Sussex v Australians, Tour match, Hove, 2nd day

Taylor and Bird make Test auditions

Brydon Coverdale in Hove

July 27, 2013

Comments: 81 | Text size: A | A

Sussex 228 for 5 (Hamilton-Brown 73, Taylor 64*, Bird 2-33) trail Australians 366 for 5 dec (Smith 102*, Hughes 84, Cowan 66, Panesar 3-70) by 138 runs

Luke Wells lost his middle stump to Jackson Bird, Sussex v Australians, Tour match, Hove, 2nd day, July 27, 2013
Jackson Bird made a mess of Luke Wells' stumps during an incisive opening burst © Getty Images

If the second day in Hove was a Test audition, Jackson Bird and James Taylor would be expecting call-backs, while the casting directors for the Old Trafford Test would be worried about the range displayed by James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon. Matthew Wade would be resigned to watching from the audience. By stumps on a rain-affected day, Taylor was unbeaten on 64 and Bird had collected two wickets, though he was unlucky not to have more, and Sussex had moved along to 228 for 5.

Taylor could have, and should have, been a third victim for Bird, when his edge was put down by Steven Smith at second slip; it was a low chance, but one that a fieldsman of Smith's capability should have taken. The life allowed Taylor to compile an otherwise calm half-century full of nudges and prods, and featuring few truly memorable strokes, but he knows that his hopes of playing at Old Trafford rest more on Kevin Pietersen's fitness than his own runs.

"He was a bit scratchy at times but he dug in there and he dug in there quite well," Bird said. "He nicked a few balls through the slips and got dropped once but he is still at the crease. He tries to make you come to him and he puts the bad balls away and I thought he batted quite well."

When an early stumps was called at 5.38pm due to bad light and subsequent rain, Taylor was well positioned to push for a century and he had a capable partner with him at the crease, Chris Jordan on 23. Jordan had also been put down at second slip by Smith, a far easier chance at head height off the bowling of Faulkner, who struggled for line in his early spell but found a slightly better rhythm later in the day and picked up the wicket of Matt Machan, who top-edged a catch to midwicket for 16.

Like Faulkner, Starc was initially wayward, especially with the swinging new ball, and while his figures appeared to show his economy, as much as anything that was a reflection of the batsmen being unwilling to chase wide balls. Starc also claimed a wicket to a top-edged hook when Michael Yardy was taken at fine leg for a duck, and like Faulkner he bowled better as they day wore on, although both men were comfortably outperformed by Bird.

Bird's efforts must have moved him towards favouritism to replace in Pattinson at in the third Investec Test at Old Trafford, especially given that he also impressed during the tour match against Worcestershire before the first Test. Bird claimed the first wicket when Luke Wells played the wrong line to a fullish, straight delivery that took out the middle stump, and against the right-handers he was nagging outside off. His accuracy was a notable point of difference with Starc failing to control the ball at the other end.

At times, Bird was moving the ball too much - three successive deliveries whistled past the outside edge of Chris Nash's bat - but eventually he had his reward when Nash edged low to Smith at second slip. Bird ended his first spell with 2 for 16 from seven overs and when he returned after lunch he was again a handful for the batsmen, drawing the edge of Taylor that was put down.

Like Bird, Ashton Agar had opportunities missed off his bowling: an edge from Rory Hamilton-Brown that tickled Wade's thigh and wasn't grasped by Smith at slip, and a missed stumping down leg side when Wade couldn't grab the ball cleanly to catch Machan short. Overall it was a miserable day for Wade, who on a number of occasions failed to glove the ball cleanly, and combined with his duck in the first innings, he has failed to put any pressure on Brad Haddin to hold his place for Manchester.

Wade did, however, take a catch when Hamilton-Brown edged behind for 73 off Agar, who finished with 1 for 48 from eight overs. Agar leaked plenty of runs but so did his rival for a spin place at Old Trafford, Lyon, who was targeted by Hamilton-Brown during a blitz before lunch. Hamilton-Brown reached his half-century from 34 deliveries, which included 23 off seven consecutive balls from Lyon, against whom he advanced and clipped through gaps with ease.

Hamilton-Brown also lofted Lyon for a pair of sixes over long-off and long-on, although Lyon did improve his bowling as the afternoon wore on. Following a 90-minute rain break, Lyon found a little more dip and flight, and asked a few questions of the batsmen, though none that they were unable to answer. The chances of a twin-spin attack at Old Trafford may yet depend on the pitch, but neither Lyon nor Agar would have been truly happy with their efforts in Hove.

Earlier, Smith had been the focus when he resumed on 98, in search of the third first-class century by an Australian on this tour, and he reached it with a late cut for four off Monty Panesar. Immediately the Australians declared with Smith on 102 and Agar on 8, having added 12 runs to their overnight score to finish at 366 for 5. They batted only 2.4 overs on the second morning, but the batsmen may yet have another chance to impress on the third day.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 28, 2013, 14:38 GMT)


Meanwhile, when we had the chance to pick a 30 year old Pakistani-born spinner to play for England, one with a proven international record, without changing our laws to accelerate his citizenship, we didn't. I'm guessing if Saqlain Mushtaq had instead qualified to play for Australia back in 2007, you would have wanted him picked?

