The Ashes – Third Test: The Urn Returns!

Australia 9-662 dec. (Smith 239, M.Marsh 181, Khawaja 50, Paine 49*, Cummins 41, Anderson 4–116) def. England 403 (Malan 140, Bairstow 119, Stoneman 56, Starc 4-91,Hazelwood 3-92, Cummins 2-84) & 218 (Vince 55, Malan 54, Hazelwood 5-48, Lyon 2-42, Cummins 2-53) by an Innings and 41 runs


Australia complete a comprehensive win to reclaim the Ashes! You bloody beauty!


1. England, after being 4-368, to end up losing by an innings and 41 runs is a victory for incompetence, geez it was just about the score to get Dennis Lillee and Rod Marsh involved on the punt!


2. England’s milestone men in Cook, Broad and to a lesser extent Anderson had nightmare games. Will Sydney result in mass retirements or even droppings before then?


3. Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow had a magnificent partnership of 237 runs to put England in a dominant position, only for Malan to be beaten in flight resulting in a fantastic catch by Handscomb, then the predictable collapse of 6-35 meant only a par score of 403.


4. The king of Sorbent toilet paper Mitch Starc cleaned up the tail superbly yet again.


5. Steve Smith is a freak, supported by Usman Khawaja’s 50 and then in an amazing partnership of 301 with Mitch Marsh (181) to completely demoralize England and destroy them mentally (pretty unlucky to have a partnership of 237 and only have the 5th wicket record at the WACA Ground for a day).


6. Steve Smith’s hunger to make runs and knowing his game is second to none, he has amazing powers of concentration and shows we should be focusing on the mental side of the game far more in coaching than what is generally accepted. Although Smith is nowhere near as unorthodox as a lot of people think, he is in the correct position as his head is perfectly still and he is balanced as the bowler bowls.


7. A huge victory for the Australian selectors re Tim Paine, fantastic to see an actual natural keeper, not a glorified backstop, as well as Shaun and Mitch Marsh, now we are only going to have to put up with Mark Waugh reminding us how good the selectors are every night during the big bash, yay!!


8. Nathan Lyon not only has obliterated Moeen Ali in the bowling comparison, but has also destroyed Ali’s batting, dismissing him 5 out of 6 innings. Ali’s batting was meant to be a major stumbling block for the Aussies, instead it has been a minor irritation.


9. Joe Root has only been an obstacle for Australia in one innings in the series. While captaincy fuels Steve Smith and inspires his batting, it seems to have been a burden for Root. I wonder how long his tenure will last but there seems to be no viable alternatives.


10. Patrick Cummins’ batting has been as important as his bowling, it will continue to be vital for the Aussies, his cricket smarts and and technique and involvement in partnerships will also be a key in South Africa.


11. Bowling in partnerships is just as important as batting partnerships, arguably the key reason why the Aussies have regained the urn with also winning the key moments and ability to regain the initiative vital.


12. Bernie Vince was batting superbly in the 2nd innings and copped the unplayable delivery from Mitch Starc.


13. Josh Hazelwood was underdone going in to Brisbane (still reckon he should have played the 3rd Shield game), but he has gradually improved during the series and really hit his straps this game. The superb spell to Mark Stoneman in the 1st innings was Test cricket at it’s finest, also the brilliant caught and bowled of Alistair Cook a highlight.


14. An absolute farce re the pitch getting wet, yes incredible weather but appalling lack of being prepared, this is a multi-million dollar business yet supposedly ripped hessian and using four leaf blowers seemingly bought from Bunnings that morning was the answer.
Surely we are not a Third World country and can do far better than that, pathetically incompetent and embarrassing and it had the potential to keep the battle for the urn alive with conspiracy theories flooding the universe this morning.


So the urn has returned home, ‘knackery members are you going Boxing Day? Meeting spot? Your thoughts, am I being too tough on the groundsman?

England weak mentally? Anything else? Feel free to agree or disagree.


Is there a Richmond fan in your circle? They would love this:


Presenting The Tigers’ Almanac 2017. Read all about it HERE.


