2017-18 Ashes in Australia: where England loses the Urn faster than an Alastair Cook wicket

MiracleOfO2704

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With the first test a week away, I figured the thread needs starting. Similar schedule as most Ashes down under, complete with the Boxing Day test at the MCG.

The squads for at least the first two tests

Nov. 23-27 @ The Gabba (Brisbane) - Australia win by 10 wickets

1st innings:
England 302
Vince 83
Malan 56
Starc 3-77

Australia 328
Smith 141*
Marsh 51
Broad 3-49

2nd Innings:
England 195
Root 51
Bairstow 42
Hazelwood 3-46

Australia 173-0
Bancroft 82*
Warner 87*
Broad 0-20

Dec. 2-6 @ The Adelaide Oval - Australia win by 120 runs

1st innings

Australia 442-8 dec
S Marsh 126*
Paine 57
Broad 2-72

England 227
Overton 41*
Cook 37
Lyon 4-60

2nd innings:

Australia 138
Starc 20
Khawaja 20
Anderson 5-43

England 233
Root 67
Stoneman 36
Starc 5-88


Dec. 14-18 @ The WACA (Perth) - Australia win by an innings and 41 runs

1st innings:
England 403
Malan 140
Bairstow 119
Starc 4-91

Australia 662-9 dec
Smith 239
M Marsh 181
Anderson 4-116
Broad 0-142

2nd Innings:
England 218
Vince 55
Malan 54
Hazelwood 5-48

Dec. 26-30 @ Melbourne Cricket Ground - Test drawn

1st Innings:
Australia 327
Warner 103
Smith 76
Broad 4-51

England 491
Cook 244*
Root 61
Hazlewood 3-95

2nd Innings:
Australia 263-4
Smith 102*
Warner 86
Broad 1-44

Jan. 4-8/18 @ Sydney Cricket Ground

Going to the last test this year, Syd?
 
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SumnerH

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Cricket still exists in the post-Adam Gilchrist world?

(Kidding, I'd love to hear any even vaguely informed commentary.)
 

SydneySox

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The Australian test team needs to be Rensaw, Handscomb, Khawaja, some random bat at 6 and 7 New South Welshmen. But the selectors can't bring themselves to do it. Rod Marsh might have quit one year ago after pushing his bullshit nepotism on this country for too long but there's a certain loyalty which means a 34 year old is being handed his 8th chance. Quote of the weekend goes to SMarsh who declared he 'knows he's got some runs in him'.

Two things are at play; England look terrible and did so before they left their best bat at home for beating the shit out of some dude in a club. And secondly, the Selectors are still searching for their miracle man, a la Michael Hussey, Mr Cricket.

This Australian team is not a great one. The bowling is excellent, one of if not the best attack in the world, let down maybe only by a spinner who's going to be statistically known as out best spinner of all time by virtue of being the only spinner we've produced since Warney and poor old Stuey MacGill, and by injuries.

But they've dropped Renshaw because he hasn't scored for the last few state games, and put in Bancroft who has. Tim Paine's back despite losing his job to Matt Wade - who is fucking shit - though even that's kind of a joke. Tim Paine was servicable, got hurt, and lost his job to the potential of Matt Wade. It's happening across all of the country at our state level.

As much as I, and everyone who watches Australian cricket, hates a Marsh Brother, one of the things I'm happy about with the selection of SMarsh is what it means for the number 6 role.

For way too long - since Freddy Flintoff blasted us in the Ashes - Australia has been focused on finding the most mythical of all cricketers... the all-rounder. For years, we've suffered through watching blokes who can't bat well enough to get a baggy green and who can't bowl well enough to get a baggy green get, well, a baggy green - all for batting a bit and bowling a bit. It's incredible how many years we howled watching Shane Watson fail, Hilton Cathwright, Glenn Maxwell, Mitch Marsh all fail to score runs AND fail to take wickets.

This has been compounded in recent years by Steve Smith - who is a selector whose word carries no weight with the other selectors, obviously - refusing outright to even BOWL whichever fucking 'all-rounder' he was saddled with. Watching Carthwright bowl like 3 junk overs before lunch last year at the SCG was pure cricketing magic.

This means we end up with a bloke who can't bat being picked to bat. So if I'm ok with SMarsh for any reason it's that we've finally fucked off this pretense of all-rounders. They don't exist, except in purely amazing circumstances.

