Essex v England, LV= Challenge Match, Chelmsford, 2nd day July 1, 2013

England struggle after Swann blow

51

Essex 231 for 9 (Mickleburgh 90, Root 4-57) trail England 413 for 9 dec (Bresnan 105*, Swann 94) by 182 runs
Scorecard

It says much for England's lacklustre performance in their Ashes warm-up match against Essex that it has, at times, been hard to distinguish which was the Test team tipped to win the Ashes and which the mid-table Division Two team.

While England's top-order struggled for runs and their bowlers struggled for potency, Essex have had the fastest bowler of the match, a legspinner with a five-wicket haul and the only man in the top seven of either side to register a half-century. England also spurned three distinctly catchable chances. Few will recall performances in this match if England go on to retain the Ashes but, on the evidence of this game, they are some way short of their best heading into the series.

There are some mitigating factors. England are lacking their two first choice seam bowlers - Stuart Broad and James Anderson - from this game and came into it having played several weeks of white-ball cricket. Much the same could be said for Essex, too.

Perhaps more pertinently, England were without Graeme Swann throughout Essex's first innings on the second day after he sustained a blow to his right forearm while batting. Swann was struck by a delivery from Tymal Mills, by some distance the quickest bowler on either side, and while he batted for another nine overs in recording his highest first-class* score since he made 97 here six years ago, he was then taken to hospital for an X-ray. That showed no fracture, however, and while Swann will continue to receive treatment for bruising, he is expected to play a role with the ball later in the game.

That will be a huge relief for England. While James Tredwell, probably the second choice spinner bearing in mind Australia's preponderance of left-handers, fared pretty well in the Champions Trophy, he has yet to take a first-class wicket this season while Monty Panesar was recently dropped by Sussex and has taken only 16 wickets in eight first-class games at an average of 43.37. Swann may have missed Champions Trophy games due to back and calf injuries, but he remains very much the first-choice option for Tests.

Swann was not the only England batsman to sustain a nasty blow from Mills. Tim Bresnan was struck in the same over, failing to duck out of the way of a bouncer and taking the ball on the grill of his helmet, but shrugged off the blow to reach the fourth first-class century of his career and his first since 2007.

It was a timely contribution. Not only did his stand of 187 for England's eighth-wicket with Swann rebuild the innings from a precarious position, but it provided a reminder of his all-round qualities. With a decision yet to be made over who will fill the third seamer's spot, Bresnan's lower-order runs might yet prove crucial. He batted very well, too. He brought up his chanceless and increasingly dominant century with a pull for six and England declared immediately.

Still, this was an impressive performance from Mills. England requested that both he and Reece Topley play in this match in order to gain practice against left-arm bowling but, with Topley rested after several tough weeks of cricket, it was left to Mills to fill the role.

He only took up cricket in his mid-teens and currently cannot generate the in-swing that he will require to sustain a career at this level but, blessed with raw pace and a wonderfully uncomplicated attitude, he could develop into a significant player. He has a reputation, probably a fair reputation, for over-doing the short ball but on this evidence that is not such a fault. Few batsmen could enjoy facing him.

"It was the time to let them have a few," Mills said afterwards. "The bowlers union went out of the window for a while there; you have to do what you have to do to get some wickets. It was a good opportunity for me to impress people at Essex and England. Hopefully this game will have earned me a chance to get back into the Essex side."

Tom Craddock also impressed. The legspinner, who had not claimed a first-class wicket this season before this game, completed the second five-wicket haul of his career in the morning session as Swann, caught at mid-on as he tried to clear the infield, fell six runs short of what would have be his first first-class century since 2002 and Steven Finn missed the next delivery, a standard legbreak. Craddock does not currently have a huge amount of variation but maintained a consistent line and length and, albeit on a helpful surface, turned his legbreak appreciably.

In Swann's absence, Kevin Pietersen and Joe Root were both called upon to bowl offspin. Pietersen was tidy initially but was then hit for three successive boundaries by the impressive Jaik Mickleburgh, while Root claimed career-best figures to underline his improvement as a bowler.

Root claimed only one first-class wicket in the 2012 season but here demonstrated his growing control and just enough spin to encourage the occasional mistake. He remains very much a support bowler and would be the first to admit he was somewhat flattered by his figures that included a slogged catch from Saj Mahmood and a cut shot that hit the back of Owais Shah's bat and looped to the keeper.

