The Ashes 2015

 
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Someone please remind me - what does Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's High Performance Manager, actually do?

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  djf01 Chief Commissioner

The dead rubber remains.  Will it be an exhibition or another embarrassing whitewash?  I don't much care.  The urn - which never leaves England anyway - is ceremonially restored to its rightful and well-earned position.
Gwiwer

The Oval is apparently a slow, low spin friendly pitch these days.  Aussies are probably second favourite behind a draw.

I expect we'll probably have a high scoring game, and given we've got the better spinner(s) and the conditions will neutralise England's seam bowling advantage, the chances are more likely than not we'll see a game more like the Lord's test.  That's so long as we don't make wholesale changes to the team.

I think people should take a bit of perspective.  The teams aren't as mis-matched as the results might indicate IMHO.  Both teams have bowling attacks capable of ripping through the other's top order.  The difference has been the Poms have had the better of the conditions, but also their attack has been more consistent and their middle order batting a bit more robust.  It hasn't helped that the Poms have doctored the pitches, and in all 4 games the team that has won the first session has gone on to with the match without being headed.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
the Poms have doctored the pitches
djf01
And that doesn't happen anywhere else in the world does it? Mr. Green
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
To suggest that the pitches were doctored is absolute cr*p.
Cardiff was low and slow - it always is.
Lords played as it has for the last ten or twelve years.
Edgbaston and Trent Bridge were typical English wickets - true bounce, and a bit of grass with enough pace to help both bowlers and batsmen.
Australia was rolled in 18.5 overs in the fourth Test, and then England went out and made 391 on the same track. Doctored pitch my a*se! The pitch doesn't suddenly change its nature after lunch on day one.

Johnson, Hazelwood and Starc have been inaccurate and expensive. Starc is a wicket taker and his run leakage could be tolerated if the others kept it tight, but they didn't. Johnson in particular has been no better than a pie chucker - he's bowled three or four snorters, and a load of rubbish otherwise. Hazelwood started well and then, for some odd reason, bowled too much leg side and was picked off. Lyon couldn't do it all by himself, but bowled well. Some footage of Glenn McGrath and Stuart Clark should be compulsory viewing by all fast bowlers.

Rogers is the only Australian batsman to come out of the series with any credit. He plays when he has to, uses his feet and plays straight. Watch his cover drive - front foot to the ball, and nose right over it. Smith's technical flaw of moving right across his stumps before delivery has been cleverly exploited by the Poms. Instead of pitching one stump outside the off, they have simply gone a stump-width wider and snaffled him cheaply in his past four innings. He should watch Greg Chappell - stand still until the moment of delivery. Footwork and patience seem like dirty words to the other batsmen. How many Australian wickets have fallen to flat footed, muscular, airy drives outside the off stump? Heaps.

It's quite simple; England leads 3-1 and deserves to because it's played the better cricket.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
It hasn't helped that the Poms have doctored the pitches,

If that were even remotely true then the authorities should have picked it and at the least asked questions.

Where is your substantiation?
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
It hasn't helped that the Poms have doctored the pitches,

If that were even remotely true then the authorities should have picked it and at the least asked questions.

Where is your substantiation?
Gwiwer
I think he means the poms have built the pitches to suit the English bowling, and as far as I am aware, there is nothing in the rules that prohibits setting wickets to suit your local players, every country does it.
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
It hasn't helped that the Poms have doctored the pitches, ......
djf01
Aussie tabloid whingers Laughing

Might have helped if you'd given your captain the ar*se a couple of years ago Razz
  woodford Chief Commissioner

It hasn't helped that the Poms have doctored the pitches,

If that were even remotely true then the authorities should have picked it and at the least asked questions.

Where is your substantiation?
I think he means the poms have built the pitches to suit the English bowling, and as far as I am aware, there is nothing in the rules that prohibits setting wickets to suit your local players, every country does it.
TheBlacksmith
The ABC sport preview of the game said the pitch would be lively but not seriously so, now I no longer follow the cricket as I dislike the "short" game, but Australian teams in the recent past showed they had difficulty handling bowling that moved. Austalia was simply not good enough.

The "long" game, ie tests, are quite different animal from the "tippedy run" stuff that is played widely in Aus, that I think one will find is the major cause of such poor performance.

