Ashes Blog: 1st Test Brisbane

Despite all the grumbling about selectors, Punter, old batsmen, etc. we’re all still watching with expectation.

Almanckers aren’t known for bashfulness with their opinions, so feel free to share through the course of the game.


  1. Strauss wins the toss. England bat.

  2. Strauss cuts 3rd ball of the match to gully. 1-0

  3. England were never going to win the toss and bowl after the debacle of 2002. Australia were 2/364 at stumps on Day 1.

  4. The Almanack’s own Shane Watson ducks one back through Trott’s defences! 2-41

  5. Cook dropped by Doherty off Watson – was it easy? I haven’t seen it.

  6. 1st session might be an indication for the series. Very even, no obvious advantage. Johnson bowling crap as usual. Doherty promising. Poms a bit scratchy.

  7. John Butler says

    Lunch- England 2-86 off 26 overs

    KP 23, Cook 29

  8. Peter Flynn says

    I reckon it can be distilled down to this.

    Johnson is the barometer.

    If (when) Johnson bowls crap, Australia have little chance of taking 20 wickets.

    Given that he is seen by the selectors as some sort of talisman, I can’t see him being dropped.

  9. get Johnson off quickly!! (off the ground preferably)

  10. For the first session and a half, until Siddle took the wickets of KP and Collingwood, the Australians seemed incapable of bowling to a plan, i.e. they cannot bowl off-stump or just outside off.
    Most telling was the fact that 41 of England’s first 50 runs were scored on the on-side.
    We constantly hear about all the off-field plans that are in place, but cricket is a simple game. These “experts” only make it complicated.
    What in God’s name are all those coaches studying on their lap-tops? It is simple: bowl at off-stump, and keep the ball off the Poms’ pads.
    And by the way, a great move by Punter to bring Siddle back on.

  11. Hear hear, Darren. McGrath was a fine exponent of line and length bowling. Not only was he rewarded for it, SK Warne also reaped the benefit by being able to take the odd risk. Warne knew that McGrath would always tie the other end down.

    Australia (and others) have forgotten the concept of restricting batsmen as a positive, pressure-building tactic (a probable consequence of T20 cricket). Siddle is capable of filling that McGrath role, but the other bowlers need to have line and length as their stock balls and use the bouncers, and full & wide deliveries as shock balls. That doesn’t mean using them once or twice an over. It means once every 2-3 overs. I’d play Stuart Clark until the other bowlers get the message.

    As Smokie says, it’s a simple game.

  12. The weather at the Gabba may have a say also.

  13. Just a quick follow up on Mitchell Johnson.

    In his first 40 Tests, he took 90 wickets at 23.5 with an economy rate of 2.5 runs per over.
    Since then, in 36 Tests, he’s taken 76 wickets at 31.3, economy rate 3.72 rpo.

    The 31.3 average is a slight concern but when he’s leaking 3.72 runs an over, it removes all pressure from the opposition batsmen. If you’re going to go at almost four an over in Test cricket, you need to take a LOT of wickets, and regularly.

  14. Cook was 29 when dropped. Now 58.

  15. Peter Flynn says

    M Johnson bowls with a scrambled seam and brain.

  16. John Butler says

    Tea- England 4-172 (Cook 59, Bell 26)

    Good stats Gigs. I think the answer to why Johnson has dropped off might tell us a lot about how the Aussie dressing room operates. Smokie asked a good question- what are the coaches doing?

  17. 2-86 in consecutive sessions. When was the last time we had consecutive sessions with identical scores? Now THAT’S a GigStats question!

  18. So what is it about Victorians and hat-tricks? Merv Hughes, Damien Fleming, Shane Warne, Peter Siddle.

  19. John Butler says

    That woke everyone up!