England's seamers, in effect competing for one place, enjoyed less happy days. Graham Onions, the pick of them, saw two chances go down off his bowling; one to Pietersen at mid-on offered by Hamish Rutherford on 10 and another when Matt Prior put down an outside edge when Ravi Bopara had 7. Later Pietersen put down another relatively simple chance at gully off the bowling of Finn to reprieve David Masters on 12.

Mickleburgh has a career average of just 25.99 and, before this game, had managed only 217 runs in 11 first-class innings this season but looked compact and patient in registering his highest score of the season. He may well have been unlucky with the umpire's decision that denied him the fifth first-class century of his career.

Mickleburgh rated Onions the toughest of the bowlers to face. "He showed great skill levels," he said. "He was getting the ball to reverse and made me play 95% of the deliveries I faced from him. Finn ran in hard and bowled some good balls in decent areas."

The pitch, slowing all the time, offered little to England's seamers but Onions and Finn were probably the more impressive of the trio. Bresnan's only wicket came when Rutherford drove to mid-off, while Finn had Bopara caught behind by a beauty that demanded a stroke and then left the batsman; Tom Westley feeling for one outside off; and Masters, who will not bowl again the game after suffering what may turn out to be an Achilles strain, leg before playing across one.

Onions, meanwhile, bowled Mark Pettini with one that reverse swung through the gate leading Bresnan to admit that, while the runs could do his chances no harm, it is bowling form that will define selection.

"Lower-order runs could play a big part in winning Test matches so it's nice to get some time in the middle," Bresnan said. "But the bowlers will be picked on form. If I'm not bowling well enough, it doesn't matter how many runs I've scored, the batting comes as a bonus. If it's a straight shoot out it may help may cause but if I'm not bowling well enough it won't matter at all. We're backing the batters to get the runs."

*This match had first-class status removed on the third day

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Speng on July 1, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    One again underscoring how much England depend on the right arms of Swanny and Anderson. Not really sure why Swann's playing in the this match. Is there any doubt as to his bowling ability, fitness or likelihood of selection? Probably better to give one of his putative backups/sidekicks a twirl. Considering the Aussies weakness to spin and the raging (by English standards) turners served up for the Champions Tournament, it might be useful to have another spinner ready.

  • JeffG on July 1, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    What was the point of letting Swann & Bresnan bat for so long? Surely the whole point of this match was to give our batsmen some batting practice and our bowlers some bowling practice? Did we really need to give our tail so much time in the middle?

    I'd rather we'd declared when we reached 300 and given our bowlers an earlier run out, which might have potentially (depending on how they bat) have also given our batsmen more time in the middle in the 2nd innings.

    Oh, and it would also have meant that our number1 spinner wouldn't be in hospital having an x-ray as we speak.

    We now have the ridiculous situation of only having 3 fit bowlers and so Joe Root is now having a go with less than 100 on the board.

    How is this match helping us prepare for the Aussies? If we end up relying on Bresnan for runs and Root for wickets in the Ashes, then we really are in big trouble...

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    OK, so Reece Topley and Boyd Rankin suddenly join the attack... just to show that this is completely serious.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    @JeffG No Tymal Mills (injured), Ravi Bopara has already had a decent spell and an occasional spinner has come on in the 20th over. It's not going to happen. I fear that the batsmen are not going to get a very searching examination here.

  • venkatesh018 on July 2, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    Graham Onions will walk into any Test side in the world. What a talent to be wasted in the sidelines !

  • JeffG on July 2, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer

    Based on what happened at the toss, I think Essex will do whatever Andy Flower tells them to do... if England need more batting practice against "proper" bowlers, then Bopara will bowl his best bowlers as long as needed/able.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    So much for the follow-on. It illustrates my point about how frustrating it is when tail-enders get runs... :-D

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    @JeffG If it finishes 650-5 do you think Essex will waste their time using proper bowlers? It would be a complete waste of time seeing KP or JB hitting a century off the very occasional bowling Mark Pettini and Owais Shah.

    As you say, we want proper practice for the batsmen and proper practice for the bowlers and to get into a red ball mindset. We won't get that by smashing a ridiculous score off occasional bowlers. It will happen by treating it as a proper match.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding Well, if he wasn't on the radar before, he certainly will be now. His profile says that he only took up cricket at 14 and I wonder if that is why he only played one U19 Test. Certainly, with Topley and Mills Essex are looking at having a pretty formidable pace attack in 2-3 years.

