Invitational XI v England XI, Tour match, SCG November 15, 2013

Root, Bairstow encourage England

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CA Invitational XI 304 and 153 for 4 (Finch 59) lead England XI 418 (Trott 84, Cook 81, Root 75, Pietersen 57) by 39 runs
Scorecard

For an hour or so, Joe Root's little finger was of almost as much interest to England on day three of the tour match in Sydney as Kevin Pietersen's knee and Matt Prior's calf have been for most of the week. During an innings of 75 in which he reacquainted himself with the No. 6 position following a demotion from the top of the order, Root was struck a stinging blow on the glove by Josh Lalor and after his dismissal was sent to hospital for scans.

He returned soon after to field, however, and looked on happily enough from the slips as Jonny Bairstow completed a neat day with the bat and the gloves as he weighs up his chances of filling the same role in Brisbane next week. Bairstow's partnership with Root provided a glimpse of what may be an important middle-order alliance, should Prior not be fit, and they added 106 together before an expansive stroke sent the wicketkeeper back to the pavilion.

Afterwards Bairstow refused to admit to even the slightest hint of enthusiasm for an unfavourable injury report on Prior, though that news would return him to the Test team as the gloveman only one match after he was dropped as a batsman for the final match of the earlier Ashes encounter in England. Confident in his glovework under the tutelage of Bruce French, Bairstow acknowledged the location of big scores was the major obstacle to his development thus far.

"Everyone's hoping Matt's fit for English cricket - who wouldn't want him to be fit and taking the stage for the Gabba in that first Test?" Bairstow said. "But if that isn't the case it's an opportunity to go out there and play for your country. Over the last couple of days I've been happy with the performance I've put in behind the stumps with the gloves and if that is the case then so be it.

"It's obviously important after you make starts and go on and get that big one. That is something I didn't necessarily do in the summer and if I do get the opportunity to play that will be something I will be looking to do in this series. But it was good, tough cricket playing in the summer against Australia, the first time I'd played against them. It was a very enjoyable experience and something I'll look back on very fondly."

England's innings was wrapped up quite quickly on a wearing surface after Root's exit, the 20-year-old legspinner James Muirhead scooping four wickets for the innings to maintain the glimpses of promise he showed against Ian Bell and Pietersen on day two. That meant England's lead was only 114, and it soon dwindled as Aaron Finch set about the bowling in his preferred aggressive manner while accompanied by the more obstinate Ed Cowan.

Their stand of 81 was ended when Finch aimed one too many hearty blows at Graeme Swann, who gained some spin while dropping on to an increasingly precise length, and skied a catch to backward point. A more muted passage of play followed, as Boyd Rankin and Steven Finn both put in decent spells in their final opportunity to convince the team director, Andy Flower, of their worth as the third seamer behind James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

While he was again expensive, Finn gained some appreciable reverse swing as a rain-interrupted day drew toward its close and bowled Callum Ferguson between bat and pad with perhaps the ball of the match. Rankin was less visibly able to move the ball, but was again the more economical paceman. Bairstow acknowledged that movement with the old ball would be of major importance to the outcome of the series.

Finch's innings was what he hopes will be the first step towards bringing his brazen limited-overs style to the first-class arena, where he has struggled for some time with an approach muddled by orthodoxy when his primary skill is to play with instinct, flair and little time for steady accumulation. He was unfussed about ending the innings on a somewhat ungainly note, stating that he was now resolved to following that approach come what may.

"I've tried to curb my aggression for probably two years now and I've made about eight runs," Finch said. "I thought I'd keep going, it wasn't to be unfortunately but I still thought it was the right shot to play. I wasn't too disappointed about it. If that goes for six, who knows. I'm comfortable with myself doing that, if I try to block them I get angry at myself, so if I get out every now and then hitting one straight up I can wear that.

