Maxwell books Ashes berth with stunning knock

Ronan O'Connell Columnist

By Ronan O'Connell, Ronan O'Connell is a Roar Expert

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    Glenn Maxwell booked an Ashes berth and Steve Smith confirmed he is by far the world’s best Test batsman as Australia made a brilliant start to the crucial third Test in India yesterday.

    Maxwell’s mature, polished knock of 82* from 147 balls was the highest score by an Australian Test number six in a long, long time and went some way to clearing up a common misconception about his batting in first-class cricket.

    Again and again cricket pundits and fans have unfairly sketched Maxwell as a wild, unthinking slogger against the red ball.

    It would take an extraordinary player to bat with such supposed reckless abandon and yet still average 40 in Sheffield Shield cricket during an era in which few specialist batsmen have managed to maintain that mark.

    Yes, Maxwell bats with a level of daring and innovation which is foreign to the vast majority of first-class batsmen. But he doesn’t just arrive at the crease and instantly start ramping the quicks and reverse-sweeping the spinners, as his critics would have you believe.

    OK, sometimes he does – Maxwell is nothing if not unpredictable. But he has shown many times in the Shield that he can cleverly pick and choose the appropriate times to unleash the full extent of his brazen gifts.

    Steve Smith scores his second Ashes hundred

    This is exactly what he did yesterday at Ranchi, in an innings which has put Australia in a fine position to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Maxwell shelved his ego for the first 70 minutes of his innings yesterday. He concentrated on rotating the strike as he crawled to 19 from 50 balls at tea time.

    In doing so he stalled India’s momentum and familiarised himself with the conditions. After tea he cashed in on this patient start, began to attack and placed pressure on the bowlers. In the final session he scored 63 from just 97 balls.

    He managed to score at this rollicking rate without taking too many significant risks. That is the value of a batsman possessed of such dynamism – they have the ability to swiftly take the game away from even the most talented of opposition.

    Maxwell’s threat allowed Smith to cruise along in the Victorian’s slipstream for most of the last session. What was most impressive about Maxwell’s knock was that he arrived at the crease with Australia at risk of collapsing for 200 or less on a placid pitch that demanded a first innings score of at least 350.

    It seems to have escaped the notice of Maxwell haters that many of his best knocks have come when Victoria have been in trouble.

    With a wide range of strokes and an uncluttered mind, he is well equipped to lead counter strikes in the manner of former Australian cricketers Adam Gilchrist and Andrew Symonds or current Proteas star Quentin de Kock.

    There will always be times when Maxwell will get out in an ugly or frustrating fashion. That is the price you pay when you pick a player of his ilk.

    Australia, though, are forming a solid-enough top five that they can accommodate a daring strokemaker at six. Heaven knows they have got zilch out of that position in the batting order for a good three years now, no matter what kind of cricketer they’ve placed there.

    Maxwell’s wonderful innings yesterday has earned him the right to a decent run in the side. If Australia were prepared to persist with Mitchell Marsh for so long, then Maxwell deserves at least another four or five Tests after this one to cement his place.

    That means he should be in the starting XI for the first Ashes Test at Brisbane in November.

    Meanwhile, his skipper Smith continues to bat at a level rarely seen in Test history.

    Steve Smith plays a shot on his way to an unbeaten 138 for Australia in the fifth Ashes Test at The Oval (AP Photo/Alastair Grant).

    He too has had plenty of detractors. They moan that his technique is too weird, his footwork too skittish, his mannerisms too manic for him not to be found out sooner rather than later.

    Yet Smith pays them no mind and keeps on churning out towers of runs.

    This series was supposed to be his litmus test, the battle where we’d really see how good he is. Well, we can now see it in bold letters – Smith is a freak.

    In conditions tailor-made for India’s highly-ranked spinners, Smith has been utterly dominant, piling up 289 runs at 72 so far. His opposite number, Virat Kohli, has just 40 runs at 10.

