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  #51  
Old 09-10-2018, 06:46 AM
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Teuton Teuton is offline
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Cook tons up, Root still on 81. Scoring coming quicker now, they will presumably declare sometime after tea and see what India can do.

Well played, Chef.
  #52  
Old 09-10-2018, 06:49 AM
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What a way to do it!
  #53  
Old 09-10-2018, 07:57 AM
Stanislaus Stanislaus is offline
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Fairytale stuff, but what's the point of sport if it doesn't deliver that kind of thing every so often?

BEtween the scoreline and the crowd's focus on Cook rather than the game as such, it's going to be an otherwise anticlimactic finish to a good series unless India can rouse themselves. A shame for them to finish 4-1 because they've been better than that and England have been worse.
  #54  
Old 09-10-2018, 08:33 AM
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Boy, is Cook showing us what we're going to miss.

As for the series, it is perhaps unkind to say that England's deficiencies have been masked by India's worse ones, but there is some truth in it. Extras probably has a better average than most of the England team, thanks to some wayward bowling and suspect keeping from India. More charitably, one of India's stars (Ashwin) has clearly been injured for much of the time and England have benefited from several fine individual performances at crucial times when it really mattered (Woakes, Buttler, Curran, Moeen, Cook & Root today). As you say, 4-1 will really flatter them and hopefully doesn't lead the players/coaches to think they are better than they really are. This Test does seem like a missed opportunity to pop Burns in at number 3 (basically equivalent to opening the way Jennings is at the moment), probably dropping Broad or Anderson, assuming any egos that need it can be smoothed over. Oh well.
  #55  
Old 09-11-2018, 05:45 AM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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Really pleased for Cook, he seems like a thoroughly good guy and if anyone "deserves" to go out like that it's him.
The only thing to cap it would be for Jimmy to take the last wicket of the match that beats McGrath's record, a classic late in-swinger to the feet that holds its line and gets nicked to Cook who snaffles it gratefully.
The last action of of the test, the series and his career. If the cricket gods have any sense of poetry, that'll be how it happens.
  #56  
Old 09-11-2018, 12:15 PM
Dead Cat Dead Cat is offline
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Well, it wasn't far off, but Anderson selfishly took middle stump rather than the edge of the bat.

An excellent series all round (not so much for India fans, perhaps), certainly a great advert for Test cricket - long may it continue.
  #57  
Old 09-12-2018, 01:58 PM
Cumbrian Cumbrian is offline
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So...

I was there. Tickets to Days 1-4 at The Oval meant I didn't get to see the end but I was there for Cook's last innings, the ton, the ovation, the wicket, the walk off. One of those moments where "I was there" will be enough I think - one to talk about in my dotage at least. Day 4 in particular might be the most memorable, if not quite the best, day of cricket I've ever seen live in the ground. The atmosphere as Cook neared his ton was unlike anything I've ever been in. Everyone was willing him on and as the bowler ran up for every delivery in his 90s, the crowd went silent. Generally, regardless of the state of play, there will be some background noise, ranging from a murmur, through a burble all the way up to a roar. Not on Monday. You could literally have heard a pin drop. It was like no one wanted to breath in the wrong way, in case it all went wrong. I think I might remember that more than the ovation at the ton, which I can only describe as vaguely Stalinist - no one wanted to be the first to stop clapping and sit back down, like the KGB were going to note your name in some ledger. So on it went, for what seemed like forever at the time.

Have held off talking about this all series. I think we've learned almost nothing in this series. All the problems that England had in the recent past are still there, waiting to be corrected and, in some cases, have got worse. Cook was not in the best of form for some time, and this is probably the right moment to go in that respect I think, but we've never found anyone to bat with him since Strauss retired and now we've got to replace him as well. 3 is currently the black hole where hope goes to die in the England line up. We're massively reliant on a 36 year old for our front line bowling. Rashid is incredibly expensive, so can't bowl in tight games/without run support (which we're not going to find without a strong foundation at the top of the order) and Mo can't bowl effectively abroad, so our spin attack is probably not in great shape either. Curran has confounded my expectations - I thought he might not have enough to make it (and he still might not) but he's got guts and seems to think more than some of the other guys we've had out there in the recent past. Buttler is a talent, and I guess I have to hold my hand up and say I was wrong about him playing red ball cricket too, but, honestly, you could pick any number of players from 4-8 in the England line up and the results are likely to be the same. The lower middle order won us this series - it's not that we had better batting than India necessarily; we just had more of it. I'd like us to not be 100-4 every fucking game though.