"It's just about assessing conditions, the stage of the game, we were a bit behind in the game and it wasn't going to be a long session so I thought it was a good opportunity to play some shots and try to put them on the back foot a little bit. It is risk/reward when you play like that and sometimes you're going to look like a bit of a goose, but I got away with it for a little while today."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | November 17, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    @landl47. I think you got him.... You know - back in England I have a very good accountant, excellent. Our long standing friend @Marcio would also make an excellent accountant, a creative accountant, with a particular taste for sour grapes. I just wonder where he was during the winter??? Clearly, he wasn't watching any cricket :-)

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | November 16, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    What series were you watching, Marcio? It can't have been the one where England had Australia 117-9 in the first innings of the first test, and 231-9 in the second innings and only the most runs for the 10th wicket in the history of test cricket saved them from being trounced. It can't have been the one where England ripped through Australia in the second innings of the 4th test in one session and won by 72 runs, and it can't have been the one where England (after reducing Australia to 111-6) scored over 200 at more than 5 an over on a fifth-day wicket and only failed to win because the umpires took the players off for bad light.

    You must have a vivid imagination if you think Australia was unlucky to lose that series.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | November 16, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    Hey @Biggus my friend - how are ya! Got a very very tasty looking series coming up. Looking forward to sharing it with you again! 5w.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | November 16, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx sorry mate I'm not following your argument. We won the last 3 series against Aus 2-1, 3-1 and 3-0 - in what sense are England on the run? The real danger - and I am not joking at all here because despite it all I love the way Aussie plays the greatest game - the real danger is that Australian youngsters are not drawn to the game in the way that they used to be. I'm back living in Australia again after a break of 10+ years and I can see the differences. I (genuinely) worry that if we give your mob another good whacking that will turn kids off of cricket even more. btw I was at the SCG today - the new stand looks great. I still miss The Hill the way it used to be though. I like your banter though - keep it up!

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | November 16, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Yorkshire 96. Agree with most of your post but Godelman! He was highly thought of early in his career, but now on his 3rd county and going backwards career wise!

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | November 16, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Another day at the office for England. Hammering Aus at cricket..yet again. All the bowlers had a good net, and England's batsmen look in fine form. Can't wait for the test series to begin, hopefully by the end of the series not every Aus fan will have deserted their team like what has happened in the past. Finn should be number 11 for me, all the rest pick themselves.

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | November 16, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    @5wombats:-Sorry mate, but this England side is not a fear inducing outfit. Mild apprehension is about the best you'll get from us.

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | November 16, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    @ Marcio thing is that it was 15 minutes away from 4-0! You cannot deny that. You guys dominated at the Oval but what can you criticise? Clarke's captaincy for being for being reckless or his bowlers for not being good enough on a 5th day wearing pitch? Maybe both. England won the important sessions and 4-0 may have flattered England but that is sport! Going through the gears when necessary. I think you are kidding yourself and posters like you just confirm what poor losers Aussies are. Indian & English pitches, DRS, injuries...yawn! Just get over it! I remember Slater not getting given run out at the SCG in 99, when England 'probably' would have won - can I chalk that down to 2-2 then and call you guys lucky? What about the injuries England had in 2001, 2002/3 or 2006/7.Can I dismiss them? Of course not! You guys were way better. Sometimes it is better to just admit you lost. '05 was not merely down to McGrath's injury & you were not better in '09 too. You kid yourself but nobody else

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | November 16, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    @5wombats: There's no fear among the Australians as there in nothing left to lose. Losing 3 times or 4 times makes no difference, but losing after winning is the real danger.

    The only people who are nervous are the English as they are the ones on the run, and sooner rather than later, will be caught.