This is increasingly more relevant in a world when the second biggest myth of test cricket is exposed; batting keepers don't exist either. We have had to accept there is no Adam Gilchrist in the pipeline; those players are once in a generation and, like the all-rounder, can't be chased. They have to happen. So you can't push Matt Wade and accept him dropping regulation nicks and missing stumpings. Swearing at the batsmen is not, actually, a cricketing virtue.

Personally I'd have been ok with old mate Bancroft coming in at 6. I'm partial to the 'opener at 6' theory far more than I am with the idea of a master blaster like Maxwell who might add a quick 40 late on day 2 off tired bowlers when you're 4/420 but will instantly fall for 3 off 22 before lunch when we're 4/89.

Coupled with Neville - the best gloves in the country, and the ability to hold up an end - that's a solid test team.

1. Warner (if he scores we can win)
2. Renshaw (if Warner is scoring he can hold up an end)
3. Khawaja (as long as he isn't in India, Pakistan or Bangladesh he can score)
4. Smith (one of the best bats in the world)
5. Handscomb (solid and grooming for the 3 role)
6. Bancroft/SMarsh (a bat to hold the order)
7. Neville (can catch, which is all we need)
8. Starc (top 2 bowler in the world)
9. Hazlewood (top 5 bowler in the world)
10. Lyon (luckiest bloke in the world)
11. Cummins (back in form and an incredible first-change bowler)
 

SydneySox

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Going to the last test this year, Syd?
Yep! As always. I'll need to be in line by at least 3am to get my seats though, for the first three days (the only three days).

It's great to have one of the few 5 Test series coming back here. However the nature of the Sydney Test means if it's a whitewash, and there's a chance it could be, by the time the 5th rolls around the interest is more of an academic nature than anything else.
 

ConigliarosPotential

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Yeah, that drop was bad...but England scored at such a slow rate that I don't think your pessimism is warranted. Much depends on how Australia uses the new ball in the morning, but I can absolutely see England getting skittled for 250 and Australia building a healthy first-innings lead.
 

SydneySox

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Run rate is an irrelevant statistic in test match cricket, especially the first innings and especially in the GABBA when you're from England. We're not watching T20.

The run rate yesterday wasn't even slow, though.

Of course England could collapse. That's what they were expected to do yesterday. That's not a bold prediction. Adding the words 'on the second day' make it actually bizarro world.

However, the England top-order was phenomenal yesterday. Vince especially. The first spell from Starc was, predictably, exciting and Cook was terrified. Then Vince immediately walked to the crease and calmly started sending the same deliveries to the boundary. His cover drives were steady and calm. There's not a single player in the Australian test team who can play cover drives with that much grace, save for Renshaw, and he's back in High School finishing his HSC's.

When Hazlewood and Cummins resorted to bowling 2 easily ignored bouncers an over you knew England were on top.

The rain delay was a boon for England too, obviously, and surprisingly the ball didn't move in tropical Queensland heat for Hazlewood after play resumed. Climate Change sucks.

The drop wasn't that bad. Many non-world class level keepers will have trouble with it. It's hilarious though. Tim Paine has kept 4 times in 3 years and he was picked to replace Wade with a pretence towards glovework. Matt Wade wouldn't have even gotten his gloves on the ball, there's no doubt, but Neville would have taken that with his eyes closed. It will be intriguing to see if Paine can score runs. He probably can't; but Wade can't either, so it's a wash. Neville can't really score either. Comedy all round.

The killer for England was the run-out. A piece of individual brilliance from Lyon or not, that's the sort of outlier that wrecks test match innings.

Suggestions of 'pessimism' are off the mark. Not as badly as discussing run rate on the first day of a Test that England would be ecstatic to draw, but pretty close. Words have meaning. Yesterday was great test match cricket.
 

ConigliarosPotential

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Why so hostile? If you want to have this forum to yourself as an echo chamber, fine, but my point (which isn't exactly rocket science) was that 196-4 is different from 270-4 at the end of the first day. It was a slow wicket which might get faster and easier to score upon, and all of the English caution and run accumulation on Day 1 won't mean much if the Aussie quicks bowl with menace with the second new ball. 270-4 after one day on a wicket like this makes you feel like you're up against it; 196-4 makes you feel like you're well in it.
 

