The Ashes 2015

 
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I'd shed crocodile tears for Watson, but I am very worried about Haddin. It seems that his little daughter is again beset with health issues. I'm sure we all had wished that she had overcome these issues a couple of years ago, and I hope this is only a minor hiccup.
Valvegear
+1

I wouldn't wish what BJ must be going through on anyone.

Despite my lengthy and perhaps irrational plea for Watson's retention above, I don't think we're going to lose much with his departure.  OK, we might still lose, but you get what I mean.

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  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
Now we have seen some proper Test batting from Rogers and Smith, while Warner had all day to go and look up the meaning of  "brain fade". At 337 for 1, Australia has the opportunity to bat well on day 2, and put the game out of England's reach. It will need concentration and application but this opportunity is too good to mess up.
Rogers is an old fashioned opener; see off the new ball, play at the ball only when you have to, and punish bad deliveries. He deserves his place on the Lords Honour Board. Smith - a first innings hundred in (I think) six of his last eight Tests. This young bloke can go a long way; he has a good head on his shoulders, and could easily equal Ponting's figures eventually.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
Now we have seen some proper Test batting from Rogers and Smith, while Warner had all day to go and look up the meaning of  "brain fade". At 337 for 1, Australia has the opportunity to bat well on day 2, and put the game out of England's reach. It will need concentration and application but this opportunity is too good to mess up.
Rogers is an old fashioned opener; see off the new ball, play at the ball only when you have to, and punish bad deliveries. He deserves his place on the Lords Honour Board. Smith - a first innings hundred in (I think) six of his last eight Tests. This young bloke can go a long way; he has a good head on his shoulders, and could easily equal Ponting's figures eventually.
Valvegear
Yes, watched until a bit after midnight our time. Good to see some "real" batsmen doing the job!
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Now we have seen some proper Test batting from Rogers and Smith, while Warner had all day to go and look up the meaning of  "brain fade". At 337 for 1, Australia has the opportunity to bat well on day 2, and put the game out of England's reach. It will need concentration and application but this opportunity is too good to mess up.
Rogers is an old fashioned opener; see off the new ball, play at the ball only when you have to, and punish bad deliveries. He deserves his place on the Lords Honour Board. Smith - a first innings hundred in (I think) six of his last eight Tests. This young bloke can go a long way; he has a good head on his shoulders, and could easily equal Ponting's figures eventually.
Valvegear
We did really really well last night, winning the most important contest of all at Lords: the toss!

The ball didn't swing anywhere near as much as at Cardiff.  Partly due to the conditions, partly because Anderson didn't bowl well: troubled by the footmarks and Wood with his injuries.  When it did swing it troubled Smith, but Rogers handled it beautifully as always.  We're going to miss him once he retires.

I remain unconvinced by Smith's technique, in particular his wide backlift.  He relies on his great eye a lot, and hits across the line a lot.  Players who can do this when they are young tend to fade earlier IMHO.  I agree with the "good head on his shoulder's" comment.  Not only does he have some unique abilities, he makes the most of them tactically.  

I suspect we may be seeing a new innovation in "orthodox" batting with Smith's footwork.  Getting forward with foot-to-the-pitch doesn't work any more in the DRS era, as Watson has repeatedly demonstrated.  H Amlar has a similar game, gets across in front of the stumps and tucks it into the leg side from on or outside off.  Or - if *they* chose to - hold their ground and play the ball late through the off side.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Now we have seen some proper Test batting from Rogers and Smith, while Warner had all day to go and look up the meaning of  "brain fade". At 337 for 1, Australia has the opportunity to bat well on day 2, and put the game out of England's reach. It will need concentration and application but this opportunity is too good to mess up.
Valvegear

Re Warner: he looked all at sea throughout his innings.  His footwork - normally a strength of his game - has deserted him, and he seems to have little idea where the ball is.  He was nearly clean bowled by one of the seamers from a full toss at one point.  

The first ball from Ali was a slow full toss which he tried to hit for six over wide long on.  He completely miss-timed it, got enough wood on it to clear the infield and go for 4.  The second ball as went for a big drive to a half volley (or a ball he'd made a half volley by skipping down the track), shanked it and with went for 4 off a thick inside edge.  The ball he got out to he had no idea.  He tried to get to the pitch but was nowhere near it, not in any position to attack or defend.  He had little choice but go through with the shot and hope for the best.

Ali looks to me like he has a pretty decent arm ball.  He knocked a set Warner over with it in Cardiff.  He fooled Rogers with it last night a couple of times too, it's just Rogers was watching the ball closely and had time to adjust on the slow pitch.  Warner clearly can't read it, and that probably had a bit to do with the way he played.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

At 337 for 1, Australia has the opportunity to bat well on day 2, and put the game out of England's reach. It will need concentration and application but this opportunity is too good to mess up.
Valvegear

I'm struggling to see how the game isn't going to be a draw.  The batting conditions were so benign, it's going to take (at least) 3 days to bowl England out twice.  We're in a great position no doubt, but I'd be happier if it were 4-400 rather than 1-330.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
I'm struggling to see how the game isn't going to be a draw.  The batting conditions were so benign, it's going to take (at least) 3 days to bowl England out twice.  We're in a great position no doubt, but I'd be happier if it were 4-400 rather than 1-330.
djf01
Yeah, I would agree with that. It might be possible if, by some miracle, our strike bowlers can find some discipline and bowl line and length to tuck England up in a defence.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Very impressed with Chris Rogers. He is really developing into a dedicated calm opener.  Warner looked impatient.

