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Old 09-09-2019, 04:21 AM
Cumbrian is offline
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,458
Originally Posted by Dead Cat View Post
I agree that as things have turned out, Australia fully deserve to win the series. What I am arguing against is the notion that if England had in fact played a bit better, they wouldn't have deserved it.
How much better would England have had to play to "deserve" something out of this series? I would argue substantially better. Not hanging on by a thread in this match to take it to The Oval, relying on a miracle at Headingley and needing Stokes again to drag them to a total that Australia actually managed to bat out against reasonably comfortably in the end at Lord's but without which, we'd have lost.

One doesn't get to simply make the argument - remove Smith and these are evenly matched sides - without also having to answer the question, what if you got rid of Stokes? Without Stokes, it would be 4-0.

Ah but what if both weren't there? Well, I also challenge the idea that Smith is the only difference between the sides. He is a very significant difference but Australia's bowling attack is substantially better than England's. In a composite bowling attack, only Broad would get in it (Stokes would obviously get in to a composite side - and bowl too because he's the all rounder - but that would principally be due to his batting). Australia's 3rd and 4th seamers have been better than Woakes and Overton. Archer shows immense promise and I look forward to watching him in future, but he's not bowled better than Cummins or Hazelwood.

A composite of the two teams would probably only have Stokes and Broad play from 4 down - for Head and whichever 3rd seamer you care to mention from Australia. Labuschagne and Wade have comfortably outperformed the non-Stokes elements of our middle order. Paine has outcaptained Root (not difficult). That you'd probably pick Denly in a composite side says how weak Australia's top three are but otherwise they are comfortably better than England.

Ultimately, what I am looking for in sport is evidence that the team I am watching can win in repeatable ways. This suggests that they don't need superhuman efforts or large slices of luck to get over the line - that their tactics and play exhibit a plan that the opposition are going to have to nullify. I stand by what I said, Australia deserve to win this series, anything else would have been due to victories in "non-repeatable fashion" and barring a total capitulation by them at The Oval that's exactly what they're going to get.

For England, a new coach will inevitably bring new ideas. It will be interesting to see what happens post The Oval. There are several players that need to go but whether they go for youth or back to the well with some of the players that may have been jettisoned too early (or both in the case of Pope) only time will tell. Roy, Denly (harsh given his grit over the last couple of matches but I'd prefer to bring in someone younger to try and push the side forward in its rebuild) and Bairstow (to kick him up the arse and force him to fix the deficiency which is seeing him bowled too frequently) all need to go, I reckon. Two of these will happen - getting shot of Bairstow (or anyone else in the inner sanctum of the England dressing room) would be a real indication that the coach is a man of his own mind - I can't see it happening, but hope I am wrong.