The Ashes

 
  Jajb94 Deputy Commissioner

Location: In a BAM
G'day all, just had a quick look in the lounge and found no thread for this and I felt that it would be a good topic with varying opinions from various people on here so I thought it best to start one.

So, with the first test less than two weeks away, and Boof having just taken over as coach, Watson backed as an opening batsmen by the coach. There seems to be plenty of points for discussion.

Either way, my prediction is that if Haddin has a good run with the gloves, Lyon will be in the top 3 Australian wicket-takers, Hughes and Watson to score plenty of runs, and the quicks will pretty much share it around. I think the series is set for a 2-2 draw.

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It's certainly set up for a fascinating series! I for one think that 2-2 is a touch optimistic. It pains me to say it, but unless Boof can quickly and drastically improve our overall standard, we'll be lucky to win more than one test - and even that could prove tricky. I certainly hope to be proven wrong, mind you. What does everyone else think?
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
If we were to pick a World XI now, a fit Michael Clarke would be the only Australian certainty.
Our attack, particularly the pace bowling, is pretty good, but I worry whether they're going to have enough runs to bowl at.
It's the weakest Australian batting line up that I can remember in 60 years of watching Test cricket.
  Jajb94 Deputy Commissioner

Location: In a BAM
so the word going around is that Watson and Rogers to open in the 1st test. This really has to be Watson's last chance to prove he can bat, we have seen it before when he opened the batting with katich. my first test line up for Australia would be
1 Watson
2 Rogers
3 Cowan
4 Hughes
5 Clarke
6 Warner
7 Haddin
8 Pattinson
9 Siddle/Bird (depending on Bird's performance in the last warm-up match)
10 Harris
11 Lyon

12 Faulkner
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Numbers 3 and 4 are traditionally the best strokemakers and scorers. Cowan and Hughes just don't cut it. They're hardly in the league of Chappell I / Chappel G or Boon / M Waugh, or Ponting / Hussey, and one could go on.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

If we were to pick a World XI now, a fit Michael Clarke would be the only Australian certainty.
Our attack, particularly the pace bowling, is pretty good, but I worry whether they're going to have enough runs to bowl at.
It's the weakest Australian batting line up that I can remember in 60 years of watching Test cricket.
Valvegear

One thing which hasn't been discussed much with Arthur's sacking is how much of a a cleaner this has put through the selection panel.  

A hallmark of selections over the past 2 years has been extreme inconsistency in the philosophy applied to selections, complicated by the need to rotate players.  I doubt we'll ever get to find out why Clarke resigned as a selector, but I wouldn't be surprised at all if Arthur and Clarke were voting together in a block to get "their" way, with the other full time selectors occasionally disagreeing with them in unison.  Nothing highlights this more than the selection of the Ashes' squad vs the squad to tour India.  

I think after the first 2 tests we'll get an idea as to the selector's thinking.  The position in the batting order to watch is #6.  J Faulkner is a return to the Indian tour philosophy, Haddin the 5 bowler strategy (ie the selectors still can't work out who to pick).  We might also get to see how much influence Clarke feeling threatened by other potential leaders in the squad was impacting selection.

Part of the problem with our batting lineup over the past season and a half is we've just not picked enough batsmen.  I can't remember the last time we picked 6 specialist batsmen, most of the time it's been 4 plus Watson.  The problem has been our bowling attack, while strong in patches, has numerous weaknesses.  And to try and cover those weaknesses we've weakened the batting line up by selecting batters based on what they can occasionally do with the ball.  The fact Lyon can't be relied on to bowl many overs when conditions don't suit - combined with Starc and/or Johnson (thankfully not selected) being loose cannons means we need to pick 3 other bowlers - and lose a batter in the process.  The other problem is our best bowler is Ryan Harris, but can he be relied upon to get through a game or bowl enough overs?

The other issue we have is all our specialist batters bar Clarke are LH openers, though Warner hardly plays like one.  I think this reveals a lot about the dominance of short form cricket at state, sub-state and junior level in Australia.  But I guess as M Hussey showed a straight bat and orthodox shots at #6 is not necessarily a bad thing.

Over the past decade or two a stricter/better interpretation of the LBW rule has favoured left handers against fast bowling.  As any aged southpaw will tell you, they used to reliably be given out LBW twice a season to balls blatantly pitched outside leg where the ump has simply forgotton which side is the leg side.  That doesn't happen any more, so we're seeing leftie openers batting on off stump and taking LBW and bowled out of the game (and not un-coincidentally a rise in the number of left arm seam bowlers).  And because of all the short form cricket at lower levels, to score enough runs at club and/or junior level you *need* to open the batting just to get to face enough balls.  These days a RH middle order batter's job is to get 40 off 30, where as 10-15-20 years ago their job was to score the bulk of the runs batting at 3, 4 or 5.  Hence, the only players knocking on the Test team door are LH openers.

