Cricket- the sport not the insect

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Entertaining game even with the lost time due to the weather. England handled Lyon much better in the second innings. Roy and Root are struggling as are Warner and Bancroft. The bowlers have taken centre stage in the first two tests except for that man Smith. Nice century from Stokes. Hard fought innings from the Smith substitute Labuschagne. Doesn't sound like Smith will play the next test with the quick turnaround and it's probably for the best logic wise and medical wise. Starc will probably be in also so Australia can get a look at all of their pace bowlers before the series gets too old. Siddle might make way for Starc. Australia still haven't solved the riddle of the top order and it's been that way for quite a while now. Bancroft might get one more chance to redeem himself while Warner has been no better really. Moving Stokes up the order was obvious and it paid dividends.
Smith aside, it does seem like there’s very little separating the two batting line ups. If he doesn’t play on Thursday, the Aussie top order have to step up.

Similarly England need Root to do the same, they cannot rely on the lower order if they are going to turn this around, though the brilliant debut of Archer at least gives them some hope.

Looking forward to Leeds, hopefully the weather plays ball next time and we get another great test match.
 
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I think the pressures of captaincy are causing Roots loss of form with bat.
Possible, but he still averaged 45 in 2017-18, which I’d take right now. Especially when you consider the 5 tests against India last summer were on very seamer friendly pitches followed by 3 tests in Sri Lanka where it turned square from ball 1.

The bigger issue is batting at 3. He’s made no secret in the past that he prefers batting at 4, however England’s top order struggles forced his hand, the problem being now he’s adding to the struggle if he cannot find his form.
 
Entertaining game even with the lost time due to the weather. England handled Lyon much better in the second innings. Roy and Root are struggling as are Warner and Bancroft. The bowlers have taken centre stage in the first two tests except for that man Smith. Nice century from Stokes. Hard fought innings from the Smith substitute Labuschagne. Doesn't sound like Smith will play the next test with the quick turnaround and it's probably for the best logic wise and medical wise. Starc will probably be in also so Australia can get a look at all of their pace bowlers before the series gets too old. Siddle might make way for Starc. Australia still haven't solved the riddle of the top order and it's been that way for quite a while now. Bancroft might get one more chance to redeem himself while Warner has been no better really. Moving Stokes up the order was obvious and it paid dividends.
Khawaja to opener for Bancroft. He has proven several times that this is his best spot and generally bats well with Warner. Labuschagne can then come in for Smith.

Hopefully Starc comes in for one of the other quicks. They haven't done much wrong but Starc was one of the top 2/3 bowlers of the World Cup, I'm stunned he wasn't first picked after Smith and Paine. Aus needs someone intimidating if they want to stay on top.
 
Possible, but he still averaged 45 in 2017-18, which I’d take right now. Especially when you consider the 5 tests against India last summer were on very seamer friendly pitches followed by 3 tests in Sri Lanka where it turned square from ball 1.

The bigger issue is batting at 3. He’s made no secret in the past that he prefers batting at 4, however England’s top order struggles forced his hand, the problem being now he’s adding to the struggle if he cannot find his form.
Although he averaged 45 which is not bad he previously had an average of over 50
 
The good news for England is that Burns looks quite good (he struggled to a 50 in the first innings but was sound in the second until a pretty weird ball), Bairstow has refound confidence, Buttler has had some time in harsh conditions and Stokes looks excellent as always. England will go into Leeds confident of winning, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the pitch will be as green as last year - if it is, it’s worth bringing Curran in for someone, considering he is pretty good with the bat too. Archer looked awesome, and Leach should definitely stay as first choice spinner.
 
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The good news for England is that Burns looks quite good (he struggled to a 50 in the first innings but was sound in the second until a pretty weird ball), Bairstow has refound confidence, Buttler has had some time in harsh conditions and Stokes looks excellent as always. England will go into Leeds confident of winning, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the pitch will be as green as last year - if it is, it’s worth bringing Curran in for someone, considering he is pretty good with the bat too. Archer looked awesome, and Leach should definitely stay as first choice spinner.
I’ve been impressed with Burns this series, Roy needs to learn to leave the red ball outside off, which is difficult for him because that’s his bread and butter in the one-day game.

It was no surprise to see Bairstow, Buttler and stokes perform better after a week off, they looked jaded in the first test after the World Cup exploits.

Curran or Denly is probably the only selection issue, as you say, it’ll come down to looking at the wicket on Thursday, and if there will be plenty of cloud cover forecast.
 
Is Anderson out for the rest of the series ? Burns is one of those irritating players that does a lot wrong but sticks around. England will need more of the same from Archer. Australia have to play Starc in the next game. The batting for both sides has been very inconsistent. Both sides also dropped some pretty straightforward catches. Smith will probably be dodging a bouncer barrage if he does play as England will be sensing some weakness but of course that tactic can backfire in spectacular fashion. If Smith doesn't play the pressure on Australia's more experienced batsmen will be even higher. Really I don't think there is much between the teams at the moment.
 
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Is Anderson out for the rest of the series ? Burns is one of those irritating players that does a lot wrong but sticks around. England will need more of the same from Archer. Australia have to play Starc in the next game. The batting for both sides has been very inconsistent. Both sides also dropped some pretty straightforward catches. Smith will probably be dodging a bouncer barrage if he doesn't play as England will be sensing some weakness but of course that tactic can backfire in spectacular fashion. If Smith doesn't play the pressure on Australia's more experienced batsmen will be even higher. Really I don't think there is much between the teams at the moment.

