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  #451  
Old 09-06-2019, 05:49 AM
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As a bit of an aside, an Australian cricket writer (Peter Lalor) has been mistakenly charged $100,000 for a beer in Manchester. There must be a lot of money in cricket writing- I'd like to know someone who has $100,000 limit on their credit card.
  #452  
Old 09-06-2019, 06:17 AM
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That century by Shah has helped put Afg in a strong position, with Bangladesh 8 down and trailing by 196. Raining now though.

And its raining at the start of day 3 at Old Trafford too, although it's not expected to last long and the weekend is looking clear. England need to be batting at the end of today to stay in the game but, frankly, I'd be happy if they are still there at lunch.
  #453  
Old 09-06-2019, 06:33 AM
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That century by Shah has helped put Afg in a strong position, with Bangladesh 8 down and trailing by 196. Raining now though.

And its raining at the start of day 3 at Old Trafford too, although it's not expected to last long and the weekend is looking clear. England need to be batting at the end of today to stay in the game but, frankly, I'd be happy if they are still there at lunch.
I wish it was that easy (Australian perspective). England have quality players. However it is a worry that Joe Root always seems so worried in the captaincy role (usually with good reason) and never seems to enjoy it.
  #454  
Old 09-06-2019, 08:30 AM
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And its raining at the start of day 3 at Old Trafford too, although it's not expected to last long and the weekend is looking clear. England need to be batting at the end of today to stay in the game but, frankly, I'd be happy if they are still there at lunch.
Well, a good morning session from England, consolidating their position - if you had to be picky, a faster scoring rate would have been nice, but not losing wickets was more important at the moment.

I too hope they are still batting at CoP today; with the important caveat that it is in their first innings...
  #455  
Old 09-06-2019, 08:32 AM
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As a bit of an aside, an Australian cricket writer (Peter Lalor) has been mistakenly charged $100,000 for a beer in Manchester. There must be a lot of money in cricket writing- I'd like to know someone who has $100,000 limit on their credit card.
From what I heard on TMS, it was carried over to his mortgage/savings account. Which strikes me as a bloody stupid way for such an account to work. I imagine the bank will be reviewing its policies on that one.
  #456  
Old 09-06-2019, 10:43 AM
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Starc got Root right in the nuts. That's gotta hurt, even with a protector.
  #457  
Old 09-06-2019, 11:57 AM
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He certainly hasn't seemed very comfortable here, playing and missing quite a bit. Come on Root, hit out or get out, we'll never win this Test otherwise!
  #458  
Old 09-06-2019, 02:35 PM
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Nice partnership between Root and Burns there, but you have to give the last session to the Australians.

Hazlewood had a great spell, and watching Roy's middle stump crash to the deck was very satisfying. I thought Cummins bowled really well, and was unlucky not to get another wicket or two. There's a big contrast, too, between the run rates. Australia's innings was put together at just under four an over, while the English are scoring at well under three.
  #459  
Old 09-06-2019, 03:17 PM
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Abdul Qadir died suddenly.
https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_...r-dies-aged-63

While I suspect the name will elicit a blank from most people here, he played many years for Pakistan as a leggie. Over 200 wickets and won several test matches.
Before Wasim and Waqar came through, he was Imran Khans principal backup as strike bowler.
  #460  
Old 09-06-2019, 05:13 PM
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I know they name but was just too young to see him play, my earliest memories (nightmares?) of Pakistan involve Waqar and Wasim.

In the Ashes, I'm just pleased to end the day five down - hoping for a big partnership between Stokes and Bairstow tomorrow, and/or more rain.
  #461  
Old 09-06-2019, 05:18 PM
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Abdul Qadir- it foesn't seem that long ago but 35 years- wow. He was an extremely good bowler usually coming with a frenetic run up.
  #462  
Old 09-06-2019, 07:17 PM
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I remember Qadir. I was in high school when he toured Australia with Pakistan. He played only one test series in Australia, but came a couple of other times as part of the three-way one-day series.
  #463  
Old 09-07-2019, 05:07 AM
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I remember Qadir. I was in high school when he toured Australia with Pakistan. He played only one test series in Australia, but came a couple of other times as part of the three-way one-day series.
I wish I could say I was in High School.

Two days to go and it seems like good weather predicted So two days and time for wrong predictions:-

England to avoid the follow on by 100 or so. Paine, remembering the last Test gets gun shy and bats too long. Result is a draw.

