Prime Minister's XI v England XI, Tour match, Canberra January 14, 2014

England claim rare tour victory

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England 8 for 264 (Buttler 61, Ballance 56, Muirhead 3-52) beat Prime Minister's XI 92 (Bopara 4-3) by 172 runs
Scorecard

England won a game on Australian soil for the first time since mid-November, although there were still a couple of areas of concern despite the wide margin of victory. Alastair Cook's run of single-figure scores continued and England were in a spot of bother at 5 for 129 halfway through the match but Gary Ballance and Jos Buttler struck fifties before the bowlers dismantled the Prime Minister's XI in 26 overs.

With Mitchell Johnson in line to return for Australia in Brisbane on Friday, having sat out the first ODI, footage of Cook and Joe Root falling to the pace of Brett Lee - 37 years old but still with a click in his heels - will doubtless make the video dossier compiled by Darren Lehmann's analysts. Root followed up a 23-ball 3 on Sunday with 1 off 14 balls in Canberra and, without a half-century since making 87 in the second Test, his form is a cause for concern.

Ravi Bopara was again deployed as England's fifth bowler and he ran through to tail to produce eye-catching figures of 4 for 3 from three overs. The rest of the attack all performed creditably, against a batting line-up that seasoned youth with a couple of experienced hands; Boyd Rankin, Chris Jordan, Tim Bresnan and James Tredwell sharing five wickets.

"It's great to get a win. It's going to be a morale-boost for everyone, no matter who it is against," Buttler said afterwards, his comments reflecting just how difficult this tour has become for England since they beat a CA Invitational XI in Sydney two months ago, in the final warm-up before the Tests.

"There were a lot of positives that came out of today. We got up to a challenging total and put them under pressure straight away with the ball. We had a lot of energy and we really tried to target early wickets and we got those. Everyone is pleased to get a win and hopefully we can take that momentum forward to Brisbane."

As in Melbourne, which ended in a six-wicket win for Australia, Cook won the toss and chose to bat, only to be sent back inside the first over - this time caught behind off a short ball from Lee. Root also did not last long but Michael Carberry, in the side for Ian Bell, steadied the innings with 47, only for another wobble to ensue. Ballance compiled 56, with just three boundaries, and Buttler then added 80 in partnership with Bresnan to help post a competitive total - perhaps aided by Lee only bowling seven overs, due to the heat.

With Steven Finn again left out - his tour remains stuck in a rut - and Ben Stokes rested, Rankin and Jordan continued to lead the pace attack. Jordan made the opening incision, as Peter Handscomb dragged on for 8, and Rankin then struck twice in consecutive overs. When Brad Hodge, another former Australia international in his late thirties, who top-scored with 28, picked out Carberry in the deep trying to slog Tredwell's offspin, the PM XI were struggling on 4 for 58.

Bopara then had a hand in each of the last five wickets to fall, including a run-out, as the end came quickly. The chances of Australia being similarly obliging at the Gabba appear slim.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | January 14, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    I wonder whether the pitch was a bit tricky, with England posting a score similar to the last ODI against a lesser attack and a PM XI batting lineup falling significantly short of what you'd expect. I wonder whether we'll see Carberry play the next ODI in place of Root. Root has plenty of talent but he's out of form at the moment and does seem better suited to playing lower down the order. I think that England need to experiment a bit with different batting lineups but I think they'll need to move Root down to #4 or #5 to get the best out of him, at least for a awhile.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | January 16, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    Turning point for England?

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | January 15, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    If this is what Tony Abbot's XI looks like we need a change of government.....I hope we don't have to see him bowl at some point.

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | January 15, 2014, 11:19 GMT

    Other than give the good folk of Canberra, the dubious pleasure of watching a poor touring side, what exactly was the point of this match?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 15, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    @CodandChips on (January 14, 2014, 21:12 GMT) Dont agree re the Warwickshire connection. Those guys you mentioned have all played very decent cricket in a winning team. However I do agree that Bell and probably certain other players are undroppable in any format

    @Cubey on (January 14, 2014, 21:20 GMT) Buttler is much more exciting than KP these days

    @neil99 on (January 15, 2014, 2:17 GMT) So if Wright is a bits and pieces player then how do you work out Ravi is not?

  • POSTED BY Digimont on | January 15, 2014, 9:39 GMT

    As a resident Canberran, I'm VERY glad I didn't pay good money to go and watch this game (tickets go on sale well before the team is announced - I would have tried to sell my ticket if I'd bought one). The side put up as the PM's X1 was disrespectful to the spectator. The days when the PMs XI was made up entirely of players knocking on the door of the test side appear to be long gone. All very well not giving England opposition, but what about the paying public? Not good enough CA.

