Second Test Restrospective

Some thoughts on the second Ashes test at Lord’s and a lot of photographs.

INTRODUCTION

The weather-hit second Ashes test at Lord’s ended yesterday evening, with Australia undoubtedly the happier of two sides to come away with a draw. This post contains my thoughts on the match and today’s announcement of an unchanged England squad for the third test, which gets underway on Thursday.

A GREAT TEST MATCH

A third of this match was lost to the weather and yet it was not far away from providing a definite result even so. England scored 258 in the first innings, Burns and Bairstow making fifites, and Denly producing a classic “Vince” – a well compiled 30. England bowled well to claim a slender first innings lead. Jofra Archer struck Smith a blow to the head, from which he briefly resumed, before getting out for 92 (progress for England after he had scored twin tons in the first test match). Smith did not take the field for England’s second innings and his place in the batting order was taken under the concussion rule by Manus Labuschagne. England did not start well – Roy and Root (who does not look to be relishing the no3 slot) both fell cheaply, Denly had a second “Vince” of the match, 26 this time round, and Burns fell for a gritty 29. However, Stokes in the company of first Buttler and then Bairstow dug England out of a hole and then propelled them to a declaration, being on 116 not out when England declared to set Australia 267 off 48 overs (a little overcautious – surely the declaration should have coincided with Stokes reaching the hundred). Archer was electrifying with the ball on this final afternoon and evening and Leach confirmed the rightness of selecting him as first spinner by taking three cheap wickets and comfortably outbowling Lyon, an absolute reversal of what happened with Moeen Ali in the first test match. Australia finished on 154-6 when Aleem Dar called time with three balls left in the match and four Aussie wickets standing (evidently he felt there was no chance of someone being stumped off a wide, then followed by a hat trick to finish it – and I can’t argue with that). A combination of overcaution on England’s part and the fact that, good is he is, Leach is no Underwood saw to it that the impossible did not quite come to pass, but this was still the second best match to take place at Lord’s this season.

England’s huge improvement in this match should not mask the fact that several problems remain in their line up. I am going to run down the list player by player with my thoughts (click on the player name to view their cricinfo details:

  1. Rory Burns – his fighting efforts in both innings here, following his Edgbaston ton confirm that he has arrived at the highest level, meaning that there is now only one problem in the opening slots.
  2. Jason RoyI believe that it is right for England to persevere with him, but I do not see him as a test match opener – no3 or 4 is more like it. Both his dismissals in this match were down to bad batting and not good bowling.
  3. Joe Rootit was right for England to move him up to no3, and such moves should be given a fair trial, but I for one will not surprised to see him back at no4 before too long.
  4. Joe Denlybatted decently for a time in both innings but then got out (again his wickets were given rather than being taken, in both innings). If he has a longish term future at test level (bear in mind that he is already 32, ) I think it more likely to be as opener than no 4, however he would not be part of my long term plans.
  5. Ben Stokeshis second innings century was a quite magnificent knock, starting cautiously, with England in trouble and then opening out as prospects of defeat faded. If England can accept that at test level he is not a front-line bowler, but rather someone who may bowl a few overs here or there I could see him batting higher up the order – he is technically excellent and has a full range of scoring shots at his disposal. Only Root in the current squad is definitely ahead of him on batting ability.
  6. Jos Buttler he played well in the second innings, when England badly needed it.
  7. Jonny Bairstow – He had his best test match with the bat in some time, and there were no huge howlers behind the stumps. I still rate Foakes ahead of him in both departments, but his return to form is welcome.
  8. Chris Woakes – bowled well, and made a solid effort with the bat in the first innings.
  9. Jofra Archera magnificent test debut, he was electrifying with the ball in his hand. He has taken to test cricket the way ducks took to 1990s England scorecards!
  10. Stuart Broad – In the absence of Anderson (likely to be out for the series) he is leading the bowling attack, and his performance in this match was one of which he can be proud.
  11. Jack LeachHe bowled well in this match, with his three second innings wickets being less than his bowling merited. As mentioned earlier he outbowled Lyon in this game, confirming along the way his status as England’s no 1 spinner.

