The Ashes 2013-14 November 17, 2013

England 'clear' on third seamer - Saker

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England's bowling coach, David Saker, has suggested that the management have made up their minds over the troublesome third seamer slot for the first Ashes Test. In the absence of Tim Bresnan, who is continuing to recover from a back stress fracture, it is set to come down to a straight choice between Chris Tremlett, Steven Finn and Boyd Rankin to support James Anderson and Stuart Broad in Brisbane.

Finn has not been selected in Tests since a disappointing display against Australia at Trent Bridge in the summer and Tremlett last played for England in the UAE at the start of 2012. Tremlett was part of the squad for the final match of the previous Ashes but England chose to alter the balance of the side and play Chris Woakes and Simon Kerrigan instead. Rankin, meanwhile, could be in line for a Test debut a year after retiring from Ireland duty to pursue an England career.

Each of the bowlers has played two matches so far on tour, Finn leading the way in terms of wickets (11) but with the highest economy. Rankin has taken seven wickets, Tremlett just one but the latter was seen working with Anderson in the SCG nets, rather than playing the final warm-up game, leading some to tip him for a recall. Saker was not revealing in which direction his cap is set, however.

"I think we're pretty clear in our minds where we're going to go," he said. "There's a few more days to go. I'm not going to announce who's going to play. But we're confident where we are ... we're pretty clear who we're going to pick, and we'll go from there. There probably is a chance that it would be up for grabs, but we're pretty clear. If someone wants to jump the queue, they've got a couple of days to do that.

"I know that the guys that we've got in this group are good enough - and we're prepared, and we're ready for this challenge. I'm confident on Thursday, whoever we go with will be ready."

While Saker conceded that the three contenders had "probably not" bowled as well as he would have liked in the warm-up games, he rejected the idea that whoever comes in could be singled out by Australia's batsmen as the weak link of the attack. "Teams might target certain players on our team, but we pride ourselves as a group to do the job really well," he said. "I know as a bowling group we'll put pressure on them.

"If they do want to come after our bowlers, good luck to them - if they're good enough to do that. But if they're doing that, there's a good chance we'll get some chances."

Bresnan is expected to come back into contention as the tour goes on. He flew out with the squad and England hope to play him in the two-day match against a Cricket Australia Chairman's XI in Alice Springs after the Gabba Test; he could also be involved in a game for the England Performance Programme, who have joined the senior players in Brisbane. Saker said that the Yorkshire quick could be available to play in Adelaide.

"He's going along really well, so we really hope he's ready for the second Test," Saker said. "We think he will be. That's in the medical department's hands - but he's making some really good progress.

"He's bowling at 100 percent in the nets now. We've just got to get some overs into him so we're confident that he can get through five days. He'll most likely play in that Alice Springs game."

Bresnan took ten wickets at 29.60 in three appearances during the Ashes in England, in particular troubling Shane Watson, while he claimed 11 in two Tests during the last tour Down Under. He was tagged as England's lucky mascot after being involved in victories in each of his first 13 Tests and, although that record has dipped a little, his control and all-round utility remain attractive qualities to Saker and Andy Flower.

"He's a reliable cricketer, a fantastic cricketer for us,'' Saker said. "Whether it weakens our team [to be without him], it's debatable - but he's a very dependable player with the bat and the ball.

"He does a great job for us, and he's very understated. So it's always a shame that he's not available for selection. But looking down the line, he's going to be available and again add pressure to positions."

Such is the mystery surrounding the third man of England's pace attack that it wouldn't be a surprise to spot Harry Lime lurking in a darkened corner of the Gabba shortly before the start of the first Test. While David Saker would not name names after being put up to speak to the press in Brisbane, reports suggest that it was all he could do to stop himself doodling pictures of Chris Tremlett's 6ft 7in frame on the nearest notepad.

That may come as a surprise, given that Tremlett has taken one wicket at a cost of 146 runs in his two warm-up games. But Tremlett is a famous Saker hunch, taken on the previous tour to Australia after a respectable, but not spectacular, season in Division Two for Surrey and having not played a Test in three years. Stuart Broad's injury created an opening and he took 17 wickets in three games, suggesting he would finally fulfil his hulking potential at international level.

Familiar injury problems have struck since then and his last England appearance was in Dubai at the start of 2012. At 32, he is still one wicket shy of 50 in Tests; Steven Finn, the youngest England bowler to the mark, did so aged 22. But Finn's wickets, quick as they come, are not so cheap and Saker said "he still needs more work" after taking 8 for 191 in the final tour match in Sydney. Boyd Rankin, meanwhile, seems a little way off the Test side, despite impressing in a variety of commissions since switching his allegiance from Ireland.

