Boxing Day Blog

A world record crowd beckons. The sides are locked at 1-1. The ham sandwiches, the cordial and the Lions Christmas cake are packed.

Bring on the Boxing Day Test!

And bring on the banter, too. Give us your thoughts on how you think the next chapter of the intriguing tale of Ashes 2010-11 will pan out.


  1. Normally I have a gut feeling of how a Test is going to pan out. This time I’m finding myself unable to read the “lie of the land”.

    The only feeling I do have is that one team will end up winning easily, because it seems to me that both of these sides are mentally fragile.

    I hope I’m wrong. I’d love to see the game decided in the final session of Day 5 after many twists and turns, and with neither side dominating to too great a degree at any stage.

    Bring it on!

  2. I reckon sending the opposition in is a HUGE gamble. I’ll back Australia from here.

  3. 2/37 – Very disappointing shot from Hughes. Not one you want to see in the first session on Day 1 of a Test.

  4. Somehow after Perth “they” said the selectors were vindicated….yet Hughes is hopelessly out of his depth, Smith didn’t bowl and Beer went back to the Shield and was flogged. Can Mr. Cricket do it again?

  5. 3/37, captain gawn. Mr Cricket’s gonna have to do it, Crio!

  6. #4, The selectors were lucky Johnson came good. “They” are full of it.

    Agree with you on Smith/Beer, but not so sure about Hughes. He’s been picked out of form, but if he’s out of his depth, what would you say about the skipper? He jumped around like Michael Slater on heat.

    A bit early to say we’re gawn Gigs. We still need to know which Mitch will turn up when England bat. But we’re in the neighbourhood of gawnish.

  7. #6. JB, I was only saying the captain was gawn – as in “out”. I’m still on Australia to win.

  8. I stand corrected Gigs, but less optimistic.

  9. Hussey gawn. Big trouble.

  10. Merry Xmas all.

    Aussies 4/58 at early lunch. Smithy just at the crease with Pup. Could be an interesting 5 to 10 minute period post lunch …

    I cannot believe P Hughes remains in the side.

  11. Not easy conditions to bat.

    The Poms have bowled with discipline and purpose.


    Having said that let’s get into it.

    Change the effing batting order!!!!

    Phil Hughes:

    Knock back requests for interviews 10 minutes before batting.

    The evidence is mounting re technique. He is out of form.

    Poor and restricted movement of the back leg.

    Shane Watson:

    Good ball from a tall bowler. Dropped twice on zilch. Not an opener and must move down the order.

    Ricky Ponting:

    Must move down the order to five. Doesn’t look balanced at the crease. Front foot lunges, getting squared up on the back foot, ridiculous shots away from the body down the leg side.

  12. Morning All….
    I must say that, although the scoreboard doesn’t agree, I didn’t think England bowled
    really well. It was moreso that it appeared the old seige mentality had returned for
    the Aussies, especially after the early loss of Watson (who has been so soild). Hughes
    battled hard and got through a tough period but threw it all away with a poor shot.
    Punter was again stiff to get a good ‘un just when he too looked to be coming out the
    other side.

    It is an awfully long way back from 4/58 at lunch on the first day.

    For me Steve Smith is the curious selection in this team at present: seeing him walk to
    the crease at 4 fa not many does not inspire me (or Brad Haddin, I suspect). His batting
    in Perth was schoolyard stuff at times. It begs the (easily answered) question: is he in
    the best 6 batsmen in the country? Of course not!!! So, given G Chappell’s comments this
    week that they do not regard Smith as a bowling option, why is he in the team?

    Having said all that, he may now make a hundred in a session after lunch…but then again
    I doubt it!!

  13. Flynny, dead right re the pre-match interview.

    I reckon all the modern pre-match hoo-ha is bad news for opening bats trying to prepare.

    re Ponting, where do we find the top order to allow him to bat at 5? Clarke doesn’t seem to fancy 4, Watson’s not an opener, Hughes is struggling, no top order bats in the Shield making a compelling case. Nathan Hauritz to open?

  14. Smokie, spot on re Smith. Of course he isn’t in the best 6 batsmen. If he isn’t going to bowl much, he shouldn’t be there.

    Disagree re Punter. I thought he looked dreadful.

  15. JB
    It was blind optimism rather than faith that Punter was about to
    break the shackles !!!

  16. Peter Flynn says

    Cheap wine and a 3-day Test.

    Apologies Jimmy.

