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Cricket Lovely Cricket - The Ashes 2013 (Series 1, England - 3-0)

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So I didn't find a thread for this, and it's pretty much heading our way at the speed of a freight train now! 16 days to go, which obviously is long enough for Australia to decide they can get a new coach in...

BBC: Arthur 'sacked' as Australia coach

Utter chaos :huh:

The test schedule is as follows:

First Test: 10th - 14th July, Trent Bridge (Result: England won by 14 runs)

Second Test: 18th - 22nd July, Lord's (Result: England won by 347 runs)

Third Test: 1st - 5th August, Old Trafford (Result: Match drawn)

Fourth Test: 9th - 13th August, Chester-le-Street (Result: England won by 74 runs)

Fifth Test: 21st - 25th August, The Oval (Result: Match drawn)

The Australian touring squad:

Michael Clarke (capt), Brad Haddin (vice-capt), David Warner, Ed Cowan, Chris Rogers, Phil Hughes, Shane Watson, Usman Khawaja, Matthew Wade, James Faulkner, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson, Ryan Harris, Jackson Bird, Nathan Lyon, Steve Smith

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Australian sport in general seems to have tumbled a long way. Failure to perform at the olympics, the doping and drugs abuse in Ozzy rules. The rugby team isn't the rock solid winning machine it used to be.

I think there is real fear at the heart of Australian Sport that they just aren't as good as they used to be.

But I can't see a white wash of them this summer.

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Yeah, despite my cheeky tagging I don't think it will be either. Their squad looks pretty average on paper, but Clarke can really dig his heels in. If he stays fit (and that's a big if) then they've a chance of making things difficult.

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Ah cheers, I've been meaning to start a thread for this. Just needs a video... and it just happens there's a new single by the Duckworth Lewis Method.

Confirmation this morning that Joe Root is moving up to open the batting with Alistair Cook, so we can expect Bairstow to keep his place when KP returns. The quote from Geoff Miller was pretty unequivocal: "We believe Joe Root is currently the best opening partner for Alastair Cook and he will open the batting against Essex". Could be a long road back for Compton, despite some decent form in the county game, as there's signs the selectors are looking at Carberry again, too.

The most interesting name in the squad list though is Boyd Rankin, our latest naturalised import, this time from Ireland. Another 6ft 7inch fast bowler, replacing the still absent Tremlett, who presumably was stabbed in the calf with a kryptonite-tipped umbrella at some point after the '09 Ashes. Hopefully he'll do better than the blink-and-you'll-miss-it test careers of Ed Joyce (remember him?) and Eoin Morgan.

It's sad to see Ireland's best talent abandon their home nation for the chance to play top flight cricket. I know everyone makes jokes about the South Africans, but it's a huge country brimming with talent, and there's no sign that their national team is weaker for the absence of Pietersen and Trott, who may never have risen to the top in their system. There's no denying that pinching Joyce, Morgan and Rankin will hurt Ireland's prospects, although the ICC did bend the rules to let Joyce repatriate once England made it clear they were done with him. Ireland should be made a full test nation ASAP, with ICC voting rights to help redress the current bias towards the subcontinent. Sadly, that's probably exactly why they won't be.

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Yeah, would be nice to have another European Test nation, but I don't think Ireland are near where they need to be in the long form of the game. Shame they couldn't team up with the Dutch and play as a joint team.

As for the Ashes, I think it'll be 3-1 England. Australia aren't as bad as their one day performances would indicate. Clarke is a great batsman, Rogers and Wade are decent additions to the squad, and their pace attack isn't bad. Against that they have real problems with a second opener, no spinner of any note, and they seem to be a mess behind the scenes. Lehmann coming in may well sort them out, and with Warner and Watson they certainly have the possibility to go score at speed. They bat pretty deep as well with some of their quicks doing quite well in the IPL. That said, if England perform anywhere near their potential, it should be a comfortable series win, but I fancy the Aussies to win a Test.