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | January 15, 2014, 8:02 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer - agree re the substandard County teams supplied by ECB for many years now against Oz. Actually this is the 1st series in Oz where we have purposely given you an equal return of bad sportmanship - the last series here had some very good opposition teams - which is probably a sign that we have finally got sick & tired of the poor (childish) treatment, but we have also dropped down to the same level, so not overly fond of this change but can see the reasons behind it...

  • POSTED BY Ross_Co on | January 15, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    I dare say this game will be seen as the triumph of the tour.

  • POSTED BY on | January 15, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    lol rednwhite army. aus picked 4 batsmen a keeper and 6 bowlers and you somehow think this is a reflection of batting prowess. Only one batsman in the entire lineup currently plays SS cricket. Super bowlers youre bunch have.

  • POSTED BY map27871 on | January 15, 2014, 4:56 GMT

    What a joke 'C' team,I would say 'Z' team.I hope that great win has helped the poms.Please!!!What was the point of playing the game after the first ODI and against a team that may beat a first grade side!!!!!Bowling side was ok but the batting side was nearly non existent!!!!Total waste of time,pommies should have blown up about it.Did Craig Mcdermott pick the team?

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | January 14, 2014, 12:05 GMT

    I wonder whether the pitch was a bit tricky, with England posting a score similar to the last ODI against a lesser attack and a PM XI batting lineup falling significantly short of what you'd expect. I wonder whether we'll see Carberry play the next ODI in place of Root. Root has plenty of talent but he's out of form at the moment and does seem better suited to playing lower down the order. I think that England need to experiment a bit with different batting lineups but I think they'll need to move Root down to #4 or #5 to get the best out of him, at least for a awhile.

  • POSTED BY Meety on | January 16, 2014, 8:50 GMT

    Turning point for England?

  • POSTED BY Biggus on | January 15, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    If this is what Tony Abbot's XI looks like we need a change of government.....I hope we don't have to see him bowl at some point.

  • POSTED BY brusselslion on | January 15, 2014, 11:19 GMT

    Other than give the good folk of Canberra, the dubious pleasure of watching a poor touring side, what exactly was the point of this match?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 15, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    @CodandChips on (January 14, 2014, 21:12 GMT) Dont agree re the Warwickshire connection. Those guys you mentioned have all played very decent cricket in a winning team. However I do agree that Bell and probably certain other players are undroppable in any format

    @Cubey on (January 14, 2014, 21:20 GMT) Buttler is much more exciting than KP these days

    @neil99 on (January 15, 2014, 2:17 GMT) So if Wright is a bits and pieces player then how do you work out Ravi is not?

  • POSTED BY Digimont on | January 15, 2014, 9:39 GMT

    As a resident Canberran, I'm VERY glad I didn't pay good money to go and watch this game (tickets go on sale well before the team is announced - I would have tried to sell my ticket if I'd bought one). The side put up as the PM's X1 was disrespectful to the spectator. The days when the PMs XI was made up entirely of players knocking on the door of the test side appear to be long gone. All very well not giving England opposition, but what about the paying public? Not good enough CA.

  • POSTED BY zenboomerang on | January 15, 2014, 8:02 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer - agree re the substandard County teams supplied by ECB for many years now against Oz. Actually this is the 1st series in Oz where we have purposely given you an equal return of bad sportmanship - the last series here had some very good opposition teams - which is probably a sign that we have finally got sick & tired of the poor (childish) treatment, but we have also dropped down to the same level, so not overly fond of this change but can see the reasons behind it...

  • POSTED BY Ross_Co on | January 15, 2014, 7:51 GMT

    I dare say this game will be seen as the triumph of the tour.

  • POSTED BY on | January 15, 2014, 5:02 GMT

    lol rednwhite army. aus picked 4 batsmen a keeper and 6 bowlers and you somehow think this is a reflection of batting prowess. Only one batsman in the entire lineup currently plays SS cricket. Super bowlers youre bunch have.

  • POSTED BY map27871 on | January 15, 2014, 4:56 GMT

    What a joke 'C' team,I would say 'Z' team.I hope that great win has helped the poms.Please!!!What was the point of playing the game after the first ODI and against a team that may beat a first grade side!!!!!Bowling side was ok but the batting side was nearly non existent!!!!Total waste of time,pommies should have blown up about it.Did Craig Mcdermott pick the team?

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | January 15, 2014, 3:05 GMT

    @cricket_ahan on (January 15, 2014, 1:35 GMT), did Bresnan and Rankin not play in the Test matches? Anderson and Broad are both being rested.

  • POSTED BY jmcilhinney on | January 15, 2014, 3:04 GMT

    @neil99 on (January 15, 2014, 2:17 GMT), I can't agree with your assessment of Luke Wright as a bits & pieces player. He's a genuine batsman who bowls a bit. His List A average is exactly 1 run less than the same Michael Lumb whom you propose to include. I would say that Wright's bowling option is worth that 1 run.