Note: I used to go to the tests at the "G" in the days of Dennis Lillee, Thomson and Max Walker, watching Dennis Lillee bowl was simply awesome.

woodford
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
Note: I used to go to the tests at the "G" in the days of Dennis Lillee, Thomson and Max Walker, watching Dennis Lillee bowl was simply awesome.
woodford


Same here, but at the 'Gabba... Ahh, the good old days... Wink
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Might have helped if you'd given your captain the ar*se a couple of years ago
bingley hall
Bing; I don't think it would have made a blind bit of difference. Clarke is entitled to believe that the ten players he has been given are the best available, and can match it with the rest of the world. The fact that he himself is patently out of form hasn't helped, but it might be worth remembering that the same thing happened to Greg Chappell some years ago, and his side didn't fall apart at the seams.
Clarke can't force the bowlers into accuracy and he can't bat for everyone else. I think his on-field captaincy has been quite adequate, but there are whispers that off-the field is not good; true or not, we don't know. It's said that the dropping of Haddin has upset the side - if that's true they all need some Grow Up pills as a matter of urgency. Selectors select; players play.

The better side is 3-1 up, and deserves to be.
I started watching Test cricket in 1950/51 when Freddie Brown's England team was here. The first innings at Trent Bridge was the worst performance I can remember from an Australian batting line up. Even on a pitch widely known to have been tailor-made for Laker, and on which he took 19 wickets at Old Trafford in 1956, Australia did better in its first innings.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

It hasn't helped that the Poms have doctored the pitches,

If that were even remotely true then the authorities should have picked it and at the least asked questions.

Where is your substantiation?
Gwiwer
In the second half of the sentence: "in all 4 games the team that has won the first session has gone on to with the match without being headed."
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Watch his cover drive - front foot to the ball, and nose right over it.
Valvegear

I actually disagree with this a bit.  Rogers bats like a West Australian, having learned to play on hard super-bouncy pitches.  It's very rare for WACA batters to actually step toward the pitch of the ball.  They tend to move back first, then transfer their weight and drive on the up a bit but slightly late to keep the wrists over the ball.  Rogers rarely gets his front foot over the popping crease when he drives, which is why most of his drives get squirted out through point.  

Probably the best example of this was Damian Martin.  But most WACA batters tend to drive this way.  Roger's has a beautifully adapted his game to English conditions.  But getting his foot to the pitch isn't part of it.

It should be noted that the NSW way of playing (front foot out and down the track) isn't as common or effective as it used to be thanks to DRS.  A big stride to the pitch of a the ball used to create enough doubt to avoid being given LBW, but these days the ups fire people on the front foot and DRS backs them up.  Shane Watson?  Not saying this is a bad thing, but it's part of the reason modern players are less tight in defence, especially on the front foot.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

A great weekend for Australian women's sport, the Southern Stars won their Test Match against England (part of the Women's Ashes - I can see some other men's series such as the Frank Worrell Trophy going to multi-format in the future) in the cricket and the Diamonds beat the Silver Ferns to win the Netball World Cup.

In contrast, Australian men's sport is hitting rock bottom with the meek surrender of the Men's Ashes, the Wallabies making a good case for renaming themselves the Poodles in the Bledisloe Cup, the Kardashian-esque antics of Nick Kyrgios and preparing another Olympics next year where the women with carry the team yet again. Time for all these overpaid chumps to piss off and get out of the way of those who can represent our nation for the love of it and not for the money.


Spend the money on junior development and subsidising cheap tickets to elite matches instead of fat salaries for underachievers and we'll see the results in coming years.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Someone please remind me - what does Pat Howard, Cricket Australia's High Performance Manager, actually do?
Valvegear
Makes sure that any high performance is carefully managed instead of being unleashed on helpless adversaries, of course.

He was clearly enjoying a bit of long service leave during the World Cup this year before coming back in fine form during the winter.

I think people should take a bit of perspective.  The teams aren't as mis-matched as the results might indicate IMHO.  Both teams have bowling attacks capable of ripping through the other's top order.  The difference has been the Poms have had the better of the conditions, but also their attack has been more consistent and their middle order batting a bit more robust.  It hasn't helped that the Poms have doctored the pitches, and in all 4 games the team that has won the first session has gone on to with the match without being headed.
djf01
This.

If we win the last Test (I don't have that much faith in our batting though, even though we do have the better attack) then a 3-2 loss is an acceptable result for an away series.

