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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England Take The Lead In 2015 Ashes

A bit about England’s magnificent win at Edgbaston, an infographic about an event being staged by Surrey, some quality links and infographics.

INTRODUCTION

I have some links and infographics as well as my main piece. I hope that you will enjoy this post and be encouraged to share it.

A THUMPING VICTORY

England responded to the battering they took at Lord’s in the best possible way, by storming to a three-day victory at Edgbaston to restore their lead in the series. Australia won by 405 runs at Lords, England by eight wickets here. I reckon this constitutes the most spectacular about turn in fortunes in successive ashes matches since 1965-66 when the teams traded innings victories in the second and third matches of the series.

Particularly welcome was the return to top form of Steven Finn who followed James Anderson’s first innings six-for with six wickets of his own the second. Among the scraps left by these two were enough wickets for Stuart Broad to reach 300 in tests. Ian Bell whose poor form had him in the last chance saloon with the last orders bell being sounded came up with two fifties in the match in front of his home crowd – and given the low scoring nature of the game these were easily worth centuries on a flat one.

An unfortunate injury means that for the fourth match at Trent Bridge England have the unenviable task of attempting to fill an Anderson shaped hole in their squad.

To finish this cricket related section, Surrey are putting on an event to celebrate women’s and girls cricket featuring current England captain Charlotte Edwards, head of ECB women’s cricket Clare Connor and being hosted by Surrey”s Director of women’s cricket Ebony Rainford-Brent…

Women's cricket

LINKS

My first set of links follow on from my last blog post and feature more on…

CECIL THE LION

First up an event that will probably remain unique in the history of aspiblog – a link to an article in the Daily Mail

Next, courtesy of Huffington Post, this piece by wildlife expert and occasional ballroom dancer Steve Backshall

Finally on this particular topic, this from The Age.

Lion

SCIENCE

Tonight is the second full moon in July – a rare event called a Blue Moon and best know for the cliche “once in a blue moon”. For a detailed account of the phenomenon check out this piece from discovery.com.

Next, courtesy of livescience come two dinosaur related links:

1)A new discovery of a dinosaur with an exceptional sense of smell

2)Photographs of remains of one of the largest animals ever to walk the earth.

Dinosaur bone

Ending this subsection on science, courtesy of bbc.co.uk, this piece about the Earth’s magnetic shield being older than previously thought.

ATHEISM

Just two connected pieces here:

1)A post on Patheos about an atheist suffering persecution

2)The original blog post that triggered the Patheos piece.

DISABILITY

Again, just two connected pieces:

1)An update on a change.org petition calling on Lego to positively represent disabled people

2)And a piece courtesy of themighty that connects to the above petition.

INFOGRAPHICS

I finish this post with two infographics, one from the Corbyn campaign and one on the subject of NHS pay…

Corbyn NHS

An Extraordinary Test Match

A personal account of the Lord’s test match, some infographics, links and photographs – enjoy.

INTRODUCTION

I have a selection of infographics, photos and links to share, as well as my main piece.

AN EXTRAORDINARY TEST MATCH

England 30-4 in the first innings. After England recovered from this dismal start to reach 389 early on the second morning New Zealand spent the rest of day 2 compiling 303-2. By the end of day 3 England were two down in their second innings and still nearly a hundred runs in the red. Day four saw the big momentum swing, the creation of three individuals, Cook, Root and especially Stokes. The last named scored the fastest hundred ever in a Lord’s test match. This meant that England closed the day with an already substantial lead. By the time England were all out on the fifth morning (yesterday), New Zealand needed 345 for victory in 77 overs. Two wickets went down without a run, but the really decisive blow came later in the day and was struck by that man Stokes (the most obvious man of the match in test history) who cleaned up Kane Williamson and Brendon McCullum with successive deliveries. Thereafter, although the New Zealand lower order showed plenty of fight it always looked like an England win, and the eventual margin was 125 runs.

I do not withdraw my earlier criticisms of England’s selection policy, and I point out that it was not until deep into day four that the possibility of an England win showed up an anyone’s radar. Also as an aside New Zealand won the toss and chose to put England in, and even though they did take early wickets, as such a course of action requires, they still ended up beaten.

I hope that the second test match lives up to this one (a pity that there are only the two rather than a proper series – ICC please note that two tests DO NOT CONSTITUTE a proper series).This will require England not to adopt a “what we have we hold” approach.

INFOGRAPHICS

I have a variety of infographics to share this time, starting with a couple from people in favour of keeping the hunting ban…

FHB Keep The Ban

I take a very strong line on disability rights both here and on aspitweets and my next infographic is in keeping with that.

DHC

Those of us fortunate enough not to have had to use a food bank may wonder what exactly they provide – check this scary infographic to find out…

Foodbanks

My last two infographics both relate to a smear campaign being run by the Daily Mail against Labour leadership contender Andy Burnham (which has naturally influenced me in his favour!)

DMAB

ABXs

LINKS

I shall start with an anniversary, courtesy of Faraday’s Candle. The birthday girl is astronaut Sally Ride.

Having started on a science theme, two more links, the first of which introduces the second. The twin themes are asteroid strikes and probability:

1) Intro piece

2) The whole shebang

THE IRISH GAY MARRIAGE REFERENDUM

I found the result of this referendum very exciting, and I was not the only one, as these two links, one from the Independent and one from Patheos make clear in their different ways:

1)Indy

2)Patheos

TWO FINAL LINKS

My last links both refer to important social issues, one to our railways and one to the bedroom tax. First of all, I thank the Liverpool Echo for this article about the much loathed bedroom tax. Secondly, The Mirror provided this marvellous article about Network Rail.

PHOTOGRAPHS AND SHARING

Just before putting up my final few images I would urge you all to share this post or at least the parts of it that appeal to you. My thanks to all of my followers.

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These maps all come fron the front of Harry Sidebottom's "The Caspian Gates" which is a marvellous read and a book I would recommend to anyone.
These maps all come fron the front of Harry Sidebottom’s “The Caspian Gates” which is a marvellous read and a book I would recommend to anyone.

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I saw this picture on twitter and was very struck by it, so here it is.
I saw this picture on twitter and was very struck by it, so here it is.