So still loads to put right then. Burns deserves his crack - don't think any other English qualified batsman has scored 1000 first class runs in each of the last 5 years - but be prepared for him to look ugly as hell if he starts playing for England; seen plenty of him down The Oval and he scores lots but a classicist he is not. There's a couple of pace bowlers in the championship that are worth a look in the series coming up I think (Olly Stone, Jamie Overton), simply to start looking at what the succession plan might be, and I'd definitely get Leach and Bess back into the squad to go to Sri Lanka, so we can drop Rashid if he keeps being incredibly expensive. Mo at 3 is a disaster waiting to happen against Starc, Hazelwood etc next summer, as he's not good with pace. We could really do with someone coming good at 3. No bloody clue who this will be though. Burns is going to get in mainly due to the exhaustion of all other viable options - some of the guys who might have been given debuts have regressed over the last couple of years (Bell-Drummond, Gubbins) and we're probably about 18 months away from the heartbreaking "Whatever Happened To Haseeb Hameed?" article in the press up here. I've watched a lot of county cricket over the last 3-4 years and I can't come up with a name that I think has any realistic chance of sticking at 3...

The Indian pace attack is the best seam up attack that has been brought up here in some time I think. Collectively, I thought they were excellent, especially when Bumrah came back into the team, and I have, in particular, a lot of time for Mohammad Shami who bowled probably the best 0-fer I've ever seen at The Oval in the first innings (I think - can't remember him taking a wicket until the 2nd innings anyway); God alone knows what they'd have been able to do if Bhuvi Kumar had been fit to provide them with the swing attack to replicate Anderson. They also had the best batsman on show by a bloody mile and I thought Pujara was better than anyone that played in the top 3 for England over the course of the series, even though he also failed a fair amount too (maybe I am a bit harsh on the openers on both sides - it was damn hard out there by the looks of things, given conditions and the quality of the bowling). 4-1 though. How did it happen?

Pundits are talking about them losing the little moments - and that's probably right - but I thought they were by turns unlucky (getting the worst of the conditions to bat in, twice, at Lord's and then it being brilliant batting conditions when England batted was particularly unfortunate, losing 5 tosses in a row won't help either) but also poorly captained (an example being the utter let off Kohli gave England on the 2nd morning at The Oval - 190ish for 7, he let England out by poor field placement allowing Buttler and Broad to rotate the strike too easily for the 9th wicket, and moved away from a short attack to Broad who can no longer play it, got a broken rib for his pleasure and looked like he was going to get out to the next short delivery he got). If rumours are to be believed, Kohli also has a key hand in selection and some of those were...odd? Jadeja should have played for more than he did, Pandya wasn't much cop, Vihari should have been in the side far earlier too and I've no idea why they persisted with the openers that they had, when Shaw, one of the bright young up and comers of world cricket was sat there waiting for a debut. India could have helped themselves far more than they did; it sounds odd to say in a series they lost 4-1 but I really think they let this one slip.

If India are serious about being the best side in world cricket they have to start winning matches away from home. Their seam bowlers will give Australia something to think about in their next overseas trip but they'll need more runs.

England need to find three batsmen and bowling depth. Despite winning 4-1 here, I don't think the upper echelon sides will be too wary of them, certainly when England have to travel, and Australia will look at this series and think, we can get them next year.

Last edited by Cumbrian; 09-12-2018 at 02:01 PM.
  #58  
Old 09-13-2018, 10:45 AM
Dead Cat Dead Cat is offline
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Great post, as usual - thanks. I remember Boycott having some typically harsh words to say in commentary on both captains, but Kohli in particular, and I think that criticism is fair. Similar problem to England when Cook was captain - the best batsman was also the captain, and wasn't terribly good at the latter but there were no obvious candidates to replace them. In fact, you could say the same of England right now.

