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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Observations on the eve (or morning if you're in England) of the second 2015 Ashes Test

On the eve of Ashes T2 the usual situation- England wobbly, Australia confident - has been reversed by the Cardiff result  which was a fair reflection of the gulf between the teams.

Since then Australia have gone into something close  to panic mode and flagged  two changes in advance: Brad Haddin omitted for"personal reasons" and Shane Watson (probably) dropped. Whether Mitchell Starc will take the field is uncertain, though if you listen to the positive noises coming from the Australian team and its media support group (as well as observing Peter Siddle's making positive sounding comments but with a glum, disappointed face on a media interview recently), you'd be inclined to think that Starc will play.

In all of this I seem to be the only person suggesting that Adam Voges's  position should be in doubt. Yes, he did well in the West Indies, but it was against weak opposition: weaker, due to injury, than the team which performed well against England just before Australia'sTests.

If Voges was omitted for Mitchell Marsh this would give Shane Watson, whose modest performances at Cardiff were less modest in batting aggregate than some of his teammates, another chance. The downside to all this is that the umpires are well aware of Watson's susceptibility to lbw, so they will be all too ready to adjudge him out ( as happened in T 1), expect  a review which will possibly confirm an "umpire's call", which will probably only confirm the official's decision even if replays show the ball scraping leg stump. In effect Watson is being required to bat with 4 (or more) stumps. Yes, he's not come to terms with this weakness (nor it seems have any of the coaching been able to offer constructive guidance), but for all his exasperatingly failures, he has made some runs.

Brad Haddin has found it hard to bear the cross of dropping Joe Root on 0, and hasn't for some time rediscovered the batting touch which helped Australia so much in the 2013-14 Ashes. So it's probably right for him to sit out T2, but he shouldn't have to end his career by being dropped (only a fool would believe the "personal reasons" justifications which have been trotted out).

England? Unchanged  XI perhaps?

Here's an interesting piece on the series from a US perspective.
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