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How Alastair Cook came good

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Tom Fordyce | 10:30 UK time, Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Sydney, New South Wales

In an eight-innings streak last summer, Alastair Cook scored 7, 23, 29, 8, 12, 17, 4 and 6. He averaged 13.

Here in Australia he has scored 67, 235, 148, 32, 13, 82 and 189 to average 127. In the process he has almost certainly secured England's first series win down under since he was crawling around in nappies.

By stumps on day three of this final Test, England had reached 488-7, a lead of 208 over an Australian side that looks to be on its knees. Teams have come back from bigger deficits. This one won't.

As sporting transformations go, Cook's will take some beating. Back in August the only cricketing Don being mentioned in the same breath as Cook was Topley, but his performances during these Ashes have been undeniably Bradmanesque.

If that sounds too lofty a comparison, have a look at the numbers. In seven innings he has scored 766 runs, batting for 36 hours and 11 minutes. There have been two centuries and one double-century.

Only one Englishman in history has ever scored more runs in a Test series, and Wally Hammond not only had two more knocks in 1928/9 but was also playing in timeless Tests. Should conjecture be your thing, why not speculate how many more runs Cook could have stuck on had the declaration in Brisbane not halted him on a mere 235?

Another left-handed opener, Mark Taylor, scored 839 runs in the 1989 series. That was from 11 innings. Beyond that, there's only Bradman - 810 runs from nine knocks in 1936/7, 974 from seven in 1930 - left as an Ashes comparison.

In April 1770 Captain Cook discovered Australia. 240 years later, vice-captain Cook has discovered that he likes its bowling very, very much indeed.

How has Cook turned his form around so completely? What's the difference between the hesitant, troubled batsman of last summer and the unstoppable run-machine of this Ashes series?

"The first thing is that it was a swinging summer last year," says Simon Hughes, Test Match Special analyst.

"The Duke ball they were using in the series against Bangladesh and Pakistan really moved around. The second thing is that Pakistan had two absolutely brilliant purveyors with it, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamir. Asif in particular is an absolute master at making the ball curve. He had all the England batsmen playing and missing and unsure what to play and what to leave.

"There were cloudy conditions, slightly damp pitches, and the set of balls they used went round corners. If you play in those conditions, you lose faith in your ability, and you start to doubt your technique. Your footwork becomes stuttering, and you think about everything you're doing rather than just thinking about the ball.

"When Cook was batting last summer, he spent half his time looking at his bat in his back-lift to see if it was straight. His front foot was planting too early, he had a double back-lift and he was getting too far over to the off side."

Cook's mentor Graham Gooch had first started changing his technique after the last Ashes in 2009. Gooch, now England's batting coach and a man who knows what it takes to build long innings, had spotted those flaws beginning to emerge.

"Last summer Cook's technique was going through that transformation," explains Hughes. "Gooch wanted to re-jig that back-lift and simplify his trigger movements, but it was taking a bit of time for those changes to take effect.

"Cook then got that important century at The Oval at the tail-end of last summer. There you could see that his footwork was very decisive. Instead of being tentative, he was striding out to the ball trying to hit it, rather than just survive. And as soon as you become more positive, you get in better positions to play your shots because you're committing yourself to the shot.

Alastair Cook kept up his fine batting form this series in the Sydney Test

Get thee to a boundary: Cook has kept up his fine run of form in Sydney. Picture: Getty Images.

"That was an important hurdle. Coming out here with the confidence of knowing that his method was working, he has simplified it. He's no longer looking at his bat in his backlift, he's watching the ball, and he's been helped by some very flat pitches and some very ordinary bowlers."

It is Cook's mental strength, almost as much as his improved technical prowess, which has been so outstanding in this series.

Where others have faltered under the weight of match situation or expectation, Cook just keeps on sailing, neither accelerating nor decelerating, compiling runs while appearing entirely unconcerned with the score on the board.

"Gooch has had such a big influence on him," believes Hughes. "He says that Cook always had the aptitude to stay in for a long time. There was his double century for Essex against the touring Australians in 2005, and then in his first Test, in Nagpur in 2006, he flew in from the 'A' tour in the West Indies to replace Marcus Trescothick, only had a few days to acclimatise, but scored 60 and 100.

"He batted pretty well here four years ago, although his numbers weren't great. He got a century in Perth, and he was coming up against much better bowlers. And he also has the advantage of being a left-hander; this Australian team does not possess a good spinner to spin the ball out of the rough outside his off-stump, and the angle of delivery from the right-arm bowlers he is facing makes it harder for him to be out.

"But his greatest strengths, which are keeping his concentration and making sure his shots are simple and methodical, have come to the fore. He's very single-minded in just scoring his runs in certain places and not worrying about how it looks. He sticks to the old philosophy that it's how many that matters, not how it looks."

The Michael Beer no-ball that denied him Cook's wicket on Tuesday afternoon, when he had made just 46, had felt pivotal at the time. But how Cook made the debutant pay.

On 99 Beer thought he had him again, only for replays to show that Cook's clip off his pads had bounced in front of Phillip Hughes at short leg. As chances go, that was pretty much it.

Should Hughes have appealed? Probably not. On Sky's television coverage, Sir Ian Botham used the 'c' word. If he was right, it was no more cheating than what Ian Bell did a few hours later, when he asked for a referral having been given out caught behind for 67.

Most of us sensed he had hit it. He waited at least five seconds before signalling for the review, and throughout the process had the slightly guilty look of a boy caught with his hand in the biscuit tin.

Hotspot failed to show a nick. It sometimes does. Because of that, umpire Aleem Dar had to reverse his decision.

Snickometer later indicated that there had indeed been a sound as ball passed bat. That tool is far from failsafe either, which is why it cannot be used by the television umpire. But the incident left a sour taste in some spectators' mouths.

Should it diminish the achievement of Bell's first Test century against the old enemy? After failing to reach three figures in his 30 previous Ashes innings, he batted beautifully throughout, as classically true as any batsman in world cricket today in compiling his 115. His supporters can also claim that he may genuinely have not been certain that he hit the ball. Not all Australians in the ground would agree.

For a man maligned as the Sherminator four years ago, it was sweet revenge. Shane Warne has changed his tune now, preferring to laud him as the Terminator, and his partnerships with first Cook (154) and then Matt Prior (127) secured England's grip on a match that until then had been in the balance.

Wednesday at the SCG was Jane McGrath day, the ground transformed by splashes of bright colour in honour of the breast cancer charity set up by Glenn McGrath in memory of his late wife.

The place looked a picture. But no-one looked as pretty in pink as Alastair Cook.


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  • Comment number 1.

