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Cricket 42: The answer to life, the universe, and the inevitable English batting collapse


Xray the Enforcer
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2 hours ago, ljkeane said:

You could look at his career average and say he wasn't much better than most of England's current crop of batsmen but I don't think that's true. He was a good batsman.

Yes, Atherton is one of those whose career stats perhaps don't highlight his true worth to the team. I didn't mean to say he was terrible, he wasn't; and a 37 average back then is probably worth a low 40s today. He definitely could play - he had three calendar years where he averaged 50 and scored 1000 runs (1994, 1995, 2000). And I liked his sardonically humorous autobiography!

From an Australian point of view, though, we rarely saw the best of Athers. He averaged under 30 against Australia (over a large sample size of 66 innings, which was about 30% of his career innings) and he was always odds-on to get out cheaply to McGrath early on (who dismissed him 19 times). Against anyone else he probably did average in the early 40s. And as you say, that was while facing Wasim/Waqar, Walsh/Ambrose, Donald/Pollock etc.

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5 hours ago, Jeor said:

For all their infamous collapses, 90s England had some decent batsmen with solid Test records - people like Graham Gooch, Alec Stewart, Robin Smith and Graham Thorpe averaged 40+ in an era when that still really meant something. Atherton and Hussain's averages weren't great - 37ish - but that's still better than most in the current England lineup not named Root.

I think most of the current specialist England batsmen would have struggled to get into the early/mid 90s team with the obvious exception of Root and perhaps Malan on current form.

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5 hours ago, williamjm said:

I think most of the current specialist England batsmen would have struggled to get into the early/mid 90s team with the obvious exception of Root and perhaps Malan on current form.

I think the problem seems to be that, unlike 90s England where they were searching for one or two batsmen, this English team is searching for four with Root and Stokes the only locks (and as you say maybe Malan on current form). Any one of Burns, Hameed or Pope could easily he interchanged with any of Sibley, Crawley etc. 

Instead of having one Mark Ramprakash or one Graeme Hick in the team, this England team has four.

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Excellent start by England today with Broad and Anderson bowling fuller and looking deadly with every ball - shows what they could have done in the first innings.

In this first 20 minutes they've got two wickets with Harris and Neser, had Smith dropped (by Buttler again), had Smith virtually out LBW on umpire's call, and hit Labuschagne on the body. Broad and Anderson showing how it's done.

Then again it's mainly the English batting that's been the problem (two collapses of 8/74 and 8/86 in this series so far) not so much the bowling.

EDIT: They get Smith in the end so that was 3/10 off 12 overs - excellent work by England but a little late to save this match. It will be up to the batsmen. Head now hitting it around.

Edited by Jeor
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How many sessions did AUS bat today? Based on live commentary, they batted morning and about half of the afternoon session? Not super-important to know -- I'm just curious. 

When I woke up this morning (it's still very early), England had lost 1 wicket; now they're down 3 and looking nervy.

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England showed some fight to take ot to the last session but too little too late. The question is who Mark Wood comes back in for (and I'm guessing Leach still might not get a go). But the problem is their batting.

Khawaja for Harris seems a no brainer but selectors might be patient. Despite not scoring with the bat, Green may have saved his spot with his bowling.

 

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England make four changes with Crawley and Bairstow in for Burns and Pope in the batting and Wood and Leach in for Woakes and Broad in the bowlers. I'm skeptical Crawley's going to make much difference but why not? Bairstow will probably be better than Pope, who's talented but needs to start actually producing, but it's probably offset by the loss of Woakes.

So, yeah, not feeling a great deal of confidence.

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1st test went to 4 days

2nd test went to 5 days ( just about)

This test will finally last all 5 :read:

Hope y'all are having a decent holiday

Edited by Raja
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10 hours ago, ljkeane said:

Can we not just have a hour or two when it goes well before I go to bed?:frown5:

Not when Pat Cummins is bowling with a new ball - England's misfortune to run into him at the peak of his powers. He looks like Australia's next all-time fast bowling great, a bit like Glenn McGrath. The Cricinfo commentary said that England have averaged only 36 runs for the fall of their second wicket in 2021 - the lack of solid opening options (plus a number 3) really hurts if you're giving away a handicap of 2/36 each innings. 

Of the selection changes, I think Bairstow was an improvement over Pope - has he ever opened in Tests? Might be worth a shot to pop him into the opening slot, giving him free rein to play his shots. He's not an out-and-out slogger but could play positively.

Hard to know whether the bowling changes will work out. Getting Leach back in seems a good move after the debacle of five right-arm seamers in Adelaide. From a pure bowling point of view, I would have thought an attack of Broad, Anderson, Wood, Leach, Stokes and Root as backup would have been their best bet, with each bowler providing some menace and variation. I know they'd be worried about Broad/Anderson/Wood all only bowling short spells, but with Leach and Stokes able to bowl longer and Root upping his bowling they should have enough cover.

I guess they got pretty close with their MCG lineup - all they've done is put in Robinson instead of Broad, and Robinson has bowled pretty well. They may have been worried about a tail of Broad/Anderson/Wood/Leach I suppose as well, one of those would have had to bat at 8.

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48 minutes ago, Jeor said:

Of the selection changes, I think Bairstow was an improvement over Pope - has he ever opened in Tests? Might be worth a shot to pop him into the opening slot, giving him free rein to play his shots. He's not an out-and-out slogger but could play positively.

I think they need to stop messing around with Bairstow. He hasn't been brilliant but at this point it's clear he's one of England's seven best batsmen so he gets in the team. If you're going to pick him he's a better wicket keeper than Buttler and he's actually got a respectable high 30s average when keeping wicket. The whole Buttler thing really hasn't worked out so just play Bairstow where he wants to play.

53 minutes ago, Jeor said:

Not when Pat Cummins is bowling with a new ball - England's misfortune to run into him at the peak of his powers. He looks like Australia's next all-time fast bowling great, a bit like Glenn McGrath. The Cricinfo commentary said that England have averaged only 36 runs for the fall of their second wicket in 2021 - the lack of solid opening options (plus a number 3) really hurts if you're giving away a handicap of 2/36 each innings.

In fairness to the top three they didn't really do anything wrong as such, they've all gotten out to reasonable enough shots to good deliveries. It was the middle order from Root to Buttler getting out the way they did that really ripped the heart out of England's innings. But, you know, your first three batsmen getting 26 runs between them isn't ideal.

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1 hour ago, ljkeane said:

I think they need to stop messing around with Bairstow. He hasn't been brilliant but at this point it's clear he's one of England's seven best batsmen so he gets in the team. If you're going to pick him he's a better wicket keeper than Buttler and he's actually got a respectable high 30s average when keeping wicket. The whole Buttler thing really hasn't worked out so just play Bairstow where he wants to play.

It's odd - his Test average is 37 when keeping and 27 when not keeping! So maybe there's something in what you say.

Buttler is just too inconsistent at the moment. Last Test, he faced over 200 balls in a gutsy dead-batted effort. This innings he was out to a slog early on in his innings. If he could find a happy medium between the two he'd still be a more than useful Test player.

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