Given the total on day one must be a lame pitch?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
3/424

Is it me or do others agree that Smith fidgets a lot between balls?
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
Now 5/505, Steve Smith on 204 NO. The first Australian to make 200 at Lords since the 1930s.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
3/424

Is it me or do others agree that Smith fidgets a lot between balls?
bevans
Yes, but all of them have a very fixed 'Fidget Routine'. If you watch Warner, it is the loosening of his gloves after every ball, then re-tightening when he steps up to the crease. Clarke fiddles with his collar and spits on his hands when fielding. But Smith seems to go through a larger list of fiddles while waiting for the ball compared to the others. I particularly love the way he bangs on the top of his helmet as if it is about to come off his head.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

Yes, but all of them have a very fixed 'Fidget Routine'. If you watch Warner, it is the loosening of his gloves after every ball, then re-tightening when he steps up to the crease. Clarke fiddles with his collar and spits on his hands when fielding. But Smith seems to go through a larger list of fiddles while waiting for the ball compared to the others. I particularly love the way he bangs on the top of his helmet as if it is about to come off his head.
TheBlacksmith
None of them go anywhere near the level of Rafael Nadal though.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
There will be something radically wrong if Australia lose this test! A draw would only seem possible if rain intervenes...
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

3/42 so far, and 138 overs to deal with the remaining seven.

0/99 and 0/38 - the Aussie batsmen have completely neutered James 'Punchy' Anderson this time. This is big, Anderson carries the attack so if he's firing blanks England will struggle to take 20 wickets, let alone do so while also preventing Australia from batting them out of contention for a win.

It's been a great Test debut for Peter Nevill so far. 45 runs with the bat in his only innings, 5 catches so far and just 12 byes conceded on a ground that's infamously hard for wicketkeepers (Jos Buttler conceded 26 byes in one Test innings at Lord's against the sheep shaggers a couple of months ago). I hate to say this when Haddin is out for family reasons rather than due to selection, but he should probably be given just one more farewell match before handing over the reigns to Nevill for Tests and Ludeman for ODI/T20 matches.

It's been a huge weekend for Australian sport with Hewitt anchoring the Davis Cup team, Mick Fanning punching a shark, Adelaide and Port honouring Phil Walsh. A Test win inside four days would be a great way to finish it off!

There will be something radically wrong if Australia lose this test! A draw would only seem possible if rain intervenes...
Graham4405
Australia has set 500+ targets 27 times before in Tests, for 26 wins and just one draw.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Oh Dear, an Official Thrashing of England...

On to test three.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

A fantastic result!

 The selectors got it right with Marsh as things turned out - we needed his zippier bowling more than his batting.

As always, England's two big quicks tend to throw in the towel pretty early if they get behind in the game, Anderson especially.  Roger's big innings was invaluable.  And Warner's 2nd innings was very good in many ways too: he struggled for form right through it, but contained himself well and continued scoring without middling too many.  That second opening partnership really destroyed whatever spirit England's retained.  In the end, the Aussie batters (bar Warner) were trying to get out - without success.

Overall though, my blueprint seemed to work: devastating spells from the Aussie quicks on a really flat pitch while not losing any other sessions.

After two games, you'd have to say the Aussies look the better team, but I think it's much more even than the scores might suggest.  The toss played a big part in both games, and probably will for the rest of the series.  Looking forward to it now!  

NB  (not that I wasn't looking forward to it before ... )
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Oh Dear, an Official Thrashing of England...

On to test three.
TheBlacksmith

England will need to make some changes if they are to have a chance in the 3rd test in Birmingham.

A tour game first and then onto the 3rd test.
  Graham4405 The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Dalby Qld
Even though I was born in pommie-land (but have lived in Australia for over 50 years), I always delight in seeing the poms cop a hiding from Aus in any sport! Mr. Green
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
It was a very disciplined performance by Australia, in contrast to the first Test. The batsmen got their heads down (with one or two exceptions ), the bowlers lifted their game, and the fielding was pretty sharp.
Marsh was a more than adequate replacement for Watson, and Nevill filled Haddin's place behind the timbers very well. I imagine the standard English practice of dropping a few batsmen will now take place. You would have to think that Lyth will go, and probably Ballance as well.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Yeah, that's sad...
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
It's Test cricket. If you don't perform in the role for which you're picked, you get dropped. Watson has batted at 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 - obviously he was picked as a batsman, and equally obviously he failed.
I'm not happy to see Australian sports people dropped because it can be soul-destroying. In Watson's case, I don't think he has any right to feel sad - he has led what can only be described as a charmed life, and should feel very happy that he's played as many tests as he has.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
I must say I enjoy having a dose of cricket through winter, bring it on!
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
I see our ladies have been having some success too, now 4:2 against the poms. But I was amazed to find the series consists of 7 tests and 3 Twenty20s? So the poms still have a chance to win the Ashes if they take the last test (worth 4 points() and one of the ODIs.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
I see our ladies have been having some success too, now 4:2 against the poms. But I was amazed to find the series consists of 7 tests and 3 Twenty20s? So the poms still have a chance to win the Ashes if they take the last test (worth 4 points() and one of the ODIs.
TheBlacksmith
The series is 3 ODIs (now completed with the Aussies winning 2 - 1), one test starting on 11/8, then 3 T20 games.

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