So, it may come down to Saker's gut again. "In the last week I've seen a big change in Chris Tremlett, so that was a really pleasing thing for us," he said of their net sessions in Sydney. A confidence player, once described as "soft" by Shane Warne, Tremlett will probably know by now if he is the chosen man. England are making the right noises but a significant test awaits. The lamb became a lion three years ago but Australia will have slaughter on their minds at the Gabbatoir come Thursday. Alan Gardner

Alan Gardner is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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  • blink182alex on November 17, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    It seems as if they are going to go with Tremlett although i wouldn't be surprised if they picked Rankin to play. His speed in the odi's was consistently around 90mph and he has got better so far during the tour.

    From what i've seen Tremlett isn't the same bowler as he was in 2010, in the Aus A game his pace was way down rarely getting over 82mph. I'm not really that concerned with Bresnan either, his Ashes record is good but overall as a test bowler he is only average. It;s his batting which gets him infront of others, go back last year and India & S.Africa didn't lose too much sleep over him as he took 1 wicket in 3 tests.

  • on November 19, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    To those saying pace isn't everythign, don't forget philander has Steyn up the other end. No one likes pace, no one, and having 3 blokes 85+ is going to be very hard work for the Aussies. Phil Hughes and the crowd are going to be jumping all over the place. Can't wait.

  • on November 19, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    Finn has a strike rate of about 48 balls per wicket in 23 tests and 90 wickets at 29. He is 24 his contenders are 29 and 32-one has never played test cricket,the other very little. Despite the past year,and mixed coaching advice about his action etc,I expect him to Be our leading bowler in a couple of years,but they won't play him at Brisbane because of Sakers obsession with economy rate bowlers,thought the game was all about taking wicket Not tying down an end.

  • on November 19, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    I feel for Steven Finn, 8 wickets in the lead up match and about to be left out for someone that has been on the sidelines for over a year (I think Tremlett is a top shelf bowler, but has not proved he is ready yet out on the field post injury). Finn is the youngest England bowler to reach 50 wickets, yet no one seems to care. He was the leading wicket taker in the previous Ashes series down under after 2 or 3 tests series, then dropped after one game. Apparently on field performance doesn't matter, its a wonder he hasn't just hung up the England shirt and focused on being a T20 mercenary...

  • JG2704 on November 18, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    @5wombats on (November 18, 2013, 18:28 GMT) For all their so called attention to detail our management don't always learn so well do they? I mean folk talk about playing Bresnan when he was not fully fit and now we're doing the same. You mention about the India 1st test and not going in with 2 spinners. Well they did similar in UAE and with similar results and that was the very same year. Sure the series went 3-0 to Pakistan but the 2nd/3rd tests were much closer with Eng having periods of ascendancy which they never had in the 1st test. I also remember them playing a half fit Broad in the 1st SL test and that turned out to be a huge mistake. To be fair though , I supported the risk because Broad had such a good series in UAE , but here (if CT plays) they'd be risking a guy who isn't doing Jack anyway

  • 5wombats on November 18, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    Well, I watched Finn and Rankin at the SCG and they both looked ok. Different kinds of bowlers of course. All a bit puzzling - maybe a bit of smoke and mirrors from England management playing the journos - in order to keep Aussie guessing. If Lurch does come in then I'd be fairly astounded. It doesn't make a lot of sense picking CT unless the management know something we don't. Even so - England selected badly for the first Test in India - failing to pick Monty - who's to say that they won't pick badly again? In the end the pitch in Brisbane will dictate. I think Finn will play, even though he was flakey at times in England. Don't forget - Broad and Anderson bowled quite beautifully at the Gabba last time. They are talking about a bouncy pitch, but there is ify weather forecast with cloud 27-31 degrees. And here I am heading back to England! Boo hoo!

  • JG2704 on November 18, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    @Basingrad on (November 18, 2013, 14:43 GMT) Personally , I'm not pace obsessed and never have been , but that seems to be the reason why CT is there - to hit the deck hard etc etc. There's one small difference between Philander and Tremlett. One takes lots of wickets - the other doesn't And as I have mentioned elsewhere , if he is a stock bowler then I presume they're going to want to get a good workload out of him and if he's blowing after a few overs (as some have said) then that role doesn't look great either

  • Basingrad on November 18, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    Why is everyone on here so pace obsessed?! It's as if Vernon Philander didn't exist... pace is patently not everything. It's about skill. And there's a lot of talk of Rankin being more accurate than Finn. Well, he may have been a bit straighter on this tour (albeit still getting his length wrong) but he hardly has a reputation for bowling the right areas. Tremlett bowling as the stock bowler, who is hard to get forward to and keeps it tight, frees up Anderson and Broad, our best bowlers, to attack. I can easily see Finn or Rankin getting targeted and Cook being forced to use one of his spearheads to stem the flow. We do not want that. We need a replacement for Bresnan - we don't have one. But Tremlett is the one most likely to do a similar job, so he should play. Especially as none of them can bat or field, so it's purely down to their role in a balanced bowling attack.

  • Sigismund on November 18, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    Some seem to be arguing that, because Tremlett hasn't taken many wickets recently, he's a bowler who can't take wickets. There's no such thing. Rather, you might say he's due a sackful...