Khawaja I won't pick on too much (he moved when he was very young and obviously learned his cricket in Australia) but while I commend Australia for giving Ahmed an opportunity to play cricket by granting him citizenship, for the fans who condemned England for selecting players who, by and large, learned their cricket, or developed into international cricketers, in England, to push for Ahmed to play for Australia, is the height of hypocrisy.

Personally, I have no issue with Australia selecting anyone who qualifies and wants to play for them. I'm of Indian descent, but I was born in England, and have always considered myself 100% English.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 28, 2013, 14:13 GMT)

@whofriggincares what "large percentage"? Root, Cook, Bell, Bairstow, Prior (don't care that he was born in South Africa; came here when he was 11, learned how to play here, and represented England at every youth level), Broad, Swann, Bresnan and Anderson all learned their cricket in England.

Even if we look at the Limited Overs sides, it's a similar story. Dernbach came here when he was 14 and played Rugby in South Africa. He only got into cricket when he came to England. He learned his cricket with Surrey's academy.

Ben Stokes moved to England when he was 12 because his father got a job here. Funnily enough, like Dernbach, he played Rugby in New Zealand, probably due to the influence of his father (who was a Rugby player, and then a coach). He only started taking his cricket seriously at 14, two years after arriving in England.

Meaker moved here when he was 12. Going back further, Strauss moved here at 6. Even Pietersen was a bowler who batted a bit back in South Africa.


Posted by android_user on (July 28, 2013, 12:42 GMT)

wel what I thing aus don't have a good spinner.they should Cal third test I would like to c aus playing with 2 spinners.I think smith should play as an opener in 3rd test.Watson should bat at 4.

Posted by   on (July 28, 2013, 12:40 GMT)

@Cradbury.Our Bowlers are holding their own in this series and if there had been better selection and better batting performances to support them, England's top order batting Malaise (Cook,Trott,KP, Root prior to Lords and being dropped on 8)could of been extended through to their middle order IMO.I think England will experience the ideal selection in the next Test.From Patto's 's start in test cricket it seemed that he would carry on in England as he performed under pressure on his debut and in the India series in OZ but it hasnt qujite worked out that way though if he can keep his body in order he will be a handful for any batting lineup with a bit more experience.I'm at least 90% certain that the England top order will find the new ball bowling of Harris and Bird very challenging as they both swing the ball and make the batsmen play regularly.Bird has both the first class credentials and the wickets on the bird in the first 2 test's he has played to walk in with complete confidence.

Posted by android_user on (July 28, 2013, 12:37 GMT)

seems Australia cannot bowl out a team within 250. England can keep Monty in wings

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (July 28, 2013, 12:30 GMT)

@ cbradbury, If an honest, reliable trundler can rip the heart out of your top order every second innings, that doesn't say much about your batting lineup.

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (July 28, 2013, 12:10 GMT)

@Greatest_Game ... love the statfest... respect...

Posted by cbradbury on (July 28, 2013, 11:43 GMT)

I do have a question for the Aussie fans. Before the start of the series, almost everyone for Australia, including Bill Lawrie, were stating that you had the best bowling attack in the world. Well, if that is true, why didn't you bring them to England? I would sum up the situation so far as:

1. Harris - good bowler 2. Siddle - honest, reliable, trundler.

After that...well, even you lot can't decide who should be playing...

So, please explain your contention re the 'world's best attack' when for a start Steyn, Morkel, Anderson, and Swann would WALK into your side if they were Australian...

Posted by Front-Foot-Lunge on (July 28, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

This Ashes series has clearly proved that England's long rein of Ashes dominance continues with enormous strength. Their quality on sub-continent pitches assured, their win ratio at home well respected, they are a multi skilled side up against an Australian team that England are making look like an U16 3rd XI. For years, Australia issues with spin have been one of their biggest problems. Now, in the complete absence of any Oz spinners, that's rated one of their lesser issues, superseded by a top 6 that England bowl out just for fun, a captain who can't lead, a one-dimensional seam attack, and a recent legacy of awful keepers who fail regularly with the bat. The Ashes of 2010/11 was bad enough viewing for Oz fans, with Cook amassing his famous 766 runs and Anderon and Tremlett running through the 'best' of Australian cricket. This time has a much more ominous feel to it for Aus, and that's without even looking at the scorebook to see that they're two to nothing down in the series.