As has been noted, I don't believe Australia can lose.
  #464  
Old 09-07-2019, 05:18 AM
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England to fall short of avoiding follow on by 10 runs or so, Australia don't force follow on, England save game with 5 wickets left tomorrow evening.
  #465  
Old 09-07-2019, 05:20 AM
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I had a look a couple of night's ago. Since 2000 Australia have scored over 400 batting first 60 times. They won 41 of those games, drew 13 and lost 6. Surprising that they lost 10% of them although 5 were against India and one against England.

I assume Stokes will still be there at tea no matter what else happens and the game will peter out to a draw. I was surprised that Australia firmed in the betting while taking only 4 wickets, including the nightwatchman, in a day and needing 15 more wickets to win.
  #466  
Old 09-07-2019, 01:33 PM
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Well, Australia went out and knocked a quick 186, and have now declared. I don't give England much chance here - a decent batting unit should be confident of giving this a go, but that's not what England have.

And Burns goes second ball.
  #467  
Old 09-07-2019, 03:57 PM
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Let's be absolutely clear about this - Australia are a flawed batting unit, a good to great bowling unit and one bat who might be the best of the post WWII era, and this is comfortably good enough to deal with this England side. I was expecting 2 down at close but would have given us an outside chance if the two were Denly and Roy. Instead, they're at the wicket and we'll be 4 down by 11:30. To have any chance, I reckon we need to be 2 down at lunch pretty much.

Again, something else to be honest about: the one Test we have won required that Smith not be playing and Ben Stokes doing the cricketing equivalent of feeding the 5,000. Smith is so far ahead of everyone else with the bat in this series, it is untrue. The series would probably be close without him. With him, I back Australia to win at The Oval too, to make this 3-1.

I give Burns a pass today - he's scored 100 runs more than all the other openers in this series combined. Sometimes you're going to get out cheaply when you're an opener, it's an occupational hazard. Root got a ball that, if he'd kept it out, you'd argue he'd have actually misplayed it to do so. Australia's attack are bloody good.

More pertinently, I think we're approaching the end of Root's captaincy - I thought he was actively bad with some of his field placings today - and I would argue that there needs to be two or three different guys coming in for the batting line up for the NZ and SA tours. I'd probably pick three more openers to go on tour, along with Burns, and have one of them play three, dropping Roy and moving Root back to 4. Broad as a stop gap captain, until we find someone younger and better to do it, might be a way forward for relieving some of the pressure from Root too. Sibley and Crawley are where I would start with respect to the batting line up. I can also see them having another look at Malan for the SA portion of our winter - one of the few who looked decent enough in Australia on the last Ashes, he might suit bouncier tracks than he is going to find in England at Test level.

Qadir: terrible news. Relatively young too, to be dying. A real shame.

Last edited by Cumbrian; 09-07-2019 at 04:01 PM.
  #468  
Old 09-07-2019, 06:35 PM
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Well summed up Cumbrian.

And of course I was totally wrong.
  #469  
Old 09-07-2019, 07:20 PM
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England can't win it from here...
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As has been noted, I don't believe Australia can lose.
I have to admit, when the Australians were 4/44 I was beginning to question my prediction that England couldn't win the game. Nice century partnership, in reasonably quick time, stopped the rot, with Smith playing some truly contemptuous shots over the mid-on and mid-wiicket area. Paine pitched in with a nice quick 20 before declaring.

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Let's be absolutely clear about this - Australia are a flawed batting unit
I think that's a bit of an understatement. Smith's brilliance has, I think, actually helped to hide the weaknesses a little bit, because everyone's focusing on him. Labuschagne has been solid, apart from this most recent innings, but I'd feel more comfortable if the Aussies weren't basically relying on one guy to hold the whole thing together for them. Smith looks impregnable most of the time, but even the best in the world can make one mistake, and then it all crashes down. This match might look quiite a bit different right now if Jack Leach hadn't overstepped when he had Smith caught behind on 118 in the first innings.

Last edited by mhendo; 09-07-2019 at 07:20 PM.
  #470  
Old 09-07-2019, 07:40 PM
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I don't know. I think the Aussie batting unit has the makings of a decent enough spine; mitigation can be given for a few of them. Smith is obviously unimpeachable and Labu, aided by getting properly warmed up in county cricket, has looked decent enough. I don't see what dropping Khawaja accomplished; he's clearly better than Head and has run into one of the same issues that Root has (his openers can't stay at the crease long enough for him ever to avoid coming in at single digits for 1 and only 2 or 3 overs of shine coming off the ball). In the long run, Warner will be fine - but he had been made Broad's bunny in this series. I expect he'll score heavily at home if he is retained, when he faces bowling that uses the inert lump that Kookaburra provide, on drop in pitches that offer less lateral movement. Wade seems OK to me - nothing special but there's the makings of a player there.