England still have to find a second opener alongside Burns (Dominic Sibley has to be considered, there is still time to try my ultra-radical solution and as another outside bet, young George Bartlett of Somerset has had a fine season, plays fast bowling well and is better suited to long form cricket than limited overs stuff), unless Root starts delivering from there soon no 3 also remains a problem. There is also the question (and in the not distant future England will be playing somewhere where such a bowling attack is mandatory) of who will be second spinner (depending on how radical you are prepared to be I suggest either Matthew Parkinson, or for an attempt at a ‘mystery bowler’ option Helen Fenby). I would like to see Sam Curran and Lewis Gregory accommodated somehow as well. However, unquestionably after this performance England are looking in better shape than they were a few days ago.

PHOTOGRAPHS

My usual  sign off…

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Pictures from yesterday’s walk

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Information board near the station
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My bungalow is just off the northern edge of this map.

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The las pic from yesterday’s walk.
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Pictures from today’s walk, which as you will see was longer.

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I got to “Cormorant Platform”, the first time I have done so since becoming ill.

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The South Gate

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I think that this white bird is a breed of goose (it is too large to be a duck and both too solid and not long enough in the neck to be a swan).

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The 2018 Wall Calendar

Seeking reader participation in the selection process for the 2018 wall calendar.

INTRODUCTION

When I began covering my holiday in Scotland I brought up the subject of my plans for a 2018 photographic wall calendar, which will be my third such. This post now takes the story forward, and seeks to bring my followers in on the selection process.

THE CANDIDATES

Some of these pictures were nominated by Oglach (“Oglach’s Selections“), a couple by my aunt Celia, and the rest are others that I consider especially worth sharing. Most of the selections are Scottish for obvious reasons.

MY AUNT’S PICKS

My aunt Celia nominated two from the return journey from Scotland:

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MY ADDITIONAL SCOTTISH SELECTIONS

These are the Scottish pictures that I have selected as possibles on my own:

through the windowstepped waterfall (1)ruined castle11607150915011433Skye and Wester Ross 2The Iron Road to the Isles1426

Steamer5
One of these steamer pictures will definitely feature.

Steamer4Murchison Monument2

Farewell to the Jacobite
I may assemble a composite image of several “Jacobite ” pictures.

Loco at rear of trainlock gates

GV4
At least one of these Glenfinnan Viaduct pictures will feature.

GV3GV2GV1P1010044Jacobite train long viewJacobite Loco 3Jacobie Loco3Jacobite Loco2Jacobite LocoJacobiteIIThe JacobiteFront of LocoBeetleblack highland cowstepped waterfall

single span bridge 2
Bridges on Skye will definitely feature somewhere.

The Land of the Mountain and the Floodstone bridge 2stone bridgeSingle span bridgeBridge complex 1Stone bridgeSkye Bridge from aboveKyle of Lochalsh from above

Balmacara House to Craggan Cottage2
This is the stretch of Loch Alsh on which Ferry Cottage, where we stayed, sits.

Double Framed Lighthouse

OGLACH’S SELECTIONS

I have of course shown these before, but for completeness sake here they are again:

Valleytwo cascades800793784768756755748812804

NON-SCOTTISH PICKS

These are the pictures from outside Scotland that I consider worth a second look.

P1020447P1020432P1020327P1020007Flying gullP1020094Renewable energy 7Renewable energy 6Renewable energy 5Renewable Emergy4renewable energyrenewable energy 2Cliff formation from Old Hunstanton BeachRNLI Hovercraft1Flying bird 1Flying bird 2

NOMINATIONS

You can nominate by commenting on this post identifying the pictures by name. If you right-click on a picture and select “open image in new tab” from the drop-down menu that appears you can see its name. If you have a blog of your own you can nominate by creating a post featuring your choices and putting a link in the comments (this will earn you a reblog as well by the way). Those whose pictures make the cut will be acknowledged on the page(s) that they get in the calendar.