  • on November 18, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    if Tremlett plays then its time Flower is sacked or resigns. Having a 12 foot tall bowler bowling at 80mph wont do England any good whatsoever.

  • blink182alex on November 17, 2013, 15:05 GMT

    It seems as if they are going to go with Tremlett although i wouldn't be surprised if they picked Rankin to play. His speed in the odi's was consistently around 90mph and he has got better so far during the tour.

    From what i've seen Tremlett isn't the same bowler as he was in 2010, in the Aus A game his pace was way down rarely getting over 82mph. I'm not really that concerned with Bresnan either, his Ashes record is good but overall as a test bowler he is only average. It;s his batting which gets him infront of others, go back last year and India & S.Africa didn't lose too much sleep over him as he took 1 wicket in 3 tests.

  • on November 19, 2013, 11:59 GMT

    To those saying pace isn't everythign, don't forget philander has Steyn up the other end. No one likes pace, no one, and having 3 blokes 85+ is going to be very hard work for the Aussies. Phil Hughes and the crowd are going to be jumping all over the place. Can't wait.

  • on November 19, 2013, 6:42 GMT

    Finn has a strike rate of about 48 balls per wicket in 23 tests and 90 wickets at 29. He is 24 his contenders are 29 and 32-one has never played test cricket,the other very little. Despite the past year,and mixed coaching advice about his action etc,I expect him to Be our leading bowler in a couple of years,but they won't play him at Brisbane because of Sakers obsession with economy rate bowlers,thought the game was all about taking wicket Not tying down an end.

  • on November 19, 2013, 2:25 GMT

    I feel for Steven Finn, 8 wickets in the lead up match and about to be left out for someone that has been on the sidelines for over a year (I think Tremlett is a top shelf bowler, but has not proved he is ready yet out on the field post injury). Finn is the youngest England bowler to reach 50 wickets, yet no one seems to care. He was the leading wicket taker in the previous Ashes series down under after 2 or 3 tests series, then dropped after one game. Apparently on field performance doesn't matter, its a wonder he hasn't just hung up the England shirt and focused on being a T20 mercenary...

  • JG2704 on November 18, 2013, 20:17 GMT

    @5wombats on (November 18, 2013, 18:28 GMT) For all their so called attention to detail our management don't always learn so well do they? I mean folk talk about playing Bresnan when he was not fully fit and now we're doing the same. You mention about the India 1st test and not going in with 2 spinners. Well they did similar in UAE and with similar results and that was the very same year. Sure the series went 3-0 to Pakistan but the 2nd/3rd tests were much closer with Eng having periods of ascendancy which they never had in the 1st test. I also remember them playing a half fit Broad in the 1st SL test and that turned out to be a huge mistake. To be fair though , I supported the risk because Broad had such a good series in UAE , but here (if CT plays) they'd be risking a guy who isn't doing Jack anyway

  • 5wombats on November 18, 2013, 18:28 GMT

    Well, I watched Finn and Rankin at the SCG and they both looked ok. Different kinds of bowlers of course. All a bit puzzling - maybe a bit of smoke and mirrors from England management playing the journos - in order to keep Aussie guessing. If Lurch does come in then I'd be fairly astounded. It doesn't make a lot of sense picking CT unless the management know something we don't. Even so - England selected badly for the first Test in India - failing to pick Monty - who's to say that they won't pick badly again? In the end the pitch in Brisbane will dictate. I think Finn will play, even though he was flakey at times in England. Don't forget - Broad and Anderson bowled quite beautifully at the Gabba last time. They are talking about a bouncy pitch, but there is ify weather forecast with cloud 27-31 degrees. And here I am heading back to England! Boo hoo!

  • JG2704 on November 18, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    @Basingrad on (November 18, 2013, 14:43 GMT) Personally , I'm not pace obsessed and never have been , but that seems to be the reason why CT is there - to hit the deck hard etc etc. There's one small difference between Philander and Tremlett. One takes lots of wickets - the other doesn't And as I have mentioned elsewhere , if he is a stock bowler then I presume they're going to want to get a good workload out of him and if he's blowing after a few overs (as some have said) then that role doesn't look great either

  • Basingrad on November 18, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    Why is everyone on here so pace obsessed?! It's as if Vernon Philander didn't exist... pace is patently not everything. It's about skill. And there's a lot of talk of Rankin being more accurate than Finn. Well, he may have been a bit straighter on this tour (albeit still getting his length wrong) but he hardly has a reputation for bowling the right areas. Tremlett bowling as the stock bowler, who is hard to get forward to and keeps it tight, frees up Anderson and Broad, our best bowlers, to attack. I can easily see Finn or Rankin getting targeted and Cook being forced to use one of his spearheads to stem the flow. We do not want that. We need a replacement for Bresnan - we don't have one. But Tremlett is the one most likely to do a similar job, so he should play. Especially as none of them can bat or field, so it's purely down to their role in a balanced bowling attack.

