Perth Day One

We haven’t had much opportunity to crow thus far on this tour so let’s indulge ourselves. Dawid Malan you absolute beauty! That was one hell of an impressive knock. He looked more and more composed as the day went on, and I think we’ve finally found ourselves a batsman. He came to crease with England in a spot of bother and coped with the pressure remarkably well.

It beggars belief that Malan has been around the England squad for years yet only recently handed an opportunity. He drives so fluently and doesn’t have any obvious flaws – although he struggles a little when right arm fast bowlers come around the wicket.

It’s good to know that our ‘throw enough shit at the wall and hope some of it will stick’ selection philosophy can occasionally work. It might take a bit longer to unearth talent, as lesser batsmen fail and fall by the wayside, but you’ll get there eventually.

England are now ahead of the game for the first time this series. There’s lots of hard work left to do – I can still see Australia bouncing back strongly tomorrow morning and knocking us over for 360 – but equally we have the chance to post something approaching 450 or 500. And if we manage that then a series whitewash should be averted (and we might even get back into the series).

The first hour tomorrow will be absolutely crucial. Moeen and the tail might wag if the Aussie bowlers are tired and they’re given a licence to play their shots. A couple of early breakthroughs, however, and we’ll be under pressure again very quickly. It’s vitally important, therefore, that we make hay while the Australian sun shines. The average first innings score at Perth might only be 320 odd, but this pitch looks unusually good for batting. There’s a bit of pace (but not too much), and very little spin or lateral movement.

Overall, our batsmen can be really proud of their efforts on day one. It wasn’t all good – Cook worryingly missed a straight one, and Vince did a Vince – but the others were either a tad unlucky or played very well. Root in particular was unfortunate to get strangled down the legside.

Stoneman, once again, showed grit and determination. He made another half-century before being ‘out’ caught behind. It was a controversial moment as 3rd ump Aleem Dar should not have overruled the on-field decision with the limited evidence available at the time. A subsequent replay ostensibly proved him right, but there’s still a chance that the noise on snicko was ball flicking grill rather than glove. The England dressing room looked mightily pissed off.

The other star of the day, of course, was Jonny Bairstow. Although he rode his luck at times (as did Malan early on) he became more and more assertive. Some of Jonny’s drives were really commanding – as if we was dispatching a nervous medium paced debutant in a championship match at Headlingley. Heaven knows why England have been hiding him down the order. He looks the perfect test No.5 or 6 to me.

However, before we get too smug, we need to put today’s efforts into context. As I mentioned earlier this pitch looks very good for batting indeed. There are some cracks to monitor, which might help us later in the game, but these only tend to open when the weather is hot. Unfortunately the weather forecast suggests that it will stay relatively mild over the coming days.

It’s also worth remembering that Australia’s attack has more potency that ours. If their bowlers looked toothless for spells today, imagine how our guys might get on. Unless it clouds over and we find some swing (unlikely with the Kookaburra ball) we might have to rely on scoreboard pressure or bad batting to take twenty wickets.

I don’t want to be the harbinger of doom, but it’s worth mentioning that England’s lone century on the last Ashes tour was scored by another left-hander at Perth. We lost that game, and we lost the series 0-5. It’s quite possible that Australia bat past England’s total and then put us under real pressure in the 3rd innings of the game – especially if that bastard Smith gets his eye in.

Anyway, let’s try to be optimistic for now. Tom Harrison might have written to the players yesterday warning them to behave – a completely unnecessary and cynical PR stunt as they’d already received warnings from Bayliss and Strauss and won’t be out late during a test anyway – but our players are very much in the good books today.

What a shame that the headlines might focus on The Sun’s thus far unsubstantiated spot-fixing claims rather than the performance of our batsmen.

James Morgan


  • The WACA has been a very high scoring ground in the Shield this year so England shouldn’t get too excited, anything under 450 and the same isn’t safe as I would think Australia will be able to score quickly on it so there won’t be as much time used as other grounds.

    Hoping Bairstow gets a ton tomorrow, missed a few batting for quick runs and a player of his quality should have more than three.

  • The other bit of good news is that Australia appear to have started dropping catches. Stoneman was dropped on 52, and Malan on 92. Always helpful. As you say, “He (Malan) came to crease with England in a spot of bother and coped with the pressure remarkably well”. Not sure why you say “remarkably”: he should be used to coming to the crease with England in bother by now. One of the benefits of the batting order switch is that Moeen is now in a position to go out and play his natural game, instead of pretending to be a proper batsman (I appreciate that this is a bit unfair on Moeen, but he’s far more effective playing like a no 7). If we can put on some proper scoreboard pressure, there is always a chance the Australian batting will collapse (it’s far from unknown).And coming back from 2-0 down to win the Ashes 3-2 is not unknown (though it did require Bradman). This does feel like a corner has been turned (though we seem to have left Cook behind), let’s hope day 2 goes as well.