Posted by   on (July 28, 2013, 11:04 GMT)

@.Greatestgame.I should add as well that credit must be given to the English for playing their brand of cricket which is distinct in itself. The ECB and all English fans should be chuffed at their success. Because of Australia's dominance; they didnt appreciate their success as much as they should of which is really a disservice to the game.Cricket Lover's became blas'e about their success and the appropriate steps werent taken to insure that high standards werent maintained at the developmental levels.Still; I am fascinated now more than ever as this teams grows and develops. It's almost a total mystery to see who out of this lot will forge their way in the game as none of the batsmen besides Clark are the finished article. For me the standout talents are Steve Smith and David Warner and maybe Khawaja.Darren Lehmann's Job is not just guiding this team but also developing each individuals game to test standard which is a huge undertaking and patience needs to by shown by all Oz fans.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (July 28, 2013, 10:01 GMT)

@ whofriggincares You wrote "62 million ... against 20 odd million it is a huge credit to Australia and their sporting culture that we were able to dominate the cricket world." However, based on this 62 million to 20 million assumption, yet another "country has a far more powerful sporting culture

From 10 countries & 5 dependencies, pop 25% of Aus', came the team considered the most dominant in cricket. Without central government or structure, largely impoverished, & lacking 1st world sports amenities enjoyed by Eng & Aus, the West Indies dominated world cricket from the 70s to mid 90s. They produced the greatest all-rounder, Sir Garfield St Aubrun Sobers AO OCC, the greatest ODI batsman, Sir Isaac Vivian Alexander Richards, and a pace battery the world has never seen the likes of. For years, they relentlessly crushed Australia, proving their sporting culture to be superior & more powerful.

Whatever Aus did, the Windies did it better, & with much less. I wouldn't boast were I you!

Posted by VillageBlacksmith on (July 28, 2013, 8:57 GMT)

@JG2704... u r suggesting randyukpassport has a different opinion for his own??!! to be honest it doesnt matter who either side bring in the result will be the same... but great to see Tremmers back in the frame... I saw him live at mel & syd last ashes and the tremors he caused in the aussie rooms.. can't wait to see him back and firing...

Posted by DrDamo on (July 28, 2013, 8:43 GMT)

Australia really need to find their spinner and stick with him. The spin department is a complete joke. Hauritz was coming along nicely until he got injured. Why did the team not go back to him once he was fit again. Why exactly did Australia drop Lyon before the first test? Is is because he was miss managed and did not take the opportunity of a lifetime for a spinner by the neck in India? Agar only offers a weak not completely developed slow bowling option with some luck who can also bat. Why did the Australian selectors not choose the leading spin bowling wicket taker from the last Shield season? My guess is just look at the batting lineup and the politics that go into play and why Australia are sticking with player like Hughes, Watson, I would say Warner but he seems to have fallen on his own blade. It is obvious that Cricket Australia pay not attention to the reports they get people to undertake. My last thought, Mr Clarke is a batsman and not a captain.

Posted by SamRoy on (July 28, 2013, 5:40 GMT)

@Mitty2 None of Warne, Swann or even Murali got the type of wickets Lyon got in India on their first tours (except the Mohali wicket which was a fair one). Rest were all spinning paradises. If India produced those kind of wickets against Warne and Murali India would probably have lost quite often at home.

Posted by dunger.bob on (July 28, 2013, 4:22 GMT)

One thing I've learnt from this game is that Steve Smith isn't a slip fielders bootlace. Poor Matty Wade seems to have the yips and probably has nightmares about dropping Duplessis in that draw.

@Lyndon McPaul: Couldn't agree more. Live by the sword, die by the sword. As a general rule that's how we've been playing the game for 130 years. It takes very good players to do that successfully and this lot is a little short of the mark but that doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the attitude.

Posted by landl47 on (July 28, 2013, 3:55 GMT)

I'm not sure how much anyone has thought about this, but replacing Pattinson and Agar with Bird and Lyon means Australia loses two of its top 3 batsmen in the averages and in Agar the top run scorer as well.

Obviously a side must pick its bowlers based on their likelihood of taking wickets, but in this topsy-turvy series Australia's tail has looked rather more accomplished than the top 6. If the last 4 are Siddle, Harris, Lyon and Bird the chance of the tail wagging is considerably reduced.

Having said that, I'll go back to what I said before the series started: if in any of the five tests the wickets take spin, I expect England to win those tests. So far, both wickets have turned, Swann has taken 13 @22 and Agar 2 @124 and England has won both games. OT is reputed to take spin and The Oval always does. I might be wrong (my wife tells me I often am), but if Chester-Le-Street takes spin......

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (July 28, 2013, 3:49 GMT)

Bird in for patto.. And Watson either has to go! I really don't care who replaces him.. He's been given more chances than anyone in the top 4 and has not produced the big scores. I'd love to see Katich and Rogers opening, but more chance of seeing Watson crack a smile!

Posted by JG2704 on (July 28, 2013, 3:30 GMT)

@RandyOZ on (July 27, 2013, 15:03 GMT) Have to be honest , You've gone on for ages about England and their quota etc , but you've championed Khawaja for some time and now Ahmed. So it seems that you only have these principles when it comes to England - right?

Posted by   on (July 28, 2013, 3:29 GMT)

Furthermore to Mitty2's comments, Lyon is Australia second highest wicket taker over the last two year period (76 wickets - behind only Siddle) and with 9 wickets in his last test. In an attack with potential but lacking experience, I can only agree that his axing was a very poor decision from a bowling perspective and was perhaps a sign of our batting fragility rather than bowling needs (although why then bat Agar at #11?). I had great hopes when Inverarity took over but it seems regardless of personnel, each panel is looking to be the geniuses behind the discovery of 'the next big thing' rather than going with the consistency (and faith in selections that will be necessary for the gradual improvement of the team.

