Commence the straw-clutching

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< 1 minute read
Craig Overton showing intent or something (BT Sport)

Grasp at them. Clutch them. Savour the delightful sensation of straws against palms.

England are methodically addressing each of their shortcomings in turn. For some reason the first one they turned their attention to was ‘tail getting blown away by short-pitched bowling’.

England’s tail is supposed to be ‘fragile’ compared to Australia’s. This was expected to be something that would haunt them throughout the Magellan Ashes (movement rate of all ships is increased by two).

No-one seemed to acknowledge that Australia had only ever exposed one tail-end batsman at a time in the first Test, the other end being clogged up by Steve Smith. That wasn’t the story. The story was England tail-enders terrified by Australia’s short-pitched bowling.

In the second Test, England’s run-scoring finally clicked in at about the moment Australia renounced the stumps following the dismissal of Jonny Bairstow. Chris Woakes and Craig Overton plopped a few into the air, but also accumulated a few runs.

Just think how handy a couple of 30s from eight and nine would be if they actually got to play alongside a specialist batsman for once. Maybe that could be next on England’s list of things to urgently address – runs from the batsmen.


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    1. How are things happening when the man who Makes Things Happen is busy not making things happen in New Zealand?

  1. We don’t need to clutch at straws any more. Australia are on the ropes, leading by only 268 runs. They’ll certainly extend that lead to over 270, but after that it’s anybody’s guess.

    So England will be faced with needing 300 or so to win, with the best part of two days in which to do it. If you look at the statistics, the overwhelming majority of England test matches have one innings of over 300 and one innings of less than 300. Therefore, by not reaching 300 in their first innings, England have made it vastly more likely that they will reach 300 in their second.

  2. Oh, England, you awful teases.

    But ooh Jimmy Jimmy.

    I shouldn’t have been following this innings, since I am currently back in the UK, but it’s been a nice companion to my horrible jetlag.

  3. If England pull this off (which they won’t), would it be a ‘reverse Adelaide’, in Adelaide?

    Of course, they have about as much chance of making 354 in the fourth innings as I have of being the next Pope.

    1. You’ve not provided sufficient information for us to be able to interpret your probability calculation. If you are Cardinal Alphonse Paolo Webster, Archbishop of Peru, we might be able to start celebrating a famous victory. But if you are Abdul Parvez ibn Webster (Mrs.), then the series is lost.

      1. There are only two eligibility criteria for becoming pope (other than being elected): being male and being baptised into the Catholic Church

        Tick… .and tick.

        England will still lose though…………………………………..won’t they? Yes.

  4. Well, the front page of the BBC website says, in big text ‘Ashes: England chase record 354 to win second Test’, so I presume they’ve done it.

    No need to click through and check the scorecard.

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