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Ashes 2021/22 and other cricket through the winter of 2021 thread

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Post by Mind the windows Tino. Wed Dec 22, 2021 4:47 pm

First topic message reminder :

JDizzle wrote:James Bracey? Admittedly looked painfully bad vs NZ in the summer, but if we are wanting to give guys a chance then he shouldn’t be forgotten about so quickly. Especially as he was batting out of position. Better FC record than Hameed and made a half century for the Lions in Aus in 2020 and a ton this time. But he was flown home because English scoring runs just isn’t on!


Fair. Had forgotten about him actually and he was thrown a suicide pass in the summer against the best test team in the world. He probably does deserve another shot in the near future.

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:18 am

Close again ! Leach draws an edge from Cummins just wide of Root at slip. That wicket should have given him confidence - could count in the second innings if England can somehow set Australia a target .

That's for the future. Stokes now replaces Robinson with five overs to the new ball...

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:21 am

Good bowling change ! Carey edges and an easy one for Jos...

Not a no ball either thank heavens. 219/8. Game on.

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:27 am

Starc of course is not exactly a bunny. Can hit a ball very well if he's on song. Wonder how the two Aussie bowlers will play this ? Go for their shots or try to get set first ?

Looks like Starc prefers the former ...and he very nearly sliced that to Hameed. Fell a foot or so short.

Leach's turn again now. Can Starc resist having a big swing ? Bit of an in-out field at present. Cummins doesn't mind...lofted drive gets a boundary...226/8.

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Post by kingraf Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:28 am

Big passage of play here. Starc has a 35 and 39 this series, so he's been a thorn in the English side, but he's batted in largely pressure free situations. If he can put together another little cameo, Australia likely have a three figure lead, and I think that would likely be ball game.
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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:33 am

kingraf wrote:Big passage of play here. Starc has a 35 and 39 this series, so he's been a thorn in the English side, but he's batted in largely pressure free situations. If he can put together another little cameo, Australia likely have a three figure lead, and I think that would likely be ball game.

Agree with that. This pitch is likely to be tricky in the fourth innings ; but given Englands , shall we say "limited" batting , they would be struggling to set much of a target in the event of a substantial deficit.

Have butchered this very situation a couple of times recently (Indian Test ,in the summer , anyone ?) so will want to wrap these last two up smartly for once.

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:43 am

Starc and Cummins have played this period well I think. No risks , few singles , got to the new ball at 236/8.

Anderson back up now ...

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:50 am

Of course the new ball can also go for a few...

Cummins looking pretty good here . Playing nice and straight. Has 20 ...and nearly his lot as Anderson leaps at mid on and can't quite cling on to it ! Might be fairer to call it "saved four " than a missed chance but he's still going to be disappointed...

245/8

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:58 am

Ouch ! Robinson drops a C&B...

and he seems to have hurt himself . That's all they need , losing a bowler... Why did you shoot that Albatross , Joe Root ?

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 7:03 am

Four for Jimmy ! Cummins tries a pull and just lofts it to Hameed...

End of a very useful 34 run stand. 253/9

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Post by kingraf Mon Dec 27, 2021 7:09 am

Anderson really has bowled well today. I thought in the last Test, and indeed the last two tours he was probably the width of a bat further from the stumps than he would have liked. He's corrected that today, and it's paid dividends, because, on a pitch where the ball can deviate and snake a touch, he's forced them to play all the time and been rewarded. If you can swing it, you really should have the seam presentation to seam it, and that's been the case today.
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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 7:09 am

Medical staff must have worked magic on Robinson ! Limped off - five minutes later he's back out there and ready to bowl again ...

Phew. Now what he needs is this last wicket..

255/9 lead of seventy so getting into dangerous areas.

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Post by kingraf Mon Dec 27, 2021 7:23 am

82 run lead. Big ask, but England will have the best of the batting conditions, and likely have some Lateral movement if this Test goes five. They've been so godawful at winning the big moments this year, I think Australia probably has them 40/3 at the close of play, but I think they have a tiny opening right now
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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 7:30 am

At last some reward for Wood...fine catch by Crawley sees off Boland and ends Australia with 267.

Less than they would have wanted ; but still a decent lead of 82 . Not a total rock crusher but still significant in a low scoring match.