    The 27-year-old Aussie is, by a big margin, the best Test batsman on the planet. Smith frequently is bracketed in the so-called ‘Big Four’ with Indian captain Kohli, Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson and England leader Joe Root.

    The reality is that Kohli, Williamson and Root each own Test records which pale in comparison to that of Smith. Kohli (49.9) and Williamson (50.4) both have averages which are more than ten runs below Smith’s mark of 60.73.

    Root has the second-best average, at 52.80, yet he has scored only 11 tons compared to Smith’s 19 from exactly the same number of Tests (53).

    Consider this: If Smith averaged only 39.2 across his next 53 Tests he would still have a career average of 50. These numbers are for us observers to drool over.

    Smith is instead focused on doing what just weeks ago seemed impossible – winning a series in India. Today he and Maxwell have an opportunity to all but bat India out of the Test and out of the series.

    Ronan O
    Ronan O'Connell

    Ronan O'Connell has been a journalist for well over 13 years, including nine at daily newspapers in WA. He now traverses the world as a travel photojournalist, contributing words and photography to more than 30 magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, The Toronto Star, The Guardian, The South China Morning Post, The Irish Examiner and The Australian Financial Review. Check out his work and follow him on Twitter @ronanoco

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    The Crowd Says (219)

    • March 17th 2017 @ 7:42am
      DLKN said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      Glenn Maxwell has arrived as a test batsman.

      Has anyone checked to make sure that Lordy is ok?

      • March 17th 2017 @ 7:49am
        Jameswm said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        Yeah I saw the headline and assumed this article wasn’t written by the poster boy of the “Maxwell is overrated” chorus.

        Lordy will say he always said Maxwell had the talent, and for once he has knuckled down and got the job done, just like Lordy said he needed to.

        We have Lordy to thank for this knock.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 8:58am
          spruce moose said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:58am | ! Report

          Lordy’s the type of hack who’ll actually say he’s always backed Maxwell and will deny having written anything negative.

          He’s the Trump of Australian journalism.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 9:06am
            Oingo Boingo said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

            What garbage you spew , TRUMP has been saying the same thing for the last 30 yrs , perhaps it is you who is the hack .

            • March 17th 2017 @ 9:58am
              spruce moose said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

              Really?

              So he’s been saying Obama was born in Africa for 30 years then? Or he never said it, and in fact it was Hilary Clinton who started the birther movement?

              • March 17th 2017 @ 10:17am
                Oingo Boingo said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

                You refer to Very specific allegations, that I would have to research as to what his actual comments where and not what we’re lead to believe he said by his enemies in the media.
                Im referring to his consistent commentary that America was being run by people with contempt for the country and that somebody needed to stand up and ” Make America great again “.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 10:48am
                craig said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:48am | ! Report

                I’m pretty sure that Trump has been bagging Maxwell as a test player for 30 years… 🙂

              • March 17th 2017 @ 11:37am
                Bee bee said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:37am | ! Report

                That may be an alternative fact. But I like it.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 12:07pm
                Oingo Boingo said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

                CIA documents do point to him influencing selectors.

            • Columnist

              March 17th 2017 @ 1:21pm
              David Lord said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:21pm | ! Report

              No problems OB,I always knew the usual suspects would surface once Glenn Maxwell played a decent dig, And yesterday was more than decent, it was damn good

              But one dig isn’t a career, and while Ronan writes Maxwell has booked an Ashes berth, there’s still a second dig and a lot of Sheffield Shield before the first Ashes Test next summer.

              My hope is Maxwell has proved to himself he can bat, and enjoys that far more than being a cowboy.

              Then he’ll be a genuine Test batsman and a bonus to the baggy greens like his skipper.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 1:38pm
                Oingo Boingo said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

                I’ve read articles of yours that I have commented in both negative and positive ways David , but I must admit , I do find the vitriol directed at you at times a little amusing to be honest .
                Put ya head up , ya a much better chance of getting shot I guess .

