The Ashes 2015

 
  JoppaJunction Chief Train Controller

Location: Banned
A first day probably best described as Englands. What does tonight have in store?

England were impressive with the bat building a good score of the first day. Hadden dropped what many might say was a sitter.  Root went on to build a great innings.

If Bell and Cook can fire "dad's Army" might be in a bit of trouble,

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  JoppaJunction Chief Train Controller

Location: Banned
England taking the Australian bowling to task!

7/384
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
England all out 430, Australia 0/48.
  JoppaJunction Chief Train Controller

Location: Banned
England all out 430, Australia 0/48.
Graham4405

Australia might be in a bit of trouble.  Clarke threw his wicket away.  Tonight's first session might be worth watching.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Australia went for too many runs in the England innings; have a look at the bowlers' run rates. Nobody heard of "line and length"? Now Australia is 264/5 which is just not good enough. It doesn't help when numbers 3, 4 and 5 all make scores in the 30's. Getting a start and failing to go on with it is giving the Poms the upper hand immediately. Smith and Clarke both threw their wickets away trying to hit Ali out of the park. It's a five-day game, and Test attacks should be treated with some degree of respect. A good spinner thrives on batsmen trying to put him into the next postcode, and Ali showed very nicely just how it's done. Graeme Pollock put it well;- you'll get five or six bad balls an hour. Hit them for four, and with a few singles thrown in, you've made a hundred in two sessions of play.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Australia might be in a bit of trouble.  
JoppaJunction

Australia are in a lot of trouble.  It's hard to see them winning, or even saving, the first test from here.  We need a *big* Watson hundred, and we all know how rare they are.

After watching most of the first two sessions of day 2, I must say I thought England bowled really really well.  I don't recall any segment of play were the ball was not hooping around.  Rogers made it look easy, but it was anything but.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Smith and Clarke both threw their wickets away trying to hit Ali out of the park. It's a five-day game, and Test attacks should be treated with some degree of respect. A good spinner thrives on batsmen trying to put him into the next postcode, and Ali showed very nicely just how it's done.
Valvegear

I don't really know how good a spinner Ali is, but "honest" seems a pretty fair description.

I agree with you re Clarke - he didn't have his head screwed on with that shot.  But not with Smith.  I think Smith was doing the right thing, given the way he naturally plays, the conditions and the state of the game.  Another over or two of successfully whacking Ali around the park and England would have been in a lot of trouble.  

We were 1/100ish at the time and had it come off we'd have been 3/300+ by stumps, and looking to build a lead on day 3 against a shot attack.  So for mine I think it was the right risk to take for Smith to go after Ali.  It just didn't work, and all credit to England for their aggressive tactics (the bastards!).
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
I think it was the right risk to take for Smith to go after Ali.  It just didn't work, and all credit to England for their aggressive tactics (the bastards!).
"djf01"
Sure; but there's a right way and a wrong way to go after a spinner. Smith was on his way down the pitch before the bowler had released the ball. Ali changed his delivery and, Bingo! . . . Smith was plainly outsmarted. We didn't need to be aiming for 3 for 300 at stumps. . . 3 for something was what we wanted. I repeat; it's a five day game, and patience and concentration are what it's about. Rogers is the only one who displayed these attributes.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

Sure; but there's a right way and a wrong way to go after a spinner. ... I repeat; it's a five day game, and patience and concentration are what it's about. Rogers is the only one who displayed these attributes.
Valvegear

I'm not saying Smith didn't stuff up or wasn't outsmarted.  I just think Smith is one of the best attacking players with the best footwork in World Cricket.  If ever there was a time to attack a spinner, that was it.

As for modern test cricket being a five day game - these days it's usually only if there is inclement weather!
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
As long as the weather holds out, Australia have two days to settle down and methodically chase a big target. They've done it before and can do it again.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
As long as the weather holds out, Australia have two days to settle down and methodically chase a big target. They've done it before and can do it again.
TheBlacksmith

Australia have lacked patience.  If they can settle as you say and knock over the runs then they may get home.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

As long as the weather holds out, Australia have two days to settle down and methodically chase a big target. They've done it before and can do it again.
TheBlacksmith

No Australian side has ever chased down a target as large as this.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
The biggest Ashes chase was 1948 at Headingly, Leeds when they scored 3/404 to win by 7 wickets. Just as a matter of academic interest, two gentlemen named Bradman and Morris scored very big hundreds. Who's going to do it this time? I can't see Australia batting out the day.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
The biggest Ashes chase was 1948 at Headingly, Leeds when they scored 3/404 to win by 7 wickets. Just as a matter of academic interest, two gentlemen named Bradman and Morris scored very big hundreds. Who's going to do it this time? I can't see Australia batting out the day.
Valvegear
How right you were.

Mind you, every record is there to be broken.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I can't see Australia batting out the day.
Valvegear

And they didn't.  They didn't really even go close.  I think it was a flattering score line in the end.  Once Watson was out, they just bowled their part time spinners and the the Aussie bowlers slog a few until they got themselves out.

