Ashes 2017/18

Ok here we go again. Time to set the alarm clock and strap in.

Apparently the WACA is not its usual bouncy self and is even taking spin, aye and my cock's a kipper.

Batting first will be important and I really fancy Root to get a big hundred as he is great of the back-foot.

Common Joe you have a chance to break the tradition and best of all it will oft be repeated in the future that Australia lost the last ever test at their favourite old ground.

Ray

Well I had no confidence and so far true to my expectations. I could not believe they would not prepare as fast and bouncy a track as possible. Pleased they have really; this is Test cricket not a one-day runfest. Even an England supporter like me has to enjoy this sort of drama.

Too much burden on Root, and all the off field stuff will be draining his concentration.

Cook totally out of touch

Vince is a '25 and out' man.

The rest will strive but where is a dominant big innings coming from?

As for our bowling, 5-10mph is the difference between threatening and inviting. I think we could get really battered where there is no lateral movement whatsoever.

In these conditions the gap between the sides will be very wide. The rest of the time it is only fairly wide..

Bruce

No doubt about it, Captain Fantastic Smith is probably the one big thing that separates the two sides,  backed up by a bowling squad that seem to get more out of the pitch(s) than do England.      Best not mention the poor form with the bat of one or two individuals that seems to have spread like man flue through the Eng dressing room.

Cook and Ali will certainly be disappointed with their contributions to the tour so far. More widely, I think a big weakness has been our tail.  It collapsed, again, for 35 runs yesterday. Just no good enough. They make lack technique but I think the difference to the Aussie tail is more about a lack of grit and determination.   

The issue is a longstanding one; does burdening your best player with captaincy risk reducing their own effectiveness? Not many have managed to excel equally at both it seems to me-especially on tour.

Cook managed this pretty well for a while but had clearly wearied of it. However apart from Root who would have done it? Broad? I'm not sure he should even retain his place. Bairstow? Might be feisty but he has a lot on his plate already.

I do wonder about the role 'the invisible man', Trevor Bayliss in all this developing debacle. I suspect the selectors will get it in the neck but did they really have a lot of different options? Maybe picking some young green quick bowler from obscurity was an option but batting-wise I did not see that many alternatives.

Just for fun I wonder how many of this side will start the next test match, and how many will start the next home test too.

Bruce

As the dust settles on this farce of an England side, my question is; how few brain cells are needed to qualify as a member of the Barmy Army. I once attended an Oval limited overs game (a handful of years ago) and their braying was quite spectacularly bad.

Listening on R5 live was nigh on impossible this morning as these idiots tried to chant themselves into oblivion.

Ah well, I can console myself with the expectation of 5-0, with or without slugger Stokes 

Nah, I have to disagree with you Nick.

It is in fact the Barmy Army who have made the Ashes watchable from an England cricket fan viewpoint. That they can enjoy themselves no matter how bad the performance of the team on the pitch is remarkable and unusual in this day of age where Man U supporter syndrome so pervades. How the hell do you know how intelligent they are - most condescending of you.

The so-called Management Team now have to make some changes to win the last two tests. Loosing with a whimper in the same old way at two of crickets most famous grounds is not acceptable.

Ray

Another disappointing performance, and shaping up to be a very disappointing series. It's easy to level criticism but hard to identify solutions. I feel for Root who is still young and early in his captaincy. He'll be hurting and disappointed in  his own form. But look back. How many of his predecessors have suffered form problems when taking on the captaincy burden? Beefy and Gower both suffered.    

Yes it has been disappointing given Bayliss and Co have had over two years to prepare for the Ashes and were supposed to provide expert knowledge of Oz conditions when to paraphrase Wellington .. we came on in the same old way and they took us down in the same old way.

I like Aussies in general but Smith and Lyon get right on my tits.

I'm afraid that Boycott, when summarising on BT Sport, got it right by saying that there's nobody back at home to call on who could be expected to do better. Like him or not, he's right. One thing we need is a specialist spinner to block up an end and pose a threat like Lyon.  

We've taken a squad of 'English conditions' players to Aus and been found wanting on the harder, faster and bouncier wickets where, apart from the day/night/pink ball match, the bowlers (bar Anderson) have come a very poor 2nd to the Aussie quicks, and for the batters in the main, the less said the better - poor technique, absence of form and poor choice of shots, the list goes on. 

Let's not forget we struggled against the Windies in English conditions. 

What a strange game is the 4th Test:

Cook suddenly returns to form and bats through with 244 n.o.
Vince and Malan's respective LBWs weren't out, as both hit the ball and didn't use DRS.
Broad plays a cameo and shares a ~100 run stand for 9th wicket with Cook - albeit it could have been far less, and the middle order didn't hang around long enough (Ali obviously thought it was an ODI).

So we end play at 491-9, 164 runs ahead.

My sense is that we've had a lot of good fortune in this game e.g. with 3 Aussie batters playing-on.

Looking like a draw is on the cards as, notwithstanding our lead, I think the Aussies won't get removed so easily 2nd time around. 

Ho hum

In simple terms Australia have been more patient and persistent with the bat, and more penetrative with the ball. Smith is in amazing form place but the other batsmen got better as the series progressed too. Ours flickered but never produced the big runs in any consistent way. As for bowling, we always know that the conditions and the ball did not favour us. In honesty I'm not sure test cricket reputation really benefitted from some of these pitches prepared but Australia found ways to get us out with a pace quartet more or less lasting the series and Lyon excellent.