Posted by RednWhiteArmy on (July 28, 2013, 3:15 GMT)

I think australia needs to poach a few more players like ahmed, henriques, o'keefe & khawaja.

Posted by   on (July 28, 2013, 2:57 GMT)

Instead of playing Agar for his 98, Ozs can play a specialist batsman instead,given the way Agar is bowling. There are currently no good spinners in the squad. So, my squad for 3rd test: Watson,Rogers,Hughes,Khawaja,Clarke,Warner,Smith,Haddin,Siddle,Harris,Bird

Watson can bowl useful overs and so can Clarke, Warner and Smith

Posted by whofriggincares on (July 28, 2013, 2:55 GMT)

It really is funny to hear the comments regarding Australia's "wannabe" attack and accusation's of Aussie's weakening their stance on imported players. The fact is when you have to play such a large percentage of your side having learned to play cricket in another country what does that say about your home grown talent? Anyway "England" is a much better side at the moment , so enjoy it while you can "England" fans . After all England never dominate anyone at anything for long(except maybe darts). 62 million population (the UK and that doesn't include South Africa) against 20 odd million it is a huge credit to Australia and their sporting culture that we were able to dominate the cricket world for the best part of 15 years. Not just England we dominated everyone.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (July 28, 2013, 2:24 GMT)

Lyon seems to have regressed as a spinner. He began well but he seems to have lost a lot of flight and drift in his deliveries. An interesting problem for the selectors with who to go with. Along with batting problems the lack of any quality spinner is becoming an issue.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (July 28, 2013, 2:14 GMT)

@ Lyndon McPaul. Kudos to you on your support for you're the 'Auatralian way.' It is always good to see supporters make a stand and back their team's positives instead of piling on the criticism when their players are struggling through the inevitable changes all teams face. Good on ya, mate, and I hope that when the "Oz way rules again 1 day," and the Urn goes back down under, you are still around to see it! Might be a while as those Saffers look they are lining up for Dynasty no. 3!

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 28, 2013, 1:54 GMT)

@Mitty2 on (July 27, 2013, 20:17 GMT), it seemed like Agar's selection was desperation to pull a rabbit out of the hat. It almost came off because of his batting more than his bowling but I think that England won't be taken by surprise by either again. Even if Agar does become a star in the future, he's not good enough with the ball to be a frontline spinner yet. That's no shame for a 19 year old though, as you wouldn't expect him to be ready for another 4 or 5 years. There was talk of exploiting England's right-handers' weakness against left-arm spin but, if there is such a weakness, Agar just doesn;t turn the ball enough to exploit it. Just like so many before him, Lyon's performances seem to have been under-valued by the selectors because he hasn't emulated Shane Warne in his prime. Even if they persist with Agar, he won't either so he'd get the axe soon enough too. If the selectors aren't impressed with Lyon then I'm sure we'll see Ahmed in for the return series in Australia.

Posted by 5wombats on (July 28, 2013, 1:26 GMT)

@TheBigBoodha (from Day 1) - yeah - you're right of course people are trashing it. It's just the attitude - I'm surprised. I've been coming here on and off for over 20 years and I haven't seen Aussies write off their team like this before. People here seem to have given up with Australia atm. I must go out and get a Sun Herald this morning and see what they make of it.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (July 28, 2013, 1:20 GMT)

Its starting to come together now, Bird is looking good to replace Pattinson, with the batting lineup as Rogers, Watson, Khawaja, Clarke, Smith and for the number 6 its between Hughes and Warner, i am inclined to keep Hughes but wouldn't be surprised if they bring in warner for him. Smith has done enough to keep his spot, Khawaja top scored last game and Rogers will be given one more chance for his experience

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (July 28, 2013, 1:04 GMT)

If Lyon began to improve later in the day would suggest he was a bit rusty. He should be selected ahead of Agar. Agar needs another 2-3 seasons to improve his bowling he is there to take wickets and looks impotent at test level. So Lyon is no Warne or Swann, so what, who is? He is our best spinner (O'Keefe hasn't been given a chance yet) so pick him.

Posted by righthandbat on (July 28, 2013, 0:56 GMT)

My teams for the next test:

Australia: Warner, Watson, Clarke, Khawaja, Smith, Hughes, Haddin, Agar, Siddle, Harris, Bird. The Warner-Watson combination has to be tried at least once (it's a potential match-winner) and when you are 2-0 down it is the time to do it. Clarke must bat at three.

England: Cook, Root, Trott, Bell, Bairstow, Taylor, Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson. Taylor has now got some experience against the Australian attack so should be picked at 6. England would be pleased to see Monty taking wickets if anything happens to Swann or they want to try two spinners.

Posted by DragonCricketer1964 on (July 28, 2013, 0:40 GMT)

Prediction: Watson - Third Test

1st Innings LBW 32 2nd Innings LBW 37

Please prove me wrong.

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 27, 2013, 23:41 GMT)

@Andross even if we do credit him with 3 wickets (and actually he had Broad out twice), 2 of them were lefties. The other was Bairstow, and it's not exactly hard to get him out at the moment. Get the quicks to bowl full and straight. Oh, and don't bowl a no-ball.

