Category Archives: Ashes

The Ashes. First test review. Time to push the panic button?

Just like the rock hard Gabba wicket, England were well and truly rolled in the first ill-tempered test of the 2013/2014 Ashes series.

England’s main antagonist in the by 381 run loss was Mitchell Johnson. Mitch was once a barmy army laughing stock. He bowled to left and he bowled to the right. This time he mostly bowled straight. Straight at the ribs, fingers and face.

Johnson brought back memories to the Gabba of the ‘good’ old days. When men were men and they didn’t have sleeve tattoos or a grooming regime.

Days when Lillee (who first noticed Johnson) and his partner in pain Jeff Thompson, bowled quick and short; hitting touring batsman into submission in front of baying crowds on hard, fast, cracked Gabba wickets.

This nostalgia was made even more real by Johnson’s slingy action that has more than a touch of Thommo thrown in; the dodgy moustaches on show and the decidedly 70’s style sledging “get ready for a fucking broken arm”.

Maybe this retro stuff is the brand of Australian cricket Boof Lehman was talking about?

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Mitch’s retro ‘tache

Just like the England touring sides of the early and mid 70’s there was little answer to the onslaught, except hopping round the crease or giving their wickets away cheaply to Nathan Lyon.

This kind of drubbing shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, so maybe it’s not time to panic quite yet Capt. Mainwaring

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England always start tours abysmally. India, New Zealand, The UAE and Sri-Lanka all resulted in collapses and losses, or collapses and narrow escapes.

Even the 2010 Gabba opener of the Australian of the Ashes, started very, very badly.

But unlike 2010 or even in India last winter, even the most media trained of cricketers couldn’t ‘find the positives’ in the batting. There was no rear guard. Little fight back, the only slight exception being Cook’s half century.

As with many of England’s batting led brain farts over the years, the bowlers performed well. Broad’s 6-wicket haul impressive. Stuart Broad seems to be powered by unpopularity.

Anderson was also good even with little assistance for his brand of bowling.

Tremlett got wickets and extracted tidy bounce, though was bowling at the pace of Paul Collingwood (a 7ft hulking Paul Collingwood). Swann was as before at the Gabba, expensive.

Though the result was crushing it could easily be an anomaly.

Johnson is mentally weak and was greatly helped by the pitch.

His career has been one of inconsistency, bowling his team to victory in one test and losing it for them in the next. The only pitch likely to play like the one at the Gabba, is The WACA at Perth. Mitchell Johnson bowled Australia to victory their in 2010 and Australia still lost the Ashes comfortably. So he will need to do it at least twice in this series.

Australia’s top order batsman also failed in the first innings – it was only the Haddin and Johnson partnership that saved them. They don’t perform well under scoreboard pressure and second innings runs and slogging, is a lot easier with lots of runs on the board.

Don’t forget too, that prior to this test, Zimbabwe and the West Indies had won more tests in 2013 than Australia. The team reaction said a lot about this – a lap of honour for a single test victory. Like Johnson himself it can’t be classed as a resurgence unless they do it a few times more, at least.

From England’s perspective, even if it is panic stations, batting options are limited so as ever the bowlers will pay after the batsman fail.

Tremlett could be the first casualty of this policy.

As many predicted, he didn’t look like the bowler of 2010/2011 and on a flatter pitch he could be mincemeat. Bresnan will come into contention if fit and the extra pace of Rankin or Finn may be risked on quicker pitches if one performs in the tour match at Alice Springs.

Panesar should play, particularly in Adelaide, which is now more like Ahmedabad if reports of the new drop in wickets are to be believed.

One thing is for sure, England’s batsman cannot afford to have another bad match en-mass. Two-down is a pretty insurmountable. They will have to raise their game considerably from the summer in England, let alone from this test, against an Australian line up growing in experience and confidence.


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The Oval An Eventful Day One

It certainly was an eventful day all round. Featuring:

Selection Strangeness

A drug addled David Bowie, used to pen lyrics by cutting up magazines and sticking the words back together. I think the England selectors took inspiration from the thin white duke, taking the scissors to a Playfair annual and sticking it back together. Two spinners and Woakes at 6!!!! It is squarely against everything England have done for many years and common sense. The result? 23 overs no wickets 105 runs. Woakes gradually got better but Kerrigan got absolutely Bryce’d. A spinner with the yips getting hammered is a horror to watch. I hope he shows what he undoubtedly can do on a spinning pitch later in the match.

Rare Watson Century Spotted in SE London

Shane Watson’s pad has clearly been on the five – two diet. It’s slimmed down to the extent that no England bowler could hit it and as a result he hammered 176 quick, imperious runs before KP took a stunning tumbling catch on the boundary. It was a flat pitch but this was a great innings which has forced England on the back foot. Watson needs a few. more of these before he’s in credit though. He was ably supported by Smith who is learning to build an innings.

Boof’s Diplomatic Incident

Lehmann encourages home supporters to make Broad cry in a radio interview. The only sure way to make Stuart Broad cry is to steal his ‘guyliner’. Br character is such that booing him and giving him verbals will most likely have the reverse effect.

The Usual Please

Broad, Swann and Jimmy all bowled well on a pitch offering less help than a IKEA instruction booklet. Jimmy looked back to himself and went past Willis test wicket record to #2 on the list of all time wicket takers. Can he get past 450 in his career.

