Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m surprised. I thought we’d flip over for $200, which we did. Australia’s bowlers are fantastic. You have four truly world-class artists. The UK only has these two.
As with England’s attack in 2005, the quality never faltered. The next two bowlers are equally effective if you pass Starc and Hazlewood. Unfortunately, Anderson and Broad join Vox and Ball, who were really disappointing in that game. This will reduce the intensity and give the batter some respite – especially if your spinner finger hurts and doesn’t roll properly.
Frustratingly, however, it seemed at times we could give Australia a decent 4th innings chase. When Moeen and Bairstow, and then Bairstow and Woakes, formed a sensible partnership, I started to think we were snooping. Then, just when hopes were running high, a bad hit got us back in the groove.
I’m afraid I don’t believe that Wobblyline excuse. Moeen always knew (or should have known) where the crease was. What if the line is not straight? He puts his linebacker in the middle, looks at his feet every now and then (hits his foot with a bat, etc.) so there’s no excuse. It’s not about judging where the crease is by peripheral vision. Leon hit him and he accidentally pulled his foot off the ground. Finish.
I’m also very disappointed that Root and Bairstow were fired. Captain just needs to start turning some 50’s into hundreds. Joe is more talented than Steve Smith, but he’s not in the same class mentally. How typical, after his half-century, he was on the ball – the ball after smiling and accepting the applause from the field.
Personally I think Root just relaxes and shuts down for a second (and thus slightly crosses the line). It’s a disgrace and a waste. He’s done all the hard work so far. Steve Smith never, never let up because he knew it only took one ball to get out.
Also, the firing of Jonny Bairstow was very frustrating. They were getting ready for that shot. Still, he slammed the ball straight into the outfielder’s throat. However, I don’t entirely blame Johnny. England’s rooster is not strong enough against Australia’s fast break, so he needs to take every chance to score. He’s currently wasted at No. 7 and needs at least a swap with Moeen.
As for an Australian comeback, we all know 170 is nowhere near challenging enough. We just don’t have the real speed, uncanny spin and depth to put enough pressure on our opponents.
As I said yesterday, this game is about two things: Steve Smith and the low run. The latter made a huge difference. I’m surprised it took so long for other observers to talk about it.
The problem is that this deficiency won’t go away. Tail pitchers can’t handle fast bowling — they never have and never will — though they can occasionally look comfortable against four mid-tempo right-arm seamers. This question will confuse all of our series.
So, as most of us feared, we’ll be down 1-0 to Adelaide. This is where the series may decide. England will have to hope they make the most of the conditions, as this is likely to be a toss-up under the lights.
Lost in Adelaide, we have another tour of hell ahead of us. However, if we brush the green and win Perth 1-1 (with Ben Stokes likely to return at some point?), then the series could still be competitive.