              • March 17th 2017 @ 2:05pm
                Steele said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

                Who do you like at six Lordy? Who’s your alternative if you have one?

              • March 17th 2017 @ 2:14pm
                matth said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

                Well said David, and please believe that bagging you about your Maxwell comments is all in good fun with no malice intended.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 3:03pm
                spruce moose said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:03pm | ! Report

                I won’t endorse that it’s good fun, but certainly no malice either.

              • Roar Guru

                March 17th 2017 @ 4:07pm
                JamesH said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

                As Ronan says, David, this is actually how Maxwell generally bats in Shield cricket. The misconception that you and others seem to have is that his white-ball batting is his only trick.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 6:54pm
                Gav said | March 17th 2017 @ 6:54pm | ! Report

                Good response David!

      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:14am
        johnnie said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

        One swallow does not a summer make, nor one fine day

        • March 17th 2017 @ 10:05am
          jameswm said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:05am | ! Report

          We’ve been waiting 3 years for a knock like that from no.6. Maxi’s swallow didn’t make the summer, it’s made the last 3 summers.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 10:15am
          Steele said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

          True, buuut he’s already made a dill of the selectors and big Mitch. It’s one more innings of substance than our previous six could ever muster.

      • Roar Guru

        March 17th 2017 @ 9:12am
        Ryan H said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        Hope so! The kind of contribution Australia has been crying out for from number six for some time now

        • Roar Guru

          March 17th 2017 @ 9:27am
          Red Kev said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          I want at least 118 from Maxwell, so that he’s outscored Warner’s, S.Marsh’s, M.Marsh’s, and Handscomb’s series totals in one innings (and put himself 50 runs ahead of Wade’s aggregate as well).

          • Roar Guru

            March 17th 2017 @ 9:54am
            Michael Keeffe said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

            That just shows how much until this point our batting has been carried by Renshaw, Smith and Starc this series and now in this match Maxwell.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 12:37pm
              Ron said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

              Really happy to see a number 6 fire, now to get Khawaja in for Shaun marsh and we have our top 6 locked

              • March 17th 2017 @ 12:51pm
                Tom said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                Stoinis for S Marsh maybe a better option?

    • March 17th 2017 @ 7:46am
      Swampy said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

      You can’t dismiss Kohli’s last 12 months – he is insanely good. Just one bad series for him.

      Really there is a lot of merit in dropping someone to fix their game. It just seems to work time and time again. Hopefully this is the start of a long period of success for maxwell.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:21am
        Baz said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

        We are not saying Kohi is not in top 4 batsmen but smith is better that’s what we are saying one bad series don’t make a bad player.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 9:02am
          I hate pies said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:02am | ! Report

          But a great player stands up to be counted when the biggest games are on. Make no mistake about it, an India vs Australia test series is the biggest thing in world cricket, bigger even than the Ashes. Kohli has wilted, Smith has stood up.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 10:11am
          Swampy said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

          And AB DeVilliers certainly is up there.

          The comment ‘Smith is the best batsman by far’ is a bit of hyperbole considering the year Kohli had in 2016.

          Fantastic innings by both yesterday and I thought Renshaw again looked magnificent. For a sub-continent specialist Marsh has shown very little thus far and if I was Khawaja I’d consider myself extremely unfortunate not to have the 4 or 5 innings Shaun Marsh has had to prove his sub-continent chops.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 11:35am
            Brian said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

            Kohli’s played how many tests at home, 12 straight or something to that degree? Give any of the top bats in the world that sort of home run and they will produce similar results.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 2:13pm
              Internal Fixation said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

              Bingo.

              Give Warner 10 at home he will average 100.

              We gave Kohli several roads last time in Australia.

              A bit of bounce may be coming his way next time.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 2:16pm
              matth said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

              I give you Adam Voges

      • March 17th 2017 @ 10:07am
        matth said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

        Maxwell was never dropped to work on his game. He was given 3 tests across four years. Two in India when we were imploding and one in the UAE. In those six innings he batted everywhere from opener to number 8. Then he was never seriously considered as an option except when they wanted a third spinner.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 10:15am
          Swampy said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

          Regardless of why he was dropped – fairly or unfairly – Maxwell looks far more determined this time around. As did Hayden, Langer, Ponting, Khawaja, Smith etc.

