The Ashes

 
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Had Ashton not had a brain snap and got his hundred from #11 and we'd sneaked those extra 15 runs, and rain washed out the 2nd and 4th tests rather the 3rd and 5th we could well have seen 3-0 to the Aussies - however undeserved.


That's one of the most unfair comments I've seen.  What about, "if the batsmen had done their jobs properly?"  A win to Australia in that game would have been a freak result - nothing more.
Harris was certainly Australia's best bowler, but I'd have Broad as England's best.  Stand-out batsman? . . . Bell without a doubt.

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  simont141 Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide
Disappointed that a lot of the media are saying Haddin had an 'average' or 'poor' series, because he only scored two fifties. Do they forget that he also took 29 catches - the most ever by anybody in a test match series? Is that not what he is in the team to do? I'm disappointed this feat isn't being celebrated more, as would be the case of the wicket or runs tally record was toppled.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
simont141, you are spot on.
Haddin had an excellent series behind the timbers, and showed himself far superior to Wade, particularly when taking Lyon.
To say that Haddin had a poor series is to imply that his primary function is to rescue the team when the top six (ahem, "specialist") batsmen fail.
  MC3801 Train Controller

The first Ashes T20 game starts in two days.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
There is no such thing as an Ashes T20.
The Ashes refer to Test Cricket between England and Australia. Please try not to insult the game by mentioning Ashes in the same breath as T20.
  bowralcommuter Chief Commissioner

Location: Asleep on a Manly Ferry
1st test Brisbane:
1.Rogers
2.Warner
3.Watson
4.Clarke
5.Smith
6.Haddin
7. Faulkner
8.Siddle
9.Harris
10.Pattinson
11.Lyon

Agree? That's presuming the above players are fully fit.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner


Somebody wrote:
Had Ashton not had a brain snap and got his hundred from #11 and we'd sneaked those extra 15 runs, and rain washed out the 2nd and 4th tests rather the 3rd and 5th we could well have seen 3-0 to the Aussies - however undeserved.
djf01


That's one of the most unfair comments I've seen.  What about, "if the batsmen had done their jobs properly?"  A win to Australia in that game would have been a freak result - nothing more.
Harris was certainly Australia's best bowler, but I'd have Broad as England's best.  Stand-out batsman? . . . Bell without a doubt.
Valvegear


I had to think for a while about who you thought I was being unfair to!  I wasn't trying to suggest Ashton lost the Ashes for us.  Just that
a) His dismissal on 98 was more about him getting caught up in the moment approaching his hundred than anything resembling sufficiently challenging bowling.
b) If he'd got through that, in all likelihood that last wicket would have piled on even more runs, perhaps even enough to win the game given how close the final score was.

In any case I thought Swann was England's best bowler.  But he was more than that: he took the most wickets, he consistently knocked over the only Aussie batter to master the English seamers when the ball was moving, but he also completely threw Australia's batting selections and indeed batting order into disarray.  Well, that was in (and still is) disarray already, but the threat of Swann's bowling against our lefties was big part of the batters shuffling up and down the order, in and out of the team.

Broad was good in patches, and did bowl the match winning spells too it must be said, but his biggest contribution was to put Michael Clarke into trouble in most of his innings.  I thought Harris was excellent in pretty much every spell he bowled.  He moved the new ball, he moved the old ball, he was accurate and miserly for the most part, generated good pace and was blended that with genuine hostility.

I thought Rogers was our best batter, and his hundred and Durham was the best innings by any player on either side.  Australia had by far the worst of the conditions in that test, and the ball was zipping all over the place under cloud cover for his entire innings.  His defensive batting - and scoring - was outstanding.  That said, that full toss he missed at Lord's off Swann probably was the turning point of the series!
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

1st test Brisbane:
1.Rogers
2.Warner
3.Watson
4.Clarke
5.Smith
6.Haddin
7. Faulkner
8.Siddle
9.Harris
10.Pattinson
11.Lyon

Agree? That's presuming the above players are fully fit.
bowralcommuter

Pretty fair chance.  But I don't think selection panel is capable of picking the same side two games in a row even if we win, much less with just one injury related change.  And if it is the team for the first test, it won't be the team for the second!

The English commentators came out with a great point about Mitchel Starc: He's played 11 tests and been dropped ... wait for it .. 9 times !!!  This'll make it 10 !!

Faulkner is the only questionmark selection.  He's only there because Watson won't bowl.

