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Munro Mike

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Joined September 2018

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I thought Siddle handled the situation brilliantly when he came in to face up immediately after Smith had retired. He looked to keep his head and focus and in the end on 9 it was a bit of a jaffa that got him and would’ve got many a top order batter too.

Smith cops sickening blow as Aussies scrap at Lord's

The bowler – and in this case on test debut vs the best batter in the world – will have such a mixed emotional state and the reality is that there’s not much he can do.

Don’t rush to judge is all I’m saying.

Smith cops sickening blow as Aussies scrap at Lord's

The bowlers and Siddle in particular have figured out already – – – caught and bowled is the only sure way to get a catch taken.

Smith cops sickening blow as Aussies scrap at Lord's

Can’t bat, can’t catch……what else did the cameraman say…..

btw – just wonder if it’s a bit of a NSW fielders conspiracy to get Sidds out and Starc back in??

Peter Siddle livid as David Warner puts down another catch off his bowling

Uzzie’s technique was ordinary – that’s the sort that you can clutch to your chest or ensure it drops into the breadbasket. Or like Ponting, drop the legs to get your head behind it and take it with fingers pointing upward.

'As easy as it gets': Khawaja blasted for dropping simple catch

Sidds is the unlucky bowler of the series so far…..3 for 120 odd doesn’t look so flash – but with 3 definites put down and another that Paine wrong footed and let go between keeper and slip…..if Sidds had 7 fer he’d be leading our stats.

Tim Paine drop robs Peter Siddle of ANOTHER wicket

How realistic is the noise about a 2nd Adelaide club (backed by a mystery European investor) along with a new stadium allowing for local derbies and attempts to be a key part of 2023 womens WC?

The strengthening case for a Tasmanian A-League team

The irony is the unlucky Hodge came in during the summer of 05/06 for Clarke. Clarke got dropped after his 20th test, the 2nd of the summer against the Windies in Hobart after 5, 14* and 5. To this point his career was 20 tests, 1072 at 36.9.

He’d started with a flurry, 151 on debut vs India at Bengaluru. In his 5th test he made 141 against the Kiwis in Brisbane. In between a back to back 91 & 73 in Nagpur. 541 at 67.6. What a start. He would be a keeper….and that’s how it would play out. However over the next 15 tests he hadn’t even doubled that tally, and additional 531 at 25.3. He’d only passed 50 twice in those 22 times at the crease.

So – in comes Hodge in Tassie and a 60 on debut. The 203* after 41 in the first innings was in his 3rd test, at the WACA vs South Africa. To that point – numbers of 345 for 4 outs was impressive for the first 3 tests. And nothing below 18.

He followed up with 7, 24, 6 and 27* in Melb and Syd (I was there late in the day at the MCG and he was needed to get through to stumps but couldn’t get the job done).

And so by the following tour to South Africa a fellow called Damien Martyn returned, Clarke was still on the outer until the Bangladesh tests and Hodge got one more crack at it…..in 2008 vs the Windies at Kingston, Jamaica – for a 67 & 27.

The irony – that team included: Jaques and Katich opening, Hodge and Symonds, Haddin, S.Clark and MacGill.

Australia's unlucky XI from the 2000s golden era

“The reason why rugby league will never be a true international sport is because it has not done the spadework. A good example of what is required is the rise of rugby in the US”

And when I read this I thinks to me-self…..another reason is that when your biggest game is American Football (a Rugby variant played on a rectangle field with 2 opposing lines in a tackle oriented game with ‘touch downs’, ‘field goals’ and conversion goals etc…..and you’ve got Rugby (Union) played on a rectangular pitch with 2 opposing lines in a tackle oriented game with ‘trys’ (touch downs), ‘field goals’ and conversion goals etc……and you’re trying to sell Rugby League into such a market and I’d suggest it’s a hard sell. What’s the point of difference??

Is rugby league just behind bigger sports, or does it have additional hurdles?

North struggle on the transition and the gutless approach (as a North fan – I’ll say that here) of pushing numbers back when after all, we’ve actually got a reasonably structured forward line if we back them in……..would prefer a shoot out, had we kicked straight we would’ve had them on the first meeting.

The 2nd term umpiring display was awful – with scores 1 goal each of two – with Geelong 1.6.12 to North 1.5.11.

Yes both sides had missed an easy shot. But it was tight and hard footy.

And then enter Razor Ray Chamberlain who misses the most blatant eyes not on the ball by Touhy running back into Ziebell with illegal front on contact…..easiest 1 v 1 free kick for an umpire to pay, near the top of the goal square. Play on the call and Geelong take it up the other end for a goal. So…..a 2 goal play. Instead of North up by 1 goal they are down by 1.