    I think that this spell should get him onto the Development tour this winter. If you recall, Steve Finn was "discovered" as a Lions net bowler in the UAE: he couldn't get into the Lions side on that tour, but impressed management so much in the nets that a few weeks later he was in Bangladesh as an injury replacement and the rest, as they say, is history! Maybe Mills will take the same route...

    One thing that I like is that he is obviously seriously motivated by having big names in front of him, even if playing Essex 2nd XI cricket doesn't seem to bring out the best in him.

  • Damo_s on July 2, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    I dont quite see how England are struggling when they are 182 runs ahead, their best bowler hasnt taken the field, and are only 1 wicket away from bowling out the opposition. The headline is total nonsense. It doesnt matter that the opposition are suppose to be division 2. They have nothing to lose and will have be given a huge boost by the fact they are playing England with tag of underdogs. England have done good so far IMO.

  • Speng on July 1, 2013, 14:35 GMT

    One again underscoring how much England depend on the right arms of Swanny and Anderson. Not really sure why Swann's playing in the this match. Is there any doubt as to his bowling ability, fitness or likelihood of selection? Probably better to give one of his putative backups/sidekicks a twirl. Considering the Aussies weakness to spin and the raging (by English standards) turners served up for the Champions Tournament, it might be useful to have another spinner ready.

  • JeffG on July 1, 2013, 14:15 GMT

    What was the point of letting Swann & Bresnan bat for so long? Surely the whole point of this match was to give our batsmen some batting practice and our bowlers some bowling practice? Did we really need to give our tail so much time in the middle?

    I'd rather we'd declared when we reached 300 and given our bowlers an earlier run out, which might have potentially (depending on how they bat) have also given our batsmen more time in the middle in the 2nd innings.

    Oh, and it would also have meant that our number1 spinner wouldn't be in hospital having an x-ray as we speak.

    We now have the ridiculous situation of only having 3 fit bowlers and so Joe Root is now having a go with less than 100 on the board.

    How is this match helping us prepare for the Aussies? If we end up relying on Bresnan for runs and Root for wickets in the Ashes, then we really are in big trouble...

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    OK, so Reece Topley and Boyd Rankin suddenly join the attack... just to show that this is completely serious.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    @JeffG No Tymal Mills (injured), Ravi Bopara has already had a decent spell and an occasional spinner has come on in the 20th over. It's not going to happen. I fear that the batsmen are not going to get a very searching examination here.

  • venkatesh018 on July 2, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    Graham Onions will walk into any Test side in the world. What a talent to be wasted in the sidelines !

  • JeffG on July 2, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer

    Based on what happened at the toss, I think Essex will do whatever Andy Flower tells them to do... if England need more batting practice against "proper" bowlers, then Bopara will bowl his best bowlers as long as needed/able.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 10:31 GMT

    So much for the follow-on. It illustrates my point about how frustrating it is when tail-enders get runs... :-D

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 10:28 GMT

    @JeffG If it finishes 650-5 do you think Essex will waste their time using proper bowlers? It would be a complete waste of time seeing KP or JB hitting a century off the very occasional bowling Mark Pettini and Owais Shah.

    As you say, we want proper practice for the batsmen and proper practice for the bowlers and to get into a red ball mindset. We won't get that by smashing a ridiculous score off occasional bowlers. It will happen by treating it as a proper match.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 10:20 GMT

    @YorkshirePudding Well, if he wasn't on the radar before, he certainly will be now. His profile says that he only took up cricket at 14 and I wonder if that is why he only played one U19 Test. Certainly, with Topley and Mills Essex are looking at having a pretty formidable pace attack in 2-3 years.

    I think that this spell should get him onto the Development tour this winter. If you recall, Steve Finn was "discovered" as a Lions net bowler in the UAE: he couldn't get into the Lions side on that tour, but impressed management so much in the nets that a few weeks later he was in Bangladesh as an injury replacement and the rest, as they say, is history! Maybe Mills will take the same route...

    One thing that I like is that he is obviously seriously motivated by having big names in front of him, even if playing Essex 2nd XI cricket doesn't seem to bring out the best in him.

  • Damo_s on July 2, 2013, 10:09 GMT

    I dont quite see how England are struggling when they are 182 runs ahead, their best bowler hasnt taken the field, and are only 1 wicket away from bowling out the opposition. The headline is total nonsense. It doesnt matter that the opposition are suppose to be division 2. They have nothing to lose and will have be given a huge boost by the fact they are playing England with tag of underdogs. England have done good so far IMO.