          Except Khawaja got dropped again (& again) despite his performances – poor bastard.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 12:38pm
            Ron said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

            Khawaja should never have been dropped , he should have played at 3 and maxwell at 6 and none of the marsh brothers should be there

        • March 17th 2017 @ 10:18am
          Steele said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

          Exactly Matt, he just gets picked for random games in tough conditions, then gets hammered by the media for underperforming. How bout five tests in a row in home conditions?

          • Roar Guru

            March 17th 2017 @ 12:19pm
            Joey Johns said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

            But if Glenn gets 4 tests straight, he might overtake Mitch Marsh’s test tally of 674 runs

      • March 17th 2017 @ 11:37am
        Josh said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:37am | ! Report

        Kohli had a fantastic year mostly because they played a year’s worth of Test Matches in India. His average in England is like 14 or something. Imagine if Smith played 16 test matches in Australia throughout a calendar year, he’d scored about 2000 runs.
        Not saying Kohli isn’t brilliant, he is. But Smith is a step above him now I think

    • March 17th 2017 @ 7:47am
      Baz said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      Well he did get a bit of luck but all batsmen have a bit of luck and good on maxi.

      I remember reading about an innings for Vic where he scored about half the runs with an 80 against NSW which boasted a strong attack.

      Australia would need to post a big score in the first innings here we won 2 out of the three sessions today.

      Smith is easily the best batsmen in the world in test cricket in test cricket. In first 2 tests one man scored a hundred and they weren’t from India.

      One thing i did notice as because they were putting pressure on the field and forced the field out it reduced some of the opportunities for the field to have guys in positions they lead to catches when the pressure is on.

      What about that shot between the legs for smith pretty amazing.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 10:14am
        Perry Bridge said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

        #Baz

        This match back in Feb 2014 (3 yrs ago) : http://www.espncricinfo.com/australia-domestic-2013-14/engine/match/669209.html

        Came in at 4-77 in first inns – made 94 (95 bls, 11 4s 2 6s) – last man out at 218 with young Muirhead trying to survive. Next highest score 29 to White and 28 to Stoinis.

        NSW carved out 9/452 (Nevill ironically 100*)

        Vics then 6/9 when Maxwell came in (Muirhead as night watchman got 1…..but more than Handscomb, Finch, Boland (1st nightwatchman), Stoinis and Wade combined).
        White fell for 9 at 7/32.
        Maxwell made 127 (102 bls, 14 4s, 7 6s) and was last out at 186. Not bad – 68.3% of the score from #8!!!

        Against bowling attack of Bollinger, Copeland, Hazlewood, O’Keefe and Abbott.

    • Roar Guru

      March 17th 2017 @ 7:52am
      Red Kev said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:52am | ! Report

      While I would like to see Maxwell at no.6 for the Ashes he hasn’t booked his berth with these selectors – Khawaja’s past 18 months averaging over 60 in tests (47 overall) meant nothing when it comes to being dropped (for a guy who has, as of now, a test average that is 10 runs inferior).
      Would you really wager your house that the selectors won’t bring back Mitch Marsh at no.6 for the Ashes if he’s fit?

      • March 17th 2017 @ 7:54am
        Jameswm said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:54am | ! Report

        True. But he is in the box seat, esp if he gets a couple of wickets and runs in the 4th test.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 8:11am
          Lincoln Lense said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:11am | ! Report

          Mitch Marsh needs two years of shield cricket to build some confidence.
          He is unproven and may never make his mark in test match cricket

          • March 17th 2017 @ 12:39pm
            Ron said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:39pm | ! Report

            Red Kev is right, if Khawaja can’t lock his spot averaging so high then how will
            Maxwell

      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:19am
        Mark said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:19am | ! Report

        Considering that they’re hell bent on playing some kind of all round regardless of bowling conditions and MMarsh has turned out to be somewhat of a bust. Yes; I’d wager they’re more likely to at least give him half a chance.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 10:08am
          matth said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

          They will still look for a medium pace all rounder, like Cartwright and Stoinis, I suspect.

