Posted by: nestaquin | July 11, 2009

Ashes 2009: Four More

Mushtaq AhmedMushtaq Ahmed

Stating the obvious, wrist spinners are a cunning breed of men. While growing his beard and belly so he can fulfill his lifetime ambition of playing Doc in the annual Snow White pantomimes he conned the English administrators to employ him as a spin coach for their finger spinners. It’s akin to Ray Charles mentoring a promising guitarist because they both play music. The obvious results are there for all to see.

Michael Clarke

Pup had the English spinners bamboozled with his classical footwork. It was a throwback to another time where spinners bowled with unbent elbow and batsmen danced down the wicket secure in the knowledge that the ball was only turning in one direction. It was beautiful to watch and fitting for a Test series that began when cricket balls were hand stitched.


Three days in and with both teams having a bat – although Australia is only half finished – it is patently clear that the the gulf in skill and attitude is wide. England’s attack looks only a tad better than New Zealand’s without Bond and their batting lacks the required application and intensity for top-notch Test cricket.

England will need to play at their very best in every area if they are to compete day in day out. After watching Australia continue to learn and improve as they played some very tough cricket against India and South Africa I cannot rationally conceive England regaining The Ashes unless the BaggyGreens become complacent or the team bus falls off a cliff.

Day Four

England should be praying fervently for rain. Even though they scored over 400 and are only 44 in arrears they are in deep, deep trouble. Australia will come out today intent on another quick hundred and if they get them the pressure on England when they bat to save the match will be crushing.


  1. “it is patently clear that the the gulf in skill and attitude is wide”

    Unfortunately it’s hard to argue with this. The second innings will be a massive test of England’s attitude and ability to knuckle down and protect your wicket under pressure. If they’ve learnt anything watching the Windies bat in the Carribean then it needs to be just that.

  2. Nesta.. I think there is a huge problem in anyone telling Ottis he’ s up the creek. Certainly, no player looks capable of it.. so their bowling will continue on it’s inevitable path..

    He is one scary looking bloke.

  3. I can see why you think that, but I’m not going to agree.

    Mushtaq was brought in primarily to work on the psychological aspects of spin bowling – a key factor. Swanny has made progress and shouldn’t be written off after one off-colour innings.

    There is no gulf in skill or class. Aus have a better batting line-up most of whom played well, but there’s very little pressure on places, so a “batting Gillespie” (2005 version) will have to be carried until (if?) Watson is fit. England have not played well, but will need to bat seven sessions to save the Test which is pretty much the minimum required in this form of the game. I don’t see big pressure this weekend. Had Aus not let England add so many runs for the eighth and ninth wickets, things would be different.

    Aus (collectively) can play a bit better later in the series; England can, and will, play a lot better. This match tells us little.

  4. Isn’t the attacking thing for Punter to declare on 500?

    • No thanks

  5. l’m not as confident as you Nesta, still early days for mine, but certainly happier with our horse so far.

    After a few tests we can stop arguing about who is going to improve more, especially in the bowling attacks, and start judging those that haven;t come up….

  6. I dont know how professional Mushtaq has been at the Psychological stuff. I just saw Monty in the outfield whispering away to himself .. not a good sign, in any context.

  7. whispering to himself AND looking utterly shit scared to boot..

    not good, really .

  8. Did anyone notice the hover craft of a wicket cover they have in Cardif? when it was being moved in a hurry last night it was blowing huge amounts of dust off the wicket at the far end to the press boxes. It was being moved in the back ground while the sky boys were chatting to camera in their press box.
    Never seen anything like it before – a cover directly effecting a wicket like that.

  9. Jim – It’s the same at Lord’s. They brush the wicket anyway.

    Uninspiring stuff, but if I’m being charitable, England are thinking about Thursday and conserving energy. I can see that I may be looking at a half-full glass here.

  10. Jimmy with the run out? Unforgiveable.

    • poor cricket

  11. This England X1 is playing a bunco game. They cant even be bothered fielding now.

    Since it is immaterial whether mouth is interested in body language or not, the body language of this Eng team is beyond disgrace. Beyond belief, really. Even the spectators can read it. Even if they dont want to.

  12. A new mature Haddin? Ricky must have medicated him?! Could be a very very good bat at 7.

  13. It is a measure of the low expectations and possibly low morals that the crowd of English spectators at Sophia gardens dont walk out en masse.

    How they can cop this shite and not die of embarrassment I do not know.

