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Saturday November 27 2010

Even more depressing for England than the start made in the Ashes by Andrew Strauss was the start made by (until now) ace England spinner Graeme Swann, whose first ball got clobbered to the boundary, which set the tone for his entire effort so far from what I have heard.  Hussey and Haddin took their stand to over 300 on day three, and England are now facing a first innings deficit of over 200.

Basically, England must now try to bat for two days, in other words for over twice as long as they batted in the first innings.  England might manage to save this game.  If they do, it will feel like a win, just as it did for them at Cardiff in game one of the last Ashes series in England.  But you have to fancy Australia now.

Michael J’s pessimism is, however, undimmed.  Incoming:

I am not convinced the Australian lead in the cricket means much.  Three outstandingly good individual performances by Australians in the test so far, but otherwise they have been outplayed, I think.


On day four, another outstandingly good individual performance from another Australian would give them an innings victory, despite basically continuing to be outplayed.

Although, I remember reading about another Ashes tour, way back when, when England were beaten by an innings in the first test, and the writer of the book said (at the time) that they still looked the better team, and England then won the series 3-1, thanks to Frank Tyson.

On the other hand, two outstandingly good England performances might mean them ending the fourth day on 309-1, leading by 88 runs, and having pretty much saved the game right there.


Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 28 November 2010

One man’s pessimisim is another’s reason for smug hindsight, or congratulations on his insight in this case.
I predict an exciting final day tonight(!) and an enthralling and sleepless series. What a joy Test cricket is.

Posted by Tony Hewson on 28 November 2010

England now 371/1 in the second innings. Why don’t we just stop this and let England take the Ashes home now?

Posted by Michael Jennings on 29 November 2010

Tony Hewson looks like he might be bang on the money.

Now England have motored past 400-1.  Looks like they will now look to declare 300 ahead, and maybe embarrass Australia some more.  100 more already, with lunch still almost half an hour away.

What a turnaround.  Never would have happened, as everyone and his dog is saying, in the days of Warne and McGrath.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2010

Cook 201, Trott 100, 439-1 at lunch, 218 ahead.

God almighty.

England must definitely declare at or not long after 3pm, after a post lunch slog.  The Aussies might just be in the mood to crumple.  From what Cricinfo is saying, things are happening for the bowlers.  England seem to have had a lot of luck, with numerous edges going for four instead of to hand, as often seems to happen when a side gets on top.

Cricinfo did a piece not long ago about big scores in third innings(es), which I must dig up the link to.  Prophetic or what?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2010

Incoming email to Cricinfo:

“This is all part of the aussies master plan. Tire out the opening batsman for adelaide by making them compile run after run in Brisbane before letting them face Bollinger and Harris in Adelaide who then rip right into them and have them out cheaply.”


Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2010

>Never would have happened, as everyone and
>his dog is saying, in the days of Warne and McGrath.

That said, I don’t think Australia crumbling is very likely here. There just isn’t really time. More likely is two or three hours of very boring batting.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 29 November 2010

Well (Michael J), you were right last time, so presumably you will be right about this also.

But I think it is realistic to hope that Australia might lose enough wickets to look a bit foolish.

I think Finn might be fancying his chances of a tenfer, or something approaching it.  Nothing like knowing that after this you will be able to put your feet up for a couple of days to get a fast bowler going.  No, I think it just might get interesting.  I agree, though, that an actual England win is too much to hope for reasonably.  Which may not stop me hoping unreasonably, if anything starts happening.

We shall see, or in my case read and later (maybe) listen.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2010

Heh. I saw that cunning plan comment and thought I’d check here.

Next man in is surely Pietersen, but then the 1st innings order was Collingwood followed by Bell.

Two ways of playing this: give Collingwood a nice knock so the top six batsmen go into the rest of the series in form, or give Bell a chance to bash a few quickly.

There’s a case for letting Prior or Broad have a go too.

Either way, the good news for England is they go into the next test thinking “we can handle this,” which I think is the key to winning an Ashes series down under. So often, some England players have had their confidence shattered in the first couple of tests against the Aussies. The one relative success so far is keeping Swann out of the wickets.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 29 November 2010

BTW, the odds have shifted from 1/100 for the draw to 1/50 (or closer).

Australia have drifted to 66/1 to 100/1.

England have narrowed to 10/1 to 20/1 (the latter seems a bit generous).

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 29 November 2010

Looking at the way the odds are bouncing around over lunch, I guess a fair bit of money looks like going on the draw when is creeps to better than 1/50, but then when England’s odds to win go above 20/1 some people are backing.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 29 November 2010

Cricinfo again:

“Coooornage,” says Tony Greig.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2010

Draw massive favourite at the declaration, but England narrowed from 40/1 to 28/1 to win at bet365.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 29 November 2010

I said England should declare 300 ahead, around now.  But they’ve just declared a mere 296 ahead, so what do I know?