  • POSTED BY cricketsubh on | November 16, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    i donot think bairstow is ready for test cricket yes england pick him to grow him for the future but his tecnic need to be improve if he want play test cricket in 12 test bat avg 30 not sound great and as a kipper i donot think he matches parior also.i think prior should play in the 1st test every one in england say england will win the ashes but i donot think that in australia beating australia is hard job only south africa dose that 2 in last 20 years yes england beat aus in 2010 ashes in australia but this australian team is diffrent with so many young plasyers coming up like smith.fulkner.berly.dollen i think aus will win the ashes 3-0

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | November 17, 2013, 8:24 GMT

    @landl47. I think you got him.... You know - back in England I have a very good accountant, excellent. Our long standing friend @Marcio would also make an excellent accountant, a creative accountant, with a particular taste for sour grapes. I just wonder where he was during the winter??? Clearly, he wasn't watching any cricket :-)

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | November 16, 2013, 13:12 GMT

    What series were you watching, Marcio? It can't have been the one where England had Australia 117-9 in the first innings of the first test, and 231-9 in the second innings and only the most runs for the 10th wicket in the history of test cricket saved them from being trounced. It can't have been the one where England ripped through Australia in the second innings of the 4th test in one session and won by 72 runs, and it can't have been the one where England (after reducing Australia to 111-6) scored over 200 at more than 5 an over on a fifth-day wicket and only failed to win because the umpires took the players off for bad light.

    You must have a vivid imagination if you think Australia was unlucky to lose that series.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | November 16, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    Hey @Biggus my friend - how are ya! Got a very very tasty looking series coming up. Looking forward to sharing it with you again! 5w.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | November 16, 2013, 8:34 GMT

    @xtrafalgarx sorry mate I'm not following your argument. We won the last 3 series against Aus 2-1, 3-1 and 3-0 - in what sense are England on the run? The real danger - and I am not joking at all here because despite it all I love the way Aussie plays the greatest game - the real danger is that Australian youngsters are not drawn to the game in the way that they used to be. I'm back living in Australia again after a break of 10+ years and I can see the differences. I (genuinely) worry that if we give your mob another good whacking that will turn kids off of cricket even more. btw I was at the SCG today - the new stand looks great. I still miss The Hill the way it used to be though. I like your banter though - keep it up!

  • POSTED BY espncricinfomobile on | November 16, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Yorkshire 96. Agree with most of your post but Godelman! He was highly thought of early in his career, but now on his 3rd county and going backwards career wise!

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Lunge on | November 16, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Another day at the office for England. Hammering Aus at cricket..yet again. All the bowlers had a good net, and England's batsmen look in fine form. Can't wait for the test series to begin, hopefully by the end of the series not every Aus fan will have deserted their team like what has happened in the past. Finn should be number 11 for me, all the rest pick themselves.

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | November 16, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    @5wombats:-Sorry mate, but this England side is not a fear inducing outfit. Mild apprehension is about the best you'll get from us.

  • POSTED BY Jaffa79 on | November 16, 2013, 7:45 GMT

    @ Marcio thing is that it was 15 minutes away from 4-0! You cannot deny that. You guys dominated at the Oval but what can you criticise? Clarke's captaincy for being for being reckless or his bowlers for not being good enough on a 5th day wearing pitch? Maybe both. England won the important sessions and 4-0 may have flattered England but that is sport! Going through the gears when necessary. I think you are kidding yourself and posters like you just confirm what poor losers Aussies are. Indian & English pitches, DRS, injuries...yawn! Just get over it! I remember Slater not getting given run out at the SCG in 99, when England 'probably' would have won - can I chalk that down to 2-2 then and call you guys lucky? What about the injuries England had in 2001, 2002/3 or 2006/7.Can I dismiss them? Of course not! You guys were way better. Sometimes it is better to just admit you lost. '05 was not merely down to McGrath's injury & you were not better in '09 too. You kid yourself but nobody else

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | November 16, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    @5wombats: There's no fear among the Australians as there in nothing left to lose. Losing 3 times or 4 times makes no difference, but losing after winning is the real danger.

    The only people who are nervous are the English as they are the ones on the run, and sooner rather than later, will be caught.