Really good effort from England today : their best of the series (at least it is , pending the hour they're going to have to bat now Smile )

Two completed innings : and only Harris and Root have passed fifty in the match. Hell , only Warner and Bairstow also managed thirty so far...so batting obviously hasn't been easy for anyone.

If (big if) England could bat until stumps tomorrow they'd maybe fancy this. Apart from the runs those poor bowlers deserve some time to put their feet up !

Hameed and Crawley might feel a little like gladiators entering the arena this evening. With a lot of lions and tigers lining up...

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Post by msp83 Mon Dec 27, 2021 7:50 am

England living on to fight, into the last session of day 3, first time in the series. And even after 4 overs of their 2nd innings, there is no sign of Joe Root yet!

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Post by kingraf Mon Dec 27, 2021 7:52 am

Crawley gets really lucky that Carey decides diving isn't really for him. I think Crawley has a decent technique and his shot selection etc is fine, but I think at 6'5 he's too tall to open. The reaction times needed to adjust to a seaming and swinging ball first up do not lend themselves to long levers.
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Post by kingraf Mon Dec 27, 2021 7:57 am

And Crawley is duly dismissed. Although this probably had more to do with the inherent difficulty of the ball slanting across you than his height. Nonetheless, I remain unconvinced, and England, once again have lost an early wicket.
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Post by kingraf Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:01 am

One brings two, and the procession has truly started. Malan out for a golden duck. Bit unlucky because Starc basically bowled a 90mph off breaker there, but that's why you want players who get up the speedometer.
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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:05 am

All happening again...and English hopes doused as soon as they're raised. Crawley couldn't profit from the let off ; and Malan gone first ball - albeit rather unlucky to be given out on field ! Umpires call but it seems from the graphic to have only just been grazing the top of his stumps...

Root in again to a maelstrom. Fantastic bowling here from Starc and Cummins. Better players than Crawley and Malan would find this tough...

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Post by msp83 Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:10 am

Carey didn't go for a catch of Cummins but Crawley promptly edged Starc next over for Carey to take it. Then Malan got a good one first up but was a touch unlucky he was given out on-field for the call to stay just about on umpire's call. Root survived a brute of a hat trick ball. And England in familiar lands, 7-2, now they've more than doubled it to 17-2.

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Post by kingraf Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:11 am

Beginning to move sideways at 90 miles now. That's not good while England's trailing, but it also means the total they need to be competitive in the fourth isn't as high as you'd think. 260-280 probably gets them to the dance. But that is an exceptionally long way off.
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Post by msp83 Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:15 am

Root going after a couple of wide ones. Seems he just has had enough of all this nonsense.

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Post by msp83 Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:26 am

Hameed, after surviving absolute hostility from Starc and Cummins, gone to Boland. Jack Leach to try and survive the day...

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Post by msp83 Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:27 am

And he doesn't!

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Post by kingraf Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:30 am

You could argue that in terms of annual mainstays, the Boxing Day Test is one of the 10 biggest days in the global sports calendar, and England have thrown up an absolute turd.
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Post by msp83 Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:35 am

So 31-4 it is! Sensational stuff from the Australian bowlers really!

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Post by protea438 Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:39 am

Absolute garbage, The Asshes must be the worst sporting contest going. For years its been a one sided contest and you get commentators screaming in the microphone trying to make it something its not vomit vomit

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 8:44 am

Well that was an incredible end to a great day of Test Cricket. Think you're being a bit unnecessarily crude there , raf : England were excellent with the ball and they've just been blown away by some devastating Aussie bowling tonight. Really disappointing after the spirited bowling fightback ; but it shouldn't detract from the fact that the spectators got their money's worth plus today.

Losing Hameed at the death was a blow : Boland bowled a good ball ; but hardly unplayable for a Test opener who'd been in for ten overs. And Leach : well harsh to have a go at him but it ... wasn't a very good leave.

Root and Stokes for a 200 stand tomorrow ? Seen stranger things but not holding my breath. Ah well I've enjoyed today at any rate...

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 9:06 am

Suppose there will be people waking up and coming on here to chew over the day...if they start with my updates they will get the ups and downs at least : but I suspect most will read the scorecard and weep...