Head, Harris and Paine don't score heavily enough by the looks of things - Paine can bat but gives it away too easily some of the time, the other two don't even really look like scoring big numbers of runs - and I would imagine all of them are not long for the side if replacements can be found (in the latter case, a lot rests on the stomach people have for Smith being reinstalled as captain in March).

This is still well better than England though. The number of our guys who can't muster an average in the 40s is very large - even Stokes can't boast this, though he has improved his batting significantly over the last 18 months - and is definitely too high; a few of of them are as much a Test match batsman as I am.

Last edited by Cumbrian; 09-07-2019 at 07:41 PM.
  #471  
Old 09-07-2019, 07:55 PM
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The series would probably be close without him.
England 2-0 and we are all on suicide watch.



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Broad as a stop gap captain, until we find someone younger and better to do it
Oh please no. Has he shown any aptitude for the role at a first class level?
Is there not a Plan B in a county captain going round with batting credentials for red ball cricket above Roy?

I thought Broad was held together by packing tape and on his last season.
Heís had a very successful series, based on bowling wide from around the wicket to a left-hand overweight top order, clipping leg stump line and supported by DRS.

As a captaincy candidate he doesnít pass the sniff test to my mind.
  #472  
Old 09-07-2019, 08:35 PM
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I was thinking re the Australian batting- it is certainly fragile and has been propped up a lot by the bowlers. So, I don't know that Australia has much to lose by playing an extra quick- maybe Siddle- and using Starc as all rounder. I know it weakens an iffy batting line up but I don't know much is lost.
  #473  
Old 09-08-2019, 05:03 AM
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Captaincy: I've moaned several times over the last couple of years about England's captaincy options. To re-capitulate: England's central contract system means that the players in the international squads play little to no county cricket; county cricket teams thus don't give players who are in the England sides captaincy roles - as they're never playing; ultimately, we are breeding a bunch of international cricketers with little to no experience of captaincy. The cupboard is bare because of the system (I don't think I would change the central contract system wholesale - in the main, it has helped us produce better sides - but this is a flaw of the approach).

Then, taking the maxim pick your best XI, then pick your captain, I reckon it's Broad as an interim pretty much by process of elimination. Burns has only just made the side and it's by no means certain he's going to stick for the long haul - he should probably be focused on that (in the long run, he could be an option - he captained Surrey to the County Championship before his international call up). Root would obviously have been sacked. Bairstow is in the strongest side in the minds of the selectors (not mine, but let's play along) but is too aggro for the role. Ditto Anderson. Stokes is thicker than the proverbial two short planks. Archer has only just made the side. Leach likewise. Then there is Broad. Everyone else is playing for their place and couldn't be captain on those grounds.

He wouldn't be my first choice but we're in a corner on this issue, to be honest. Buttler is someone being talked up as captaincy material - and I would be pro this if he actually scored enough runs to justify being in the team. Broad for 18 months whilst we get sorted out would probably be alright. He's been vice captain before and apparently was a key voice in coming up with the bowling and fielding plans when he had the role. He can't do much worse than Root.

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He’s had a very successful series, based on bowling wide from around the wicket to a left-hand overweight top order, clipping leg stump line and supported by DRS.
This smells of sour grapes. You don't take 500+ Test wickets by having only one trick. That Australia's batsmen haven't worked it out says more about them than Broad. And "supported by DRS" - you mean he's getting wickets because the ball is going on to hit the stumps? Like everyone should?

I appreciate he's not Australia's favourite player but come on.

Last edited by Cumbrian; 09-08-2019 at 05:05 AM.
  #474  
Old 09-08-2019, 05:06 AM
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I agree with PT. Broad has at times come across as self absorbed (long time ago) and his Test appearances are not all that regular. Bowlers are not historically proven to be the best choice as captains. Root does seem a little lost circling the wagons, but really it is one player that has been his undoing. I am not certain how Hutton and the other English captains handled setting fields to Bradman although I guess they also thought there were few options.