  14. It is dire.

  15. Marcus needs to try scorng a century on debut against every team he plays. Well done that man. He may well get thrown the ball in England’s second innings and prove a key man in retaining the Ashes. Poor Shane Watson will have to continue watching from the dressing room.

  16. England will probably lose this, not because they lack the talent to draw, but because they lack the desire and application. Rain is their best hope at this point. So then the question is, will they pick themselves up for Lords, or is this setting the pattern for the series? Presumably Harmi will come back for Lords, adding to the flakiness of the team.

  17. If Aus don’t win after so dismal an England performance, what does that say? In 2005, England roared back at Edgbaston. I don’t know if this team can, but I do know that this Test (if drawn) will be forgotten instantly by all but the batsmen who cashed in.

    • Wishful thinking there Toots! All but Punter, Katich, Clarke, North, Haddin you mean?! And the 5 English bowlers who also scored centuries?!

      Lets deal with this test first anyway.

      • Usually I would agree, but this is such a strange Test being played in a county stadium and in a county atmosphere. England are to blame for that, but Aus had an hour or more of it with Anderson and Strauss at the crease. It just feels all wrong.

  18. Punter should declare – hasn’t he seen the forecast?

  19. Really enjoyed this innings from Haddin. l really rate him as a bat, but has let the concentration go in some previous innings. Good innings for him/his career.

  20. Well done , Brad, well done Marcus, you beauties.

  21. those two are competing against each other for runs, bugger England..

  22. If the rain holds off, this could be a really fun afternoon. They’re going to be all over England, setting it up for a win tomorrow. Couldn’t ask for a better first match.

  23. Now, will this pitch do the “180 degree flip” that Durban did back in March?

  24. the shot of a man who has been in the field for 3 days.

  25. Billy once again proves he does not know where the top of the stumps are.
    Bit of a problem for umpires that.

    • Wasn’t much over, and hawkeye is not God. Loose shot anyway, doesn’t deserve sympathy.

  26. Pretending that England are equals on any level is a masquerade. England have shown nothing but contempt for their teammates, cap, supporters and the historical status of the contest in general. This team make the rabble of 2006/07 look world class.

    Even if they are saved by rain the damage is permanent. Bowlers laughing and shaking hands when they’ve been smashed for a ton would never be seen in a BaggyGreen. Never!

    • The rain has been forecast since Monday, so it was always going to intervene. I recall Langer and Hayden smiling as the light closed in at The Oval in September 2005, and I respected them for it – they understood the game was up.

      This one isn’t yet as England will need to bat well for how many overs are possible tomorrow. England have played badly, but I still don’t see a gulf in class – I see a excellent Aus batting line-up, but bowlers with much to prove. England have batsmen and bowlers with much to prove.

      I’ll concede a gulf in class if England are two-down after Lord’s; I’ll concede a difference in class if England are one-down after Lord’s. And if it’s level, then it’s all to play for.

      • Australian bowlers with much to prove? The lot that just knocked over SA, and now Eng couldn’t even hold out for 20 mins before tea with rain looming? The apparently hopeless Hauritz who outbowled the apparently very good Swann?
        Well, your bravado is admirable anyway.
        I really thought Eng would put up a stronger fight than this.
        Anderson’s missed runout was absolutely shocking, he deserves a major kick up the backside for that, but I suspect he didn’t get it. An international cricketer who couldn’t be bothered covering the stumps?

  27. Toots, the belief that one’s own view of reality is the only reality is the most dangerous of all delusions.

    I’m not attempting to score points mate but your team’s attitude is disgraceful and I’m surprised that any sane man would accept it. They seem to think that playing for your country is a big joke and their performance mirrors that.

    They’ve shown nothing in this Test to support your confidence in them winning a day let alone a Test or the series. Just what are you basing these assertions on? Surely not 2005 or The Wisden Trophy?

  28. Nesta.. those last 2 wickets before the rain had us, the cockatoo, the dog and my elderly batchelors having to have a few overs of hall cricket ourselves.. damage small, just one small picture knocked down. my god how I loved it.

    The fielding and bowling by England was indescribably insulting, to me, to you, to even Mouth, and to cricket wherever it is played and appreciated. It will not be forgotten.

    And doesn’t the AU team look GORGEOUS in those creams? I am convinced that some of my triple AAA merino went into them.

    same time tomorrow. Cheers to all.

