A Plea To Joe Root, Our (Potential) Saviour

Oh Joe. What have you done? You’ve only gone and given us hope. You should know better than encouraging us. Now we all have to put up with blog posts like this one, which naively assume England are going to get close on day five … when in reality we’re going to lose our last six wickets in a flurry half an hour before lunch.

At least we’ll have the memories though: the recollections of actually winning a day’s play down under for the first time since 2011. I can remember days in the late 1980s when we didn’t win a single day of an Ashes series at home, let alone abroad.

I guess the important thing is that we’ve finally showed some fight – even if we do go on to lose this game. The bowlers were magnificent yesterday evening and they were very good today too. Jimmy Anderson picked up his first five-fer in Australia, and Chris Woakes rediscovered his radar too. Let’s hope he can make a few runs tomorrow … and then everyone will be asking “Ben who?”

No doubt the positive thinkers amongst us – and I’m guessing one or two naive fools (!) still read this blog – might argue that England have done well even if we go 0-2 down tomorrow. We’ve shown that Australia are vulnerable, and that things are consequently looking up for the rest of the series.

Don’t listen to this nonsense! England simply must win this test. We need this desperately. Remember this is where England’s bowlers were fancied to do well. And neither Smith or Warner have contributed much at all. How many times is that likely to happen again? I’ll tell you how many … none!

If England lose tomorrow then an Ashes series shellacking is very much on the cards. England’s record in Perth is abominable. We’re never going to win there … we’ve got less hope than C3PO in a fist fight with a Wampa. The Ashes could all be over before Christmas again.

So, my fellow England supporters, get down on your knees and pray. We’re going to need the odd slice of luck, and every batsman playing their very best, to pull this off. Losing isn’t an option so I’m not even going to contemplate it.

It’s up to you Joe. Now you’ve given us hope you simply have to come good. Because, well, I’m not sure I can stand the look on Nathan Lyon’s ugly mug if we lose. And besides, all I’m asking for is a miracle.

James Morgan

2017-12-05T13:35:18+00:00December 5th, 2017|Ashes 17/18|28 Comments


  1. James December 5, 2017 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    You nicked my title, James! To be fair, I’m not sure I want to look at Nathan Lyon’s mug if we win, but never mind. You are clearly right about Root being our main hope: we need a “daddy ton” from him. Yes, we did win today/yesterday (and we’ve done OK once we got to 142/7 in reply to 442/8, but we shouldn’t have been there). As I see it, the key tomorrow is the new ball, which will arrive about 45 minutes before tea. At least we shouldn’t have to face (much of) an evening session.

    As I recall, the ball generally doesn’t really swing in Perth, so you need express pace. It helps if you can put a bunch of legends out on the pitch, both as demonstrated in this “how to thrash Australia in Perth” video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03COke_9pPs&list=PLEE62C592031F492B&index=1 Unfortunately I can’t see us putting out a bowling attack (remotely) like Marshall, Holding, Garner and Walsh.

    • Mike Chaffin December 5, 2017 at 4:01 pm - Reply

      Aye, Gomes and Dujon being hit in the head with bouncers and both carrying on to score centuries too!

      • oreston December 5, 2017 at 4:08 pm - Reply

        We’d have to open up a wormhole in the fabric of space-time and add Truman, Statham, Snow and Willis to the current Ashes squad. Or we could just throw in Mark Wood, tell Woakes to bowl bouncers and wonder why it doesn’t work out.

        • Mike Chaffin December 5, 2017 at 5:04 pm - Reply

          Miracles do happen.. 178/5 in lots of overs is doable. Bairstow alone could get us home

          Lets assume we lose the bog standard wicket after three balls in the morning. As he’s on strike lets assume it is the one and only possible saviour.

          So 176/5. Woakes should, on average, give us another 25 runs. Adding in all the other bats averages…You get 306. Overton however does not yet have an average, hence he would need 48 runs.

          Which won’t happen.

          We all know in our hearts that England will get within about 40, collapse instantly to Broad and Jimmy, with Broad winding the convicts up by smashing the winning runs after gloving three consecutive deliveries to reviewless Smith at short leg.

          They’ll whinge for a change in the laws to allow on field captains to be replaced ( and their reviews topped up) if the Barmy Army are mildly rude about them. Also that runs no longer count off a helmet. The aussies press will question whether 28 runs conceded in boundaries off our bowler’s bonces was wise and start a campaign to deport Stuart Broad.

