 / 11:57 am

    So Curran has found a chink in Smith’s armour – but it will only turn into a wicket if he can get a bit of swing. Of course it’s a dry sunny day at the Oval, so… no.


  21. metatone Sep 13, 2019 / 12:11 pm

    Ok, lunch and proof, if needed, that while the Aus seamers have bowled a bit better and more consistently across the series, the big difference is Smith and Labu-shaaaane. We don’t look able to get Labu out for less than 50 and we don’t look like getting Smith out at all…


  22. dArthez Sep 13, 2019 / 12:14 pm

    We only have two innings left in this Test summer in England. Currently the opening partnership across the year averages 11.63 (England, Australia and Ireland). Only 1888 was worse (8.70).

    2017 is the only other year in the last 50 to have a sub-20 average (19.48). To reach those dizzy heights, England and Australia need to add another 200+ runs between them in the remaining two innings.


  23. man in a barrel Sep 13, 2019 / 12:43 pm

    Root was innovative this morning. Leach did not bowl the obligatory one over of spin before the break. I bet he is getting a bollocking for not going by the play book


  24. metatone Sep 13, 2019 / 1:19 pm

    Watching Smith get irked by a wasp, maybe Bairstow needs to tag him with a glove full of honey…


  25. metatone Sep 13, 2019 / 1:25 pm

    Weirdly, maybe the best bowler to take on Smith would have been Angus Fraser.
    Someone prepared to bowl a line outside off stump ball after ball, unfazed by him leaving them all, with enough nip to not be easily taken for 4s but with that stamina to go at it all day.

    And I think that’s the first time I’ve ever thought Fraser might be of use in Test cricket.


    • Mark Sep 13, 2019 / 1:44 pm

      In his pomp Fraser was a very good bowler, but as you say if he could get some nip off the pitch he was a real handful. He had a good attitude too. Real stamina.

      It’s an incitement of England that they don’t seem to have anyone accurate enough to try that tactic.

      I don’t care how good you are if you bowl to keep hitting the top of off stump you will get some success. McGrath would just keep nagging away until you made a mistake.


  26. metatone Sep 13, 2019 / 1:32 pm

    Ok, so I was wrong, Archer got Labu-shaaaane out for 48, so 2 runs less than 50.


  27. man in a barrel Sep 13, 2019 / 2:05 pm

    In fact it took 35 overs before Root tries spin. Archer has had spells of 7 and 6 overs. Woakes has looked pretty plain and quite expensive. The tactical approach is not very convincing


  28. man in a barrel Sep 13, 2019 / 3:25 pm

    That was brainless from Marsh. Australia doing their best to make the English batting look good


  29. Mark Sep 13, 2019 / 3:36 pm

    Of Steve Smiths 26 Test hundreds here is the break down by country. Unsurprisingly the country he has scored the most against is England.

    England 11
    India 7
    WI 2
    NZ 2
    Pak 2
    SA 1
    SL 1

    His last Six hundreds have all been against England. And you have to go back to 25th March 2017 for his last century against a country other than England which was India. Even allowing for the fact he missed most of the last year because of sandpaper gate it’s quite a gap since that hundred against India. And while I’m sure Australia plays more test cricket against England and India under the big three stitch up it’d still clear how poor England have been at stopping him.

    And Root has just dropped him.


  30. dArthez Sep 13, 2019 / 3:57 pm

    Other than Marnus Labuschagne and Smith (off course) Australia’s batting has been extremely poor yet again. Smith probably needs to make close to 200 for Australia to get a lead, and that is rather damning when England have not even posted 300. There are probably more passengers in these two batting lineups than in a London line bus.


  31. metatone Sep 13, 2019 / 4:15 pm

    Inability to get Siddle out is also a bit issue…


  32. nonoxcol Sep 13, 2019 / 4:21 pm

    I know this will inevitably sound like wisdom after the event. And I admit I did not follow the winter series closely at all (but we’re playing in England, so I don’t care). But I have been amazed at the number of people dismissing Sam Curran as a bits and pieces player (mainly at the Guardian, not here), as if he offered no more than Mark Ealham, as if the LAST MAJOR HOME SERIES never happened.

