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Post by Soul Requiem on Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:49 pm

First topic message reminder :

I don't understand why Buttler isn't hogging the strike here.

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Post by alfie on Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:57 pm

And getting ahead of the rest my team for NZ is fairly obvious , I think.
The eleven that played here , plus Pope and Sibley as spare bats , Anderson as long as he's fit , and Moeen as spin reserve.

I'm sure others will disagree Smile But I'm more confident of that prediction than any of my guesses for this series results...

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Post by Pal Joey on Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:05 am

A fair summary, Alfie.

Of course it would have been nice to have seen a decisive series result one way or another but it wasn't to be and instead we were treated with some see-sawing moments of great play and some not so great play. Anyway, at least we can all have a breather now... at least until the next tour.

(All the best with your beloved Tigers. I'm hoping for an epic Richmond-Collingwood GF at a packed MCG with "Tigerland" blaring out at the end) thumbsup
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Post by king_carlos on Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:30 am

A series made exciting by overall poor batting being exposed by some excellent bowling.

Smith of course the difference in the end. What a phenomenal player he is.

Going forward for England the bowling options are looking good, particularly with Archer coming in, but the batting is a huge work in progress. My tuppence for the winter tours:

- Denly has likely booked his spot but I could see him being at 3 with Sibley opening, hence Root moving to 4.

- I think at least one of Buttler and Bairstow will likely be rested for the NZ tests.

- I hope Pope comes in at 6 and gets given a long run in the side. He's a prodigious talent.

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Post by Dolphin Ziggler on Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:23 am

Well, what a series that was, one of low quality at times but the drama of two well-matched teams going at each other.

Labuschagne and Archer were big finds for each side, Burns too. Marnus probably should have been in sooner, that's for sure.

Both will surely come out with more worries than victories. So many questions for England to ponder:

Has the focus on one dayers had an impact that will take as long to fix for the test team as it did to succeed for the OD side?
They obviously made a huge effort to change the culture of the English one day system, which obviously changed the play for a lot of their multi-format players. It's probably also seen some players focus more on their one day skills than their red ball ones.

Can they level that balance? Can they find a way to have the same impact again in the test side without destroying the one day side? Which leads to...

Will we see some players moved to just be a fixture in one side, not both?
Bairstow, Buttler, Roy - three names who are definitely key to 50 over success. Roy, you'd think (hope), is about to see himself back as a short game specialist. I think there are statistics to suggest Bairstow has got worse in tests since he made such improvement as a one day opener. Are both he and Buttler as important to the test side as they are the one day side?

Buttler's test average is still decent and his role as a finisher has been much harder to play with the top order as poor as it's been. Pope and Foakes are there to put pressure on both in the test side.

How much mental and physical toll from the World Cup can they use to excuse and understand some of the performance problems in the side?
Oft talked about that Buttler apparently wanted/needed a break. Few had any time for red ball cricket. Woakes faded, Wood got injured came out injured, Stokes's body started to struggle, Root had to go from key figure to test captain with barely a spot of rest, Ali lost form, his place and his head.

It would be daft to dismiss it, and it may be good to learn from it when it's so stark. Resting should also be an opportunity to try fringe players, so that when issues arise, there's some experience in reserve. Some options this summer were considered too young and/or inexperienced to come in when things got tough in case it did their progress harm.

Is Woakes good enough?
It's more a question for management/captain to answer for themselves. If you don't think so, there's gonna be no point picking him to reluctantly use him. With Archer coming through and Broad looking very good, Anderson would look to come back into the spot Woakes had. But he's 74 years old now, so his replacement still needs to be considered - especially as his body is going to injure more easily now. Woakes is 30, with a poor away record, and is also someone very good in ODIs.

If Woakes is gonna be rested for NZ, possibly not the right fit for South Africa compared to Wood/Stone as alternatives, and Curran a younger prospect for the all rounder role and a man who does seem to deliver for England, maybe Woakes is on the brink? If he misses the tests in South Africa, he gets an extra month off ahead of one dayers, including not being away at Christmas.

