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The Liebke Ratings: Second Ashes Test

Dan Liebke Columnist

By Dan Liebke, Dan Liebke is a Roar Expert

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28 Have your say

    In the day-night Test, Adelaide briefly teetered towards amazing before settling for adequate as Australia took a 2-0 lead in the Ashes.

    Here are the ratings for the second Ashes Test.

    Sending the opposition in
    Grade: C

    Joe Root won the toss and sent Australia in to bat, thoughtfully giving everybody something to talk about for the entire Test. And perhaps decades more than that, if Nasser Hussain’s similar 2002 decision is any guide.

    England made one change to their team. Jake Ball was judged insufficiently scarlet to serve in the Pink Ball Test and was replaced by Craig Overton, who, despite his name, has not yet bowled an over that’s gone for a hundred runs.

    Sadly for Root, his more experienced bowlers in Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad were the ones who let him down, bowling far too short on the first day. Even the LBW decisions that were given were swiftly overturned on review. Hardly surprising, given that ‘Anderson’ is an anagram of ‘Nae on DRS’.

    Luckily, the conditions were also perfect for a run out from a misfield. And so that’s how Cameron Bancroft was dismissed. Bancroft, whose method of taking quick singles is to lean his superhumanly heavy head forward and allow momentum to do the rest, was sent back by Dave Warner and run out.

    The dismissal wasn’t without controversy, as Moeen Ali’s misfield was clearly an example of the freshly-outlawed fake fielding. Australia should, therefore, have been awarded five penalty runs. Sloppy umpiring.

    Not that it mattered. Because despite a steady flow of wickets, rain and amusingly incompetent England fielding, Australia batted through to the final session of the second day, finally declaring at 8/442. The hero of the innings? Shaun Marsh, who made an unbeaten 126.

    Classic Marsh. Being insufficiently rubbish for me to use some of my drafted and very funny ‘Shaun Marsh is rubbish’ jokes is yet another way in which he’s the most maddening cricketer in Australia.

    Ah well. There’s always next Test.

    Shaun Marsh

    (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

    Pat Cummins
    Grade: A

    The other hero of the Australian innings was, of course, Pat Cummins. Cummins stuck around with Marsh to take the total beyond 400. While early on he had more dots than a Morse code translation of a Tolstoy novel, he later accelerated to make 44.

    Cummins’ heroic efforts have become so reliable that Commissioner Lehmann has now built a special Pat-Signal that he fires up to summon him.

    “Why do wickets fall?”

    “So Pat can learn to pick us back up.”

    Obviously, it wasn’t just the batting. After just one ball from Cummins under lights, the umpires got the batsmen off for their own safety. Good to see this bullying from Australia sorted out. (It may also have been raining.)

    Technically, isn’t it a form of cheating that Cummins no longer gets injured? The ICC need to look into this.

    Caught and bowleds
    Grade: D

    The other thing the ICC need to look into is the spate of caught and bowleds threatening to ruin the game. Australia pulled off three in their first bowling innings.

    The first was a spectacular leap to Nathan Lyon. The second, a sensational juggling effort from Mitchell Starc. The third, a run of the mill take from a top edge as the Australians lost all interest in the mode of dismissal.

    As far as I’m concerned, you shouldn’t be allowed to catch it if you bowl it. Choose your role, for heaven’s sake. Don’t be greedy.

    And besides, if there’s ever a cricketer named ‘And’ who starts taking a lot of catches, that’s going to muddle up the ‘caught and bowled’ stats like nobody’s business.

    Lots of issues for the ICC to look into.

    On the plus side, that first Starc catch saw Jonny Bairstow throw his head back at the dismissal. Which is a form of progress, I suppose.

    England's Jonny Bairstow reacts as he is given out lbw as he attempts a sweep shot on 99 runs during day two of the Fourth Test at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Saturday Aug. 5, 2017.

    (Anthony Devlin/PA via AP)

    Day-night conditions
    Grade: B+

    With England dismissed for 227, Steve Smith refused to enforce the follow-on, forcing his team to bat under lights on the third evening. A dangerous ploy from Smith. As a team, you never want to be batting in the Twilight session, because that’s when everybody in the dressing room is forced to read the books.

    But even that literary threat was insufficient to keep the players out in the middle as Australia fell to a perilous 4/53.

    Still, both Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith were dismissed by LBW decisions that, on review, had not just one, but two, umpire’s calls. My understanding of the new rules surrounding DRS means that they therefore not only didn’t lose their reviews, they also get a bonus one.

    Pretty sure that’s right.

    Grade: D

    But reviews weren’t just going against Australia when they were batting. When England finally came out to bat after Australia had been dismissed for 138 in their second innings, Smith’s reviews as fielding captain dropped to a level of DC Cinematic Universe bad.

    First he failed to review an LBW decision that was cannoning into leg stump. Then he incorrectly reviewed two decisions in three balls to leave the Australians without further DRS recourse.