  • Sigismund on November 18, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    Some seem to be arguing that, because Tremlett hasn't taken many wickets recently, he's a bowler who can't take wickets. There's no such thing. Rather, you might say he's due a sackful...

  • on November 18, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    if Tremlett plays then its time Flower is sacked or resigns. Having a 12 foot tall bowler bowling at 80mph wont do England any good whatsoever.

  • CapitalMarkets on November 18, 2013, 11:05 GMT

    @JAH123 Onions is not the Simon Kaitich of English cricket. He is not 38, he doesn't fall out with the England captain and he is a team player. He is also the only swing bowler of Anderson's type we have. Even given Anderson's extraordinary durability it is astonishing that Tremlet was taken and Onions left behind. That decision could soon be as misguided as blooding a little known spinner at the Oval with an eye on the forthcoming Ashes series in Australia. With the greatest respect to the spinner, he wasn't going to make an impact on the Ashes in Australia. England's selectors are not immune from the odd stupid decision and if they persist with only four bowlers, they can't afford to blow a raspberry with 25% of the attack.

  • JG2704 on November 18, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    Personally I think the reasons for selecting CT here are lame. Yes his ER is way better than Finn's but his wicket threat (on paper) looks so minimal. Surely (no matter how much you value strangling the scoring) you want some wicket threat. Another point made by some is about Tremlett's fitness/stamina. If you want a player to hold an end up (strangling the scoring) then you want him to bowl longer spells - no? For me the "Sane" choice would be Rankin judging by the WU games. His wicket taking threat may not be the same as Finn's but his ER is significantly better and his ER may be slightly down on CT's but his WT threat is significantly better. Surely picking a seamer in a 3 (seamer) attack who neither takes wickets or can bowl long spells is not even a gamble

  • JG2704 on November 18, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    @JAH123 - Yes but arguments against him playing tell you that he struggled in 2 warm up games in India and NZ last year. So I guess it depends what you want - someone who does it week in week out in the CC or a guy who took wickets last time in Australia but has done nothing much of note since

  • JG2704 on November 18, 2013, 10:34 GMT

    mikeyp147 - I'd say on form that Onions has the reason to feel most aggrieved. Nick has more reason to feel aggrieved as they asked him to guest for Worcs which he did and did much better than the 2 Yorkies who were vying for 2 positions and was never given an opportunity

    @Jim Palmer - Mahmood is a poor comparison. For 1 Finn's ER is .4 better but more importantly is that Finn is consistently taking wickets despite his less than average ER. His average is still 30 despite his ER probs - Saj was near 40

    @Cyril_Knight -If true - It would though seem baffling as to why Tremlett wasn't playing in the 3rd WU as surely 8 wicketless overs isn't enough to either shed the rust or confirm that it's the right choice

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 18, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    @Paul Rone-Clarke (post on November 18, 2013, 8:37 GMT): Think you'll find Stokes IS there on tour, and some of the others you mentioned are in the Lions squad. The fact the selectors aren't going anywhere near them shows there ain't no panic at all.

  • on November 18, 2013, 8:37 GMT

    @izzidole. Yeah - imaginfd the panic - not knowing which third seamer - all of which are better than the Aussie third seamer - to play.

    The fact that Onions, Mills, Overton, Roland-Jones, Stokes and others are not even on the tour, and many think are a fair bit better than some of those that are shows just how many seamers England have to call on.

    3-1 to England. Aussies will win the odd session on individualk brilliance from Clarke or the mercurial Johnson - but that won't win them the series - not even close.

  • KnightRider12155 on November 18, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    I don't think Tremlett is a good option... Go with Rankin... Or Go with all Pace attack... Swann won't do well in Aussie conditions.... I go with England winning this Ashes series too in 4-1 margin and Baily will have the troney of his life!

  • Gozunder on November 18, 2013, 5:03 GMT

    Give Rankin a go, he's impressed with his pace over the summer

  • THOR7 on November 18, 2013, 4:53 GMT

    For god's sake give a chance to Chris Tremlett! This could be his Ashes. With his height and pace, he will be an asset in Aussie conditions. If the pitch assist Fast Bowlers, go With J.Andy, C.Tremlett. Finn and Rankin... Aussis will cry!

  • Beertjie on November 18, 2013, 4:15 GMT

    Given that "bowling dry" mantra, it's got to be Tremlett. Target him and Swann, if we bat first.

  • jimbond on November 18, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    Apart from their height, these three have nothing to scare the Aussies. The wickets have to primarily come from Anderson, and if Broad bowls an inspired spell, and one or two wickets for Swann. And as England continue the defensive ploy of playing with four bowlers two of whom (Broad and Swann) can hold a bat, their batting looks very strong. But if Anderson and Broad don't fire in a particular match, they will struggle to take 20 wickets.

