England Poised For Pyrrhic Victory At The Oval

A view of where things stand in fifth Ashes test at The Oval, and what the likely result means for England, plus a photo section that invites reader involvement – one of these pictures will be in the 2020 wall calendar.

INTRODUCTION

England seem likely to make the 2019 Ashes series a 2-2 draw either later today or some time tomorrow, after a good second innings batting performance secured their control of a game in which Australia by dreadful batting ceded the initiative to England on Friday. This post, written as I prepare myself for Heritage Open Day, looks at what is going on there and examines the merits and demerits of what the likely result of this match means for England. However, before I get into the main body of this post there is a small matter of business to attend to…

A CORRECTION TO MY PREVIOUS POST

On previous occasions when such has been necessary I have made it clear that it is policy on this blog not to do the equivalent of burying corrections in six point type in the middle of page 27. Therefore I am giving due prominence to a mistake I made in regard to this year’s County Championship. Somerset are indeed comfortably ahead of Essex at the top with no one else having a chance of taking the title, but I said in my previous post that they had a game in hand. This was an error – I misread the presentation of the table on cricinfo as saying that the game Essex were playing, which was still in progress, was their 13th, because their games played appeared as 12* which I took to mean that they had already played 12. In actuality the game in progress was their 12th, and I take this opportunity to correct the error. What this means is if Somerset and Essex both win their next games, Somerset will need a draw in their final match, which is a showdown against Essex to secure the title, if Somerset win and Essex don’t then Somerset will effectively be over the line with a game to spare, while victory for Essex and any other result for Somerset would make the final game a true “winner takes all” affair.

A POTENTIAL PYRRHIC VICTORY

The phrase “Pyrrhic victory” comes from king Pyrrhus of Epirus who won a battle against the then fledgling Roman empire but said when congratulated on his victory “I cannot afford another such victory”. Not many years later Epirus became a province of Rome. Why do I describe the victory that England are approaching in the fifth Ashes test as Pyrrhic?

  1. The Ashes are still Australia’s, so it changes nothing in that regard, while
  2. By giving a 2-2 series scoreline it creates an excuse for inaction on the part of the selectors that would not be there had the final scoreline been the 3-1 to Australia that cricketing justice demands, so on that ground it is a classic case of a victory that is at least potentially damaging to the victor’s long term hopes
  3. Several players who should probably be facing the axe have produced performances that may just save them (Buttler with two decent innings in the game, and Denly with a second innings 94 – such is the proportion of his runs that have now come in second innings efforts that he is turning into a batting equivalent of Andy Caddick, only less good, to name but two). 

Thus in many ways it would actually be better for England if Australia pulled off the mammoth second innings run chase that will be facing them. There were three unequivocal pluses for England in the first three days of this game – Burns‘ first innings 47, Archer’s second haul of six wickets in a test innings and Sam Curran’s wickets (although he does not have the pace to pose much of a threat when the ball is going through straight – without lateral movement he is a blunt sword). Australia have not been at the races in the three days we have had thus far, but I acquit them of trying to lull England into a false sense of security because I am well aware that no Aussie team would ever willingly accept defeat at England’s hands – it is just happens to be the case that a poor performance here may end up helping them in the long term, depending on exactly how ostrich-like Ed Smith and co turn out to be.

Given the size of the total Australia will be facing, and the only remotely likely way they will get anywhere near chasing to down, just for the record Steve Smith needs 224 to bring his series aggregate to 975 and claim one of Don Bradmans records for himself.

PHOTOGRAPHS

A variation of my usual sign off. I am presenting various pictures of a full moon from a couple of days ago, one of which will feature in my 2020 wall calendar. Please use the comments to nominate your choice…

P1270220 (2)P1270220 (3)P1270220 (4)P1270220 (5)P1270220 (6)P1270220 (7)P1270220 (8)P1270220 (9)P1270220 (10)P1270220 (11)

100 Cricketers: The 4th XI All-rounders and Introducing the 5th XI

The latest in my “100 cricketers” series – features the all-rounders from my 4th XI and introduces my fifth XI in batting order. Also includes some of my photographs.

INTRODUCTION

Welcome to the latest installment in my “100 cricketers” series. In this post we complete the examination of our fourth XI and present the fifth in batting order. The introductory post to the whole series can be found here, the post in which I introduced the 4th XI is here, and finally the most recent post in the series is here.

SOPHIE DEVINE

Her averages in ODIs are the wrong way round (32 with the bat and 37 with the ball), but in T20Is she averages 27.92 with the bat and 16.75 with the ball. She has had no test match experience to date, an issue in women’s cricket that have animadverted on before. I saw her as teenager, bowling fast and batting down the order, in the same series in which I saw a similarly young Ellyse Perry in action. As with Perry I suspected at the time that she would be moving up the order, and although she has not progressed as remarkably as he Aussie counterpart she has indeed moved up the order, and five ODI centuries with a best of 145 show that she has the capacity for big scores. She also makes big hits – in total across the formats in international cricket she has hit 121 sixes. Why have I got her at six and not seven in this batting order? The answer follows…

ADAM GILCHRIST

Although the search for wicketkeepers who could provide serious runs predated Adam Gilchrist he completely transformed the notion of what was possible in a wicketkeeper batting wise. For much of his test career he averaged over 50, and he ended at averaging 47.60. He always refused to move up from number seven, saying that playing there gave him licence to bat the way he did, and since I would want him to bat the way he did I am keeping him at number seven.

England suffered as brutally at his hands as anyone, notably when he scored a century off just 57 balls in Perth in 2006, helping to ensure the Ashes would change hands as rapidly as possible. However, in the previous Ashes series in 2005 England, chiefly through Hoggard and Flintoff, had so restricted him that he did not even manage a half-century. 

INTRODUCING THE 5TH XI

Here in batting order is the fifth XI:

  1. Punam Raut
  2. Laura Wolvaardt
  3. Rahul Dravid
  4. Viv Richards
  5. Daryll Cullinan
  6. +Jonathan Bairstow
  7. *Kapil Dev
  8. Adil Rashid
  9. Harbhajan Singh
  10. Brett Lee
  11. Glenn McGrath

PHOTOGRAPHS

Here are some of my photographs to finish with:

P1210972

P1210973
The first of four shots taken early yesterday evening which feature a remarkable full moon.
P1210974
Full moon and bird.
P1210978
First attempted close up of full moon
P1210979
ducks outside my window
P1210980
Second close-up of full moon
P1210981
The first butterfly of 2019 – captured through the window
P1210982
The remaining pics, including this one were taken during the two short walks I did this afternoon (each one being a circuit of the grassy area outside my bungalow).

P1210983P1210984P1210985P1210986P1210987P1210990P1210991P1210992

 

Monday Madness 2: Which Full Moon Pic Is Best?

My attempts to do justice to a splendid full moon.

INTRODUCTION

After a serious first post of the day here is something in lighter vein. Last night in the twilight period a magnificent full moon was visible from my flat in King’s Lynn. The rest of this post details my attempts to do justice to it.

THE PICTURES

I have three separate pictures of this full moon:

Full moon
This one is clear but has a lot of empty space around it.
Full Moon 2
This one is a bit blurred.
Full moon 3
A closer-up shot

I then tried to enlarge the last picture shown above, resulting in:

Full Moon 4

So which moon pic is best?

 

A productive day at James and Sons

I have had a very productive day at James and Sons. I spent the morning imaging for our next auction and the afternoon working on the stock database for the same.

As a result of this work I have some good images to share with you, leavened with some not work related…

47 53 53p1 53p2 ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? 343a Coins close 716 ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? ?????????? Full Moon 1 Full Moon 2