Crystal Ball

England need to use the new ball to finish the Aussies off and eek out a long innings to get back to parity. The pitch is set to turn and Australia’s second innings will be tricky, if much of it needs to be on day 4.

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Five Reasons Why England Won The Ashes

1) Arse feeling – psychologically, proving you are a real man, not a metrosexual tanned Australian with oiled up guns was key. By England’s constant arse fondling on the pitch they demonstrate a complete comfort and confidence in their own manhood and sexuality, driving home their er… advantage.


2) The sprinkler – a juvenile dance done by drunk uncles at Australian weddings or the perfect exercise for an elite cricketer? ‘Sprinkling’ introduced by England’s strength and conditioning coach builds muscles essential for bowling, fielding and spending long periods batting at the crease. The three elements England did better for 80% of the series.


3) Kevin Pietersen – yes he made a double hundred but this is not the reason he should receive accolades. KP rightly claims complete credit for the win. He chose not to go back in time in his Delorean, crack onto Andrew Strauss’s mum in the under the sea dance at her school, make her fall in love with him thus ensuring she never met Strauss’s father and Andrew was never born and could not captain England.


4) Mitch Johnson – in the initial pre-series briefing, Ponting explained to Mitch he was to be the shock bowler of the team. Mitch understood this to mean to bowl shocking deliveries. This is the second series where MJ has contributed significantly to England’s ashes victory and the plan to throw their wickets away to Johnson in the Perth test to keep him in the team was a sound one.


5) The Australian Press – wow, what a vicious bunch of bastards. Headlines like “harm these men if you see them” not going to help your confidence as you walk out to 20,000 English fans.

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Who writes your scripts Ricky?

It is quite unfashionable to like Ricky Ponting. He’s a gum chewing glum faced petulant pantomime baddy. His captaincy lacks insight and is a very easy human to dislike.

Yes he is a bit of a twat, but at the risk of understatement Ricky Ponting can bat. In tests he has scored nearly the most runs ever in the world, averages over 50 and has scored just shy of 40 hundreds. I’ve always particularly liked to watch quick’s bowling short at him. He pulls better than the Sun’s latest shagger of the year.

I for one hope, that this is not ‘it’ for the Rickster. I feel he needs and deserves to go out on some sort of high. Warne got seven hundred wickets plus and whitewashed England before he retired. McGrath actually got his 5-0 prediction right and bowled as impeccably as always. Recently Freddie got a 5fer at Lords and ran out Punter when he was well set at the Oval. Even Beefy took a 6fer before he bowed out.

As Gooch famously said to herr Botham “who writes your scripts?”.

Not sure who writes Ricky’s but they are total bastards. Losing the Ashes again, scoring less runs than a number 10 in the series and breaking your finger and missing the final test at the SCG, is not going out in a blaze of glory. I can only assume his script writer is that Jigsaw guy from the Saw films.

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The Ashes, a battle to be crowned the new new new old Australia.

Before Perth there was a lot of talk about role reversal.

Australia were the new England, some said the new old brittle mid 90’s England, while England were the new old, grind the opposition into the dirt, Waugh style Aussies.

After Perth, the tables were turned again. Australia were the new new old old Aussies, Mitch with his slingy missiles looked like Thommo, blasting the opposition away and England the new new old England, unable to cope with bounce and pace.

Now with England crowned Ashes retainers after a absolute drubbing of Australia at the MCG, are England the
new new new old Australia? Only a ruthless performance in Sydney
will tell us.

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Funky, windy, violent WACA

The WACA. Say it over and over again and it sounds like the intro to Shaft.

WACA, WACA, WACA, WACA, WACA, WACA, WACA, WACA… Who is the man who would risk his life for an other man… Strauss… can you dig it? Damn right.

Until planes were entrusted to Australians in 1970, a hundred years after other nations, nobody played at The WACA as it was 4 days on a train to get there. Yet despite having a short history in hosting test matches, a funky maverick cop is needed at The WACA- it is Australia’s most violent ground.

Dennis Lillee kicked Javid Miandad who then threatened to hit Lillee with his bat. Terry Alderman had his shoulder severely injured by a pitch invader and 20 odd spectators were arrested. Geoff Lawson had his jaw broken by an Ambrose bouncer and this year Pakistan player Khalid Latif was flattened by a spectator who got onto the pitch.

As well as being reminiscent of wrestlemania, The WACA is the bounciest pitch in Australia, so expect more bouncers than a Saturday night in Cardiff and unlike most of the bouncers in Cardiff, they will harmlessly sail over the top of batsman’s heads (rather than repeatedly stamping on them).

The WACA is also the windiest test ground. Light cricketers like Ian Bell, are regularly blown away by the Freemantle Doctor during the afternoon session and timed out. To combat this they regularly wear heavy lead boots. This is often true of visiting England teams and can be blamed for their poor footwork. This also one of the main reasons Chris Tremlett has been selected, he is half a stone heavier than Tim ‘sausage arms’ Bresnan.

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Adelaide Ground Preview

Oh, Pretty Adel-lady

You are so lovely, with your spire and picket fences. You remind me of home. Shall we go out for a drink sometime?

Oh look at your lovely flat pitch, so easy to bat on. Mmmm look at all these runs, so easy to make. I think I love you, perhaps we should move in together?

What’s that! You’ve taken all my money and cut my knackers off in the night. What’s that bulge in your trousers? You are a man!

Damn you, you evil tranny. I wish I never met you.

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