    Seeing Overton picked over him was just taking the absolute piss. One of the worst decisions since Ahmedabad.

    I’m not saying he should have played every match, or that he might have changed the series result. But honestly, FICJAM is stealing a living.

    Not for the first time.


    • nonoxcol Sep 13, 2019 / 4:41 pm

      On which subject, I put “Curran Overton” into Twitter and it led me to what might just be Ultimate BOC Catnip.

      This article is a genuine work of art. A vintage wine. A rich four-course meal. There’s almost too much to get through. You have to keep stopping, savouring, shouting, punching your computer screen, laughing hysterically. It’s almost unfiskable, unless you’ve got a full day on your hands. I’ve never been more confident that I’m not overstating the case. It might just be the article of the decade.


      Like the old TV Times adverts, “I never knew there was so much in it.”


        • nonoxcol Sep 13, 2019 / 5:19 pm

          I thought it was free! I’m not paying either but I was able to read the whole thing.

          Try the replies to Paul Ovendon (@OvePM), that worked for me.


          • LordCanisLupus Sep 13, 2019 / 5:25 pm

            Got it, thanks.

            Simon Kuper. You can’t live off that book forever mate.


          • LordCanisLupus Sep 13, 2019 / 5:59 pm

            Oh MY LORD!

            “I also suspect that Smith had learnt that his perfectionism unfits him for civilian work, where hardly anyone ever gives 100 per cent.”


          • nonoxcol Sep 13, 2019 / 6:02 pm

            It’s fucking incredible isn’t it?

            You could write a thesis on it.


          • LordCanisLupus Sep 13, 2019 / 6:07 pm

            He quotes a line from the film La Grande Bellezza: “You wouldn’t want to be too practised,”

            Oh just fuck off!


          • nonoxcol Sep 13, 2019 / 6:12 pm

            This is what you get when a certain type of person is never challenged, never mocked, never properly questioned, and is instead indulged beyond all sense and rationality.

            At least, never by those who matter to him, those who are his kind.

            And Smith is a relatively harmless example of the form…


          • LordCanisLupus Sep 13, 2019 / 6:19 pm

            The temptation for a clever person taking a new job is to assume that all past conventional beliefs in the field were mistaken. Dominic Cummings, adviser to prime minister Boris Johnson, embodies this approach. Smith avoids it. He quotes his friend Howard Marks (the American investor, not the late Welsh drugs smuggler): “Just because most people think it’s a bad idea to stand in front of a bus and you’re a contrarian thinker, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to stand in front of a bus.” Smith adds: “If you rate yourself as someone prepared to challenge conventional wisdom, you also should know the moments when conventional wisdom is right.”

            So. Previous chairman of selectors were not “clever persons”.

            The rest, is, to put it mildly, toxic level bollocks I’d expect my pet border collie to spew out after a medium length car journey.


    • dlpthomas Sep 13, 2019 / 4:56 pm

      Curran looks like he walked off the pages of one of Richmal Crompton’s Just William novels but there is much about him to like.


      • dlpthomas Sep 13, 2019 / 5:00 pm

        I like him even more after that delivery (and what a shit review).


  33. man in a barrel Sep 13, 2019 / 5:29 pm

    It always bloody happens. England ought to win from here, making it a drawn series and the media will gloss over the sheer mediocrity of the England team and the ecb fanboys will be sickeningly jubilant


    • Mark Sep 13, 2019 / 5:40 pm

      I think the loss of the Ashes is very poor even if it finishes 2:2. My view is without Smith this would have been 5-0.

      The Aussie batting line up is even worse than ours, and that is saying something. Warner has been a big failure, the other opener hasn’t done much and they had to replace the number three.

      If England had a half decent top order, and not a maniac as as a selector the Ashes could have been regained.

      But the media has already decided on the approved pro ECB narrative that a World Cup win, and a two two draw is a fantastic summer.


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