  20. Siddle’s 5 wickets:

    Pietersen – caught slips, bowled just outside off
    Collingwood – caught slips, bowled just outside off
    Cook – caught slips, bowled just outside off
    Prior – bowled, middle stump
    Broad – LBW, ball hitting stumps

    Line and length, Mr Johnson…

  21. I don’t what to labour the point (you’re right, I do want to) but here’s a nice comparison:

    P. Siddle 14 overs, 3 maidens, 6/44
    M Johnson 14 overs, 2 maidens, 0/62

  22. LIVE GIGSTAT UPDATE: Interesting parallel between this match and the corresponding one in 1990. England batted first and lost their 3rd wicket at 117 before collapsing to be all out for 194.

    England also lost their 3rd wicket at 117 today. The collapse not quite as bad this time, though.

  23. John Butler says

    Doherty gets the last two. All out 260.

    Australia with 11 crucial overs to bat (not that you’ll see it on Channel 9).

  24. GIGSTAT:

    Hat-tricks taken by Australians. All Victorian other than McGrath and Spofforth (who later played for Victoria).

    Fred Spofforth NSW 1879 v England
    Hugh Trumble VIC 1902 v England
    Hugh Trumble VIC 1904 v England
    Jimmy Matthews VIC 1912 v South Africa
    Jimmy Matthews VIC 1912 v South Africa
    Lindsay Kline VIC 1958 v South Africa
    Merv Hughes VIC 1988 v West Indies
    Damien Fleming VIC 1994 v Pakistan
    Shane Warne VIC 1994 v England
    Glenn McGrath NSW 2000 v West Indies
    Peter Siddle VIC 2010 v England

  25. Gigs – Jimmy Matthews took two hat-tricks in the same series in 1912? That’s impressive!

    Unfortunately I missed out on Siddle’s hat trick, but I remember watching McGrath’s as an 8-year old. I still remember that it was Campbell, Lara and Adams, with Lara being his 300th wicket. I celebrated by writing “McGrath 300” on my Milo Cricket cap.

  26. Adam, Jimmy Matthews’ hat-tricks were in the same MATCH! Check out the scorecard here:

  27. Just quietly I was very pleased with Doherty’s performance today. Tied up an end and then rapidly knocked over the tail. If it wasn’t for Siddle’s hat trick, Doherty’s dads celebration when X got his first wicket would have been the highlight of the day.

  28. Gigs – They were the only 6 wickets he took for the match too!

    I feel sorry for T.A Ward – looks like he was the third leg in both of them! Why did South Africa push him up the order in the 2nd innings – were they impressed by the fine strokeplay he displayed in his 1st innings golden duck?

  29. And a big raspberry to all those (NSW-centric) commentators
    who were questioning Siddle’s selection ahead of Bollinger.
    All of a sudden, they all wanted to kiss Siddle’s behind.
    …He would have had seven, but for “Iron-gloves”.

  30. #27 Tim, Doherty did not seem at all overwhelmed by the ocassion.
    The team would be pleased with his first day efforts.

    The Aussies will need a decent first innings lead, as that wicket
    looks like it will be turning heaps by Day 4.

  31. #30 “The Aussies will need a decent first innings lead, as that wicket looks like it will be turning heaps by Day 4.”

    Smokie, the Gigacz Rule of Thumb in Test cricket is that, on a typical Test wicket, the side batting second needs to score 100 more than the side batting first in the 1st innings to attain a par score.

    (That’s my way of agreeing with your comment.)

  32. Gigs, very true.
    I would not want to see the Aussies chasing a 4th innings total of more than 180.

    Aust have started Day 2 extremely well. 20 mins tolunch and no wicket lost as yet.

    My initial thoughts on the English bowlers:
    Broad: looks much improved, and his bouncer has surprised a couple of times, but nothing to be overly concerned about;
    Anderson: swings it both ways in the Old Dart, but is nothing more than pedestrian down under;
    Finn: straight up and down…do not rate him at all! So what if he is tall, Tony Greig?;
    Swann: hope he has broad shoulders, as they will be relying on him to get truckloads of wickets in this series.