Scotland – Applecross

An account of then time spent in Applecross on my recent Scottish holiday.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest post in my series about my Scottish holiday. This post deals with the village of Applecross. 

LUNCH AND A WALK

We ate our sandwich lunches right by the water before setting off on a walk round the bay on which Applecross sits. 

843844845847849850851Clear Water 2855856857858860861862863Holy Well865Yellow Flowers868869Gulls871872Highland cowsHighland cows 2black highland cow876877878black backed gullAtlantic salmon lifestyle881882883884Atlantic salmon piclantic salmon info board887Black highland cow 2889890891892893894895Maelrubha info boardGaelic info boardnewer churchnewer church 2900901old church903904907908909

The Saint's Burial Place
:Possibly the spot where St Maelrubha was buried.

THE SECOND HALF OF THE WALK

The Heritage Centre was closed due to a funeral, so we turned back after a while in the churchyard. 

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Beetle
Earnest theologian to renowned biologist J B S Haldane “what have your studies of nature told you about god?” Haldane’s response: “that he is inordinately fond of beetles!”

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Outside table at a coffee shop we visited just before leaving applecross

The World Athletics Championship – A Retrospective

A Retropsective on the World Athletics Championships, More on the Inhumane Despicable Sociopath case, some photographs and some important links.

INTRODUCTION

As well as my title piece I have some photos, links and infographics to share, including a section following up my much shared “Inhumane Despicable Sociopath” post..

BRITAIN’S BEST EVER

At the World Athletics Championships which concluded yesterday Britain won a total of four gold medals, their best ever. Mo Farah with both the 5,000 and 10,000m, Greg Rutherford (Long Jump) and Jessica Ennis-Hill (Heptathlon) all ascended the top step of the podium in Beijing, all having experienced Olympic misery there seven years previously. There were also a stack of best ever performances from less experienced British athletes, encapsulated by BBC TV in this infographic…

Young Guns

Shelayna Oskanp-Clarke had never previous broken two minutes for the 800m, and until Proctor did so no British female long jumper had ever gone beyond 7.00m. The performances of Asher-Smith and Hitchon were also British records. Dina Asher-Smith having already become the first British woman go sub 11 seconds for the 100m and being part of the 4*100m relay team now has three British records against her name.

INHUMANE DESPICABLE SOCIOPATH: A FOLLOW UP

Partly because of a twitter storm conceived by a well known twitter user named Gail which tied in perfectly with it my blog post about the revelations of DWP deaths, forced out after a long and hard fought campaign, was very widely shared. I have a number of superb related links to share in this section:

Now, a few infographics about this story, starting with this great tweet:

Killer Stat

This, formatted like a DWP case study, differs from them in being a true story:

Simons Story

Finally to the end this section, a screendump from a text book of the future that somehow appeared on my screen…

THE IDS

A PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERLUDE

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LINKS

I am dividing this in to two main subsections, starting with…

AUTISM

Within this section I am starting with a case which is reaching a conclusion soon…

JUSTICE FOR KAYLEB

I have blogged about this outrageous case of an autistic grade 6 boy facing a lifeltime with a felony conviction, but since the case is now going through the courts I include these two links:

Also, for twitter users (I have already done so btw), here is a temporary profile pic you may wish to use in solidarity with Kayleb:

JK

OTHER AUTISM RELATED LINKS

THE REMAINING LINKS

I start with a couple of petitions:

I have three more links to purely text based material:

  1. From patienttalk comes this about helping a disabled child to have a better experience at school.
  2. This from Shelter about the fact that golf courses take up as much of England as does housing.
  3. This post from anotherangryvoice deals with the much peddled myth that national economies are like families.

My last link is to a wonderful protest song by Welsh singer Charlotte Church.

