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Alexlotl

Cricket Horrible Cricket - The Ashes Down Under, 2013/14

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Why isn't Bell at 3? Not that it would've made much difference with Johnson bowling like a demon & the rest of the England order playing like amateurs, but it seems crazy to have your only in-form batsman (who by all accounts wanted to be placed up the order) languishing at 5 where he's just stood at the other end watching the tail get skittled. Fucking hell, it's like the 90s all over again. Depressing. :(

You really have to give credit to Johnson though. He's been through a pretty rough time & is answering his critics in a lethal fashion. Batsmen are terrified of him & this is meant to be a flat road of a pitch!

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this is getting embarrassing. we're completely pathetic, and surely going to lose the series 5-0. i remember the bad old days of watching England in the 80s and 90s, when we were terrible, but i don't think i've ever seen an England team roll over and capitulate like this before. the only way we're going to get any kind of foothold in this series is if we somehow bat for two days and salvage a draw here, then use the momentum in the next match. there's no way that's going to happen though - it'd take an injury to Johnson or something.

Australia aren't a team of world-beaters. Johnson is bowling incredibly well, for sure, but they don't have much else really. Siddle and Harris are good journeymen bowlers, and Lyons is nothing special at all. the battling line-up has Clarke, who's world class, plus the belligerent Warner and Haddin, but the others aren't that great. they're still comfortably good enough to batter us though. what does that tell us?

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Been watching with my newborn son (heroically volunteering for the night shift) and in a way it feels right that he starts off with Bad England.

I have no idea how all our batsmen barring Bell and to some extent Carberry can seem so unprepared to bat patiently but without just cowering defensively. And what are Swann and Panesar doing being outbowled by Lyon? Oh man, watching that spell by Johnson, awe-inspiring and cringe-making all at once.

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I've just read from the start of the thread, which has been funny and very sad at the same time. I said after the Summer that we'd been flattered by the 3-0, given our general form in that series and the previous 2 against New Zealand, where this brand of attritional cricket seems to have taken hold. I still thought we'd win here (or at least not lose the Ashes), but I that's definitively now gone.

Feltmonkey, I think you're being a little unfair on Harris there - he's a clever bowler and is very good at coming-up with strategies to get players out (as the Summer attested). Lyon is coming-on, too.

Anyway, Vaughan's BBC article is pretty scathing, but I think he has a point about whilst England have been thumped before, it's never been this easy for the Aussies. I guess Australia will probably give it an hour tonight (or declare when Warner gets his ton) and then set about bowling us out for another sub-200 score. Then it'll be on to Perth where we've apparently only won once (in 1888 or something silly).

We have a lot of issues at the moment; in the build-up to the first test I read a few things commenting on the fact that nobody knows our best team (or even best order within those picked), that Swann has been very ineffective (and on some decent pitches too), we don't have a good 4th frontline bowler (I really like Bresnan, but he's not an option to scare teams and poor old Finn just never looks like sorting his lines out - which is a shame, as he has real, genuine pace) and too many players are out of form: Cook, Root, Prior, Anderson.

Sigh. At least Bell remains an absolute class act.

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Sheesh. I don't see England coming back from this for a good while now. Unless two of them can somehow really dig in and exhaust the Aussie attack, but who is capable?

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It just feels like all the batsmen are performing badly at the same time. Carberry can take some credit, and Root stuck around this time.

Australia have raised their game and we've regressed. And you can definitely see the effect T20 is having on batsmen. They are going for big shots against deliveries they shouldn't try to hit big.

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Famous last words, but I'm strangely optimistic today. The Windies unlikely escape down in Dunedin has given me hope.

Johnson to actually snap in half on the point of delivery, with his torso flying into and concussing Harris (leaving a nasty moustache bruise), while the wayward ball hits Clarke (at slip) on the lower back. Johnson's legs then topple into the stumps at the non-strikers end. As the umpire calls no ball, the heavens open and it rains until February.

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Just bizarre. "Crikey" I thought, "a six! Right, follow that with a nice defensive stroke and things look reasonably good". But oh no, hooks the next too. Straight to the fielder. Maybe they want us to get an early night.

Prior seems in good nick suddenly. Guess he'll have to throw it away soon, right?

