Adam Lyth learns that Ashes scores count half

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It’s quite an impressive feat to field no fewer than eight batsmen and yet still be prone to comically low scores. You could argue that England have too many eggs in the ‘positive brand of cricket’ basket, but if there were a Venn diagram of baskets, that one would overlap significantly with the ‘young, inexperienced batsman’ basket.

So perhaps it’s just a matter of time. Joe Root seems to have grown into a batsman who can confront most situations. Maybe the batsmen below him will learn to do likewise. Patience is hardly a viable cure in the short-term, but attacking batsmen who can rein themselves in generally make better Test batsmen than those who block but have nowhere else to go.

One change that seems almost certain, however, is at the top of the order. We feel for Adam Lyth and indeed any batsman who is dropped during or following an Ashes series. England v Australia Test cricket is almost a different sport. With the desperation of the crowds and the relentless media scrutiny, young player often buckle.

We sometimes think that Ashes scores should be struck from the record giving a player a chance to be more comfortable, and hopefully more effective, in time for the next series. But in reality, the opposite happens. Ashes scores count double – or half if you’re doing badly.


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  1. This, from the Guardian OBO, sums it all up.

    “Maybe we have become a bit spoiled by five Ashes wins in a decade and are now looking for perfection rather than just winning the thing. Between 1989 and 2005 most of us would have bundled our granny under a 4×4 for an Ashes win, however it was achieved.”

  2. Come on people, we’ve won The Flipping Ashes!

    Don’t make me gloat alone.

    Lord Gower on the champagne celebrations:
    “These are scenes which will be treasured by everyone. The England captain covered in golden liquid.”

    1. Apart from Moeen Ali, who had to take a side-step when they started spraying champers.

    2. We won the Ashes ages ago. This game we got spanked.

      Plus Ian Bell has done it 5 times. Now we aren’t having to hark back to Fat Gatt it isn’t that big a deal. Nice, but this was a crappy series between two poor sides.

    3. Only the English could be in such a foul mood after watching their team lift the Ashes urn. Were we all asleep between 1989 and 2005? Can you imagine the Aussies reacting like this after losing a dead rubber?

    4. There were no winners in this series only losers. Both teams were deeply flawed.
      Three tests were decided by the team batting first posting a 400+ score and the other side being unable to chase. The other two tests (and really the series) were decided when the Australian batting line up chose to collectively sepuku in the first innings of the game.

    5. Wolf, there was a winner, really there was.

      England won the Ashes.

      That’s official.

      The quality of the cricket (or lack thereof) is a different matter.

      I didn’t witness any sepuku myself during the brace of Midlands matches. I thought I saw some poor shots, but those were in the face of some very good bowling, including some all-but unplayable deliveries. Some tantō-sharp catching too.

    6. I don’t think you can explain the one sided matches down to both sides being crap, there has been many a close exciting match between rubbish sides before. I can’t really think of a decent reason, just a statistical anomaly perhaps? Maybe the teams just lacked a bit of fight when the chips were down to at least make a match out of it.

    7. I think the games weren’t close because both sides have much better bowling than batting.

      If the bowling were usually poor, then lower order batsmen would be able to form more partnerships and bring their side back into the game.

      As it is, the batting was the weakness, so both sides were only able to make runs when things were in their favour – Australia when batting first in favourable conditions and England not making best use of the new ball; England only when responding to a poor total. When they didn’t have those things the batting folded which meant the matches were over very quickly.

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