  17. John Butler says

    So far, so much like Perth. Do we think we’ll get the same turn around this time?

  18. John Butler says

    7/77. Lucky for some. Just not Australians.

  19. Peter Flynn says

    Depends on Johnson.

    Years of pristine batting conditions have not prepared the Aussies for tougher conditions such as these. Although it’s not 8/77 conditions.

    Hussey’s old-fashioned approach generally serves him well.

    It’s going to take some serious ‘sledging’ to get back into this.

    ‘Chandra’ Harris in now.

  20. Peter Flynn says

    55 prior instances of all 10 dismissed caught in an innings.

    Don’t know the proportion of those all caught behind the wicket.

    This is a disgrace.

  21. John Butler says

    Well now, that’s set the bowlers a REAL challenge.

  22. John Butler says

    Smokie, I’d hate to see what happened if the Poms really got it together in the field.

  23. 22. Right you are, JB.
    But I think Flynny touched upon it: years of playing on flat decks leave batsmen unprepared for seaming wickets like this one. Look at the huge, ridiculous scores posted in the past few overseas series recently. And it’s not just the Aussie bats who cannot cope. Next time India tour here, the wickets must be made to order: green seamers all round !

  24. Abymsmal batting effort by Australia.
    Given the form of hughes, Ponting, Clarke and Smith/North, it is amazing that Australia
    is still in the series (at the moment, anyway!).

  25. John Butler says

    This is what I don’t get about Ponting’s captaincy: Johnson effectively wins the match for you in Perth. He comes on here with no runs to play with and , like the other bowlers, looks to be trying too hard to make up for the batsmen’s failings. He only bowled one wonky over (3 in total) and he’s dragged until England are past us.

    If the captain refuses to show any consistent faith in you, how much harder is it to have it in yourself? Johnson’s not the only one suffering from this.

  26. Peter Flynn says

    I don’t understand anything about Ponting’s tactics.

  27. JB

    Totally agree re 25

    And Hilditch, if you must play a non bowling leg spinner at 6, do us all a favour pick C White for Sydney. You might even get some perspective on the future captain.

  28. John Butler says


    Gigs, I reckon Strauss may feel justified in his decision by stumps. :(

    Hindsight never fails.

  29. And if there any Knackers in the members’ tomorrow, it looks as if I will be spending
    a little more time in the Sir Bernard Callinan Bar than I previously suspected.
    See you there !!

  30. #2. What idiot said that? Oh, it was me.

    But hang on, England are batting second and not yet 100 ahead. There’s still hope!

  31. #1. I’m happy about my second paragraph there at least:

    “The only feeling I do have is that one team will end up winning easily, because it seems to me that both of these sides are mentally fragile.”

    Makes me feel like I’m not a total dill.

  32. I thought that I would give Boxing Day a miss and bought tickets for Days 2 and 3. I almost think that I will be watching a dead rubber.

    Memo to Andrew Hilditch. Most of your NSW players aren’t as good as you think they are. If we have lost the Ashes anyway could you pick some players for the future for Sydney? Have a look at some batsmen from Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. And since you have picked Beer for two tests without playing him, include him in the side and give him a bowl, he can’t be any worse than most of the others that you have picked since Warne and McGill retired.

  33. Peter Schumacher says

    I reckon that there is a lot more to the current mess than meets the eye, indeed though it pains me to say this I reckon that Mark Latham was onto something when he suggested recently that our team’s performances could be linked to the current national psyche.

    Consider the following;

    We have a national government that for various possibly good reasons can’t take hard decisions. We are lucky that China is still solvent otherwise our economy could be overwhelmed by a tsunami of adverse economic events. Bad luck that no one could take a hard decision that made sense that the nation should put funds aside for the bad years.

    Some individuals for various possibly good reasons can’t resist the temptation to get into more more and more debt. They lack the self discipline to do otherwise and thus can’t save for the bad times.

    Perhaps for good reasons many of us don’t believe in “tough love”. Those reading this who are grand parents, how often have you tried to discipline your grand children when their parents who are present can’t or won’t for various possibly good reasons. How might these children react later when they are told by someone in authority, i.e. an employer, that they are not up to it when they have been previously fed on an upbringing with apparently no set standards.

    Sports administrators for various possibly good reasons are reluctant on occasion to introduce changes to teams. or if they do, such changes are seriously mistimed in terms of the potential and form of those replacements

    Some individuals within those teams seem to have, for various possibly good reasons no capacity to know when to retire but rather wait until they are a burden on both their teams and those who support them.