  • POSTED BY neil99 on | January 15, 2014, 2:22 GMT

    @ Nutcutlet

    "then it does contain a safety-valve 6th bowler in Bopara" - yeah, but most other teams have a 6th, 7th and 8th safet valve.

    A far too generous appraisal of the bowling unit. Collectively they have a handful of caps and not the experience to win matches. Woakes is woeful - economy rate near 6 - just how is that going to regin in Warner & co? Briggs and Jordan and cleary very inexperienced and England will never play 2 spinners.

  • POSTED BY neil99 on | January 15, 2014, 2:17 GMT

    Drop Cook and Root. Can't believe the epitome of a "bits and pieces" cricketer - Luke Wright appears on these boards. Things will degenerate even quicker if low quality players like this make the team, so a small variation on that theme means certainly no Woakes or Dernbach either. Bresnan and Tredwell are not too far away from this category, but needs must.

    It's obvious to say, but the team is severely weaker without KP, Anderson and Broad - especially the bowling unit.

    Hales/Lumb/Carberry, Bell, Bopara, Ballance, Morgan (capt), Buttler (w/k), Stokes, Bresnan, Jordan, Tredwell, Rankin

  • POSTED BY cricket_ahan on | January 15, 2014, 1:35 GMT

    Cook needs to be rested. Eoin Morgan is a better man, at least at this point in time, to be taking the reigns of captaincy in the one-day format. Not only does he have experience captaining, he is, by nature, a more tuned player to ODIs and in better form with the bat. Root also needs to be rested - he is wasting too many balls and is struggling to even take easy singles. Also, why are none of the test bowlers playing - they are still good bowlers, esp Stuart Broad. My playing 11: 1. Bell 2. Carberry 3. Ballance 4. Morgan 5. Bopara 6. Buttler 7. Stokes 8. Woakes/Bresnan 9. Broad 10. Tredwell 11. Anderson/Finn

  • POSTED BY RednWhiteArmy on | January 15, 2014, 1:34 GMT

    Wow, australias batting stocks look absolutely shockingly bad.

  • POSTED BY maddy20 on | January 15, 2014, 1:19 GMT

    Lifted? Australia fielded a "C" team, with not one regular player in the XI. Calling this a "performance" and sying they were "lifted" is a joke!

  • POSTED BY trigga315 on | January 15, 2014, 1:15 GMT

    @landl47 Cutting and Mcdermott have fallen along way down the pecking order for ODI selection McKay, Coutner-Nile, Siddel, Pattinson, Harris, Johnson, Sandhu, Bird (mentioned), Faulkner, Cummins, Hastings and Hazelwood are all infront of Mcdermott and most infront of Cutting. Cutting is out of form and has to earn his spot back and averaging 50 in FC this season and 30 in the Big Bash with an economy of nearly 10 won't get him back in.

  • POSTED BY on | January 15, 2014, 0:52 GMT

    Cook is only in the side because he is captain - give the poor lad a rest. At the very least drop him down the order.

    My XI:

    Carberry, Bell, Bopara, Morgan(c), Ballance, Buttler(wk), Stokes, Woakes, Jordan, Bresnan, Tredwell.

    A more aggressive side which can get runs from the start and keep scoriing all down the order. And six bowlers.

  • POSTED BY shot274 on | January 14, 2014, 22:14 GMT

    wow-this match makes headline news on Cricinfo! Id guess that things must be pretty dire for England!!!!

  • POSTED BY disco_bob on | January 14, 2014, 22:13 GMT

    England looked like they are going to fall for 'the gambler's fallacy' where they think Cook and Root are surely due for a big one this time. They are both caught between a rock and a fast pace, either they stay rooted without scoring or they hit out and get cooked.

  • POSTED BY jb633 on | January 14, 2014, 21:51 GMT

    @xtraflgax, you are not wrong there mate. Finn has been butchered by the English coaching staff and I said this 3 years ago that we were filling his head with rubbish. In the Ashes we won down under he was dropped and the ECB management released a press statement telling the world he gives too many runs away. Why are we doing that to a young strike bowler who's job is to take wickets and nothing else. It annoyed me a lot back then and it has annoyed me ever since that we seem to be trying to make him into something he is not. Why do we want another bog average bowler like Tim Bresnan anyway? Let him bowl quickly, take wickets and if he goes for runs so be it. There is no point trying to deprive him of his best assets by telling him he has got to do something that doesn't come naturally to him. I am afraid to say he is the classic example of what can happen when coaches get into someone's head and take the fun out of the game. Cheers ECB.