    How I am going to miss this in a couple of days time Tom!

    Nothing short of oustanding critiques and commentaries - thoroughly well done.

    For the Aussies their day of Ashes reckoning has surely arrived - nice to see them getting a taste of their own medicine today, they dragged this game into the gutter, or rather Ponting did many years ago, and how they squeak when they think they get same in return - shame on your Aussies. Not long before we had the spectacle of the team looking to gain by cheating - should have been docked the match there and then, or at least give Trott another chance.

    Another outstanding job from Anderson today, truly stunning. Bell was utter class as well.

    COME ON ENGLAND, put them to the sword and make it 3-1.

  • Comment number 2.

    Tom - there are some links in early paragraphs to wikipedia article on snickometer, might want to check...

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    Cook's grit and dedication is also shown by the fact he's the leading second innings run scorer in test cricket in the last 12 months, despite that roughing up from Amir and Asif:

    Also, for the many people who must have loved your article and interview with Arthur Morris, here's some (v brief)British Pathe footage of the great man at the crease.

  • Comment number 5.

    Good blog Tom.

    One is enjoying this pastime of staying up all night, listening to TMS, texting your friends who are also listening, and when there is a wicket darting downstairs to see the footage on SKY before returning to TMS.

    My only irk on day 3 is what the devil is Michael Atherton is playing at insulting the Aussies over their baggies? I want to see England beat the Aussies at sport - not insult them personally.

    I think Justin Langer got it right in his response when he said he didn't hear Atherton offering such opinion when the Aussies were kicking his ass series after series.

    What are we all going to do in two days time when this is all over?

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    Not sure we'll get 400 or even 350 ahead, that's a bit of a stretch... think 250 odd will be more likely, if that, tail now in...

  • Comment number 8.

    Another fine article Tom, I'll certainly miss this once the series is finished.
    My thoughts on the state of play - I don't see England being especially gung ho straight away although I expect Prior to keep playing his shots as he has done so far. So I reckon we'll be bowled out somewhere after lunch between 300 and 350 in front. So far Australia have managed scores of 309, 304, 123 & 107/1 in their 4 2nd innings. A total in excess of 300 on a hopefully turning pitch should be sufficient for a 3rd innings victory of the series.

  • Comment number 9.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 10.

    # 9 Any one of Johnson, Ponting or Clarke. All have contributed significantly to Englands dominance

  • Comment number 11.

    cook is easily man of the series. cant beleve people doubted him ahead of the series. he may not have the talent of many other batsmen but he has the determination and knows what shots he can play.

    lets hope we can see off the aussies over the next 2 days as we deserve to win 3-1, been so much better than them

  • Comment number 12.

    Your best blog of the series Tom. TRwo brilliant line - "Captain Cook" and then "No one looked as pretty.."
    With two full days left and little chance of rain, maybe bat for ten overs tomorrow, thrash out and try and knock up another 60-80 odd runs and put them in, being 250-280 ahead....give ourselves a day and a half to bowl them out, and at the very worst leave ourselves an hour or so to chase down 50.

    3-1 3-1 3-1 3-1 3-1!

  • Comment number 13.

    I'm not counting my chickens yet an Aussie victory is very unlikely but a draw is still perfectly possible. England are at their tail although Bresnen can bat a little. So I see us lasting possibly half a session lets says a full one for arguments sake current lead is 208 so we'll add on 92 runs and make it a 300 run lead. Australia then have 5 sessions to bat in if they can can last 4 of those sessions which if they show some grit and determination they can but they've only done that twice this series. They will then likely a lead and force England to bat again. Factor in the weather lurking about for the next two days of play and you don't have nailed on win.

    England are definitely in the driving seat but I wouldn't go around yelling 3-1 just yet.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    No declaration please!
    I'd far rather see us just up the shot making a bit and go for a lead big enough that we don't have to bat again.

    I feel sorry for Collingwood, it must be really painful when you know you are that out of touch and cant seem to get it sorted out.

    Well played Cook and Bell! Now some humpty from Prior, Bresnan and Swann... and no mercy.

  • Comment number 16.

    Those old songs do kinda work out. It's the twelfth day of Christmas and even if we don't have lords a-leaping, at least they should be leaping at Lord's.

  • Comment number 17.

    Yes another brilliant blog Tom, sadly unlike Boycs & Aggers’ Podcast for the last couple of days, which in their efforts to appear neutral have been far too critical of England. Yesterday they got the analysis hopelessly wrong, banging on remorselessly about the ninth wicket partnership for Australia and how much we would struggle.

    Today, they have correctly spoken about Bell’s referral but offered nothing on the most disgraceful incident seen on a cricket field since Trevor Chappel under-armed the last ball of the match to New Zealand to stop them hitting a six. Phil Hughes should not be playing in the series in any case because he is quite simply a dreadful batsman but his conduct in claiming that catch was despicable.

    Finally, it would appear that congratulations are in order and that someone has finally taken the decision to block the imbecilic contributions of a certain individual that was dragging this medium down into petty arguments and insults.

  • Comment number 18.

    Tom, Austalia's great sides of recent years stayed great because they strove to improve on what the side could do/had done. What, do you think, can England do to improve? If, as has been suggested above, Collingwood's days are numbered, who would you bring in? Would you change the structure of the team, moving Bell to five, Prior to six and Broad and Swann at seven and eight, thus inroducing an extra bowler to the side? Just a thought.

  • Comment number 19.

    Woah Domallen_of_coastfm:

    You can't say that about Hughes but not about Bell.

    I'm sorry but I'm a passionate England fan and what Bell did was just as bad as Hughes. He knew he edged it and therefore should have walked.

    To be honest, I don't think either of them are cheats, it's just what happens in the middle of a fiercely contested series. Apologise and move on

  • Comment number 20.

    I don't like the comment about Ian Bell cheating. He wasn't sure he had hit it, Hotspot showed he hadn't, therefore he's Not Out.
    Snicko cant be relied upon, as a Technician has to match up the sound with the pictures, and thus is prone to human error.

    Other that or your saying that Hotspot is fallible and thus should not be used at all.

  • Comment number 21.

    Well done Alastair Cook. This must must be Collingwoods last match. So many young players out there who could have got a game if it was not for "Mr Collingwood I just need one game before I get a big inns"
    I am so tired of hearing how great Collingwood is at test cricket.

  • Comment number 22.

    Interesting blog as always Tom.

    It's funny how many people with 20/20 hindsight are now saying "I can't believe people were questioning Cook's place" before the series. He was in a wretched run of form, had well documented technical issues and had a terrible series last time down-under; people had every right to question his place. A bowler in an equivalent bad trot would've been discarded long before the squad was picked. It's to Cook's immense credit that he's battled through it and come out the other side smelling of English roses. He had youth on his side.