Biggest disappointment for me is Moeen who looks a shadow of himself. I also hoped bairstow and Root were the sort of combative players to stand up and score big runs. Anderson remains a craftsman and Broad put in big efforts but none of the other pace bowlers came through (Overton just maybe) and we are no nearer to a really convincing batting line up. Mason Crane did OK-but will he get a lot of chances to develop in the side?

How many England players make a team of the series. Root and Cook for Bancroft/Kawaja just maybe??

Last word has to go to the incredible crowds. The numbers who have turned up at each ground is truly amazing, over 260,000 over the MCG match for example. the ashes still have it.

Look forward to seeing if we can battle them back in English conditions next.

Bruce

Bruce,

You are spot on in your assessment of the series.

Congratulations to the Aussies who had clearly planned for sometime on how to beat us - its a pity our management hadn't done likewise.

Following on from the thumping we received in India last Winter, I am not best pleased with Bayliss and Co and think change may well be required. Lets not think that Stokes would have made a significant difference to the outcome otherwise we will be staring at a home Ashes defeat in 18 months time.

The Barmy Army were brilliant throughout.

Ray

I agree with Bruce's assessment. On the positive side, several of the England side are still relatively young so hopefully they will learn from this. Hopefully it hardens Root, too. Those enormous crowds are also good riposte to those who say test cricket has had its day. One-day stuff is good but there's nothing like a 5-day test - a real examination of a player's technique, resilience, concentration and tactical nous.    

Seems only fair to resurrect this thread to celebrate England's excellent ODI performances so far this winter. Nick-from-Suffolk isn't going to do it!

Great cricket being played by one side who appear entirely confident of their roles and talents. Another side looking a bit lost, making multiple personnel changes and seemingly unsure how to win.

Does not make up for the Ashes but impressive stuff. getting a 5:0 will be a serious motivation.

Bruce

As you say, Bruce, it doesn't make up for the loss of the Ashes but still nice to see. I've enjoyed the three games, the third being much closer than the previous two. It would be great to get a 5-0 result. The Aussies would surely show that ruthlessness. It will be a test of England's character to see if they can resist the usual habit of tacking their foot off the accelerator.   

Hi Bruce,

Feels like a sympathy shag to me. I don't give a flying about the short forms of the game but  at least Smith doesn't look so smug  in the press conferences.

I've caught a bit of the SA V India tests and think both teams are quite a bit ahead of us at the moment.

Ray

thebigfredc posted:

Hi Bruce,

Feels like a sympathy shag to me. I don't give a flying about the short forms of the game but  at least Smith doesn't look so smug  in the press conferences.

I've caught a bit of the SA V India tests and think both teams are quite a bit ahead of us at the moment.

Ray

I think T20 is a pretty mindless diversion but still retain interest in a good ODI. Time for ebb and flow of the match, and bowling skills as well as just slogging.

Bruce

Well that was a great game & a great advert for the 50 over game.   England made a semi disappointing 259,  but Aus could only get to 247.   So England win by 12 runs with 10 balls to spare,  & win the series 4-1.   Man of the match has to be Tom Curran with 5-35 

Absolutely. England also showing they can win games in the field as well as with the bat. A good ODI can be gripping stuff; even to those of us with only the radio coverage.

Australian ODI cricket looks a bit of a mess. They barely managed to win the previous game despite us being 8 for 5 (or 5 for 8 as they say down under).

So 5 all at the moment with just the T20's to go......

'Australian ODI cricket looks a bit of a mess.' - tad of an understatement there Bruce.

The Aussies should have romped the last game but suffered another self-generated collapse (Smith mentioned this trait of late in his post match comments). They obviously have the talent in the team.

They only needed a run a ball with plenty of wickets in hand and it wasn't as if the ball was doing much (very moderate turn). I think this was in part due to the mentality applied to the one day game now by some players i.e. 50 over game is an extended T20 (perhaps due the current Big Bash season?). In the earlier games Root anchored the England innings and played 'proper cricket shots' to quote another Yorkshireman. It's a mystery to me why Stoinis on >90 tried to belt a slow fall-bung for 6, when all he had to do was place it back down the ground. Even Smith went 'walkabout' against Ali and was stumped.

..and once the lower order were exposed, Curran was an excellent can opener (so to speak), bowling some very effective in-duckers/swingers to Maxwell, Starc and Zampa (the latter 2, it must be said, in batting terms, appear to have bushy tails). 

They said the  new stadium was sold-out but there looked to be many empty seats (not just in the areas exposed to the bright sun).

Happy Listener posted:

'Australian ODI cricket looks a bit of a mess.' - tad of an understatement there Bruce.

The Aussies should have romped the last game but suffered another self-generated collapse (Smith mentioned this trait of late in his post match comments). They obviously have the talent in the team.

They only needed a run a ball with plenty of wickets in hand and it wasn't as if the ball was doing much (very moderate turn). I think this was in part due to the mentality applied to the one day game now by some players i.e. 50 over game is an extended T20 (perhaps due the current Big Bash season?). In the earlier games Root anchored the England innings and played 'proper cricket shots' to quote another Yorkshireman. It's a mystery to me why Stoinis on >90 tried to belt a slow fall-bung for 6, when all he had to do was place it back down the ground. Even Smith went 'walkabout' against Ali and was stumped.

..and once the lower order were exposed, Curran was an excellent can opener (so to speak), bowling some very effective in-duckers/swingers to Maxwell, Starc and Zampa (the latter 2, it must be said, in batting terms, appear to have bushy tails). 

They said the  new stadium was sold-out but there looked to be many empty seats (not just in the areas exposed to the bright sun).

I agree the Aussies should have applied more pressure on England in the final game but we also, unusually, dropped a few catches which could and should have wrapped up the Aussies innings a fair bit earlier. 

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