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TomF

England summer cricket internationals

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Decent article from the Aussies:

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/cricket/we-can-all-die-happy-now-cricket-doesn-t-get-any-better-than-this-20190826-p52knk.html

Call off Test cricket now. In fact, call off all cricket. Not because it could never get any worse than this, but because how could it ever be better, surely?

That’s talking as a cricket fan and connoisseur of the incomparable drama of sports, not as an Australian partisan. Let’s all die happy now, or only a little bit sad, and permanently awe-struck.

Ben Stokes produced an innings of the ages to lead England to a dramatic one-wicket victory over Australia on Day Four of the Third Test at Leeds.

The World Cup? A distant memory. Put it this way: it is now only Ben Stokes’ second-greatest exploit. The performance of a lifetime stood for six weeks, exactly. The IPL, the BBL? Pardon me. The so-called Vitality Blast? Pop. Ashes ‘48, ‘81, ‘89, ‘05? Overtures, preliminaries.

Yes, this is getting carried away by the moment. We ought, need, to recognise and cherish moments and be transported by them. Bask if it’s ours, salute if it’s theirs. Tim Paine did. Otherwise, we’ve left with process.

The Australians are in a world of pain right now. At match’s end, they stood rooted to their fielding positions, upright but stone dead. If a passing cameraman had poked Nathan Lyon in the chest, he would have crumbled into the turf.

But in time, they will appreciate that they were part of and witness to something truly astonishing, unlikely to be repeated in their cricketing lifetimes.

Dimly, Paine divined this. Ricky Ponting said Stokes’ innings was the best he had seen in Tests, and that covers a few. In time, they will get mileage out of their fall guy roles. The boys of '81 have. But, hopefully, it will not transpire that any of them made a killing!

Reflexively, Australia will tip-toe around Stokes for a while. But they’re still in the Ashes, and for Manchester, they get Steve Smith back. If it ever was going to be a dead rubber, you daren’t put your hand on it now, for fear of electrocution. This is how it goes in Ashes cricket.

Did the Australians make mistakes here? Of course they did. Some mishandling, a dropped catch, a crucial fumble. A second review frittered with five runs to get, thinking it would be their last expiring half-chance, which left them helpless to go to DRS to overturn the non-lbw decision against Stokes that would have won them the match by a run.

They were forced mistakes, as in tennis. They’re human. They will have to live with them for, oh, the rest of their lives. Or not. Victory at Old Trafford in a fortnight would begin to ameliorate the hurt immediately. Cricket’s like that.

If any one ball of dozens on the last day or even the last over had played out differently, we might have been eulogising Paine’s mastery instead of mounting an inquiry.

There was, for instance, his decision to bring back Lyon with eight needed. Stokes himself thought it brilliant; Lyon was the last bowler he wanted to face then. It so nearly worked. It did work, but for umpire Joel Wilson’s blurry eye, and, ahem, DRS.

Human England, fallible England, flighty England also made mistakes, plenty of them. Ginger-haired, ruddy-complexioned Stokes saved a lot of red faces. But they’re forgotten now, of course. There was only one superhuman out there, the one standing with legs akimber, biceps bulging, fists clenched after belting the winning run, a colossus, whooping and hollering. He even did his own sound effects.

It was impossible not to see the image of Ian Botham, down the detail of the preceding abjection.

For Botham, it was a pair and heavy defeat in the previous match. For Stokes, it was a duck in England’s first innings comically meagre 67. Now he stood as a picture of almost mythical invincibility, but like Botham, that belies exquisite skill.

Remember the stupidly good succession of sixes -  because how will anyone ever forget? - but don’t forget that Stokes made two from 65 balls at the start of his innings, when what was needed most was ballast.

Remember how he amalgamated all forms of the game into one form at the end, but don’t forget the way he placed and weighted shots into the outfield for two to keep the strike in the denouement, like a soccer midfielder’s pass to a breaking forward, the better to keep the strike.

Runs and strike all counted, oh how they did. Don’t forget the unflagging 15-over spell he bowled all the way back on Friday night and Saturday morning, his last ball as energetic as he first, that made England at least think they were back in the match. Stokes never doubted it. (Also, don’t forget Jack Leach’s heroic one not out. Stokes didn’t. England never will).

The World Cup, the Ashes, vilification in a pub: is there nothing Stokes can’t fix with a lusty swing or two? At this rate, as well as knight him, they will draft him into Westminster or Whitehall, to deal with that pesky backstop (yes, he was born in New Zealand, but they’re not as fussy about that sort of thing as we are).

Last series in Australia, he was by his involuntary absence England’s greatest presence. He was an outcast then, with an assault charge hanging over him (see vilification, above), a disappointment in his own country, a pariah in every other.

Now he is plentifully present, a hulking, blocky manifestation at bowling and popping crease, an ever-growing force with bat and ball, an updated Botham for a new generation.

It can only have been accidental, but there something Bothamesque and staged about the way his sixes kept landing in the fiercely partisan western terrace. It was as if he was enlisting the whole of Yorkshire, the whole of England to the cause.

