The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

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The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Sun 24 Dec 2017, 12:21 pm

First topic message reminder :

4th Test; Venue: Melbourne Cricket Ground; Dates: 26-30 December (23:30 GMT, 25 December)

Expected XIs:

Australia:
Bancroft, Warner, Khawaja, Smith *, S Marsh, M Marsh, Paine †, Bird, Cummins, Lyon, Hazelwood

England:
Cook, Stoneman, Vince, Root *, Malan, Bairstow †, Ali, Woakes, Curran, Broad, Anderson

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by eirebilly on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 12:15 am

guildfordbat wrote:
eirebilly wrote:Without trying to sound sexist but Alison Mitchell really is a very poor pundit/commentator. Its as if she has no idea what she is talking about. She is probably better suited to anchor rather than commentate.

Billy - my view is that it would be far more sexist to accept Alison Mitchell's dreadful commentary without complaint simply because she is a woman. She talks far too much, doesn't provide anything insightful and gets overly excited whenever the ball goes in the air even if there's no fielder nearby.

That said, she is still miles better than Swann. She could even be better than Smith as an anchor but that really says more about how utterly appalling he is.

As you may have picked up, I'm not a great fan of BT Sport who continue to value quantity over quality.


Agree that the BT coverage is poor, their selection of pundits is not what you would expect.
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by alfie on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 12:20 am

With the new rules meaning you don't lose an unsuccessful review for "umpires call" on lbw , I think it is important to keep your referrals for lbw shouts...should only call for one over a catch if you are absolutely certain the umpire has got it wrong. You don't see too many overturned decisions on caught behind - whereas the lbw law sometimes seems to be developing into a bit of a raffle...

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 12:29 am

Duty281 wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:As you may have picked up, I'm not a great fan of BT Sport who continue to value quantity over quality.

Though I'll miss Lord Geoffrey, it will be thankfully back to Sky for the New Zealand tour.

I've really got to like Geoffrey during this series although he's undoubtedly been helped by how poor most of the others have been.

For a Christmas present, one of my daughters got me tickets to see Boycs in conversation with Aggers at Woking theatre next month. Really looking forward to that - saw Aggers with Tufnell a couple of years back which was good fun, I remember Olly recommending a Swann and Aggers evening more recently. I just hope Aggers is ok to appear - I understand his wife has been seriously ill.

Olly and all - Olly, in particular, you know everything - any news on Aggers' availability? Cheers.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by alfie on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 12:45 am

Not much happening so far. England seem intent on getting this ball ready for reverse as early as possible...which I suppose makes sense given the way this match has gone.

Not sure it is a good idea to let Dave Warner get started ; though not sure there is anything much they could have done to stop him Smile

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by alfie on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 12:56 am

Woakes with a welcome break as he bowls Bancroft off his inside edge...

Good for Woakes (who might be under some pressure for Sydney if England want to rejig their attack) - less so for Bancroft who probably needs a score now in Sydney to stamp his ticket for SA.

Could say he was a little unlucky then as that came off bat and leg ; but he was beaten on the inside by one coming back , not for the first time in this series. It's a weakness I'd expect the SA quicks to exploit.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 1:10 am

alfie wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:So what i said about it being pointless to come out
..but cook carries it at least

Well no more runs.  But Warner and Bancroft have to come on , off and on again ...so not entirely pointless. Think if they weren't going to declare a few overs short last night they were always coming out this morning.
Not a big deal.

Might as well get Stewart's take off my chest now.

''When opening the batting, you always want to have more than ten minutes to pad up and prepare yourself. Especially when up against Test match bowlers. The opposition should always try and make sure you don't.''

I would have liked to have kept Bancroft and Warner out there in the field waiting and wondering for about fifteen minutes this morning but it was not to be. However, it wasn't pointless either. If we were going to declare earlier, it should have been before the close last night to give Australia at least 4 overs to face then.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 1:23 am

Khawaja nibbles at one from Jimmy outside off and is comfortably taken by Bairstow.

65/2, trailing by 99. Smith now in the middle with Warner - you just sense this is the partnership that is going to shape things one way or the other ....

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 1:33 am

That's lunch. Australia 70/2, trailing by 94.

Our session but still a long way to go as I head for bed. Night all.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by alfie on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 1:39 am

guildfordbat wrote:Khawaja nibbles at one from Jimmy outside off and is comfortably taken by Bairstow.

65/2, trailing by 99. Smith now in the middle with Warner - you just sense this is the partnership that is going to shape things one way or the other ....

Don't think anyone is going to disagree with that Smile

If those two were to come out quickly this match could well be over today. If they get set , on the other hand...

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by alfie on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 3:30 am

Not a lot of development in the post lunch session - just sixteen runs added before the rain came. No alarms.

Covers off and play to resume shortly ; though I fancy there might be a bit more weather on the way.

Lights on , overcast. Another important session looms...

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by alfie on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 3:50 am

Game seems to be in a bit of a holding pattern: 21 runs in 19 overs since the wicket of Khawaja.

