Fifth Test – Day 1: A totally implausible series continues, with a series of unlikely occurrences, that we’ve all seen before.

Just like Lemony Snickett’s series of unfortunate events, the Poms have had a number of what we in clicheville could call unlikely occurrences. Looking back to the start of the tour, or even the First Test, what price would you have got on any number of these things happening, let alone them all.

Let’s look back to November and see how these individually or collectively would have sounded:

  1. Australia plays a full series with the same players.
  2. Australia plays a full series with Ryan Harris
  3. England finish the series without Swann, Trott or Prior in the team.
  4. Their middle order reads Balance, Stokes, Bairstow and Borthwick (which sounds much more like a leading English law firm)
  5. Australia are 4-0 up

All of those tips would have been seen as widely speculative. Gamblers taking the multi on these would have got very attractive odds, and should they have come in, there would have been calls to have the entire team swabbed.

At the start of the tour, Joe Root was the designated opener, with Carberry given game time in lead-up games to see what he could contribute as reserve. The series will finish with Root having played at 6, 3 and now as the sub. England turn their back on Tremlett and Bresnan, and even Finn, to play Irishman Boyd Rankin, who sets an unwanted record by going off injured twice. Wow, who would have seen that coming, seeing he hasn’t played a match since mid November and needed a fitness test about an hour before the game?

As to the day’s play, there were a number of occurrences that ranged from ‘saw that coming a mile off” to unlikely, including:

Happened before:

  • The top order all getting starts but falling cheaply to see Australia 4 or 5 down for not much
  • Haddin and Smith save us again.
  • Australia score quickly to again make over 300
  • Bailey out of form again and barring a second dig ton, will not travel to face Steyn, Philander and Morkel.
  • At least one tail ender putting his senior partners to shame
  • A pommy batsman falling to a set play blind freddy could see being hatched.
  • Lyon not out again


  • Watto doesn’t refer a plumb LBW
  • Poms take 4 tests to get a LBW decision

England will finish this tour with Ben Stokes having made a ton and taken 6 wickets in this innings and he wasn’t in their best 11 at the outset. The DRS controversy has played no part in the series. Australia has kept faith with an off spinner.

If this was a Hollywood script, it would be rejected as totally implausible.


About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. matt watson says

    You’re right on all of your points.
    There are others: our delight at being 4-0 up, and our glee at our last 4 wickets contributing 101 runs, even with Siddle and Lyon contributing 1 between them.
    Another point: most of us have no sympathy for England. Team of apparent champions falling to a team wanting to be champions.

  2. Peter Schumacher says

    Wouldn’t have predicted any of it!

  3. Malcolm Ashwood says

    On reflection it is totally amazing and almost implausible would have added Ryan Harris and , Shane Watson really hope this is the continuation of , Smith as a test player will be interesting how he goes against , SA . Another similarity is , Watson out just before lunch . From , 5 97 yes a good recovery but in the end we we were a bit care free and arrogant falling away to finish with 328 . Will it be a case of de de vau and another all nations collapse on a deck which will help our quicks or will they actually fight and dig in ? Bailey not up to it i give , Ferguson a go !

  4. “Short priced fave goes like dead dog.”
    “Certainties beaten.”
    “Bookies clean up.”
    I predicted all of that.
    Just not how.

  5. Great stuff Sean.
    Beautiful perspective and big picture thinking you maintain from inside a Test match.
    Well played.

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