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Old 08-19-2019, 06:41 AM
Cumbrian is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,459
Been MIA for a bit - looking down the barrel of being made redundant will do that to you (redundancy seems almost a certainty, now I am just trying to a) find places for my team to land, rather than follow me out of the business and b) seeing if there are any jobs out there) - so I've not been really on top of this. Watched the bulk of Saturday and Sunday at Lord's though.

In answer to the question of whether Archer is all he's cracked up to be: I understand that the knee-jerk reaction from the press the minute someone new comes along and puts one or two good performances together can be exasperating, and inspires its own knee-jerk reaction that the guy can't be that good. I think this is a special case though. Archer is clearly highly promising and has the potential to be the best fast bowler on the planet if this weekend is anything to go by. Close analysis of what he is doing is probably warranted to really get into why this might be the case, analysis that I myself am probably not capable of doing. This said, two things that seem really obvious to me.

First, the main question for England for the first match and the opening part of the second was "how are we going to get Smith out?" - no one looked capable of doing it. Even before he scalped Smith, even before he hit him on the elbow, Archer was giving Smith more trouble than all of the bowlers he had faced in the series thus far combined. Pace will do that for you, and his line, delivering from close to the stumps, is probing at worst - batsmen can't get him away (look at his economy figures) and this in and of itself builds pressure. Then, second, the short ball. The most interesting thing about his bumper is that Archer appears to have no "tell" - Ravi Bopara explained over the weekend, that, having faced him in county cricket, his head doesn't dip when he's delivering the bouncer, so you can't read it at the crease, you have to read it off the pitch. I'm not even convinced that his bumper is super accurate, it's that batsmen have fractions of a second less to react, and consequently get pinned. He's been playing international cricket since May - he's already hit more than 10 batsmen.

He's the most exciting pace bowler we've had in our side since Simon Jones (reverse swing at 90 mph? Yes please) and he got invalided out of the game before he could really have a massive impact. Smith is the best bat in the world and he's the only one who stands chance of getting him out by the looks of things (notwithstanding the scrambled decision making that saw him pad up to Woakes on Saturday). It remains to be seen how good he will be - maybe he will prove to be a hype job, who can tell? But he is the fastest bowler we've had, possibly ever, and there's stuff in his arsenal that says he's going to be very good. He's already our most important bowler - and in this series, against Smith, he's the guy that could keep us in it. He needs to be looked after.

I say all this because it seems pretty clear Smith is the difference between these sides. Neither team can bat properly collectively. Even the big scores on England's side have had a touch of fortune about them (although Stokes looked far better towards the end of his innings yesterday) and we are always moments away from collapse. Australia are not much better it seems. Australia are going to win this series, I think, especially if Smith is able to play. Without him, it could be closer, but I still take Australia's attack over England's as a collective and that will be where they win.

Saw nothing of the SL/NZ match. Good result for SL. Score wise very similar to the match at Lord's except the chase seemed very easy for SL. Don't know if anyone saw much of it to give us better idea beyond reading the scorecard? Lisiate?

Last edited by Cumbrian; 08-19-2019 at 06:44 AM.