  • POSTED BY Kelum_w on | January 14, 2014, 21:32 GMT

    @nutcutlet don't you think Stokes and Woakes are similar type of bowlers,but I can see your logic of Woakes instead of Bresnan, plus I don't think they'll play 2 spinners at the Gabba, What do you think about this line up Carberry, Hales/Wright, Bell, Bopara, Morgan (Capt), Butler (WK), Stokes, Woakes, Jordan, Rankin, Tredwell. Carberry is a solid guy who can hang around or attack if required. Hales or Wright will do the attacking and if a wicket fails Bell, who is a free flowing batsman will come in to consolidate. Middle order is pretty much the same, I just dropped Balance and put Bopara at 4, high time Bopara was given a bit of responsibility. There are still 5 bowlers plus Bopara to turn his arm. :-)

  • POSTED BY Cubey on | January 14, 2014, 21:20 GMT

    I'd be off to the GABBA to watch the game if Pietersen was playing. Big shame he's not in the team.

    Cook is truly cooked. Root is truly rooted. God bless Buttler and Stokes--the few with guts and the right, positive attitude. Too many pansies in the England team.

  • POSTED BY CodandChips on | January 14, 2014, 21:12 GMT

    @salazar555 "cook will play because he's captain, even though he's out of form". Agree completely, although I think it's also down to typically picking certain players and being too afraid to drop them. Also with Bell, he plays for Warwickshire therefore will never be dropped while Ashley Giles is in charge. Any challengers of this, please explain picking Rankin for home series in ODIs and T20Is despite not doing much in county cricket. Also how do you explain Chris Wright, Varun Chopra and Keith Barker all playing for the lions when Giles was in charge?

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 14, 2014, 20:42 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer on (January 14, 2014, 14:29 GMT) Could it not be that Root is going through a bad run of form? I mean he started the season on fire for Yorks and that was opening? It surely can't be doing player or team any good whatsoever keeping him in the side for the rest of the tour.

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2014, 20:37 GMT

    My mate Owen saw Steve Finn bowling less than 48 hours ago. He skips in or bowls 2 foot no-balls. His arm has dropped to about 2:00 and his head ducks down in delivery, his front arm goes out sideways (more than Broad does) seemingly to balance himself and stop himself falling over. The ball hits the pitch about half way down and carries on 4 feet down leg side - hitting the side netting before it hits the back of the net. - it was probably a throw.

    Apparently he bowled a couple of half decent balls mixed in with this kind of stuff but a lot that looked like someone who had never bowled before - literally never bowled before.

    Hope he gets sorted soon. And whoever is responsible for coaching him gets a boot up the behind and out the door.

    Newcomers Jordan, Stokes etc bowling faster and straighter than those coached by "Team England" for years.

  • POSTED BY android_user on | January 14, 2014, 19:35 GMT

    I think this victory is a curse in disguise. winning often masks the frailties of a side and this wide margin will do the same. The top order looks too much like a test batting order, they need to have a better balance hard hitters and cosolidators. Put it this way, if the hitter fails then they can consolidate and build an innings, the situation won't be any different from now, but if the power hitting works, not only does it put pressure on the bowlers it also creates a platform for Morgan, Bopara and Butler to launch from. Almost all ODI teams have at least 1 hitter in the top, couple of consolidators and more hitters in the end. Another 30-40 runs at MCG would have made the end result much closer than it was. I thought Balance and Carberry batted well together. they rotated the strike expertly and hit the occasional boundary to push the run rate, however I don't think they can sustain the likes of Cook, Root and Balance at the top of the order in ODIs. 2 of them will have to go.

  • POSTED BY PhillieFanatic on | January 14, 2014, 19:34 GMT

    While it may feel great to get a win, this does not feel like a great win. The level of competition was hardly up to snuff, with a bunch of young fringe players supported by Lee and Hodge. I'm not sure England can take much from this except further negatives with respect to Cook and Root. England's other players looked pretty ordinary against the weak opposition.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | January 14, 2014, 18:23 GMT

    After much discussion with myself, I'd suggest the following XI for Friday's match. In batting order: Carberry, Bell, Bopara, Ballance, Morgan (capt), Buttler (w/k), Stokes, Woakes, Jordan, Tredwell, Briggs. Broad is being rested and those players, like Luke Wright who are currently engaged in the BB, have not been considered. I like the balanced nature of the attack, and if it's a little short on pace, then it does contain a safety-valve 6th bowler in Bopara (clearly not in the worst nick). The mid-lower order looks solid and aggressive with a tail a docked boxer would be proud of. This would be the moment to see if Woakes can justify his putative all-rounder status. Cook must do a Denness and drop himself. His form does not warrant retention. It would be the smartest move he's made as a captain for a long time. Seriously.

  • POSTED BY salazar555 on | January 14, 2014, 17:58 GMT

    @Cod and chips

    It's never going to be a choice between cook and bell. Bell will play because he's probably the best player we have and he did ok in the first game and cook will play because he's captain, even though he's out of form.

