This post deals with the first Ashes Test of 2019 which ended yesterday in defeat for the home team by a thumping 251 runs. I did not actually get to follow any cricket yesterday as a hospital appointment intervened, and by the time I was home England’s humiliation was complete. However, I did follow most of the first four days, and I have followed enough cricket over the years to have a fairly good picture of yesterday’s events in my mind. An official match report can be viewed here.
PICKING UP FROM MY PREVIOUS POST
At the end of day three Australia led by 34 with seven second innings wickets standing. It was day four which killed England’s chances stone dead and illustrated all too vividly the utter folly of regarding Moeen Ali as a test match spinner, let alone as being good enough to be sole spinner. On a pitch which was turning he went at four an over (seriously expensive even in 21st century test cricket) and only picked up two wickets, both long after England’s hopes had been dashed. Both Joe Root and Joe Denly were called on to bowl their part-time stuff as Australia forged ahead, a king-size indictment of Moeen Ali. and of the original selection of just one front line spinner.
Steve Smith, for all that can be (and has been) said against his personal conduct is without much question the best current test match batter in the world, so his second century of the match deserves full credit, but Matt Wade, who started his cricketing life as a wicketkeeper, also racked up a ton, and there were further runs all down the order, until Australia declared at 487-9 leaving England a purely nominal 395 to chase in just over a day.
England reached 13-0 by the close of day four. The aim on day five was preservation of wickets, with an outside possibility of having a dart after tea if the situation warranted it (I was envisaging for this scenario a tea score of maybe 200-2 and then sending in Buttler and Stokes to have an almighty bash, with the option of falling back on defence if that tactic backfired). In the event England failed even to begin to make a contest of it, and in a final indictment of Moeen’s earlier toothlessness Australia’s own sole spinner Nathan Lyon demonstrated that a genuine spinner could use that pitch, taking 6-49 (the other four wickets went the way of fast bowler Pat Cummins, the quickest on either side in the match).
CHANGES FOR THE SECOND TEST MATCH
England need to make big changes for the second test. I reproduce below my own squad of 13 for the second test, with the additional note that I just been listening to my controversial choice as opener score a superb half-century and an invitation to view an alternative set of selections here.
- Lewis Gregory (with Anderson likely gone for the series it is surely time for this move)
- Chris Woakes
- Jofra Archer
- Jack Leach
- Olly Stone
- Sam Curran (could play in place of Gregory, Woakes or Archer)
- Matthew Parkinson (with all respect to Bess I gamble on the legspinner as second specialist spin option, in the knowledge that the skipper can bowl passable off-breaks if needed)
Given England’s current desperation in that regard I end with two tongue-in-cheek suggestions for finding a way to dislodge Steve Smith:
- Set 7-2 onside fields for Archer and Stone and absolutely pepper him with short stuff in the hope of unsettling him (the Jardinian approach)
- When you know he will be at the non-striker’s end at the start of over toss the ball to someone like Rory Burns, with advice to keep an eye on where he is and in his desire to get to the striker’s end he creates the opportunity for a bowler’s end run out (absolute desperation).
LINKS AND PICTURES
I have a few links to share before we come to the photographs:
- A piece from whyevolutionistrue titled “A caterpillar changes color to match its background using “extraocular photoreception”: it can see with its skin!“
- From Tax Research UK comes “The True Story of Neoliberalism in One Chart“, with the chart reproduced below:
- Also from Tax Research UK a piece on Scottish Independence.
- Finally, by way of twitter, comes a story in thelocal.de about a really sensible move that has just been made in Berlin – the title tells the story quite clearly: “Berlin makes public transport free for all schoolchildren”
- The last two links are both to pieces that relate to mental health, this one from Cambria Jenkins, another autistic blogger, taking Donald Trump to task for associating people with mental health issues (who are much more likely to victims of violence than perpetrators of it) to mass shootings.
- Finally, while I am aware that there is plenty of competition in this category, making Nadine Dorries Minister for Mental Health is surely Johnson’s most disgraceful appointment to date, and there is a petition against this appointment on change.org which I urge you to sign and share clicking the screenshot below (I was put on to this by Mike Sivier of Vox Political whose own post about it can be viewed here):
Now for my usual sign off…