Root at three?
Not much needs to be said. People talk about the captaincy hurting his batting, but he's also played this series in what many consider the wrong position. Smith doesn't get made to bat three for Australia because his performance is too important. Not only that, but he went there to protect Denly and then Roy, two players notably lesser and both who were considered openers.

Has Denly done enough to keep his place?
Decent enough work this series whilst moving about, working to hit a very important 94 opening in the last test. He's not a thrilling player, but would a spot at 3 help the balance of the side, even if he wasn't outstanding?

Who do they trust to step up from the CC to bat? And will they trust it, rather than their hunches?
Sibley must be worth his go, Burns has proven that the CC isn't a waste of time to look to at all. Roy didn't work as a guess, Denly is kind of hanging around without much alternative, Buttler has been a success. What about Pope? What about the period of form Foakes had in the England team? There are options there, when do you try them? Are they paying enough attention to them?

What is your focus with a new coach?
One day dominance? Win the Ashes down under? Personally, I think there is a lot to having a white ball coach and a red ball coach, even teams within each format rather than mixing it up.

Different for the Aussies. They can look back with hindsight even to that last test and wonder whether Siddle and Marsh were needed, when Starc was still somewhat fresh and had a different angle.

What the bloody hell do they do with that batting lineup? Warner, Bancroft, Harris, Khawaja all look shot. Sheffield Shield starts in a month, got to be a lot of batsmen thinking a good spell sees them in with a chance for the Christmas series with New Zealand. Can Warner play at five? Wade's hundred in the last test may mean there's no space anyway.

If you don't rate Marsh, and Paine is being carried for his captaincy rather than his batting, it's a hell of a long tail. And surely Smith isn't going to be this good in every series, is he?!

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Post by Soul Requiem on Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:33 am

Warner will be back to his destructive self playing in Australia, he's been particularly garbage this series but he's yet to score a century in England in tests ever so it's not overly unexpected. 18 of his 21 test centuries have come in Australia and South Africa where there tends to be more bounce and less movement off the pitch or through the air. he's just not very good overseas and never has been.

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Post by Duty281 on Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:50 am

Duty281 on July 27th wrote:I think my series prediction will be 3-1 Australia. England narrowly win the opener, but Australia complete the usual demolition job at Lord's, before powering on in Leeds and Manchester. Obviously, I hope England prove me wrong, like last summer!

6/4 that Australia win the series. 11/10 that Australia either draw or win the series. 11/1 that Australia win it 3-1. 5/1 that Smith is the series' highest overall run scorer. Evens on England not scoring 450 or more at any point in the series. All very sweet.

Well England proved me wrong and got a result they will be delighted with. The 5/1 on Smith being the series highest run scorer is arguably the best bet I've ever put on in my life - funny to think that back in July I, and perhaps many others, were considering that Warner would be Smith's closest contender for that accolade! And I can't remember the last time England scored 450+ in a test!

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Post by Gooseberry on Mon Sep 16, 2019 10:34 am

alfie wrote:
Good Golly I'm Olly wrote:Anderson doesn't get injured at Edgbaston, there isn't an unforecasted hour of rain at start of day 5's play at Lords, then England could potentially win the series? On the other hand, if Wilson gives out Stokes at Headingley off Lyon, Aussies win the series.

All in all, feels like 2-2 is a fair result to me.

That pretty much sums up my view too... You could certainly muse on what might have happened had Jimmy not been injured , or an hour of rain less at Lord's - or more at Old Trafford - but at the end of the day it is what it is ...XI v XI and it has ended in a draw.  Australia deserved to retain the Ashes because they have ventured into their opponent's territory and matched them all the way (never mind Smith has done 80% of the heavy lifting : you could say the same of Botham in 1981)

Will they be disappointed in not winning ? Yes , a little...but for a far from vintage outfit to succeed where the stars of 2095 , for one , could not , has to be rated a success.  Likewise England may fairly think this series was one that got away : 122/8 day one might haunt them ! But should remember that only the Stokes magic kept them alive after Leeds...