As I say , this was a truly fascinating day. But alas it looks to be leading to a fairly easy Aussie win from here barring something special from a couple of the remaining bats. This pitch is giving the bowlers plenty of help - and will likely do more as it goes on. But it is very hard now to see England setting the hosts a challenging target : and even if they are forced to chase something tricky I rather doubt 39 year old Jimmy Anderson will be able to back up so quickly after his efforts today. And if anyone is in any doubt as to how pivotal he is - still - to this England attack , I suggest they study the scorecard. Or just watch a replay.

Sticking to my rule of leaving selection to end of match. But in any case I am bereft of ideas for what to do about the top order. Where is Cook watching from ? Pity they can't talk him into a comeback...

Still love Test Cricket thumbsup

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 9:36 am

Oh and two more ducks to the record-threatening tally for the year...think that is 52 and closing on the World Record.

I understand the general misery among England fans but get a bit tired of all the on line comments along the lines of "Just resign , Root and Silverwood !" - as if that might solve all the problems. I do think Silverwood's time is just about up : whether they can get Stewart , Gillespie or Collingwood ? Any of them might be good...but that won't be an instant cure for all.
And even if Root (an average skipper at best) were to have had enough ; who would take the job and do better ? Stokes I guess but you risk overloading another major weapon ; and please don't say Buttler whose place in the side - and even his desire to continue perhaps - is questionable. Truth is there isn't anyone else at present. All the load doesn't really seem to have wrecked his batting judging by this year's figures. It is finding the right batsmen that will make a difference. Surely they will unearth one or two eventually ? we can hope...


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Post by king_carlos Mon Dec 27, 2021 10:00 am

Extras is England's 3rd highest run scorer in 2021.

1. Root
2. Burns
3. Extras

Ouch.

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Post by king_carlos Mon Dec 27, 2021 10:02 am

Whilst I obviously wish England were being more competitive I am happy to see Mitch Starc having a good series after a tough time losing his father and taking some flack from the Aussie media. He's one of the good guys. He's not a perfect bowler but he is an incredibly dangerous one with that knack of taking wicets. Express pace from his height with the left-arm angle and frequent late movement is a hell of a weapon for a skipper to unleash.

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 10:18 am

king_carlos wrote:Extras is England's 3rd highest run scorer in 2021.

1. Root
2. Burns
3. Extras

Ouch.

Well I guess they do get to bat twice in each game. And can't be bowled first ball...

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Post by Gooseberry Mon Dec 27, 2021 10:22 am

guildfordbat wrote:
JDizzle wrote:
guildfordbat wrote:
* In line with Duty's comments today and mine going into Christmas Eve, changes are definitely needed at domestic level. Very valid comments from Steve Harmison - a pundit praised by our own King Carlos - about scheduling, ''Our red ball cricket is suffering, we need to start playing it [the County Championship] at the right time of year again. That's the only way we can give Joe and the England team the best chance to compete.''

I've seen this mentioned a few times, and whilst it can't hurt I don't see this being the silver bullet that turns around England's batting woes.

Only singling out Pope and Burns as they play on the best (sometimes too good!) pitch in the country, and have both averaged big numbers in the County Championship but have not come close to replicating those numbers in the Test arena. We've seen other guys who have come from Test match counties, who tend to have the flattest pitches, in Sibley and Bairstow who have dominated the CC come in and been exposed at Test level - which suggests there is something else at play which is stopping us developing Test batters.

If we move more CC fixtures to the summer months, the pitches will inevitably be better and maybe we will see more guys averaging more. But does that help? Does that stop Crawley playing with an angled bat or Pope misjudging the length with spinners?

Interesting article on Cricbuzz (https://www.cricbuzz.com/cricket-news/120396/englands-test-batting-at-rock-bottom-with-deep-rooted-issues) with quotes from Paul Farbrace where he basically fires both barrels at the ECB and their junior coaching about not having either the ability or confidence to adjust players technique or are happy to just to let players carry on if it is working at junior levels. It seems like a bit of a cop out to me - there is a difference between completely changing someone like Rory Burns technique, which I don't think they should do at all, to just adjusting Crawley's slightly. Questions do have to be asked if that was never spotted at any stage of his development. I know he didn't play Eng U19s, but it shouldn't need international coaches to spot it!

I do think the coaching matter is probably far more integral to England's current batting woes that when the CC is played - and if that is the case, then it will take a good few years to put it right again.