    Carberry won't play, if Root gets dropped and I think he will then it will be for a spinner or for Woakes as Root's overs need to be bowled by someone

  • POSTED BY CodandChips on | January 14, 2014, 17:36 GMT

    Strategy needs a rethink. Another poor score (although don't know the pitch). Our openers plod along and are unable to raise tempo. Compare to other countries- Aus Finch and Warner (both play shots), South Africa De Kock and Amla (both score quick and bat through), India Dhawan (scores quickly) and Sharma (bats through but increases strike rate as he goes through), New Zealand Martin Guptill (one of the most destructive batsmen currently), Sri Lanka Dilshan

    How many counties successfully take the England approach? Compare Bell and Cook to Lumb and Hales (Notts), Vince and Carberry (Hants), Tres and Trego (Somerset) immediately come to mind.

    Perhaps our issue with openers is after the failed attempts of recreating Glichrist -Prior given too many chances, Mustard, Kieswetter, Davies (perhaps discarded unfairly).

    Our top order puts too much pressure on the finishers. No wonder Morgan rarely performs and Bopara's record is so poor (although Ravi is moved around all the time as well)

  • POSTED BY CodandChips on | January 14, 2014, 17:27 GMT

    Surely more proof that Root should be sent home. I love the guy, but he needs a rest. He has played almost non-stop since the CLT20 2012. After CLT20, he toured India with England (with a break for Christmas), then went off to New Zealand. On returning home, he played for his county (unlike many other England players) and also captained the lions. He played every game for England during the summer (except in Dublin and the 2 T20Is vs Newzealand) and then had just over a month's rest before this ashes tour. Surely the lad needs a break, which has been proven by his dramatic dip in form and averages.

    Ballance could come in at 3. Means we can give our finishers more opportunity and play a 5th bowler. Carberry to try and add fire power at the top. Woakes for Bresnan who is past it. Briggs as spinner rather than Tredwell who was poor at home.

    1.Cook/Bell 2.Carberry 3.Ballance 4.Morgan 5.Bopara 6.Buttler 7.Stokes 8.Woakes 9.Jordan 10.Finn 11.Briggs

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | January 14, 2014, 17:09 GMT

    @Seaxe: I heard that Finn is telling all his coaches and players that 'he has lost it.' He is really struggling by the looks of things, so much so that he has resorted to throwing the ball from halfway down the pitch. So it's as if he is starting from the ground up.

  • POSTED BY stumpedlloyd on | January 14, 2014, 17:06 GMT

    Perhaps it's time to strip Cook of the ODI captaincy and name Eoin Morgan skipper through the World Cup. It baffles me that poor Pietersen gets raked over the coals for getting caught at mid-wicket, but Cook keeps getting a pass for nicking balls outside off to the wicket-keeper or slips, but his place is never questioned. I have no doubt Cook's a very good batsman. But he and Joe Root are woefully out of form and need to go back and regain their form in county cricket. On the other hand, if I were the Aussies and Root played in the next ODI, I would *not* work on getting him out. Let him eat up as many deliveries as he wants at a strike rate of around 20, thereby putting pressure on the other batsmen to score and get out.

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2014, 16:58 GMT

    Root & Cook are main concerns? Just cook the roots. Throw in some chopped and steamed Flowers to garnish. KP will enjoy being the chef for this flowery dish. And, feed it to all, and see how the team perk up.

    A youngster from the land of flowers seem to give some Ballance. The team is still good,and with some tinkering, it will Stoke well

    Bell has been ringing off & on. Wind the clock well; it will work regularly, ringing every hour, like the Big Ben, and also when you set the alarm. Anyway, the alarm bells had been going on, only after the team came over down under. Since then their performance had been down & under par!

    Let Buttler take care of the Indian guests well (can you bring them fast), and they may politely re-kindle the English form, as in the past. But, keep an eye on some of their youngsters; they are naughty. Give them some Broad body massage. Some of the Indian boys are not fluent in English, but with Ravi around, he could solve that problem. Don't worry; be happy!

  • POSTED BY Diaz54 on | January 14, 2014, 16:47 GMT

    Bopara 4 for 3 and is listed after Balance and Butler as performers no mention of Carbs Just an observation. Ballanceroves his worth, that's why should target miller , de cock and company....they may be available

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2014, 16:40 GMT

    I think England should seriously look at calling Wright up early for the ODI series. He's in form, he's been batting against most of the Aussie bowlers in the Big Bash and scoring heavily, and he's used to the pitches and conditions. Root needs a rest and I think this series could spell the end of Cook's One day captaincy. Carberry and Bell to open, Wright at 3. Bit more power up the order. We need to seriously start picking the side that start in the world cup, because so far we not played our best XI as someone is always being rested.

  • POSTED BY Greatest_Game on | January 14, 2014, 16:26 GMT

    Have pity, for god's sakes. Sending Cook & Root into bat is like kicking a dying man when he is down. Send them home. This hardly looks like it is going to help them. What a perfect way to destroy 2 on Eng's best!