Thinking of Cumbrian's comment regarding Smith being (possibly) the best batsman since the war, I note that he has now scored 9 succesive half centuries in Ashes Test which is an amazing statistic. I thought Graeme Pollock ond Barry Richards were very good, but their careers were so short it makes comparisons difficult. Of course seeing Gordon Grenidge and Des Haynes I thought they were powerhouses but I think eventually they only averaged about 40.

Maybe Smith is special. He sure has a good average for a leg spinner.
  #475  
Old 09-08-2019, 05:20 AM
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his Test appearances are not all that regular.
I appreciate I am coming off as a Broad defender - and honestly, can see the other side of him pretty easily and equally wouldn't want him as captain if there was a viable alternative, I just think there isn't one - but what does this mean? Again, he's got 500 Test wickets, played over 100 times for England and partnered for the new ball for most of the last decade. How can his appearances not be all that regular?

Smith is that good - but when it comes to Root, some of what he was doing yesterday to the other batsmen was bordering on ridiculous. His in out field for Leach in particular was bizarre and allowed the batsmen to milk him. He appears to have little plan but pack the slip cordon and hope for an edge or expect Archer to bounce players out. Archer, in particular, appears to have more brain than that and you can see him openly questioning the plans Root has on the field (on one occasion raising his eyebrows and shrugging his shoulders when asked to come around the wicket for some chin music on a pitch he knew was not going to allow it be effective).
  #476  
Old 09-08-2019, 05:28 AM
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Thinking of Cumbrian's comment regarding Smith being (possibly) the best batsman since the war, I note that he has now scored 9 succesive half centuries in Ashes Test which is an amazing statistic. I thought Graeme Pollock ond Barry Richards were very good, but their careers were so short it makes comparisons difficult. Of course seeing Gordon Grenidge and Des Haynes I thought they were powerhouses but I think eventually they only averaged about 40.
On this, of the guys that I have seen Smith is obviously right up there. Kohli is bloody good too but Smith is better at Test level (Kohli probably a better short form batsman). Viv Richards, Ricky Ponting and Kumar Sangakkara would be other names I'd offer up. Kumar in particular - if he'd never played the Tests in which he kept wicket, his Test career would have been 9000+ runs in 80 or so Tests at an average of 66, which shows a) how good he was and b) how much keeping wicket can impact even a very good player's averages (it's why I think Bairstow should have the gloves taken off him, in favour of a better keeper, so he might be able to be a better bat for this unit).
  #477  
Old 09-08-2019, 05:41 AM
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They've just shown a graphic on Sky prior to today's play. All players in matches Steve Smith has played in this series are averaging 30. Smith is averaging 134.

  #478  
Old 09-08-2019, 05:49 AM
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Cumbrian, I agree re Broad and he is a far better bowler than I would have foreseen. Is there anyone else in the England side guaranteed of a place. I am not sure that England is not far different from Australia regarding captains.

I suppose the graphic reinforced that Smith (despite his flaws) is a quality batsman and they can be difficult to remove. Pity Australia didn't have a few more.

Will watch until lunch tonight then I'll have to hit the hay. If England win please don't advise me as I'll be sulking.
  #479  
Old 09-08-2019, 07:21 AM
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McGrath took over 500 wickets, Lillee 350 and both knew a bit about the game but even their Mums never considered them as captaincy candidates.

Warne took even more and his Mum did, but then she gave him diuretics prior to CWC 2003.

Not a word I’ve heard or read about Broad in 15 years has suggested he had leadership potential.

And if AUS are silly enough to pick 5 left handers in their top order then 1) patently ENG needs a plan and 2) it is working very well.

But when you are judging live an LBW appeal you check out the keeper’s movements. When Bairstow takes one and a half skips down the legside you have a good idea where the guy with the greatest vested interest thinks it is going. Broad isn’t getting LBWs by hitting off stump. You might remember Warner getting a life with a delivery shown to be clipping leg stump the nobody appealed for. Umpires of the past would not have given out on what is umpires call. The current crop are not giving benefit of doubt and hoping DRS will make the decision for them.

And to further demonstrate my contrariness, if I had to pick only one of the Big Three to bat for my team I’d pick Kholi, though Williamson is the best captain.