    Colly's going through it now and it's right that his place should be questioned. He seems to continually go through a cycle of being in a bad trot, then coming good when all seems lost. He's been in the last chance saloon so many times now, he not only has his own tankard hanging up above the bar, they've given him a key and told him to lock up when he leaves. If England really want to be the best side in the world, the next test series is surely the time to blood a long-term replacement who will provide many more of what a top 6 batsmen should - runs. Thanks Colly, you've been immense, but drink up please, time to go home.

  • Comment number 23.

    #19 "To be honest, I don't think either of them are cheats, it's just what happens in the middle of a fiercely contested series." - what???

    So a footballer who dives in the penalty area in the middle of a fiercely contested derby is not a cheat? I beg to differ.

    I haven't yet seen the Bell incident but if he knew for sure that he nicked it then yes, that is cheating. Similarly, if Hughes knew that he didn't catch it (and he looked pretty convinced that he hadn't to me) then that is cheating.

  • Comment number 24.

    Why are people sayign Bell is a cheat when the officals and the offical technology says he is not out. Hotspot didn't show any contact threfore he is not is that cheating!

    If Hot spot is falliable they shouldn't use it!

    I don't think Bell would have refused to walk if the referral system wasn't there and he certainly wouldn't have argued with the Umpire if the referral went against a certain Mr Ponting.

    So why is he a cheat...

  • Comment number 25.

    #24 not sure who you think is calling Bell a cheat. I said that if he knew for sure that he nicked in then that is cheating. I also said that I haven't yet seen the incident. I was just trying to refute #19's ridiculous point about it not being cheating because it was in the middle of a fiercely contested series.

  • Comment number 26.


    I see your point but one incident shouldn't make someone a cheat! Bell was desperate to get to a century just like a footballer would be to win a penalty, sometime your passion and will to win gets the better of you!

  • Comment number 27.


    Completely agree with you.

    1. Cook (26)
    2. Strauss (33)
    3. Trott (29)
    4. Pietersen (30)
    5. Bell (28)
    6. Prior (28)
    7. Broad (24)
    8. Swann (31)
    9. Bresnan (25) / Tremlett (29)
    10. Anderson (28)
    11. Finn (21)

    Would be my team for our first test of the summer, and for the foreseeable future. Although would like to see Morgan, Bopara, Morgan and Kieswetter (as a batsman) getting their chances to be considered for the Starting XI for Ashes 2013.

  • Comment number 28.

    I just can't see the logic of Bell risking a referral even if it is later in the innings if he had felt the ball on his bat. I think it was Atherton in the Sky summary who suggested that had he been batting at 3 with more wickets in the hutch he wouldn't have bothered referring it. Also, some are asking why it took so long to refer. It's simple, he clearly heard the noise but didn't feel it on the bat. Now I'm sure there are people on here who would say of course he felt it on his bat any batter who says otherwise is a liar. Well I thought that myself until a couple of seasons ago when exactly the same happened to me. I heard a huge noise as the ball passed my bat attempting a cut shot. The noise realistically couldn't have been anything else other than the ball hitting the bat, but as I didn't feel it on the bat I stood my ground and was duly given not out. My batting partner couldn't believe I was not given out but I was convinced I hadn't hit it, just couldn't explain the noise. If Bell didn't feel it on the bat, he's entitled to ask his partners opinion and as it turns out he was justified in doing so.

  • Comment number 29.

    Regarding the Bell incident: He says he wasn't sure - and if it was a feather and he didn't feel it, then he shouldn't walk. Prior was sure there wasn't a nick. I have seen Bell walk before being given out - so in this case I would like to give him the benefit of the doubt.
    For Hughes, I haven't seen it, and he may have got caught up in the moment - but Haddin who has more experience should have called that.
    It's a pity that the Aussies on such day, where they remember Mrs Mcgrath, don't have the humility to clap a hundred - however difficult it may be. (I know some did, but its been constant throughout the series).

  • Comment number 30.

    If you look at Haddin and Hughes both knew it wasn't out, it was Clarke and Siddle who pushed the appeal forward, Haddin should have had the courage to walk up to the umpires and say it bounced lets get on with the game it was a poor show from him for not doing that he had Cook had the best views in the ground of it.

    Personally I'd prefer England to play 5 bowlers espically against a decent batting line up like Sri Lanka and India, however Englands management prefer 6 batsmand, Prior and 4 bowlers.

    If England want a like for like replacement for Colly then Bopara is probably the best bet and he should be batting at 5/6 for England never never at 3! however we do have some decent batsman at the moment Morgan, Hildreth and Lyle all could come in and not look out of place at 5/6 at the moment!

  • Comment number 31.

    I don't understand. Why would Bell have bothered to refer the decision, if he knew he was out? If he knew he hit it, then surely he would have thought that the replay would prove it and he'd look like an idiot. It doesn't make sense...

    Although I don't like this 'speculative use' of the UDRS, I think that's exactly what happened: he wasn't sure he hit it, asked Prior whether he should risk a challenge on a speculative one, as he wasn't sure, and looked a bit sheepish, because he wasn't sure.

    Other than that, I agree with BarmyPenners (#20). The agreement is not to use Snicko, because it takes too long and is too fallible. It is also that Hotspot is to be used. If it is as fallible as Snicko, then why bother in the first place?

  • Comment number 32.

    In my little rant, I seem to have neglected to show my appreciation for your brilliant work, Tom. Thank you!

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.

    #26 James,

    Exactly how many incidents does it take to make someone a cheat?! Heat of the moment? Passion? Will to win? All baloney I'm afraid. How can you take any satisfaction out of a victory if you've cheated to achieve it?

  • Comment number 35.

    Another grest blog Tom. My days will be slightly empty from Friday once this ends.

    Credit where it is due. Cook has been out-standing. He was a little unlucky not to get another double hundred, but 189 is still not bad.

    There has been a lot of debate about the Hughes 'catch' and the Bell 'nick'.

    Hughes knew that the ball had bounced. Look at the replays. You know when you catch a ball that has bounced as it hits the hand completely differently. Hughes knew which is why he stifled the appeal. The fact he went along with it was probably due to the desparation of Clarke to get Cook out. And lets face it, in recent times the Aussies have conned the umpires on numerous occasions grounding the ball when catching, or claiming catches that never were. Just look at youtube for lots of examples.

    Bell might well have nicked the ball, but if he did it was a feather. He might not have known if he hit it. The referral said not out so he is not out. He did not try to claim a catch he knew had bounced.

