“This is probably a bit harsh,” says Will Lane, “but for all the chatter surrounding England’s strength in depth we manage to put Denly in the starting XI. How on Earth has that happened?! Injuries is the answer I know but nonetheless, how has that happened?!”
I guess because he’s a good fielder, can bowl, and a solid citizen. I don’t suppose he’d be my choice, but in the absence of Morgan, Roy, Stokes and Buttler, he provides some calmness and experience.
“One thing I have liked about this weird summer of cricket, is that once it started, the cricket has just kept on coming, domestically as well as internationally,” emails Andrew Cosgrove. “I will try and enjoy this week as much as possible.
I have two comments to make:
1) Surely dominant team with strength in depth, you have to look at the All Blacks. For a lot of the last I don’t know how many years, New Zealand and New Zealand A (or North Island and South Island) would have been there or thereabouts.
2) If you asked me to name a dominant England batsman in an Ashes series, I would instantly think of Cook in 2011. It felt like he was batting for the whole series.
Hoping tonight’s game won’t be an anticlimax after the two previous games.”
Agreed, the diet of discovered cricket has been a triumph. I guess New Zealand won two World Cups in a row, 2011 and 2015, so maybe.
“We often debate whether captaincy affects Joe Root’s batting,” says Smylers. “But something about Sunday’s coverage did make me wonder if Eoin Morgan also is wearing too many hats.”
I can only defend my N3 brethren. We lead where others follow.
Email! “Looking forward to the game tonight from Zürich!” says Ken McMahon. “Depth always a great topic and plenty of it in NZ rugby (winners of the World Cup final with their 4th-ranked number 10) and of course Aussie rugby league who could play whoever won Origin and replace them with the losing team and still win.”
Yeah, I wondered about an All Blacks team, but don’t know very much about union.
The way Finch talked about it, it seemed like Carey is injured but Cummins and Warner are left out. He – and Stoinis – have had a lot of chances, more than they’d get if they were English at the moment. Dawid Malan, who averages over 50.87 in 15 T20s, with a strike-rate of 157.73, doesn’t get in the top three when Bairtstow, Buttler and Roy are all available.
England: 1 Tom Banton, 2 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Sam Billings, 5 Moeen Ali (capt), 6 Joe Denly, 7 Tom Curran, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Jofra Archer, 11 Mark Wood.
Australia: 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Matthew Wade (wk), 3 Marcus Stoinis, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Mitch Marsh, 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Kane Richardson 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Adam Zampa.
So Banton will indeed open the innings. As Buttler said the other day, it’s the best place to bat in T20, and he’s not done well enough this series, so will fancy it tonight.
Moeen will captain England and says it’s a huge honour. He enjoys the responsibility and always being in the game, but doesn’t think he’ll be as good as Morgan, though he’s encouraged others players to become leaders. Morgan and Buttler are out, Billings and Denly are in.
Three changes for Australia: Warner, Carey and Cummins out, Hazlewood, Marsh and Wade in.
at 12.34pm EDT
Australia win the toss and will field.
They think it looks like a good wicket and will skid on under lights.
Eoin Morgan’s dislocated finger looks set to keep him out this evening. A shame, as he’s in stupid form even for him, but what can you do.
In the second half of his career, he scored so many tough runs – always in beautiful style. As a combo, you cannot beat that, and I wonder, had Mark Ramprakash been managed in the same way and played with players as good, whether he’d have filled in the missing bits too. He’s the great lost talent of my lifetime, I think, which sort of brings us back to Buttler again. It was dicey, but I’m so glad they stuck with him in Tests; doing well over the long format can only be good for him in the shorter ones.
I can’t think of many like him – not players who started badly and found a way, but players who were mentally weak and found a way not to be. That is very unusual indeed, and says a very lot for Andy Flower. And for Ian Ronald Bell.
Back to Ronald, he managed a mere 90 in his final knock. Read about that – and more – here.
I have recently become lost down a rabbit hole of extended remixes.
I don’t properly remember the 1985 Ashes, so feel comfortable saying Bell’s batting in the 2013 Ashes – Bell’s Ashes – is the best I’ve ever seen from and England player, across a series. Absolute, total mastery.
A question: has any sports team ever had the strength in depth that England now have in limited-overs cricket? Australia in the 90s perhaps have a claim, likewise the current France football team, but I can’t think of many times management could pick two XIs, two XIIIs or two XVs and expect either of them to beat any opposition.
But we can nevertheless assume that Eoin Morgan will pick what he deems the best side available to him. Partly because it’s rare a team get to paste Australia to nil, but mainly because whoever wins will finish the series top of the world rankings.
So the likelihood is that, if Eoin Morgan is fit, England will make just one change, replacing Jos Buttler, who is celebrating his birthday
by unbubbling with his family, thereby allowing Tom Banton to move to the top of the order. Which brings us back to where we started, except Australia have a habit of ruining England’s hopes and OBO preambles alike.
with a trough of WKD
Play: 6pm BST
at 12.38pm EDT