The team really needs another batsman, ideally a really solid #4 (ha!!), but in the current circumstances I think one of our promising lefties to bat at #5 and pushing Smith back to #6.  In Aussie conditions Swann won't be as much of a factor as in England.  But on faster bouncier pitches Broad might be, and we need batters who can play him effectively off the back foot.

I'm also concerned about Rogers in Aussie conditions too, but we do need a blocker up the top if we're going to bat Clarke at #4.

For that batting order to work Watson is going to need to make a mountain of runs at #3 to justify sacrificing a lower order batting spot for him
  bowralcommuter Chief Commissioner

Location: Asleep on a Manly Ferry
Pretty fair chance.  But I don't think selection panel is capable of picking the same side two games in a row even if we win, much less with just one injury related change.  And if it is the team for the first test, it won't be the team for the second!

The English commentators came out with a great point about Mitchel Starc: He's played 11 tests and been dropped ... wait for it .. 9 times !!!  This'll make it 10 !!

Faulkner is the only questionmark selection.  He's only there because Watson won't bowl.

The team really needs another batsman, ideally a really solid #4 (ha!!), but in the current circumstances I think one of our promising lefties to bat at #5 and pushing Smith back to #6.  In Aussie conditions Swann won't be as much of a factor as in England.  But on faster bouncier pitches Broad might be, and we need batters who can play him effectively off the back foot.

I'm also concerned about Rogers in Aussie conditions too, but we do need a blocker up the top if we're going to bat Clarke at #4.

For that batting order to work Watson is going to need to make a mountain of runs at #3 to justify sacrificing a lower order batting spot for him
djf01
It's not the same side actually, Pattinson is at number 10, unless your regarding just the batting.

I realise dropping Starc that many times is unfair but dropping Pattinson, who had bowled brilliantly until the ashes and even bowled well at Trent Bridge, it was only the Lords test he was wayward really. Mitchell Starc just needs a good dose of domestic cricket to get his confidence back up again. He bowls similarly to his predecessor Johnson, hopefully his attitude isn't similar then he will have a long term place in the side. Once Starc can learn to control his bowling a bit more then he should be undropable! Some say he will never have control and is the x factor in the side but Siddle and Harris don't appreciate building pressure at one end then have someone leak 2 boundaries on the leg side the next over.

I only put Faulkner there because I don't know a good enough batsman at the moment to fill that spot. If we don't have a batsman that's ready to play test cricket then we might as well play a bowling all-rounder. Faulkner played well in his first test so I don't see why he should get dropped when there is no-one churning out the hundreds at A level presently. Once the Shield starts in September (I think) and if someone does get some hundreds (not just 1, but 2 or more) then perhaps we can talk about putting a batter there.

I agree Swann won't be as threatening, he played the holding role last time in Australia as he averaged 40 but only went at 2.72 runs an over. Stuart Broad was no threat last time he played here, he averaged 80 in the 2 tests he played before getting injured. In fact Broad averages 40 in his 23 away tests so far, so he is a much bigger threat in England. We need to concentrate on playing James Anderson well, he was the leading wicket taker in Australia with 24 wickets.

The only batsman I know of that isn't that great off the back foot is Clarke, and you can bet all money he'll be working on his weakness endless hours between now and the first day at Brisbane. I'm aware Watson is still a question mark but its wrong to drop a bloke after he gets 170 with the bat, and again we don't have many other options yet anyway. If he fails (or more likely fails to convert his starts) in the first 2 tests then we can discuss his place.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

It's not the same side actually, Pattinson is at number 10, unless your regarding just the batting.

I realise dropping Starc that many times is unfair but dropping Pattinson, who had bowled brilliantly until the ashes and even bowled well at Trent Bridge, it was only the Lords test he was wayward really. Mitchell Starc just needs a good dose of domestic cricket to get his confidence back up again. He bowls similarly to his predecessor Johnson, hopefully his attitude isn't similar then he will have a long term place in the side. Once Starc can learn to control his bowling a bit more then he should be undropable! Some say he will never have control and is the x factor in the side but Siddle and Harris don't appreciate building pressure at one end then have someone leak 2 boundaries on the leg side the next over.
bowralcommuter


I think Starc is a better bowler than Johnson.  He swings the ball and attacks the stumps more.  And makes up for in height what he lacks (compared with Johnson) in pace.  But I think the lack of consistency in his selection is being reflected in his bowling.  Starc gets dropped if he bowls poorly, but he also gets dropped when he bowls well.  That said, hard to argue not to select Pattinson ahead of Starc.  