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Originally Posted by Cumbrian View Post
Burns deserves his crack - don't think any other English qualified batsman has scored 1000 first class runs in each of the last 5 years - but be prepared for him to look ugly as hell if he starts playing for England; seen plenty of him down The Oval and he scores lots but a classicist he is not.
Does this suggest that test-quality bowling will brutally expose flaws in technique, as we have seen so often in the past (and present), e.g. Vince, Jennings, Bairstow?

I too fear for us against Australia even if Anderson and Broad can remain fit and in form, as we simply don't get enough top order runs to compete. But the current Australia team is hardly full of greats, is it? Aren't they rather in transition as well?
  #59  
Old 09-13-2018, 01:41 PM
merrick merrick is offline
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Great post, Cumbrian, and I envy you for getting to see it live.
Agree with most of what you say, though I think you may be a bit hard on Rashid - he went for 3.5 an over in this series, which is hardly excessive and got 10 wickets in 87 overs, including Kohli twice. But the main point stands - he produces the occasional magic ball but too much ordinary stuff. England suffer from having no-one but Anderson who offers control.
For the rest, I'd say England have if anything gone backwards. Curran and Buttler are plusses, but England already had a hard-hitting wicketkeeper and plenty of seam-bowling all-rounders. Meanwhile Cook is gone, Malan (who looked to have cracked it in Australia) has sunk out of sight, Pope is the latest batting flop and the cupboard is very bare.

Word is that Broad may miss out on at least the Sri Lanka trip because the management wants to take 3 spinners and give some of the young seam bowlers a chance. I'm not sure I'd want to give a pace bowler a debut in Sri Lanka - 30C heat, tropical humidity and a pitch offering the seamers nothing is hardly a fair chance.

Boycott was suggesting that if England want to promote an all-rounder to No.3, Stokes is a better option than Moeen or Bairstow because he's learned to play straighter. He was also tipping Liam Livingstone as an opener - apparently he did well in Sri Lanka on the last A tour.

As for India, it's alleged they were underprepared (only one red-ball match before the tests). Kohli and the seam bowlers did everything that could have been asked of them, Ashwin was off form and they took too long to bring in Jadeja but ultimately the rest of the top order gave them too little, too late. Which has been a consistent problem for India outside the subcontinent. One theory is that they tend to pick batsmen on the basis of performances in India - where they're all-but-unbeatable - rather looking for techniques that will hold up in all conditions.
  #60  
Old 09-14-2018, 05:19 AM
Cumbrian Cumbrian is offline
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Does this suggest that test-quality bowling will brutally expose flaws in technique, as we have seen so often in the past (and present), e.g. Vince, Jennings, Bairstow?

I too fear for us against Australia even if Anderson and Broad can remain fit and in form, as we simply don't get enough top order runs to compete. But the current Australia team is hardly full of greats, is it? Aren't they rather in transition as well?
On Burns: I don't know what it suggests to be honest. I thought Stoneman, having seen him a lot, had a nice compact style and had worked out the shots that were going to get him out and stopped playing them. Then he took a step up and got exposed. Meanwhile both Graeme and Steve Smith are not exactly elegant batsmen but they score(d) lots of runs. I don't know whether style is a predictor of success - what I will say is that if Burns gets into a bad trot, he's going to look really bad when he does, and some of these judgements being what they are, be prepared for people to climb into him primarily because of his unorthodox look.

Australia - I reckon, at least at the moment - will present similar sorts of challenges to India this summer, except with more pace in the bowling unit. For Bumrah, Sharma, Shami, Ashwin/Jadeja read Starc, Cummins, Hazelwood, Lyon and you can see, unless we find someone or the current guys hit rich veins of form, similar problems for our batting order. Elsewhere, yes, it seems that they are a bit in transition too - but they've also got their own Kohli who will be back available from his ball tampering ban, so they're likely to have the best batsmen on show again. It's only going to take one or two of their other bats to show - or Australia winning tosses that India didn't, and, transition or not, you can envisage England being right up against it. The reverse may well be true - but given past history, I have more faith in Australia finding batsmen that will succeed than England (this may be my pessimism speaking though).
  #61  
Old 09-14-2018, 05:44 AM
Cumbrian Cumbrian is offline
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Great post, Cumbrian, and I envy you for getting to see it live.
Agree with most of what you say, though I think you may be a bit hard on Rashid - he went for 3.5 an over in this series, which is hardly excessive and got 10 wickets in 87 overs, including Kohli twice. But the main point stands - he produces the occasional magic ball but too much ordinary stuff. England suffer from having no-one but Anderson who offers control.
For the rest, I'd say England have if anything gone backwards. Curran and Buttler are plusses, but England already had a hard-hitting wicketkeeper and plenty of seam-bowling all-rounders. Meanwhile Cook is gone, Malan (who looked to have cracked it in Australia) has sunk out of sight, Pope is the latest batting flop and the cupboard is very bare.