Last edited by penultima thule; 09-08-2019 at 07:21 AM.
  #480  
Old 09-08-2019, 08:00 AM
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But when you are judging live an LBW appeal you check out the keeperís movements. When Bairstow takes one and a half skips down the legside you have a good idea where the guy with the greatest vested interest thinks it is going. Broad isnít getting LBWs by hitting off stump. You might remember Warner getting a life with a delivery shown to be clipping leg stump the nobody appealed for. Umpires of the past would not have given out on what is umpires call. The current crop are not giving benefit of doubt and hoping DRS will make the decision for them.
None of this matters in the slightest. Was the ball going to hit any of the three stumps in the umpire's judgement? If yes, give him out. Who cares whether he is getting them by hitting off stump, at the base, on the bails, at the outer edge, on middle and off or anywhere else?

DRS has been fantastic in my view, simply for waking umpires up to the fact that more is out than they previously thought. The game is already too heavily weighted to the batsmen. Get them triggered - they don't deserve the benefit of the doubt, when we've years of evidence from DRS that balls they previously thought weren't going on to hit the stumps were going on to take out leg stump half way up - or the left arm spinner is effectively straightening the ball to take out middle pole (another area that umps never used to give but have had their error corrected).

As for Broad - and to repeat myself for the third time - the cupboard is that bare, there's no one else to do it, it's a bad situation but not as bad as letting a bad captain continue to captain badly. People assumed Botham would be a good captain - he wasn't. No one really thought Morgan would be a good captain, turned out he is (at least in white ball cricket).
  #481  
Old 09-08-2019, 09:14 AM
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But when you are judging live an LBW appeal you check out the keeperís movements. When Bairstow takes one and a half skips down the legside you have a good idea where the guy with the greatest vested interest thinks it is going. Broad isnít getting LBWs by hitting off stump. You might remember Warner getting a life with a delivery shown to be clipping leg stump the nobody appealed for. Umpires of the past would not have given out on what is umpires call. The current crop are not giving benefit of doubt and hoping DRS will make the decision for them.
I've got to say, I don't quite understand the point you're trying to make here.

Is Broad getting more wickets with DRS than he would have gotten without it? Most likely, yes. But every wicket that he takes is someone who was, according to the laws of the game, actually out. I'm now sure how and why Broad should be singled out as a beneficiary of a system that (a) is showing us how bad umpires are at judging many LBW appeals, and (b) applies to all bowlers, and not just to Broad.

The underlying argument here seems to be that cricket was better when we let the umpires make the decisions, and lived with the fact that their human error was part of the game. I understand that position, and indeed I used to lean that way myself. But as time goes on, I've come to accept that, the more correct decisions get made, the better the game will be, and if having more correct decisions requires relying a bit more on systems like DRS, I'm happy to live with that.

The same thing's been happening with baseball here in the states, where some people want to move to a system where technology calls balls and strikes. The technology itself allows us to see how bad umpires sometimes are at this. If their errors were completely random and always affected all teams similarly, it might be acceptable to leave the human error in play, but just about every long-range statistical study of officiating in sports show that umpires' errors are much more likely to favor the home team.

None of this is intended as a slight on umpires, or a comment on their integrity. They have an incredibly difficult job, and the studies suggest that home-team "favoritism" among umpires is almost completely unconscious and unintentional. I completely understand why Joel Wilson gave Ben Stokes not out against Lyon at the end of the third test, even though the replay showed him to be out. In some ways, baseball umpires have a consistently harder job, because for almost every pitch, they have to judge exactly where a ball goes and compare it to an imaginary box drawn in mid-air. And it's a different size for each batter.
  #482  
Old 09-08-2019, 01:46 PM
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Australia have retained the Ashes, and England have to win the next one to draw the series.

Not sure I see them doing it. The Test we won was against an Australia that was weakened without Smith and required one of the best innings ever to achieve. They are undoubtedly going to mess with the batting order again in some way, and so the England test shit show will march on.
  #483  
Old 09-08-2019, 02:37 PM
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3-1 seems about fair to be honest. If we'd have got a draw here, it would be been unwarranted. A draw and then winning at The Oval would have been daylight robbery. Interesting to see what England do from here - there are nominally Test Championship points on the line in the final game, the possibility of at least not losing the series and so on. Equally, Australia will be going full bore for their first Test series win up here since 2001. Not sure it's the time to just chuck in new faces - on the other hand, why keep going with guys that aren't going to make it? I think, on balance, I would advocate changes for the 5th Test, primarily at 2 and 3 (pushing Root back to 4).
  #484  
Old 09-08-2019, 03:58 PM
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Abdul Qadir died suddenly.
https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_...r-dies-aged-63

While I suspect the name will elicit a blank from most people here, he played many years for Pakistan as a leggie. Over 200 wickets and won several test matches.
Before Wasim and Waqar came through, he was Imran Khans principal backup as strike bowler.
One of the sporting heroes of my teenage years. And backing him against the conventional wisdom ran up Imranís stock in my books no end.