    Overall this is detracting from another great England performance. I think it is possible for England to inflict another innings defeat. A lot will depend on Swanny. Time for him to get a 45/7 haul. Roll on tomorrow.

  • Comment number 36.

    I thought Hughes claiming the catch was disgraceful when it happened but Cook was interviewed later and said that Hughes immediately said that he wasn't sure whether it had carried. Review showed it hadn't. Just the same as Bell not being sure that he had nicked it. Review showed he hadn't. I think calling either incident cheating is a bit harsh. However, not clapping Cook's century is unsporting. Mike Hussey did clap, so good on him.

    As far as the use of technology is concerned, in the previous blog it was suggested that as hotspot was inconclusive in Bell’s review the umpire’s decision should stand. Hotspot showed no contact with the bat , so as far as the technology was concerned it was conclusive. Hotspot, excuse the pun, is quite 'black and white' with regards to whether contact has been made or not. However nothing is 100% reliable. The problem is, when using technology to review decisions, it has to be decided to completely use it or it becomes valueless. If you say that no mark being shown by hotspot is inconclusive then it could only ever be used to decide whether a batsman has hit the ball in an LBW appeal. Lack of a mark in an review of a batsman given out caught would therefore always be inconclusive and the decision would stand.

    As far as virtual eye for LBW is concerned, because that is a predictive tool, there has to be a margin of error allowed, and so if given not out and the review shows the ball only just clipping the wicket the umpire's decision should stand because of the margin of error in prediction.

    All that said, I think the use of technology and the review system, although by no means perfect, is really good and adds a lot to the game. It is still quite new though and I think as technology improves and as problems are identified we should, if people are willing to be flexible, be able to refine the rules and end up with an excellent system.

  • Comment number 37.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 38.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    Technology has definitely improved the decision-making process and will continue to do so as it develops and becomes more accurate.

    I believe players reactions to tight decisions and potentially controversial incidents in sport will also improve because they know the correct outcome will be arrived at almost immediately. Eventually, we will have a consistently fairer outcome with less whinging and more focus on outstanding skill and brilliant match-winning performances. (The sooner technology is introduced into football, the better).

    Well done to the England cricket team, regardless of the fifth test outcome, collectively you have performed brilliantly – I predicted a 3-0 series win, but I will happily settle for 3-1 and an extremely bright future for this squad.

  • Comment number 41.

    Thank you for a thoroughly excellent blog, Tom. You write beautifully.

    There is no more agonising feeling than that of the penultimate day of an Ashes series. I want the result and, on this occasion, the elation of seeing these players win. But I want the entertainment, the anticipation, the strategising, the analysis and the sheer joy of watching great cricket far more. I shall be briefly ecstatic in 2 days time and then hit by an almighty depression lasting at least a week!

  • Comment number 42.

    My first post here but I have been following these blogs all series Tom. Can I too say how marvellous they are, a great summation of the day each time and a good jumping off point for discussion.

    @18 & 27. Where we go from here is interesting but I see no way the selectors will go for only 5 front line batsmen in the near future. Prior has shown himself to be a sporadically successful counter puncher, not a front line and responsible batsman. At 6 he would lose his effectiveness.

    When we've struggled in recent times, it's been batting collapses, not ineffective bowling. Our 4 bowlers have not generally had a problem taking 20 wickets. Australia with smith and haddin at 6 and 7 have proved the potential folly of having too few specialist batsmen.

    The ideal solution would be a like for like replacement for Collt - a batsman who can bowl some useful overs. Will bopara ever have the technique and temperament for test cricket? Are there any other options in the county game?

  • Comment number 43.

    #42 James Hildreth. He has good technique, can drop anchor when needed and accumulate, and can bowl a bit. I think he is a better long term bet than Morgan.

  • Comment number 44.

    Thanks papa. I've never seen him live. Is he up to colly's standard with bowling? Could he hold an end up for not too many runs when the ball is old? And take the odd wicket?

    From what I've seen of his batting i tend to agree he's the best long term batting prospect at the moment. Although Morgan could still take the Trescothick route to being a successful test player. And I like what I've seen of Adam Lyth.

  • Comment number 45.

    With regard the Bell incident, all those of you claiming he cheated and that it has undermined England's performance and possible victory need a review of the system yourselves. If he is unsure, and we have no reason not to believe him, he is entitled to call for a review. The review would either show there had been a clear mistake by the umpire (i.e. the noise that Aleem Dar heard to give the decision was a flick off the clothing / pads etc) or it would be inconclusive and therefore the umpire should have upheld his decision. I am not blaming Dar for taking the decision of the 3rd umpire but the system didn't work as it should have done and Bell was a fortunate beneficiary of a potentially speculalatvie referall - he did not cheat.

  • Comment number 46.

    I dont know much about Adam Lyth. Whats he like?

    From what i have seen of Hildreth his bowling is not as good as Collys. He is more of a turn the arm over for a few. He can take the odd wicket, but i dont think he is the sort of player that can do a 6 or 8 over spell to exert pressure. He can really bat though. He scored a double hundred in Australia as part of the performance tour. He has potential.

  • Comment number 47.

    #45 - Wholly agree with this statement.

  • Comment number 48.

    @ 45 Although, according to the TMS commentary (on highlights this morning) Dar actually overruled himself! He was told it was inconclusive, said that he had thought it was out but wanted some confirmation and then gave Bell the benefit of the doubt.

  • Comment number 49.

    James (#39, #37 and numerous others). I have no idea if I speak for others in this. As much as I believe in cross-polination between blogs (especially between professional and amateur), I think you might be straying clse to the edge of irritating your intended audience.

    From a personal perspective, I come here to read Tom's views and those that have something to add to that / wish to discuss matters further. If that is on your blog, then I'll happily see what you have to add to that.

    However, I am not inclined to react particularly positively when bombarded with poll questions, which seem to have been generated at random. If you have such a large number of questions to ask us, might I suggest you combine them into one big poll. And announce it once.

    Thank you.

  • Comment number 50.

    What well-crafted, mature and adult comment - though I'm not too sure about linking to one's own blog - "I say: blowing one's own trumpet? Just not what a gentleman does, dear boy."

    Isn't it relaxing with the kids back at school?

  • Comment number 51.

    The BBC keep removing my posts on my other Login so I'm using this one.

    Why are they removing them exactly? I'm sorry if I put links to my blog, is it wrong of my to put my thought in MY blog? After all, I'm an aspiring journalist and all the senior reporters say to do a blog and get people to read it! That's what I'm doing so stop deleting my comments please?

  • Comment number 52.