          Written in the stars I tell ya.

          • James Morgan December 5, 2017 at 5:22 pm - Reply

            Good thinking Mike. Can see it happening!

            • Mike Chaffin December 5, 2017 at 9:21 pm - Reply

              I can’t sleep..

  2. Greg December 5, 2017 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    As a die-hard Ozzie supporter, I think you have this won!!! Records will be broken!!! As much as it will hurt, it will make the series much more interesting and given the fight England has put up, I think you guys deserve to win!!!!

    • dlpthomas December 6, 2017 at 4:21 am - Reply

      You Sir, are not a die-hard Ozzie supporter (And I think you jinxed us)

  3. JohnB December 5, 2017 at 10:02 pm - Reply

    Have to say, given the way Hazelwood and to a lesser extent Starc were bowling last night, you all seem excessively pessimistic.

    • Silk December 6, 2017 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      I bet you wish you hadn’t written that now.

  4. Marc Evans December 5, 2017 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    Chance to prove this England side can put what they preach into practice. They have been saying all tour they have to dig in as a team and if they bat time the runs will come. They certainly have ample time available to get them. Agree Root is the key in the sense that if he stays we should win. However there is enough batting left to score the runs without him. They know this is our best chance of winning a test and momentum would certainly shift. Morale is a fragile thing and if the wheels start to come off the Aussie cart, who knows. The public and press would not be kind to their team, as they’re all expecting another whitewash.
    Significant to the series that Woakes has come to the party, giving us another wicket taking option. We do need another spinner though. It must be clear to the team, Ali is just not good enough to be an effective option.
    Can’t remember another test where so many players got a start and then got out.

  5. Tom December 6, 2017 at 5:19 am - Reply

    Take the positives!

    I can’t wait to hear Agnew ask “Does that feel like a 120-run defeat?”

    • Culex December 6, 2017 at 5:27 am - Reply

      He’s heading home after this test to nurse his wife through chemo.

    • Gav December 6, 2017 at 9:54 am - Reply

      re-think how a test match captain’s record is judged. Wins, losses, Draws, and positives taken. This will then fairly reflect on the real excellence of this England side that no matter how pitiful a result, they can somehow find a positive out of nothing

      • Tom December 6, 2017 at 11:34 am - Reply

        You should also not count defeats that don’t feel like defeats.

        • Mike Chaffin December 6, 2017 at 12:12 pm - Reply

          Interesting to note that England had actually lost shortly after the first wicket of Australia’s second innings..

          For all the excitement of bowling them out for 138 Australia had enough runs to win after England’s bowlers had taken just 8 wickets.

          As Bancroft was comically run out in the first innings and Anderson claimed him early in the second it looks more like an innings defeat after a declaration 8 down.

  6. Culex December 6, 2017 at 5:20 am - Reply

    All over now. I must say the batting on both sides was very lacklustre in the 2nd innings.

  7. Pembroke Dock December 6, 2017 at 7:59 am - Reply

    Why does no one mention Mark Footitt when it comes to pace-bowling saviours?

  8. Comte December 6, 2017 at 9:56 am - Reply

    What can England take from this Test? Hopefully the next plane home.
    We have a side filled with passengers. Mo should clearly not been playing
    and should not play again until he is fully fit.
    And given that Jenson Craig cannot be risked, Rashid will have to be summoned.

    • Tom December 6, 2017 at 11:33 am - Reply

      But Smith isn’t Bradman. Lyon isn’t Warne. Starc and Cummins aren’t Lillee and Thompson.

      These defeats don’t feel like defeats. Take the positives!

      • Cricketcricketcricket December 6, 2017 at 12:28 pm - Reply

        What positive ?

        Cooks shot
        Root isn’t quite as good as made out
        Stokes is not the messiah
        Moeen is over rated (avg 35!!)
        Woakes isn’t great
        Anderson is good at home and accurate but unthreatening away (unless it suddenly moves)
        Broad is streaky at best and even more so now
        Overton… 82mph !!
        Bairstow is decent enough but nothing special
        Vince is clueless
        Stoneman . Doesn’t look like he will Be anything but avg
        Malan.. not as bad as Vince but not upto it

        There is no one else in county Cricket as county Cricket is geared towards producing white ball players (both bat and ball).

        Amateur game now is geared to white ball and so they also are losing (lost) the art of bowling and batting .