Hi JD - scheduling isn't a silver bullet but one of the issues to be seriously looked at. My first post on this is on page 1 (12:14 am, Christmas Eve) and was flagging the importance imo of not cramming so much of Championship cricket into April and September if we are to develop Test match spin bowlers for England.

Btw, in that first post I was also very critical of ''too good'' pitches which is actually  a contradiction in terms.

Getting rid of the dukes ball would also help encourage something other than medium paced seam bowlers. As much as we love Darren Stevens and everything every he stands for when a 45 year old uncapped player is a top 5 rated player and wins cricketer of the year you know your tournament is encouraging mediocrity.

On the pitches...Somerset have been hammered for producing spin friendly wickets. And their two wicket taking spinners have struggled at test level because they are used to easy pickings against batsmen who otherwise never seen a turning ball. Meanwhile Surrey are producing a conveyor belt of  rubbish test  bastsem from their roads.

I think we have to be realistic and accept that with two home test series (plus white ball), zero audience for county cricket getting a significant number of games in the summer holidays isn't going to happen. Also we aren't going to see much of the Test players whenever the games are scheduled. Whilst it might be part of the problem moving the County game as it is to mid summer isn't the solution and isn't very practical in the wider context.

As mentioned above the ECB has sat on the fence over the County game for decades. Changing the structure was supposed to have freed up decision making but really hasn't. The 100 franchises were a tentative step toward a more rational model for domestic cricket but not built on. Covid gave the opportunity to start again, not taken. Tradition and an unwillingness to make bold moves is holding back change and the game first glass game is dieing a slow painful death.

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Post by JDizzle Mon Dec 27, 2021 10:52 am

This has been an excellent Test match pitch so far though. I read the MCG changed groundsman a few years back - after the roads they were producing and produced in the 17/18 Ashes. And if this current pitch is the norm, then what an excellent job he has done. Bounce and carry, seam and spin - and it is swinging too. Bit in it for everyone!

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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Mon Dec 27, 2021 11:12 am

guildfordbat wrote:
alfie wrote: Yahoo Smith gone...Anderson gets the one he really wanted...

Big inside edge on to stumps. Just reward for some terrific bowling from the Old Boy thumbsup

Still wondering what is wrong with Wood : but this game is back in the melting pot now , surely ?

It should be but we've thought that too often lately ....

Fellas you did the cardinal sin of forgetting England had to bat again
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Post by Good Golly I'm Olly Mon Dec 27, 2021 11:19 am

I suppose while Root and Stokes are at the crease, there is some notional hope. After all, it has basically been Root scores a massive hundred or we lose all 2021…so until he goes there is a chance!

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Post by Duty281 Mon Dec 27, 2021 11:27 am

A tremendous fightback with the ball. Anderson was immense with two spells of clinical bowling, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. Robinson grew into the day and, despite his rhythm and fitness being off, engineered brilliant line and length to take wickets. Wood and Stokes were also dangers on that pitch.

The big problem came with Leach who had no backing whatsoever. Right from the outset he was bowling negative lines to negative fields and it was so frustrating to watch.

Root, as usual, missed a moment. He talks about learning, but in the previous test he bowled himself after an interval allowing Australia, at that point in a vulnerable position, to settle in and take easy runs. Same thing happens today, only with Leach, who bowled a gentle six over spell after lunch which allowed the Aussies to settle back in just at the moment when England should have pressed the attack.

I thought the lead would be too big for England to fight back from, and so it seems. At least this time it was down to a world-class spell from Starc, and aggressive bowling from Boland, as opposed to wickets being gifted.

England need at least a 200 lead, but they're way off that. It will need Stokes to return to form, or Bairstow and Buttler to finally repay the enormous amounts of faith reposed in them.

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Post by JuliusHMarx Mon Dec 27, 2021 12:45 pm

By scoring a total of 17 runs, Crawley exceeded my expectations by a whopping 70%!

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Post by KP_fan Mon Dec 27, 2021 3:17 pm

I watched the last 3 wickets of Aus inning and then the English innings
The pitch has quickened , significantly since day one and ball is seaming, zipping and skidding a lot more .

It was a brutish spell from Starc & Cummins and the odd Bolamd over and of the 6 batsmen on display literally no one other than Root could put bat to ball.

All the interests in this series are now academic and worth tipping points only
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Post by Duty281 Mon Dec 27, 2021 5:27 pm

A note on Anderson's phenomenal year.