A good series for Test Cricket. Neither team top class ; but some brilliant individual efforts (Smith , Cummins , Hazlewood , Stokes , Broad , Archer )... and some real character shown by "lesser" players .  Plenty of ebb and flow and no bore draws thumbsup


To be fair on the stars of 2095 they havent been born yet so its a bit rum to ask them to win teh Ashes ( aside from Smith who will still be in then). 

Who wouldve though the series would be decided as a battle between the gargantuan giants of the game Leach, Marsh and Wade? 
Well maybe anyone who was aware this was really a dead rubber. Series result aside it does feel like teh Aussies took their foot off a bit in this one.  And the idiotic decision to bowl first opened the door for England. We have seen similar decisions before from England which seem to be based on as much of a lack of truts in their own batsmen as anything else. 

And I think both teams must recognise the same problem from this series. Despite a few contributions from unexpected sources in this test they are both woefuly short on batting. England have picked up toward the end of the series but i feel this is masking deeper issues, they still aren't able to score 400 and now we are looking at a very average players like Denly as "nailed on". Even Burns who had the best series form an Englsand opener since Cook retired is only averaging 29 in tests. 
Now Wades fallen apart even with Smith breaking records and looking the most dominant batsman of an era since Bradman Australias unit is incredibly fragile and their tail long. Even then and despite Englands supposed bowling strength the lowest they were dismissed for was 179 (when Smith was out). 

Both sides have a smattering of stand out players, mostly in the bowlers. The rest are either playing well below their best ( Bairstow, Root, Wade, Starc, Woakes) or simply not very good (Denly, Marsh, Harris, Roy). the exploits of Smith , Stokes , Broad, Archer , Cummins and to some extent Leach with the bat have stood out and produced exaggerated returns because of the level of mediocrity they are contrasted against.  For me it was a series of real contrasts between those quality players who bought some of the best cricket of their careers and the utter poorness of the likes of Warner. 

The worry is an air of complacency continuing with England and the thinking that maybe changing a couple of players will lift them to where they should be. To me theres a huge gap between India and the rest of the world that was only narrowed last summer by the green pitches England prepared. This was far from a good Australian side and missed their best player for a game and a half. They made mistakes with selections and the toss to boot, that maybe cancels out some of Englands bad luck/management with injuries. 

Bright spots for me are Burns starting to look like an opener, Buttler rediscovering his form through the series (although Im still not convinced hes really good enough to be a long term pure batsman whilst England lack players who can knuckle down and anchor a long innings), Leach batting beyond his ability and demonstrating the kind of grit the rest of the team has lacked, Archer proving he can bowl in tests with every bit of effectiveness he had at the world cup (although questions over his endurance for a match series), Stokes stepping up as a genuine test batsman (his best batting series since SA in 15/16), and more than anything Broad roaring back with what might be the best series of his career. Broads certainly shown he has a future given NZ and SA are places where he can bowl effectively, Anderson wants one too but England need to be cold hearted on his fitness and ability to bowl long days to avoid a repeat.

NZ and SA will be places that suit Englands bowlers and test their batsmen. NZ are going well in all formats and they regularly push England, but are the sort of global minnow England should be aspiring to beat home and away. SA are not the force they once were and similar to Aus quicks aside struggling to replace past legends with anything like the same quality of players they were stacked with a decade ago. Makram is a far better test bat than he is white ball but aside from that it looks a weaker squad than the one England beat over there 4 years ago. Again the aspiration should be to repeat that, but how realistic that is given the batting woes waits to be seen. 

Feels like every year we say the same thing. A moral boosting win (in this case one test rather than the series) to end the summer papers over the cracks of a declining England batting line up. The fundamental issues still underlay English cricket, they CC is not producing many genuine test players. Even Archer isnt really a product of the English system. We are getting by with some excellent white ball players, bowlers who are good with a Dukes ball, and some pretty average red ball specialists. Sibley and Pope deserve a go, but neither looks like the next Steve Smith or even onformRoot.
The captaincy doesnt seem to be up for challenge despite the continuing problems both with Roots form and his decision making. Again the drawn series helps to avoid uncomfortable conversations being held and the status quo maintained. 