  • POSTED BY cricketsubh on | November 16, 2013, 4:43 GMT

    i donot think bairstow is ready for test cricket yes england pick him to grow him for the future but his tecnic need to be improve if he want play test cricket in 12 test bat avg 30 not sound great and as a kipper i donot think he matches parior also.i think prior should play in the 1st test every one in england say england will win the ashes but i donot think that in australia beating australia is hard job only south africa dose that 2 in last 20 years yes england beat aus in 2010 ashes in australia but this australian team is diffrent with so many young plasyers coming up like smith.fulkner.berly.dollen i think aus will win the ashes 3-0

  • POSTED BY foozball on | November 16, 2013, 2:33 GMT

    "It is risk/reward when you play like that and sometimes you're going to look like a bit of a goose, but I got away with it for a little while today."

    "but I got away with it for a little while today."

    This is why I don't want to see Finch anywhere near the test team. If you need to gamble that much for a quickfire 50, I'd suggest you're doing it wrong.

  • POSTED BY Marcio on | November 16, 2013, 0:22 GMT

    HumungousFungus, the Australian batting did not repeatedly collapse in ENG. When Australia won the toss & batted first they dominated & only bad weather saved ENG - AUS posted the only 400+ scores of the series. ENG won 2 games narrowly & dominated 1 when they won the toss (no rain). That tells you that Swann won them the test series when he got to bowl on worn wickets (manufactured for him). In AUS Swann will be an economy bowler, as always. This means that if AUS win the toss three times this series they will win back the Ashes. I don't think the ENG media & some fans realise how close ENG came to being beaten - & beaten well - in ENG, in several of the tests. Despite Millhouse79s standard silliness about England being 15 minutes away from 4-0, we might also say that AUS were two rain interruptions & a Brad Haddin feather-nick away from a 3-2 win.

  • POSTED BY on | November 15, 2013, 21:19 GMT

    Cricketing Stargazer - I would be very wary of bringing Bresnan back for the second test. It is not a minor injury he has suffered and he should have plenty of match practice before being considered for a test otherwise he could have a relapse. For an attacking policy go for Finn, for a defensive policy go for Rankin, if that fails send a call to Onions.

  • POSTED BY willsrustynuts on | November 15, 2013, 21:06 GMT

    Pup, Smithy, Watto and Bails... or as they are otherwise known... the Bash St. Kids

  • POSTED BY Bonehead_maz on | November 15, 2013, 20:59 GMT

    @ Posted by JG2704 on (November 15, 2013, 10:49 GMT) I agree with @ geoffboyc on (November 15, 2013, 13:03 GMT) and worry England will have a 5th bowling option (because I'd like to see Anderson worn down early this season). I worry if your point is adopted Bairstow and Stokes might bat 6 & 7, and it might "release "Finn to be a covered gamble. BTW the tracks will be roads in my opinion.

  • POSTED BY 5wombats on | November 15, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    Broad is going to torture the Aussies. He was hard to get away. Aussies hate to not be able to score. They get frustrated and then they get out. Their batting is technically frail and mentally weak. Broad will be all over them like a rash. I don't know why Aussies are bigging up their bowlers so much - only Harris is any good and sadly he is injury prone. The rest are, well - others. I just can't see Aus bowlers giving the England top order any many problems. All of our boys are in the runs. Only KP has not made a tour hundred and you can bet any money you like he'll score big runs during this Ashes series. England bowlers are just better than the Aus ones and England batsmen are just better than the Aus ones. CA putting out weak opposition against England on super flat pitches doesn't say much for the approach of CA to this tour. Truth is my English friends - not too many Aussies here are looking at this series positively. You can smell the fear.

  • POSTED BY Charlie101 on | November 15, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    The pundits seem certain that Bresnan will play in the next test but I do wonder if he will be at all ready . He will have to bowl exceptionally well in a match before being let loose in a test I think.

    I have to believe it will be Finn or Rankin as Tremlet was rested and had to really impress in warm up matches after a very average summer and he did not impress !!! Our selectors generally do make the right choices ( Panasar 1st test India excluded ) and both Finn and Rankin will perform well if selected.

