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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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Couple members of the England team support staff and their families testing covid positive. Not great. This could potentially end the game (and entire ashes tour) prematurely. Hope they've picked it up early enough and the players haven't been infected.

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England putting up a good fight here and making a contest of it. Australian lead by 15 but with only 4 wickets in hand (albeit one of the out batsmen is the nightwatchman Lyon, so they still have two recognised batsmen at the crease in Green and Carey).

If England can break through they might limit the lead to something manageable.

And is it just me, or has there been a transition to using the word "batter" in commentary and match reports rather than the (more correct!) "batsman"?

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Yes, even with the loss of those wickets at the end, England had a very good day. They've got themselves well and truly back into the match, their bowling looks dangerous and more than capable of defending a total if they have runs to work with.

If Root, Stokes, Bairstow and Buttler can put on the runs then they're bowling well enough to win this match. Anderson and Wood in particular were creating lots of chances and the English catching was much better.

 

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Well that finished early - didn't even make it to lunch on the third day! You know you're bowling well (and the other team's batting is terrible) when you score 267 and still win by an innings. Scott Boland's figures of 6/7 off 4 overs in the second innings was ridiculous. Selectors must be feeling pretty chuffed about his left-field selection!

England really need to sort out the batting. It's been a good series to watch in the sense that both teams have good bowling attacks which balances out the traditionally batting-friendly Australian conditions. But whereas Australia have managed to still register some healthy totals, England's innings scores of 147, 297, 236, 192, 185 and 68 are just not giving their bowlers a chance. None above 300 and the majority of them below 200.

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England has won a few Tests in dead rubbers so we will hopefully get some better matches coming up. The question is how they'll treat selection now that the Ashes are gone. Get a look at some more players or let the incumbents find a way out of the mess?

You have to feel for Joe Root though. He's getting no batting help at all. England desperately need to find a couple of Test-quality batsmen to add to the lineup, preferably of the patient/accumulation type. Hameed might fit the bill stylistically, but a first-class average of 32 across 87 matches doesn't blow you away. I thought they could have stuck with Burns at least a little longer.

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11 hours ago, Jeor said:

England has won a few Tests in dead rubbers so we will hopefully get some better matches coming up.

They have? Not in the last 21 years of Ashes cricket. The only dead rubber victory I can think of is Butcher’s Headingley match.

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15 minutes ago, williamjm said:

It's not exactly recent but there is the final Test win in Sydney in 2003.

OK I stand corrected!

Not sure why I thought that series was another 5-0…

Clearly my blood is still boiling after this last few weeks.

Edited by Paxter
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Regarding England winning dead rubbers, I might have become an old fogey and thought of matches that were a considerable time ago, but England definitely had a habit of winning dead rubbers back in the day.

Melbourne 1998: Ashes already gone (Australia leading 2-0 including one draw) England won the Fourth Test by 12 runs. This was the match where Steve Waugh got a lot of flak for being 30* when the Aussies were chasing a small target (175) and he didn't shepherd the tail, exposing them to a lot of the strike in time for Headley and Gough to rip out the lower order.

Headingley 2001: Ashes already gone (Australia leading 3-0), England won the Fourth Test by 6 wickets - this was the Butcher 173* match.

Sydney 2003: Ashes already gone (Australia leading 4-0), England won the Fifth Test by 225 runs - this was the match with the Steve Waugh century.

But let's not also forget the most recent series:

The Oval, 2019: The Ashes were already gone here (Australia leading 2-1 with one to play, so were going to retain them) and this is one that England won by 135 runs.

So I might be a little out of date...but if we expand the search criteria to the last 25 years there have been a few instances where England won some dead rubbers. Alternatively there have also been two 5-0 results in Australia, so history doesn't really give us an indication of which way this tour is going to go. It doesn't look great for Root and co, though.

Edited by Jeor
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