At last a run...and then a rare boundary from Warner. He has shown remarkable self discipline playing against type here for his team.

Nothing in the wickets column yet but I'm impressed with Curran and Woakes in this spell. Patience all round ; but one might bring two so this game is still a long way from dead.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by alfie on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 4:06 am

Quick burst of runs ...couple of mistakes from Warner which he survives...and down comes the rain again.

Can't see how England are ever going to get Smith out. Might be a while before they get back on too.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by alfie on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 6:05 am

Wet wet and wetter.

Forecast was spot on ...except no thunderstorm . Glad I decided to trust it and stay home this morning as today's spectators have been rather shortchanged.

Weather supposed to be OK tomorrow so match not quite dead yet ; but a little hard to see Australia folding up on the still placid pitch. Though I guess if Smith were to be struck by lightning or something ...I think that more likely than England finding a way through his defence !


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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by CaledonianCraig on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 6:34 am

Well with half of today rained off. Australia won't be winning 5-0. The match is now 80% Draw or 20% England win.
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 7:59 am

In typical Aussie fashion, as soon as they begin losing they're finding things to blame it on - and now it appears they're accusing England of ball tampering...although if you look at the photo of "the alleged" tampering, England are seemingly ruining the shiny side of the ball...because everyone knows you always ruin the shiny side to get reverse swing!

Remember that time England doctored the Trent Bridge pitch between innings to allow them to bowl Australia out for 60, and then allow Joe Root to score a hundred? Rolling Eyes
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 8:32 am

Not the score and the weather I wanted to wake up to but there you go! A shame as I thought our seam quartet bowled pretty well in the first session that I saw and deserved the two wickets between them, admittedly the weaker two of Australia's top 4 by some distance.

Mainly going now from the scorecard, an innings of great self-restraint from Warner. He does seem to have found different gears than just top. If he can see his side to safety, I feel he might then reward the last day crowd with some fireworks!

Going to be mighty hard for England to force a positive result from here but, weather permitting, the game isn't dead yet and I'll be watching the first session. What makes it so difficult is that we really need not just Warner but also the indomitable Smith plus ideally a Marsh brother all before lunch. Do that and we could be in business ... it's the hope that gets you! Wink

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by alfie on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 8:47 am

guildfordbat wrote:Not the score and the weather I wanted to wake up to but there you go! A shame as I thought our seam quartet bowled pretty well in the first session that I saw and deserved the two wickets between them, admittedly the weaker two of Australia's top 4 by some distance.

Mainly going now from the scorecard, an innings of great self-restraint from Warner. He does seem to have found different gears than just top. If he can see his side to safety, I feel he might then reward the last day crowd with some fireworks!

Going to be mighty hard for England to force a positive result from here but, weather permitting, the game isn't dead yet and I'll be watching the first session. What makes it so difficult is that we really need not just Warner but also the indomitable Smith plus ideally a Marsh brother all before lunch. Do that and we could be in business ... it's the hope that gets you! Wink

At least you didn't miss much action , guildford .

The positive thing for England is that being still 60 behind , and not scoring too freely , the Australians are unlikely to feel "safe" until after tea ; which means if a couple of wickets can be prised out they will be playing under pressure for a long time.

The hard part is getting through these two , their best batsmen , with not much happening for the bowlers. What Root wouldn't give for a Lyon equivalent to bowl spin ! Moeen seems to be so short on confidence he is unlikely to be a factor so it does rather leave a lot of heavy lifting to the four pace bowlers.

By the way your young Surrey lad bowled very well again in that afternoon session : gave nothing away , and kept the batsmen very much alert with his variations. May not be destined to play a lot of Tests just yet , when the other regulars are fit and available ; but he's done himself no harm with this initial display. I certainly see a white ball future for him in the short to medium term.


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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by KP_fan on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 8:50 am

What a shame the weather takes out possibilities of Aus win out of the equation...and greatly diminishes the Eng win chances...

I saw Eng's bowling this morning......
Standard 3rd gear stuff...line and length at fast medium/ medium pace..... little bit of movement for Anderson....
Regulation in-out.... fields

No bouncers....no dig it in....no short leg/ leg gully catchers for awkward fending.....no hook-me-bouncer trap
No Spin

Curran starts with 132kph and by 3rd over he is 126-128kph...wide outside off that batsmen are happy to leave and throws a back of the hand easily readable slower one his variation ball

I don't see how the English bowlers will Create wickets with such bowling
Should Eng getting lucky again with 4 successive dismissals like on 2nd morning ( 3 played-ons and an overturning of umpires call for LBW).......is their best chance of winning

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by Gooseberry on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 8:56 am

Perhaps a touch pesimistic Craig. If theres a full day tomorrow then England can spend two sessions to get 8 wicketsand still have 30 overs to knock off around a lead of around 120. I have draw favourite but Id give England a better than 20% chance of doing it.