    Well. Crickets a funny old game. After 7 consecutive days test cricket my very understanding girlfriend is more puzzled than ever. She’d heard of Warne pre-tour, but that’s about it.

    Having spent quite some time painfully backtracking my learned opinion that Jimmy and A Cook would struggle on this tour, as they proceed with their demolition job in front of her eyes, she asks about Ponting, and Khawaja, and Clark – “Khawaja seems much better than the little gnome man, is his finger really broken? Why is the young looking man the new captain when he hasn’t made any runs? Why isn't the gorgeous Eoin Morgan not playing instead of Collingwood?” “Listen to the radio commentary” I mutter, “they’re the experts.” - “But none of the Australian commentators have ever seen Beer play,” she says , “and he’s never played at Sydney before!” And at about 5 o’clock she sweetly asks “are our batters really much better than the Aussies, or are their bowlers just rubbish”?

    Now I never thought I would ever hear that! Cheers all for tomorrow!

  • Comment number 53.


    As I just put in my last post. I'm 19 and passionate about sport and journalism. Speaking to BBC and other sports reporters, they tell me to write a blog and publicise it everywhere you can and that's what I have done.

    There's not just polls on there but plenty of my own material about the Ashes and other sport.

    If you don't want to read it then that's ok but it's there for anyone who wants to read it.

  • Comment number 54.

    @46 Thanks papa, interesting stuff. If that's right about his bowling, I think the selectors will be keeping their fingers crossed bopara scores heavily in the summer, especially with the Gooch connection. I've always thought with a bit of work his bowling has a lot of potential, especially as a partnership breaker in the Colly v Hussey mould of this test.

    From what I've seen of Lyth (from square on!) he looks to have a good, compact, solid technique, somewhat in the Bell mould. Seemed to be in control of his own game, unfussed and looked to pace an innings well, a bit like Cook. He's an opener of course but could do a job in the middle order. I'd say he needs at least another season in county cricket tho, but is a strong contender to replace Strauss when he retires and give us a right / left opening partnership again.

  • Comment number 55.


  • Comment number 56.

    BenL and Papa, could Trott trundle in for a few overs? i have only seen him bowl a couple of times, but he seemed useful, and this would also free up the opportunity for a more specialist batsman at 5/6 instead of someone like Bopara?

  • Comment number 57.

    Maybe the Australians havnt been clapping the centuries to avoid getting sore hands. Terrific series of articles

  • Comment number 58.


    1. People come here to read Tom's blog, not yours. If you want yours read, earn the right rather than piggy-backing someone else's success.

    2. What you're doing could be construed as spamming (see 'House Rules')

    3. You're an aspiring journalist? Aren't we all. My advice would be to read more. Having access to a computer does not in and of itself make what you write worthy of attention.

    Just my thoughts, sorry if they're brusque.

  • Comment number 59.

    Right ok then. So i'm 19 and meant to get people reading my blog, how exactly? I write and write and work and work hard to become a decent writer.

    If Tom comes on here and says he doesn't like it then I'm more than happy to stop doing it!

  • Comment number 60.

    Re the two incidents: my understanding was that Hughes immediately said that he wasn't sure whether it carried. Under these circumstances, it would seem appropriate to quietly approach the Umpire and advise him of this. The appeal stands whether it is hysterical or dignified. It is clear from TV coverage that Haddin knew that it didn't carry. A word from him would have happily dealt with the matter without all this hoo-ha. I expect little better from Haddin, but he has let a young team-mate down here.

    In Bell's case, I think he is getting a rough trot. Many commentators are automatically interpreting his hesitance at requesting a referral as a sign of his guilt. This is bunkum. Even at my shoddy village level of cricket batsmen occasionally don't know whether they've snicked or not. Bearing in mind Bell has generally been regarded as a good sport and an honest competitor it strikes me as far more likely that he was debating with Prior as to whether he should risk one of his teams referrals.

    Basically, in both cases I think it would be fair to not automatically assume the worst of two players (Hughes and Bell) who have given no previous reason to doubt their character.

    #56 - It would be to England's significant benefit if they allowed either Trott or Bell more time with Saker. The likelihood is that Colly won't play another test for England and we need another option. At present, both players can provide adequate military medium with a little swing when conditions allow. Over the years Colly developed his cutters to become genuine economy deliveries, but practise time was essential in this.

  • Comment number 61.

    People being a bit harsh on Hughes. I remember not walking once when I was obviously out court behind and was given not-out. Felt a mug at the time and got abuse from oppo and team mates for it. Regretted it after and won't haven't done the same again when I've known to be out.

    Hughes knew it wasn't out but saw his team-mates go up and reacted. Probably feels like a mug now and regrets it and I'd like to think he won't do it again. He was wrong, but let's not go about saying he shouldn't play test cricket again. Let his terrible batting do that for him!

  • Comment number 62.


    Is your blog in PDF format? If so the BBC's system cannot accept it.

    45 Agrred. If anything the rules need to be clarified to all and sundry. The technology is good and getting better - its interpretation sadly has not advanced at the same pace.

    The fifth day's play weather forecast is a bit ominous so England's declaration (if they are not bowled out) may be a bit tricky. If its hot and dry tomorrow then Swann will be a big influence. Anyway heres hoping. Shame the series is ending.

  • Comment number 63.

    @56 It's a fair point. I've seen him bowl a couple of overs and he looked useful, tho realistically in a similar class to Bell of 3 or 4 years ago. I just get the feeling the management isn't interested in allowing them to devote sufficient time away from batting practice to develop the necessary skills to bowl economically and pick up the odd wicket at test level (might this be a reason why Colly's batting form has deserted him?). And I dont think either Bell or Trott had the pace (few mph slower than Colly?) or consistency even to reach his level. It's perhaps a different story with a part time spinner such as KP. I think the selectors would rather bring in someone who's already a decent bowler - if they can. This may prove impossible, in which case I think they'll have 6 batsmen and 4 bowlers. Maybe broad's batting will become more consistent and solid? But I think he has a lot of developing left to do as a bowler and wouldn't want him to jeopardise that.

  • Comment number 64.

    @Karyobin: Thank you! I understand your point about 'blowing one's own trumpet' and I agree. But until the day comes that somebody else blows it for him, I can understand him trying. (I don't have kids (yet), but it's beautifully quiet on the playground next to the office!)

    @James, Jimmy. There's a difference between drawing attention to it, and bombarding. Yes, you need a blog. Yes, you need people to come and read it. No, you won't achieve that by telling me to go there 10 times in the space of 15 minutes. I'm in advertising, not journalism, which in essence is what you're trying to do here: advertise your blog to get traffic there. There's a balance to be found, but in the meantime, might I suggest you join this debate on Twitter? There's lots of people on there that specialise in just this.