Agar's looked considerably better against the left handed batsmen. He doesn't get much sideways spin on the ball, and the threat he posed at Trent Bridge was nearly entirely out of the rough. He gets a lot of overspin and bounce, and at Trent Bridge, where there wasn't much bounce in the surface, he was more effective than Swann but at Lord's, where there was plenty of bounce and turn, Swann out-bowled him.

As for Smith, the ball that got Bell was a beauty. Agar didn't bowl a single ball that looked like troubling Bell. In terms of planning for the future and the return series, the best way to do that is to avoid being whitewashed. Psychologically, that would be a huge advantage to England going into the return series.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (July 27, 2013, 23:12 GMT)

Taylor is worth a second look, he got a few scores on a generally underwhelming Lions tour down under and seems to have been working on his game. It's too bad Bopara's not fit because he was in such good form earlier in the season. I'd put Morgs down as a one day specialist these days.

The Aussie spinners are not exactly setting the world alight, penetration and control in short supply, so whichever seamers get picked for OT can look forward to plenty of hard yakka and perhaps a stress fracture or two.

Posted by 5dayFAN on (July 27, 2013, 23:06 GMT)

Maybe Smith shouldn't be at slip? To be honest I haven't seen him much. He has been batting and bowling well on this tour. Good to see runs from Hughes, Cowan and Khawaja

Posted by Ragav999 on (July 27, 2013, 22:58 GMT)

@Mitty2: Lyon's figures in the Test tour of India should be looked at in a different light compared to Warne's, Swann's or Panesar's first tours. The quality of Indian batsmen in the series which Lyon played is much less than the quality of Indian batsmen of yesteryears. Look at Lyon's international career figures. More than 60% of his wickets are of No.7 and below and that with a terrible average. I am an Aussie supporter and I have long felt that they should go in with 4 quicks every game since they won the Test series in SA under Ponting in 2009. All spinners who have been tried since then have been taking tailenders wickets mostly and at a poor average. On the face of it, their averages look tolerable but dig deeper to know a bit more about their quality.

Posted by   on (July 27, 2013, 21:54 GMT)

Good timely knock by Steve Smith, I quite like him as a batsman and part-time wrist-spinner. Jackson Bird looks a good prospect for Australia and his first-class figures are very impressive - much better than Starc's. James Taylor should be a very competent replacement for KP, although admittedly replacing someone with 7500 Test runs at an average of 48 isn't particularly easy.

Posted by Guernica on (July 27, 2013, 20:45 GMT)

One thing about Taylor's innings - just like his test debut he had someone biffiing it around at the other end today and taking all the pressure off. I was disappointed on his debut that he still got out in the 30s despite having KP take the fight to Steyn/Morkel at the other end. Compare it with Jonny Bairstow's two innings against the same attack in the next game. I hope he comes good if he's picked but not overly confident.

Posted by Mitty2 on (July 27, 2013, 20:23 GMT)

@jmcilhinney, very good comment. To top it off Warner's innings is completely marginalised by how much of a road the track is and considering that three batsmen had their highest FC scores. Elgar was a complete bunny when he debuted on the fast WACA track and has had a relatively mediocre start to his test career... But he made 260 odd. Smith, Hughes, Khawaja, Rogers,Clarke have all made half centuries. The only one who hasn't is prima donna Watson, in whom should've been out of the test team loooong ago. No changes to the batsmen, with a change coming to the fourth test with Warner coming in for who fails. We'll have just two changes for Manchester, Bird in for Patto and Lyon in for Agar.

Posted by Mitty2 on (July 27, 2013, 20:17 GMT)

@DylanBrah, how about you look at every spinners first tours to India. How did Swann go? Averaged 40? How did Panesar go? Averaged 62. How'd Warne go? Averaged 54. Lyon, averaged BETTER than all three, with 37 with a brilliant strike rate of 50, but a poor economy rate of 4.4. The fact is, that it was a disgrace to drop him, and the fact that he is only 25 and had such a series in India in his first tour... Makes it a safe assumption that he will be a successful spinner. Also considering his successful tour games, how/why was he dropped? We'll never know.

Posted by Mitty2 on (July 27, 2013, 20:09 GMT)

Haha Matthew Wade how I love ya! Who was the last keeper we had that was as bad as he is?? He's the only reason that Lyon isn't in the side right now with an average of under 30. He's also the reason we lost in the Adelaide test and tried to lose the SCG test against SL. He truly is, and I say this respectfully, terrible and not even in the best three keepers in Australia.

Glad to see Bird prevailed (yet again), and the continual comparison between him and Starc is just showing how superior Bird is. Two dropped catches, numerous plays and misses, economical bowling and two wickets... he's also a very good complimenting bowler as seen with MJ at boxing day. How he wasn't in the first test amazes me. His figures make him the best bowler in Australia.

Lyon has taken many wickets this tour but has been slogged a fair bit. As seen in his first test in India he really struggles to keep it tight. But, again, as seen in India on the last test, he is a genuine wicket taker.