This is what I think the likely team is:

M Rogers
S Watson
P Hughes
Usman K
M Clarke
B Haddin
J Pattinson
R Harris
P Siddle
M Starc
N Lyon
J Falkner (12)

I think they'll want a leftie in the bowling line up, and they'll want to avoid giving Harris too many overs.

A compromise of the types that have been made recently would be to pick Falkner in place of Starc - because he's a leftie - not because Starc is 8 times more likely to get a genuine test batter out.  I'm sure Boof will be a Kwaja man on the panel.  Usman obviously had his supports on the old panel - he kept getting picked for tours - but someone was clearly blackballing him preventing him from getting on final teams.  The change in the selection panel will almost certainly favour him.

I think Clarke will bat at 5.  One thing Leehman has already brought to the table is the revolutionary idea that you pick your best players in their best positions: hence Rogers and Watson at 1 & 2, and a (more) logical extension of that is Clarke at 5.

Personally I'd probably have gone with (from the squad):

S Watson
E Cowan
M Rogers
Usman K
M Clarke
D Warner
B Haddin
J Pattinson
R Harris/Siddle  
Starc/Siddle
N Lyon
J Bird (12)  (To be played in place of Lyon if the pitch/weather is wet/green)

Pete Siddle will play at least two tests if this lineup remains unchanged.  It's a big call leaving him out *and* including Starc in a 3 seam bowler attack with Harris.  But I've gone for strike power over reliability.  The biggest weakness of the side I've picked is lack of containment in the attack.  There is plenty of wicket taking fire power, but doing the hard yards when the batters get on top without Siddle steaming in and tying up an end is a lot to ask of Watson, Lyon and Harris.

The team we are likely to end up with will be too light on batting, and perhaps light on bowling strike power too if the go with Faulkner over Starc.
  alstom_888m Chief Commissioner

Location:
Mine:
- Shane Watson
- Chris Rogers
- Phillip Hughes
- Usman Khawaja
- Michael Clarke (c)
- George Bailey
- Brad Haddin (†)
- Peter Siddle
- James Pattinson
- Mitchell Starc
- Fawad Ahmed

I would omit David Warner because he's too "all or nothing", and as of late he is mostly "nothing".

I am one of an old opinion where I think we need to choose our 6 best batsmen, and if they can bowl too, that is a BONUS.
In particular; if an "all-rounder" is not good enough to be in our top 6 batsmen, or top 4 bowlers, they don't get a game; hence my omission of Glenn Maxwell, Moisés Henriques, Steve Smith, etc.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Selection is a simple concept.  You pick your six best batsmen, your four best bowlers, and a wicketkeeper.
If one of them happens to be a genuine allrounder, that's a bonus, but we've been trying to "manufacture" allrounders for years now, without any success whatsoever.
  Jajb94 Deputy Commissioner

Location: In a BAM
So, Australia have been thrown the ball after losing the toss, and have named Debutant Ashton Agar as the sole spin option.

The Australian line up looks like this
Watson
Rogers
Cowan
Clarke
Hughes
Smith
Haddin
Siddle
Pattinson
Starc
Agar

I'm not a big fan of dropping anyone after a good performance, (Lyon with a 9 wicket Match hual in his previous test) and Think that they have got this one wrong.
I am pleased they chose to keep Cowan, as he seems suited to batting in english conditions, but time will tell.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
I watched it last night for just over an hour and in the end gave up. One of the worst coverages of cricket I have seen in years. And why we do not have Australian commentators I don't know, our Australian has-beens are much better than the pommy has-beens.
  tardis142000 Chief Train Controller

Location: Sandhurst, Victoria
I watched it last night for just over an hour and in the end gave up. One of the worst coverages of cricket I have seen in years. And why we do not have Australian commentators I don't know, our Australian has-beens are much better than the pommy has-beens.
TheBlacksmith

Jim Maxwell is a guest commentator on Test Match Special, broadcast on ABC Radio, that may be a better option. However you will have to put up with Geoffrey Boycott talking about his mum and nan padding up to bat with stick o' rhubarb
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Our attack, particularly the pace bowling, is pretty good, but I worry whether they're going to have enough runs to bowl at.

It's the weakest Australian batting line up that I can remember in 60 years of watching Test cricket.
"Valvegear"


I had hoped I'd be proven wrong, but the top order batting hasn't started all that well.  The bowlers did the job by dismissing the Poms for 215, but 4 for 75 in reply does not inspire confidence.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I did watch the coverage a for while last night. Cowan and Clarke a duck. Smith looks to be solid.  We managed to dismiss the poms for a reasonable amount and then needed to follow-up.  Let's see if Hughes can make something of it.