Talk of Englands batting having improved is based on a very low bar and they haven't passed 400 since last summer despite playing some weak test sides (Sri Lanka, West Indies, Ireland). They still get bowled out for under 200 far too often, regardless of this being a strong Australian attack. This was the only test they scored well in both innings, and the only one Cummins looked tired and disinterested in. 

Drawing at home to a pretty weak Australia isnt a cause for celebration. Seeing Archer bowl at them in Aus if they cant find any test batsmen might be though. And humiliating Warner almost makes up for Smiths smugness.

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Post by dummy_half on Mon Sep 16, 2019 11:10 am

Duty281 wrote:
Duty281 on July 27th wrote:I think my series prediction will be 3-1 Australia. England narrowly win the opener, but Australia complete the usual demolition job at Lord's, before powering on in Leeds and Manchester. Obviously, I hope England prove me wrong, like last summer!

6/4 that Australia win the series. 11/10 that Australia either draw or win the series. 11/1 that Australia win it 3-1. 5/1 that Smith is the series' highest overall run scorer. Evens on England not scoring 450 or more at any point in the series. All very sweet.

Well England proved me wrong and got a result they will be delighted with. The 5/1 on Smith being the series highest run scorer is arguably the best bet I've ever put on in my life - funny to think that back in July I, and perhaps many others, were considering that Warner would be Smith's closest contender for that accolade! And I can't remember the last time England scored 450+ in a test!

But we did it easily this week - just took us an innings and a half...

A curious series - England started the first test well and let potentially match-winning positions slip twice, before being overwhelmed by Smith and Wade in the Aus 2nd innings.
2nd Test, England had the better of a rain-affected match, and were perhaps an hour away from forcing a win.
3rd Test was Australia all the way until Jack Leach produced the 1*, somewhat supported by Stokes Wink
4th Test was Smith again as the difference, and then England falling about 1 hour short of saving a lost cause
5th Test easily England's best all-round performance, with most batsmen producing some runs and good bowling from Archer and Curran in the first innings and Broad + Leach and Root 2nd time.

Overall, probably Aus had the better of the series but not by much, and mainly through Smith's batting reliability - England's 2 wins coming in a match he was absent and one where we held him to about 100 runs. Both sides will end the series happy with their seam bowling efforts but with question marks over several specialist batting places.

For England moving forwards: Root, Stokes and Archer are the main building blocks for the next few years. Broad & Anderson will keep going as long as form, fitness and mental willingness allow. I reckon Curran will see more game time at the expense of Woakes.
Burns is likely to stay in the side for the medium term.
Leach? Still to prove he really has 'it' as a bowler - a couple of good deliveries yesterday to account for Labuschegne and Paine, and a couple of gifts from the tail enders is encouraging but not conclusive.
Denly probably did just about enough to keep a squad place for the short term - seems to have grown into the battling side of test cricket a bit as the series has gone on, in a way that the more gifted James Vince never has. Can see him being phased out over the next year though, as younger alternatives come through (Pope, Crawley).

Which leaves the question of whether both Buttler and Bairstow is a keeper batsman too much, and of the overall order of the side. Also, do we look again at Foakes, who is a superior keeper but been in poor batting form this year?

Does Moeen come back into consideration for the Sri Lankan tour later in the winter?

The last few are certainly in the 'more questions than answers' category.

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Post by Gooseberry on Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:01 pm

dummy_half wrote:
Duty281 wrote:
Duty281 on July 27th wrote:I think my series prediction will be 3-1 Australia. England narrowly win the opener, but Australia complete the usual demolition job at Lord's, before powering on in Leeds and Manchester. Obviously, I hope England prove me wrong, like last summer!

6/4 that Australia win the series. 11/10 that Australia either draw or win the series. 11/1 that Australia win it 3-1. 5/1 that Smith is the series' highest overall run scorer. Evens on England not scoring 450 or more at any point in the series. All very sweet.

