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Some of our batsmen really need to know when they’ve hit the damn ball. Both Malan and Vince not reviewing LBW decisions they edged.

 

I’ve got a sense of impending doom - what looked like a chance to build a good lead might be about to fall down like a house of cards. Bairstow and Moeen have big innings to play now.

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Cook has been magnificent.  As strong as this position is, however, it's still a bit annoying that three of our batsmen shouldn't have been out.  Vince and Malan were both given out LBW when they hit the ball, and Khawaja appeared to ground the catch to dismiss Broad.  There's shared responsibility for all three - the umpires should not have given any of them out on the field (particularly the Broad one - why even give a soft signal from 80 yards away?) but Vince and Malan's decisions not to review their decisions is very strange.  I get the feeling that umpires aren't as inclined to give a not out decision based on a thin inside edge these days - they expect the batsman to review the decision if they think they've hit it.

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Im conflicted here,  an incredible match saving/winning innings from Cook. Batting for 3 whole days shows great focus and maturity especially after not being  particularly good form previously.

 

But... I cant help thinking its a bit late in the series and its almost worse than scoring low runs as it leads to a big "What if?"

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A Test is a Test, his score being made in a dead rubber as far as the series is concerned is irrelevant. Australia collectively wanked themselves off last summer after winning a Test after South Africa had battered them twice to win the series. His score is magnificent by any measure. If you want to complain about something it should be the appalling pitch they’ve produced for their showpiece Test match.

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Quite a boring Ashes series, really.

 

NZ smashed the hell out of the Windies in all formats and now giving Pakistan a bit of a seeing-to as well.

 

Has me wondering if the only real interesting match ups we’ll see is at tournaments where everyone apart from the home nation are in foreign conditions...

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Isn't it a bit more common to win away than it used to be? I mean, a major nation winning away against another should be hard really. It's also rare for any country apart from England to have many overseas players in domestic competition.

 

I think Pakistan might win a one dater or two against New Zealand, been in great form, albeit against Sri Lanka who are crap.

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6 hours ago, Sirloin said:

Isn't it a bit more common to win away than it used to be? I mean, a major nation winning away against another should be hard really. It's also rare for any country apart from England to have many overseas players in domestic competition.

 

I think Pakistan might win a one dater or two against New Zealand, been in great form, albeit against Sri Lanka who are crap.

 

The stats are all about home advantage in Tests these days and have been for a few years - winning away is a big thing (which is one of the reasons England winning in India a few years back was an incredible achievement.) That's why they are trialling the 'opposition decides whether to bat first' in the County Championship - to avoid home sides continually preparing pitches to suit them - with a view to extending that to Tests.

 

I don't think that would've saved this series though for England - not least because Root won 4 tosses anyway - because Aussie pitches are almost always about raw pace being needed (unless you have an exceptional spinner). We have none of those things and so it has been far, far too easy to make the Aussie batting look like the best in the world (it isn't.) Watching Smith bat last night was incredible, he just seemed to have so much time to pick his shot and he wasn't troubled at all and only got out to a bad decision (and good catch).

 

As always, in English conditions it'll be a different proposition against more swing and wobble through the air - and that's why I expect we'll see more bowling joy in the subsequent 2 Tests in New Zealand in March, where conditions are a bit more similar to home.

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2 hours ago, Gabe said:

 

The stats are all about home advantage in Tests these days and have been for a few years - winning away is a big thing (which is one of the reasons England winning in India a few years back was an incredible achievement.) That's why they are trialling the 'opposition decides whether to bat first' in the County Championship - to avoid home sides continually preparing pitches to suit them - with a view to extending that to Tests.

 

Not quite. Firstly, the no toss option is to bowl first, not bat first. Secondly, the no toss option in the County Championship is to encourage more spin-friendly environments rather than the traditional green tops rather than discourage preparing friendly pitched. Indeed,  while there are some minor differences, there isn't much home advantage from conditions - certainly not any amount comparable to internationally. For obvious reasons, differences in relative strengths (e.g. swing v spin) tend to be far less significant between counties than between countries.

 

If you introduced a similar system to Test cricket then it might help nullify swing-friendly countries but would be a waste of time in the subcontinent where everyone would want to have a bat anyway.

 

Home advantage is still a big deal - perhaps a little more so now: http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/17967446/home-advantage-rise

 

Personally, I enjoy the home advantage. Boring pitches (Melbourne, Trent Bridge a few years ago) are no good of course. India every now and again prepare some rank day one turner (Pune comes to mind!) which can be an issue because, unlike a bit of a grass on the pitch, that tends to get worse rather than better. However, the importance of different conditions is one of the best aspects of Test cricket.

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Yeah. Very disappointing series that rarely seemed to rise higher than "this particular session in isolation might not yet be a foregone conclusion". I think the series in New Zealand might not go so well on this evidence, too. Plenty of time for things to change I suppose.

 

SA v India in Cape Town is a bit more like it! 

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What’s even more irritating is watching two quicks win a Big Bash game this morning, one of whom, Mills, is too frail for  Tests, the other, Archer, won’t qualify for England until the next decade. Billings and Willey doing well as well.

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