  • POSTED BY JG2704 on | January 14, 2014, 16:17 GMT

    Never mind the score or individual performances - What the hell are they doing with Root? Are they trying to run him into the ground or drain him of his confidence?

    Give the guy some time out. He has surely played the most international cricket for England. Do you have to be a senior player to get time off? I'm cool with him continuing if he's performing well but when you've played that many games in a calendar year and your performances are down , what the hell is the point? Absolutely disgraceful from the management?

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | January 14, 2014, 16:07 GMT

    @Seaxe I am hearing that the side-netting is in more danger from him than the batsman during net practice. It sounds as if, in trying to teach him control, what has happened is that he has lost it completely.

    Bob Willis went through a phase where, after coaching to improve his action, he could not get the ball more than half way down the pitch before it hit the side netting. Jimmy Anderson also went from metronome to paint spray after his action was modified in 2004. It seems to be a recurring problem. Unfortunately, all the tinkering after the "dislodging the bails" furore has had a disastrous result. I wonder if he may even end up playing some 2nd XI cricket for Middlesex before things are sorted out. At least when he was knocking off the bails you knew that he was getting in close to the stumps and bowling wicket to wicket: it might have been better to accept the occasional no ball call and just let him be.

  • POSTED BY Seaxe on | January 14, 2014, 14:59 GMT

    Still unable to work out what the coaches have done to Finn. He took wickets v Oz in ODI last September and is still ranked 4th in the World in ICC ODI rankings and 5th in the world in ICC T20 rankings. I know there were problems with his test form but does not playing him in matches like this mean that they have given up on him? If so who is going to take responsibility for this - it can't be all him.

    It would be kinder to send him home than to demoralize him like this

  • POSTED BY 2.14istherunrate on | January 14, 2014, 14:39 GMT

    The Cook problem persists;Root continues to fail(his bowling is the better option for now) and Carberry makes runs. I was surprised to see Root playing and Carberry not at Melbourne,though Root might have played at 5 in Melbourne. His feet need to move properly and he has to engineer runs. Ballance makes more runs as do Buttler and Bresnan,who is showing his utility suddenly-he came back too early at Perth. I think the worst thing for England is being highlighted by Lee-why no Finn?I always expected him to play in ODI's. He should. But as so often England fail to read the signs of when to pick,when to drop.I would give him a run out at Sydney along with Tredders. Bell back, Carberry stays and Root and Rankin go.Eventually Cook has to make a score....

  • POSTED BY salazar555 on | January 14, 2014, 14:30 GMT

    Ballance is showing the class and form that had him finish top run scorer in county cricket and it's great to see from the young lad. Root looks completely out of form, I rate Root and think he will be an England test player for a long time to come but at the moment he looks like he's batting with a pencil. Confidence is low and a rest is probably the best thing for him.

    Team for next match:

    Cook, Bell, Ballance, Morgan, Bopara, Stokes, Butler, Bresnan, Jordan, Tredwell, Rankin

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | January 14, 2014, 14:29 GMT

    @class9ryan Unfortunately, you are bang on. Joe Root was scoring runs in all formats until he was moved up to open, which was something that a lot of England fans were very concerned might backfire. He's got into bad habits, lost his freedom of stroke and is now being shuffled up and down the order, which is just unsettling him even more.

    As for Cook, you know that he has a similar disaster in 2006/07 and people thought that he would never come back from it. Here, he just looks shell-shocked and ready for a break. I think that he will play in the 2nd ODI but, if we lose that and he fails again, I would want him to follow Mike Denness's example from 1975/76 and hand the captaincy to either Stuart Broad or Eoin Morgan for the rest of the series. At the moment he is just ratcheting up the pressure on himself and ensuring that the faint calls for a new captain in the summer will just become louder with every failure and every defeat.

  • POSTED BY Nutcutlet on | January 14, 2014, 14:19 GMT

    Even this minor match throws up yet more evidence that those players who have been battered in the Ashes and the ones who are continuing to play well below their potential: Cook & Root - top players, a run apiece! The players brought in are the ones that delivered this crumb of comfort to the belaboured tourists. All the evidence points to some deep malaise that has settled into our - ahem - Ashes champions. If Eng wants to stand a chance of winning the ODI series, they'd better start by asking Cook & Root to stand down. A lot of Eng's fans seem to be on Carberry's back, yet he's stood up better than most amidst the carnage. Even here, he had to weather the potential embarrassment of the loss of two early wickets. By the time he was out, things looked to be back on an even keel. Leave Michael alone, chaps! He's playing his part far more often than his more illustrious opening partner. I wonder whether the penny's dropped with Downton yet? He has to be his own man & swing the axe.