    • The creams are very fitting much like the ones The Don wore with distinction. My better half was wondering why England wear those awful plastic pullovers. They are as tawdry as their cricket. And an Australian in Ricky’s team would never cover the emu and kangaroo with their sunglasses.

      Closer to the cricket, I thought Collingwood bowled very well and that Strauss’ captaincy on every level was very bad. The ill concealed attempts at time wasting was pretty poor too. Even their own supporters were booing them!

  29. Nobody is going to say that today was anything other than a poor and tawdry day for England with much to put right. You’ll know that I am no fan of Strauss as captain and today showed why.

    The two quick wickets I would put down to things that happen – Cook waited a long time to bat and then played a poor shot (I said the same of Hussey yesterday in slightly different circumstanceds) and Ravi paid a high penalty for a poor shot that the umpire should not have called out.

    And I see Fred and Nesta’s enthusiasm for the bowlers, but I feel that they do have something to prove in backing up a good performance in SA with a good performance in England.

    What I would like to know is why Aus have been so on top and yet England have only to bat seven sessions to save the Test? Batting seven sessions is the minimum requirement for Test cricket and Aus’ supremacy hasn’t changed that. Had Punter declared on 600, as he should have with rain around, that would be different.

    I expect England to get out of jail on this one and to improve significantly. Let’s talk tomorrow as to whether this is a chance taken or a chance missed by Aus when we’ll know for sure.

  30. Tooting,
    you’re right it’s a young attack that needs to continue with what it started. I guess the solidity and guts of their performance in SA has lead to the enthusiam and confidence some of us have. However it seemed odd, after conceding 674, to point to the opposition bowlers.

    Two quick wickets “things that happen”? Well yes, but there’s still no way to excuse it. They are things that happen to people who don’t have the requisite discipline and concentration. Yes it was hard for Cook to open after fielding for so long, but that’s what he signed up for. Bad luck for Bop, but if he’d hit the ball he wouldn’t be out lbw.

    True, we need to wait until tomorrow to draw conclusions. But mine are drawn, I’m just waiting for them to be confirmed tomorrow.

    The big question is can Eng pick themselves up tomorrow or at the next match. The discipline and application of the sides suggests not, but we will see.

  31. I’m not convinced that they can pick themselves up for tomorrow, but I’m certain that they will for Lord’s.

    I’ll reserve conclusions until the end of the Test.

    Why didn’t Punter declare on 600? The only scenario for defeat at that time would have been England being all out 300 +/- 30 and then Aus all out 135 +/- 30. Any fewer in England’s second innings and Aus would have knocked them off; any more and Aus would have batted out time (Strauss would never declare). If England bat out the draw, Punter has surely missed a trick?

    • Australia only needed three and half sessions to knock England over when they were fresh and the pitch was very good. Four and a bit is enough a second time round against an unmotivated and weak team. Ricky isn’t a meteorologist and if it rains so be it. Australia have gained much from this match already. They’ve continued their dominance and every player except Hussey has runs or wickets.

      I’m surprised that a man as yourself is suffering the collective amnesia that the rest of your country has. The England team is essentially the same as the one humiliated in Australia and nothing in this Test has indicated that they have learned anything from that defeat. After four days I reckon this mob is probably worse than the 06/07 team.

      Obviously, anything can happen in the next Test but the chances of England victory must be slim. Australia will be better for the run and England, in the middle of their season, look weak and disinterested.

      If the rains stays away Australia will win.

  32. It rains in Cardiff (believe me, I grew up on the west coast of Britain and and it seldom goes five days without raining, especially when it’s forecast).

    The England team may prove to be as easily defeated as the 2006-7 version, but it is not the same team. New players include Ravi, Prior, Jimmy, Swanny and Broad and may well include Sidebottom and Onions soon. The opposition have just as big a turnover of personnel. Whether both teams repeat their predecessors’ performances remains to be seen, but neither team is the same as 2006-7.

    After four days, I don’t judge anything as complex as a Test XI. After Lord’s I might be able to begin to draw some conclusions.

    Aus may be better at Lord’s, though they are unlikely to bat more effectively. An equally good case can be made for England being better at Lord’s and more likely to convert some of the ten first innings double figure scores into big hundreds. I doubt whether England can bowl worse, so there’s a case for saying that the match will be tighter at Lord’s, which may be a worry if England skulk out of Cardiff with a draw.

    The rain is unlikely to stay away, but I’m unconvinced that Aus will win even if it doesn’t. If they do win, I shall salute a fine victory – if they don’t, I’ll say something else.

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