Well England proved me wrong and got a result they will be delighted with. The 5/1 on Smith being the series highest run scorer is arguably the best bet I've ever put on in my life - funny to think that back in July I, and perhaps many others, were considering that Warner would be Smith's closest contender for that accolade! And I can't remember the last time England scored 450+ in a test!

But we did it easily this week - just took us an innings and a half...

A curious series - England started the first test well and let potentially match-winning positions slip twice, before being overwhelmed by Smith and Wade in the Aus 2nd innings.
2nd Test, England had the better of a rain-affected match, and were perhaps an hour away from forcing a win.
3rd Test was Australia all the way until Jack Leach produced the 1*, somewhat supported by Stokes Wink
4th Test was Smith again as the difference, and then England falling about 1 hour short of saving a lost cause
5th Test easily England's best all-round performance, with most batsmen producing some runs and good bowling from Archer and Curran in the first innings and Broad + Leach and Root 2nd time.

Overall, probably Aus had the better of the series but not by much, and mainly through Smith's batting reliability - England's 2 wins coming in a match he was absent and one where we held him to about 100 runs. Both sides will end the series happy with their seam bowling efforts but with question marks over several specialist batting places.

For England moving forwards: Root, Stokes and Archer are the main building blocks for the next few years. Broad & Anderson will keep going as long as form, fitness and mental willingness allow. I reckon Curran will see more game time at the expense of Woakes.
Burns is likely to stay in the side for the medium term.
Leach? Still to prove he really has 'it' as a bowler - a couple of good deliveries yesterday to account for Labuschegne and Paine, and a couple of gifts from the tail enders is encouraging but not conclusive.
Denly probably did just about enough to keep a squad place for the short term - seems to have grown into the battling side of test cricket a bit as the series has gone on, in a way that the more gifted James Vince never has. Can see him being phased out over the next year though, as younger alternatives come through (Pope, Crawley).

Which leaves the question of whether both Buttler and Bairstow is a keeper batsman too much, and of the overall order of the side. Also, do we look again at Foakes, who is a superior keeper but been in poor batting form this year?

Does Moeen come back into consideration for the Sri Lankan tour later in the winter?

The last few are certainly in the 'more questions than answers' category.

Englands best innings ...

2019 362/9 361/5 
2018 423/8  396/7 
2017 490/8   514/8  both against a weakened West Indies side at home. four of the top 5 arent in the extended squad anymore. Mo top scored in one and isnt either, Cook got a double century in the other and its unrealistic to think of calling him back up. 

Whats the Sri Lankan tour? Theres nothing listed for the main side or Lions or even womens? if you mean SA maybe Mo might be back, a lot depends on his mental state at the end of this season and hopefully some very honest conversations. he had an excellent tour there last time England went and SA just cant play spin bowling. Youd think he still has a future in white ball cricket regardless of being dropped during the world cup, and should England ever want two spinners in any part of the world hes an obvious candidate to enable the retention of 3 proper seamers. 

In terms of Leach being grudging accepted as a bowler. Hes 9 tests in to his career now and has bowled on a good range of surfaces. He averages 26 at 2.8 an over. Jadeja who is the top ranked test spinner in the world and bowls a lot on Asian pitches averages 24 at 2.4. Moeen averages 26 @3.2, Adil Rashid @3.7 , Swann 30 @3 , Panessar 34.7 @2.8 Lyon 32.3 @3  
This series Lyon returned 20 wickets @33 ecomony 2.75 , Leach 20 wicktes (in 1 less test) @ 25.8 economy 3. 
Against any fair benchmark he's doing about as good a job as we can expect from an English spinner both in taking wickets and in economy, his figures arent far off those of the best in the world. Sure he hasnt yet faced a genuinely good batting line up, but then theres not many of them out there these days. Some argue a real test would be to see if he and a partner better than Mo could replicate what Swnann and Panessar did in India, albeit that that was a once in modern test history performance by an England spin pair and relied on some quality batting to back it up. So its not really a fair benchmark in my eyes, although a good aspiration. 
With the bat hes never going to be good, but the level of concentration cool headedness and application hes shown is a world apart from the confused mess Mo had become, and thats made huge unexpected contributions to two of the three wins this summer. More than anything England need that mentality across the team, if the top 7 batted to their best as often as Leach has wouldnt be having quite the same conversations about how awful they are. 
I dont see how we get a conversation about Mo taking Leaches place. One about him being a second spinner sure, and white ball cricket of course. But as a test number one spinner Leach is surely nailed down for an extended period.