Anderson said he expects to be fit for the fourth test, and will probably be a guest player for Derbyshire in a Tour game against the aussies next week to prove his fitness.

The question is, who does he come back in for? Archer is box office, Broad and Woakes have bowled well, and Woakes’ runs at 8 are valuable given the fragile batting above him.
 
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Anderson would come in for denly or woakes, archer moving to first change I think is probably what will happen. If woakes goes though it does leave a pretty big hole post number 7: England will be depending on one of those one-in-a-hundred broad innings or whatever Leach did against ireland.

I was surprised Bairstow suddenly found form though - he's averaged under 20 in the past year or so, and looked genuinely quite good at Lord's.

It's pretty close between the two sides but, without Smith (whose presence is almost unfair - it's like playing a video game with a cheat code or FIFA on amateur), if I were to bet on a side to win the next test it would be England, weather permitting.
 
Anderson said he expects to be fit for the fourth test, and will probably be a guest player for Derbyshire in a Tour game against the aussies next week to prove his fitness.

The question is, who does he come back in for? Archer is box office, Broad and Woakes have bowled well, and Woakes’ runs at 8 are valuable given the fragile batting above him.
Somehow I don't think Broad will be getting dropped. Woakes like Siddle has played well but might be the one to be rested if Anderson is fit. On a flat pitch they might rest Archer but it's doubtful at the moment. Even on a flat pitch his bounce is still an issue for a while.
 
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Bowlers Getting Quicker ?

Good article, I have wondered before with the advances in sports science and training, with pretty much every sport seeing competitors going further, stronger, faster, how bowlers haven’t evolved the same.

We see it in the field with every team much fitter and up to a very good standard compared to 20 years ago, and batsmen are hitting the ball further than ever before, though part of this is of course down to the actual bats.

Perhaps it’s down the amount of cricket played now. Fast bowling no doubt takes it toll on the body, and there isn’t a great deal of time of for those top players who play all 3 formats internationally, on top of competitions like the IPL and Big Bash.
 
Good article, I have wondered before with the advances in sports science and training, with pretty much every sport seeing competitors going further, stronger, faster, how bowlers haven’t evolved the same.

We see it in the field with every team much fitter and up to a very good standard compared to 20 years ago, and batsmen are hitting the ball further than ever before, though part of this is of course down to the actual bats.

Perhaps it’s down the amount of cricket played now. Fast bowling no doubt takes it toll on the body, and there isn’t a great deal of time of for those top players who play all 3 formats internationally, on top of competitions like the IPL and Big Bash.
Very rare these days that a regular fast bowler does not have some sort of back issue or quite a while out of the game because of it. I'm sure if Australia had the opportunity again they might have rethought bowling Pat Cummins in tests at the age of 19. Spinners seem to get more finger and shoulder problems. The amount of cricket played these days is mad and even though countries sometimes limit the selection of their best test players in ODIs and 20/20 internationals, they can't stop them playing IPL, BBL or the English equivalent as well as the state games in Australia and county games in England. Obviously there is good money to be made in 20/20 cricket especially for the players on the margins of ODI and Test selection. Starc was having problems with his ankles as well, another part of the body for fast bowlers that takes a pounding.
 
Tough day for Australia in difficult conditions. At two down for about 120 they seemed to be getting back on track then Archer started the rot followed by Broad. Two balls that were almost unplayable. I went to bed after that but wasn't really surprised by the final score. The rain delays didn't help. England have a real chance now to get back into the series and Australia need to bowl well and not waste good bowling conditions. Warner got a start again but then started playing a few calypso cricket shots after he got his 50. Labuschagne tried hard but bizarrely got out to a full toss ! Next session should be great viewing.
 
England disaster. 4/6 of the dismissals have been totally out of their own doing too, just playing terrible shots that just should not be played in the first session of a test innings. The difference between Australia and England seems to be application and grit: warner struggled incredibly in his first 30 odd balls, misplaying about half of them, but rode his luck and got through it, while Labuschagne used his good form well and played very smartly (like stokes last time out and for the first 12 balls here). Need a miracle from buttler and Woakes to get past 150 and within any sort of chance to win the test
 
Shocking performance from the England top order....considering the situation in the match (Australia sub 200 first innings, great weather forecast for the next 4 days) going out and batting like that in the first session of the reply is simply inexcusable.
 
Absolute shocker by England, but not surprising given how they’ve generally batted in test matches over the past few years.

Just no fight and grit against a very good bowling attack, it has to be said.
Nice spell of bowling by Stokes without much luck. Not much to say about England's batting. Just a disaster and too many wickets from mediocre balls. Hard to see England getting out of this apart from maybe a rain dance. Labuschagne has proved to be a good pick so far.
 
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England poor in the field too - root dropping a sitter on Australia's most in form player.

I think it is time for Root to lose the captaincy - he isn't made for it, he's an excellent batsman (normally) but being a good player ≠ a good captain. I expect some changes in the lineup too. Roy could be good enough but he'll need time, and perhaps an ashes series isn't the place to do it (shows the desperation of selectors though, and it's an understandable one). Buttler might drop from the side, denly too, maybe bairstow, with some county guys given a chance. Today was a true low point
 
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Labuschagne has been great. Can see him holding his place when Smith returns, probably with Khawaja to open.
It will be along those lines. Looks like one of the young guys will miss out. I am starting to think Australia won't play Starc at all in the test series. Unless they give him a run in the final test as it looks like being a dead rubber at this stage. Facing a fresh Starc in the one day games....................fair to say Khawaja and few others have also struggled with the bat. Luckily England have been worse.
 

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