More questions being asked about Moeen. His bowling confidence looks absolutely shot and the Aussies are happy to get at him. There could be a last shot at redemption there for him, if Root is willing to take a gamble and chuck him back in the firing line he could do what has bought him a pretty high percentage of his wickets in the past and tempt Smith and Warnere into risky shots. Yes he might go for a few but England need wickets every bit as much as they need to keep it tight.
As it stands though its looking increasingly hard to keep him in the team, or would do if they had any way of squaring a selection that doesnt include him. Ditching Rashid and Dawson looks like a mistake now, although noone couldve predicted just how much Moeen plummeted from the confident succesful summer version into this mess.
Theres been some pretty pointed remarks from the pundits and the increasingly small number of overs hes been given speaks volumes about Roots faith in him. Collingwood sounded far less than impressed by the way he batted, and by his mental state.
I do think hes a better player than this and can come back, but not so good hes undroppable....if theres a viable option to replace him. Crane? Lets be generous about the chances of a young English leg spinner against Warner and Smith and just focus on how long a tail that leaves England with....Curran is not an all rounder. Maybe England could just go with Malan and Root providing occassional spin and shore up the batting depth, but that wont help them take 20 wickets in a test.
If /when Stokes returns its easier to see how England can drop him. So most likely he will get tomorrow and the fifth test to get some confidence back.
Longer term England need to be looking at a solution to this though, he seems to be a very fragile player. The stories of him only being happy as a second spinner even if hes actually bowling a lot of overs and his incosntency with bat and ball suggets a menatlly weak player. Yes his general style is going to be prone to good days and bad days,; but he seems to have good runs and bad runs with bat and ball...and at the moment has lost both big time. Of course a constant anxiety over his place probably doesnt help either...but thats why mental toughness is a characteristic so highly valued in cricket. Cooks shown it and found his class has shown, Im not sure Moeen has that level of class, in the absence of better optioins hes rightly been selected but I really feel this England team cant keep on without a good spinner and with such a flakey player if they are going to get back to chanllenging for number 1.
If he takes 4 wickets tomorrow then all is forgiven and maybe his self confidence will come back too.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by Gooseberry on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 9:19 am

KP_fan wrote:What a shame the weather takes out possibilities of Aus win out of the equation...and greatly diminishes the Eng win chances...

I saw Eng's bowling this morning......
Standard 3rd gear stuff...line and length at fast medium/ medium pace..... little bit of movement for Anderson....
Regulation in-out.... fields

No bouncers....no dig it in....no short leg/ leg gully catchers for awkward fending.....no hook-me-bouncer trap
No Spin

Curran starts with 132kph and by 3rd over he is 126-128kph...wide outside off that batsmen are happy to leave and throws a  back of the hand easily readable slower one his variation ball

I don't see how the English bowlers will Create wickets with such bowling
Should Eng getting lucky again with 4 successive dismissals like on 2nd morning ( 3 played-ons and an overturning of umpires call for LBW).......is their best chance of winning


I largely agree, England need to go all out for wickets and stop worrying about restricting Australia.
The tactic had some merit and was working to an extent when they had 2 days, but losing so many overs has changed the face of the game ... time is now Australias friend and trying to break them with impateience simply wont wash. Warner and Smith have both shown they have their heads screwed on and are happy to bat out. Sadly Moeen is batting 4-11 for them Rolling Eyes
It was mentioned on TMS that they only bowled one bouncer at Warner, depsite having had a decent history of getting him out to short balls. Thats by no means a call for continuous short stuff, just not on a length outside off stump ball after ball. Make them play has to be the way. And yes maybe offer up Moeen a bit more, give him that last chance to make something happen and save his tour.

Curran may have bowled well in terms of consitnecy, direction , and even extracting some limited movement; but really hes so medium paced and lacking in anything special on these pitches that hes not ever going to get much going. Its a hell of a tough ask for the kid to be thrown in. Hes done what we assume was asked of him (and been given plenty of overs) but its been wholly ineffective, and I dont see him being the one to add the spark needed tomorrow (although he has shown hes capable of getting both Smith and Warner out in this game). When it comes down to it he was behind Anderson, Broad, Waokes , Stokes, Ball, Wood, Rolland Jones and Finn (and possibly Porter too) for a reason. I know the Surrey mafia on here love him but he looks every bit as exposed a Bird does when it comes to forcing wickets in this match. Not the ideal opportunity for him on debut, nor is he the type of player England need to change their side up longer term and address their shortcomings. Which isnt to say he doenst have a future as Andersona nd Broad continue their creep toward retirement, its just we need someone who isnt a medium paced right arm English pitches bowler more than we need Curran right now.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 9:59 am

alfie wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:Not the score and the weather I wanted to wake up to but there you go! A shame as I thought our seam quartet bowled pretty well in the first session that I saw and deserved the two wickets between them, admittedly the weaker two of Australia's top 4 by some distance.