          • Roar Guru

            March 17th 2017 @ 12:21pm
            Joey Johns said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

            “horses for courses” because we don’t like the horse.

            And we really like this other horse named Marsh

      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:43am
        Armchair Expert said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

        Unless S.Marsh makes runs in the 2nd innings, I expect Khawaja to be recalled for the 4th test.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 9:07am
          Dom said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          Yeah hopefully that’s the case. Either way, Khawaja must be in the side for the Ashes. He’s been in sensational form in Australian conditions and has obviously been unlucky to miss out in India.

          It would actually make the selectors’ job much easier if they selected him for the 4th test so he’s the incumbent for the Ashes, rather than picking Shaun Marsh again on the off chance Marsh does score runs – which would then make it tougher to drop him for Khawaja come Ashes time.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 10:14am
          matth said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

          If the 4th test venue is pace friendly (I have heard this a number of times) there might be a possibility that Maxwell moves up to 5 and they bring in Stoinis as third seamer

          • March 17th 2017 @ 12:55pm
            Ron said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

            I surely hope they bring Khawaja in now, it was ridiculous we dropped him for marsh in the first place

      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:57am
        BurgyGreen said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

        Yeah I have the same thoughts. Lehmann’s comments after Bangalore seemed to me to suggest that they would’ve played Mitch in Ranchi had he been fit.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 9:53am
          col in paradise said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

          yes a greata knock by Maxie..and I was a doubter of wether he was worth the risk at the moment…and he was – and the main thing as you point out is his risk management – or risk taking has improved dramatically….so my call pre test was Khawaja in at 3 – Sean Marsh down to 6 for one last chance….well Maxwell has the 6 for a while now I suspect..so Sean March now has to go with a straight swap with Usman and I will be happy…

          How could you justify Mitch Marsh for this test if he wasn’t injured is hard to fathom..I sometimes think Mitch must have some photos of Darren L and the selectors..or something…..as someone has said he needs two years in the shield before he gets selected again…if he can improve his game

      • March 17th 2017 @ 9:50am
        Pedro the Maroon said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        Ussie will replace S Marsh this summer.
        My dream XI –
        Warner
        Renshaw
        Ussie
        Smith
        Burns
        Maxwell
        Renshaw (wk) – it’s not like he’s been setting the house on fire with his batting anyway but he’s better than Wade in both departments
        Starc
        Cummins
        Pattinson
        Hazelwood

        • Roar Rookie

          March 17th 2017 @ 11:11am
          Dan said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:11am | ! Report

          Do you mean Handscomb for wk?
          And a four prong pace attack so I assume you mean for Maxwell to bowl part time?
          Not convinced Pedro

        • Roar Guru

          March 17th 2017 @ 11:18am
          Red Kev said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:18am | ! Report

          I like Burns (and not just because of the Smithers and Mr Burns jokes) but he hasn’t shown enough for a recall.

          I think: Warner, Renshaw, Khawaja, Smith, Handscomb, Maxwell, Nevill, Starc, Pattinson, Lyon, Hazlewood with Cummins as 12th man and perhaps an actual paceman rotation thing going with those four quicks.

          Nevill for Wade is a long shot with these selectors but he’s scoring runs and he’s still a better gloveman.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 12:57pm
            Ron said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

            I like your team red Kev but cummins in for me with Pattinson as 12th man

            • March 17th 2017 @ 2:18pm
              matth said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:18pm | ! Report

              Basically you would play whichever one is the fittest on the day. which would likely mean Jackson Bird would still get plenty of cricket as the third seamer.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 2:09pm
            Steele said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

            If Lynn gets fit he’s a lock ?. He gun!