    Swann will be a handful if there is some bounce in the wicket ( though it may not spin that much ) and certainly the Aussies are extremely nervous of him

  • POSTED BY yorkshire-86 on | November 15, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    Cook, Root, Trott, KP, Bell, Bairstow, Prior, Broad, Swann, Fin, Anderson. That should be the starting XI. Carberry is nowhere near good enough to play cricket at this level, never was good enough to play cricket at this level, and never will be good enough to play cricket at this level. Someone like Godleman or Lyth should have been given a go at international level rather than bringing back a tried and tested failure in Carberry.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | November 15, 2013, 19:31 GMT

    @milepost- 5 v. 2? Hmmm- that would be Harris if he stays fit, Johnson if he isn't wild, Siddle if he can get his pace above medium, Watson if he can bowl at all and Faulkner if Aus decide they only need 5 batsman. I take it you're not counting Lyon, because if Swann isn't effective you can bet your bottom dollar Lyon won't be.

    I think I'm leaning towards England's 2 over that group.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | November 15, 2013, 19:22 GMT

    Well, day 3 solved absolutely nothing. Root batted fluently and looked in no trouble whatever until having a swish at the end of the innings. Bairstow kept wicket very well- good footwork, fast hands- but didn't look that great batting and was lucky to get to 48.

    Then Finn bowled one spell that was horrible and rightly got carted all over the field and one spell that was much better, with a great ball to dismiss Ferguson and a couple of others that might have got wickets (maybe England can get him to bowl his second spell first?). Rankin was tight and got lift, but didn't look like getting wickets. His wicket came from a wild overhead swipe by Rohrer.

    So England are back where they started. I don't think Carberry is the answer to the opener slot, but Root looked better down the order. Bairstow kept well, but didn't bat well enough to be convincing and if Prior is fit then Prior hasn't got any runs. None of the 3 lanks have made a case to be 3rd seamer.

    Good luck, selectors!

  • POSTED BY CodandChips on | November 15, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    If we want a wicket taker, go with Finn. If we want reliability, (well Onions ideally) none of the lankys are up to it, maybe Rankin. Is it not too late for the SOS call to Onions and Jordan, the two better performers in the championship.

    Good to see Root and Jonny B scoring some runs. Hopefully this will give them the confidence to score lots of runs in the series, and then be the leading lights for us in the future.

    On Prior, if he is fit, he will play, unless Bairstow scores a mammoth hundred and keeps outstandingly well. Prior is on the list of "untouchables", which includes Cook, Bell, Trott, KP, Prior, Swanny, Jimmy, Broad

  • POSTED BY on | November 15, 2013, 16:31 GMT

    Finn's record is very impressive, 90 wickets in 23 Tests at less than 30. Finn has to play.

  • POSTED BY on | November 15, 2013, 16:29 GMT

    I hope they go for Finn. When on form Finn is the 2nd best bowler we have. He needs to work out a way of getting on form quickly for series, which he hasn't done yet.

  • POSTED BY HumungousFungus on | November 15, 2013, 15:17 GMT

    @geoffboyc I would imagine that England are probably thinking that whether Australia's batsmen step up their form or not, four bowlers has meant England winning two thirds of the Test series that they have played since they last seriously played 5 bowlers (2009 Ashes), with only two defeats (Pakistan away in 2011/12 and SA home in 2012) over the same period.

    Although they would never say so in public, I strongly suspect that England's mindset would be that Anderson, Broad, and Swann are going to do the bulk of the damage anyway, and anything positive from the fourth bowler will be a bonus until such a time as Bresnan comes back into the team

    The pitches will be different in Australia, but I find it hard to believe that what is virtually the same Australian batting order that collapsed repeatedly in England will have undergone sufficient changes in mindset and technique to render the likely outcome significantly different...

  • POSTED BY 2MikeGattings on | November 15, 2013, 14:32 GMT

    @milepost Are you telling us that Aussie are going with 5 seamers? Long live the revolving door selection policy.