I only put Faulkner there because I don't know a good enough batsman at the moment to fill that spot. If we don't have a batsman that's ready to play test cricket then we might as well play a bowling all-rounder.
bowralcommuter

I would argue we might as well pick a batter with the potential to be good enough to play test cricket and give them sufficient opportunity to develop into the role, rather than 2 or 3 bats the drop them for someone else.  There isn't really a great deal of point in picking all rounders who don't actually get to bowl.  I know Faulkner was given a lot of overs in the last game, but he really wasn't "needed".  The other quick were just given a rest after a long series.


Faulkner played well in his first test so I don't see why he should get dropped when there is no-one churning out the hundreds at A level presently. Once the Shield starts in September (I think) and if someone does get some hundreds (not just 1, but 2 or more) then perhaps we can talk about putting a batter there.
bowralcommuter

Faulkner is a one day bowler.  You'll notice he got his wickets mostly from the tail after England had passed the follow on score and were trying to pushing things along.  And yes, it's unfair picking and dropping players, but this current side is just too unbalanced to be successful long term.  To continue with it is effectively a policy of "we'll go with this side for a test or two, and after we've lost we'll know who to drop", which is planning for failure in my book.

*If* we had 5 pure batters in the top 5 then Faulkner batting at #6 would make sense.  But with Watson and Smith in the side essentially as batting all-rounders, we need a 3rd about as much as we need a 3rd specialist spinner.


I agree Swann won't be as threatening, he played the holding role last time in Australia as he averaged 40 but only went at 2.72 runs an over. Stuart Broad was no threat last time he played here, he averaged 80 in the 2 tests he played before getting injured. In fact Broad averages 40 in his 23 away tests so far, so he is a much bigger threat in England. We need to concentrate on playing James Anderson well, he was the leading wicket taker in Australia with 24 wickets.
bowralcommuter

I think that's probably right.  Most non-Aussie quick bowlers make the mistake of bowling too short when they come to Australia, and get hammered by our batters who are particularly adept at playing short bowling on quicker pitches.  

The problem is, with our policy of rapid batter turnover, we've weeded out all our damaging players of short bowling in a single winter!

Watson is a front foot player, and while he can cut and pull, his size means he generally needs a lot of width before he can cut affectively, and he tends to pull off the front foot.  He can be devastating with it, but he usually needs slightly slow (ie not Australian) conditions to do it.  Most of the time he tends to play the shorter stuff from the crease with a straight bat.  I think this is the main reason he hasn't made the runs people have hoped: he has to play expansive/spectacular drives (read higher risk/low percentage) to score.

And on Watson's big score: yes he played well.  But I think we need to remember how he got most of his runs.  He survived the new ball (just, helped by the fact he batted at #3) and England brought on a military medium/gun barrel straight pie chucker - and Kerrigan - who bowled almost as well as I can.  He went from 18 to 80 in no time, and after than England spread the field and stopped trying to get him out.


The only batsman I know of that isn't that great off the back foot is Clarke, and you can bet all money he'll be working on his weakness endless hours between now and the first day at Brisbane. I'm aware Watson is still a question mark but its wrong to drop a bloke after he gets 170 with the bat, and again we don't have many other options yet anyway. If he gets fails (or more likely fails to convert his starts) in the first 2 tests then we can discuss his place.
bowralcommuter


Clarke is at his best against the shorter stuff outside off stump.  Hardly anyone bowls there to him because of that.  I'm a bit surprised no-one has tried to bounce him out before given he tends to go back and to leg, or else plays the short ball at the body/head from the crease a bit.  I think it's when Stain & Morkel tried it with two men out behind square he slapped them through midwicket for 4 (disdainfully: without moving is feet Smile).

I have big question marks over how Watson, Smith and (to a lesser extent) Clarke play the short ball at the head.  Rogers as a Perth boy will probably play it OK (but with 36yo reflexes & footwork) but not necessarily be able to score off it.  Warner has shown he can really only play the short leg side ball one way: belting into the stands for 6.  He can't hook along the ground.  Nor can he duck effectively and seems to get himself into all sorts of trouble when he's not in 20/20 mode - or even when he is.

Our best players of that sort of bowling are Hughes (still sus against the leg stump bouncer when he abandons his unorthodox roots), Kwaja and Cowan, and I doubt any of them will be in the side for Brisbane or Perth.  We'll wait till conditions don't suit their games before giving them another "chance".

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