Mainly going now from the scorecard, an innings of great self-restraint from Warner. He does seem to have found different gears than just top. If he can see his side to safety, I feel he might then reward the last day crowd with some fireworks!

Going to be mighty hard for England to force a positive result from here but, weather permitting, the game isn't dead yet and I'll be watching the first session. What makes it so difficult is that we really need not just Warner but also the indomitable Smith plus ideally a Marsh brother all before lunch. Do that and we could be in business ... it's the hope that gets you! Wink

At least you didn't miss much action , guildford .

The positive thing for England is that being still 60 behind , and not scoring too freely , the Australians are unlikely to feel "safe" until after tea ; which means if a couple of wickets can be prised out they will be playing under pressure for a long time.

The hard part is getting through these two , their best batsmen , with not much happening for the bowlers. What Root wouldn't give for a Lyon equivalent to bowl spin ! Moeen seems to be so short on confidence he is unlikely to be a factor so it does rather leave a lot of heavy lifting to the four pace bowlers.

By the way your young Surrey lad bowled very well again in that afternoon session : gave nothing away , and kept the batsmen very much alert with his variations.  May not be destined to play a lot of Tests just yet , when the other regulars are fit and available ; but he's done himself no harm with this initial display.  I certainly see a white ball future for him in the short to medium term.


Thanks, Alfie. Spot on. I agree we need to get 'em all out no later than tea or, at a pinch, very slightly after. That's why I'm so keen to get 3 wickets - including the big two - in the opening session.

Meanwhile, full credit to goose for never letting facts get in the way of a post. His reference on this thread to ''the Surrey mafia's love for Curran'' is so over the top that I'm still waiting for it to come down. I believe I've been reasonably on the money in saying that his Test debut had come a bit too soon but needs must and at least he wouldn't be overawed by the occasion. I also pointed out that his unbeaten 70 odd in the recent practice game flattered his batting. He's actually done a bit better with the ball than I expected, albeit with only the one wicket so far. In line with your post, Alfie, he's kept it dry (di Venuto speak there Wink ) and helped to build pressure as well as mixing it up nicely (I won't risk the wrath of goose and others by saying whom he credits for that! Shocked ). As you also say, he's done himself no harm which ain't too bad as a replacement for a replacement.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by KP_fan on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 10:12 am

[quote="Gooseberry"]
KP_fan wrote:
It was mentioned on TMS that they only bowled one bouncer at Warner, depsite having had a decent history of getting him out to short balls. Thats by no means a call for continuous short stuff, just not on a length outside off stump ball after ball. Make them play has to be the way. And yes maybe offer up Moeen a bit more, give him that last chance to make something happen and save his tour.

Curran may have bowled well in terms of consitnecy, direction , and even extracting some limited movement; but really hes so medium paced and lacking in anything special on these pitches that hes not ever going to get much going. Its a hell of a tough ask for the kid to be thrown in. Hes done what we assume was asked of him (and been given plenty of overs) but its been wholly ineffective, and I dont see him being the one to add the spark needed tomorrow (although he has shown hes capable of getting both Smith and Warner out in this game). When it comes down to it he was behind Anderson, Broad, Waokes , Stokes, Ball, Wood, Rolland Jones and Finn (and possibly Porter too) for a reason. I know the Surrey mafia on here love him but he looks every bit as exposed a Bird does when it comes to forcing wickets in this match. Not the ideal opportunity for him on debut, nor is he the type of player England need to change their side up longer term and address their shortcomings. Which isnt to say he doenst have a future as Andersona nd Broad continue their creep toward retirement, its just we need someone who isnt a medium paced right arm English pitches bowler more than we need Curran right now.


Good Note on Curran....

Dunno who are the Surrey Mafia here Very Happy ..
With pitches turning more benign & art of batsman-ship more evolved....

Teams are recognizing and moving towards combinations of 90mph pace + either a big spinner or a mystery one

SA has Morke, Rabda and now seemingly fit again Steyn + Maharaj

Aus as we have seen has Strac, Cummin, Hazelwood and Lyon

Ind have arrived in SA with Ishant, Shami, Yadav and Bumrah all hitting 90mph + the swing of Bhuvi + Ashwin & Jadeja as their quality spinenrs with mystery chinamen Kuldeep as a stand by

and even selection of a bowling allrounder in Pandya is based on his ability to hit 145kph occasionally ( 90mph) although his stock bowling is 130+

India had to consciously look for and create these options
Further Ind is bringing 4 rookie 140+ pacers for their FC cricket on tour just to offer full steam net practice to the team without tiring the main bowlers

NZ's stock is not too bad with Wagner, Boult, Williamson though they don't have a quality spinner


Pak's mercurial assembly line of fast, reverse and spin bowling is well known

These are the sides likely to win at least some tests in foreign conditions....and even with such resources a series win in foreign conditions remains very hard
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 10:18 am

guildfordbat wrote:
alfie wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:Not the score and the weather I wanted to wake up to but there you go! A shame as I thought our seam quartet bowled pretty well in the first session that I saw and deserved the two wickets between them, admittedly the weaker two of Australia's top 4 by some distance.