Overall it was a very disappointing performance from Australia.  England clearly played the better cricket, and won almost every session.  Not by much, but by enough.  

I know it's a bit harsh to blame everything on once incident, but I think Haddin dropping that catch has cost us the Ashes!  

Starc was hooping in those unplayable yorkers of his.  He'd knocked over Bell, nearly got rid of Root, and threatening to win the match before tea on the first day.  Not long after that a rain shower briefly soaked the ground and the ball got wet.  It didn't swing after that.

The England attack swung the ball throughout each innings and always looked threatening.

I have to say from what I've seen I can't see Australia winning this series now.  I don't think Johnson will be able to blast out the England batting on their slow pitches, and without Starc or Harris for the Lords test, I don't see how we are going to be able to bowl England out twice cheaply enough.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Apart from the fact that England's batting and bowling was far superior, there wasn't much between the teams!!!!!!Rolling Eyes

In the England first innings, Australia's bowling was abysmal. For their sakes, I hope Glenn McGrath and Stuart Clark weren't watching - they'd be wondering about the meaning of "line and length".There were far too many loose deliveries which were deservedly punished. The best Australian bowler was Lyon. Sure; Starc got a five-for, but he leaked runs at 4.7 an over. Johnson was all over the place and Hazelwood was like the curate's egg - parts were very good.

Australia has two, possibly three, world class batsmen; Smith, Clarke and Warner. Rogers garnered a patient 95 in the first dig, and failed in the second. Warner was vice versa, with a 50 in the second innings. In both innings, Smith and Clarke both demonstrated footwork - lack of. So did Voges. It is a sad indictment of Australian cricket that Voges came into the team as a specialist batsman at the age of 35. Obviously the selectors believe there are no good batsmen in their early to mid twenties. For decades, the Sheffield Shield was universally acknowledged as the toughest domestic competition in the world. If you were a Victorian opener in the 50's for example, you'd walk onto the SCG at about Christmas, and face Lindwall and Miller and Benaud and Davidson in a Shield game. It was not a matter of luck that Harvey and Walters came into the Test team at 19. They'd had their baptism of fire already. It doesn't happen now. As John Benaud put it, "Too many second class players are playing first class cricket."

Then there's Watson. As a matter of urgency, Cricket Australia must find his hidden stash of photos - there cannot be any other reason for continually picking him. As a specialist batsman, he has played 109 innings for only four centuries at the mediocre average of 35. In this match; 49 runs for twice out, both times to his standard lbw - hit on the pad in front of middle whilst playing across the line of flight. He has now done this 29 times to set a bizarre record. He took no wickets. He is also a liability in the field anywhere other than first slip.

Unless the collective finger is pulled out very rapidly, Lords will be another Australian disaster.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
I would pretty much agree with everything you said there. And I don't believe the series is lost, it is there to claim if Australia can manage to learn from the first test and apply some discipline to batting and bowling. But most of all, Watson has to go.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

I would pretty much agree with everything you said there. And I don't believe the series is lost, it is there to claim if Australia can manage to learn from the first test and apply some discipline to batting and bowling. But most of all, Watson has to go.
TheBlacksmith


I think everyone should take a bit of Kool Aid re Watson.

I'll present a case (not too convincing, as I'm not that convinced by it myself) for his retention:

1) He's our best dry pitch bowler.  When the ball gets scuffed up and reverses, he's the best exponent of it we have.  Starc can be handy in those conditions too - *if* the ball gets properly prepared by others.  Johnson is worse than useless, as he isn't effective when the pitch is slow, and he's so loose he buggers up the ball for everyone else.

1a) Mash is a typical seam up Aussie quick - just not quite as quick as the others.  A good (or better) bowler in zippy conditions.

From an attack balance perspective, Watson is still the better choice IMHO.  In other words, March is only likely to be good when we don't need him.

2) As for batting, Mash has a FC average of 29 (34 in test cricket), Watson's is 43.  Marsh's test record is better than his FC record, but equally it's not as good as Watson's in the games they've played together.

3) Marsh's main claim to a spot is the fact he slapped a few county pie chuckers out of a tiny ground in a practice match with little or no meaning.  Yes, it's good that he did, but that's not a good enough reason to make changes to our national side, even though it was during the Micky Arthur era.

4) Watson didn't play all that badly, at least not when compared to all the others, making 30s in each innings and being dismissed just after breaks IIRC.  He didn't throw his wicket away, which is more than can be said for Clarke.  Watson didn't drop Root on 0, and he isn't responsible for the tactics after lunch on day 1.

4a) Of the codgers in the team, Clarke and Haddin were worse - far worse.  Johnson played well in patches but without results (unless you count slogging part time spinners around the park in the afternoon session of a match already decided), which is people don't even say about Watson anymore.

5) We know what we are going to get with Watson: fairly regular promising, attractive 50s which he fails to convert, and never enough to win a match on their own.  Similarly with his bowling: he can bowl effective tight overs in certain conditions the others struggle in.

6) What happens if we bring Marsh in and he "fails" (or only does as well as Watson)?  If he has 2 less than stellar games in a row do we drop him and bring Watson back?