  • JeffG on July 2, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer

    The ENTIRE point of this match appears to be to give our batsmen some time in the middle to get out of "white ball mode".

    (You could make a small case that this match has also been set up as a 3 way fight between Bresnan, Finn & Onions for the final bowling spot)

    But definitely, getting the batsmen into form is the main point of the match.

    Therefore, you do everything you can to give them as much time in the middle as possible.

    Now, because all of the top 7 failed in the 1st inns, you maximise their chances in the 2nd inns.

    So, you declare overnight (both Bresnan & Swann already had 50s by then!) and bowl Essex out as cheaply as possible and let the top 7 face as many balls as possible in the 2nd inns.

    I'd rather the match finished with England on 600-5 and Essex not batting again - I really fail to see how chasing a target of 150 is what our batsmen need at the moment - they need time at the crease.

  • Lord_Flashheart on July 2, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    Difficult to distinguish which side is which? One side has many players performing below par and the other side has players who haven't performed as well as they have in this game all season.

    Yet the below par team is still crushing them. Says a lot about a team when they, despite playing poorly, can still be well in the ascendancy.

  • PFEL on July 2, 2013, 8:52 GMT

    Great job England management. Excellent preparation for the Ashes, get your Test side up against the Fastest bowler in England so he can knock a few of your big guns out for the series . . .

  • Yevghenny on July 2, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    I'm not sure why people say removing 2 of England's best bowlers weakens their attack, I mean, when has this not applied to any other side? Remember edgbaston 2005? The Australian's blamed that McGrath injury for losing the series, and that was one of the greatest test sides of all time!

  • YorkshirePudding on July 2, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer, I've not seen much of him and why I asked what he was like as stats dont always tell the real story of a bowler. The fact that he has raw pace is a bonus, but unless its controlled, its going to be wasted.

    It will be interesting to see how Essex develop him over the next year or two, and he could become a contender, but so could Overton down at Somersett who Tresco's biggingup at the moment.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    @JeffG That's a fairly cynical approach. Does one rely on Bresnan for runs? No, but having a #8 who can contribute regular 30s, 40s and 50s in the way that Ashley Giles did gives you a sting in the tail. Giles regularly turned 320-7 into 400-8: the former, none too clever, the latter a potentially winning score. A 50 from a #8 is worth at least double in terms of frustrating the bowlers and turning a modest total into a big one.

    As for Joe Root, one of the worst England weaknesses in recent years has been the lack of a credible 5th bowler. Trott, Bell & KP were used, but now are increasingly rarely because they just aren't good enough. If you have someone who can fulfill the Gooch role of being able to bowl 10-15 overs in an innings and nip out a wicket or two, especially a spinner, it adds an extra dimension to the attack, as well as giving you insurance in case of an injury. Australia have shown how valuable such a player is with Michael Clarke, before his back really gave trouble.

  • YorkshirePudding on July 2, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    Seems like Essex have selected a bit of a spinners pitch as two relatively inexperienced spinners have taken 9 of the 19 wickets to fall so far and its only the end of day 2.

    I think the headline is misleading, what was the author expecting Essex to be rolled over for less than 150 and england wrap up the game inside 3 days. That would have told the england camp nothing.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 7:54 GMT

    Just note on Tymal Mills, because people are making all kind of claims for him. He has 28 wickets in 15 First Class matches at an average over 30. He's a Yorkshire lad who has already played for England at U19 level, taking 0-84 in 13 overs v Sri Lanka in his only match, so he is in the England system already.

    It looks like this was a case of a player who really did get fired-up at the sight of an England jersey in front of him and decided to make a name for himself.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    @landl47 I can but agree with you. I hope that we struggle like this all summer.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 2, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    We'll see what happens today. I'd like to see Alistair Cook enforce the follow-on and give Bresnan, Finn, Onions and Root another good, hard workout. If he bats again he would need to think of batting for a minimum of 3 session and probably four to give the top seven a decent opportunity to fill their boots (no sense in sending them out for a thrash to set up a declaration if the real idea is to get batting practice) and that would just about scupper any chance of a win.

    Better that England bat again chasing 150-ish to make it realistic practice than to set a lead of 500 and let the match fizzle out.

  • landl47 on July 2, 2013, 5:56 GMT

    England declared at 413-9 and even though their best bowler wasn't able to bowl have Essex 182 behind with one wicket to fall. If that's struggling, I hope England struggles like that in the tests.