        We’ve dumbed down the game so much now that it’s unrecoverable

        • Tom December 6, 2017 at 1:18 pm - Reply

          Nah. Take the positives. Defeats are only defeats if they feel like defeats.

          And Smith isn’t Bradman. Lyon isn’t Warne. Starc and Cummins aren’t Lillee and Thompson. So it’s all good.

          • Cricketcricketcricket December 6, 2017 at 2:12 pm - Reply

            What smith, Lyon or starc are like is irrelevant. The fact remains the ecb are killing red ball style cricket at all levels and pushing the agenda forward to dumb the game down

            • Tom December 6, 2017 at 2:30 pm - Reply

              You’re not getting it, are you?

  9. Cricketcricketcricket December 6, 2017 at 10:16 am - Reply

    So far this series has planned out as expected

    England are over rated, have no penetration and the batting is not test quality. People can harp on about stokes but he wouldn’t have made the blind bit of difference.. he’s yet another player who is hit or miss with no consistency

    Australia have better bowling but it’s not firing.l their batting, like England’s is predictably crap

    England are facing a huge embarrassing defeat and a few players need to consider their retirement.. let alone some of our over rated players.

    Again, counties are failing to produce the quality required and amateur systems in turn can’t provide the qualiy either due to formats

  10. Mike Chaffin December 6, 2017 at 11:03 am - Reply

    The nightmare result in many ways. Would have been better for England not to even get close, both for our own mental health and for the rest of the series.

    Interesting comments after the match. The pundits are more worried about England not scoring enough runs than their bowling. Fiddling with the batting order or looking at the hutch with the grand total of two batsmen available seems rather perverse to me. That you need mountains of runs in Australia isn’t news, though the batsmen who’ve faced up are best placed to deliver them.

    Batsmen either get runs or they don’t. Cricket is a game where you have to learn, and quickly. Doesn’t matter whether you have 10,000 test match runs or 0 as every wicket and match is different. The primary skill in test match cricket for a bat is allowing yourself the time to learn, by protecting your wicket. Any and every batsman can score big if they get in. Even Curtley smashed a 50 against the Aussies once!

    Hence the opposite is true, the prime test match skill for a bowler is getting a batsman out who is merely trying to protect his wicket. This is the difference between the teams thus far.

    Watching England bowl almost half trackers to a batsman with the obvious difficulties of Handscomb was rather unedifying. I think it is notable though that when a convict decides that though shalt not pass we.. don’t. They didn’t get away from us? You didn’t get them out more like it.

    Blaming the batsmen for not scoring enough runs is fine, there have been some pretty awful shots played. It isn’t a comparison you can make in isolation though. Australia don’t bat against their own bowling. Chasing 350 Australia got us out. Vince and Ali not so much but that doesn’t intrinsically mean they were at fault.

    So after the match it wasn’t surprising to hear Vaughan say that picking Crane would be desperation because he’s a young leg spinner. We can count ourselves lucky that Atherton and Hussein aren’t there to remind us how much better they were at leg spin ( which is very amusing as you can see his legspin on youtube) than whichever young England hopeful happens to be on tour.

    After all tradition is important in cricket. Taking a token spinner to play one game at Sydney is a recent one, as too are their resultant 100-2 figures.

    I’d question in fact whether we’ve ever won in Australia without a spinner? Swann obviously, Edmonds and Emburey are the only recent examples. Another tradition is said young spinner being pooh poohed by former England captains before he even gets a chance to play, because he’s a young spinner.

    Edmonds and Emburey didn’t just block up an end, the idea that seam up is likely to run through batting orders unless of high pace isn’t one that rings true. Or not consistently true anyway.

    If the definition of madness is doing the same thing and expecting different results then England’s tours of Australia are quite a good example of it. Different players yes but the same themes.

    Maybe we could reprise 2003 by flying in a couple of fast bowlers only for them to break down. Or rely on a finger spinner because Bishan Bedi bowled well at the Waca? He is to the best of my knowledge the only one who ever has.

    Sod just playing Crane, I’d consider Parkinson or Liam Livingston too. Call me a pessimist but at 2-0 and with no genuine pace available it’s the only possible way of winning from here in.

  11. Hungerpang December 6, 2017 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Oh well, gave it my best shot (didn’t turn the radio on until 9.15)….

  12. lijo george December 10, 2017 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    England have shit the bed! Its too late to make a comeback now!!

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