Purchase The Tigers’ Almanac 2017 HERE.




  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Spot on with all your assesments mate. Smith is a genius. You are right, he is technically perfect when the ball reaches him, despite how ungainly he can look before that point. Gives me hope for Handscomb, who I think is a wonderful player just slightly getting it wrong at the moment. Paine has always been a great keeper, his Shield batting has let him down the past few years but he has lifted his batting standard very well in this series.
    Surely the days of Starc batting ahead of Cummins are over. Number 8 could end up being too low for Cummins. Fabulous talent.

  2. Tim Paine was a great selection in the end the selectors can claim. He always had it bit unfortunately was injured which prevents him from having a long career for Australia. Amazing the difference a good clean keeper makes. He’s batted well as well.

  3. A great summation, Malcolm, but I wonder how Bernie Vince would feel about batting No.3 for the To and Froms. (-:]
    I’m not sure how many people heard Jim Maxwell’s classic comment on the ABC on Sunday.
    After Stoneman was dismissed early by Hazlewood, Jim said (paraphrasing slightly): “England will need substantial contributions from their two verbs.”
    Of course, we all know that Cook and Root were both dismissed cheaply again.

  4. Nailed it again mate,still not convinced with Marsh even after that innings,didn’t bowl many overs in the game even with Starc struggling with heel,Cummins good enough if we insist we need an all rounder.Re covers I reckon Kochie done a dirty deal on the old Port tarps with the WACA.

  5. I couldn’t believe it when Jimmy Anderson got clobbered in the helmet by Cummins, the Australian players ran in to see if he was okay, the commentators expressed their concern …. but the Barmy Army just kept on singing :)

  6. Is it just me or does test cricket have a massive travel issue. Touring sides now are crap, not just slight crap but totally crap. Anyone travelling and playing decent opposition away gets belted. England can’t travel, Australia can’t travel, India can’t travel, it’s right across the game currently

  7. Jeff Milton says

    In the first innings of both the first and third tests England got themselves into a position which could have given them a strong position and then the wheels fell off very quickly, in Brisbane when Australia recovered from 4 down and still a long way behind England and in Perth when the England batting collapsed after being 4 for 368. We had Smith and the Marshes ( neither of whom I would have selected after so under performances in the past) and a vastly superior bowling attack.

  8. Fair enough but harsh on James Anderson for me. I refute this assertion from Australian supporters that every time he under performs it is because of some kind of character flaw, it simply not the case. I can get why you guys don’t like him and I understand why many also don’t rate him, but you cannot fault his effort, you cannot.

  9. Andrew Walker says

    I don’t find much joy in watching a brutal display of short pitched bowling to players who are simply not competent enough to handle it. The barrage is non stop and the umpires do little or nothing to stop it. Think it is a disaster waiting to happen. If the modern day is about providing a safe workplace where does this fit. If bowlers are only supposed to bowl two short pitched deliveries per over they are getting away with a fair bit at present.

  10. Fine assessment RB. I reckon Australia still needs a number 3. Khawaja is good but never pushes on like a number 3 should. The big test for Mitch Marsh et al will be South Africa. But good on him for seizing his moment.

    Interesting that it has been the English experienced brigade that has let them down. Malan, Stoneman, Vince, Overton have all been OK to good. Root, Broad, Cook, Ali have all been largely horrible. Stokes may have made a huge difference to this outcome.

    Overall the selectors have been very brave and have been correct. Marsh x 2, and Paine have paid off. I hope that Cummins could eventually evolve into something like Botham – big, powerful game changer.

    I’ll be at the MCG and looking to grind the Poms with a 5-0 series win. Day 3, Members. Not exactly sure where as yet.

  11. Cummins, (i) must have listened to Thommo. “I didn’t like getting people out, I liked hurting them.”

  12. Right now there is a huge gap between both sides. It feels like a repeat of 2006/07 and 2013/14 all over again. England needs to use the final two tests to drop Cook, Broad and Anderson and promote new players into the side. Whilst Australia is entitled to lap up its Ashes success, I suspect Malan, Vince, Woakes and Overton will be formidable players when the next Ashes series begins in 2019.