Mainly going now from the scorecard, an innings of great self-restraint from Warner. He does seem to have found different gears than just top. If he can see his side to safety, I feel he might then reward the last day crowd with some fireworks!

Going to be mighty hard for England to force a positive result from here but, weather permitting, the game isn't dead yet and I'll be watching the first session. What makes it so difficult is that we really need not just Warner but also the indomitable Smith plus ideally a Marsh brother all before lunch. Do that and we could be in business ... it's the hope that gets you! Wink

At least you didn't miss much action , guildford .

The positive thing for England is that being still 60 behind , and not scoring too freely , the Australians are unlikely to feel "safe" until after tea ; which means if a couple of wickets can be prised out they will be playing under pressure for a long time.

The hard part is getting through these two , their best batsmen , with not much happening for the bowlers. What Root wouldn't give for a Lyon equivalent to bowl spin ! Moeen seems to be so short on confidence he is unlikely to be a factor so it does rather leave a lot of heavy lifting to the four pace bowlers.

By the way your young Surrey lad bowled very well again in that afternoon session : gave nothing away , and kept the batsmen very much alert with his variations.  May not be destined to play a lot of Tests just yet , when the other regulars are fit and available ; but he's done himself no harm with this initial display.  I certainly see a white ball future for him in the short to medium term.


Thanks, Alfie. Spot on. I agree we need to get 'em all out no later than tea or, at a pinch, very slightly after. That's why I'm so keen to get 3 wickets - including the big two - in the opening session.

Meanwhile, full credit to goose for never letting facts get in the way of a post. His reference on this thread to ''the Surrey mafia's love for Curran'' is so over the top that I'm still waiting for it to come down. I believe I've been reasonably on the money in saying that his Test debut had come a bit too soon but needs must and at least he wouldn't be overawed by the occasion. I also pointed out that his unbeaten 70 odd in the recent practice game flattered his batting. He's actually done a bit better with the ball than I expected, albeit with only the one wicket so far. In line with your post, Alfie, he's kept it dry (di Venuto speak there Wink ) and helped to build pressure as well as mixing it up nicely (I won't risk the wrath of goose and others by saying whom he credits for that! Shocked ). As you also say, he's done himself no harm which ain't too bad as a replacement for a replacement.

Your last line is important here - Curran is only playing due to a boatload of injuries/and suspension. He's a youngster, beginning his career, so you'd think is likely to develop and put on more pace as he grows. He's off to a promising start (his control is very good), but clearly a long way to go. He's not going to be first choice, because you have Stokes, Roland Jones, Finn, Overton, Wood all to come back (I'm probably missing someone), but considering the circumstances he's done well. Certainly hasn't looked out of place like a Kerrigan etc
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by alfie on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 10:19 am

Ah the old pressure versus all out attack argument...

Truth is England came to Australia knowing they didn't have the artillery to engage in a bouncer barrage ...and had no reasonable expectation of bowling Australia out consistently by trying to blast them off the pitch. Their best hope was to maintain as much control as possible , utilize reverse when available , and prey on the patience of some of their bats...so that as been the tactic , generally , from day one.
Obviously , it hasn't worked - at least not to the degree that its enabled them to win matches. Part of this is down to the team failure to make enough runs ; partly to the complete ineffectiveness of the spin option , and partly to the pace bowlers not always executing their plans as well as they should have .
You can argue there are times when a slightly different approach would have been better (I already have , on occasion) but given the resources available it wasn't such a bad plan.
I'd suggest it worked to a considerable degree in the first innings here ; and if some of the wickets owed a little to good fortune , is that not always the case on flat pitches ? Even bowling at ninety plus...

Smith has shown - not just in this series - he can handle just about anything thrown at him. Warner , who has been commendably careful in this innings , nevertheless played a couple of false strokes in that last partial session though he got away with them. All suggests to me that the tactics adopted so far have been quite sensible.

Tomorrow is a slightly different case - especially if these two get set again : the argument for trying a few different tricks will become stronger as time runs down . And I don't suggest they wait until the last possible moment to innovate ...but I do think England need to continue to work with the tools they have available rather than seek some wild card magic from the start. As guildford says , removal of these two and a Marsh by lunch would really open up the game - and the first innings did , after all , produce seven wickets in little over a session.

I believe a draw is most likely. But add Boycott's two wickets , and...

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by Gooseberry on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 10:52 am

guildfordbat wrote:
alfie wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:Not the score and the weather I wanted to wake up to but there you go! A shame as I thought our seam quartet bowled pretty well in the first session that I saw and deserved the two wickets between them, admittedly the weaker two of Australia's top 4 by some distance.

Mainly going now from the scorecard, an innings of great self-restraint from Warner. He does seem to have found different gears than just top. If he can see his side to safety, I feel he might then reward the last day crowd with some fireworks!

