BALL GAMES ALLOWED – Third Test Match Report

by • December 19, 2013 • tf blogsComments (1)397

Australia (385 all out/369 for 6 declared) beat England (251 all out/353 all out) by 150 runs. 

So the Ashes are lost and it’s taken me a couple of days to bring myself to write this blog, ashes5such is disappointment I’m feeling over this whole sorry affair.  England were not as bad as the previous two Tests but they weren’t a whole lot better.

The Boxing Day Test is a fantastic occasion, even from 5,000 miles away as the end of Christmas Day coincides with the countdown to the 4th Test at the MCG in front of 100,000 people.  It’s been ruined this year as our team have managed to relinquish the Urn as meekly as I can remember.  The 2006/7 catastrophe was offset by an English team ravaged by injuries.  The Australian team at the time was one of the greatest ever assembled.  It was humiliating but looking back, there was no real shame in it.  The teams England put out in those Test matches were just miles behind the Australians in terms of talent.

This time, there can be no excuses.  The reasons for the failure, and the extent of the failure will have to wait until the end of the series.  England could come back and win the next two Tests, nut I doubt it.

This Test started exactly the same as the previous two – with Michael Clarke winning the toss.  A devastating blow for England as a lot of us realised England only really had a chance if they could bat first and put the Aussies under pressure.  Once again we made short work of their top order and had them 140 odd for 5 – a great position.  Once again we let Brad Haddin take the game away from us.  Eventually bowling them out for under 400 was a decent effort, but it was going to take something special from the batting line up to put us in the position to win the match.

Cook and Carberry put on 85 before heart breakingly we threw it all away and slumped to 251 all out, miles behind them on another blameless wicket.  It was gut wrenching to watch to see the batsmen throw away the ashes like that.  Both Cook and Carberry should have gone on after their great starts but it was a great platform for the rest of the batsmen.  Joe Root got an awful decision and that seemed to trigger another collapse.  You can’t win cricket matches with first innings deficits on flat pitches and once again we ended up batting to save a game in 5 sessions.

The second time around was a little better, with contributions from Pieterson, Bell and most spectacularly of all Ben Stokes.  It was an amazing knock by the young man who proved he deserves a place in this tea, 120 not out, in your second Test match when batting to save a game is some achievement.  When KP and Bell were batting together it just looked easy.  Plenty has been spoken about KP’s dismissal.  If he’d of hit it for 6 he’d have gone onto 51 NO and could have been flying.

So we were bowled out 150 runs short and the Ashes have been lost.  I’ve sketched over a lot of the finer details in this match but I’m not really arsed.  I didn’t think it would be this painful losing them so convincingly and there’s no other sport where fans devout such time to watching the game unfold.

I hope we show some fight in Melbourne, another big defeat and batting collapse will be hard to stomach.



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One Response to BALL GAMES ALLOWED – Third Test Match Report

  1. Niall Fleming says:

    The Aussies have had the march on us since Boof Lehmann was appointed.

    During the summer he sorted out the batting, bringing Smith into the squad, finding the right position for Watson and gradually jettisoning the middle order left handers to negate Swann.

    He then took the bold decision to bring back Craig MacDermott as bowling coach and Mitchell Johnson. Pairing Johnson with Ryan Harris gets some cutting edge pace.

    No doubt too the word went out to ensure that the pitches were not like last time.

    What did we do?

    We got the squad planning completely wrong. We selected Woakes and Kerrigan for the final summer test and then discarded them.

    On the bowling front Tremlett was called up but didn’t actually play and so his drop in pace was not recognised. It was known all round the county circuit. Finn has been “coached” into a cul de sac. Rankin is a worthy player but he is 29 years old. Anderson dropped off after the Trent Bridge test. All four were selected (Anderson understandably on his longer record) giving a unit of medium pacers with no edge. Tymal Mills and the Overton lad, who have pace, were left out. Ironically Mills was called on to give the batsmen practice against left arm pace (!) but of course Bresnan was added to the squad – another medium pacer down on mph following injury.

    Prior was clearly having form issues but instead of taking a reserve wicketkeeper batsman in Buttler they gave the job to Bairstow who had been dropped as a specialist batman and who doesn’t keep regularly for Yorkshire.

    Apart from Prior it was known that Trott was having issues and Cook had form problems. So the back up decisions were Ballance and Bairstow – who have issues with the short ball, and Carberry who is strokeless at this level and whose catching is suspect. Where are the young players with the ability to handle pace, Lees, Robson and Chopra – with the performance squad. Where is the performance squad, er in Australia.

    Incidentally down here at Warwickshire it is well known that Trott has a history of shall we say “intensity” and struggles against the short ball. He bats at number four for Warwickshire, Bell bats at three.

    One of the best comments that I read, I think it might have been Mike Selvey, was that England look like a team of old men, although their average age is less than the Australians.

    They have thirty plus players out there (both squads) and yet they can’t put eleven on the field with some drive and energy.

    I doubt if they will make radical changes for the final two tests, leaving only a dozen matches to sort out a team to beat Australia in 2015.

    The correct approach would be to re-jig the two squads for the final tests and start planning for the future now, but it won’t happen.