Looking back on looking forward at Australia’s Ashes side

Everyone’s reviewing the Ashes. It’s a bit tiresome, so we thought we’d instead review our preview. It amounts to much the same thing, but don’t tell anyone. The subheadings link to the original previews should you wish to do what pretty much no-one does and read more than one page of this website in a single sitting.

Australia’s openers

We implied that Shane Watson could be a dangerous batsman as well as a figure of fun. He was both. We expected Chris Rogers to do well. he did. We thought Ed Cowan would ‘do a job’. He did. He carried the drinks.

Australia’s middle-order batsmen

We didn’t really feel it necessary to say much about Michael Clarke. Using logic, we deduced that Phil Hughes would pretty much do nowt. He pretty much did nowt. We were fairly non-committal about David Warner and Steven Smith and actually, we stand by that. While Steve Smith played a couple of decent innings, he still looks a bit of a mess at times and overall 345 runs at 38 shouldn’t be much cause for celebration. We don’t even remember Usman Khawaja playing now, so can’t comment on what we said about him, which mostly seemed to revolve around aeroplanes anyway.

Australia’s wicketkeepers

Brad Haddin averaged 22, but his child-minding was excellent.

Australia’s spin bowlers

We said that even though Nathan Lyon wasn’t the best bowler in history, he was the best option for Australia and if they could stop fantasising for five minutes, they would realise that he would do a better job than any of the alternatives. But it was easy for us to spot that, what with having access to all these resources which are unavailable to Australia’s coach, selectors and media. If they’d had access to a bike pump; dense, carpet-like head hair; unopened post; and a smoke alarm with a flat battery; maybe they too could have spotted this not-at-all-blindingly-obvious fact. Lyon performed competently and Australia need to acknowledge that this is the absolute best possible outcome as far as their spin bowling is concerned.

Australia’s seam bowlers

We reserved judgement on Ryan Harris, but he was actually very good. We thought Peter Siddle would do a good, solid job. He did. Unlike the world, we suspected that the younger seam bowlers wouldn’t do a right lot. They didn’t do a right lot. James Pattinson, the saviour of Australian cricket, took seven wickets at 44. Mitchell Starc was a real mixed bag but somehow emerged with 11 wickets at 32. Jackson Bird looked steady in his one Test, which Australia lost.

Conclusion

A decent series for Michael Clarke (age 32 – spinal age, 71), Chris Rogers (36 this week) and Ryan Harris (33). There were contributions from other people, but the foundations for progress might start showing signs of subsiding before too long.

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22 Appeals

  1. Bird was harshly treated. I was looking forward to him having success, if only for the endless puns that would become available.

    • You should tweet some examples, Sam.

    • I’m not getting into that. I’m considering leaving Twitter. It’s bad for the soul.

    • Sam, stop, think about what Ged said, then try again.

    • Stop bullying me. It’s not my fault I’m stupid.

    • Nope, sorry, can’t keep it to myself. Need too much help trying to complete the avian XI.

      1. Aaron Finch
      2. Robin Smith
      3. Lord Hawke
      4.
      5.
      6.
      7. Graeme Fowler
      8. Graeme Swann
      9. Bob “Goose” Willis
      10. Glenn “Pidgeon” McGrath
      11. Jackson Bird

    • 4. Patsy Hendren

    • King Cricket

      August 28, 2013 at 8:26 pm

      Chris (House)Martin has a good collection of ducks and Ricky Ponting is a little bustard.

      Matthew Hayden is a great tit.

    • Daisy, our friends and I were sitting in the front row at Chester-le-Street.

      A few times, Jackson Bird was fielding in front of us and he did tend to look into the crowd, especially when people were singing “Surfing Bird” or just hollering at him.

      I kept hoping that he would look straight at us, as I felt an irresistible urge to call out to him “oy, are you looking at my bird, Bird?” Sadly, the opportunity never arose. Pity, really.

    • That has got to be the most civilized heckling ever. You really are bad at this Ged.

    • Ritesh Banglani

      August 29, 2013 at 5:55 am

      I think Jackson Bird will likely be kicked off his own team by Joel “Big Bird” Garner.

      It says something about your Ashes squad when a frontline seamer can’t find a place in an Avian XI.

    • Martin & Jeff Crowe slot nicely into that middle-order

    • King Cricket

      August 29, 2013 at 10:04 am

      How on earth did we all miss that. That’s pretty shameful.

      A murder of Crowes in the middle order.

  2. You utterly failed to predict England’s several wee problems towards the end of the series.

    How on earth did you fail to foresee those?

  3. KC, you should follow this up with a ‘looking forward to looking back at the next Ashes series preview’.

    I think they call it a “precap”, or at least that’s what they call it when ‘they’ are spoiling Breaking Bad.

  4. Not that I want to knock you off your perch

  5. KC 5/10. It could’ve been 6.5, but I found those semicolons rather offensive.

  6. Nice point about Harris, Rogers and Clarke. Australia’s famous “period of transition” looks set to continue transitioning in the same general direction for a while yet. Every time you think they’ve hit rock bottom, someone in Cricket Australia turns up with a better drill.

    Australia’s inked-in top six for the post-Clarke post-Rogers era:

    Warner, ?, Watson, ?, ? and Smith

    Yep, that’s Warner, Watson and Smith who are the mainstays of the batting, the players who can be relied upon to provide solidity, the ones who opposition will scratch their heads over how to get them out.

    Bowling-wise though, the post-Harris era looks a lot more reasonable:

    Lyon, Siddle + 2 from Pattinson, Starc, Faulkner, Bird

    With care that could turn into a proper, if not excellent, test match attack. So expect to see Lyon dropped for Ahmed at the first opportunity, Agar and Watson opening the bowling, a 36-year-old grade cricketer first change, and Mitchell Starc (if it’s an even-numbered test match).

  7. Just so you dont die without knowing this: I visit this site once in a while and read the backlog in one sitting – well, not all the backlog but usually, the sitting lasts at least 8-9 blog posts.

    • King Cricket

      August 29, 2013 at 10:35 am

      There’s a man, woman or wendigo who’s making it look like people ‘engage’ with the website.

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