  33. Never mind Hussey. It’s Clarke and North who should be feeling the heat!


    History says England cannot win this match. They have made 260 in the first innings of a Test on three previous occasions with the following results:

    Draw v South Africa Manchester, 21 Jul 1960
    Lost by 9 wickets v Australia Manchester, 27 Jul 1989
    Lost by an innings & 32 runs won v West Indies, St John’s 12 Apr 1990

    The only other team to have made 260 in the first innings of a Test was Australia against South Africa in Sydney in 1964. That match ended in a draw.

    So a draw is the best England can hope to get out of this match.

  35. Hussey 78 not out. Top score of the match so far.

  36. The first 40 minutes of today’s play has exemplified beautifully the reason this is called “Test” cricket.

  37. #34 Gigs: Once again, history is proving to be an extremely reliable guide.

  38. To state the obvious ‘Catches win Matches’ another one down after tea on the 4th day at the Gabba

  39. Seems the aussies are going to struggle day 5 at the
    Gabba and no hope of a result at the road called adelaide oval

  40. Days 1 and 3, advantage Australia. Days 2 and 4, advantage England. Gigs, is there a pattern here?

  41. #40: Tim, my response to that would be to say that the ODDS are EVEN…

  42. Watching this test grind to a halt is exactly why I can’t stand the Poms and the way they go about their cricket. If they had any balls they’d declare now, put Australia in and surge to a great victory. Instead they’ll bat for another fortnight, get a draw and leave the field all smug as if they’ve actually won something.

  43. Drinks in the middle session.
    42: Agree Dips. Looking at Australia’s body-language and only imagining their mind-set, the Poms are foolish for not declaring right now. They are 284 runs in front. The shell-shocked Aussies would be playing every ball as if it were a hand-granade. If he had any cojones (as Warnie so eloquently put it) Strauss could open the bowling with Swann and have 9 fielders around the bat.

  44. Even though I disagreed with his initial selection, it has been painful for me to witness Mitchell Johnson’s total diintegration this afternoon. In fact, it looks much like the final steps of a condemned man heading for the gallows; a dead-man walk which began with his disastrous Ashes tour of 2009. I don’t know what has happened to Johnson since that South African tour, but I would have thought all those coaches with their lap-tops should have worked that out by now.

  45. They just declared, 296 runs in front.
    I am tipping some real pressure being applied to the Australian bats.
    Time for the Aussies to show they have cojones.

  46. #44 – Smokie I don’t feel sorry for Johnson. He’s a sook. As soon as he painted his arm with tatts it indicated a very fragile mindset. If these blokes are going to take the big money they need to perform and he can’t. Game over. Give another bloke a go.

    The English declaration is 1 hr too late at least.

  47. Katich out. Aussies 1 fa…
    #46: Dips, I agree. I am not particularly enamoured of Johnson, but it was still painful to witness. In each generation, it almost seems like there is a band of players who are “undroppable”.
    I was speaking recently with a mate of mine who is reasonably high-up the ladder with a bank which may or may not sponsor Australian cricket. When I suggested that Clarke should not be in the national 20/20 team, he laughed at me and said knowingly “I can assure you, he will not be dropped. He is not a player, he is part of the ‘brand’ of Australian cricket. They don’t drop those guys.” Sort of explains why they played him in this Test with an injured back.

  48. They are hanging to Johnson because of his supposed batting prowess.

    I reckon he chokes in Ashes Tests.


    Peking Peter

  49. T Neilson is way out of his depth.

  50. #34 – History was right. England all out 260 in the first innings and didn’t win. The 260 hoodoo remains alive. Steve Finn might have gotten it right in this Test but Neil Finn got it wrong. (“History never repeats…”)

  51. @ Peter Flynn: Tim Nielsen coached me in a clinic as a kid and I can promise you that I was an ordinary cricketer then and nothing changed after his efforts…

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