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The Ashes 2015 – 4th Test – What a Day!

In the US, we tend to wake up to find the morning’s play well underway and maybe even approaching lunch for those lazier ex-Pats.  This morning I awoke to click straight on to ESPN to be blown away (just as the Australian top order was) by an extraordinary scoreline of 38-7..!!  I had to rub my eyes and shake some early morning cobwebs clear to look again and see I was right as the joyful fielding side were enjoying the drinks break.  After a quick shower I returned to see the score at 47-9, it was all too bizarre.  A phenomenal spell from Stuart Broad who, as was predicted, once again had one of ‘those‘ spells against the Aussies and then a sublime innings from Wonder-Boy, Joe Root saw England in absolute control by the end of a truly amazing day.

So, what was this one-sided affair down to..?  Loss of the toss; change in weather conditions through the day; England just played better; poor selection from the visitors; anything wrong with the pitch..?  Well, apart form the last suggestion (England showed there is little wrong with the pitch), as is the usual response to these types of questions… a bit of all of the above.  Sure, it was a tough toss to lose, but let’s face it, all the Australian top order had to do was survive to lunch.  Clearly, the conditions turned and the pitch (as the cliché goes) flattened out and had the top order left the ball better and curbed some of the attacking shots, who is to say Steve Smith might be the man walking off to applause with say, Nevill at his side..?!

Yes for sure, England played better.  Broad was immense and you have wonder two things.   First, did it inspire Broad by not having Anderson at his side?  And also, imagine the first ten overs if Anderson was at his side..!  Finn and Wood did their jobs and then Cook, Bairstow and of course, the insatiable Root were excellent with the bat.  Lyth missed out a little again, but I still have no complaints at him at the top.  He got a terrific nut from Starc.  As did Bell.  Cook and Bairstow were a little scratchy and both gave chances along the way.   But Root was sheer class and setting aside all the other stuff that went on today, just study his innings and you will have witnessed a thing of beauty.  Not until he passed 100 did he give a couple of scares, an inside edge that went down to fine leg and then an edge that fell a whisker short to Clarke at second slip in the penultimate over.  You have to fancy him making one of those “daddy” hundreds tomorrow.

Finally, it was a strange selection by Australia to leave out Mitchell Marsh.  He didn’t score that many runs in those two Tests, but he did bowl pretty well and the Sky commentators to a man, criticised the lack of a proper 4th seamer (Warner is hardly that), with Shaun Marsh hardly turning the batting order around.  Voges was lucky to make the start and like most of his colleagues, did not impress again.

If I have one gripe, it is again the use of a ‘nightwatchman’.  I guess this scenario wasn’t the worst use and at least Wood can bat a bit.  Indeed, he knows how to hit the ball as he showed in Cardiff, so a quick 30 from him tomorrow would really grind the men in green caps into the ground.  But poor… poor Moeen Ali.  He is playing as well as any of the top order and yet, now….. he is batting at NINE..!!   Imagine the conversation.  Moeen to Cook.. “So after my match turning innings at Edgbaston and Buttler not playing that well, any chance of me getting a little higher up the order Skip?”  Cook, “Nine please Moeen!”

Ho hum, the life of an International cricketer.  I fancy Moeen and the rest of the team will all sleep okay tonight.  Roll on tomorrow!

Til then.

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