He's taken 39 wickets at an average of 21.74 this calendar year, with an awe-inspiring economy of 2.12 which is Anderson's lowest ever economy rate in a full year. Some difference from the very green bowler that was plundered for plenty of runs 15 years ago!

Highlights of the year would be the 6/40 at Galle with 13 maidens, where Anderson destroyed the Sri Lankan top order. Then the test at Chennai, where Anderson bowled a match-winning spell on the final day to account for Gill and Rahane in one stupendous over - the best over I think I've seen this year - and ending up with figures of 3/17 after getting Pant. Then in the last test of that series at Ahmedabad, 14 maidens in an overall return of 3/44.

He was quieter in the NZ series, but had a fine effort in the home return v India. 4/54 at Nottingham, including dismissing Kohli for a golden duck; followed with 5/62 at Lord's to get on the honours board; and finishing with the classy new ball spell of 3/6 at Leeds which paved the way for India to be dismissed for 78.

And yesterday, two fine spells to end up with 4/33 at the MCG and give the English batsmen some hope.

Anderson's bowling style has changed as he has aged and it's a further testament to his utter brilliance as a test cricketer. Whereas once he was a mercurial attacker who would dazzle us with his magnificence by moving the ball around corners, he now instead offers a careful and ceaseless pressure to pick apart the technical shortcomings of his opponents and wear them down in a chess-like duel. And his current series figures - 62 overs, 26 maidens, 99 runs conceded, 7 wickets taken, economy 1.59 - underline that.

It's been a year where Joe Root, wholly justifiably, has received no end of plaudits for his brilliance in trying circumstances. But Anderson deserves equal applause for his persistence, his class and his unwillingness to yield; for no matter how many times England are rolled out for under 200, Anderson is there to try and redress the balance. One more effort? Always.

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Post by Soul Requiem Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:02 pm

Anderson has been England's best bowler this year but his lack of threat in the second innings of so many matches has been costly.

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Post by king_carlos Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:24 pm

guildfordbat wrote:Hi Carlos - a few random thoughts by way of a late response to your final para.

* A key thing that needs to be addressed is the scheduling of County Championship matches. About half of all such matches in the last few seasons have been played in April and September. Until 4 day cricket is played more in the height of summer, we are going to continue to put ourselves at a massive disadvantage in developing spin bowlers. Why give a spinner the ball or even select him when an ordinary dibbly dobbly medium pacer is likely to be more effective on a cold overcast day?

* I don't underestimate the difficulties of balancing the domestic schedule (CC matches, RL 50, t20 and The Hundred) and the commercial considerations involved but a better balance needs to be found and we shouldn't ignore that or pretend otherwise.

* Pitch inspectors (or whatever they are currently called) need  to take a sensible and balanced approach in deciding whether a track is acceptable or not. In the past, the odd county has pushed things too far to give their spinners an advantage and been rightly reprimanded for it. However, it shouldn't automatically be assumed that a track taking some spin on day one is ''poor'' or that spinners having success early on in a match have been unfairly helped. In line with my point above, a spinner's development needs to be encouraged and it will continue to be the Test side that suffers if that doesn't happen.

* Pitch inspectors should come down hard on absolute roads in CC matches. It needs to be recognised that they are bad for the game and unacceptable. As mentioned recently when discussing Ollie Pope, Surrey's final match of the 2021 season at the Oval produced almost 1,400 runs for the loss of just 10 wickets. That was an absolute joke and an affront to the paying spectators with the prepared track providing a totally unfair contest between bat and ball. To his credit, Pope maintained his concentration and filled his boots with a double century but it was  still all too easy and in no way helpful for a forthcoming Ashes tour. Just to add, no action was taken against Surrey for that pitch.

* I may be in a minority of one here but I wouldn't want there to be less CC matches. I quite regularly attend them and in the main enjoy them. That may be selfish - and at least to some extent, it is - but I pay my money to travel and attend and so at least deserve a view imo. I do agree though that the standard there needs to be raised.  

