The Waca blunts Australia’s best bowler

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Nathan Lyon to Alastair Cook (BT Sport)

The most significant question ahead of the Waca’s final appearance as an Ashes venue was not whether or not it would recover the pace of old – because it clearly wouldn’t – it was whether or not the ball would turn.

The Waca is Australia’s most over-hyped pitch and the pace of the home attack is its most over-hyped quality. Nathan Lyon is the man. Spin is what’s shaping this series.

England have left-handers at one, two, five and seven and Lyon has been hoovering up their wickets with ease. The tourists’ best hope has been that the dust of their demises might eventually clog his filters.

The bad news for England

Lyon might have struggled to make much impact, but so did everyone else. With the old ball, in particular, nothing happened. The Kookaburra’s behaviour became as unremarkable and predictable as the Nullarbor Plain that keeps Perth safely detached from the rest of Australia.

Wickets don’t look easy to come by and there was no obvious theme to the dismissals. Cook was near-yorked, Joe Root suffered legside strangulation (it’s not unlucky – either middle it or leave it) while Mark Stoneman gloved a lifter.

You can guess what happened to James Vince.

Causing dismissal by careless driving

According to Cricinfo, James Vince’s unbreakable addiction to nicking the ball behind has to be weighed against the fact that he scores 37 per cent of his runs through the covers. We disagree. All this statistic says to us is that Vince is a compulsive driver who will keep on lashing out at deliveries outside off stump until he’s invited to leave the field of play by the umpire’s raised finger.

Responsible driving

Dawid Malan is the man no-one particularly wanted to see picked in the first place but he’s also the man no-one has since wanted to drop.

Like Vince, he hit a few nice drives. But then, just as crucially, sometimes he didn’t.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. Having now watched Malan in 3 tests I still don’t think I could pick him out in a lineup, he seems to have absolutely no distinguishing features. It’s like he’s set on all the default settings before you start tweaking facial features when making a character in a computer game.

    1. I’m thinking the same. Who even is he? Where did they find him?

      All I know is his nickname is ‘AC’.

    2. What? He’s easy to pick out, he’s the six-foot white slightly stubbly one with brown hair and a faintly South African accent…

      …oh, I see.

  2. Apologies, everyone. I turned the cricket on. Et voila, immediately Malan and Moeen got out.

    I turned it back off but I think the damage was done.

  3. Perhaps a little off-topic, but it seems BT and Sky have agreed a deal that might mean BT Sport (and its cricket coverage) could be a little easier to access in future.

    The link is to an FT article. For those who don’t have access:

    “BT and Sky have ended a long-running disagreement in the TV market after signing a reciprocal cross-licensing deal for their respective TV channels including sports.

    The deal means that BT can integrate Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and Sky Atlantic, home to Game of Thrones in the UK, into its TV products and bundles while Sky can sell BT Sport directly to its customer base.

    BT said the move to integrate Sky’s Now TV brand de-risks its sports strategy and helps it to compete with companies including Netflix by aggregating more content. ”

    1. Tempted to expunge all of that from our mind on the basis that the word ‘de-risks’ was used.

      1. On that basis, I suspect you wouldn’t do well working where I work (although arguably neither do I).

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