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Jeor

Cricket 37: Boycott's Grandma Probably Should Bat

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On 8/25/2019 at 8:01 PM, Paxter said:

Where do people rank that match? Better than the tied test? Botham’s test? Edgbaston ‘05? Eden Gardens?

I'd rank it behind the Edgbaston test in 2005. There was probably a little more drama yesterday to be honest but I think it's offset by the two teams in 2005 being a lot better than these sides. We only really got such a dramatic finish because of England's ineptitude in the first inning.

I will say that was probably the best test innings I've ever watched from Stokes though.

I saw article this from February referenced when talking about Stokes' innings ranking Kusal Perera's 153 against South Africa as the best test innings ever so I wonder how this would rate. I do have to say I'm not entirely convinced by the argument that the South African attack is better that Australia's in '99 or the West Indies' in '91 though. 

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Posted (edited)

I guess the argument in favour of Perera is that he was a touring batsman, playing in a weak team in foreign conditions. Stokes, Beefy, Lara and VVS (Mohali '10) were all playing at home in known conditions and with the crowd on their side.

The other classic chasing innings that comes to mind is Gilchrist's century against Pakistan in Tasmania. That was a seriously good Pakistani attack. 

I guess there are a few dimensions to the post-mortem here which complicates the debate(s):

  1. Where does this rank in terms of all-time great individual batting performances?
  2. Where does this rank in terms of all-time great individual chasing performances?
  3. Where does this rank in terms of all-time great Ashes test matches or test matches generally?
  4. Where does this rank in terms of all-time test comebacks?

Questions 2 and 4 are narrower and pretty easy - this is right up there or maybe even the best. Questions 1 and 3 are harder. Is this better than Beefy in '81? Is it better than VVS at Eden Gardens in '01?

Edited by Paxter

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1. I personally rate those batting suvival draws as higher in terms of batting performance. So Stokes doesn't get this one.

2. Definitely the best chasing performance I have watched (or remember....). Specially the power hitting, rotation with tail, pressure of saving the Ashes series. So Stokes gets this one.

3. Hard to judge this one as this one is so fresh. It will be one of the all time greats for sure. Top 5 in my book.

4. Top 3 comebacks in my book considering the second innings debacle. It feels the best because its so recent and the feelings/memories are fresh, but I probably forgot some cracking chases.

 

In other news, still heaps salty about the result :crying:

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7 hours ago, The Winged Shadow said:

In other news, still heaps salty about the result :crying:

I'm with you, TWS! I've avoided all the cricket news etc in the past week. I think that match has finally revealed my allegiance is to Australia, at least in an away Ashes series. I hope they go ahead and retain the Ashes now, although I don't expect they will - England are on a roll and will have Anderson coming back, as well as having Stokes and Archer at the peak of their powers and some of England's other batsmen (Root/Denly) figuring out how to play Test cricket innings again.

In terms of great Ashes Test matches, it's really hard to rank them. I do think that the top 3, in no particular order, will have to be Headingley 2019 (this one), Edgbaston 2005 and Leeds 1981 (the Botham/Willis Test). Maybe I'm biased against the most recent match because I didn't like the end result, albeit those other two did result in Australian losses as well!

Edgbaston 2005: I would argue that the chasing situation was actually worse than Headingley (needing over 100 runs with only 2 wickets in hand, and then 60 runs with only 1 wicket in hand) because there were zero specialist batsmen at the crease, whereas England always had Stokes. The last 100 runs at Edgbaston had to be made entirely by 9, 10 and 11 (Warne, Lee and Kasprowicz) and to get as close as they did (2 runs short) against a very good attack was very special. Also, the standard of the two sides was higher back in 2005.

Leeds 1981: The match situation here had more of an extreme turnaround than Headingley. While it's true England were bowled out for 67, they only conceded a 100 run lead, so until the last few wickets fell in the chase they were never way behind in the count. Whereas in Leeds they were basically dead and buried - after following on, England were 7/135 and still 92 runs away from even just making Australia bat again. Yet with only 3 wickets in hand, Botham went nuts, they set a total of 130 (still very low) and then Bob Willis blew Australia away with 8/43 for England to win by 18 runs.

I think Leeds takes the cake for the most unexpected victory (and it required career performances from two people, Botham and Willis), Edgbaston is probably the most heartbreaking match (to come so close against all the odds by tailenders) and Headingley is probably the best winning margin (by 1 wicket with 70 runs still needed).

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2 hours ago, Jeor said:

I'm with you, TWS! I've avoided all the cricket news etc in the past week. I think that match has finally revealed my allegiance is to Australia, at least in an away Ashes series. I hope they go ahead and retain the Ashes now, although I don't expect they will

Lol. As if your Australian allegiance was ever in doubt! The Aussies only need a single victory from the remaining matches to retain the Ashes - they are a very decent chance to do that with two matches remaining. It's like having a double chance in a knockout tournament.  