  • “he struggles a little when right arm fast bowlers come around the wicket.”

    Why? Can’t they move the sightscreen?

      • There is no angle, unless you’re daft enough to line yourself up to the umpire rather than the bowler, which I doubt Malan is (although its a common enough fault amongst U13s – though quickly remedied).

          • Professional cricketers talking about the “angle” of the bowler is my bete noire.

            If I could be bothered, I would take a picture of a right arm bowler bowling over the wicket and “slanting the ball across” the left-hander, and cut and paste the umpire and stumps onto the otherside of the bowler, and people would now swear blind that the ball was now “angling in” towards the batsman.

  • Incy Vincey Spider
    Gave his drives a clout
    Down swung the ball
    And got the Vincey out
    Out came the sunshine
    And dried up all the rain
    And incy Vincey spider
    Nicked to slip again

    Incy Vincey spider
    Started like a dream
    Chased a wide half volley
    That made the keeper scream
    Up went the finger
    And Vincey had to go
    So incy Vincey spider
    Had another mow

    • Couldn’t resist a shot at this. Nowhere near as good as you Matt, but it’s what blogging’ all about;

      Dawid and Johnny went up the Hill (imagine Perth has a Sydney type Hill) to fetch a couple of lagers,
      Dawid fell down, a right hook to the crown,
      And Johnny came tumbling after.

  • I wonder how long the green tinge will last on the wicket? And how it will affect play when it does. Or the cracks..

    Stoneman was epic. Balls of steel.

    Were the aussie bowlers though? Other than Cook they pretty much wasted the new ball, though post presumed bollocking Stoneman’s epicness could only have been epic if the quality he faced was extreme. They really bent their backs though I’m wondering if Smith didn’t push them a bit too far, seemingly forgetting he had a 5th bowler. Starc’s action looked off to me in his spell before the new ball and Cummings didn’t seem very spritely in the field.

    Nor though did most of the side. Those three dropped catches took some heads with them I think, though tomorrow is another day. There was also a run out chance.

    I’m wondering whether Lyon bowled badly. Smith seemed to get appreciable drift with his awful leggies and was a surprising embuggerance rather than a buffet.

    I still think we should have played two spinners though I’m always happy to be in a minority of one. :)

    • I think in the circumstances it might be quite understandable for Smith to “forget” he has a fifth bowler.

      • I’m not so sure about that.

        Somewhere around the 60th over Smith brought Starc back on for, I’m guessing, his fifteenth or so over. There weren’t any 93mph thunderbolts as he was knackered, visibly so, don’t recall him topping 87. He only bowled three, which is shorter than his usual spells.

        Meanwhile Marsh had bowled two overs before tea?

        Why give your strike bowler a 60 over old tattered rag? That’s what Lyon and Marsh were there for.

  • I read somewhere this morning that England have NEVER lost at the WACA when their first innings was 300+. Also that they have ALWAYS lost when their first innings was under 300.
    Maybe more importantly, I also read that there’s rain forecast for days 3 and 4.
    Hoping for a draw. If it is – job done. Whitewash avoided, that’s good enough for me!!

    • Saw a comment from a local somewhere saying not to take rain forecasts too seriously in Perth.

      Think the 300+ thing is only based on a couple handful of tests but still encouraging.

      Apparently despite Marsh the convict seam attack was officially the fastest ever accurately recorded. Which makes Stoneman’s innings even more special.

  • As the saying goes, THINK POSITIVE DUDE! It’s the only way to develop a winning mentality.
    As I and many others have been saying all along this Aussie side has as many holes in the bucket as we do.
    Now our batsman have had a good day it should inspire the bowlers and fielders to carry on the good work.
    Their bowling is certainly stronger than their batting. Forget the state of the pitch, it’s about mental toughness now.

        • Speaking of half full glasses, at the end of the days play the Channel 9 team were discussing which team was in front. Slater asked “Which dressing room would you rather be in?” to which Warne replied “The Australian dressing room – they don’t have a curfew.”

  • Well that was a turn around 6/35. 400 is a big total but remains to be seen if it’s enough as it looks like the sort of surface Aus could plunder runs on.

    • Hmm watched the England last 6 wickets. Supine is the only word for it. Moeen, and broad’s wickets were stand outs.

  • Interesting, of course, that the previous was article was “It’s time for Cook, Anderson and Broad to Prove It”

    I have no comment to make.


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