Geelong a couple of minutes later drive deep and Hawkins manages to drop a mark in the goal square……but it was paid. This wasn’t a “Oh, he had enough of it”, this was a chesty that went through…… goal again.

So, instead of a rushed behind with North up by a few points we suddenly had Geelong out by 2 and bit goals in a massively low scoring battle. On their home deck in front of an anything but impartial crowd……evidenced by wanting a deliberate out of bounds when Pittard shanked an attempted switch to Polec……had to chuckle at that.

So – from that point on – North have no excuses – but with a game right in the balance – 1 goal each – after 40 mins of play – to have 2 blatant umpire errors at opposite ends of the ground cost North so dearly – – that’s simply not good enough.

Five talking points from AFL Round 21

The other factor is that Hazlewood and Starc are about 10cm taller than Siddle…..so they have to bowl much fuller to threaten the stumps.

This is a scenario where you don’t want 3 6’6″ intimidating quicks – need someone to threaten those stumps of a better than half volley length.

Australia first Ashes Test player ratings: Steve Smith and Nathan Lyon star in stunning win

And this is against a team that is currently sitting in 9th place on the Div 2 table…..the other game to come will be Derbyshire who are sitting in 7th in Div 2 as well.

So – there’s only so much to be taken out of this – – but gee – – 4 overs for 27 with the new nut – – he desperately needs to find his rhythm.

And this is a key point here – he played the WC and prepared for the WC with the white kookaburras.

Now he’s transitioning to the red Dukes. It takes time – – also to adjust the test match length that our tall NSW quicks generally bowl – – need to go a little fuller especially at his height otherwise the stumps are rarely going to be challenged an the threat of bowled/lbw is a major weapon in the UK.

Good to see Head continuing his form – and for him to go on to the triple figures even against that sort of attack shows that he’s elevating himself to a ‘class above’. It seems at test level it’s concentration more than anything that lets him down.

Australia needs to take the same XI to Lord's

#Paul

But is he really fit and ready to go? There were serious enough concerns on day 2 of the intra-squad game for him to be sent off for scans on a troublesome knee.

Cleared of serious damage but clearly not 100%.

Australia needs to take the same XI to Lord's

The problem for Starc is he’s been struggling over this last 18 odd months with hammy and ankle and knee issues.

His performance has dropped away.

And in the WC – yeah, bowled a couple of nice spells and balls but he finished sore grabbing behind his knee and during the ‘intra-squad’ game was sent off for scans to confirm he had no serious damage.

That to me doesn’t suggest someone ready to go.

He needs the tour match to prove he’s up to bowling 20+ overs with a red ball in a day and potentially backing up the next day or day after that. Seriously couldn’t select him otherwise.

Australia needs to take the same XI to Lord's

#Chop

The people who need to know do know. That and he was given the SOS call to carry the load v Pakistan in the UAE….a bit of a thankless task that one.

And certainly – if you went on stats alone from the Shield then Tremain and Boland are firmly ahead of Siddle with respect to claims from Victoria for a baggy green.

Siddle in the shield the last couple of years has reinvented himself – along the lines of what we saw in the 5th test on the previous Ashes tour. Hasn’t helped bowling on the MCG road though. The move to St Kilda should be good for the state cricketers.

As it was, his 5/28 with the new cherry in the Shield final against NSW was actually a rare occasion in which he got reward for his bowling. The prior game v NSW he had 3/34 and 3/35 (and Pattinson a none fer and a 2nd inns 5wI). It always helps performing against NSW!!

He was of course a permanent 12th man in the Test team last summer. And it seems the view always was towards a horses for courses selection for an Ashes tour. That’s not a bad thing – – Terry Alderman is 200% proof of the virtue of this (i.e. both ’81 and ’89 when as a 33 year old he again proved himself the value proposition). And to that end the combination of his County bowling last year, his shield form 2018/19 and then his pre-Ashes County form this year is just a rubber stamping of the theory.

Australia needs to take the same XI to Lord's

I’d expect unchanged for the 2nd test with Starc and Hazlewood having a good hit out in the tour match – that’ll give a good indication of how they pull up and have them ready to go for the 3rd test if need be.

The pros and cons of player A or G with respect to each venue – that’s another dimension to the discussion.

Right now – do we envisage a scenario where Lyon is not played based on perceived conditions?

Australia needs to take the same XI to Lord's

#jameswm

You clearly haven’t seen how he’s operating – his pace is sufficient and his movement make him a constant threat that bogs the batsmen down.

You probably think Jimmy Anderson is too slow as well?? On the road at the MCG…..yep…..but on a decent wicket and with a Dukes ball…..

Australia bulldoze England in first Ashes Test

My suggestion at this point.

The 3 day game coming up – Starc and Hazlewood will play but not with an eye to the 2nd test.

