It’s a little over halfway through this match and therefore a little over halfway through the series. It’s safe to say now that the series is over, England cannot retain the Ashes from here. To this point this performance is even more dismal than 2006 because that Australian team was full of all time legends of the game and this one isn’t. Take nothing away, Australia have some very good players and to be honest I don’t begrudge players like Siddle, Rogers, Haddin and even Johnson their Ashes success. But not Warner.
At the end of the summer series Australia may have lost 3-0 but they knew with a little improvement they could beat England. The trouble for England was, they knew it too. Confidence shifted in a big way.
So to avoid my doomsday scenario England will have to bat for the best part of two days and not even this biased England supporter doesn’t believe they can.
For some reason my blogger is playing up and I can’t post so god knows when any of this will go online. Day four followed the script. Australia battered England then chipped away taking the odd wicket here and there. There has been a little fight from England but not enough to change the likely result. At least Ben Stokes will gain some confidence from passing fifty for the first time in test.
A few days later. Blogger is still playing up and the test is over, the series decided. Well played Australia, better in all disciplines throughout the series to date. A few bright things for England, well one actually, Ben Stokes getting 120+
Who will play in the 4th test? Bob Willis has gone on Sky TV with a team missing Carberry (really Bob?), Prior, Swann and Bresnan. Willis moves Root up to open and brings Balance, Finn and Panesar. I’d stay with the top three of Cook, Carberry and Root, switch Bell & KPego to 4 & 5 Keep Stokes at 6 and bring in Bairtow for Prior at 7. My four bowlers would be Broad or Bresnan at 8 then play Jimmy, Monty and Rankin. I’d not play Finn on this tour but get him right and bring him back in the summer. So Swann and Prior would drop out, both have only enjoyed a couple of bright moments in the last twelve months and there are replacements waiting in the wings.
After this series is over…what next? Well the KPego needs to get some runs in the next two matches or he’s out. Likewise Carberry who I like watching play, but is on borrowed time because Joe Root will eventually open the batting again. Ian Bell plays at 4. Who comes back? Surely Compton deserves another crack at some point and Trotty if he starts getting runs for Notts. James Taylor is waiting in the wings too but who else? If Stokes continues to play anything like as well then he has to stay. As for the keeper, I’d pick the country’s form player at the time and if Prior finds his form he’s definitely in the mix. Jimmy is getting battered but we know he’ll be brilliant again on home wickets next summer. Broad is now our best bowler. Monty should be our first choice spinner, he’s a better bowler than ever now. Graham Onions must get his long over due return to test cricket. Right now the question is, who captains?
1st test vs Sri Lanka
Cook, Root, Trott, Bell, KPego, Bairstow, Stokes, Broad, Onions, Anderson, Panesar