I wonder whether England will pick Anderson. The spectre of the Edgbaston match (playing with four bowlers for most of the five days) will weigh heavily on the decision. And Woakes does add a little bit of extra spine to the batting order.

The other big call for England is what to do with Roy and Buttler. Denly is safe now (nooooo!) but England is basically getting nothing from those two players at the moment. 

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1 minute ago, Paxter said:

I wonder whether England will pick Anderson. The spectre of the Edgbaston match (playing with four bowlers for most of the five days) will weigh heavily on the decision. And Woakes does add a little bit of extra spine to the batting order. 

The other big call for England is what to do with Roy and Buttler. Denly is safe now (nooooo!) but England is basically getting nothing from those two players at the moment. 

You would think they'd have to pick Anderson. He's had even more time to prove himself fit, and as long as he passes their (probably more rigorous this time around) fitness test then you'd pick him. He's a world-class performer and although it's harsh on Woakes to drop him, a pace attack of Broad/Anderson/Archer with Leach bowling well and Stokes as excellent backup is a bowling attack that will be absolutely relentless. Australia will have their work cut out for them to manage 250+ totals against that sort of attack.

I think Buttler has more rope than Roy, as he is more established in the Test team (whereas Roy has only just had his debut this series). In some ways, I think the performance of Denly and the signs of life from Root (not to mention Stokes' scintillating form in hitting centuries in each of the last two matches) have probably earned them a stay of execution. England had a pretty good second innings (350+ and batting for a significant number of overs) and I think they might give the lineup a chance to gel, now that Denly/Root have shown the way.

That being said, Roy could have no complaints if he is dropped, having made six consecutive scores without passing 28.

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2 minutes ago, Jeor said:

That being said, Roy could have no complaints if he is dropped, having made six consecutive scores without passing 28.

Plus his only half century didn't even come as an opener!

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Tour games in between tests rarely get much coverage...but there are a few interesting things at stake in this Derbyshire match:

  • Usman is apparently opening the batting, giving him the chance to prove his worth at the top of the order (Marnus will inevitably be promoted to first drop with Smith's return). 
  • Smith is playing his first match since being subbed out at Lord's and will no doubt face a bouncer barrrage at some stage. 
  • Starc is vying for a place in the side in potentially dryer conditions in Manchester and London. He's wicketless so far in the tour match though, so he may not make a single appearance in this Ashes. 

I forgot to mention NZ's great performance in the second Sri Lanka test, managing a great win away from home with basically no runs from Williamson. Yet another test century for Watling. He is now up to seven 100s, which ties him with Prior at tenth on the all-time list for wicket-keepers. Tom Latham is also in ridiculous test form, with four scores over 150 in his last six tests. It really is a golden era for Back Caps test cricket, with many of their current XI arguably selectable in an all-time NZ XI. 

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Posted (edited)

Anderson ruled out of the series. At least one selection quandary is solved! They’ve stuck with the same batting line-up...no doubt they have another 67 in them!

Edited by Paxter

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Yes I just saw that news. I'm actually not that surprised...England were always going to be far more cautious about getting him back into the lineup, and if there was even the faintest hint of a hiccup they were going to mothball him. There's no way they were going to risk going another Test match with a non-bowling bowler.

I think if I were England I would stick with the same team, maybe adjust the batting order a bit - probably swap Denly and Roy so that Denly opens (which is virtually the job he's been doing this series anyway) and Roy drops back down to Number 4 where he might be able to inflict some damage on an old ball and more tired bowlers. There are signs of life from most of them - Burns scored his hundred, Root got a 70, Denly toughed out a half century, Stokes is obviously in imperious form and Bairstow played a good aggressive innings. Roy and Buttler are the only remaining issues.

I'd probably keep the bowling the same, as well. Woakes hasn't bowled as much, it would seem harsh to drop him in favour of Curran as he has bowled decently when called upon and he strengthens the batting order (though Curran does too). Leach has bowled well and will keep Ali out from the rest of the series.

Re: Australia, I think with the recent tour match the selectors are thinking along the same lines as TWS and me. Khawaja slides up to open, drop Harris, put Labuschagne in at 3 (I can't believe what I'm saying!) and Smith comes back in at 4. Probably have to give Wade another chance, he scored his century early on and had a reasonably gritty 30-odd that showed he might have another good innings left in him.

There's been a week in between these matches so the bowlers should be well rested - Hazlewood obviously stays after his five-for in bowling England out for 67, Lyon is the only spinner even if he's gone a little off the boil, Cummins is the leading wicket-taker in the series. So the last spot is a fight between Pattinson, Siddle and Starc, and I just have a feeling Starc is going to be left out in the cold all series.