They would be preparing for the 3rd test. That’s when after the 2nd test Australia might elect to rotate the quicks.

And then after the 3rd there’s another tour game and then the 4th and 5th back to back.

The irony was that there were knowledgeable people suggesting Siddle might struggle to impact on the final day.

I’ve watched a bit of Sidds in the last couple of years of streamed Shield and this is what he is delivering so much of the time – and again – so often doesn’t get the rewards but so often it pays off for the bowler at the other end.

He’s an ultimate team bowler. So – on his day when the wickets come his way it’s thoroughly deserved.

And it’s quite different to when he was tending more to be a wannabe fast bowler; he works much better as a ‘professional’ bowler.

Australia bulldoze England in first Ashes Test

Siddle bowled superbly in the 2nd innings – he had Root completely bogged down and just kept going past his bat. With Root ‘rooted’ to the spot at one end – that massively helped Lyon who actually wasn’t bowling that well early on…..a bit rushed it seemed. But the wickets began to fall and when Root went it opened the English up to be demolished after lunch.
Great team bowling. 2 guys got the wickets on the day. All you had to do was look at the Aussies in slips and they knew exactly what job Sidds was executing.

Australia bulldoze England in first Ashes Test

And that’s where I just don’t think he was considered fit for the test – he had pulled up sore from the WC and was sent off for scans during the ‘intra’ game before bowling a few overs on the final day.

The rest will do him good and perhaps he’ll be doing an controlled workload in the tour match and be available for the 2nd test.

However – is he necessarily the opening bowler still? He’s struggled in that role of late – but he’s not really the guy to have bowling at the other end for Lyon.

And perhaps less likely to go reverse as well. So – is he only good for perhaps the 2nd new ball against the tail?

Smith and Wade flatten England

#IAP

I’m not convinced that Mitch Starc would be the answer – he’s been pretty ordinary with the new ball in the last 18 months or so. And I’m not sure his now injury prone ankle/knee/hammy was up to it for this test.

Anyway – Cummins is to me an interesting one. Seemingly the best of our bowlers……but had a tendency to go unrewarded against India until his fortunate 6-27 at the MCG in the 2nd innings. Outside of that in the series – he only had 8 wkts at 45.25.

Cummins isn’t a sure thing to blast sides out. That avg combined with Starc and Hazlewood both off the boil is much of why the selectors are shuffling things around. Our new ball bowlers were not getting the job done. Cummins gets a look at it here with the new ball – but is he a better change bowler?

That said – not too much wrong with what they did – alas – Burns made a pretty ugly 100 and Root survived a snick off his stumps.

Siddle did exactly what you’d want from him (2/50 at 1.9 an over…….that’s his brief on this track) and Lyon perhaps was the one who was underwhelming however – he was forced to watch on during the ODI WC instead of tuning his red ball skills with Aust A – he just seemed to bowl a boundary ball each over.

Smith and Wade flatten England

Yep – Fagan has masterminded the regeneration brilliantly – certainly list managers and other coaches etc need to be acknowledged but Fagan clearly deserves a massive amount of credit.

And more than ‘relevant’ – they are seriously the form team of the comp at the moment and fans will just hope that they aren’t peaking too soon. But if they can conjure a top 2 finish then anything can happen.

Chris Fagan has returned the Lions to relevance

He probably peaked in that year – 1984. In that series Garner smashed it with 31 at 16.87. Next Holding with 13 from 3 matches at 18.84 and Marshall was coming of age – 21 at 22.85. Daniel, Davis and Small made up the numbers……and Baptiste too.

By the time they got to England for the 5-0 whitewash it was Marshall who really joined him, Garner took 29 at 18.62 and Marshall 24 at 18.2.

And then when the Windies came back out here for the 5 test series – it was Marshall almost a one man band with 28 at 19.78 and 4 of the 5 5WIs – as it was Holding got off to a flier in the Perth demolition with 6-21 but was limited after that and Garner just 19 at a smidge under 30. And along came a youngster named Walsh.

Steve Smith once again saves Australia from Ashes embarrassment

And that was a series where how many Aussie top order batters were required – as they kept getting busted fingers and the like…..Wood managed one test, the ‘other’ Steve Smith got 3, Wessels 2, Wayne Phillips was keeper down the order (got a fine ton), Roger Woolley got a game. The 5 test batters were Border, Hookers, Hughes, and Ritchie but the averages – Phillips 25.8. Wood 44 from the one game (68 and 20) and then Border…..74.42. Smith had 3 tests for 41 at 8.2.

Steve Smith once again saves Australia from Ashes embarrassment

Hughes 100 v WI. The MCG track back then was hitting its challenging phase.

Steve Smith once again saves Australia from Ashes embarrassment