  • dunger.bob on July 2, 2013, 5:46 GMT

    All in all a solid hit out so far for England. Swanns injury is apparently not serious (some bruising I heard) and the job is getting done. A bit unconventionally, but it's getting done. .. a thought on why there was no declaration. I was thinking perhaps the coach wanted to shake up his batsmen by making them watch two bowlers get the runs. .. you know, a sort of "sit down and watch this boys. This is how you bat" sort of deal.

  • YorkshirePudding on July 2, 2013, 5:18 GMT

    @king78787, as my name suggests I'm a yorkshireman, and even i wouldnt propose the changes that you've suggested, Bairstow is still learning how to keep, and isnt even first choice at Yorkshire for the role.

  • on July 2, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    Yorkshire pudding well spotted re Mills. Nobody else has co,,meted which we have already seen. This lad has been dropped from a team that got bowled out for 20! To be honest I don't know Mills background....he has much potential, would be wise if he can play for West Indies as his roots suggest, otherwise he may loose an opportunity with count less boys so many examples, Carbberry would be certainly one!

  • on July 2, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    Well bowled Tyrell Mills! I wonder if you are in ECB's special programme fast tracking certain players? If you are not you should be, given the special attention and grooming boys from South Africa get. Fastest in the match is an under statement....you have many attributes already. Surprised to hear you have played limited number of championship cricket...given how many games other boys get to play. Any way good luck...be prepared to play elsewhere, you may have better chance to play international cricket. Be in touch with Otis.

  • Tomtree on July 2, 2013, 3:01 GMT

    I guess, were Tom Craddock an Aussie, he'd be straight into the Test team?

  • Chris_P on July 2, 2013, 2:14 GMT

    No doubt the ECB is thinking positively by playing this game, it was either that or not play those T20 games against the Kiwis. A solid first class hit-out, no matter the result is a very sound way to prepare for a series. As Meety stated, only rain would disrupt preparations now.

  • Meety on July 2, 2013, 2:00 GMT

    If I were England, I'd be happy to blow the cobwebs (red ball) out now, rather than in the 1st Test.

    The batsmen will weather permitting - get a 2nd bat, & the bowlers will probably get a good work out (Swann included) on Day 4.

    This match was more about getting back into the red ball groove & was never going to be easy for England - who in the main have been playing white ball cricket for a month.

    The worst thing (apart from a collapse) that could happen to England is the weather washes out the next two days, - then they possible would be short of a gallop.

  • on July 1, 2013, 21:53 GMT

    Great to see young English prospects Craddock and Mills do really well, Shame Mickleburgh was robbed of a Century by a shocker, no way did hit hit the ball! England did the right thing batting on this morning, pointless declaring earlier!

  • RandyOZ on July 1, 2013, 21:48 GMT

    Good luck to Swann, we do not advocate injuries towards the opposition. Hopefully he gets better and we can beat their full strength team.

  • ashes61 on July 1, 2013, 21:38 GMT

    king78787: Radical? That's one description! Unnecessary madness more like it. Who do you think is inked in first on the teamsheet after the skipper on recent form? I'd guess Prior, and not because he's just been made vice captain. I wish Bairtstow's career well, but why would anyone put him ahead of Prior on either keeping or batting? Well, you just couldn't, could you? Drop the best wkt-kpr-batsman in the world to do somethjing "radical" as you call it? Why? To get Bresnan in? On what grounds? What is the pressing need for Bresnan's inclusion? He will compete with Finn this summer on a form/wicket/horses for courses/injuries basis. As he says himself, if he bowls well he'll deserve a place. Otherwise, no! Onions may press hard for a place. Batting on today? Yes - dead right! Runs from 8 and 9 are valid, necessary contributions - not to mention 10 & 11. Swann has not had nearly enough batting in recent years. We should expect regular 40s/50s from him & Broad, not 10/15.

  • sonicattack on July 1, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    @King78787 - yes, very radical indeed! Why would you wish to drop the best wicketkeeper/batsman in world cricket for an unproven (but promising) batsman who sometimes keeps wicket? Are you a Yorkshireman, by any chance? @CricketingStargazer, yes, I think that Swann and Bresnan probably needed time in the middle more than any of the other batsman, it's quite a time since either produced for England (I think) so that was very pleasing.