    As this has already swung us dramatically off-topic for the blog, it's the last I'll say on the matter on these pages.

  • Comment number 65.

    good stuff tom. those few who carp about your contribution/ commitment should seek out the arthur morris interview in which fordyce shows real resolve to track down a legend of the game, showing in the process his real enthusiasm for the job and that he's done his homework; and won't give up when google or the NSW phonebook doesn't immediately give up his target's phone number.

    tom went to meet morris when i'm sure there were probably sponsors' receptions he could have attended, press golf days he could have played in, or z-list celebs like the hoff he could have interviewed about how little they knew about cricket. well done.

    other thoughts - hope the last 4 batters for england take tomorrow very seriously and don't give it away. there are 196 overs left, and if the aussies got us out within a dozen overs tomorrow for, say, 30ish runs, they'd give themselves a remote chance of batting for 100-120 overs and making 350-400 and setting us an awkward target on day 5, just as the pitch started to turn viciously, turning beer, clarke (who has previous as a strike bowler at scg) and smith into world-beating spinners. it's a remote prospect, almost headingly '81, but let's not give them even that chance by knuckling down at 11pm tonight for at least an hour (2 would be better)...

    and ultimately i think bell is guilty of at least gamesmanship. mind you so is philip hughes. umpire dar should have been able to ask his off-field colleague "i think that was out but can you tell me of any decent evidence telling me i'm wrong" (similar to the question rugby union refs ask about "any reason why i cannot award a try") and then when no such evidence somes forward, the finger goes up

  • Comment number 66.

    Typing 'How to get a popular blog' into Google revealed the following as the very top link:

    Expand your efforts beyond linking to yours from more popular blogs; it just seems a bit lazy. I'd also start reading Seth Godin's stuff on a regular basis if I were you too. You can find him on Facebook. He's predominantly business- and publishing-oriented but immensely clear-thinking in many areas.

    I wish you all the best with your success in the future.

    Now - let's get back to the cricket!

  • Comment number 67.

    The change in Cook's fortunes from the summer to now are dramatic. Many pundits were calling for him to be dropped - even as astute a judge as Mike Atherton suggested that Eoin Morgan should replace him with Cook promoted to open.

    Bell may have been fortunate, but I doubt even he expected the replays to change the decision - he probably only called for the review in case it was a no-ball. He deserved a 100, because his batting this series has been sublime and as you say Tom, classical.

    For those performing the last rites to Colly's test career, you are probably right. But I would expect him to retire from all international cricket if England were to win the World Cup following the retention of the Ashes and last year's World T20 triumph - he has hinted at that before.

    For what it's worth, if Colly does go we still believe that England will go with six batsmen - simply because we don't have an all-rounder good enough to bat at six or seven - Broad could in time, but one swallow does not make a summer.

    So, we'd go for the following XI: Strauss, Cook, Trott, KP, Bell, Morgan (who should get first go with Hildreth, Bopara or Gale to follow), Prior, Broad, Swann, Tremlett, Anderson with Finn/Bresnan competing for drinks duty.

    Our blog of day 3 for those that are interested is on the following link - Day 3 at the SCG dissected: Cook & Bell in the pink as England take command

  • Comment number 68.

    @59: Apologies to all for going off topic here.

    Jimmy, if you want to be a journo and love sport, thats great, as mentioned by others you need to earn the right. If you place an occasional link to your blog, people will come to your site (as I have done once) and will make up their minds if they want to continue visiting. They will make that decision based on your content of that website.
    But, if you continue to put links into your posts and try to 'market' your site, you will alienate your potential audience, who will complain about the posts. In fact its not the BBC that delete your posts, this is self moderated, so people are complaining and then your posts get removed.

    My advice to you, put comments in about the blog/article, so you get recognised as a knowledgeable person - and occasionally put in a link to your own site (not every time). Once you have the recognition, you will get the following.

  • Comment number 69.

    I'm already on Twitter but haven't got nearly enough followers to get my blog more attention.

    Also you say "10 times in 15 minutes" - it was 3 in half an hour. Hardly bombarding you with it. Anyway I've stopped now.

    Back to the cricket and I think Collingwood should stay in the side but if he was dropped then Andre Gale from Yoskhire has sown plenty of potential while Morgan would also be a good addition.

    To play Broad at 7, Bresnan 8 and Swann 9 would be a risk but it might work

  • Comment number 70.

    Sorry for my spelling, in a rush

  • Comment number 71.

    @60 Excellent post!

    Now can we debate cricket not heneghan!

  • Comment number 72.

    67. At 2:07pm on 05 Jan 2011, thereversesweep wrote:
    Our blog of day 3 for those that are interested is on the following link - Day 3 at the SCG dissected: Cook & Bell in the pink as England take command

    #55 that's a more subtle way of advertising your blog. What you've been doing today is spam and is why your posts have been reported and subsequently removed.

  • Comment number 73.

    Sorry for the controversy, lesson learned :)

  • Comment number 74.

    Michael Clarke "didn't know" he nicked it either at Brisbane, nobody called him a cheat

  • Comment number 75.

    Not having Sky and having been away from home and not seen any highlights, can anyone tell me what the pitch is looking like? Foot marks? Breaking up? I know its not been hot and is greener than a traditional Sydney pitch. How will swann do in the third innings?

    Will England have to bat again? What is a realistic target to chase in the last session? Look forward to some views!

  • Comment number 76.

    As like many others, I am dreading the end of the test series and Toms blogs. Though I am already looking forward to seeing how good England really are when the summer comes. It will be interesting to see the bowling line up with Onions and Broad to come back into the frame.
    I think its worth putting in Bopara or Hildreth in at 6 against Sri Lanka and moving Bell up one place. It could also be a good idea to rest KP and give another batsman some experience.
    Facing India will be a different prospect and it will be interesting to see who the new batsman will be.

  • Comment number 77.

    #60, agree completly with what you put foreward. It would be great to see trott and bell given more time to perhaps develop their bowling but like #63 points out, it just probably wont happen now i think about it! Anything that may provide as a detriment to their batting performances will ensure that england do not follow this avenue. Even if i hope they do!

    Just as an aside, Trott bowling in the county champ averaged 17.75, taking 4 wickets from only 19 overs bowled, whilst Bopara averaged 24.75, also taking 4 wickets but from 25 overs. Very crude stats i know, but maybe trott should be given a chance to throw some balls in a test once colly retires!

  • Comment number 78.