One peculiarity of this Ashes series is the way each match has been identified with one player. In the first, it was Smith: what to do about him? In the second, it was Jofra Archer: how to handle him? Now it is Stokes. How will anyone trump him?

That's for then. This is now. Even before Stokes took the game by the scruff of the neck and set it on his personal mantelpiece, it had been a rollicking good day’s cricket, ebb followed by flow, spurt after stoppage, lurch after lull, after lurch.

Briefly, England were favourites, which was remarkable anyway from 358 behind. But the excellence and asceticism of the Australian seamers had reasserted itself, and Lyon was tamping down one end, and at nine down and 73 for England to get, it was all over. To judge from concourse conversation, this was best the doughty Yorkshiremen had hoped for anyway, a gallant fight.

And then suddenly, it wasn’t over, and it might never be. Already it could be heard in the late after sun bath, echoing up and down the corridors and concourses of Headingley, in that world-famous brogue, accompanied by chuckles and chortles: “We were there.”

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9 minutes ago, Moments of Pleasure said:

Yes, one run off 17 balls: poor

But knows how to bat properly with soft hands and not waft outside his stumps. Proper defence. 

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16 hours ago, screech said:

I'm here to tell you test cricket is the most boring sport in the world.

The vast majority of it is five days of yawn. Sorry everyone but, as exciting as this is today, 90% of games are utter bore fests. 

Disagree.

It doesn’t get much better than test cricket, especially the Ashes. Love sticking it to the Aussies.

It’s such a tactical game that if you get into it, you will enjoy it. The field settings, bowling tactics and the sky coverage of the game is fantastic.

LOVE IT.

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7 minutes ago, Lew-T said:

Love how it was Lyon who fumbled the ashes too. Can’t stand the ***

Proper gobshite him. Like that annoying kid at school who'd be mouthing off whilst hiding behind the bigger boys.

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27 minutes ago, Moments of Pleasure said:

Yes, one run off 17 balls: poor

I assume that’s a tongue in cheek comment!

Jack Leach made 92 as night watchman at Lords. He certainly knows how to bat.

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2 minutes ago, Moments of Pleasure said:

It was a joke. They don't always come across on here. 

In which case use an emoji ......... :whistle:..........or..........:)...........or even.............:cool2:

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Watched the highlights , recorded them and watched them twice more (Sad **** :laughcont:) and the more I watch it , as a Soorts addict for over 50 years ,

forget cricket ,

that innings , particularly from his game management and skill from 9 down is the most remarkable personal performance I’ve ever seen from an individual in a team sport 

Simply sensational

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34 minutes ago, BobBobSuperBob said:

Watched the highlights , recorded them and watched them twice more (Sad **** :laughcont:) and the more I watch it , as a Soorts addict for over 50 years ,

forget cricket ,

that innings , particularly from his game management and skill from 9 down is the most remarkable personal performance I’ve ever seen from an individual in a team sport 

Simply sensational

The bloke isn’t human.

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1 hour ago, Northern Red said:

Proper gobshite him. Like that annoying kid at school who'd be mouthing off whilst hiding behind the bigger boys.

Amazing how he’s the third highest wicket taker for Aus.  

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5 minutes ago, TomF said:

Amazing how he’s the third highest wicket taker for Aus.  

I was really surprised to see that stat when the Sky pundits said Lyon was equal in wickets to the great DK Lillee who he then went past.

I can remember Lillee and Thompson when they first toured England. Our press back then were very envious of the Aussies having those two opening the bowling.

Lillee had the most graceful run up to wicket and an almost perfect delivery. He was some bowler.

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Happily basking in Stokes unbelievably unbelievable innings. As a fellow speccy I thought Jack Leach’s glasses cleaning was very sensible and the pressure on him not to get out must have been immense.

Batting still as fragile as a 90 year olds skeletal frame. So sadly still think Australia will retain ashes 😖

However if England can bat for a decent amount of time runs will come. I just don’t believe they can. 

 

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17 hours ago, 1bristolcity said:

Test match cricket is not so popular as it was, that's true, but come the Ashes it is immense...still, and up there with the best. The limited over game has spoilt Test Match cricket, which is probably true, but that Stokes innings was all all about limited over skill set.

RR just to clairify the range of shots Stokes Stokes employed,  and the time constraints in that Leach could fall anytime, was lessons learned in the shorter game imo.

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That picture of Stokes hitting the winning run and the crowd behind him jumping up in slow motion is awesome.

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40 minutes ago, Super said:

That picture of Stokes hitting the winning run and the crowd behind him jumping up in slow motion is awesome.

I said that on here at the time, it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

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21 minutes ago, Red Right Hand said:

I said that on here at the time, it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

The drone shot from above showing the crowd jumping up is pretty special too 

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Warne is a ****, always has been, always will be.

Australian cricketers are the biggest hypocrites and worst losers in all of sport. Happy to dish it out, can never take it back.