Pitch selection* is a joke these days, and the ICC should urgently consider introducing a rule where Test series go on the aggregated result from playing both home and away with away wins being worth double points, like the away goals rule from international soccer despite that sport having only a psychological advantage for the home team. The aggregated result from the paired series so far would be 7-3 to Australia, potentially 9-3 if we win the last Test.


* interestingly, the last time it was an issue in Australia it was with the pitches being to doctored to favour the visiting team in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy last December, the Indian board's refusal to play a Test in Perth clearly had a chilling effect on the other state associations' curators.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I think his on-field captaincy has been quite adequate, but there are whispers that off-the field is not good; true or not, we don't know.
Valvegear
The silence is deafening though, every time any other senior player has retired there has been an avalanche of tributes.

Even Ricky Ponting was missed much more than Clarke ever will be, despite a record three lost Ashes series (including one comprehensive loss at home) as captain.

The only reason that everyone is only whispering is that crossing him means you need to "get ready for a f'ing broken arm" - although in fairness nobody has confirmed whether or not he did punch on with Anderson after the 2013 Brisbane Test, which would have been at least his second with that player alone.
  JoppaJunction Chief Train Controller

Location: Banned
What do people here think about the appointment of Warner to Vice Captain test side?
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

To suggest that the pitches were doctored is absolute cr*p.
Cardiff was low and slow - it always is.
Lords played as it has for the last ten or twelve years.
Edgbaston and Trent Bridge were typical English wickets - true bounce, and a bit of grass with enough pace to help both bowlers and batsmen.
Australia was rolled in 18.5 overs in the fourth Test, and then England went out and made 391 on the same track. Doctored pitch my a*se! The pitch doesn't suddenly change its nature after lunch on day one.

Johnson, Hazelwood and Starc have been inaccurate and expensive. Starc is a wicket taker and his run leakage could be tolerated if the others kept it tight, but they didn't. Johnson in particular has been no better than a pie chucker - he's bowled three or four snorters, and a load of rubbish otherwise. Hazelwood started well and then, for some odd reason, bowled too much leg side and was picked off. Lyon couldn't do it all by himself, but bowled well. Some footage of Glenn McGrath and Stuart Clark should be compulsory viewing by all fast bowlers.

Rogers is the only Australian batsman to come out of the series with any credit. He plays when he has to, uses his feet and plays straight. Watch his cover drive - front foot to the ball, and nose right over it. Smith's technical flaw of moving right across his stumps before delivery has been cleverly exploited by the Poms. Instead of pitching one stump outside the off, they have simply gone a stump-width wider and snaffled him cheaply in his past four innings. He should watch Greg Chappell - stand still until the moment of delivery. Footwork and patience seem like dirty words to the other batsmen. How many Australian wickets have fallen to flat footed, muscular, airy drives outside the off stump? Heaps.

It's quite simple; England leads 3-1 and deserves to because it's played the better cricket.
Valvegear
Hear, hear. We got rolled because The Australian Batting lineup did not have the patience or technique to handle the swinging delivery.

Michael
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

What do people here think about the appointment of Warner to Vice Captain test side?
"JoppaJunction"


Anyone else remember Dan Quayle ?
  djf01 Chief Commissioner


Clarke can't force the bowlers into accuracy and he can't bat for everyone else. I think his on-field captaincy has been quite adequate, but there are whispers that off-the field is not good; true or not, we don't know.
Valvegear

Re Clarke's captaincy: he's been the best on-field captain we've had in decades, at least since Taylor, perhaps as far back as the Chappells.  He's been pretty successful without being able to make the brilliant tactical decision of tossing the ball to Shane Warne or Denis Lillie.

But I don't think a lot of the way he led the side in this 2015 Ashes series.  You criticised the bowlers for being inaccurate, but I think Clarke has been way too over-aggressive with his field placements.  When he gets behind in the game, he doubles down and attacks even more.  

In the case of Starc, and to a lesser extent Hazelwood, they really need more defensive fields.  Even in tests, Starc gets most of his wickets bowled or LBW.  He rarely gets batters caught in the gully or at 3rd slip.  

Both of those quicks struggled to control the swinging duke ball, and IMHO they both needed a strong defensive field on one side of the wicket to allow them to work in toward the stumps with a bit of margin for error.  But for the most part Clarke stuck with umbrella fields hoping for the miracle ball - or more accurately 6 an over.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

So, it turns out that the Kiwi batsman Ross Taylor will be sitting (or maybe standing awkwardly) on the sidelines for a couple of months after getting seriously knackered. In the nets. By a leg spinner with a Test bowling average of 53.