  • POSTED BY class9ryan on | January 14, 2014, 14:02 GMT

    Root is a issue Cook has to sort out along with his own form which is hurting Poms big time. Carberry right from GABBA has been throwing his wicket after getting set. I would love England going with four bowlers in the next game with Stokes and Bopara as 5th and 6th.

  • POSTED BY landl47 on | January 14, 2014, 14:00 GMT

    The only significant thing here was that Australia picked 3 seamers on the fringe of the international side (Bird, A. McDermott and Cutting) and they took one wicket each at economy rates 0f 5.8, 5.87 and 6.9 respectively on a helpful wicket.

    Otherwise, Cook and Root remain completely out of touch and the England middle order is playing pretty well.

    Rolling over the PMs side for 92 will boost morale, but none of the batsmen are anywhere near the Australian team.

  • POSTED BY BRUTALANALYST on | January 14, 2014, 13:57 GMT

    It was Carberry's run a ball 47 that set the tone even after the 2 early wickets making him have to consolidate. Ballance again looked composed and Butler who got more time than usual showed what many have been saying he needs to be given more time to bat than the last few overs, serious player.

  • POSTED BY xtrafalgarx on | January 14, 2014, 13:41 GMT

    @jonesy2: Why would you expect it to go the other way around? I believe you are talking about the results, if so, how on earth would that happen? the PM's XI only had about 4 specialist batsmen! 2 of whom are 22 and under so they were never a chance.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | January 14, 2014, 13:37 GMT

    This tit-for-tat selection of the weakest possible opposition for tourists though is getting a little wearisome. Given that counties tend to "rest" their stars for fixtures against the tourists one can hardly complain. In the past there were incentives offered (prize money, etc.) for counties to get them to pick their best available side. Maybe the ECB should think of a code of conduct and withholding part of the annual handout for counties that devalue fixtures by fielding seriously understrength XIs. If the counties were to treat their guests with a little more generosity, the moral justification for picking schoolboy XIs to play us when we tour would be removed.

    Something to think about, perhaps?

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | January 14, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    surprised at this result because on paper you would think it would've gone the other way round. not sure how bopara managed those figures but the fact that the other seamers were spanked around given the PMs 11 total doesn't surprise once again. root cannot bat, maybe he can in county cricket, maybe, but at international level even a shield level he simply cannot. good lord I hope England keep picking him, although I don't think there is much choice on offer

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | January 14, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    Yeah it's nice to see some of the England guys show glimpses of form, but let's face it: the Australian attack hardly stacks up against the likes of Clint McKay and Mitchell Johnson. Slower bowlers like Bopara, Tredwell and Briggs need to be used more by England; batting-wise, I have no idea why Root is being used at 3. Seems little has been learnt from the past...

  • POSTED BY Yasi_Gee on | January 14, 2014, 13:07 GMT

    Time to Cook and Root to have a break for the moment.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | January 14, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    Plus ça change. The weakest possible opposition and still Cook and Root cannot score. A win is a win, but against weak opponents, probably has not helped much. One of the few things to come out of this is that Michael Carberry still looks a better bet to make some runs at the top of the order than Cook or Root (can we really afford to give Australia 2 wicket and 5 over starts?) and that Chris Jordan is really looking the part as a bowler. Once against, England's middle-order "B-formation" bailing their colleagues out of trouble.

    You feel a bit sorry for Ravi Bopara. Again he has produced a decent performance that will be qualified by the statement, "yes, but it was only against..." When he doesn't make runs usually he gets wickets instead, but he is rarely valued.

  • POSTED BY izzidole on | January 14, 2014, 12:56 GMT

    Congratulations to England for winning their first first class match on this ashes tour. I hope they will give a good account of themselves in the remaining ODI's and T20 matches to redeem their lost prestige.James Muirhead is a fine bowler and has lots of potential. Though his body movement is very ordinary and needs to put more effort into his bowling which could win him a baggy green sooner than later.

  • POSTED BY Juiceoftheapple on | January 14, 2014, 12:52 GMT

    The loss of Trott in tests is catastophic. His loss in ODIs should be the best thing to happen to us. We also have a few competent all rounders, plus some brutal hitters out there. What does this mean? a Plan A roll the dice with 2 of Hales/Lumb/Wright/Buttler up the order. But we have a long batting line up if they fail and we go to plan B, 60-70% chance they fail? WE HAVE TO SCORE BIGGER, the white ball doesnt do enough and international pitches are too good. We have to restructure to attack more. This is my current lineup, but its the structure that matters not necessarily the names. Names can be adjusted according to form/injuries/pitches/rest periods/conditions. 1. Cook 2. Lumb (Hales/Wright) 3. Buttler 4. KP(Ballance) 5. Bell (Root) 6. Morgan 7. Bopara 8. Stokes (Woakes/Patel/Bresnan) 9. Broad 10. Finn (Mills/Tredwell) etc etc. 11. Anderson

  • POSTED BY TheBigBoodha on | January 14, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    Who picked this Aus X1? Only three batsmen with first class experience! Maybe they'll learn something from this.