  13. Martin Rumsby says

    A remarkable result after the Poms were 4/368. The Australian tactic of short length bowling to the English tail has been very effective, even though it is a radical departure from the days where quick bowlers never bowled short to the opposition quick bowlers. Certainly the Aussie quicks are much better equipped to handle the short stuff than the Poms. I have been impressed with Pat Cummins both as a batsman (he now needs to go on and score 50s after three scores in the 40s) and as the quick who takes on a lot of the hack work. As an aside, I’m sure the selectors would be smiling quietly after coping criticism from the “experts” for their choices.

  14. The most incompetent thing about Paine’s selection as it turns out is the CA hierarchy not ensuring he was playing in a state where he would be first chosen shield keeper.

    Saw a tweet from someone yesterday saying for the most part only great teams win away from home (or very poor home teams lose). We have just been tricked by the fact Australia had a great team for 15 years.

    England would be foolish to overreact to this. Their cupboard has been pretty bare and they have been thrashed away from home in conditions that do not suit their players. That said, Broad offers absolutely nothing in Australia apart from a reasonable economy rate. In Nottingham he took 8/15 in nine overs. In Australia he has taken 5/309 in 113 overs.

    Hazelwood reminds me a lot of Dizzy in terms of his ability to exploit 4-5 day pitches that are breaking up. Good stuff as always, Rulebook.

  15. Agree with much of this, Rulebook. But I reckon Anderson bowled pretty well. Cook and Broad appear to be cooked.

    Issue with England not mental, they were just outclassed and outgunned. Make the Oz batsmen face the Oz attack and it would be a different story.

    Root hasn’t handled the tour pressures very well. They’ll need him to learn from the experience. Malan looks like a goer. Vince has the talent, but will he develop the smarts? Bairstow batting at 7 was a big mistake. Overton has ticker, but isn’t quick enough at present. Stokes cost them big time, but he wouldn’t have changed the ultimate result.


  16. Well surmised Book – you have “urn”t my respect.

  17. No mention of Stokes?? I think we can expect a pretty interesting encounter next time our boys travel to Pommyland. The Poms will pull out every dirty trick known to mankind to get the urn back. Mark my words!

  18. 1. I agree about Tim Paine, a farce that he was not being selected for Tasmania. I saw young Jake Doran keeping for Tas last year vs Redbacks; he was nowhere near Paine’s class, nor would you expect that. I assume Paine was injured during the 2016/17 season BUT not this season. He should have been picked during the 1st half of this Shield season.
    2. Australia are winning big, WITHOUT playing that well at times. It’s an indication of the overall drop in Test cricket standards. Look at Aust. first: The whole attack has varied from pretty good to outstanding, so the future is bright there. Not much room for Chadd at the moment sadly. So too the wicket-keeping, in capable hands with Paine and hopefully Carey one day. The batting? Uneven, vs one of the weakest English attacks to visit these shores ever. Smith, beyond outstanding. Shaun Marsh & Warner serviceable, Khawaja dodgy, Handscomb gone for the time being, Marsh M. a startling return, hope he can keep it up & Bancroft? the jury is still out. Away against South Africa in 3 months time we can’t just rely on Steve Smith.
    3. This England side are reduced to going through the motions, due to a HUGE drop-off in the quality of their attack. Broad & Anderson have been greats BUT are now suddenly well past their best & heading south fast. Hard to believe Broad is the same bowler who ripped thru Michael Clark’s team 2 & a half years ago in England. Woakes & Overton hard triers & Moeen Ali is never gonna bowl a side out here in Aust.Their batting has been overwhelmed BUT it’s not all doom & gloom. Stokes will return at some stage, Stoneman, Malan, Vince, Bairstow have all had big moments & represent the future and Root still a top 10 batsman in world rankings, but struggling right now. Time up for Mr. Cook though.
    4. The Australian attack is at it’s best when they pitch it UP. The short stuff is over-used & not a good look against the English tail, who would be back in the pavilion just as quickly with some searing yorkers. The Cummins-Anderson incident could have been really nasty.
    5. Starc apparently struggling with a bruised heel. With the series won, will selectors opt to rest him in Melbourne? AND if he does play, it may be time to relinquish no. 8 batting spot to Cummins who is now approaching genuine all-rounder status.