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Posted (edited)

Yeah the increasing confidence with which England has handled Lyon has been a big factor since Birmingham. The hosts need to keep that up to stay in the series.

I hope they do make the Roy switch. He’s been hung out to dry at the opening slot.

Edited by Paxter

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1 hour ago, Paxter said:

Yeah the increasing confidence with which England has handled Lyon has been a big factor since Birmingham. The hosts need to keep that up to stay in the series.

I hope they do make the Roy switch. He’s been hung out to dry at the opening slot.

And they have - Denly to open and Roy at 4

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Hopefully this is the end for Anderson. It'd be a shame for his career to end on such a disappointing note.

On the plus side for England Smith only made 23 in the tour match against Derbyshire. I think he's been worked out.

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5 hours ago, Maltaran said:

And they have - Denly to open and Roy at 4

I think this might work for Roy. He's obviously under a lot of pressure as an opener and facing up to Cummins and Hazlewood with the new ball is a tall order for anybody. If Burns, Denly and Root can see off the first 20-30 overs, I could see Roy becoming quite dangerous if he can attack when the ball is old and not doing as much. Bairstow and Stokes have prospered in that stage of the innings and Roy could potentially do the same.

Lyon needs to get his form back. With the phalanx of right-arm seamers, he is the crucial variation to the Australian attack. And with only four frontline bowlers, getting a lot of overs out of him is key to keeping the pace bowlers fresh.

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News coming out of cricinfo that Mitchell Marsh is being considered in place of Matthew Wade. I'm not sure that's the answer - supposedly Marsh's right-handedness is an advantage compared to all the left-handers in the Australian lineup who have struggled against the moving ball, with Smith and Labuchagne being the right-handers who have prospered. I'm not sure I really buy that argument, and I'm still not sold on Mitchell Marsh as a frontline batsman. His ability to bowl some seam would obviously be advantageous for the four-man bowling attack but I don't know if it's worth it.

And Mitchell Starc takes 3/46 and 4/39 in the tour match, with Old Trafford supposedly being the fastest pitch in England. Maybe he will get a look-in after all. In some ways if they were going to make the Mitchell Marsh change, then there would be an argument to make the Starc change as well. Starc would slightly bolster the batting (balancing out Marsh's selection) and Marsh would offer some insurance as an extra bowling option.

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Third consecutive post, now I'm looking like I'm desperate...

With 24 hours to go, the 12-man squad for Australia has been announced. Surprisingly Khawaja is dropped instead of Harris and Pattinson is rested. Given that the 12th man is a bowler that means the batting order must be set with Warner, Harris, Labuschagne, Smith, Head, Wade, Paine.

That leaves four bowlers to be selected out of Lyon, Siddle, Starc, Cummins and Hazlewood. Given the form of Cummins all series and Hazlewood in the last match, plus Lyon being the only spinner at Old Trafford (which I assume is still one of England's turning pitches, even if the reputation is that it's quick?), you would think it's a straight fight between Starc and Siddle to get that last bowling spot.

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Chris Woakes given a rest, which isn’t much of a surprise as he’s looked a little tired these last two tests. However, I don’t see why it is Overton coming in ahead of Curran. 

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Yeah, bit of a surprise. Curran's definitely the better batsman and I'm not sure Overton's a better bowler, plus Curran adds a bit more variation to the attack.

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On selection matters, I think Australia will still be hesitant about picking Starc. His performance in the Derbyshire match is slightly deceptive (yes he got seven scalps, but only two of them were specialist batsmen). Derbyshire is also a lower-ranked Division Two side. So I would say this selection battle is going to be dictated by conditions, with Langer's preference for Siddle perhaps shelved for this test match on account of the faster Old Trafford pitch.

Batting wise, I'm pleased they stuck with Wade and they really had no choice with Usman. Khawaja has passed 50 just twice in 17 innings since the start of last summer (the timing of which, coincidentally or not, aligns with his brother's arrest for forgery and attempting to pervert justice). Harris deserves more than a single test match to prove his worth. 

England have got me scratching my head on the bowling front. With Wood and Stone both injured, Overton is playing more out of default than any real desire to include him in the side. I would have played Curran as well. On Woakes, well, I was calling for Archer to be selected ahead of him at the start of the series so I'm not surprised to see him omitted now. He hasn't been terrible, but Root seems to have lost faith in him and his batting form has waned. Even at Lord's (where he has an amazing test record) he hardly got a bowl. Perhaps there is some fatigue after the World Cup, but he really hasn't bowled many overs in the first three matches. 

Edited by Paxter

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