Putting this all together, I think Marsh is the obvious and selected heir apparent for Watson's all-rounder position.  But the only real argument for a change is that we lost the first test, and while miracles happen, we'd have lost it just as convincingly with M Marsh in the team.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
djf01's appreciation of the situation is based upon present circumstances. In other words; we're stuck with Watson in England, or M Marsh as apparently the only other option.  

I will take issue with the statement that he's our best dry pitch bowler. In my opinion, figures of 109 tests and 75 wickets at 33 apiece don't support this view. I'd rather have Siddle and Lyon on a dry track.
And, "Watson didn't throw his wicket away"? As Mr McEnroe would have it, "You cannot be serious." Throwing his wicket away is precisely what Watson did in both innings, because he either cannot or will not learn to play straight to deliveries pitched up on middle. He swipes across his front pad and goes lbw. He's done it 29 times in Tests alone for heavens sake. My major complaint about Watson is that he is a serial offender at getting a start and throwing it away.


Watson should not even be in England. He has not been worth a place in the Australian team for at least the past five years. He has been given far more opportunities than he's worth. He has batted at 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6, and has not been a success at any position.
He owes his place to the selectorial obsession with an all rounder.

This is a part copy of an article I kept from some years ago. I happen to agree with everything the writer says.

Selecting is hard. Always selectors, knowing they can pick only 11 men, wish somehow to turn 11 into 12. Under Hilditch's chairmanship the wish has become an obsession. Normally selectors see that there is no allrounder worthy of summoning and so content themselves with 11, the best 11. Hilditch's method is different: where no allrounder can be found, we shall build one. Andrew McDonald of Wodonga is the latest Frankenstein-style construction to be stirred from sleep, wound up at his back and sent on to the Sydney Cricket Ground as Australia's new No. 6. History is against Hilditch. Australia has fielded more allrounders than most countries. Even so, if we rule out wicketkeepers and stick to the classic definition of an allrounder as someone who bats and bowls well enough to earn a place in any team for either discipline, then Australia has produced seven: George Giffen, Monty Noble, Warwick Armstrong, Jack Gregory, Keith Miller, Richie Benaud, Alan Davidson. That's one every 19 years, and none in the past 46. Even these are inflated figures. Technically, if Benaud or Davidson had elbow niggles that prevented them bowling, selectors would seldom have picked them as specialist batsmen; the reverse applies to Armstrong and, less strongly, to Giffen and Noble too. If we believe the classic definition, only Garry Sobers and about six others were ever true allrounders. The classic definition is too strict. Really, an allrounder is someone who commands selection with one skill and is an invaluable contributor with their second string. By this logic, handy sorts like Gus Gilmour and Greg Matthews just about qualify. By no available logic do Hilditch's projects - McDonald, Cameron White, Andrew Symonds or Shane Watson - amount to Test allrounders.
  9034 Train Controller

The No 6 position should be a recognised batsman and Watson with an Test Average of 35 fails to meet the grade.  At his age he won't get any better.   The question needs to be asked,  is there a better batsman in the squad?  And is so he needs to be selected.
  djf01 Chief Commissioner

The No 6 position should be a recognised batsman and Watson with an Test Average of 35 fails to meet the grade.  At his age he won't get any better.   The question needs to be asked,  is there a better batsman in the squad?  And is so he needs to be selected.
9034
Unfortunately, the answer to that is no.  You could make a case for S Marsh, but he has a similar issue to Watson in getting out the same way all the time.  S Marsh doesn't prop onto the front foot like Watson, but he's a regular nicker to the slips when the ball is slid across him.  With his bottom hand grip always hitting inside out through the off side.  Watson & S Marsh have similar test averages, but when S Marsh does fire (usually before the opposition bowlers have worked him out) hits big scores in precisely the same way Watson doesn't.

In the context of this series, I think we're probably better off with a consistent, if unspectacular, performer .. and from this squad that means Watson.

If we are going to win the Ashes this year, it'll be on the back of the occasional devastating spell from Johnson and/or Starc.  It's the loss of Harris that has put us behind the 8 ball IMHO, though I've been impressed with everything Hazelwood has done so far.  I don't think we can bat our way to victory against this England attack.  

This approach won't work if Johnson is used like Glen Magrath: the spearhead and the stock bowler at the same time.  So I think the attack *needs* a fifth bowler.

Anyway, that's my blueprint for winning the Ashes: give Starc & Johnson the best chance to strike through the England batting, then keep it tight and try not to lose any sessions ourselves.
  Graham4405 Minister for Railways

Location: Dalby Qld
my blueprint for winning the Ashes: try not to lose
djf01
Apologies, but I just had to do it! Smile
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
If Watson is picked for the second test and he could be will he follow his usual game plan?

1. Come In
2. LWB
3. DRS

??
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Watson has been dropped, and Haddin is unavailable. Replacements are M Marsh and Nevill.
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.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Watson has been dropped, and Haddin is unavailable. Replacements are M Marsh and Nevill.
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
It appears Haddin's family are with him in the UK, in which case his daughter might be able to get specialist attention.

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