Word is that Broad may miss out on at least the Sri Lanka trip because the management wants to take 3 spinners and give some of the young seam bowlers a chance. I'm not sure I'd want to give a pace bowler a debut in Sri Lanka - 30C heat, tropical humidity and a pitch offering the seamers nothing is hardly a fair chance.

Boycott was suggesting that if England want to promote an all-rounder to No.3, Stokes is a better option than Moeen or Bairstow because he's learned to play straighter. He was also tipping Liam Livingstone as an opener - apparently he did well in Sri Lanka on the last A tour.

As for India, it's alleged they were underprepared (only one red-ball match before the tests). Kohli and the seam bowlers did everything that could have been asked of them, Ashwin was off form and they took too long to bring in Jadeja but ultimately the rest of the top order gave them too little, too late. Which has been a consistent problem for India outside the subcontinent. One theory is that they tend to pick batsmen on the basis of performances in India - where they're all-but-unbeatable - rather looking for techniques that will hold up in all conditions.
Just to start with praise for Rashid - he's a bloody good one day bowler and I'd rather have him on our side than not accordingly. I'm not convinced those economy rate figures over the course of the series tell the whole story though. Once you get into the specifics of the game and you see how and when he was used, I think my scepticism of him is justified.

For example: in Test 4, he went at 2.7 in the first innings and 3 in the second. These seem like good figures on their face. But in the first innings, he bowled the bulk of his overs at the tail (who arguably shouldn't be hammering him all over the place) and in the second, his econ of 3 represents the joint worst (along with Jimmy) of all the bowlers on his side, in a run chase that was definitely achievable. Meanwhile Mo is offering control and ragging it square, so he effectively became unusable. In the 5th Test, you can make a good case he won the game for England by getting the two centurions - but he got at least one of them in the way that he gets his one day wickets (i.e. slogged to the boundary) and went at 4 an over throughout the innings. As much as he might have won them the game, he was also part of the reason why it got a lot closer than it perhaps should have done.

Some of this is "not his fault". As I mentioned, if his top order actually put up some bloody runs once in a while, you can afford to try and buy wickets and use him as a strike bowler, rather than a controlling option. Without this though, he becomes a luxury England can ill afford. A better balanced side would likely make him look much better.

I realise that we've been spoiled a little in the recent past. Swann was a poor man's Warne - inasmuch as he was capable of both attacking and offering control - which was a major reason why England were pretty successful with him in the side. I'm probably asking for the moon on a stick, but we need spinners who offer control and attack. I don't think Rashid is one of those. Too many long hops and full tosses. Leach, at county level, seems to be of this ilk and I thought he was a little unlucky to get injured after making his debut in NZ, which I thought looked quite encouraging.

I am a little biased on Pope - as a member at Surrey I have seen him come through the ranks over the last couple of years and consequently rate him highly. Even still, I think he's been a little unfortunate. He spent most of his time at Surrey batting at 6 and was asked to come in and bat 4 in a team routinely sending him out in the first 10 overs, which is not his role - at least not now. He was teed up for failure in my view. He'll come again - he's extremely talented, a bedrock of this season's county championship winning side and only 20 - but with Root putting his foot down and moving back down to 4, plus the huge number of bats we have that can play between 5-8, he won't be getting back into the side any time soon, I would say, especially since his dropping, he's gone back to Surrey and started playing 4 all the time (in an effort to get him the experience and build him up for a role higher up the order - of course, the captain is at 4 now, so good luck with that).

Livingstone is an odd one. They took him on tour to NZ and then didn't play him and he's not even been mentioned since. I wonder whether they just didn't like the look of him, spotted a glaring flaw, or he was a difficult personality. Lancashire have struggled this season, and he has too, but what little I have seen of him, he looks decent. England can't afford to jettison players willy nilly in their top order at the moment - I'd hope he's still on the radar.