Posted by SDHM on (July 27, 2013, 19:06 GMT)

Still think Starc should come back in at OT - it's a traditional haven for reverse swing, one of his strengths, and with Siddle and Harris in the side too you can afford a seamer who might go for more runs in the hope of taking wickets. I'd be definitely inking Bird's name in for Durham though; Harris is unlikely to make it through back to back Tests anyway, but even if he does, it's a ground that should suit Bird to a T: he's a very English-style seamer and Durham is a ground that usually rewards them well, even if the Test pitch most likely won't offer as much assistance as it does in the Championship. Starc's batting means that he';s also more of a like-for-like replacement for Pattinson and allows you to bring in Lyon without weakening the lower order too much if you want as well, if that comes into consideration for Lehmann.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (July 27, 2013, 18:59 GMT)

Smith's ball that got Bell in the 1st innings was a beauty. He also had Root edging twice in the 2nd innings, but only after Clarke had taken out a slip. It was all mixed in with a fair bit of filth, two of which took 2 flukey wickets... all in all very entertaining and I hope we see plenty more of him at OT.

Posted by   on (July 27, 2013, 18:38 GMT)

@Andross...You couldnt be more wrong Andross. The ball that got Bell from Smith was a classic legspinner that Shane Warne would of been proud of. The one that got Prior was a deliberate variation that Prior didnt pick out of the front of the hand. He cleverly used Prior's ego against him as all good spinners should. Every bowler (especially spinners) are entitled to a wicket of a rank delivery and he got one with a full toss though mainly because of the pressure he had already created. Smith spins the ball more and has more tricks than Agar but less control which means he is more than capable of pinching a wicket or 2 in short spells but will most likely be taken apart in longer spells. Agar does have good control but as Shane Warne said; "A spinner should spin the ball!" I like how he got a wicket under fire in this match though!

Posted by Fluffykins on (July 27, 2013, 18:19 GMT)

I was there today and neither spinner looked penetrative for a sustainable period of time, Haddin's job is safe and the less said about Australian fielding the better

Posted by Andross on (July 27, 2013, 17:49 GMT)

I find it interesting that everyone has been criticising Agar for not looking the goods, despite the fact that he took 3 wickets in the first game (albeit only 2 were credited), and lacked the one fundamental thing for spinners to have. Runs in the bank. Some people will point out Smith and his wickets, but then it was more a case of batsman playing bad balls with even worse shots as far a I could see, the kind of wickets that could have come off any bowler and just happened to favour Smith. Agar was economical, if nothing else. The future must also be thought about. FACT, the chances of AUS winning the remaining 3 games are almost 0, they need to look to the future, and if they think Agar is the future (why pick him otherwise?), they need to play him to give him as much exp as possible before the return series to Aus. Same with Smith, Khawaja & possibly Wade, assuming he performs better in the 2nd innings here. Sometimes the present must be sacrificed for the future.

Posted by on (July 27, 2013, 17:32 GMT)

I don't think Warner has a chance. If team management really saw him as a contender for OT test they would bring him back after the Zimbabwe match and have played him against Sussex, not sent him to play in South Africa. It was a stupid idea not to play him in English conditions anyway. And I see Fawad as a bowler for the Australian leg of the Ashes. He needs more international experience as does Agar before representing Australia in a test match. The state of spin bowling in Australia is really worrying as is the wicket keeping. Hopefully Paine gets ready before summer starts.

Posted by   on (July 27, 2013, 17:23 GMT)

Lyndon, I think you'll find that Cowan was under instructions to bowl them. These tour matches aren't about winning. They are about fleshing out the team and trying to help players find form.

Posted by   on (July 27, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

@2mikeGattings...You may have a point though I tend to think that the only person that should of been required to play that didnt was Chris Rogers. Clarke needs to rest his back and Watson needs a rest full stop after not only being under the gun as far as his opening performanceswith the bat, (though he has scored the most runs) but also because he had to bowl as a stock bowler at Lords to cover for Pattinson's lack of Rythymn. Harris and Siddle are proven performers and will probably play better with rest also. Watson will probably be better off working on his technical flaw to the inswinger in the nets as well.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (July 27, 2013, 16:48 GMT)

@Lyndon playing with 10 cricketers is certainly bold, in the fearless yet brainless sense. Whether it makes best use of a tour game when the side are 0-2 down and looking undercooked, with important selectorial decisions to be made... I think I will add a few exclamation marks!!!!

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 27, 2013, 16:41 GMT)

@jmcilhinney they'll keep Smith because he has a happy knack of getting England's one in-form batsman out at just the right moment. His batting's not bad either ;).

Does Warner really merit selection just because he scored some runs against a South Africa A team on a flat wicket? I mean, Maxwell scored 155 not out in the same innings and nobody's clamouring for him to come back.

That was Maxwell's highest ever First Class innings. Tsolekile's 159 was his too, as was Elgar's 268. That had to been a belter of a pitch. And Warner's was 18 short of his highest.

The only changes they need to make are to the bowling. Bird in for Pattinson, Lyon for Agar. Doesn't really matter whether Agar out-bowls Lyon in this match; he just hasn't looked Test quality yet, at least not against the right-handers. Even Smith's looked more dangerous to the right-handers.

Agar may come good at OT, but if he doesn't, with the pitch likely to turn that could spell 3-0. It's too late to bring Lyon back then.