Going to be mighty hard for England to force a positive result from here but, weather permitting, the game isn't dead yet and I'll be watching the first session. What makes it so difficult is that we really need not just Warner but also the indomitable Smith plus ideally a Marsh brother all before lunch. Do that and we could be in business ... it's the hope that gets you! Wink

At least you didn't miss much action , guildford .

The positive thing for England is that being still 60 behind , and not scoring too freely , the Australians are unlikely to feel "safe" until after tea ; which means if a couple of wickets can be prised out they will be playing under pressure for a long time.

The hard part is getting through these two , their best batsmen , with not much happening for the bowlers. What Root wouldn't give for a Lyon equivalent to bowl spin ! Moeen seems to be so short on confidence he is unlikely to be a factor so it does rather leave a lot of heavy lifting to the four pace bowlers.

By the way your young Surrey lad bowled very well again in that afternoon session : gave nothing away , and kept the batsmen very much alert with his variations.  May not be destined to play a lot of Tests just yet , when the other regulars are fit and available ; but he's done himself no harm with this initial display.  I certainly see a white ball future for him in the short to medium term.


Thanks, Alfie. Spot on. I agree we need to get 'em all out no later than tea or, at a pinch, very slightly after. That's why I'm so keen to get 3 wickets - including the big two - in the opening session.

Meanwhile, full credit to goose for never letting facts get in the way of a post. His reference on this thread to ''the Surrey mafia's love for Curran'' is so over the top that I'm still waiting for it to come down. I believe I've been reasonably on the money in saying that his Test debut had come a bit too soon but needs must and at least he wouldn't be overawed by the occasion. I also pointed out that his unbeaten 70 odd in the recent practice game flattered his batting. He's actually done a bit better with the ball than I expected, albeit with only the one wicket so far. In line with your post, Alfie, he's kept it dry (di Venuto speak there Wink ) and helped to build pressure as well as mixing it up nicely (I won't risk the wrath of goose and others by saying whom he credits for that! Shocked ). As you also say, he's done himself no harm which ain't too bad as a replacement for a replacement.


Well you clearly didnt read my post beyond that line did you Guilford :p

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 10:55 am

Gooseberry wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:
alfie wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:Not the score and the weather I wanted to wake up to but there you go! A shame as I thought our seam quartet bowled pretty well in the first session that I saw and deserved the two wickets between them, admittedly the weaker two of Australia's top 4 by some distance.

Mainly going now from the scorecard, an innings of great self-restraint from Warner. He does seem to have found different gears than just top. If he can see his side to safety, I feel he might then reward the last day crowd with some fireworks!

Going to be mighty hard for England to force a positive result from here but, weather permitting, the game isn't dead yet and I'll be watching the first session. What makes it so difficult is that we really need not just Warner but also the indomitable Smith plus ideally a Marsh brother all before lunch. Do that and we could be in business ... it's the hope that gets you! Wink

At least you didn't miss much action , guildford .

The positive thing for England is that being still 60 behind , and not scoring too freely , the Australians are unlikely to feel "safe" until after tea ; which means if a couple of wickets can be prised out they will be playing under pressure for a long time.

The hard part is getting through these two , their best batsmen , with not much happening for the bowlers. What Root wouldn't give for a Lyon equivalent to bowl spin ! Moeen seems to be so short on confidence he is unlikely to be a factor so it does rather leave a lot of heavy lifting to the four pace bowlers.

By the way your young Surrey lad bowled very well again in that afternoon session : gave nothing away , and kept the batsmen very much alert with his variations.  May not be destined to play a lot of Tests just yet , when the other regulars are fit and available ; but he's done himself no harm with this initial display.  I certainly see a white ball future for him in the short to medium term.


Thanks, Alfie. Spot on. I agree we need to get 'em all out no later than tea or, at a pinch, very slightly after. That's why I'm so keen to get 3 wickets - including the big two - in the opening session.

Meanwhile, full credit to goose for never letting facts get in the way of a post. His reference on this thread to ''the Surrey mafia's love for Curran'' is so over the top that I'm still waiting for it to come down. I believe I've been reasonably on the money in saying that his Test debut had come a bit too soon but needs must and at least he wouldn't be overawed by the occasion. I also pointed out that his unbeaten 70 odd in the recent practice game flattered his batting. He's actually done a bit better with the ball than I expected, albeit with only the one wicket so far. In line with your post, Alfie, he's kept it dry (di Venuto speak there Wink ) and helped to build pressure as well as mixing it up nicely (I won't risk the wrath of goose and others by saying whom he credits for that! Shocked ). As you also say, he's done himself no harm which ain't too bad as a replacement for a replacement.


Well you clearly didnt read my post beyond that line did you Guilford :p

No. You're lucky I got that far. Wink

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by Gooseberry on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:47 am

guildfordbat wrote:
Gooseberry wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:
alfie wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:Not the score and the weather I wanted to wake up to but there you go! A shame as I thought our seam quartet bowled pretty well in the first session that I saw and deserved the two wickets between them, admittedly the weaker two of Australia's top 4 by some distance.