    England looked to have the advantage with still two reviews up their sleeve. But did they? Or had Smith outwitted them yet again, using his team’s review poverty to subtly influence the umpires into giving the Australians the benefit of the doubt in future decisions?

    In addition, by dragging the Test into the fifth day with England still a chance, he forced fans from the mother country to blearily set their alarms for a godawful hour. And then witness their side plummet from 4/176 overnight to 233 all out.

    Great work from the Australian skipper, who is determined to destroy England on every level.

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    The Crowd Says (28)

    • December 6th 2017 @ 6:25pm
      dave said | December 6th 2017 @ 6:25pm | ! Report

      Caught and bowled defiantly needs to be looked at.No matter how easy the catch unless the bowler dives to the ground and does a couple of rolls it should be given not out.
      Secondly we just outlaw anyone named and from playing cricket.And Australia forces the follow on,And Australia wastes a review.All of a sudden Steve Smith escapes all the criticism while poor old and cops the lot.

      • Columnist

        December 6th 2017 @ 6:57pm
        Dan Liebke said | December 6th 2017 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

        I think bowlers should have to parry it to other fielders to take the catch, like boundary riders with their nonsense.

    • December 6th 2017 @ 6:33pm
      JohnB said | December 6th 2017 @ 6:33pm | ! Report

      They could go a long way towards fixing their review issues by getting one of the fielders who doesn’t do much (Khawaja maybe or Shaun Marsh) to stand just behind the umpire at the bowling end, looking over the umpire’s shoulder. He’d be in a much better position to judge whether a review was warranted than the bowler or someone in slips. Maybe a specialist substitute fielder to fill that role?

      • Columnist

        December 6th 2017 @ 6:56pm
        Dan Liebke said | December 6th 2017 @ 6:56pm | ! Report

        This is an excellent idea. Khawaja currently gets sent to the Phantom Zone during the Australian fielding innings. He could easily be slotted in at umpire backstop.

    • December 6th 2017 @ 7:00pm
      Slane said | December 6th 2017 @ 7:00pm | ! Report


    • Roar Guru

      December 6th 2017 @ 8:04pm
      jeznez said | December 6th 2017 @ 8:04pm | ! Report

      Ha ha. Love the alarm clocks – mental disintegration of a nation!

    • December 6th 2017 @ 8:08pm
      Noah said | December 6th 2017 @ 8:08pm | ! Report

      Caught and Bowled gone!!?!
      its a fair catch by the bowler who is in the rules also a fielder

      • December 6th 2017 @ 8:20pm
        Bretto said | December 6th 2017 @ 8:20pm | ! Report

        Lots of other silly ideas in this article Noah – see if you can point them all out. This Dan guy is CRAZY!!!!

      • Columnist

        December 6th 2017 @ 8:21pm
        Dan Liebke said | December 6th 2017 @ 8:21pm | ! Report

        Bowlers shouldn’t be allowed to be fielders. It’s bad enough that they also get to be batsmen. Where does it end, Noah? Where does it end??

        • December 6th 2017 @ 8:35pm
          Zac said | December 6th 2017 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

          What the hell is wrong with you. If someone hits it in the air when I bowl I want them to be out and i hope that you realise how stupid you sound.

        • December 6th 2017 @ 8:46pm
          JoC said | December 6th 2017 @ 8:46pm | ! Report

          I think they should keep to their own deliveries.
          Where caught and bowled is also caught behind…

        • December 6th 2017 @ 9:46pm
          Noah said | December 6th 2017 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

          why challenge c&b now after 140 years

          its a fair catch and thats that

          • December 7th 2017 @ 2:58am
            TheCunningLinguistic said | December 7th 2017 @ 2:58am | ! Report

            I think it’s fair to say that subtle humour (or even not so subtle) is lost on our friend, Noah.

            • December 7th 2017 @ 11:57am
              Gormon Kinchley said | December 7th 2017 @ 11:57am | ! Report

              This is what happens when a ‘HA!’ doesn’t get put next to the headline. Pandemonium.

          • December 7th 2017 @ 7:16pm
            Ben said | December 7th 2017 @ 7:16pm | ! Report

            Complain all you like Noah, but the ICC is currently trialling a ban on caught and bowleds in provincial cricket. Plan to introduce it in tests next year.

            • December 8th 2017 @ 7:19am
              Zac said | December 8th 2017 @ 7:19am | ! Report

              no that aren’t dh

      • December 6th 2017 @ 8:32pm
        Zac said | December 6th 2017 @ 8:32pm | ! Report

        Calm down barry

    • December 6th 2017 @ 8:50pm
      Zac said | December 6th 2017 @ 8:50pm | ! Report

      If someone hits it in the air off my bowling I want it to be out. It is pretty hard to take them anyway. If they take out caught and bowled then that makes it harder to get wickets and it is not even a new or bad rule so I don’t understand why you want it gone.

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