  • 2.14istherunrate on July 1, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    Interesting day from what I saw,especially the role reversals. Root may be a better bowler than we thought,and a great caught and bowled confirmed his athleticism. Swann's innings seems not have ruined our Ashes hopes,but he still has to bowl. The main winner though was Bresnan, and with Nottingham being a good ground for him he may yet make the first Test. Lower order runs are always worth thinking about especially early series when the enemy's bowling might be an unknown quantity. The Finn lobby were quietly purring though.Overall though the Lancs attack did a lot better against these guys.

  • CricketingStargazer on July 1, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    Alistair Cook would certainly have settled for 413-9d at the Toss. What he would not have expected was the way that England got to that score. However, it can only be good for Bresnan and Swann to score big runs and get plenty of middle time because a 50 from your #8 or 9 is worth at least double in a Test in frustration to the bowlers.

    Tomorrow will be an interesting test of Alistair Cook's captaincy. Essex will surely fall well short of the follow-on: will he opt for batting practice, or apply the follow-on and try for the win? Tests are won when tired attacks manage to extract batsmen on good tracks when things are going against them and this will be excellent preparation for the Tests. The is also no question that Finn and Bresnan - and probably Root - will benefit from spending more time bowling in the middle. Finn's rhythm seems to be coming back and Root is suggesting that he can fill the emergency bowler role that used to go to the inceasingly rarely used Bell, Trott & KP.

  • king78787 on July 1, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    OK this might sound VERY radical but: Bairstow keeps and bats at 7. Bresnan in at 6, this places responsibility on him to bat well which means he will. Prior is dropped and Anderson, Broad, Finn, Swann make up the pace attack. Gives England respectable batting down to no9 and gives Bresnan a place.

  • trav29 on July 1, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    @whatawicket everything you said there made sense apart from the conclusion that it was the right decision to bat on. this game is meant to be about making sure we are ready for next week , what benefit did we get from seeing swann and bresnan spend that much time batting ? surely it made far more sense to declare earlier and not waste time that would have been better served elsewhere.

  • whatawicket on July 1, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    they batted on for a few reasons. 1. its a 4 day game. 2. the point is to get batting and bowling practice. 3. to win the game yes, but in a timely as to get the most out of the game we get nothing from say making them follow on because we want to bat again and we want to bowl again. 4. Bopara at the toss new this, hence the tongue in cheek expression and comment great day for batting, we will have a bowl, that's the reason he put England in to bat and that Flowers had said to him or at least hinted and the reason 4 innings game gives England the practice they want. do England want to win of course they do but as we say practice makes perfect, we hope

  • on July 1, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    The Aussie think tank will have been watching young Mills with plenty of interest. I think the English tail can now expect plenty of chin music throughout this series!

  • Mitty2 on July 1, 2013, 15:54 GMT

    Well that's awkward, just commented on mickleburgh's almost century (assuming that he was going to get one) and made the comparison to those who bagged Aus for having a somerset player who averaged 17 get a century... I guess not everything can go my way!

  • YorkshirePudding on July 1, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    @JeffG, completely agree, they should have declared overnight and had a good bowl at essex.

    Have to wait and see about the nature of Swanns injury, hopefully its just a bruise as I dont think he could have batted on with a fracture.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 1, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    @Lyndon McPaul (post on July 1, 2013, 14:19 GMT): To answer your question(s): a little from column A, and a little from column B!

    Huge blow? YES! Bowling, slip-fielding and lower-order batting severely dented!

    Series clinching? Errrr, NO - not if Hughes is the best no. 3 Aus. can come up with, and they continue to put too much onus on short-spell bowlers only.

  • jackiethepen on July 1, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    Oh well, that's it then if he's from Yorkshire, expect to see Mills in an England shirt tomorrow. Essex and Yorkshire seem the only Counties with hot lines to England. As for injury to Swann England always let their players carry on with injuries etc in the belief that toughness is good for the soul. Bell batted with a broken jaw, broken foot and tonsillitis. KP with Achilles injury, double hernia and bruised knee. Morgan with a broken finger.

  • HawK89 on July 1, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    If Cook was a great captain, he should of declared the innings once all 7 batsmen were dismissed. I don't see why the bowlers got batting practice and risking them to injury.