I think India's acclimatisation process was pretty woeful and if they'd prepared properly, they might well have beaten us. Some of this is the calendar's fault, some of it is their board's fault for not doing more (and reducing the one warm up game they did have by a day) but they're not the only ones. England's time in country around some of their tours is limited, as are many other countries', and I think it's one of the reasons it's so hard to win away from home. Boards would rather have more T20s and ODIs to fill the coffers, than the touring team playing up country to put on a good show in the Tests.
  #62  
Old 09-14-2018, 06:16 AM
Dead Cat Dead Cat is offline
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In the 5th Test, you can make a good case he won the game for England by getting the two centurions - but he got at least one of them in the way that he gets his one day wickets (i.e. slogged to the boundary) and went at 4 an over throughout the innings. As much as he might have won them the game, he was also part of the reason why it got a lot closer than it perhaps should have done.

Some of this is "not his fault". As I mentioned, if his top order actually put up some bloody runs once in a while, you can afford to try and buy wickets and use him as a strike bowler, rather than a controlling option.
Not to invalidate your point, but this is a little unfair - England had such a big lead in that final innings of the series that he could afford to bowl in this way, as that was the right way to win the game. India didn't get all that close - we were always going to ship a few runs in the second 40 overs of their innings, but we were safe in the knowledge that the new ball was coming in plenty of time to mop up the last four wickets (though in fact, didn't Root delay the new ball until the partnership was broken? Smart captaincy, that - avoided the new ball being smashed around the park by two set batsmen - and he had the bowler to make the tactic worthwhile, in Rashid). Even if India had got to 400 before being all out, I think the takeaway from that would be a well-judged declaration rather than "ooh, that was close, better wait until we are 500 ahead next time", as the latter thinking will cost you far more wins than losses. Even 464 looked pretty conservative at the time, though Root has form of course and clearly doesn't want a second declaration-induced loss on his record.

Having said all that, your general point that Rashid is at his best when the top order actually make runs is well made, and given the latter isn't happening he does become a luxury - which is a bit unfair on him. Remember he got a few good runs with the bat, as well. On the sub-continent we are going to need to take 3 spinners and it seems hard to make a case for him not being one of them.
  #63  
Old 09-14-2018, 06:20 AM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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All good points I think but to be honest, I'm not really seeing any test team at the moment really standing out home and away. Just looking over the last couple of years for series results and the theme emerges pretty clearly. All test teams are struggling away from home.

England have their limitations for sure but I really don't know how to judge their struggles in comparison to all the other test playing nations. Was our series loss in India that much worse than their series loss here? Too many variables of course (as there always is......hell, it's cricket) but I suppose what it does do is leave the field pretty pretty open for any of the big guns to step forward. If any of them do start to boss a series away from home their elevation to no.1 status is assured.
  #64  
Old 09-14-2018, 11:17 AM
Cumbrian Cumbrian is offline
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Not to invalidate your point, but this is a little unfair - England had such a big lead in that final innings of the series that he could afford to bowl in this way, as that was the right way to win the game. India didn't get all that close - we were always going to ship a few runs in the second 40 overs of their innings, but we were safe in the knowledge that the new ball was coming in plenty of time to mop up the last four wickets (though in fact, didn't Root delay the new ball until the partnership was broken? Smart captaincy, that - avoided the new ball being smashed around the park by two set batsmen - and he had the bowler to make the tactic worthwhile, in Rashid). Even if India had got to 400 before being all out, I think the takeaway from that would be a well-judged declaration rather than "ooh, that was close, better wait until we are 500 ahead next time", as the latter thinking will cost you far more wins than losses. Even 464 looked pretty conservative at the time, though Root has form of course and clearly doesn't want a second declaration-induced loss on his record.