Mainly going now from the scorecard, an innings of great self-restraint from Warner. He does seem to have found different gears than just top. If he can see his side to safety, I feel he might then reward the last day crowd with some fireworks!

Going to be mighty hard for England to force a positive result from here but, weather permitting, the game isn't dead yet and I'll be watching the first session. What makes it so difficult is that we really need not just Warner but also the indomitable Smith plus ideally a Marsh brother all before lunch. Do that and we could be in business ... it's the hope that gets you! Wink

At least you didn't miss much action , guildford .

The positive thing for England is that being still 60 behind , and not scoring too freely , the Australians are unlikely to feel "safe" until after tea ; which means if a couple of wickets can be prised out they will be playing under pressure for a long time.

The hard part is getting through these two , their best batsmen , with not much happening for the bowlers. What Root wouldn't give for a Lyon equivalent to bowl spin ! Moeen seems to be so short on confidence he is unlikely to be a factor so it does rather leave a lot of heavy lifting to the four pace bowlers.

By the way your young Surrey lad bowled very well again in that afternoon session : gave nothing away , and kept the batsmen very much alert with his variations.  May not be destined to play a lot of Tests just yet , when the other regulars are fit and available ; but he's done himself no harm with this initial display.  I certainly see a white ball future for him in the short to medium term.


Thanks, Alfie. Spot on. I agree we need to get 'em all out no later than tea or, at a pinch, very slightly after. That's why I'm so keen to get 3 wickets - including the big two - in the opening session.

Meanwhile, full credit to goose for never letting facts get in the way of a post. His reference on this thread to ''the Surrey mafia's love for Curran'' is so over the top that I'm still waiting for it to come down. I believe I've been reasonably on the money in saying that his Test debut had come a bit too soon but needs must and at least he wouldn't be overawed by the occasion. I also pointed out that his unbeaten 70 odd in the recent practice game flattered his batting. He's actually done a bit better with the ball than I expected, albeit with only the one wicket so far. In line with your post, Alfie, he's kept it dry (di Venuto speak there Wink ) and helped to build pressure as well as mixing it up nicely (I won't risk the wrath of goose and others by saying whom he credits for that! Shocked ). As you also say, he's done himself no harm which ain't too bad as a replacement for a replacement.


Well you clearly didnt read my post beyond that line did you Guilford :p

No. You're lucky I got that far. Wink


Well youll be diheartened to see we are all in agreement that:
Curran was way down the pecking order for England so anything he does at all could be seen as a bonus
He bowled well enough considering who and what he is, and this really isnt the ideal debut for him..he wont be judged unfairly on his lack of wickets
The defensive bowling tactic on balance probably wasnt a bad idea in the context of the game and Englands weapons
They are going to need to try something more than that now though, as time ticks down they need to be tempting the batsmen to play risky shots or at least forcing them to put bat on ball.
Moeen surely needs to be tried again at some point if they dont make quick breakthroughs and hopefully bring some chaos.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 12:42 pm

http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-v-england-2017/content/story/1131092.html

He may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this is an excellent article from George Dobell
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by eirebilly on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 1:38 pm

It may just be me but I actually think that Curran has been the most adventurous England bowler this test. He has shown a lot of variety and seems to be mixing up his deliveries more than anyone else. He is on debut and only taken one wicket but I see a lot of potential in him.
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 4:33 pm

eirebilly wrote:It may just be me but I actually think that Curran has been the most adventurous England bowler this test. He has shown a lot of variety and seems to be mixing up his deliveries more than anyone else. He is on debut and only taken one wicket but I see a lot of potential in him.

Hi Billy - yeah, the lad has certainly done ok. Besides being aware that I'll have to cope again with goose if I say anything remotely positive Wink, the main reason for my caution is that I think it's still a bit too soon for him. That's not his fault obviously. So much fuss tends to be made of his teenage brother Sam, that people often overlook that Tom is only 22. Ok, he's not in nappies but that's still pretty young by usual England standards.

You are right about him being adventurous and mixing it up more than the others. He probably feels to some extent that he has to do that if he's going to make an impact but, fair play to him, he's done it sensibly and not gone too overboard. For heaven's sake, don't tell goose but Curran gives a lot of credit for his development to his Surrey teammate Dernbach who suffered through mixing it up so much that he never had a stock ball.

Btw, I was probably the lone voice on here twelve or eighteen months ago when I was more upbeat about Tom's international chances than those of his brother after Sam had a headline grabbing 2016 season (but was on the ordinary side in 2017).

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by Pal Joey on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 8:03 pm

guildfordbat wrote:... don't tell goose but Curran gives a lot of credit for his development to his Surrey teammate Dernbach who suffered through mixing it up so much.