(pause inserted for laughter)







Can we please arrange for Shaun Marsh to immediately go and have a few net sessions with the sheep shaggers? The same thing happening would be great for us.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
But I don't think a lot of the way he led the side in this 2015 Ashes series.  You criticised the bowlers for being inaccurate, but I think Clarke has been way too over-aggressive with his field placements.  When he gets behind in the game, he doubles down and attacks even more.  
In the case of Starc, and to a lesser extent Hazelwood, they really need more defensive fields.  Even in tests, Starc gets most of his wickets bowled or LBW.  He rarely gets batters caught in the gully or at 3rd slip.  
Both of those quicks struggled to control the swinging duke ball, and IMHO they both needed a strong defensive field on one side of the wicket to allow them to work in toward the stumps with a bit of margin for error.  But for the most part Clarke stuck with umbrella fields hoping for the miracle ball - or more accurately 6 an over.
djf01
For heaven's sake, what do you think the bowlers' jobs are? They are there to take wickets.
You allow that the bowlers have been inaccurate, but then want defensive fields on one side of the wicket so that they can work in toward the stumps. If they could "work in toward the stumps" Clarke wouldn't have a problem.  Make your mind up - can these bowlers bowl accurately or not? Clarke sets attacking, off-side catching fields, and that is telling the bowlers where he wants them to bowl. That they failed to execute a perfectly bog-standard tactic is hardly Clarke's fault. His job is to get wickets; not set defensive fields for pie chuckers. If he followed your suggestion, he'd have had 6 men on the leg side for Hazelwood bowling to left-handers. Then; where would you have put the field for Johnson? A more defensive field immediately tells the batsmen that "We don't think our bowlers can get you out." There's also nothing new about the Dukes ball. Alderman, Lawson and Hughes decimated the England batting with the Dukes ball in 1989, by bowling where Border wanted them to. Subsequent Australian attacks haven't done too badly with it either - Glenn McGrath got 8-for at Lords with a Dukes ball.
I'd love to hear the reaction from Ian Chappell about setting defensive fields because his bowlers weren't following instructions. This is Test cricket; captains are entitled to expect bowlers to perform. Clarke was very badly let down by his pace attack.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

But I don't think a lot of the way he led the side in this 2015 Ashes series.  You criticised the bowlers for being inaccurate, but I think Clarke has been way too over-aggressive with his field placements.  
For heaven's sake, what do you think the bowlers' jobs are? They are there to take wickets.
You allow that the bowlers have been inaccurate, but then want defensive fields on one side of the wicket so that they can work in toward the stumps. If they could "work in toward the stumps" Clarke wouldn't have a problem.  Make your mind up - can these bowlers bowl accurately or not? Clarke sets attacking, off-side catching fields, and that is telling the bowlers where he wants them to bowl. That they failed to execute a perfectly bog-standard tactic is hardly Clarke's fault. His job is to get wickets; not set defensive fields for pie chuckers. If he followed your suggestion, he'd have had 6 men on the leg side for Hazelwood bowling to left-handers.

Then; where would you have put the field for Johnson? A more defensive field immediately tells the batsmen that "We don't think our bowlers can get you out." There's also nothing new about the Dukes ball. Alderman, Lawson and Hughes decimated the England batting with the Dukes ball in 1989, by bowling where Border wanted them to. Subsequent Australian attacks haven't done too badly with it either - Glenn McGrath got 8-for at Lords with a Dukes ball.

I'd love to hear the reaction from Ian Chappell about setting defensive fields because his bowlers weren't following instructions. This is Test cricket; captains are entitled to expect bowlers to perform. Clarke was very badly let down by his pace attack.
Valvegear
Ouch !!!

In thinking up a reply I started looking at some Youtube footage of the 1989 series.  I was looking more for field placements, but it was very to look at batting techniques and watching how much the ball swung.  

AB rarely set more than 2 slips.  Usually only Terry Alderman had 3 slips to right handers, and then usually only with 600 on the board or leading on the first innings by 200.  Hazelood and Starc both swung the ball more this series than anyone did in 1989 (which unsurprisingly was a higher scoring series).  This is a bit of an aside, but the players in 1989 really had huge swings at the ball to hit boundaries.  It's frightening to think what David Warner might have done with his modern bat against that '89 pop gun English attack (Botham off a 6m run up, P Defrettis & co, need I say more?).


