Day of the gnarl-dog

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There is a chance that James Anderson isn’t the nightwatchman, you realise. He might be the new number three.

But while the batting may have changed considerably, life’s the same for England in the field. Today’s backdrop for the Brad Haddin counterattack was 97-5. We all know the drill by now. The old gnarl-dog’s arguably had a greater impact on a single Ashes series than Adam Gilchrist ever did.

The bowlers were the same too. Scott Borthwick all but Kerriganned himself out of the attack, while Boyd Rankin has clearly spent the last few weeks seizing up, rather than warming up. That left us with Anderson, Broad and Stokes. Get used to it. 2014 could see a few players auditioning to be bowlers four and five.

All of this inspires the feeling that despite bowling Australia out inside a day, England aren’t in a great position. It’s the kind of distorted reasoning that probably affects the team as well. The other way of looking at it is that they’ve somehow had a decent day despite the apparent chaos. But does it feel like that?


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  1. 3 tests to get a hundred and a five for, last English player to do that so quickly?

    I have not got a clue, it is not some sort of quiz question.

    1. Apparently it’s just him and Michael Clarke to do it in four tests or less. Nice.

    2. Yeah, we seem to have neglected to mention old Stokes-o.

      We quite like the way he doesn’t massively celebrate taking a wicket. It’s like it’s just someething he does; nothing special.

    3. Got to hope he continues working on both aspects of his game, and doesnt try to become a batsmen that can bowl a bit. Or a bowler that starts to slog, which is what happened with broad/swann, though neither seem as good a bat as Stokes. But they could have been better.

    1. Technically, there’s a chance, but almost certain he won’t. He’s too pissed off.

  2. 36-year-old Brad Haddin is the man of the series BY MILES. 36-year-old Brad Haddin has rescued Australia’s first innings from ignominy four times out of five, and in the other one 36-year-old Brad Haddin scored a century anyway. Here are 36-year-old Brad Haddin’s five first innings scores, and the score when he came in to bat:

    1st test
    100 for 5
    Haddin 94
    295 all out

    2nd test
    257 for 5
    Haddin 118
    570 all out

    3rd test
    143 for 5
    Haddin 55
    385 all out

    4th test
    112 for 5
    Haddin 65
    204 all out

    5th test
    97 for 5
    Haddin 75
    326 all out

    I’m not sure any batsman, wicket keeper or otherwise, has had such a consistent impact in an Ashes series. It is absolutely astonishing. Without 36-year-old Brad Haddin’s contribution, Australia (and this is a bit of a leap of faith) might have lost this series. Actually, I doubt that, but it certainly would have been a hell of a lot closer.

    1. I have been told that there is a subtle point about 36-year-old Brad Haddin, the Australian scores 5 down, and the immediate future of Australian cricket, but I have no idea what it is.

    2. Look, as long as 36-year-old Brad Haddin keeps making runs every single innings, there’s absolutely no issue with Australia losing all of their specialist batsmen for no runs. Stop clutching at straws.

    3. Oh and there’s no way Brad Haddin’s 36, by the way. Look at him. He’s clearly older than Abdul Razzaq (34).

    4. The word “look” was NOT needed, KC. Remove the word “look” and read the sentence without it.

      This is terrible. Even KC has lost his writing mojo and has scrambled brain syndrome.

      I am beside myself.

    5. Oh THAT look. We were looking for it in the subsequent comment.

      Listen, we made a mistake. We’ll learn from it. We’re an evolving writer going through a transitional period.

    6. I think you might benefit from a season or two of county writing, KC.

      Perhaps even a bit of club writing for a while.

      Just until you have re-honed your skill-sets sufficiently to execute your verbal shots to an appropriate level of edutainment.

      In the meantime, I’m sure this site will do well in the hands of Prince Cricket and Babyface-Princeling Cricket. They’ve never actually written before at this level – nor have they ever run a web site. Indeed these budding geniuses have only recently got off the potty.