    Well done guys. Shame Colly didn't get in on the act but it's great to see such a good positive finish from the England batsmen. Hopefully we can get to around 550 tomorrow which will be enough to ensure that Oz need to survive for 1 1/2 days and we wont have to bat again as there isn't time for them to get ahead.
    What a relaxing way to finish the Ashes !! All a bit surreal for me as an England fan !!

    And less of the cheat word please, for Harris or Bell. Neither did.

    PS Thanks Tom for your blogs over the series.

  • Comment number 79.

    Great blog Tom - Like Cook's batting, your jounalism has truly come of age.

    Did Bell cheat - No. Unlike domestic cricket, the rules have changed for internationals because of the DRS. Without DRS, if a batsman was unsure he'd actually nicked it then he would stand his ground until he got the finger from the unpire. With DRS, he has the right to call for a review. In this case, as Bell was the last recognised batsman, and he was being doubly sure with Prior that it was a grey area decision or a howler before requesting the revue. DRS has changed the whole decision making process, maybe not for the best in such circumstances, which leaves the players open to more criticicm than whether they are a walker or not.

    Bell looking sheepish?? He always looks like that - that's why Warne nicknamed him the Sherminator because of his demeanor.

    Hughes - In real time its hard to tell if it bounced first, so again they reviewed as unsure. Sir Ian has a notoriously "fast" mouth, and its probable that over the next few days he will retract/adjust his comments to avoid a further "rumble in the car park".

    Only a win for England or a draw now likely, so chanting 3:1 is a tad premature Tom.

    I'll be happy with 2:1 - we still win the series; only the 4th time its been achieved in the Aussies back yard. History is in the making folks!

    One request Tom: When you do your performance ratings at the end of the test/series, include the managers as I am sure it will stimulate an intersting debate on which one has had the most influence on their teams performance.

  • Comment number 80.

    Wow, a lot of opinion on "hot spot" and the referal system. I personally think it is great that players can refer decisions when it is clear there has been a clanger down to human error, as even the most elite umpires (who may I add do an excellent job) are still only human. However, I wonder whether a simple way to not undermine the onfield umpires, as it has been suggested by certain members of the media, is to hand control of the referal system to the onfield umpires. In a similar way that rugby referees can check for misdimenours in a run up to a try being scored, onfield umpires could radio to the third umpire to check for a simple "yes/no, has the batsman hit it?" or "has the ball pitched in line? yes/no", thus placing the control back in their hands. I realise this would not cover 100% of decisions but it would be a simple way of not humiliating class umpires like Aleem Dar.
    Also, why can't someone make a version of Snicko that doesn't take 7 minutes to process???

  • Comment number 81.

    Only one thing I disagree on - "umpire Aleem Dar had to reverse his decision".

    No he didn't, and a stronger standing of his ground would've been a lot better. He gave the anti-technology brigade ammo which wasn't really deserved whereas Dar seemed to forget that you're only meant to overturn decisions when there's clear doubt.

    There wasn't clear evidence of a touch via hotspot, but like Boycott said there wasn't clear evidence of the ball hitting pad or clothing either, so Dar should've stuck to his guns.

    Still, I agree with #78 Sam - I don't think Bell deserves the stick nor Harris for two moments they were unsure about. Not being 100% sure does not make you 100% guilty.

    England in the driving seat. Grab as many runs as possible, we really won't want to bat again.

  • Comment number 82.

    #18, 27 & 42: A few posts discussing where we go from here. I'd like to make a couple of related observations:

    Firstly, many people accept that one reason Aussie cricket is in its current state because selectors did not take advantage of the period 05-07, when the legends were still in the team but retirement was on the horizon, to blood some youngsters in test cricket. I would agree with this assessment.

    Some others who have also agreed with this are Atherton, of The Times and Sky, Botham of Sky.... basically, most ex-pros commentating. These are also the same people who lambasted the ECB a year ago for allowing Strauss to sit out the tour of Bangladesh. However, in doing so the ECB were able to begin the process of succession early by handing the captaincy over to Cook. Similarly, Anderson was rested and Finn was given a run. We also had a look at Carberry (who was my choice over Cook to open for England this series!!!). Even this series we have been bold enough to drop our leading wicket taker for Bresnan, who rewarded the selectors' courage. I got a hammering on these blogs a year ago for suggesting that what England were doing represented excellent forward planning - I stand by that.

    The point is that England have recognised that the cricketing calendar is such a nightmare that it NEEDS to be treated as a squad game much as football is these days. Continuing to blood youngsters and potential replacements in series against the likes of the Windies, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Australia (joke.... just) means you can continue to give your top players rest periods, which I believe are pretty much essential these days.

  • Comment number 83.

    #55 - grow up. There are house rules, fully published, and you have been breaking them.

    I totally understand your desire to succeed as a sports journalist, and I wish you great success. Can I suggest you go subbing for a local paper and build your experience???

  • Comment number 84.

    "55. At 1:49pm on 05 Jan 2011, jimmyheneghan wrote:

    Well I don't know what youve posted but stop breaking the house rules and they will stop deleting them!

    A couple of other points:

    I don't believe Bell cheated. There are no rules to say when you can or can't review a call. It might have been a no ball for one thing. Futhermore, the days of walking are long gone. Tendulkar got a massive edge to Steyn on about his 5th ball and didn't walk. Also, the edge must have been miniscule so it's quite possible that Bell didn't feel it

    However, with regard to Hughes, if he really knew that he'd grassed it then he is a cheat. If he wasn't sure, then he should have indicated that he wasn't sure and that's fair enough. I haven't seen it yet so don't know what he did.

    Otherwise, re: the possibility of a declaration I have to say Robert Marks (12) that you have lost your mind. There is no way that Strauss will declare, not at least until it is mathematicaly impossible for Oz to win. If we needed to win the test then I'd agree, but a draw is fine. 2-1 or 3-1, who cares. But 2-2 would be awful from this position.

    To be 100% sure of not losing, we need a lead of +/-400 with 4 sessions left, i.e. we bat until tea. Chances are that we'll be out before then anyway. What's more, if we got to that position we would probably bowl them out in 4 sessions anyway. So that gives us 0% chance of losing and a great chance of winning.

    To declare after 10 overs would be utter madness. We would be 250 ahead with 5 1/2 sessions left. So they could in theory bat for 4 sessions, make 400 and set us 150 from 45 overs and we could lose. OK its massively unlikely. But it gives us a better chance of winning than the above scenario (probably) but s slim chance of defeat which is just not worth entertaining.

    I still think we will win, but we have to bat until at least lunch, and ideally another 20 overs to be 100% of not losing. I would much rather secure a cast iron 2-1 win than go for 3-1 and give them even a 0.1% chance of squaring the series

  • Comment number 85.