    Or is it that you can't count? :)

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | November 15, 2013, 14:30 GMT

    It seems as though the batting order is working itself out as Root makes runs down the order with a degree of comfort not shown at no.2. Contrariwse The identity of third seamer seems less certain and to an extent England have hampered themselves with their choices for the tour. However I do not think Onions would have been an answer so the selectors wouild have been limited in their choices. Finn is too much of a liability to my way of thinking, having these Hapsburg moments with the regularity of any member of that now defunct Imperial family. If offered another chance would Haddin get the Aussies over the line instead? Rankin-not quite there yet though less chancey. Tremlett? Well it would annoy some certainly. I am glad Bairstow got through the experience well enough to have enjoyed himself.But Prior will be there if he's upright. Never has the return of Bresnan though been so eagerly awaited...On reflection I would go Tremlett for 3rd seamer,I think,but I may change my mind.

  • POSTED BY on | November 15, 2013, 14:21 GMT

    In situations like these you've just got to pick your most consistent, economical, wicket-taking bowlers. That means Anderson, Broad, Swann and Onions... oh wait, he's not there is he...

  • POSTED BY on | November 15, 2013, 14:02 GMT

    For what it's worth I think Finn has to play. we have to look to the future and I for one would rather play Finn as third seamer and let him get as much experience as possible whilst Anderson and Broad are fit and playing. I believe Tremlett and Rankin are only there as injury cover. If Finn is injured get Ben Stokes in the test team - we need to look to the future. Consider Anderson and how long it has taken him to "come good" - age is against Tremlett, Rankin (and Onions) and to be honest if at least one of Broad, Anderson and Swann don't fire then it doesn't really matter which is the third seamer - we will struggle to bowl Australia out twice!

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | November 15, 2013, 13:56 GMT

    @milepost This takes us back to the 2010/11 series when Finn played the first two Tests and took wickets, but was expensive. Tim Bresnan replaced him for the 3rd Test and the rest was history. An Tim Bresnan is expected to be available for selection for the 2nd Test, if he gets through his match between the two Tests.

    I would go for Finn, because we want 20 wickets and he his going to be the attacking option more than Rankin whose strike rate on this tour is the poorest of the four main quicks.

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | November 15, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    @JG2704: Normally I agree with 95% of what you post but, I'm afraid that you have a real blind spot when it comes to Bairstow. Sounds like he had a decent day, so well played...however, although Prior had a dire summer, Bairstow's average against Oz in the last series was 29. Hardly a convincing argument for his inclusion. True he averaged 45 against NZ at home, but previously he had scored 9 in 2 innings against the Kiwis away, and 9 in 1 innings against India. I'd suggest that Bairstow was lucky to be on the plane let alone in the team.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | November 15, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    @geoffboyc (post on November 15, 2013, 13:03 GMT): the only way I see Stokes getting a game or two is if England decide to (once again) tinker with the infamous number 6 slot, and trial him as an all-rounder. I can't ever see him being used as part of a four-man bowling attack.

    England, in all likelihood, will never play five specialist bowlers - and certainly not when there are injury concerns (albeit rather slight at the moment) over the likes of Cook (back) and KP (knee). As much as I (and a few other frequent posters here) would like to see it, it's best to give up on 5-1-5. Besides, the likes of Root, KP, Bell and Trott can turn the arm over for a few overs...

  • POSTED BY geoffboyc on | November 15, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    Is Stokes out there as the social secretary? And what makes us think that England can win this series playing just four bowlers if the Aussies step up on their summer batting form.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Sponge on | November 15, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    Agree with Milepost & R_U_4_REAL_NICK, spin might not be such a factor in the series. I'm not so sure Tremlett is a sure thing @Train but you might be right. I wonder what Onions needs to do to get a game for England? Finn is a mystery, he has all the attributes to bowl well but doesn't seem to have the mental game together. Rankin is untested but I think would go OK. Tremlett has been bowling in the 120's and low 130's for a year so that would be a curious selection.

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | November 15, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    @Train Stationer - because Tremlett has looked massively ineffective so far? Really don't think, from what we've seen of him in both warm ups, that he has justified his selection to be honest.