Having said all that, your general point that Rashid is at his best when the top order actually make runs is well made, and given the latter isn't happening he does become a luxury - which is a bit unfair on him. Remember he got a few good runs with the bat, as well. On the sub-continent we are going to need to take 3 spinners and it seems hard to make a case for him not being one of them.
Maybe I am a bit harsh - and I brought up the example so I should probably defend it - but before I do, and noting that you essentially wind up agreeing with me in your second paragraph, it's worth saying how little Rashid bowled in the Indian chases at Edgbaston and Southampton, both of which were more manageable than the Oval chase. It seems pretty clear that everyone knows what the book on Rashid is, even his captain, and he's not going to get used in those sort of tight chases because of his tendency to lift the pressure. At the moment, at Test level, he's a luxury player given the balance elsewhere in the side. To always be in it, he has to tighten up.

On paper, the chase at The Oval was straightforward and England had plenty of runs in hand. I think the faces on the field at the time and the interviews afterwards tell a different story. Root, Anderson and Ali (I think) all confessed to being a little worried about the way Rahul and Pant were going. They shouldn't be more conservative with their declarations, I'd agree. Nevertheless, they declared in attacking fashion against the Windies last year and got beaten and, with Rashid going at the rate he was, he cannot have been far off being removed from the attack before he took those wickets, in favour of hiding the ball outside off stump and trying to settle for the draw. So yes, "they were never going to get it" but I'm not sure the players in the middle were thinking like that - which makes it closer than it looked in my book.

They have to take 3 spinners on tour to SL (and possibly WI too - their wickets have been slower and lower than when their pace attack was in their pomp) but I cannot see them playing three in the same side. We're already carrying 6 bowlers in the latest line up, so adding one on top and dropping a batsmen will leave not enough overs to credibly go around and I can't see who of Anderson, Broad (leaders of the attack), Curran (Player of the Series v India, critical lower order runs, roughs up both sides of the wicket by being left arm), Stokes (rightly or wrongly, a talisman), Ali (trying to fill the void at 3) or Rashid (leg spin variety) gets dropped, absent injury, for the 1st Test. They've just won 4-1 - they'll try and retain as many of the side as possible I would think.
  #65  
Old 09-14-2018, 11:24 AM
Cumbrian Cumbrian is offline
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Was our series loss in India that much worse than their series loss here?
Well, it depends what you mean by worse.

In terms of performatively worse: England drew the first Test and then got smashed in the remainder. They posted two of only 6 scores of 400 or more that resulted in an innings defeat, including the world record 1st innings score to then go down by an innings (revealing them to be short with the bat and unable to take wickets or contain the scoring rate with the ball). By contrast, India were credibly in two of the games that they lost and smashed us in the one that they won. Seems like they did better than we did.

Alternatively, if by worse you mean, it's psychologically worse, maybe this was a worse defeat. Given the above, India could have won this series and didn't. By that reading of the meaning of worse, it might well have been worse. After all, England never looked like winning the last series in India and essentially performed at expectations.

I look around world cricket and I see lots of good bowling attacks (or I see bowling attacks feasting on batsmen that are not Test match quality - I think there's only 5 or 6 active batsmen averaging 50+ right now - go back 10 years and there were many more). The first side that puts together 2 or 3 batsmen that know what they're doing in Test match cricket will start winning away from home, as their bowlers are likely to come to the party. India and Australia are likely closer than anyone else, simply because they have Kohli and Smith respectively. 2 more decent players to go alongside them and it should start slotting into place if they can a) keep the bowlers fit and b) formulate and execute good plans in the field to use them appropriately.
  #66  
Old 09-14-2018, 11:59 AM
Dead Cat Dead Cat is offline
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I think we're largely in violent agreement, but:

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I think the faces on the field at the time and the interviews afterwards tell a different story. Root, Anderson and Ali (I think) all confessed to being a little worried about the way Rahul and Pant were going.
I haven't seen said interviews so not in the best position to comment, but I suspect a bit of magnanimity in victory - it's probably even part of their media training these days. Conversely, if they had lost they might have said things like "we bowled enough good balls to get them out but luck wasn't with us today", or some such. I mean yes, Rahul and Pant were hitting extremely well in the middle session, but to get to the target they would have had to have upped the rate significantly with the new ball. Certainly the odds of a draw tumbled in that session but they were never looking like better than 5/1 to actually win it.