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47 minutes ago, Northern Red said:

Warne is a ****, always has been, always will be.

Australian cricketers are the biggest hypocrites and worst losers in all of sport. Happy to dish it out, can never take it back.

It`s a huge part of why beating them is soooooooo  sweet!

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9 hours ago, TomF said:

It’s like a fking playground on Twitter tonight mind. Popcorn sales going well.

Gobshite Vaughan has opened his mouth too.  

Respect to Vaughan for what he achieved but he is an absolute prat isn’t he. So desperate to be involved and talked about. Don’t like him at all

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1 hour ago, RedDave said:

Respect to Vaughan for what he achieved but he is an absolute prat isn’t he. So desperate to be involved and talked about. Don’t like him at all

Yeah its frustrating - for me he's my all time Favourite England captain.  What he achieved in 2005 was incredible - his batting wasn't at the peak of his previous Ashes down under but his captaincy was unreal - clever use of fielders, bowlers, making changes after drinks breaks that brought wickets etc.  Even playing the Aussies at their own game with rest breaks and sub fielders.  He's an OK commentator but he's so far up the ECB arse its unreal. Add to that he has his own sports management company that will snap up any half promising England player breaking through.  

17 minutes ago, Northern Red said:

Isn't it funny how that famous Australian line that mustn't be crossed moves back and forth depending on whether it's them doing it or the opposition?

Sanded down on the corners. 

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13 hours ago, Northern Red said:

Warne is a ****, always has been, always will be.

Australian cricketers are the biggest hypocrites and worst losers in all of sport. Happy to dish it out, can never take it back.

Tbh, the Aussie pundits on Sky cricket are as honest and fair as anyone. Warne and Ponting were particularly so. Even McGrath and Mitchell Johnson come over as decent blokes.

It’s Aussie cricket journalists that are the worst hypocrites and thankfully we don’t get easy access to their post match envy and rants.

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57 minutes ago, Robbored said:

Tbh, the Aussie pundits on Sky cricket are as honest and fair as anyone. Warne and Ponting were particularly so. Even McGrath and Mitchell Johnson come over as decent blokes.

It’s Aussie cricket journalists that are the worst hypocrites and thankfully we don’t get easy access to their post match envy and rants.

I think Warne hides behind the nice guy act thou.  I agree Mitch and McGrath come across as genuinely nice blokes.  I also think Paine is a decent bloke - no doubt he'll be hounded out soon so Smith can resume captaincy. 

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1 hour ago, Robbored said:

Tbh, the Aussie pundits on Sky cricket are as honest and fair as anyone. Warne and Ponting were particularly so. Even McGrath and Mitchell Johnson come over as decent blokes.

It’s Aussie cricket journalists that are the worst hypocrites and thankfully we don’t get easy access to their post match envy and rants.

With the exception of Glenn McGrath I agree with you, McGrath doesn’t come across as particularly insightful and horrendously ungracious in defeat. Mitchell Johnson on the other hand is superb. Warne is a dick but relatively interesting, much like Vaughan.

Edited by EmissionImpossible
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1 hour ago, EmissionImpossible said:

With the exception of Glenn McGrath I agree with you, McGrath doesn’t come across as particularly insightful and horrendously ungracious in defeat. Mitchell Johnson on the other hand is superb. Warne is a dick but relatively interesting, much like Vaughan.

Agree with all of this. Mcgrath is a tool.

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19 minutes ago, Super said:

Agree with all of this. Mcgrath is a tool.

He’s been a guest on TMS and he got some friendly stick over his usual prediction of a 5-0 whitewash for Australia and took it all in good fun.

He’s also been commented  on Sky cricket and comes across  as a decent bloke. 

I don’t get why some think he’s a dick or a tool.

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6 hours ago, RedDave said:

Respect to Vaughan for what he achieved but he is an absolute prat isn’t he. So desperate to be involved and talked about. Don’t like him at all

He`s aiming to take over the crown as the professional controversial Yorkshireman when Sir Geoffrey finally hangs up his microphone.

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2 hours ago, Robbored said:

He’s been a guest on TMS and he got some friendly stick over his usual prediction of a 5-0 whitewash for Australia and took it all in good fun.

He’s also been commented  on Sky cricket and comes across  as a decent bloke. 

I don’t get why some think he’s a dick or a tool.

Because he always says they will win 5-0 I expect. I find him okay 

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1 minute ago, RedDave said:

Because he always says they will win 5-0 I expect. I find him okay 

That’s a tongue in cheek comment that he uses every Ashes series. It’s become his catchphrase that every cricket buff finds amusing.

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11 minutes ago, Northern Red said:

Lyon limps off after going over on his ankle in a pre match game of football at Derby.

Could be a game changer as OT and Oval usually spin by 3/4 innings..

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3 minutes ago, Northern Red said:

As far as I'm aware they don't have another frontline spinner in the squad.

Nope only Labuschagne who can't be expected to tie down an end.  Wonder if they'll go with his part time spin and bring in Starc and hope we fold before the need for spin. 

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