Are England on the brink of defeat or the verge of defeat?

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Moeen Ali fails to get behind the fat-arsed line (BT Sport)

Judging by the headlines, this seems to be the main question remaining from the first Test. Brinks are outnumbering verges from what we’ve seen. We’re yet to see a cusp.

Despite fielding fewer bowlers than England, Australia have had a greater number of effective ones in this Test. Chris Woakes and Jake Ball haven’t supported Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad particularly well. Throw in a Steve Smith and the match starts to inch away from you like a relentless and single-minded slug – too slippery to grasp and with no real desire to come back to you of its own volition.

It’s also rare for a team to field only four bowlers and for none of them to let their team-mates down. England’s specialist batting may not be good enough to really impose itself against the solidity of Australia’s bowling attack but the fact that the lower middle order hasn’t managed to perform its routine bail-out act is arguably a more significant symptom of the home bowlers’ all-round competence.

Now onto the traditional taking of positives: there’s no point getting up at 5am tomorrow.


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  1. Do you think that pouring salt onto Steve Smith might work, yer maj?

    I’m going to be a pain and re-ask the same question from the last thread as it seems rather more relevant here…

    Could anyone who actually watched it (or who stayed up late enough to hear it analysed on TMS) explain why was Woakes so ineffective? He seemed to have been bowling very well in the warm-up matches, by reports. Obviously that’s a different standard and different pitch but it isn’t as if he left his bowling brain behind on the plane?

    1. I watched the first 90 minutes or so this morning, before being caught in the deep by the outstretched arms of Morpheus.

      No way should England have been rolled for under 200 on that pitch today, even with two top-order wickets lost the previous evening when conditions were more helpful to the bowlers.

      Although there is some pace and bounce in that pitch, it looks good for batting now. Little in it for Woakes-style bowling, that’s for sure.

      Adelaide might be different, but I fear that England might already be gone in the collective head and that the Aussies might be over the hills and far away with the psychological advantage in the series. I hope I’m wrong.

      1. The English team members accidentally Bumped into the Australian state team players, in the bar, reports George Dobell in his story.

  2. Century on for Warner here?

    Hope all masochists with incurable nineties nostalgia are glued to their wireless sets.

    1. Warner needs to stop hitting singles so early in the over and letting Bancroft eat into the target. Biff some sixes, man!

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