My code for this comment:


Third blood to England. Can they get the fourth as well?

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2010

I also said in the original posting that England would have to bat for two days.  Turned out they didn’t need to bad that long.

England scoring rate first innings: 3.38 per over.
England scoring rate second innings: 3.40 per over.

Make of that what you will.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2010

England’s odds are narrowing (as low as 10/1): some money being placed I guess, or the run rate of over 7 per over is looking safe.

Two quick wickets and odds will tumble.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 29 November 2010

Australia 5 for 1.  Katich out.

I was so tired, and going through the motions of something else, that when I saw the Cricinfo “W”, I had to think for a few seconds to work out what this meant.

Those odds will now fall.

There have been two stands of over 300, one by each side.  Australian got a hat trick.  How about England now get one?  That would change the odds.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2010

MJ was right.  Not enough time for much to happen, apart from Ponting getting a good fifty.  Match drawn.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2010

Well it was not very exciting in the end, though the potential was there most of the time, as usual with Test cricket.
I do not think we have learnt much new.
Series draw 1-1? We win in Perth, they win in Sydney, others drawn.
Come. On. England. (Sorry Brian.)

Posted by Tony Hewson on 29 November 2010

What if England had lost the toss?

The Aussies said they would have batted first too.  Might England have won?  Was this one of those good tosses to lose, when the wicket is most helpful to bowlers at the start and gets progressively easier to bat on?  Captains always get criticised if they bowl first but do badly.  What about when they bat first but do badly?  That’s what happened to England.  Well, for the first three days.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2010

I hear rumours that the Australian selectors are thinking of bringing back Warne and McGrath. And Lillee. And maybe Benaud and Davidson.

Sadly Lindwall, Miller, Grimmett, O’Reilly and Spofforth are unavailable.

Posted by Bob-B on 29 November 2010

Brisbane is well known for being tricky on the first day, and easier after that. This is another reason why I didn’t think England bowling out Australia in a session and a bit was that realistic. One wicket had fallen in about five sessions, so the pitch wasn’t that difficult to bat on.

Having been in touch with a few other Australians, I think this game has added to the general despair (which was already strong before the game) rather more than a simple loss would have.

The Australian TV commentators have started attacking Ponting’s captaincy on air, which they had been refraining from doing until now due to their employers not wanting them to do it. It might be that big changes will finally be made at the end of this series.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 29 November 2010

Certainly the fielding was not great so some kick in the seat of the pants is in order. I’d chuck out one batsman, one bowler (Johnson) and switch captains now (but keep Ponting in the side, if he can handle the abrupt change). Who would be captain if Ponting was injured?

For England, Collymore dropped a catch, cost a few runs and scored 4. Prior went out for a duck. Swann was obviously targeted by the Aussies and needs to come back. A game between test matches would have been handy for this. However, the team spirit must be a lot better than after the First Test down under for a while. Especially the batsmen and Finn, which is likely to be important. I thought Broad did OK with the ball. If any change is needed: out goes Collymore for a more wicket-grabbing bowler (Tremmlett or Bresnan). Another dud by Swann and I’d give Panesar a try.

Posted by Antoine Clarke on 29 November 2010

Am I not right in thinking that Trott has now participated in two stands of over 300 in two consecutive test matches?

Okay, the Trott Broad stand looks iffy, what with Paki match fixing, but that was the last England test, wasn’t it?

Upstaged on each occasion by the other fellow, Cook making much more, and Broad being a number 9.  But still very impressive.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2010


Collymore as in Collingwood, I presume you mean.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait on 29 November 2010

It is not customary in Australia to sack a captain and keep him in the side. The convention is that the captain must be sacked from the side entirely. This is one reason why Ponting has survived so long as captain: the Australian side needed him as a batsman and it was not seen as possible to keep him in the side as a batsman only.

Michael Clarke is vice-captain and would take over if Ponting was injured. Until fairly recently, he has generally been seen as Ponting’s likely successor as captain, but there have been quite a few doubts voiced lately. Marcus North has been mentioned as an alternative in recent times.

Of course, to complicate things further, neither Clarke nor North scored any runs in this last test, and there are noises about their places in the side.

Australia will keep Ponting as captain for the rest of the series, I think. The question is what comes then if Australia lose. If that happens, he will be the first Australian captain to lose the Ashes three times, which is not a distinction he would be terribly keen to have. As to whether Ponting could resign and keep his place in the side, I am not sure. Kim Hughes did this in 1985, but only survived a couple of tests longer due to not scoring any runs.

Posted by Michael Jennings on 29 November 2010
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