Even his (largely unjustified) confidence in his batting ability was somehow endearing.
  #485  
Old 09-08-2019, 04:36 PM
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[QUOTE=Cumbrian;21848097]3-1 seems about fair to be honest. If we'd have got a draw here, it would be been unwarranted. A draw and then winning at The Oval would have been daylight robbery.QUOTE]

I rarely disagree with you, but I don't buy this as a concept, generally speaking. OK, New Zealand deserved to share the World Cup - that was a big exception. But England deserved to win at Headingley. Australia deserved to win if they didn't waste a review or if Lyon doesn't crack under pressure. But that's not how things turned out. Also, England were well on top of the drawn match and could easily have won that given just a bit more time. OK, Smith was absent - but as has been pointed out, if your team is heavily dependent on one player, and they get injured, do you 'deserve' to win? See also: Glen McGrath.

If England had managed to bat out the overs today, the result would absolutely be warranted. And if that were followed by a winning performance at the Oval, why would they not deserve to win the Ashes?

Anyway, the main point of course is Australia have clearly been the better team thus far and do in fact deserve to retain the urn. I want to see England do all they can to square the series at the Oval. Unfortunately I have no idea how that might be achieved.

ETA: a road like pitch so we can try to score as many as Smith?

Last edited by Dead Cat; 09-08-2019 at 04:37 PM.
  #486  
Old 09-08-2019, 05:46 PM
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Dead Cat, I think I agree with Cumbrian rather than your take. Australia has been the better team for 75% of the time (not saying they are a good team by any means). Your post is littered with "ifs" rather slanted one way. If England has more time they could have won, if England had batted the time they deserved a draw, if (Australia) is dependent on one player you don't deserve to win.

Anyway, wouldn't be much of a series if we all agreed.

See Root has come out and said his team can be proud of the determination etc they showed. It may just be a "Rally round the flag" speech (although not exactly Henry V stuff) but his team has been bowled out for under 200, losing 8 wickets for 170.
  #487  
Old 09-09-2019, 12:17 AM
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My most vivid memory of Abdul Qadir is this 2010 article about his stint with Carlton in 1998. He was obviously playing against a lower standard of opposition but still did some remarkable things at 43.
  #488  
Old 09-09-2019, 12:25 AM
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That's a great article about a great man.
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Old 09-09-2019, 01:33 AM
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Dead Cat, I think I agree with Cumbrian rather than your take. Australia has been the better team for 75% of the time (not saying they are a good team by any means). Your post is littered with "ifs" rather slanted one way. If England has more time they could have won, if England had batted the time they deserved a draw, if (Australia) is dependent on one player you don't deserve to win.
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.
  #490  
Old 09-09-2019, 02:57 AM
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Interesting comments here from ESPN about the Ashes series.
  #491  
Old 09-09-2019, 04:21 AM
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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.
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:39 AM
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Interesting comments here from ESPN about the Ashes series.
Yeah - I am a disciple of George Dobell, so it's unsurprising that I agree with the vast majority of that and have battered on at length here about several features of the latter half of the article. Just so as you know I don't have any original ideas...
  #493  
Old 09-09-2019, 05:17 AM
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I don't think we disagree on all that much (though surely Burns would get into the composite side, he's been by far the best opener in the series, though that's not saying much). My point is mainly that England deserved to win at Headingley, they were only 'lucky' insofar as they got a helpful decision on that lbw (which while Hawkeye said it was out, I believe it's still unclear as to whether the ball may in fact have straightened on clipping the front pad). The rest of it, while unusual (and to use your term, probably not repeatable), was not luck, it was skill by Stokes and poor play by Australia (burning the review, Lyon dropping the ball). Australia played really well for 90% of the game to reach a position in which they win 99% of the time, then blew it.