      But the team will surely be all the better for the freshness of their approach, their enthusiasm (albeit born of naivety) and extreme fitness. Oh dear, one of them has broken down before even writing a word.

    7. At least Prince Cricket is tall. That’s of utmost importance when cricket writing in these conditions. Okay, English isn’t his native language but if he aspires to write at the highest level he’ll have to take the opportunities available to him. I’m sure he’d prefer to write in his own language but that’s just not an option.

  3. Going to be very difficult to give Brad Haddin MOTS when someone else has one three MOTM awards.

    He’s been about as arsey as I’ve ever seen him. I used to think Botham was the luckiest player with the bat I’ve ever seen but I think Haddin has him covered.

    1. He chances his arm a bit early on, but only to spread the field. It’s not an innovative approach, but it’s unusual for it to work so consistently.

    2. Bell got MOTS in the summer despite only winning one MOTM award, if memory serves.

      Memory may not serve.

    3. I knew a girl once who used to chance her arm a bit early on and then spread the field.

      She was very popular.

    4. So you reckon someone can win 3 MOTM awards in a 5 match series and still be stiffed for the big chocolate spoon…

  4. Gather round, my children. I have important words to say to you all. This has been a wonderful summer, but there is something you must understand. One day, I won’t be here to hold you, to protect you, to score half your team’s runs for you.

    Don’t say such things, Papa Haddin. You’ll be around for a long while yet.

    No child, my time is approaching. Soon I will be taken up to the Sky, to be with my forefathers Warney and Gilly and the others. There I will become Haddy, or Braddy, or possibly even Haddos. You, David, and your young friends – you will have to do all of this for yourselves.

    But Papa, we can’t. We’ve only been playing test cricket for a few years. We can’t face the likes of Scott Borthwick on our own.

    Have faith, little ones. Others greater than I have passed before, admittedly with a lot more left in the tank when they went. Soon the knowledge will come to you. Soon you will know how to leave a tempting wide one, how to punish anything a fraction short, how to drive straight instead of straight to extra cover. Not you Shane obviously, you’ve got no chance. But the rest of you, you will dominate test cricket for decades, as sure as eggs are spherical.

    But what if we fail, Papa Haddin?

    Do not fear. One among you has inherited the Great Australian Moustache of Invincibility, handed down from Dennis to Merv and now on to a new generation, so a first innings lead can still be yours. But heed this one word of caution. The only thing that can stop you is if you ever play against anyone who can bat, in which case you’ve no chance. But hush, don’t cry children. There will be seven Ashes series every year from now until the end of days, so finding some decent batsmen to play against won’t happen for a long while yet.

    1. Bert’s entry reminds me of the ECB Ashes cookbook. This natural English long-windedness isn’t really an asset in sport.

    2. That was an Australia-specific cookbook. Aussies are all balsamic jus, mango salad and stuff, so you have to speak to them in their language. The one for home Tests just reads: “Pies and that”.

  5. I think Ballance picked the wrong side. This England team would struggle to give Zimbabwe a game.

  6. It’s time to drop all the following, permanently. It’s baby with bath water time. They’re all an embarrassment and don’t deserve to play for the country again.

    Cook, Carberry, Bell, Pietersen, Root, Prior, Bairstow, Anderson, Broad, Panesar.

    Rankin and Tremlett go without saying.

    1. Oh, and sack Flower, Gooch and Saker as well. And Whitaker. And Dowton. And every single other person even tangentially connected to this shower.

  7. Chris Rogers has been pretty good when he came in Gordon Australia. He is 36. So why when we need replacements it’s all about getting in the youngsters.

  8. i must be one of those fairweather fans KC was talking about a few (failed) tests back, because – not for the first time this series – i can’t even bring myself to look at the scorecard, much less countenance the idea of watching any “highlights”. how did things get this bad, this fast? all joking apart, sacking the entire team might actually be a possibility, simply because the psychological damage inflicted on every member of this touring squad may prove to be irremediable for all but the youngest players

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