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Yeah, would be nice to have another European Test nation, but I don't think Ireland are near where they need to be in the long form of the game. Shame they couldn't team up with the Dutch and play as a joint team.

We're not near where we should be because we don't play any long form cricket as an international side, it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation. That said, much more of our players are playing in county cricket these days, so will be playing the four day game at least. Fairly frustrating - we're by far the best of the associates, having lost only 4 out of 42 games against them in the last 3 years, but we're still behind the big 8 by some margin, and the ridiculous amount of cricket played amongst the top teams means that we'll always struggle to get enough games against good opposition. It's getting better, but fairly slowly. We'll probably lose Dockrell next.

Still, i'm happy for Boyd Rankin .. :(

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NZ played test cricket for 26 years before they won a test, Bangladesh 5 years. Ireland may be outclassed now, but they'll never improve without exposure to the test game.

I reckon with the talent they have at moment (if England repatriate them), combined with a few South Africans suddenly discovering an Irish Granny when the opportunity to play top-flight cricket beckons, they could certainly win a match within 3 years.

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Well, that's interesting - after reaching 304/2, Somerset collapsed to 320 all out, with the second new ball ripping through their middle and lower order, with 6 wickets falling with the score stuck on 310, including five ducks. Pattinson and Starc sharing the carnage. Don't know if that suggests the pitch has become a bit spicy. Somerset's attack isn't world beating, but I'll be interested to see how the Aussies do against Dockrell in particular.

Compton was out for 81, but has been thrown a Worcs shirt to take on the Aussies again in the next warm-up. Clever management by the ECB - keeps him feeling wanted, and ensures he has plenty of experience against the Aussie seamers if he's needed due to injury.

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So, the ECB has announced they'll be streaming the Ashes on YouTube in mainland Europe. That's surely going to be trivially easy to circumvent?

www.sportspromedia.com/news/european_fans_to_watch_ashes_cricket_on_youtube/

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Flat and dry pitch expected at Trent Bridge, not going to be much conventional swing about, which will favour England. Swann should be a major threat later in the match as well, particularly as the Aussies looked very poor against spin in India, Clarke aside. Expecting an England win, but also that the draw will be in play for most of the match.

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Where does everyone stand on Finn versus Bresnan?

For me, it's a no contest. Finn every time. He's a natural wicket taker with genuine pace who offers something different to Anderson and Broad. I don't really think Bresnan's runs should be a huge consideration, as we should be picking our bowlers to take 20 wickets in a match.

Having said all that, I can certainly see England going for Bresnan and his reliability.

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That and the reverse swing thing, I think that's being assumed to become a big factor and Bressy Lad is supposed to be good at it.

I don't really know, and don't see it being a big factor actually. This series is gonna be down to which set of batsmen fuck up the least, is my opinion. I suppose that's obviously partly a function of the bowling attacks, but given both sides seem to have a propensity to lose wickets cheaply all over the place, it's stopping that which might be most important.

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Finn for me. Takes the pressure off Broad to try and be Mr Bouncer, meaning he can stick to the length bowling which makes him most effective. Anderson has enough swing for four.

Finn can be expensive though, and if Broad is also having a bad spell, that could take the pressure off Australia. Memory serves, Bresnan is pretty economical, even when wicketless.

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Geoffrey Boycott seems to have similar opinions to me about the batting being the key. Yikes! So, two wickets down at lunch, both but especially Root after getting a good start but not really converting. Not very Test-sounding bowling from the Aussies, not accurate enough.

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hrrrrng, other than Root it sounds like we're batting the way I feared. Just gonna hope our bowlers are more disciplined and their batsmen are also not careful. 4 down! I think we'll still win.

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I'm only half listening to it but we don't seem to have started like a team that's going to win the double series 10-0, as Beefy apparently predicted this morning. Of course I'll be happy to eat my words later!

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I'm not sure it's quite fair to say that it's been going on for months. We were relatively poor against NZ over here but we put up good scores in NZ and in India.

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