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The Ashes [2019]


Yes Stokes just too good unfortunately. Not sure about Paine’s tactics in trying to get that last wicket.
This has 2005 written all over it, heartbreakingly close to winning and going 2 up, instead we end up getting rolled and lose the series.
Smith missing is reminiscent of McGrath when he rolled his ankle stepping on a ball in the warm up.
Really need to get Starc back into the line up to create footholes for Lyon to bowl into.
Not sure who they’ll drop to get Smith back in. Maybe Khawaja?


Almost anyone? With the exception of Warner and the chap who subbed for Smith last time.

Very much so, however Smith is returning to the side. And there will be a fascinating contest between Smith and Archer on Smith’s return. I hope. I also wonder how Lyon will mentally cope with that run out chance. He must re-run that a lot in his head.


I am amazed that he hasn’t played. The 3 front line Aussie seamers are very similar in style. Must be knackered as well given the overs they bowled in the second innings in the heat.


I can’t understand it either Mark. I had assumed Starc was injured.


From what I have read the argument is that Starc leaks runs and Cummins et al. don’t. It is a pesuasive argument if you look at England’s totals, bar Headingley and even there in 99.9 out of 100 such senarios Australia win.


Only one way to respond to that and that is to take a match winning fifer at Old Trafford next start.


I often think that Lyon is a bit like our own dear Ashley Giles, master of the one that goes straight on :smiley:.

I was also thinking that Anderson was our McGrath moment. Not that there is a bowler out there to touch pidge :superhero:.

I also understood that Starc was a bit all over the place. All together now; "he bowls to the left, he bowls to the right,…

But seriously I am not sure that England deserve to be still in this. I also worry that they will continue to rely on long shots to get out of jail rather than learn to play test cricket.


There are definitely some significant shortcomings in the England team, particularly in the batting lineup. That said, we have 3 of the top 5 run scorers in the series. so it’s not like the Aussies are much better. Our number 8 has more runs than their best opener. Our bowling hasn’t been amazing but then I wouldn’t say the Aussies has been either. They have two strike bowlers in Cummins and Hazlewood who are reliable - we have Broad and Archer. They shade it because Lyon is better than Leach - beyond that it’s a bit of a wash really.

We were clearly second best at Edgbaston, and for the first half of the test at Headingly, but were the better team at the end of that game and at Lord’s. This feels to me like a fairly well balanced series featuring two flawed teams.

It’ll be interesting to see what changes the teams make for the OT test. I’d bring Smith back at the expense of Wade rather than Khawaja. Wade made the century on a flat deck at Edgbaston when batting was easy and England were a bowler down - since then he’s done nothing. Khawaja hasn’t made a big score yet but has generally looked good at the crease. I’m also amazed they haven’t played Starc - surely it makes sense to bring him in ahead of Pattinson or Siddle, even if only to to create rough outside the right-hander’s off stump for Lyon to bowl into. For England, if Jimmy’s fit then he comes back in and I’d be tempted to leave out Woakes. It weakens our batting a bit but it looks like the Aussies might have figured him out. With the ball he generally looked out of form, bowling much too short and not putting the batsmen under pressure. I’d also pull Jason Roy to bring in an opener - I don’t know the county game well enough to choose between Sibley, Pope or someone else, but that’s what the selectors get paid for. I can’t see Roy doing anything for us at the top of the order and don’t think we should shoehorn Denly in there. Let’s try someone else.


Nothing to disagree with there, but I do think the Australian pace bowling has been better than ours, a bit more disciplined and on the spot. Not that it mattered given how determined most of the England top order has been to get out.

Root’s captaincy?


I’m not a particularly big fan of Root’s captaincy in general. When you look at what Paine and the Aussies have done - some very clear and well thought out plans for specific batsmen. They’ve figured out that they can get at Burns with the short ball, and have brought in a short leg for him; having a short extra cover for Woakes etc. Could you point to anything similar that Root’s done? Apart from Broad coming round the wicket to Warner, which might just as easily have been Broad’s choice, 'm not sure I could. I’m glad he’s switched Buttler and Bairstow in the order. I’d have been inclined to go further with that and move him up to 3 and give Buttler the gloves. Root’s managed the bowlers fairly well I suppose (although I tend not to like seeing the quicks bowling 10+ over spells) but in general I don’t think Root’s bold enough, and I don’t think he really impacts the game much with his decisions.


Lyon has never been a huge turner of the ball, but he exerts control most of the time and gets topspin and bounce, which is why he’s good in Oz. He might also be useful at Old Trafford and the Oval for these reasons.


Root is not a good captain. Reactive.


That could certainly be the case. There were few few long hops or overpitched deliveries from Cummins et al at Headingly. Well, not until Stokes got after them.


I’m not sure it matters which quicks the Aussies play given the bulk of our batting lineup

Hoping for two more measured matches than we’ve seen (from both teams) but I think test cricket has just changed too much nowadays. Still love the sport, just different to how it was and digging in for the long game seems the exception rather than the rule


I haven’t played cricket since I was at school. And have only recently begun watching county cricket. The noticeable difference is the field placings that we had in schoolboy cricket.

At school, we had a wicket-keeper for when the ball whistled past the batsman. But we also had a longstop fielder in case the wicket-keeper failed to catch it. My specialist position was extra long-stop in case the longstop missed it as well. Once, we had an extra-extra longstop. Them were the days………


Ah yes, the longstop was an extremely important fielding position in school cricket. I remember it being not uncommon to concede more in byes than off the bat…

There’s no doubt that the increase in limited overs cricket has had a massive impact in test match cricket. If you need evidence, just look at England’s selection of Roy as an opener. He’s clearly a talented cricketer who was a big part of England’s World Cup success but he just looks like a fish out of water facing Cummins et al with a red ball that’s swinging and 5 fielders in the slip cordon. He can’t get on top of the bowling and dominate it like he does in limited overs cricket, but he shouldn’t really be looking to. That’s not what successful opening batsmen do in test cricket, and it looks like he’s fighting his natural instincts to go after balls that he needs to be leaving well alone. Even Warner, who’s naturally a destructive batsman, is playing very defensively for the first 30-50 balls he’s facing, albeit not particularly effectively so far. That’s just what you need to do.

I’d say we’ve got a handful of batsmen in the series who look like proper test batsmen - Smith, Labuschagne, Root and Stokes, and possibly Khawaja, Denly and Head. That last 3 aren’t at the standard of the first 4 but they look like they’re trying to play the right way at least.


Root back to No.4 please.