    I appreciate that the foregoing is a caricature of very complex issues however there is nothing complex about the performance of our team yesterday, we were outplayed and outgunned by a vastly superior team. (It is 3:30 am as I draft this and I can’t remember, as a keen sports follower when I have ever felt more miserable about a sporting event). The worst thing is that because no hard decisions have been taken by either the administration or some individual players there is no easy solution no way out of this malaise and I believe that our team will be a laughing stock for the foreseeable future, say for example the next five years, by which time players with right combination of skills and mental toughness and backed by better administrators might have started to emerge.

    Finally, in today’s world, individual players should not be allowed to make statements to the press regarding the team’s or their own projected performance in an upcoming game. Let their actions speak for them.

  34. Cook out.

    Siddle the Saviour?

    (OK. I’m clutching at straws.)

  35. Strauss out.

    Siddle the Saviour?

    (Straws getting thicker.)

  36. Bring back the footy.

  37. David Harms says

    What is the biggest first innings lead in ashes tests? England could lead by 500 or more by tea tomorrow.

  38. The solemnity of this blog reflects the fortunes of our team.

  39. re 37

    702 by England vs Australia (201 allout) at The Oval, Aug 1938, a lead of 501 on the first innings;
    It is not beyond the realms of possibility that England could post a lead biggger than 500.

  40. #39, England led by 702 in that match (they declared at 903).

    Hopefully this game won’t get to those proportions.

  41. Another one falls just short of first slip. Dean Jones mentioned the importance of not standing too far back in the slips before this gamed started and commentators have not stopped mentioning it since.

    And nothing has changed!

    Are they too pig-headed to heed external advice?

  42. 41: You are correct, Gigs. Taylor and Healy have been banging on about the slips’ positioning,
    and you would suspect that they would have some idea!
    It does appear that the Australian team live in their own little bubble, prepared to take advice only from those “inside the tent”. Or Warney!

  43. Is it just my eyes, or is Mitchell Johnson’s left arm back to the 45 degree angle it was in Brisbane?

  44. ASHES REALITY TV UPDATE: Swann out. Another victim evicted from the Ben Hilfenhaus…

  45. Tremlett also gone. Double eviction from the Ben Hilfenhaus. Gretel Killeen would be excited.

  46. John Butler says

    Gigs, I think Biggest Loser now seems more apt for the Aussies.

  47. Andrew Starkie says

    Can’t go tomorrow. can’t face England winning the Ashes at the G. 220,000 in three days of cricket. MCC and CA will be pissed off with the early finish to the Test.

    Watto had a good day: ran out Hughes who was looking good and was then trapped lbw without playing a shot. Swann trapped Clarke down one end for a hour, positions a second slip and has Clarke caught. PUnter looked helpless when bowled neck and crop. Smith’s shot was just plain bad.

    All credit to England. Well bowled and captained. Strauss’ field positions were perfect.

  48. I agree entirely that England are a better side, better captained, better organised and doubtless better motivated there can be no shame to lose in such circumstances
    Cricket like all things comes in cycles, we are now about to relive the agony of the 1980s.
    It will not be enjoyable, nor will it last forever.

  49. Peter Schumacher says

    Notwithstanding my previous comments I think that Mulcaster has got it right.

  50. John Butler says

    #48 #49

    No doubt England are the better of the two teams. But they’re about to win a second out of four tests by an innings. There is no way Australia should have been so uncompetitive.

    The current source of angst isn’t that the side is no longer the best. It was inevitable given the payers who’ve retired.

    But there’s no good excuse to not to make best use of available resources. It’s not as if Cricket Australia is short of money or available expertise. They have failed to make best use of either.

    And the team hasn’t fought it out like they should.

  51. Well I’m certainly out of the picture to bowl ‘nude balls’ in Sydney as I tore an archillies tendon (second time) on Boxing Day.

    I reckon I may miss the pre-season cup as well. They are painful and debilitating little blighters.

    Hope all knackers enjoy the sun, surf, silly cricket etc.

    I will be in a shady spot, mit right pin up, demanding attention and reading books.

    Ghost who hobbles.

  52. John Butler says

    My wife knows exactly how you feel Phantom. She did hers early October.

    Nasty injury once, let alone twice.

    Good luck with the attention seeking and book reading.

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