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Post by JDizzle on Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:14 pm

England are in SL for a two Test series this March. I believe the NZ tour was arranged pre the World Test Championship, so isn’t part of that. Whereas the tours to SA and SL are.

Leach is entrenched as the #1 spinner for the next few Tests I would imagine. At the very least he has earned that. But Moeen (+ 1 other spinner) will definitely come back into the frame for the SL tour after they went so well last time. Whether that is Rashid or not depends on his recovery from his shoulder injury. I also expect Moeen to be in the squad for SL and SA - as I can't really see another spinner better than him and he won’t be bowling to Steve Smith!

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Post by dummy_half on Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:57 pm

JDizzle wrote:England are in SL for a two Test series this March. I believe the NZ tour was arranged pre the World Test Championship, so isn’t part of that. Whereas the tours to SA and SL are.

Leach is entrenched as the #1 spinner for the next few Tests I would imagine. At the very least he has earned that. But Moeen (+ 1 other spinner) will definitely come back into the frame for the SL tour after they went so well last time. Whether that is Rashid or not depends on his recovery from his shoulder injury. I also expect Moeen to be in the squad for SL and SA - as I can't really see another spinner better than him and he won’t be bowling to Steve Smith!

I pretty much agree with this - Leach is probably the first choice spinner for the entire winter, with a 4 man seam attack including Stokes, one of Woakes or Curran and two of Archer, Broad and Anderson depending on fitness and rest spells through NZ and SA (best available team being selected for SA). At least one additional spinner, most likely Moeen, to come in for the SL matches, likely replacing Woakes/Curran.

Of course the issue with Moeen Ali is the same as ever - when his confidence is up he's a very useful all-rounder, but when off form he's really unselectable.

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Post by Gooseberry on Mon Sep 16, 2019 2:25 pm

JDizzle wrote:England are in SL for a two Test series this March. I believe the NZ tour was arranged pre the World Test Championship, so isn’t part of that. Whereas the tours to SA and SL are.

Leach is entrenched as the #1 spinner for the next few Tests I would imagine. At the very least he has earned that. But Moeen (+ 1 other spinner) will definitely come back into the frame for the SL tour after they went so well last time. Whether that is Rashid or not depends on his recovery from his shoulder injury. I also expect Moeen to be in the squad for SL and SA - as I can't really see another spinner better than him and he won’t be bowling to Steve Smith!

Oh right Id completely missed that, good old world test champs! Just what England need when they are looking to rest and recuperate after the world cup shell shock, 3 test tours taking in 3 continents! Still its a while since we went to SL or NZ  Erm 


On the assumption they take a spare spinner I really don't see who else is an option. Rashid is just a white ball player thats clear enough now, Crane was a pretty wild hope at best (averaging over 100 in the CC this year!), Dawson simply isn't a good cricket player, Bess only plays when Leach isn't available although is taking wickets for Somerset again this season....and he does have a first class century ...and he isn't Moeen.  Virdi should have broken through this season but injury has meant hes only played 4 CC matches, albeit with some excellent returns you feel hes more of a Lions player than a test back up at this point. It really should come down to some tough questions and some honesty from Mo with himself about where hes at mentally, Bess could do a similar job in theory and offer the right/left combination and cover for Leach in the first two series.
For Sri Lanka though, the three spinner combination worked really well for England last time and the obvious thing to do would be to reunite that trio. They could also try and muddle through with two specialist offies (Leach plus Mo or Bess) and Denly as the leg option plus support from Root. Archers pace gives another dimension even bowling on sand. Unless SL suddenly find some decent cricketers theres no reason they shouldn't win again unless rotation and rest hits them too hard. 

That third tour makes Broad and Andersons futures all the more important IMO.

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