The Roar
The Roar

Ronan O'Connell

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Joined April 2013

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Ronan writes about cricket in his spare time. Based between Asia and Ireland, his day job is working as a photojournalist, contributing stories and photography on culture, travel and current affairs to 70+ magazines and newspapers including CNN, BBC, Forbes, The San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star, The Independent (UK), The Guardian, Irish Examiner, Australian Financial Review, South China Morning Post, Singapore Straits Times, The National, Emirates, News Ltd etc. Ronan has been a reporter for 16 years and his photojournalism work has taken him to more than 60 countries. Before becoming a freelance photojournalist he spent nine years working at daily newspapers in W.A. where he variously was a chief crime reporter, political writer, health reporter and features writer.

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A fit Archer would have been very valuable at Edgbaston given the lack of variety in the England attack.

Australia bulldoze England in first Ashes Test

Siddle had an easy nick off Roy missed by Paine, and then had Woakes dropped by Smith at 2nd slip, again an easy chance.

Australia bulldoze England in first Ashes Test

I really rate Foakes as a player, watched him play in Sri Lanka and Windies and thought he looked like a star in the making.

If I was England I’d go like this at Lords:

1. Burns
2. Roy
3. Root
4. Stokes
5. Buttler
6. Foakes (wk)
7. Woakes
8. Curran
9. Archer
10. Broad
11. Leach

Curran is a gun, I’d back him to make as many runs as Denly while also really strengthening the attack.

Bairstow has been getting a free ride in Tests for a long time based on:

1) His hot ODI form.

2) His one hot year of Test cricket back in 2016. Across his other seven years of Tests he averages 28 with the bat.

Australia bulldoze England in first Ashes Test

Pattinson’s coach at Victoria, Andrew McDonald, said Pattinson needed to be carefully managed in the Ashes and rotated in and out to prevent him getting injured again.

I think Australia have the luxury of resting him if one of Starc or Hazlewood look good in the 3-day game that starts tomorrow.

Australia bulldoze England in first Ashes Test

I think Siddle deserves to keep his place, I thought he bowled so much better than his figures suggested and was very unlucky, had two easy catches dropped yesterday.

Could have, and should have finished with 4-80 for the match instead of 2-80.

Went at just 2 runs an over for the match which is fantastic, that pressure really helps other bowlers.

Australia bulldoze England in first Ashes Test

If he sticks to the wider line against right handers, and is patient in maintaining an off stump line to the lefties then he should be very effective today.

Smith and Wade flatten England

Overall I think English cricket gets more coverage than any other nation on Cricinfo – even their county games get good coverage, whereas coverage of domestic cricket in India and Australia is extremely limited even for the Shield/Ranji finals.

The editorial team is based in India because it’s cheap, they can hire Indian writers/sub editors for a fraction of the cost of English/Aussie ones.

Cricbuzz, on the other hand, is really dominated by Indian content and focus.

Smith and Wade flatten England

Lyon is going to have to bowl really well.

If he bowls as well as he has so often in the past 2 years he could completely tear England apart. But his 1st innings effort was ordinary.

Smith and Wade flatten England

It was surprising the defensive way Root used his bowlers yesterday, as you said he seemed to let the game drift, almost just playing for time and the draw.

Smith and Wade flatten England

Cheers Bruce, I think England are a good chance of drawing here, especially with Burns looking good again last night, he’s the key with his liking for crease occupation.

Smith and Wade flatten England

The issue is that Moeen plays well against other nations he just can’t handle playing against Australia.

With the ball in Tests he averages 33 against all other teams, and 65 against Australia.

Smith and Wade flatten England

That’s also the risk you run for relying on a 37 year old strike bowler.

Smith and Wade flatten England

England scored at 2.75 an over in the best batting conditions of the match in their 1st dig.

Now on a much more difficult, turning 5th day pitch they need to score at 4.3 runs an over.

Smith and Wade flatten England

Actually Cricinfo have a heavier slant towards England than India – it’s Cricbuzz that is all about India.
Cricinfo was started in England and essentially remains an England-focused website that also provides less comprehensive coverage of the other nations.

Smith and Wade flatten England

Like Rory Burns he doesn’t have a classical technique, but he is very mentally strong and is prepared to graft long and hard for runs.

Had a shocker of a Test here though.

First Ashes Test rests on Smith's bat

I think Australia can defend as little as 150 if they bowl exceptionally well – they have the talent in their attack to do so, especially if Lyon catches fire.

But, at this stage, I think a chase of about 210 would make this a dead even contest.

First Ashes Test rests on Smith's bat

That was, by all accounts, the biggest thing Smith worked on before that 2017 Test series in India – getting better at missing the ball.

In that he had to drill it into himself to always just play the line of the ball and be happy to let it pass his outside edge, never chasing after it.

This is such a subtle yet crucial skill for batsmen in England. Rogers had it. Burns has it.

Gritty Rory Burns ton grinds down Australia

Burgy I wasn’t sure Head was ready for Tests when he debuted but he just continues to impress.

He now has 719 runs at 51 in Tests, a very good start to his career.

First Ashes Test rests on Smith's bat

Warner has done the right thing – he’s not reacted angrily to the crowd abuse and has instead either ignored it or made a joke of it.

The crowd is desperate for him to respond negatively.

First Ashes Test rests on Smith's bat

Bancroft was Australia’s leading runscorer in South Africa last year against the world’s best Test attack.

First Ashes Test rests on Smith's bat

First ball Bancroft got from Moeen it turned like a Murali classic – pitched 50cm outside off, turn square through Bancroft’s defence and then skimmed the off stump.

I think that got in his head and he suddenly felt like he needed to be proactive ending in that ungainly dismissal.

First Ashes Test rests on Smith's bat

If Lyon is at his absolute best I think Australia could defend even 150 but he’d need to bowl way better than in the first dig.

First Ashes Test rests on Smith's bat

I like Handscomb as an ODI cricketer but, until he fixes his hang-back-in-the-crease technique, I think he’s going to be very vulnerable against good Test quicks.

Gritty Rory Burns ton grinds down Australia

You’re right Labuschagne has struggled with the bat in his Test career to date.

Same goes for Wade, though – in his last 20 Test innings he’s averaged 17.

Gritty Rory Burns ton grinds down Australia

That post had a mistake – I meant “due to Cummins and Lyon” being well below their best.

The stats quoted after that are for Cummins and Lyon.

Gritty Rory Burns ton grinds down Australia