Quote:
So yes, "they were never going to get it" but I'm not sure the players in the middle were thinking like that - which makes it closer than it looked in my book.
I suspect a bit of psychological weakness on the part of the England team plays a part there. Unlike when they were on their unbeaten run a couple of years ago, they now look a bit fragile - not surprising considering their batting and fielding (the bowling has often rescued them). I think Root and the coaching staff (and indeed all the players) deserve credit for motivating them sufficiently for the fifth test, after all, 3-2 would still have been a good result even at home. England have, historically, very rarely been able to keep their boot on the throat of teams having achieved a winning position in a series, the exception being 5-0 against Australia - probably because it was Australia, who have of course done the same to us many times. So this last victory could be very important psychologically. But until it was achieved, of course there were doubts. Of course, I'm an incorrigible optimist and following from afar, always felt the new ball would do for them in the end. Maybe next time, the players will believe that, too.

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They have to take 3 spinners on tour to SL (and possibly WI too - their wickets have been slower and lower than when their pace attack was in their pomp) but I cannot see them playing three in the same side. We're already carrying 6 bowlers in the latest line up, so adding one on top and dropping a batsmen will leave not enough overs to credibly go around and I can't see who of Anderson, Broad (leaders of the attack), Curran (Player of the Series v India, critical lower order runs, roughs up both sides of the wicket by being left arm), Stokes (rightly or wrongly, a talisman), Ali (trying to fill the void at 3) or Rashid (leg spin variety) gets dropped, absent injury, for the 1st Test. They've just won 4-1 - they'll try and retain as many of the side as possible I would think.
Agreed, what I was saying was that you (rightly) have some reservations about Rashid, but if you are going to play 2 spinners, who replaces him? The solution is to restore balance to the side by sorting out the top order (easier said than done, of course), so that Rashid becomes an affordable luxury.

My original point was not that you would play 3 spinners, but that of 3 spinners in the squad, there certainly aren't 2 others who would push Rashid out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cumbrian View Post
The first side that puts together 2 or 3 batsmen that know what they're doing in Test match cricket will start winning away from home, as their bowlers are likely to come to the party.
Let's not forget the amusing fact that Australia pretty much had this before the Warner/Smith shenanigans .
  #67  
Old 09-14-2018, 02:12 PM
merrick merrick is offline
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Originally Posted by Cumbrian View Post
I look around world cricket and I see lots of good bowling attacks (or I see bowling attacks feasting on batsmen that are not Test match quality - I think there's only 5 or 6 active batsmen averaging 50+ right now - go back 10 years and there were many more). The first side that puts together 2 or 3 batsmen that know what they're doing in Test match cricket will start winning away from home, as their bowlers are likely to come to the party.
I think it's hard to be sure because of the extreme home-field advantage we've been seeing in Test cricket the last few years. For all their batting issues, England's biggest problem in both India and Australia was that the bowling was toothless. If your bowlers are getting wickets but your batsmen aren't getting runs, you can always hope that one of yours has a good day or some of theirs have a bad one. If your bowlers can't take 20 wickets, then the best you can hope for is a draw - and batting out 4-5 sessions to save the game has never been easy.

I don't think that's gone away - which is why Rashid is important. I can't see Moeen bowling a side out even on a turning pitch in India or Sr Lanka and the side is overstocked in the sort of fast-medium seam/swing bowlers who infamously turn into pie-throwers when the pitch isn't seaming and the ball isn't swinging.

India, by contrast have a more-than-decent bowling unit for seam/swing-friendly conditions (not sure if the Indian seamers will be any more effective than the England ones in Australia, though - I suspect Ishant/Bumrah/Shami would like to take some of the English pitches with them, or at least a box of Dukes balls). Their problem has been that their batsmen can't get enough runs when the ball is moving around. They can play long innings - in India. They can bat in tricky conditions - in India. If necessary, their lower-middle order can bail them out from 150/5 - in India. It's not that they can't handle good bowling attacks (their home record over the last 10 years is something like W35 D13 L4, and they haven't done it just by skittling the opposition in dust bowls), it's that they can't handle them in unfamiliar conditions.

So have we just seen two very good seam attacks in favourable conditions - or a bunch of batsmen with faulty techniques?
  #68  
Old 09-14-2018, 03:01 PM
Novelty Bobble Novelty Bobble is offline
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Originally Posted by merrick View Post
So have we just seen two very good seam attacks in favourable conditions - or a bunch of batsmen with faulty techniques?
yes!
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