Where is Stuart Broad, the tall, experienced bowler who should, on paper, be getting a wicket or two Down Under?

Stuart Broad (via Channel 5)

The pitch is flat, say tetchy England fans. This is the short version of the recurring Test match question: the pitch is flat, so what are you going to do about it?

England went with a bit of fast-medium. After that, they tried a bit more fast-medium, then a bit more, then a quick burst of Moeen Ali, then back to fast-medium. Maybe once the ball was old and the bowlers fatigued, the God of Pity might bring them some lateral movement.

The God of Pity was unmoved.

As we observed on the first day, wickets are hard to come by on this Waca pitch. England’s attack, which is spectacularly ill-suited to these conditions, was always going to struggle more than Australia’s did. An even bigger crime was arguably that their batsmen could only muster one proper partnership in the whole first innings. The lower order collapse has been given a lot of attention, but the top order nothingness was worse.

But on today’s performance, it’s hard to see what difference it makes anyway. James Anderson has made the most of favourable conditions and Craig Overton has been game, but none of the other bowlers have had any real impact on this series.

If we had to pinpoint the biggest hole in the England team on this tour, it’s been Stuart Broad. England’s tallest bowler and capable of bowling at a fair lick from time to time, he also has experience of bowling well in Australia in the past – 21 wickets at 27.52 in the 2013/14 series when England got hammered.

Broad really should have presented the greatest threat, yet at the time of writing he has five wickets at 50-odd with every sign that the ratio between those two numbers will further deteriorate.

He hasn’t even looked that pissed off. To see Broad accepting his cap at the end of another fruitless over with an utterly blank face is to be momentarily transported to a parallel dimension.

Broad is a man who smiles when he’s winning and grouches about the place like a sleep-deprived man who’s just trodden on an upturned plug when things aren’t going his way. Bad days have historically led to a snowballing fury that has resulted in either a wicket or some kind of warning from the match referee.

Now there is only a kind of medicated mellowness. It’s a mood that’s shaping the series, but not in the way that England would like.

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17 Appeals

  1. Overton’s been very game, all things considered. I hope he isn’t going to do himself any damage in a vain cause.

  2. Stokes aside, this team was about as good as England could have sent.

    There aren’t any great fast bowlers who were left behind, Toblerone and Wood wouldn’t have been any more effectual if they had been fit, and there wasn’t a magic batsman who would have improved things noticeably.

    English cricket doesn’t often produce players who can win in Australian conditions, and that’s fine. Occasionally the stars align and you get 2010-11, or both teams are pretty rubbish and you get 1986-87.

    Some time around 2040 England might win over there again.

    But I’d probably back what’s left of this team to win in England in 2019. If Stokes isn’t in prison and they can find another batsman or three.

  3. Mercifully I have been kinda-busy these past few days, not least singing an early Tudor-period song in a Tudor Hall in medieval German, like you do:

    http://ianlouisharris.com/2017/12/14/gresham-society-soiree-barnards-inn-hall-14-december-2017/

    It’s extraordinary how much such a challenge can take one’s mind off England’s pitiful Ashes campaign. Yet still I have been “grouching about the place like a sleep-deprived man who’s just trodden on an upturned plug…”

    …how do you know this stuff, KC? Have you infected our PCs with worms that switch on the webcams and let you watch us stumbling around in the early hours in the vain hope of some good news in the cricket score? That would be well-clever if you have.

  4. One of the worst days I can remember for England cricketings.

    But Farbrace thinks they bowled pretty well and he was happy with their body language, so that’s ok.

  5. I was at my work’s do last night and we ended up doing the old top five films, top five albums(no compilations) just to avoid talking shop. All of which got me thinking today about my favourite eleven cricketers. To make it clear; this is based on Test cricketers that I’d like to have a pint with and not based on career stats. With a tequila fuelled hangover, I jotted down a list of names, then rearranged it into batting order:

    Mike Atherton
    Mark Taylor
    Stephen Flemming
    Sachin Tendulkar
    Kumar Sangakkara
    Adam Gilchrist(wk)
    Wasim Akram
    Brett Lee
    Ian Bishop
    Shane Bond
    Muttiah Muralitharan

    With that done, I made a list of Test cricketers that I respect as players, but wouldn’t want a pint with:

    Mathew Hayden
    Geoff Boycott
    Viv Richards
    Brian Lara (no idea why you’re in this list…soz…I’ll buy the first round)
    Kevin Pietersen
    Ian Botham
    Alec Stewart(wk)
    Dennis Lillee
    Richard Hadlee
    Shane Warne
    Waqar Younis

    Just for fun, which would win?

    • Los bastardos have it for me.

      • Yup – it would be a more uneven series than these Ashes in my view…

        …the “No Thanks, I’m Washing My Hair This Evening XI” winning by a country mile over the “I’ll Have A Pint Of Mild, Please XI”.

        I’d differ on some of your choices, though. But I think my criteria are based more on “who would make for an interesting one-off evening’s company?” than “who might I want as my friend?” On my criteria, several of the choices would be the other way around.

        Viv, Both, Lillee, Hadlee and Warne should all make for a fun and interesting evening – albeit not one I’d want to repeat too often.

        Not too many of your “fancy a pint” team strike me as fun, Hoopy.

    • I’m not sure Bishop, Bond and Lee will stand up to bowling through a whole match.

    • curious about why you have waqar in that list, he isn’t really reputed to be a world class asshole like most of the other guys

    • Justification:

      Ath: Played for Lancs and, when carrying out an interview, slouches better than anyone else I’ve ever seen.

      Mark Taylor: Perhaps the only Aussie I’d really value an opinion from.

      Stephen Flemming: The best captain I’ve ever seen (I never saw Brearley)

      Sachin Tendulkar: Really?

      Kumar Sangakkara: The best person to have ever lived on the face of the planet.

      Adam Gilchrist: Massive ears and massive bat and, I think, nice bloke.

      Wasim Akram: Played for Lancs. Bowled a fucking ace yorker. Spoke to me at OT once.

      Brett Lee: A proper fast bowler who never really got a bit fast medium. I think he was/is probably quite a decent fellow.

      Ian Bishop: This https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TW5fKgLMHk

      Shane Bond: Dunno, just always thought he was ace.

      Muttiah Muralitharan: well, he could always give you an over before lunch.

  6. 142/0. Ouch. Serves him right for leaving Leics.

    I’m sure England will do just great batting today, though.

  7. If you’re going to lose, lose embarrassingly badly, that’s what I always say.

  8. Hope fading. Soon we will experience the sweet release of defeat.

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