A Heretical Idea to Help Aussie Mens Team

A heretical suggestion for the Australian Mens team selection for the fifth ashes test, some photographs, a section on the Labour Party leadership contest and a section on Carl Sagan.

INTRODUCTION

My title piece is about the current woes of the Australian Mens side, and I also have links (though not on this occasion a dedicated links section), infographics and photographs to share.

DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES

With the destiny of 2015 Mens Ashes safely settled I am going venture a very radical selection suggestion for them. At the Oval, on what is usually a flat pitch both sides would be well advised to ensure that they have five genuine bowling options available. Australia’s batting having failed in four straight innings they also need some depth there. Watson (although he is playing in a tour match at Northampton today) is out of favour, neither Marsh brother has been convincing and that is all Australia have in terms of batting variation available to them in their official squad. However, there is an Australian all-rounder in England at the moment who is in the form of their life: Ellyse Perry, fresh from playing a starring role in the Aussie Womens team victory in the test match.

I admit that this is a stretch, especially given that Perry’s stock in trade as a bowler is pace, and in the men’s game she would not be especially quick, but in the state that Aussie men are in at the moment the move could hardly make things worse – and maybe even if she proves unable to do much herself against the men the presence of someone with current winning experience will be a boost in and of itself.

Do I really believe that a woman could mix it with the men? Yes – there are plenty of aspects of cricket that are not all about brute strength and although, in spite of the premise of this piece, I would not particularly expect a female to be able to bowl at 150KPH I could see a specialist batter, a spinner or a wicketkeeper being able to mix it with the men.

A PHOTOGRAPHIC INTERLUDE

A few photos from in and around King’s Lynn…

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Earnest cleric to JBS Haldane "what have your studies told you about the creator?"  Haldane's response "That he is inordinately fond of beetles."
Earnest cleric to JBS Haldane “what have your studies told you about the creator?”
Haldane’s response “That he is inordinately fond of beetles.”

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Butterfly with closed wings.
Butterfly with closed wings.

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The first of two ponds separated by the width of a Road.
The first of two ponds separated by the width of a Road.
The other pond, with a particularly luxurious carpeting of lilies.
The other pond, with a particularly luxurious carpeting of lilies.

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BEES

A very important and well presented infographic from 38Degrees that I picked up by way of Mike Coulson on twitter:

38D

THE LABOUR PARTY LEADERSHIP CONTEST

I have a purely watching brief on this, since I am principled enough not to have taken advantage of the “register as a supprter for £3” trick. This infographic is revealing about the voting patterns of the three long serving MPs in the contest (Kendall has only been around long enough to have voted on two of the issues covered, and utterly unsurprisingly to anyone who knows anything about she is 0 for 2):

Lab Leadership

My second offering in this section is a headline about an open declaration of intent to sabotage. If this is telling the truth those two MPs (no surprise that they are Blue Labourites Umunna and Hunt – and I’ll bet that the dishonourable Danczuk is in cahoots with them) should be expelled from the party – this is TREACHERY:

Sabotage Plans

I end this section with link to a piece by Molly Scott Cato MEP (as an aside born in the same town – Stroud, Gloucestershire – as me although a little earlier) which talks about one potential consequence of a Corbyn victory – a red/green coalition.

CARL SAGAN

The late legendary Carl Sagan was a superb writer and populariser of science. I was motivated to produce this section when I stumbled on a thread on twitter that had developed from a Turin Shroud picture overlaid with a great summing up of the religious approach, and then a Sagan quote – which led to me to extract some Sagan books from my shelves and photograph them…

The infographic that started it all.
The infographic that started it all.
The Sagan quote
The Sagan quote
A montage of my Sagan books - I have given Pale Blue Dot extra prominence because although any book by Sagan is guaranteed to be an excellent read this one  is  particularly special.
A montage of my Sagan books – I have given Pale Blue Dot extra prominence because although any book by Sagan is guaranteed to be an excellent read this one is particularly special.