    Bell didnt cheat... he was given out, reviewed the decision, television was inconclusive therefore he was given not out. Thats how the system works. Even if he knew he had hit it, if the tv had shown that then he would have been given out. The fact that it didnt shows that it was a good review.

    On a different note, when Bell is batting well he must surely be one of the most elegant batsmen in world cricket at the moment. He is a joy to watch!

  • Comment number 86.

    Regarding the slight blogging contretemps above and as someone who does post occasional links to their own blog here, I can see why people are a bit upset. I'm acutely aware, having read and enjoyed his writing for many years, that TF has put in the hard journalistic yakka whereas I just trawl cricinfo for stats and then intersperse them with my own witterings. But I always hope they are relevant stats and witterings and that the odd person here may even find them useful or interesting. I, for example, always enjoy reading thereversesweep's take as an addendum to Tom's main article, but I can ignore it if I wish. Anyway, enough technosquabbles getting in the way of the cricket. I'll let everyone get back to rightly lauding the stolid brilliance of Cookie!

  • Comment number 87.

    @83: Maybe little harsh? If you read on a little you'll see this was all resolved amicably.

  • Comment number 88.

    Bopara is very much a like for like for Collingwood with the exception is catching isn't as good, but then few players are! Trott, Bell, KP etc can all turn their arm over, but Colly is an experienced bowler and has a decent record in ODI's.
    However, he's in the test side primarily for his batting and I personally think the best batsman has to be picked to bat at 6 or they change the makeup of the side as suggested. We have a plethora of bowling all-rounders with Broad, Bresnan & Swann all capable of providing late order runs from 7 to 9, but is Prior the right person to bat at 6? As many questions as answers!!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    Great blog Tom, as usual! However, knowing what sticklers your audience can be, I'm surprised that there are 81 comments and not one has pointed out that, although vice-captain Cook has joyously discovered Australia this winter, Captain Cook certainly didn't discover Australia - the quip was, quite literally, too good to be true. That honour is usually given to Able Tasman, more than 60 years earlier.

  • Comment number 90.

    #77 - Not so sure that they won't be given time. Interesting article on Cricinfo where Cook explains that all the batsmen are made to pratise their batting when they're knackered, not just a net session when they're feeling fresh. This gives me two thoughts: 1) excellent coaching, & 2) nothing is going to knacker out Trott and Bell like a good couple of hours running into the nets at Cook.

  • Comment number 91.

    #86 I can only assume your pessimism is the result of years of Aussie pummelling.

    This test is as good as won for England. The ashes have been secured on the third day, utter dominance from England.

    Assuming Aussies will get 400 on this pitch, they looked quite ordinary in the first innings (only the tailenders bailed them out), as they have done throughout the series. They have had no answers to Anderson, Tremlett and Bresnan, and with the ball spinning more and more on this pitch, they will also have Swann to deal with.

    3-1, the only question is do I take tomorrow off or Friday, cos I feel like death warmed up right now

  • Comment number 92.

    Another great blog Tom!
    I don't think I've enjoyed a Test series, let alone an Ashes series, as much as this one! 3-1 would be so sweet.

  • Comment number 93.

    #Kapnag Arf, watching the Ashes from 1989 to 2003 would make any Englishman a bit sheepish...

  • Comment number 94.

    Love the article and am soooo loving the cricket - but is it just me than thinks that 7 times 127 = 889 runs??? Think perhaps the maths need checking or have I finally lost the plot? Apologies if its the latter! :-)

  • Comment number 95.

    I've been reading these blogs throughtout and I must say, thoroughly enjoyable reading Tom, I've also wuite enjoyed PSAR and how wound up people have got.
    On the cricket front I just wanted to point out that both Bell and Trott have a test wicket already and Bell also has 6 ODI wickets. In county cricket they were both useful one day bowlers but in the longer format Bell's bowling average is a touch over 33, which is just as good as Colly's, although he's bowled considerably less overs, Trott on the other hand I don't think would ever fill the role adequately in a test. I don't see any reason against giving Bell a go at holding up an end every now and then, Colly's bowled roughly an average of about 8 overs per test for the last year, I don't see that distracing from Bell's bowling too much. On a side note, as tendulker hits his 51st century of his test career he's close to an even bigger landmark, he currently has 199 international scalps, that hasn't ditracted from his batting.

    As for the 'cheating' incidents I do feel for Hughes a little, at first I was angry but watching the replay's he knew he hadn't caught it but hasn't offered much with the bat and just got carried away by the fielders around him and got in a bit too deep too quickley and missed the moment to say sorry lads it bounced. As for Bell, not sure you nicked it, you refer it. Simple, no cheating, just commen sense.

  • Comment number 96.

    #28 Smudger - exactly my sentiments and experience. Why on earth would Bell have wasted a referral and had himself look stupid when hotspot showed up if he knew he had hit it. The Hughes incident is different. In my humble experience fielding in the slips you ALWAYS know when you have taken the ball on the half volley. You could also tell from Haddin's face that HE knew it wasn't a catch as did Cook. No more to say, really. Have your opinion as observers and move on..............!

  • Comment number 97.

    There has been a lot of talk about dropping Colly throughout the series, this was never going to happen with him being 20 / 20 captain and a key member of the 50 over team just about to compete in the World Cup. Lets see how he plays in the short format and then make a decision next summer ! He provides great balance to the team, everybody seems to forget how many runs he has saved through his fielding and catching in this and other series not to mention the Hussey wicket in the first innings.

  • Comment number 98.

    in order to obtain an average, you do not divide a batsmans runs by the number of innings he has played but rather by the number of times he has been out. that is why cook's average is as it is.

  • Comment number 99.

    and i forgot to add that cook has only been out 6 times this series as his 235 was not out. hope that helps.

  • Comment number 100.

    #82 Deep Heat - Totally Agree. Squad rotation with strength in depth is key to modern day test cricket. Go back 20 years and there were 2 series per annum. Now there are 4, plus ODIs, 20/20, World Cups in both short forms, and the pseudo world cup (whose name escapes me).

    The work load for 11+1 players is such that you end up like Flintoff (check him on Twitter for the latest operation!) with completely worn out bodies and a severly shortened career.

    Finn was not dropped - he was rotated as he was tired and (I suspect) carrying an injury.

    England came to Aus with 8 test bowlers to pick from, 3 wickies and 10 batsmen (or there abouts :-)). Some of these are development opportunities for the future, and some are out-and-out rotation players (Morgan comes to mind).

    Never in my lifetime have I seen such organisation and preperation to win an overseas tour!

    The future looks great!


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