  • JAH123 on November 18, 2013, 3:15 GMT

    The non-selection of Onions in this squad mind boggling. He has taken over 130 FC wickets in the last two Councty seasons at an average of under 20, and has a test average of just under 30 from 9 matches, including 4-88 in his last outing. He is basically the Simon Katich of English cricket.

  • CricShanghai on November 18, 2013, 3:13 GMT

    There's no significant changes in the Australian camp compared to the England tour so I believe the result will likely be the Englishmen retaining the ashes trophy. Furthermore, the Englishmen were doing pretty well in their warm-up games with no major problems. I believe the slow bowlers will be critical in wrapping up the tail-enders even in the dull Australian pitches. Good luck to Cook and his fellow team mates!

  • jmcilhinney on November 18, 2013, 3:11 GMT

    @izzidole on (November 18, 2013, 2:12 GMT), I'm curious to know exactly what it is that that you believe indicates panic. Sounds rather like you're just making things up to me.

  • izzidole on November 18, 2013, 2:12 GMT

    Looks like England is already panicking in the absence of Tim Bresnan who is the third seamer while Australia is taking it easy despite the uncertainty of Watson being able to bowl and the injuries to pacemen Pattinson, Starc, Bird and Cummins.Surely aussie born coach David Saker would know better and whom to pick between Finn, Tremlett and Rankine having played under Australian conditions for Victoria in the Sheffield Shield.No doubt England's bowlers have come a long way under David Saker. Once again thanks to the aussie connection.

  • kensohatter on November 18, 2013, 0:51 GMT

    The 3rd bowling spot is a weakness in this English side but with Bres back it will only be short term. Id give Rankin a crack. Hes young, taken wickets,tall, quick and I think most importantly is the most likely to snare Clarke.

  • Mitty2 on November 18, 2013, 0:14 GMT

    In the first warm up Tremlett looked very average against the worst state side's second XI. He was not only bowling too short, too slow, but was also expensive. Rankin offered more control, more pace and more wickets. Finn will obviously take more wickets than Tremlett will, but seriously tried to lose Eng the game in TB and shows no signs of getting more control. From that I'm not sure how Eng can choose anyone but Rankin. In the second warm up Tremlett was bowling 125km/h and looked seriously tired and puffed just from a few mediocre overs. How can Eng choose him?

  • AlbertT99 on November 17, 2013, 23:19 GMT

    Tremlett played in Division 1 for Surrey, not div 2 - yet...

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on November 17, 2013, 23:08 GMT

    It's as every England fan feared at the very beginning of the tour: because they [ECB] didn't bring Onions, they're forced into picking the 'least worst of the bunch' they did bring for whatever reasons, as opposed to an outright clear-cut choice.

    I think I'd still go for Finn, as I'm confident Anderson and Swann are both already miserly enough to risk some expense from Finn-knee at the higher chance of a breakthrough. Rankin has been consistently economical, but hasn't come across as a surprise wicket taker (ala Bresnan); Tremlett? Quite forgettable really - is he still there on tour? It's a good job Root, KP, Bell and Trott can bowl a few overs - I get the feeling they'll have to in some games.

    Some people say "mind games"? Really? I doubt any Australians will lose any sleep whatsoever about the lack of announcements. Last seamer's position is naught but a very small piece in an already built and well-oiled machine.

  • landl47 on November 17, 2013, 21:58 GMT

    Why all the uncertainty? Michael Clarke has already picked the England side.

    I don't know who they will choose, but Rankin in the second innings of the final warm-up game looked pretty fearsome to me. If he pitches it a yard further up he'll be very difficult to counter.

    I just wish he didn't belong to the Monty Panesar School of Fielding.

  • ShutTheGate on November 17, 2013, 21:53 GMT

    I'll be stoked from an Australian perspective if they pick Rankin. Hopefully Brensnan takes his time to rehabilitate.

  • Cyril_Knight on November 17, 2013, 21:53 GMT

    England don't pick on form so don't use that in any reasonable argument. If England chose players because of their form then neither Finn, Tremlett or Rankin had good enough County seasons to justify being on tour.

    Statements from the England camp keep suggesting that Tremlett is charging in bowling with enough pace and hostility - in the nets.

    What we have to remember too is that so many journalists on tour are very close friends with insiders in the camp, many are insiders themselves and they often stay in the same hotels. So if they say Tremlett is in, he probably is.

  • on November 17, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    Anyone remember Saj Mahmood? A few years ago he had pace, height, bounce, and questionable control. Sounds like Finn....but without the tendency to take wickets. And he was never heard from again, back to county cricket for good.

    Maybe Bresnan will be fit for Adelaide. Until then, I'd hate to be stuck with this "trilemma."