SydneySox

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Why so defensive? You mistook excitement for awesome test cricket for hostility. Cricket talk is engaging. Sorry if has come across wrong.

But while I don't care if it's an echo chamber. Talk about cricket or not, but your core point - amended and dodged or not - is dead wrong, and backed up with cliches like 'bowl with menace' and 'caution and run accumulation'.

England was not 'cautious', they were excellent. After Cook went they defused Starc, Hazlewood and Cummins for most of the first day and were in complete control. When Cummins finally cracked them it was him taking control back, aided by a great spell from Lyon, not England throwing their wickets away.

It will 'mean much'. It wasn't a slow wicket, either. It was relatively slower for the GABBA but it was not slow. A slow GABBA wicket is still the second hardest wicket in the world after the WACA and that's a fucking highway they literally shouldn't even be playing at anymore.

Of course Starc will 'bowl' with menace but it means the exact opposite of 'not much' that they are 4/200+. Starc bowling with the new ball against the middle order in the 200's on Day 2 is completely different to Starc batting on day 2 because England batted very well, as well as you could expect.

These words - 'caution' and 'slow run rate' - you're using them wrong. This isn't the big bash league.
 

Lowrielicious

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Well yeah, now you are that the tail is being knocked over.

Even at sub-300 first innings total the Poms would have to be happy at the new bloods getting some good starts.

The home side no doubt happy they kept any from going on with it and that they kept the big bats in Cook and Root quiet.
 

SydneySox

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What would though? Dude would need to get a tonne every innings of the MAGELLAN Ashes to make most of us think he deserved his 8th (no hyperbole) chance.
 

SydneySox

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Unfortunately, we all thought he meant 'with the bat's but instead meant 'with my hands dropping a regulation catch over the boundary'.

We were fools to doubt him.
 

Lowrielicious

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Unfortunately, we all thought he meant 'with the bat's but instead meant 'with my hands dropping a regulation catch over the boundary'.

We were fools to doubt him.
I only saw one replay, but I think it was hands->head->boundary wasn't it?
 

MiracleOfO2704

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I’m going to try to keep running scores on the OP. I’m usually waking up a couple hours after the last session, so I should be okay. If something should look different/be added, let me know.
 

SydneySox

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Though, to be clear, that might be one of the most appalling shots I've seen someone play in Test Cricket. A person of his experience, in the pressure position his team and he himself were in, playing THAT shot is stunning.
 

SydneySox

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When asked about sledging a week or so ago , Lyons response seemed a little strange...

“There’s going to be heated moments ... I’m all for it. There’s a line, we’ll headbutt the line but we won’t go over it,” Lyon said

Makes sense now though...
 

MiracleOfO2704

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One over past drinks in the first session. Bancroft getting plenty of time in the netscrease won’t help England. Know wing how they’ll do at the WACA, England needs some big results in Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney to retain.
 

MiracleOfO2704

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At least they played into a fifth day. That might be progress.

Can’t wait for that WACA wicket next week, though, especially when everyone starts waxing poetic about it like it wasn’t a painted parking lot.
 

SydneySox

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I don't think you can call what happened yesterday a collapse. It was one class batsm with a night watchmen, a lower order bat, the keeper and a tail that can't wag. Against the best bowling attack in the world, at home. On Day 5.

Any suggestion England could have held on would have been banking on a miracle. They didn't collapse, they were knocked over.
 

MiracleOfO2704

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Just saw this from an article previewing the test tomorrow:

Despite being ahead in the series, Australia could make a change, with out-of-form batsman Peter Handscomb under pressure from all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, a Western Australia player.
So, the bats need another Marsh?
 

SydneySox

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Yes, it's all anyone in Australia is talking about, wrt the cricket.

MMarsh has long been adored as the mythical all-rounder. I mentioned it upthread.

Handscomb hasn't done a lot wrong, but he hasn't scored a million runs in the last few tests and so, like clockwork, they're going back to give MMarsh another run.

He is, actually, the rare all-rounder (ha) that Smith will actually give a bowl to.
 

MiracleOfO2704

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Poor old Cook.
He needs to take some time away from Test cricket. He was a terror in 2010-11, and outside of a rare innings once a series, he seems to find new and confounding ways to lose his wicket cheap and early.

Good for Dawid Malan, though. Maybe England can take a Test at the WACA. [/snicker]