Posted by   on (July 27, 2013, 16:31 GMT)

@lland 47...What is the most settled from the bowling angle is Bird's performance! Australia's 3 prong pace attack will be quite impressive with Bird and Harris taking the new ball followed by Siddle. At the moment Agar has to be ahead of Lyon because he got a wicket under immense pressure and the choice of spinner should be come more clear with more wear and tear during the second innings. Very positive performance overall so far from Aus and I would think that Lehmann's top six batters will remain unchanged unless they decide to axe Hughes. Smith could make a great foil for Agar and be the cherry on top of a well rounded attack!

Posted by Aussiesfalling on (July 27, 2013, 16:30 GMT)

If I were Sussex, I'd declare once the jordan/Taylor stand gets broken so as to avoid giving the Ocker bowlers any cheap confidence boosting wickets. If I were England, I'd drop Onions from the Test squad and replace him with Panesar.

Posted by cbradbury on (July 27, 2013, 16:24 GMT)

Lyndon, you asked me to look at the wickets column...for your spinners, I make that 1-104. An England back up spinner whose form is currently so poor he cannot hold down a regular spot for Sussex took 3-73...

Posted by Jagger on (July 27, 2013, 16:22 GMT)

There is no contest. Bird is a better bowler than Starc, and Starc provides rough for Swann to bowl into. No contest at all. Bird for mine.

Posted by   on (July 27, 2013, 16:19 GMT)

@cradbury....Yes it's likely that England will prevail at Old Trafford but I still admire the way our team is playing the game. They are playing to win! Everything about this match has been bold from the selection (leaving out our strongers bowlers and batters) to the declaration which was necessary to win in 4 days; to Cowan persisting with the spinners when the going got tough. I like Lehmann's tactics of trying to bring form into the whole squad and not just the immediate playing group as the Ashes will eventually be won over 10 tests and not just 5. He is rapidly developing this group and fostering a competitive environment in which all the members of the squad will be capable to play their part when required!

Posted by landl47 on (July 27, 2013, 16:12 GMT)

@RandyOZ: I always knew that secretly you envied the 'united XI'. Sure enough, as soon as a chance comes to get in a player from outside Aus, your professed scorn for sides that have players born abroad disappears like Phil Hughes on a turning wicket.

Posted by landl47 on (July 27, 2013, 16:08 GMT)

James Taylor has taken his chance to score runs against the Aussie wannabe bowlers, so if KP isn't fit then there's no question that he comes in.

Nothing much settled on the bowling front for Aus. Starc and Bird have similar figures, Lyon has been more economical than Agar but Agar has taken a wicket and, at the time of writing, Lyon hasn't. Faulkner made some runs and has taken a wicket so maybe he sneaks in ahead of Starc and Bird as 3rd seamer/#8 batsman?

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (July 27, 2013, 16:08 GMT)

Is Matthew Wade trying for a record with all the byes?

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (July 27, 2013, 16:04 GMT)

Turner is along for the ride it seems or maybe Ed Cowan is going to dob him in for not doing his homework, so he doesn't get a bowl. What a waste of a valuable spot needed for a test match contender's match practice

Posted by cbradbury on (July 27, 2013, 15:55 GMT)

Lyndon, you do know who you are playing in this match, don't you? One of the weaker county sides who have rested three bowlers? Good luck at OT, you are going to need it...

Posted by espncricinfomobile on (July 27, 2013, 15:42 GMT)

Nathan Lyon shouldn't get picked, nor should agar, Ahmed and Warner should return, Warner replace agar, Ahmed replace pattinson, Australia are in need of runs, Warner scores 193- it's the only choice? Well unless their still upset of the punching saga. Whilst Graeme swann is bowling and getting that amazing turn , Australia have as much chance to win as the blackcaps have of getting a World Cup tittle.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (July 27, 2013, 15:40 GMT)

Is this boy Turner a specialist fielder?

Posted by   on (July 27, 2013, 15:13 GMT)


Has Hove shrunk? I should hesitate to describe the ground as small. the boundary is close to the pitch simply because they are playing on the edge of the square.

Posted by RandyOZ on (July 27, 2013, 15:03 GMT)

To be honest i'd bring in Ahmed. Lyon and Agar both look toothless it can't hurt.

Posted by   on (July 27, 2013, 15:03 GMT)

@cradbury..Look at the wickets column cradbury. Australia are still ahead in the game and playing it on our terms. The scoring rate is settled and our seamers will all be ready for a fresh assault. Great bowling by Agar under pressure as well. Spinners should all be able to accept punishment in their careers but it all depends on how they bounce back that matters and Agar has definitely won the honours over the dashing hamilton brown partly thanks to Cowan showing great faith, and he still might finish the day with really good figures. Cricket is risk reward and the important moments need to be confronted,not shied away from! Australia have no future in trying to play risk free cricket!!

Posted by Dangertroy on (July 27, 2013, 14:51 GMT)

It's actually the sixth century in this tour Brydon, it's smiths second century, plus centuries to Clarke, Haddin, Watson and siddle. Unless your discounting the Australia a matches. It's a shame none of them are scoring them in test matches.