If he followed your suggestion, he'd have had 6 men on the leg side for Hazelwood bowling to left-handers.

I think you miss my point here.  I'd have had more defensive fielders on the off side, allowing Hazelwood to bowl wider of off to the lefties, so the banana he bends back into them attacks middle and off rather drifts down the leg side.

IMHO Clarke was asking his (inexperienced) bowlers to produce 6 jaffas an over.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
In thinking up a reply I started looking at some Youtube footage of the 1989 series.  I was looking more for field placements, but it was very to look at batting techniques and watching how much the ball swung.  
AB rarely set more than 2 slips.  Usually only Terry Alderman had 3 slips to right handers, and then usually only with 600 on the board or leading on the first innings by 200.
djf01
I have the entire 1989 series on video at home, and have watched numerous times ( and I still do put it on at times ). AB consistently used 3 slips and a gully for Alderman and Lawson with the new ball, and continued with Merv Hughes who was first change. If a stand developed as the ball became older, AB would go to two slips.  I'll have to check it up in Rod Nicholson's book which I also have about that series, but there are at least two occasions when Steve Waugh took catches at fourth slip.

think you miss my point here.  I'd have had more defensive fielders on the off side, allowing Hazelwood to bowl wider of off to the lefties, so the banana he bends back into them attacks middle and off rather drifts down the leg side.
djf01
I don't miss your point at all, but I do believe it's wrong. There were already 6 on the off, but Hazelwood continually drifted leg side, particularly to left handers. In other words, he couldn't put the ball where it was wanted. There could have been 25 on the off side and it wouldn't have mattered. My point was that the only thing that may have saved Hazelwoods's figures were 6 on the leg side which is ludicrous, and he wouldn't have taken wickets. The bottom line is that the bowlers were inaccurate, did not bowl in the so-called corridor of uncertainty, and gave the batsmen too many easy runs. The England attack knew the meaning of line and length; the Australian thought "Line and Length" was a pub in Yorkshire.


Now; six jaffas an over???

Nonsense. He set a conventional attacking field and his bowlers failed to use it. No captain, including Clarke, expects six jaffas an over. They expect reasonable accuracy, making the batsman play. And who were his "inexperienced" bowlers? Possibly Hazelwood, with 9 tests in 38 first class games. Starc, with 21 tests / 52 first class games? No way. And Johnson; 70 tests / 113 first class games? - you have got to be joking.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner


We've made them earn their runs, we haven't over-attacked, and we've just got the ball in the right areas and we have reaped the rewards.
"Steve Smith"


Referring to Siddle bowling with 2 slips and a defensive off side field that dried up the runs and triggered England's collapse last night.

@Valvgear - I don't know if you listened to the commentary discussion last night, or the lunchtime piece where Warnie & Taylor talked about selection, but some of the topics I've been putting forward came up.

Everyone was pretty critical of Hazelwood and to a lesser extent Starc, basically echoing @Valvgear's contention that Hazelwood wasn't accurate enough.   Fair enough, I agree.

Where I disagreed with Warnie & Taylor & @Valvegear is the impact the super attacking fields had on Hazelwood's bowling.  My view is Hazelwood was expected to bowl a fuller length than he usually does in Australia - which he did - but he also swung the Duke ball a lot more, and a lot less consistently than he has in the past.  I think this is the main reason he was inaccurate: he doesn't have the precise control of his wrist position needed in English conditions, and this was only brought to light during the recent test matches.  W

Taylor in particular made the observation that he thought the Aussies were trying to follow England down to the low scores: setting very(/overly) attacking fields.  I thought Smith's comments particularly relevant, as it revealed they thought they had over-attacked at Trent bridge.

With 20/20 hindsight, it looks like Siddle should have been picked for Trent Bridge, and the result may well have been very different if he had been.  But as they pointed out in commentary, Siddle had been bowling 10kph slower in the tour games, and not taking any wickets.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
But as they pointed out in commentary, Siddle had been bowling 10kph slower in the tour games, and not taking any wickets.
"djf01"
One has only to compare the records of Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee, who bowled together in a large number of Tests, to see that outright speed isn't everything.

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