  • StJohn on November 17, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    I just wonder if Tremlett's pace is OK but bowling from his height and also taking into account where the ball pitches and the angle of bounce, the speedometer still accurately reflects his pace? My trigonometry's very, very rusty these days, but isn't it the case that if you're taller and the ball pitches from a steep angle then the ball actually has to travel a tiny bit further before it passes the batsman? I also remember some sort of technology gizmo where they show the speed of the ball slowing down after pitching, and I think the steeper the angle the more it slows down. I may well be completely wrong, but might these factors knock a couple of mph off the apparent speed. But then if Rankin & Finn are the same height and their speed is quicker (according to the speedo), then that probably undermines this possibility (unless they're pitching the ball up more?)?! Possibly bonkers, but just a thought!

  • SICHO on November 17, 2013, 20:12 GMT

    I think England should go with Rankin, he can do what Bresnan was doing for England and do it better with pace and some lift too; keeping it tight and a few odd wickets. Its not like Bresnan was a super bowler of some sort you know

  • Front-Foot-Sponge on November 17, 2013, 20:03 GMT

    Looks pretty clear that it is a mystery. I actually think Rankin would be the best pick, he has more control than Finn but you get control from Broad and Anderson. Problem is that that's not enough if they play Finn and Tremlett who I really like as a cricketer seems short of even genuine fast-medium pace the last 12 months. Mock me but I really think this will cost England the Ashes.

  • on November 17, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    In Tests it is not the economy rate but the need to take 20 wickets so as to win. It should be Finn all the way. I cannot see how Tremlett comes into the equation at all.

  • Nutcutlet on November 17, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    As I have commented elsewhere, it is highly likely to be Tremlett. He is the sane choice for the first match and his job will be to be as miserly as possible. Wickets will come through the Ozzie bats getting tired of grinding things out & self-destructing. And, difficult though it is for some to understand, the bowlers hunt as a pack & a kill for one is a kill for all, but for that to become reality, there has to be no easy pickings -- which is where Finn comes unstuck. Only the estimable Chris Rogers will keep his focus. The likes of Warner & Watto will lose the mind game, fret away & then throw it away; it's in their DNA. Throwing in Boyd Rankin on debut at the Gabba is unthinkable; there is no need to gamble. This first Test is a holding exercise anyway - a draw will be fine, as it was last time. Then Bresnan is back in genuine contention for Adelaide on 5/12/13. Tremlett has bowled 40 overs & conceded 100-120, possibly with a couple of scalps. Job done.

  • anton1234 on November 17, 2013, 19:20 GMT

    Its going to be Rankin. Rankin has the pace and control. Finn has the pace but no control at the moment.Tremlett looks short on pace. I actually think Finn has the most potential of the three to be most threatening but at the moment he is leaking runs too easily.

  • mikeyp147 on November 17, 2013, 19:03 GMT

    Will people please accept that Onions is not in the squad, never has been, and - barring injury - never will be. So he can't possibly play at Brisbane.

    He has every right to feel aggrieved, but certainly no more than Compton, who has been treated more harshly than anyone in recent memory.

  • mikeyp147 on November 17, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    @Jon Peters. There's no mystery. Did you watch the last Ashes series? Brad Haddin swiping him across the line repeatedly? Cook scared to actually bowl him? His being dropped - again - to avoid haemorrhaging runs?

    His economy rate is just too high to risk. For my money it has to be Rankin, given that Tremlett is, according to reports, no more threatening than your average 2nd XI trundler these days. And there's no one else to choose from.

  • SDHM on November 17, 2013, 18:55 GMT

    Tremlett wasn't taken to Australia last time on a 'hunch' - he was picked because he took close to 50 wickets on a flat Oval track with good carry, the sort of surfaces England expected to find in Australia. If he is picked this time in the face of all the evidence the coaches can see in front of them and on the basis of how well he bowled in a seires that ended in January 2011 it would be ridiculous. It is not how this England management tends to work.

  • 2MikeGattings on November 17, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    England's turn for a bit of mind games!

  • Sigismund on November 17, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    Nonsense, fellas - it has got to be the Tremulator. He's the only dangerous bowler of the lot. Finn is a massive disappointment. He may be a tall man, but he is not actually a tall bowler: watch his delivery, he crumples over and doesn't release from any great height. His figures are unduly flattering: mostly mops up the tail, only picks up the odd slogger in the Aussie top order - confused by his erratic scattergun - with rank balls. His frequent 4-balls, willsrustynuts, destroy all the effort put in by his superior colleagues, robbing them of deserved wickets; so I for one care about them a great deal. Also, I don't much like it that some are putting TB up as some sort of messiah. A worthy toiler who is quite useful on his day - no more than that.

  • on November 17, 2013, 18:22 GMT

    I would have picked Onions. That would have solved the problem.

  • on November 17, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    It would be staggering if Tremlett played. Not picked to play the last warm up game and regularly bowling entire overs well under 80mph (during one spell in the previous warm up game nearly every ball was in the 75-77 range - that's barely second XI pace. It's not as if they were straight, or they seamed...swang..nothing. What's the point of that? Surely if he was likely to play he would have been in the final warm up game. Rankin seems a far better bet. 6 foot 8 (an inch taller than Tremlett)Tight bowling - pressure bowling - and 88mph plus all the time. This is exactly what England have looked for year after year and it has bought them consistent success. Why mess with that now?