Now, I share your disappointment and frustration at what might, if you're feeling very generous, be called the inconsistency of the England side. Added to that is their complete failure to take any sort of momentum from the Stokes miracle. And I don't particularly blame the players - no doubt they are preparing as well as they can, doing their best etc. The fault lies elsewhere, as we have discussed ad nauseam. But sport is a results business, and I don't think England needed to be 'substantially' better to get a draw yesterday - they just needed to bat slightly better than they managed in the first innings (admittedly on a deteriorating pitch, but still, it wasn't really Lyon that did the damage, was it?). I know I'm one for foolish optimism, but if one can take anything positive at all from the game, it's that they at least batted out 90+ overs, getting well into the evening session - I was actually expecting it to be over shortly after lunch. So I think there is a bit of progress there. It still isn't good enough, but as you say, the Aussie bowling attack is actually pretty good.
  #494  
Old 09-09-2019, 05:46 AM
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Burns would obviously be in a composite side - in point of fact the top 3 would probably all be English because the Australian top order have been terrible. Stokes and Broad are the only others that would get in the side. The series has been won from 4 down though, since both sides have had a fairly bad time of it at the top of the innings - the odd innings from Burns and Root aside.

Burns is someone who has exhibited a level of self awareness and graft that could probably do with being replicated elsewhere in the England side. He was awful against Ireland, so went away and fixed his failing coming forward, rode his luck to get a ton at Edgbaston but has subsequently seen a lot of short deliveries, and in the gap between Headingley and Old Trafford, went back to work out how he was going to play that, and did will in the first innings here. He is willing to work on his game in a way that several of England's batsmen seem unwilling to do. Burns is not going to let his opportunity go by without fighting for it tooth and nail. He's not out of the woods yet, I would say (he's going to see nothing in his own half from Kagiso Rabada this winter for instance) but it's pleasing to see someone rectify their faults and put shots away that are going to get them out. This is old school thinking and I like it. It's not good enough that several of the rest of the side aren't doing this.

In one, limited, sense, you are right. If you don't take the 20 wickets required, you don't "deserve" to win a Test match. On the other hand, if this were boxing, Australia would be going away on points in pretty much all the matches and Headingley would be a wide points victory for Australia overturned with a Rocky like last round knockout.

Last edited by Cumbrian; 09-09-2019 at 05:49 AM.
  #495  
Old 09-09-2019, 10:09 AM
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Again, we largely agree, and as always your analysis is much better than what I can offer. My last word on the subject is that it wouldn't be sport if upsets didn't happen, and in many upsets the underdog does indeed deserve their victory. But over a series of 5 matches, the superior side will triumph much more often than in one-off contests, and so it has proved here.
  #496  
Old 09-09-2019, 12:15 PM
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Elsewhere in world cricket, fantastic news as Afghanistan record their first Test win - against Bangladesh - and in grand style too; a 224 run victory is a pretty good hiding.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/...angladesh-2019

11-104 for Rashid Khan in the match and, as noted above, solid stuff from Rahmat and Asghar to set up the game in the first innings.

Last edited by Cumbrian; 09-09-2019 at 12:16 PM.
  #497  
Old 09-09-2019, 12:22 PM
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Elsewhere in world cricket, fantastic news as Afghanistan record their first Test win - against Bangladesh - and in grand style too; a 224 run victory is a pretty good hiding.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/...angladesh-2019

11-104 for Rashid Khan in the match and, as noted above, solid stuff from Rahmat and Asghar to set up the game in the first innings.
It is, in fact, their second Test win, since they beat Ireland.

Afghanistan have played 3 test matches and won 2 of them, a record equalled only by Australia's early efforts. Bangladesh have lost their first test against every opposition that they've played.

They got a bit lucky with the weather too - the got an over or two in early, but then it rained all day and instead of a full day to get the 4 wickets they needed, they only had about an hour. But they got them!
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Old 09-09-2019, 12:51 PM
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Good work - serves me right for not checking that stat.

Last edited by Cumbrian; 09-09-2019 at 12:51 PM.
  #499  
Old 09-09-2019, 05:43 PM
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Yeah - I am a disciple of George Dobell, so it's unsurprising that I agree with the vast majority of that and have battered on at length here about several features of the latter half of the article. Just so as you know I don't have any original ideas...
Well Dobell's thoughts on Roots' press conference were the same as my own- and I hadn't seen the article at the time. Great minds (or fools never differ).
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:31 AM
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I heard that England are unchanged which is rather surprising, although I don't know what the alternatives are. Warner seems certain to remain for Australia, so it may be Patterson in for someone- possibly Cummins? He has done a fair bit of bowling, but in the context of past series, hardly onerous.
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