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Anyone been watching the India vs SA one dayers? SA have been fantastic, especially with the ball against a much hyped Indian batting lineup.

I was able to catch the SA batting innings. de Kock and Amla looked untroubled. India tried to strangle them with the spinners but with the score they set you could tell Steyn and co were going to make mincemeat of India's flat track bullies.

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It's been so much fun watching the Flat Track Bullies get absolutely dominated by South Africa, especially after Pakistan beat them. All the annoying Indian fans on Facebook have been absolutely quiet.

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Right, the rebuilding begins. What team would you take to Perth? Flower has indicated in his most recent interview that it's knives out, and not even senior players are safe from dropping, so this is a ripe time for speculation.

My team:
Cook, Carberry, Root, KP, Bell, Stokes, Prior, Broad, Anderson, Finn, Panesar

Yes, I've dropped Swann; he'd probably be the first to admit he's bowling like a toilet. Monty's there as a) he bowled pretty well in the last test, and b) I don't believe in "All Pace Attacks", which are just a sportswriter's wet dream that doesn't work in reality. When was the last time England won without a dedicated spinner?

Bowling wise, I think we just have to pick Finn. I know England like to bowl dry and Finn is seen as too leaky, but his strike rate is fantastic, and we need someone who can break those big partnerships. Broad is retained as he's doing a good job of work, while Anderson I just mentally can't cope with the idea of dropping, even if he's not being that effective. I liked the look of Stokes, so he's back in the side.

Three quicks, a fast-medium all-rounder and a dedicated spinner, and perhaps some accomplished part-time offspin from a Sheffield lad? That has a reassuring feel.

I came this close to dropping Prior for Bairstow (who you may remember making 90 odd against the pace bowling of South Africa), but I think he's redeemed himself with that last innings. He's also besties with Broad, so his ejection may have a knock on effect on Broad's performance. He's definitely on notice, though.

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I don't think Swann being dropped would be any surprise - not only has his bowling been pretty poor (for his standards) for most of the year, the Aussies aren't afraid to attack him, either, so he's not holding down an end - which is something Monty is very good at. So I think that change is probably on the cards.


I'd rather Bresnan over Stokes, he's a better line-and-length bowler and is useful with the bat. I'd probably take Finn too, but that's almost as much due to the fact that I really don't rate Rankin and Tremlett just doesn't have that zip about him these days. I do like Finn though, he's our only real genuine pace bowler and as you say, his strike rate is really good. We certainly need somebody to make the Aussies play their shots a bit quicker - Jimmy has barely had any swing so his potency is severely diminished and were it not for Broad finding a bit of consistency we'd be in an even worse position.

I'd also move Bell up to 3 so he can benefit from having a longer tail batting with him.

My selection does mean having to push Prior up to 6 though (or have Bresnan there) - neither of which are ideal.

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I just can't bring myself to get excited about Bresnan, even though I know he's done a job of work in the past, and he's had no play since coming back from injury. Regarding capability with the bat, Stokes averages 35 in first class against Bresnan's 27, and that'll be largely on the seamer-friendly tracks up in Durham, so I don't think he should be judged solely based on the last test.

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Stokes can do the all-rounder's job, but Bresnan has been a lucky talisman in recent years.

Perth is not usually spinner-friendly so it does make sense to go with seam.

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I reckon it's worth a shot on Finn, although his form on the tour really hasn't been stellar at all. Perth's the kind of place that will help him a lot if he can be relatively consistent.

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Starting tonight, probably going to get up early to watch a bit as I am off work tomorrow. I am weirdly optimistic, I dont think we'll lose this one, if the batsmen can withstand the new ball, they can dominate this Aussie attack, Johnson's figures have been flattered by getting the tail out cheap a lot. Cook really needs to win the toss this time, annoying that a five day game constantly comes down to a coin toss, but it seems to be the way these days.

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I hate how the Perth ones start too late to stay up. Maybe I'll get an early start too. Wish I could fully get optimistic, it'd take so much more discipline from the batsmen than they've shown for a long time, collectively. Johnson also has great figures at the Waca and Harris will be tricky. And England never win there obviously - but it was interesting to see that actually other sides do quite often, so it doesn't have to be thought of as an Aussie stronghold like the Gabba.

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