  • on November 17, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    To say that Tremlett is down on pace 82mph is not correct, if you look at the 2010-11 Ashes series you will find that the majority of his deliveries then were bowled at around 82mph with only the odd quicker ball. It was his accuracy and awkward lift that caused batsmen problems.

    To bring up Bresnan's ineffectiveness against South Africa/India last year is misleading. He had undergone surgery early in 2012 which had not been successful and required further surgery in early 2013to rectify the problem.

  • on November 17, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    Pick Finn, whats the mystery?

  • Jaffa79 on November 17, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    I am not convinced by any of them. Finn has the tools to be a formidable bowler but his action and run up looks very fragile and England need a 3rd seamer than will bowl a lot of overs to keep the pressure and possibly injuries away from Jimmy and Broad. Rankin was my pick but could he be another McCague and bowl short garbage at the Gabba? Tremlett's body just isn't up to it I feel. I don't care if he is bowling 80-82 as if he gets in the rights areas from his height, he'd be a handful. Problem is, that he doesn't look penetrating at all. I reckon, if I were Roland-Jones, Topley, Overton or Jordan, I'd work hard this winter, as I think there will be opportunities next English summer.

  • CodandChips on November 17, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    Why on earth do people think Tremlett is going to play? Seriously? He has been poor. To win a test match you need to take 20 wickets. Simple. Therefore he cannot play. Finn takes wickets, fact. Nut he does release pressure, which is why they might go with Rankin. I personally like Finn because he takes wickets, is young, is English, and is the quickest of the trio. Also he is the most experienced in terms of both Test cricket and Ashes cricket (but tbh I don't care about that, but others might). Also, if there are any doubters still, Finn is the only one out of the three who ahas performed in county cricket (apologies, I don't know the stats, and on this logic, ONIONS and Jordan should be here).

    But my opinion is meaningless and England will go with Rankin. I reckon they trust him and his control. Furtermore he bowled well in the ODIs. Also I'm sure Ashley Giles will have a say.

  • JG2704 on November 17, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    I'm starting to think that they'll go for Rankin which if true , I have no real issues with. Finn is showing no more control now than when they dropped him so I don't see him being picked if they are being consistent. Surely if they were going to pick Tremlett - 8 tight but wicketless overs in the 2nd match was not enough to get him the gig without wanting another look at him. Logic tells me he'd have played the 3rd game (having played only 8 overs in the 2nd) if they were seriously thinking of picking him. Rankin seems to be taking wickets (like Finn) - not bucketloads but who is? - but figures suggest he's showing more control. I wouldn't be against either Finn or Rankin getting the 1st test but the more I think about it , the more likely it is that they'll pick Boyd

  • Cyril_Knight on November 17, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    Tremlett working in the nets with Anderson is hardly evidence that he will be picked. What else was he going to do?

    @blink182alex Tremlett believes he is the same bowler, he keeps telling anyone who will listen. But Tremlett in 2010 did not average 78mph and was not restricted to four or five over spells. It was quite embarrassing watching those final overs in Hobart.

    England too keep talking him up; things like him having batsmen hopping around in the nets. If he is doing this and does play and bowl quickly then he must have been bowling within himself for the last year, which is an insult to people like me who have spent a lot of money and time supporting him at The Oval.

    Go Goober!

  • on November 17, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    Picking Bresnan would only make sense in a 5-man attack. Tremlett is the obvious choice for 3rd seamer.

  • JG2704 on November 17, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    In the same paragraph Saker says , pretty clear , up for grabs and jumping the queue. Not sure if he's having a laugh but if they're pretty clear - being that there's no more warm up games - how can there be any queue jumping? The talk seems to be that Tremlett will be the man but I struggle to see why. He must be showing alot more in the nets than he is out in the middle. Cork (whose opinion I usually agree with) feels that Tremlett has some sort of psychological hold on the Aus batsmen. But

    1 - Half the batsmen would not have played against Tremlett last time out and the 3 that will have (without checking) Clarke,Watson and maybe Warner are surely all too experienced to be psyched out

    2 - I could see how Cork's thinking could hold some water had they not seen anything of him but in 2 games he played he has taken 1 wicket for 146

  • willsrustynuts on November 17, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    Finn. Not sure what the issue is with the management but his stats add up and who cares if he bowls the odd 4 ball when he takes wickets regularly at sub 30. Give the lad a chance to get into his stride...

  • thebatsmansHoldingthebowlersWilley on November 17, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    I'd go for Rankin. Give the guy a chance. Tremlett is down on pace and doesn't look threatening. Finn is a known quantity, he will take wickets but is likely to bowl too many 4 balls. Rankin looks like he can keep it tight and nip in with the odd wicket. That's all we need him to do.