Posted by cbradbury on (July 27, 2013, 14:42 GMT)

Well, Lyndon, that's the 'Australian way' is it? 'No one will hit our spinners out of the game.'

No, leave 'em on, and go for 6.5 an over wonder you are two tests down playing 'the 'Australian way'...

Posted by   on (July 27, 2013, 14:41 GMT)

Jackson bird deserves to play for Australia. he was outstanding against srilanka in two test matches. he was unlucky because of the injury in india and came back here in England playing couple of first class games. he bowled brilliantly with the new ball. harris, bird and siddle will trouble England batsmen. our batsmen need to score runs.

Posted by jmcilhinney on (July 27, 2013, 14:39 GMT)

It seems to me that Bird should replace Pattinson and, despite going for a few here, Lyon should replace Agar. The big question is whether they want to get Warner back in the team and, if so, for whom. I don't see how they could replace Smith, particularly given that his bowling could prove useful at Old Trafford. I guess they might bring him in for Rogers but would they really drop Rogers after just two games? Both Hughes and Khawaja could also consider themselves unlucky if they were to make way also. Despite the batting not having performed so far, I think that they should stick with the current group. The selectors have to believe they're better than they have shown so far or they wouldn't have picked them in the first place so give them the chance to show it.

Posted by   on (July 27, 2013, 14:32 GMT)

Im Happy for Bird and hope he gets in Playing XI but Come on Aussie Batters we want to see the Aussie Grit from you. Even if we got beaten we must give our Best effort. When your Bowlers can show that Grit why cant you batters do.

Posted by GiantScrub on (July 27, 2013, 14:32 GMT)

Wade misses yet another stumping... the last duck notwithstanding, he's mostly a class act with the bat, but he needs to go away for a few months and work on his technique standing up to the spinners. Hopefully the ODI series against India in India between the Ashes helps in that respect.

Posted by heathrf1974 on (July 27, 2013, 14:29 GMT)

Bird should be given the chance in the third test. I am surprised he wasn't picked earlier.

Posted by DylanBrah on (July 27, 2013, 13:57 GMT)

I am sick of people defending Lyon because of one match (4th Test in India). He bowled rubbish and was an embarrassment the entire India tour until that dead rubber. He was going for 5 an over and averaged 52 with the ball until that match, which as the number 1 spinner, insured we had no chance of winning a game. Even Glenn Maxwell's part-time offies took 7 wickets @27... they really weren't difficult pitches to bowl on for a spinner. And as we can see in this match, he is still the same old Nathan Lyon, going for 6 an over against weak county batsmen, as he quite often does in the Sheffield Shield, as well. We are best off playing 4 seamers and just use part time spinners.

Posted by Big_Maxy_Walker on (July 27, 2013, 13:30 GMT)

The Bird is in. Over 100 wickets at 19 at first class level, is accurate unlike Siddle, Pattinson and Starc and already proven in the 2 tests he has played

Posted by GeoffreysMother on (July 27, 2013, 13:20 GMT)

One batsman , with nothing to lose, attacking a spinner on a small ground is not sufficient to write Lyon off. He ain't Ajmal, he ain't Swann but he is the best Australia have at the moment. If Taylor, who has got something to play for, takes to him then that is more worrying for Australia.

Posted by dmat on (July 27, 2013, 13:07 GMT)

I'm a big fan of Jackson Bird the bowler but we need someone who can be an effective number 11 bat. Maybe, we could bat him at 4 (everyone else has failed there). This opens up an opportunity for Hughes or Cowan to bat at the coveted number 11 spot?

Posted by disco_bob on (July 27, 2013, 12:45 GMT)

Yep, it looks like after 18 months of preparation only to be dropped for no reason for a sub par teenage spinner, Lyon's confidence is all but destroyed and Sussex are taking the opportunity to target him. Absolutely disgraceful treatment by CA who should be ashamed of themselves.

Posted by millsy24 on (July 27, 2013, 12:45 GMT)

I feel for him as well. How would it be for him. He comes of getting 7 or 8 wickets in his last test in India. Has 70 something wickets in the last 2 seasons (plus another 15-20 that he would have had if the keeper could keep to him) and would have expected to play in the 1st test as the incumbent. Then they bring in this kid as the main spinner who obviously has ability but has done nothing with the ball for the first two tests. He has been sitting around doing nothing and the selectors have done his head in.

Posted by Potatis on (July 27, 2013, 12:30 GMT)

I'm happy for Bird, he should be bowling in every test with more than 100 first class wickets and an average around 19. He's a proven wicket taker and deserves selection.

Posted by xtrafalgarx on (July 27, 2013, 12:26 GMT)

Poor Lyon i feel sorry for him, hope he bounces back.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
Tour Results
England v Australia at Southampton - Sep 16, 2013
Australia won by 49 runs
England v Australia at Cardiff - Sep 14, 2013
England won by 3 wickets (with 3 balls remaining)
England v Australia at Birmingham - Sep 11, 2013
No result
England v Australia at Manchester - Sep 8, 2013
Australia won by 88 runs
England v Australia at Leeds - Sep 6, 2013
Match abandoned without a ball bowled
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