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Old 08-19-2019, 04:39 AM
Stanislaus is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: London
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A few years ago, there was much talk (in the UK) of the Big 4 in batting. This put Root in a bracket with Kohli, Smith and Williamson. It was always slightly generous to Root, but you could see a trajectory for him which would make it fair enough.

It's a long way from true now, and this series has demonstrated it pretty clearly. Whether that's captaincy pressure or whatever, England might have to accept that "our best batter" and "talismanic matchwinner" are not synonyms. I hope Smith continues to play this series - he's the difference between the two sides*, and if England get a result by bringing Australia down to our level rather than raising ourselves to theirs that will be a little sad.

As things stand, Australia need just one win to retain the Ashes, and England need at least two wins and a draw to regain them. For contest purposes, the longer England can avoid losing, the better the series will be.

*For England, Anderson might have been, and Archer could be. But I don't see a batter balancing the scales against Smith.