  • POSTED BY salazar555 on | January 14, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    Bopara with his medium pacers picking up 4-3. Wow, I take it there's not much batting in the Aussie reserve tank

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | January 14, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    It's a real plus to see Buttler batting with confidence. He did have a lean spell in ODIs. Ballance is also performing well. Lee is still a brilliant bowler as he shows in short spells in t20. But if Cook and Root can't play Lee, how they will face up to Johnson will be interesting, unless Root is rested for Carberry which seems to make sense.

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2014, 11:34 GMT

    This James Muirhead kid seems to be performing pretty well.

  • POSTED BY on | January 14, 2014, 11:34 GMT

    This James Muirhead kid seems to be performing pretty well.

  • POSTED BY jackiethepen on | January 14, 2014, 12:14 GMT

    It's a real plus to see Buttler batting with confidence. He did have a lean spell in ODIs. Ballance is also performing well. Lee is still a brilliant bowler as he shows in short spells in t20. But if Cook and Root can't play Lee, how they will face up to Johnson will be interesting, unless Root is rested for Carberry which seems to make sense.

  • POSTED BY salazar555 on | January 14, 2014, 12:31 GMT

    Bopara with his medium pacers picking up 4-3. Wow, I take it there's not much batting in the Aussie reserve tank

  • POSTED BY TheBigBoodha on | January 14, 2014, 12:46 GMT

    Who picked this Aus X1? Only three batsmen with first class experience! Maybe they'll learn something from this.

  • POSTED BY Juiceoftheapple on | January 14, 2014, 12:52 GMT

    The loss of Trott in tests is catastophic. His loss in ODIs should be the best thing to happen to us. We also have a few competent all rounders, plus some brutal hitters out there. What does this mean? a Plan A roll the dice with 2 of Hales/Lumb/Wright/Buttler up the order. But we have a long batting line up if they fail and we go to plan B, 60-70% chance they fail? WE HAVE TO SCORE BIGGER, the white ball doesnt do enough and international pitches are too good. We have to restructure to attack more. This is my current lineup, but its the structure that matters not necessarily the names. Names can be adjusted according to form/injuries/pitches/rest periods/conditions. 1. Cook 2. Lumb (Hales/Wright) 3. Buttler 4. KP(Ballance) 5. Bell (Root) 6. Morgan 7. Bopara 8. Stokes (Woakes/Patel/Bresnan) 9. Broad 10. Finn (Mills/Tredwell) etc etc. 11. Anderson

  • POSTED BY izzidole on | January 14, 2014, 12:56 GMT

    Congratulations to England for winning their first first class match on this ashes tour. I hope they will give a good account of themselves in the remaining ODI's and T20 matches to redeem their lost prestige.James Muirhead is a fine bowler and has lots of potential. Though his body movement is very ordinary and needs to put more effort into his bowling which could win him a baggy green sooner than later.

  • POSTED BY CricketingStargazer on | January 14, 2014, 13:03 GMT

    Plus ça change. The weakest possible opposition and still Cook and Root cannot score. A win is a win, but against weak opponents, probably has not helped much. One of the few things to come out of this is that Michael Carberry still looks a better bet to make some runs at the top of the order than Cook or Root (can we really afford to give Australia 2 wicket and 5 over starts?) and that Chris Jordan is really looking the part as a bowler. Once against, England's middle-order "B-formation" bailing their colleagues out of trouble.

    You feel a bit sorry for Ravi Bopara. Again he has produced a decent performance that will be qualified by the statement, "yes, but it was only against..." When he doesn't make runs usually he gets wickets instead, but he is rarely valued.

  • POSTED BY Yasi_Gee on | January 14, 2014, 13:07 GMT

    Time to Cook and Root to have a break for the moment.

  • POSTED BY R_U_4_REAL_NICK on | January 14, 2014, 13:14 GMT

    Yeah it's nice to see some of the England guys show glimpses of form, but let's face it: the Australian attack hardly stacks up against the likes of Clint McKay and Mitchell Johnson. Slower bowlers like Bopara, Tredwell and Briggs need to be used more by England; batting-wise, I have no idea why Root is being used at 3. Seems little has been learnt from the past...

  • POSTED BY jonesy2 on | January 14, 2014, 13:19 GMT

    surprised at this result because on paper you would think it would've gone the other way round. not sure how bopara managed those figures but the fact that the other seamers were spanked around given the PMs 11 total doesn't surprise once again. root cannot bat, maybe he can in county cricket, maybe, but at international level even a shield level he simply cannot. good lord I hope England keep picking him, although I don't think there is much choice on offer