          • March 17th 2017 @ 4:36pm
            ChrisB said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

            And Sayers added to the squad for Ashes. A must for England – plus Bird, O’Keefe and Burns (though not quite as sure about cover batsmen – Bancroft just got a century, if that form continues he’d have to come into any tour squad selection, he’s a really good young player on potential)

        • March 17th 2017 @ 12:13pm
          DLKN said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

          I’m not interested in seeing Nevill selected because he’s a better gloveman than Wade.

          Being a better gloveman than Wade should not be the criterion.

          I want the selectors to select the best wicketkeeper in the land for the test team. And if he can bat, that’s a bonus. But I want the best keeper for tests, full stop. Do what you like for the shorter slog-a-thons.

          And right now, our best keeper is not Wade. Or Nevill. Or Handscomb, god help us. It the little dude from Qld who’s about to retire. Daylight second.

          Unless you are Adam Gilchrist, there’s no justification for selecting a pedestrian keeper (and Gilly was exactly that) due to the incendiary quality of their batting.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 1:31pm
            Rob JM said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:31pm | ! Report

            Hartley’s replacement, Jimmy pierson has hit three 50s in his 6 innings. Anyone know whats his keeping is like.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 1:49pm
              dan ced said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

              Pierson’s keeping is OK.

              The dude you want to watch is Alex Carey from SA. Dominating dismissals this shield season and is back in form with the bat.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 7:01pm
            Gav said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:01pm | ! Report

            Gilchrist pedestrian? Seriously ignorant.

          • Roar Rookie

            March 18th 2017 @ 1:12am
            maverick said | March 18th 2017 @ 1:12am | ! Report

            Did you watch Gilchrist’s keeping off Warne’s bowling?Go and check out.He had more dismissals than Healy in a lot less number of matches.

    • March 17th 2017 @ 7:53am
      Jameswm said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      There are some other side effects of Maxwell doing well at 6.

      1. It makes the 4-pronged pace attack o n bouncy decks a possibility, with Maxwell as 5th bowling option.

      2. It puts Lyon’s spot under threat. Maxwell struggled to get a go partly because he turns it the same way as Lyon. However, if Maxwell is now the safe one (and he isn’t yet), if you’re choosing between SOK and Lyon as the main spinner, Maxwell could count against Lyon. Also, there is SOK’s superior batting (not that he’s shown us that yet).

      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:27am
        qwetzen said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        The other spot of interest is… I suspect that the Oz 2nd inn (in an ideal world there won’t be one) will be a game of musical chairs between Warner, Handscomb & Marsh with the loser giving up their spot to Usman. Run-out anyone?

        • Roar Guru

          March 17th 2017 @ 8:54am
          Red Kev said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

          While you have more faith than I do that they’ll make a change (especially if we win or draw), I can’t see Warner being dropped period, he’s the vice-captain, they’ll stick with him. It is a tight race though:
          Warner 117 runs @23.4
          S.Marsh 93 runs @18.6
          Handscomb 100 runs @20.0

          • March 17th 2017 @ 9:09am
            Dom said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

            Shaun Marsh goes, no question for me. Thinking long-term, Warner and Handscomb are in the side for the Ashes and beyond (Khawaja too), Marsh isn’t.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 9:15am
            Pope Paul VII said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

            I’ll believe it when I see it. Smithy might be keen on hanging onto his No.3 spot, so Khawaja could be 2, 4 or 5, or just disregarded as usual.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 9:33am
            BurgyGreen said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

            I’d expect Khawaja will be back for the next series. His dropping was always a horse-for-courses decision with the implication that his runs over the home summer had all but secured him an Ashes place.

            Now that Shaun Marsh hasn’t been the subcontinent saviour that was hoped (I too agreed with the decision to play him ahead of Khawaja), I expect he’ll make way for Ussie. Handscomb is a young player who has had to adjust to tough conditions, so it would be exceedingly harsh to drop him.