    So that leaves Finn or Rankin. England's preferred strategy is to 'bowl dry' and on this evidence, that seems to put Rankin ahead. Some people have talked of Finn's wicket-taking, but he cleaned up the tail in the first innings and got some clatter here; it's not as if he's ripping out good players. Rankin also outbowled him quite comprehensively in the ODI series vs Aus at the end of the English summer. I'd go with Big Boyd.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | November 15, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    @milepost (post on November 15, 2013, 9:49 GMT): To me, if Swann ties an end down and keeps his economy low (~2 per over) then he's doing a good job - regardless of whether he picks up the wickets or not. Anderson and Broad both seem to be on song; yes Finn is definitely a risk with his economy, but as I posted earlier I'd be willing to take this risk as he seems to have more of a 'wicket-taking aura' about him. It will be a character-building exercise for Swann as he's generally quite attacking and loves to be in the limelight, and there's no better way for this than taking a clatter of wickets. Alas, in Australian conditions on the wickets being predicted, the spinner's main role will most likely be containment rather than attack. The likes of Warne are gone...

  • POSTED BY on | November 15, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    Finn and Rankin are not competing for the 3rd semar slot but for 1st reserve. The 3rd seamer has already been chosen, why else would they rest tremlett?

    The puzzle is why aren't they getting Panesar some time in the middle, he'll be much more effective than Swann against RH Aussie batsmen

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | November 15, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    I suppose this was a fair workout for the England players.

    Obviously the main issue is the 3rd seamer. Judging purely by the figures Finn looks to have lost a bit of control again with Boyd having very tight figures. Without seeing these games it's difficult to judge. The other issue 1stly depends on the fitness of Prior. But (if Prior) I wonder if they will consider making an eyebrow raising decision and keeping Jonny in there? I certainly wouldn't write such a character as Matt off but if we take things at face value - during the English Summer Jonny averaged better than Matt in both series and Matt's glovework wasn't the best either. Food for thought?

  • POSTED BY Cyril_Knight on | November 15, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    Finn or Rankin then? We'll find out a lot about England's approach to the series by this selection. If Finn is chosen then we know England are confident of scoring big runs and will play positive cricket. If Rankin is chosen we know they will approach in a similar way to the summer; cautious, do just enough to win.

    I hope they go with Finn for Brisbane and stick with him until Bresnan returns. He has that X-factor of real pace (90mph plus) and if the pitches are as predicted, pacy, he will get his confidence up and steam in and do some damage. Rankin and Tremlett just don't have that extra something, while Finn's may be potential, at least it is there.

  • POSTED BY milepost on | November 15, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    It's good to see both teams hitting some form, honestly I just want a good series. Finn might get the nod but as third seamer his economy rate might be a concern? It's such a big risk if the pitches take Swann out of the equation which they look likely to do. It could be 5 bowlers vs 2 if Finn flops.

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  • POSTED BY milepost on | November 15, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    It's good to see both teams hitting some form, honestly I just want a good series. Finn might get the nod but as third seamer his economy rate might be a concern? It's such a big risk if the pitches take Swann out of the equation which they look likely to do. It could be 5 bowlers vs 2 if Finn flops.

  • POSTED BY Cyril_Knight on | November 15, 2013, 10:01 GMT

    Finn or Rankin then? We'll find out a lot about England's approach to the series by this selection. If Finn is chosen then we know England are confident of scoring big runs and will play positive cricket. If Rankin is chosen we know they will approach in a similar way to the summer; cautious, do just enough to win.

    I hope they go with Finn for Brisbane and stick with him until Bresnan returns. He has that X-factor of real pace (90mph plus) and if the pitches are as predicted, pacy, he will get his confidence up and steam in and do some damage. Rankin and Tremlett just don't have that extra something, while Finn's may be potential, at least it is there.

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | November 15, 2013, 10:49 GMT

    I suppose this was a fair workout for the England players.