I didn't see many tattoos on young Tom, Guildford. Good to see a cleanskin perform well on the big stage. Surrey... I mean sorry! Smile

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by CaledonianCraig on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 9:58 pm

I think its critical England get a wicket in the first half hour to set the tone for the day. No wicket and I can see Warner and Smith digging in for a long spell and killing the match.
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by eirebilly on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 10:15 pm

England's chances of victory in this test went with the rain yesterday Craig. Not a hope of victory today I am afraid.
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:09 pm

Billy - for me, the draw is firm favourite but as of this minute I still give England a chance. My aim is 3 wickets first session and the remaining 5 by tea. That should allow us just about enough time to go for a likely target. Bl**dy difficult but not totally impossible. If we don't get at least 2 by lunch, it's surely all over then.

Root's captaincy will be tested whilst we still have a hope of victory. We obviously need the 8 wickets but he can't afford to give too many runs away or waste any of the day's overs through dithering in the field. It would be really helpful for him and us if Moeen turns up today.

As I said before, it's the hope that gets you! Wink

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by Duty281 on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:10 pm

I hope we all remember that Sri Lanka Test in 2011 when England instigated an astonishing collapse.

Same today?

MCG virtually empty.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by eirebilly on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:13 pm

The Aussies just have to stay intact (Warner and Smith) until lunch Guildford, I can see them doing that easily.
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:15 pm

The Loaded Dog wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:... don't tell goose but Curran gives a lot of credit for his development to his Surrey teammate Dernbach who suffered through mixing it up so much.

I didn't see many tattoos on young Tom, Guildford. Good to see a cleanskin perform well on the big stage. Surrey... I mean sorry! Smile

LD - I liked this comment last season from Mark Church who does the radio commentary for Surrey games:
''When I met Jade Dernbach, I didn't know whether to talk to him or read him!'' Very Happy

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:24 pm

eirebilly wrote:The Aussies just have to stay intact (Warner and Smith) until lunch Guildford, I can see them doing that easily.

Billy - very probably but we both know it only takes one ball to change things.

Craig is obviously right that getting one of the big two in the opening half-hour would give us a massive boost. However, even if we don't, I'll still stick around until lunch in the hope that a couple of wickets will appear like London buses! Smile

Uncharacteristically poor shot a minute ago from Smith off Anderson - a glimmer of hope or fool's gold?

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by Pal Joey on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:24 pm

guildfordbat wrote:
The Loaded Dog wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:... don't tell goose but Curran gives a lot of credit for his development to his Surrey teammate Dernbach who suffered through mixing it up so much.

I didn't see many tattoos on young Tom, Guildford. Good to see a cleanskin perform well on the big stage. Surrey... I mean sorry! Smile

LD - I liked this comment last season from Mark Church who does the radio commentary for Surrey games:
''When I met Jade Dernbach, I didn't know whether to talk to him or read him!'' Very Happy

Very Happy

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by Good Golly I'm Olly on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:25 pm

After watching this first twenty minutes I think sleep is the order of the day. Enjoy folks
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:27 pm

An excellent 50 for Warner. An immensely valuable and intelligent innings in the match conditions.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by eirebilly on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:28 pm

As Duty said, the MCG is absolutely empty. Never seen that stadium so empty, must be a good day to go to the beach in Melbourne.

Warner and Smith must be two of the most complete batsmen in the world right now. Perfect control.
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:31 pm

Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:After watching this first twenty minutes I think sleep is the order of the day. Enjoy folks

It is looking that way but I'm not going back on what I've said to Billy ... yet! Wink Sleep well.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by eirebilly on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:32 pm

Hindsight from Slater... At least Boycott sets him right.
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by jimbohammers on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:39 pm

See this is where you need something a bit different. A Mason Crane.... ? Absolutely nothing happening on this pitch and Root has few options, especially the way Moeen has been bowling. Will probably turn to Malan ahead of him!

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by jimbohammers on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:40 pm

eirebilly wrote:Hindsight from Slater... At least Boycott sets him right.

Its Mike Hussey now.

Geoffrey knows his stuff but can be very rude

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by eirebilly on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:43 pm

jimbohammers wrote:
eirebilly wrote:Hindsight from Slater... At least Boycott sets him right.

Its Mike Hussey now.

Geoffrey knows his stuff but can be very rude

Thought it was Slater... Could be wrong, all these Aussies sound the same Run

Boycott just says it how it is, don't find him too rude myself.
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by eirebilly on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:44 pm

I understand Ali coming in now for a bit of spin to at least try and tempt either of these two. I would like to see Curran into the attack soon as well.
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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by guildfordbat on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:46 pm

Hi Jimbo - did you hear it said that Agar has been added to Australia's squad for the last Test?

That of course doesn't guarantee anything but it suggests there's some thought of them playing a second spinner then. Might be encouraging for you and your man Crane. thumbsup

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

Post by JDizzle on Fri 29 Dec 2017, 11:49 pm

Incredible scenes as Boycott has a moan about Broad not being inclined to get the keeper up and bowl cutters this series. Fantastic stuff.

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Re: The Ashes: 4th Test; Boxing Day Test, Melbourne

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