            Shaun Marsh clearly has the least long-term value.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 10:23am
              andrew said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:23am | ! Report

              well said burgy. i was scrolling through these about to insert a similar commnet, until i read yours and it saved me the effort. no doubt the top 6 for ashes will be renshaw, warner, usman, smith, handscombe and maxwell. wade probably lingers on at 7. i cant see them going for 4 quicks, its too risky, esp if you lose the toss. its just a matter of which 3 quicks are fit and firing come next nov as to whom plays. hopefully we have slection headache trying to split starc, hazelwood, pattinson and cummins, chances are 1 will be injured, and if 2 are, then bird plays.

          • Roar Guru

            March 17th 2017 @ 9:59am
            Michael Keeffe said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

            As much as Warner and Handscomb have struggled to make runs they are going to be in the team for the first Ashes test so there is no point dropping them. Surely Khawaja comes back for S Marsh who they can’t pick for the Ashes. He’s also ruined his “sub-continent specialist” tag now too, so there should be no reason for him to ever play a test match again.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 10:45am
              Jockosaurus said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:45am | ! Report

              Apart from his surname, that is.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 10:22am
        Steele said | March 17th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

        Yup and if SOK pinches Lyons spot for the ashes and Cummins or Patto team up with Starc and Hazlewood all over of a sudden we look very hard to bowl out. That is some handy tail end batting.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 11:16am
          jameswm said | March 17th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

          Correct. SOK would be a very handy test 10 (FC average 29), and Starc, Patto and Cummins are all quality test no.8-9s. Wade should score runs in Australian conditions and if he can’t, we can’t carry him for his keeping.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 2:20pm
            matth said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:20pm | ! Report

            It’s weird how poor O’Keefe has been with the bat in his tests so far, when his first class average suggests he should be a more than handy number 8.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 3:57pm
        Basil said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

        I want to have a spinner that can win games for Australia regularly in the 2nd half of a Test when needed. This disqualifies Lyon.

    • Roar Guru

      March 17th 2017 @ 7:53am
      DingoGray said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

      So Maxwell stay, Uzzie comes in, finally bye bye to Shaun Marsh?

      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:02am
        Adsa said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        Far too early to call the demise of S Marsh, as a sub continent specialist he may well awe selectors by crafting an innings of 8 of 36 balls in the 2nd innings and save his bacon.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 8:23am
        Mark said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        I seriously doubt Shaun Marsh was ever really under any permanent consideration for a number 3 spot. Khawaja hasn’t shown very good technique against spin. That’s all it is, and I’d assume there’s every chance he slots straight back into the squad after India (or Bangladesh, dependent on form).

        Regardless, I hope Smith gets over what ever nervousness he has about tossing Maxy the ball now he’s actually in the squad. They might as well see what he can do and give him a real chance now.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 1:20pm
          GD66 said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

          I find all this conjecture about Khawaja’s perceived shortcomings against spin baffling. For a start, you have a team coach, and two batting coaches with the squad in Blewett and Hick. The nets must be similar dirt roads to the pitches you would think. So there should be plenty of scope for him to tidy up his technique.
          And how is he ever going to improve to an acceptable level if he isn’t given the opportunity to go out there and guts out an innings ? He is a compact player with a nice technique and the all-important PATIENCE so Lehmann’s continual brushing of him is wearing pretty thin with me.

          • March 17th 2017 @ 1:52pm
            dan ced said | March 17th 2017 @ 1:52pm | ! Report

            Even if Ussie is rubbish against spin.. he’d still get 12 runs to Shaun Marsh’s 2… !

          • March 17th 2017 @ 3:25pm
            Charlie Turner said | March 17th 2017 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

            Is it possible Khawaja is not handling the spin in the nets?

      • March 17th 2017 @ 9:21am
        David said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:21am | ! Report

        Yes that would make sense . I can’t see Usman doing any worse over there than some of the others are . The sooner we can get a settled side, where only changes are subject to injury , the better

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