England’s batting improves a bit

Joe Root has cricketsed the cricket using a bat

Let’s not go overboard.

There are two ways to look at England’s second innings. The first is to see it as indicative of an upward curve, which gives hope for the rest of the series. The second is to say that standards are now so low that it would actually be quite hard to consistently remain beneath them.

The latter view would paint England’s second innings as aberrative semi-competence. However, we favour the former view, albeit with a coda. England’s batting may be trending upwards, but is it at a rate which is likely to prove meaningful for this series?

England’s players are generally keen to emphasise that they’ve got great track records and to berate ‘the media’ for not having faith in them to bounce back. The problem is that the things from which they need to bounce back matter too. If they hit top form in Melbourne and Sydney, that doesn’t much matter if they’re already 3-0 down.

The batsmen

But there are… ‘positives’ is probably a bit strong. Neutrals? There are neutrals to take from England’s performance today. Second innings skittlage would have left a real shell of a team. Players could have been replaced without really altering the fundamental hollowness. It went a bit better than that and we can actually go down the list of batsmen and find cause for optimism with all of them.

Alastair Cook is Alastair Cook and he did make a fifty in the first Test.

Michael Carberry has perhaps offered the most solidity out of all of them. It’s not rock-like. It’s more of a dried porridge solidity – the kind that needs a prolonged soak in dot balls before it starts to give.

Joe Root delivered stubborn survival, batting for 194 deliveries. As treasured fount of wisdom, poet, philosopher and all-round good egg, Bert, has prevously pointed out, deliveries are the correct unit of measurement when batting for a draw – particularly when it’s the fourth innings and the next Test follows in just a few days’ time.

KP is KP and at least sort of got going today. And who honestly knows what that guy’s going to do – that’s almost entirely the point of him.

Ian Bell was magic in the first innings.

Ben Stokes faced 90 deliveries.

Matt Prior has faced 70 deliveries and is currently not out. If he can recapture any kind of form, it might settle the top order a touch as well.

In summary

Is it too late already? Everyone’s talking about Perth like an Australian win is already etched in dried porridge. It looks highly likely, but at least their fastest bowler has had to deliver 38 overs and counting.

Things are better than yesterday. Let’s just leave it at that.

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16 Appeals

  1. For me the biggest worry is Cook. To borrow from the cliche book, he likes to leads by example, and so far his innings have been nervous, scratchy, and very un-Cook like. When Johnson knocked out his stump in the first innings my only surprise was that it took him that long to get out, it was the worst 11 balls I have ever seen him play.

    • King Cricket

      December 8, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      Also, when Cook bats well, it makes life so much easier for everyone who follows. As an opener, it’s not just the runs you score – it’s also the situations the middle order inherits.

    • Having the middle order come in pretty much as openers, I can see that being a problem. Australia were in that position before England decided being tall was the sole requirement for a bowler.

    • Root has been the standout batsman for England, with honorable mention to Carberry. Bell, KP, Cook and Prior have been disappointing, but have still shown glimpses of form.
      The only reason the last series in England ever looked in doubt was due to the Australian tail wagging in contrast with what we saw out of England in the first two tests. Monty has shown more fight than the rest of them, perhaps Swann can take a break until Sydney and they can all reflect on how dismal their efforts have been (barring one good innings from Broad).
      Despite being a clear second behind South Africa over the last 2 years this team has looked a shambles. Unless something changes, unless the players apply themselves they are going to lose to an arguably inferior opposition.
      This team is in desperate need of Ballance.

    • Oh and holding the occasional catch wouldn’t hurt either…

    • Cook, Carberry, Prior and Broad all out hooking/pulling. Batting two days to save a test is a tough ask, but they’re not even trying.

  2. I’m getting very bored reading about sledging.

  3. Root appears to have the temperament of Cook but with the ability to drive as well. Great prospect for the future.

  4. Weather is looking a bit rubbish tomorrow. If they can just not play stupid shots, they could save this game as the wicket is a dead’un.

  5. Abject shit

    Can’t you block the fuck out of the new ball like I do every sunday for 15 overs then kamikaze? without the kamikaze part and for about 75 more overs

  6. Tail moppery

  7. Gee thanks for the kind words about me, KC. I enjoyed it the first time, the second was a surprise bonus, and all that despite the fact that I wrote it.

    Someone on the radio this morning said that of the 40 English wickets to fall so far in this series, 21 have been catches on the leg side. Of all the possible flaws with batting that can get a team to this situation, this one, you might think, is surely the easiest to fix.

    And the good news is (*), once this problem has been fixed (**) all of England’s worries will have disappeared (***), Australia won’t know what to do (****), and we’ll win the series handsomely (*****).

    (*) There isn’t any good news in fact, that was just a lie
    (**) It won’t be, see (*)
    (***) Except for all the others
    (****) That’s true now, but they’re still 2-0 up
    (*****) Get a grip, man!

  8. Have you no examples to share with us of feline indifference to this nightmare, KC? Or cricket paraphernalia in unexpected places? We need succour in these trying times.

    In KC’s other life, I am regularly amused by the comments about the Twitter Round-up’s “irregularity”. Many weeks ago we were told that the column was switching to be fortnightly rather than weekly – a good move in my view.

    Now, almost every time Cricinfo publishes an Alex Bowden Page 2 article other than Twitter Round-up, someone chimes in with “bring back Twitter Round-up”. And every time the Twitter Round-up is published, someone chimes in with “oh great, the twitter feature is back”. I take some small solace in these petty but reliable pleasures.

    • King Cricket

      December 10, 2013 at 8:33 am

      Yes, we’ve been enjoying that too.

      On the other subject, how about a match report?

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