    OK! All from me, & YES, I would consider ordering a Tigers Almanac… I am nearly out of toilet paper…..

  19. Beautiful on Smith, Rulebook – I’ve been saying this. He is cricket’s Jim Furyk.

    I’m heading the ‘G 2, 3 and 4. Potentially some Almanac pots will be organised for the latter half of the match.

  20. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Luke I reckon,Cummins is a genuine all rounder and Paine has been excellent yep Starc to hit at 9
    Handscomb has to get his mind sorted he is to good a player not to fight back,Smith just amazing.
    South Africa hopefully will be a fantastic series.C Mac a genuine keeper is just so important.Fitzroy Pete Bernie as everything in his life would take it in his stride and his relatives could outdrink the Barmy Army.
    GH M Marsh a lot of natural ability but one innings doesn’t make a career and he looked way way underdone re bowling a promising return but a long way to go ahh the old,Port tarps a part of footy folklore in SA.Grizz it was truly bizarre by the Barmy Army surely it was a time to abandon singing!
    Milts mental strength and belief re winning the key moments just so important.SC agree to differ on that one I thought,Anderson was deplorable in Adelaide in particular in the 1st innings re body language dummy seems to go be spat if it’s not swinging imo.Andrew I reckon every batsman is responsible for his own safety but I see your point re safe work place.Dips couldn’t agree more,Cummins just enormous potential and yes England senior players have been v v poor.Raf every one was terrified for a few seconds it was certainly a Thommo delivery thanks folks

  21. Peter Warrington says

    Poor old Handscomb. He made the mistake of being friendly with the likable Maxwell.

  22. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Paul agree that,England have to use the last two test matches wisely to plan for the future they have had there chances especially in the 1st and 3rd tests and agree,England have plenty to work with in the future.Martin a innings victory after,England were,4-368 is just ridiculous and wonder how much damage has been done mentally,Stokes has a lot to answer for.Cummins has a test ton in him I reckon and as I have said,Mark Waugh will remind us all.Dave yep couldn’t agree more re Paine he had to be keeping for Tas or the Vic’s just insane.Home and away form is influenced by warm up games it is stupidity by all countries around the world just vital to have,QUALITY and QUANTITY.Broad surely doesn’t play in the last two tests and agree definite similarities between,Hazelwood and the Dizz.JB Anderson hasn’t done enough when the game is on the line and agree Broad and Cook are cooked.the Aust attack yep in front in all areas by a long on big blunder,Bairstow batting 7.Thanks TC.Tim Stokes disgraceful personally can’t understand how he is not in jail and agree re the next series in England.Tony agree completely with every point and yes the standard has dropped overall you nailed it re each players of both countries standings overall.JB well said re Smith you nailed it and hope so thank you

  23. Well summed up Malcolm, I am a little concerned moving into future series about the strength of our opposition, time will tell on that one. Your thoughts on mass retirement could be spot on. Thought Paine was a huge plus (Carey will get his chance in time…….don’t despair) and if Chad doesn’t go to England for the return bout I will be amazed.

  24. Well played, RB.

    I fear that Chadd Sayers might be the Jamie Siddons of his generation. Unless the Australian bowlers cop a few injuries. Either way, if Australia were to win in Melbourne I would rest either Cummins or Hazlewood and play Sayers.

    Fair play to the selectors – especially with the left-field selection of T Paine. He has shown that he belongs at this level.

  25. This comment … “shows we should be focusing on the mental side of the game far more in coaching than what is generally accepted” … is the standout of the article to me. I couldn’t agree more.

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