* Following on from my last point, the benefits of central contracts and how they operate needs to be reviewed. I am not suggesting we go back to the days of Fred Truman bowling 10,000 overs in a week for Yorkshire and then driving through the night to the other end of the country for a Test match starting the next morning, as he might have said. However, if we had less Tests - and I would suggest we need to if the quality of England players is to improve - then our Test players would be able to play more for their counties. That ultimately would be for the benefit of so many. To take one example  - Broad playing a few more county games would benefit the Notts bowlers and team mates playing alongside him and ultimately the opposition batsmen facing him as they would need to learn how to up their game. It would also have a knock on positive effect on interest in and attendance at CC matches.

* The ECB seem to jealously treasure their centrally contracted players and are overly reluctant to release them to their own counties. More willingness needs to be displayed. One example. Burns, the Surrey captain, was due to to play in the final test of the 2021 season. As we know, that was called off at the last minute. Surrey then sought the ECB's permission for him to play in their final CC game. Although the ECB had Burns lined up to play a 5 day Test, they refused and ordered he rest rather than play in a 4 day county game. Burns didn't play another competitive game until this Ashes tour!

* I don't know enough about the modern types of cricket balls and what they do but it seems to me that they should be the same in England for CC and Test matches. You don't want a bowler ripping up trees with one type in the Championship, being selected for England as a result and then finding on day one of a Test that he can't do it so well - or at all! - with a different ball!
Hi Guildford - Sorry it's taken me a while to respond to this as usual well considered and balanced post. I've been busy with family over Xmas so only just got round to putting in the required thought for a decent response! I hope you're holiday period has be enoyable?

On scheduling of games it absolutely needs to be looked at but as JD said above it's not a silver bullet in my opinion. If we play games in the middle of summer but most counties are still producing green tops with the modern batches of Dukes swinging conventionally for 60 overs I'm not sure how much it will change things.

Re central contracts. For me I think they are absolutely vital but the issues, as is so often the case, is just too much cricket internationally. Part of that equation is the ECB needing to make enough from internationals to finance the counties reliant on ECB central payments. That feels like an unbreakable cycle currently. If we could play less international cricket then the players could spend more time with their counties. How that fits financially with counties unable to support themselves I'm unsure though.

My father is in a similar camp to yourself of travelling for county games and always enjoying them, hence wanting the number of F-C games to remain. My brutally honest feeling though is that some lower quality CC games played in recent seasons are closer to the standard we ideally want in minor counties 3 day games than in F-C cricket which costs a lot to get played. I'm not sure how much longer funding this many CC games will be financially viable. A fun (actually more sad) fact I learnt recently is that the ECB now subsidise pay for journalists/commentators to cover some more minor CC games as they wouldn't get covered otherwise.

Whilst some counties losing F-C status feels wrong on the one hand to me as someone who grew up watching county cricket. My grandfather was an Essex CCC member, I spent most my childhood in Yorkshire so attended Headingley many times and my dad worked in London with a flat around the corner from the Oval for a fair few years so I'd visit him in the summer holidays and spend many days watching Surrey games - hence my currently lapsed Brown caps attachment!

Fewer F-C counties also seems an inevitable result of where finances are heading though. To me I think the best thing currently is to bite the bullet so to speak by making tough decision to reduce the size of the CC before some counties reach bankruptcy. Then build up a strong 3 day competition behind the CC consisting of the former F-C counties, stronger minor county set-ups and maybe the MCCU sides as in my opinion that extra route into senior cricket other than the county academies is very important for later bloomers.

That way the best players would be spread across a smaller number of F-C sides leading to a strengthening of the average quality of CC games. Meanwhile a stronger minor counties set-up playing 3 day games would still provide opportunity for talented players to play red ball cricket and move up.

I do accept why many are opposed to those changes, especially members at smaller counties under threat who have supported English cricket with the membership for many years. That history is a hard thing to break with and big changes naturally illicit a big response from those who have attachment to those counties. I do understand that to. My grandfather passed away nearly 20 years ago but I can still visit Chelmsford, sit with my dad and watch cricket from where my grandfather did for decades. That's a wonderful thing and something that people with similar attachments to counties that could be threatened will want to protect. My fear is that if we continue with the current financial model then those counties will end up in a position where they couldn't even drop back to a minor counties esque status and keep developing young cricketers, utilising their facilities and playing cricket at their grounds, just below F-C level.

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Post by king_carlos Mon Dec 27, 2021 6:29 pm

Soul Requiem wrote:Anderson has been England's best bowler this year but his lack of threat in the second innings of so many matches has been costly.
The disparity between Anderson's first and second innings stats is stark and not a small sample size now. I can't really remember another seamer developing such a big disparity such as that as their career went on either. It's odd. Albeit Anderson is breaching new ground for longevity as a Test seamer!