Siddle a great performance once he changed ends.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Something about the first day of an Ashes series really gets Siddle stirred up.
He took six-for including a hat trick on the first day in Brisbane in the last series here, and now five-for on day one in England.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I had hoped I'd be proven wrong, but the top order batting hasn't started all that well.  The bowlers did the job by dismissing the Poms for 215, but 4 for 75 in reply does not inspire confidence.
Valvegear
They've ballsed up the selections again, and they can't blame Clarke or Arthur this time.

Clarke at 4 is a recipe for turning 2-20 into 3-20 in a real hurry - at the expense of our heaviest scorer.
Ashton who?  Where is he a refugee from again?  Oh, Victoria.  At least his arm is as bent as Murili's Smile.

The big problem with this bowling attack is we don't really have any containing capability.  Siddle was our tightest bowler (not that that's saying much) It's a big ask to expect a 19yo fingerer to tie up some of the best batters in test cricket.  We'd have been better off picking Bird even though this is a [strike]huge[/strike] bone dr pitch - especially if we're going to pick Smith as a batter.  Surely a better proposition than drawing from the juniors, now matter how promising.

Kwarja might as well retire because it's a waste of his time him being there because they clearly don't intend to select him.  They bring someone in from outside the squad instead of picking him, or pick 6 bowlers and 3 batters or *anything*.

While Siddle bowled really well - as he so often does if conditions are slightly helpful - the others bowled pies.  Well, 1 or 2 good balls an over to go with the 3 or 4 pies.  They did bowl OK at the tail, which we were lucky to see yesterday.

Anyway, I think if the sun comes out this pitch is just made for BJ Haddin, our last great hope.  And if the ball stops swinging the pitch looks so dead and flat our more than handy tail stands to make a bunch of runs.  Such a shame we've lost Clarke already.  But that said this was a 120 run toss to win, so we're right up against it now anyway Sad.
  lsrailfan Chief Commissioner

Location: Somewhere you're not
James Anderson has been wreaking absolute carnage this morning in the test , He has nearly cleaned up the Aussies by himself

Kind Regards
  Jajb94 Deputy Commissioner

Location: In a BAM
What a turn of a session, Australia lost 5 wickets to be 9/117 and now have a 1st inning lead and still going, good responsible batting from Hughes and top class from the Debutant Agar, I feel as though England's biggest mistake, apart from bowling short was to extend play 30 mins prior to lunch, as it just gave Agar and Hughes 30 more minutes to get their respective 50's and indeed the lead. A break in play is what England needed, and what they avoided as much as they could, very interesting game unfolding here.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
98 for Agar.   New record 10th wicket partnership.   New highest score for a No. 11.

And in front by 65 runs!!!!
  Jajb94 Deputy Commissioner

Location: In a BAM
So, Australia, in the end only needed 3 batsmen to surpass England's 1st inning score, Steve smith batted very well and stopped the collapse with Phillip Hughes, and then for Phillip Hughes to keep batting and and Ashton Agar to stick around and contribute a truly remarkable knock.
Steve Smith made 53, Phillip Hughes an Unbeaten 81 and Ashton Agar to have made 98 on Debut between them scored more than the entire England XI this is shaping up to be a remarkable test.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

98 for Agar.   New record 10th wicket partnership.   New highest score for a No. 11.

And in front by 65 runs!!!!
Donald
And didn't he bat well.  He was the only Aussie to really get on top of Swan, played him better than Smith.  That innings reminded me of Adam Gillchrist's maiden ton, where he got on top Saqlin (sp?) who had the Aussie top order scratching their heads.

Mind you, England bowled *really* badly at him for the first 50.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
I thought Ashton looked as cool as a cucumber out there, the nasty pommy bowlers did not bother him nor did he show any emotion towards them. The poms really mis-read him, as I guess did everyone else. They treated him like a tail-ender and got punished for their efforts.

And as djf01 said, he batted very well, and sensibly.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
98 for Agar.   New record 10th wicket partnership.   New highest score for a No. 11.

And in front by 65 runs!!!!
Donald

AGAR for Captain!
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
AGAR for Captain!
bevans

And he has two brothers who are also said to be good at cricket. Bring them on!
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Ashton who?  Where is he a refugee from again?  Oh, Victoria.
djf01


I think everyone knows who he is now! Smile

I think if the sun comes out this pitch is just made for BJ Haddin, our last great hope.
djf01


That went well didn't it? It was an awesome ball from Swann that got Haddin though... Wink
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
That went well didn't it? It was an awesome ball from Swann that got Haddin though..
"Graham4405"


It was helped by a bl00dy terrible shot. To try forcing off the back foot to the second ball you face is just stupidity. For heaven's sake, have a look at whether the ball's doing anything before you start shots like that. It seems like the 50-over mindset where attack from ball 1 is the idea. It was day two of a five day game.

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