    Obviously the main issue is the 3rd seamer. Judging purely by the figures Finn looks to have lost a bit of control again with Boyd having very tight figures. Without seeing these games it's difficult to judge. The other issue 1stly depends on the fitness of Prior. But (if Prior) I wonder if they will consider making an eyebrow raising decision and keeping Jonny in there? I certainly wouldn't write such a character as Matt off but if we take things at face value - during the English Summer Jonny averaged better than Matt in both series and Matt's glovework wasn't the best either. Food for thought?

  • POSTED BY on | November 15, 2013, 11:07 GMT

    Finn and Rankin are not competing for the 3rd semar slot but for 1st reserve. The 3rd seamer has already been chosen, why else would they rest tremlett?

    The puzzle is why aren't they getting Panesar some time in the middle, he'll be much more effective than Swann against RH Aussie batsmen

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | November 15, 2013, 11:10 GMT

    @milepost (post on November 15, 2013, 9:49 GMT): To me, if Swann ties an end down and keeps his economy low (~2 per over) then he's doing a good job - regardless of whether he picks up the wickets or not. Anderson and Broad both seem to be on song; yes Finn is definitely a risk with his economy, but as I posted earlier I'd be willing to take this risk as he seems to have more of a 'wicket-taking aura' about him. It will be a character-building exercise for Swann as he's generally quite attacking and loves to be in the limelight, and there's no better way for this than taking a clatter of wickets. Alas, in Australian conditions on the wickets being predicted, the spinner's main role will most likely be containment rather than attack. The likes of Warne are gone...

  • POSTED BY SDHM on | November 15, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    @Train Stationer - because Tremlett has looked massively ineffective so far? Really don't think, from what we've seen of him in both warm ups, that he has justified his selection to be honest.

    So that leaves Finn or Rankin. England's preferred strategy is to 'bowl dry' and on this evidence, that seems to put Rankin ahead. Some people have talked of Finn's wicket-taking, but he cleaned up the tail in the first innings and got some clatter here; it's not as if he's ripping out good players. Rankin also outbowled him quite comprehensively in the ODI series vs Aus at the end of the English summer. I'd go with Big Boyd.

  • POSTED BY Front-Foot-Sponge on | November 15, 2013, 12:54 GMT

    Agree with Milepost & R_U_4_REAL_NICK, spin might not be such a factor in the series. I'm not so sure Tremlett is a sure thing @Train but you might be right. I wonder what Onions needs to do to get a game for England? Finn is a mystery, he has all the attributes to bowl well but doesn't seem to have the mental game together. Rankin is untested but I think would go OK. Tremlett has been bowling in the 120's and low 130's for a year so that would be a curious selection.

  • POSTED BY geoffboyc on | November 15, 2013, 13:03 GMT

    Is Stokes out there as the social secretary? And what makes us think that England can win this series playing just four bowlers if the Aussies step up on their summer batting form.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | November 15, 2013, 13:46 GMT

    @geoffboyc (post on November 15, 2013, 13:03 GMT): the only way I see Stokes getting a game or two is if England decide to (once again) tinker with the infamous number 6 slot, and trial him as an all-rounder. I can't ever see him being used as part of a four-man bowling attack.

    England, in all likelihood, will never play five specialist bowlers - and certainly not when there are injury concerns (albeit rather slight at the moment) over the likes of Cook (back) and KP (knee). As much as I (and a few other frequent posters here) would like to see it, it's best to give up on 5-1-5. Besides, the likes of Root, KP, Bell and Trott can turn the arm over for a few overs...

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | November 15, 2013, 13:54 GMT

    @JG2704: Normally I agree with 95% of what you post but, I'm afraid that you have a real blind spot when it comes to Bairstow. Sounds like he had a decent day, so well played...however, although Prior had a dire summer, Bairstow's average against Oz in the last series was 29. Hardly a convincing argument for his inclusion. True he averaged 45 against NZ at home, but previously he had scored 9 in 2 innings against the Kiwis away, and 9 in 1 innings against India. I'd suggest that Bairstow was lucky to be on the plane let alone in the team.