I still think that his excellence in the first innings and his ability to bowl so economically means that England should be able to cover for the lack of threat in the second innings.

I also wonder if lack of first innings runs is playing some part as well. Scoreboard pressure plays such a big role in second innings batting whether the opposition are setting a target or chasing. Scoreboard pressure is something England are very rarely in a position to utilise with this batting lineup.

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 11:30 pm

Hi Soul and KC

Certainly the difference between 1st and 2nd innings Anderson in recent times is a concern ; but I'd suggest this is basically the natural effect of constantly asking a late thirties bowler to carry the attack in one innings and then (by having the batting regularly collapse in one day or even less) have him back in the field with insufficient rest.

Not a lot they can do about it (well improving the batting might help !) as he is clearly still important to the side - though not I fear , for ever : even he will run out of petrol eventually ! As KC says , the other bowlers need to step up in the second innings.

In the unlikely event of England setting some kind of target for Australia today , for example , I'd hope that they could rely on Leach to be a major threat and Jimmy could play more the role of keeping one end tight. But they really do need all the other bowlers to play their part. Too often recently at least one of the pack has been ineffective in the crucial sessions.

The batting remains the real problem though. Start getting decent scores and I reckon the bowlers will finish the job more often than not.

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Post by alfie Mon Dec 27, 2021 11:58 pm

So what happens today ?  I really hope it isn't a complete fold up and a loss by an innings or ten wickets but I suppose if one of these goes early that is a distinct possibility. Think that would be a bit of a sad end to what has actually been a good match , if a little bowler dominated.

Pitch flattens out , Root gets 180 ?  Sorry , that one ain't happening Smile

What I'd like to see is a fighting effort by the remaining bats to get a lead of some sort and make Australia work to get their win - even if they can't actually pull off the sort of get out of jail effort that Dean Headley engineered for Alec Stewart's team back in 1998. (That was a wonderful day to be at the MCG ! Finished about 7 in the evening...still lives in the memories) Obviously nothing short of an unlikely win keeps the series alive ; but a proper competitive day here would be some consolation at least.

No rain about , in case you were wondering Smile

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Post by Duty281 Tue Dec 28, 2021 12:20 am

Think England will end up with a lead around 40-60 and Australia knock it off comfortably.

Would like to see some drama, but England are going to need a lead of 150 to even have a snifter of a chance, and that's 200 runs away! The ball is still new-ish and there's lots happening for the bowlers, so it's difficult to envisage a positive outcome.

The only realistic hope lies with Root notching his first ton in Australia; Stokes lasting long enough to give Buttler and Bairstow a chance with a softer ball, and those three batsmen combining for at least 80 runs; then Robinson and Wood matching Starc and Cummins by finding 40 runs together. That gargantuan effort, it seems positively Herculean, would give England a lead of 160 or so. They'd still be behind in that scenario, but would have a chance, certainly.

On England's terrible batting - only two different batsmen have hit centuries this year: Root (obviously!) and Burns. That's tied with 1999, and the 1999 team have the excuse that they only played around 8 tests that year, compared to 15 for the 2021 team.

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Post by alfie Tue Dec 28, 2021 12:25 am

And yet they dropped Burns...

Ah well good to see I have some company on here this morning : Duty I hope they can give you something encouraging to watch as a reward for staying up so late at risk of witnessing more slaughter ! Think one or two others are around too ? Guildford ?

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Post by Pal Joey Tue Dec 28, 2021 12:44 am

I'm here.

Just walked back from the shops and bumped into a local character.

I couldn't stop him talking about this and that... and the cricket for about 15 minutes. I thought my Classic Creamy Boysenberry ice cream was going to melt. Luckily, I got it into the (intensive care) freezer a few minutes ago.

So, a perfect day for batting and scoring some runs, eh alfie? Smile
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Post by JDizzle Tue Dec 28, 2021 12:51 am

This could be over very quickly. A good nut from Starc - he does bowl some excellent balls.

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Post by alfie Tue Dec 28, 2021 12:53 am

Hopes again dashed rather quickly...just as Warne was suggesting the signs were good for Stokes etc...Bang !

Starc clap

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