  • thebatsmansHoldingthebowlersWilley on November 17, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    I'd go for Rankin. Give the guy a chance. Tremlett is down on pace and doesn't look threatening. Finn is a known quantity, he will take wickets but is likely to bowl too many 4 balls. Rankin looks like he can keep it tight and nip in with the odd wicket. That's all we need him to do.

  • willsrustynuts on November 17, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    Finn. Not sure what the issue is with the management but his stats add up and who cares if he bowls the odd 4 ball when he takes wickets regularly at sub 30. Give the lad a chance to get into his stride...

  • JG2704 on November 17, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    In the same paragraph Saker says , pretty clear , up for grabs and jumping the queue. Not sure if he's having a laugh but if they're pretty clear - being that there's no more warm up games - how can there be any queue jumping? The talk seems to be that Tremlett will be the man but I struggle to see why. He must be showing alot more in the nets than he is out in the middle. Cork (whose opinion I usually agree with) feels that Tremlett has some sort of psychological hold on the Aus batsmen. But

    1 - Half the batsmen would not have played against Tremlett last time out and the 3 that will have (without checking) Clarke,Watson and maybe Warner are surely all too experienced to be psyched out

    2 - I could see how Cork's thinking could hold some water had they not seen anything of him but in 2 games he played he has taken 1 wicket for 146

  • on November 17, 2013, 16:13 GMT

    Picking Bresnan would only make sense in a 5-man attack. Tremlett is the obvious choice for 3rd seamer.

  • Cyril_Knight on November 17, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    Tremlett working in the nets with Anderson is hardly evidence that he will be picked. What else was he going to do?

    @blink182alex Tremlett believes he is the same bowler, he keeps telling anyone who will listen. But Tremlett in 2010 did not average 78mph and was not restricted to four or five over spells. It was quite embarrassing watching those final overs in Hobart.

    England too keep talking him up; things like him having batsmen hopping around in the nets. If he is doing this and does play and bowl quickly then he must have been bowling within himself for the last year, which is an insult to people like me who have spent a lot of money and time supporting him at The Oval.

    Go Goober!

  • JG2704 on November 17, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    I'm starting to think that they'll go for Rankin which if true , I have no real issues with. Finn is showing no more control now than when they dropped him so I don't see him being picked if they are being consistent. Surely if they were going to pick Tremlett - 8 tight but wicketless overs in the 2nd match was not enough to get him the gig without wanting another look at him. Logic tells me he'd have played the 3rd game (having played only 8 overs in the 2nd) if they were seriously thinking of picking him. Rankin seems to be taking wickets (like Finn) - not bucketloads but who is? - but figures suggest he's showing more control. I wouldn't be against either Finn or Rankin getting the 1st test but the more I think about it , the more likely it is that they'll pick Boyd

  • CodandChips on November 17, 2013, 16:38 GMT

    Why on earth do people think Tremlett is going to play? Seriously? He has been poor. To win a test match you need to take 20 wickets. Simple. Therefore he cannot play. Finn takes wickets, fact. Nut he does release pressure, which is why they might go with Rankin. I personally like Finn because he takes wickets, is young, is English, and is the quickest of the trio. Also he is the most experienced in terms of both Test cricket and Ashes cricket (but tbh I don't care about that, but others might). Also, if there are any doubters still, Finn is the only one out of the three who ahas performed in county cricket (apologies, I don't know the stats, and on this logic, ONIONS and Jordan should be here).

    But my opinion is meaningless and England will go with Rankin. I reckon they trust him and his control. Furtermore he bowled well in the ODIs. Also I'm sure Ashley Giles will have a say.

  • Jaffa79 on November 17, 2013, 16:41 GMT

    I am not convinced by any of them. Finn has the tools to be a formidable bowler but his action and run up looks very fragile and England need a 3rd seamer than will bowl a lot of overs to keep the pressure and possibly injuries away from Jimmy and Broad. Rankin was my pick but could he be another McCague and bowl short garbage at the Gabba? Tremlett's body just isn't up to it I feel. I don't care if he is bowling 80-82 as if he gets in the rights areas from his height, he'd be a handful. Problem is, that he doesn't look penetrating at all. I reckon, if I were Roland-Jones, Topley, Overton or Jordan, I'd work hard this winter, as I think there will be opportunities next English summer.

  • on November 17, 2013, 17:05 GMT

    Pick Finn, whats the mystery?

  • on November 17, 2013, 17:12 GMT

    To say that Tremlett is down on pace 82mph is not correct, if you look at the 2010-11 Ashes series you will find that the majority of his deliveries then were bowled at around 82mph with only the odd quicker ball. It was his accuracy and awkward lift that caused batsmen problems.

    To bring up Bresnan's ineffectiveness against South Africa/India last year is misleading. He had undergone surgery early in 2012 which had not been successful and required further surgery in early 2013to rectify the problem.