More repeats, I’m afraid. Well, it is the Summer and I’m hoping to make up for it with a storming Autumn schedule.
This is from August 2013, when I saw Australia play England Lions at Northampton. By now Root (who we saw playing for the Lions against New Zealand in the last repeat) had moved up into the senior team, but Moeen and Ballance played and scored (though I didn’t see fit to mention them) a 60-ish and a century batting at 3 and 6 respectively. Moeen looked a little jumpy against Starc and I’m afraid I think I left before Ballance had really got into his stride. Although England used 5 bowlers, Moeen didn’t bowl any of them (Kerrigan was the spinner). For what it’s worth I still think Lees is the best long-term bet available to England as an opener, and would have played him in the current series, if only because he wouldn’t have scored fewer runs than Lyth and might have scored a few psychological victories that would stand him in good stead in the future.
The general thrust of the piece – that Australia, if not exactly little lost lambs, were no longer the big bad wolves – might have read oddly the following Winter, but perhaps less so now. And, although this might not have been such a popular opinion at the time, I’m not sorry to see the back of England as a grim, implacable winning machine.
(Once again I’ve been too busy watching County Cricket to find the time to write about it, so I’m afraid the monthly summary of the games I’ve seen may well have to be extended to some kind of seasonal review.)
Instead, here is a vignette from the game at Northampton between the England Lions and Australia I attended on Friday, which illustrates, I think, the curious way in which the Australians seem to be repositioning themselves as the good guys in the current Ashes series.
The last time I saw Australia play live was at Leicester at the beginning of the 2005 tour (when a young Chris Rogers, confusingly, scored a double hundred for Leicestershire). The atmosphere was confrontational and the mood, frankly, verged on the ugly. The Barmies were out in force, handing out songsheets, full of unamusing stuff about McGrath taking it up the arse and so forth. …
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