  • on July 1, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK....your screenname asks a very valid question but to put it a different way...Are you Nuts? or maybe just very optimistically naiive? One spinner definitely does not equal another especially when the particular spinner in question was not only the nations best but Englands next best bowler full stop. This would be a huge blow to Englands Ashes aspirations and could mean that Nathan Lyon becomes the best slow bowler of the series as I am reasonably confident of his ability to at least match Panesar. Still; it is no cause for celebration on my end as I was looking forward to Watching Swann Bowl. Still might happen though the injury seems quite nasty!

  • KingofRedLions on July 1, 2013, 14:17 GMT

    Why were England still batting in the first place?

  • emmersonne on July 1, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    As someone who got back up after a nasty fall and completed a point of Tennis last week, only to discovered my "bump" was a grade 2 torn ligament, and is now on crutches - FOR GOD'S SAKE DON'T CARRY ON IF YOU SUSPECT AN INJURY.

  • SirViv1973 on July 1, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    This is very worrying news. We simply have no replacement for Swann in the longer format. Monty dosen't seem to be able to step up when he is aked to play as the lone spinner & given Aus have so many left handers you wotld think we need a right armer anyway. Treadwell can't be the answer he's not taken a 1st class wicket all year!

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 1, 2013, 13:55 GMT

    No worries whatsoever if Swann is injured. Any one of Briggs, Tredwell, Craddock, Panesar, Rashid etc. etc. could replace him and they wouldn't write any books about it even if they did really well.

  • on July 1, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    Maybe more of a bowling prospect than Graeme Swan in the near future...;)

  • trav29 on July 1, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    absolutely mindless by the coaching staff to leave swann out there batting after that injury rather than get him off straight away and get it looked at when you consider how important he is to the team for the ashes

  • YorkshirePudding on July 1, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    Any essex fans care to comment on Mills ability, as reading the report he may be a furture prospect for England as an out and out quick bowler, on the plus side hes from yorkshire.

  • YorkshirePudding on July 1, 2013, 13:30 GMT

    Any essex fans care to comment on Mills ability, as reading the report he may be a furture prospect for England as an out and out quick bowler, on the plus side hes from yorkshire.

  • trav29 on July 1, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    absolutely mindless by the coaching staff to leave swann out there batting after that injury rather than get him off straight away and get it looked at when you consider how important he is to the team for the ashes

  • on July 1, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    Maybe more of a bowling prospect than Graeme Swan in the near future...;)

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on July 1, 2013, 13:55 GMT

    No worries whatsoever if Swann is injured. Any one of Briggs, Tredwell, Craddock, Panesar, Rashid etc. etc. could replace him and they wouldn't write any books about it even if they did really well.

  • SirViv1973 on July 1, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    This is very worrying news. We simply have no replacement for Swann in the longer format. Monty dosen't seem to be able to step up when he is aked to play as the lone spinner & given Aus have so many left handers you wotld think we need a right armer anyway. Treadwell can't be the answer he's not taken a 1st class wicket all year!

  • emmersonne on July 1, 2013, 14:14 GMT

    As someone who got back up after a nasty fall and completed a point of Tennis last week, only to discovered my "bump" was a grade 2 torn ligament, and is now on crutches - FOR GOD'S SAKE DON'T CARRY ON IF YOU SUSPECT AN INJURY.

  • KingofRedLions on July 1, 2013, 14:17 GMT

    Why were England still batting in the first place?

  • on July 1, 2013, 14:19 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK....your screenname asks a very valid question but to put it a different way...Are you Nuts? or maybe just very optimistically naiive? One spinner definitely does not equal another especially when the particular spinner in question was not only the nations best but Englands next best bowler full stop. This would be a huge blow to Englands Ashes aspirations and could mean that Nathan Lyon becomes the best slow bowler of the series as I am reasonably confident of his ability to at least match Panesar. Still; it is no cause for celebration on my end as I was looking forward to Watching Swann Bowl. Still might happen though the injury seems quite nasty!

  • HawK89 on July 1, 2013, 14:33 GMT

    If Cook was a great captain, he should of declared the innings once all 7 batsmen were dismissed. I don't see why the bowlers got batting practice and risking them to injury.

  • jackiethepen on July 1, 2013, 14:41 GMT

    Oh well, that's it then if he's from Yorkshire, expect to see Mills in an England shirt tomorrow. Essex and Yorkshire seem the only Counties with hot lines to England. As for injury to Swann England always let their players carry on with injuries etc in the belief that toughness is good for the soul. Bell batted with a broken jaw, broken foot and tonsillitis. KP with Achilles injury, double hernia and bruised knee. Morgan with a broken finger.