Day One At Cardiff – Your Thoughts

So here we go. The hype ends here. Bring on the action. Whatever the strength of the sides – relative to each other, to their forebears, or to other nations – England v Australia will always be regarded, in this country at least, and rightly or wrongly, as cricket’s definitive contest. And this morning we get underway.

We welcome all your thoughts and reaction as the day’s play progresses, on the comments board below. If you’re new here, don’t be shy – just get stuck in. There is no pack drill here. And you’ll also find a very lively thread over at Being Outside Cricket.

To start things off, here are a few quick thoughts.

The withdrawal of Ryan Harris, even though he was always unlikely to play here at Cardiff, truly represents a paradigm shift. The series will now be much closer.

Mitchell Johnson is one thing, Harris quite another – his nagging persistence, at pace, always asking questions outside off stump, is exactly the kind of bowling most likely to have undone England. Even in 2010/11, where he played, he brought the sides nearer to parity. His contribution alone in 2013 made the series vastly more competitive. And the pressure he applied in 2013/14 created much of the opportunity taken by Johnson and Nathan check Lyon.

His retirement is the best thing to happen to England since the 2013 Durham test. It may well be the most significant event in the entire career of Alastair Cook – who’s exactly the kind of batsman especially vulnerable to Harris’s style of cross-examination.

Beyond the teams’ composition, this series will ruthlessly challenge the English cricketing public’s appetite, energy, and goodwill. This may well be a stamina test which supporters pass. But by the end of August we will have witnessed fifteen Ashes tests within less than twenty six months. Fatigue may set in. There is only so much Anglo-Australian combat we can absorb without getting indigestion. An Ashes series demands emotional intensity, and you can only maintain intensity for so long.

This is also the first genuinely marquee series since the crises of 2014. Many of the wounds are still red raw. Some never cared, but of those who did, few have forgiven and none have forgotten.

The unique allure of the Ashes cannot disguise the fact that the ECB want England to win this series, not for you, not for the players, but for themselves. And whatever the result, the board and their press cheerleaders will talk glowingly of “building for the future” with an “exciting core of young players”. Even if England lose 0-5, Andrew Strauss will promise jam tomorrow.

But enough of me. It’s over to you.

Maxie Allen


  • What are all those bloody people doing on the pitch?

    Is this panto season?

    What a load of bollocks!!

  • I think I’m probably in the minority, but I don’t like national anthems at the cricket. Miserable eh!

    Teams as expected. England to bat first. Looks a little gloomy out there. Perhaps it will swing?

    • Ever considered that Lyth might have wanted to take the first ball before you make a snide comment like that.

      • snide comment exterminator on the job – you should work for the daily mail, puritans all!!

        • Daily Mail is exactly where your comments belong Ron – TFT a place for intelligent cricket discussion.

      • Considered it.
        Also considered that Cook is the senior batsman, allegedly in form, and captain to boot. But, of course, Lyth’s choice


  • 3/43

    Cook out for 20. Bell out for 1.

    This new positive attitude is working great!

    • But they are neither new, nor positive.
      Looking a little out of place in the new model England.

  • All the openers has to do is see off 20 overs; very little life in the pitch and (so far) little swing.
    Instead here we are, watching Root sent out to stop yet another batting collapse, rather than scoring runs for fun like he should be batting at 5.

    • Well thus far, he’s doing both.

      One in the eye for those who said he’d be fond out by the Aussies.

  • I’m surprised and disappointed Cook got out cutting to Lyon. He’s s good player of spin and a good cutter! I thought Hazlewood was the danger man for Cook.

    So much depends on Root now. Our middle order will be under huge pressure if another cheap wicket falls.

  • Swann has just done another “hilarious” Joe Root impression on TMS the tedious tosspot.

  • Woefully slow pitch has very much taken the teeth out of Starc and Johnson, hasn’t it!

  • While the pitch has take some of the sting out of the Aussie quicks, their inconsistent line and length have done just as much damage (That and Haddin’s drop). Might have been a very different situation if he had taken that and we had no Joe root counter attack.

  • The sluggish pitch is obviously good news for our batsmen, but let’s not forget that it’s going to be tough on our bowlers too.

    • Well, which one of you was it who wrote an entire post about the two sides’ Ashes records, concluding on that basis that Australia would win the series?

      Seems like Root’s improvement since 2013-14 kind of invalidates that whole argument, no?

      • Has the series finished already? We wrote yesterday that Root would be England’s leading run scorer.

        • I just think it’s strange to crow about Root being an improved player when a previous article talked down England’s chances because ‘he’s unproven in the Ashes’.

          If anyone needed to be reminded of Root’s improvement, it would be the author of that post. No?

          • But that was a valid discussion, given that there were so many question marks over so many England players, either in terms of form, lack of experience or their Ashes records.

            So far Root has answered the questions, Cook, Lyth, Bell (and Buttler?) have not.

    • While Root batted brilliantly afterwards and I do respect him what would the assessment of him be if Haddin had held onto the catch? Struggles against top quality fast bowling? Faced two balls almost got out on one and did get out on the second.

      He’s scored two big scores against Australia both times as a result of being dropped very early on.

  • Blimey.

    Taking 5 innings as a minimum requirement, Yorkshire occupy the top three spaces in the Division 1 batting averages.
    That’s without Root – and one of those three is Bresnan !

    Other interesting stat… Root/Ballance is well up in the top ten England 4th wicket partnerships of the last 20 years. Pietersen still occupies five of those top ten.

  • Btw, you were asking whom to stop in order to play Rashid.

    On current form, we wouldn’t miss Bell – and Rashid might actually add something to our batting strength…

  • Bell needs some runs, but he’s still in credit for me. I think Mo is under the most pressure. Not an easy task for him batting wise. Stokes just got a snorter from Starc and the ball is swinging.

    • I’m afraid it’s time to drop him, while he is still in credit.

      Imagine what we might have scored had Bairstow come in at 4. Moeen’s batting would become less necessary, and we could then consider picking our best spinner.

      Downside is that Yorkshire might have had a little more trouble rolling over Warwickshire…

    • I reckon Bell’s got three tests. The worrying thing about today was that he was all over the place, although the ball that got him was a pretty good one. Looked like a nervous debutant, not a 100+ capper

      If he’s in credit, it’s marginal. Pains me to say it, but it may be a terminal decline. I’m willing it not to be.

      • Wasn’t entirely convinced by watching Bell sitting on the players balcony chatting to Mark Ramprakash, possibly the two most technically gifted English batsmen of the last twenty years with equal levels of fragility in confidence…….

  • I doubt they’ll drop Bell even if his poor form continues.

    I would bring in Bairstow at 5 and push Root up to 4. I’d give Bell a couple of Tests first.


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