England: Hopefully An Actual Rebuild This Time

ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
So, I enjoyed my South Africa series (and I hope you did too). But there were some things I didn't like.
  • The limited overs games- on CC at least, I find them tedious and annoying.
  • All the awards and records-keeping; I did enjoy the actual records but the hall of fame and awards (barring the Proctor Trophy) were, again, fairly tedious
And then the biggest issue of all:
  • The 'rebuild' lasted all of nine games. We won the World Cup on our tenth.
So this time, we should be able to fix that, with a team that needs proper help in the Test arena! England have some issues right now. Their OD teams are great but their Test team has about one viable batting option (Joe Root). And, as explained recently in the IRL England thread by @Aislabie, @wasteyouryouth and @Ed Smith's Basement (all of whom may be interested in this save), their depth options are similarily terrible. So, it's my job to fix that, and find a team that can win the Test championship! It will not be easy at all (my all-conquering Australian team took four tries to win the final, mainly thanks to the stupid 'wickets remaining' tiebreaker that the game uses) but it's a challenge, and that's what I want.

The first game should go out tonight.
 

ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
Caps list:

Cap NumberPlayerFirst TestLast Test
613James Anderson2003
638Stuart Broad2007
649Eoin Morgan2010
652Jonny Bairstow2012
655Joe Root2012
657Chris Woakes2013
658Ben Stokes2013
662Moeen Ali2014
665Jos Buttler2014
666Adam Lyth2015
667Mark Wood2015
670James Vince2016
674Haseeb Hameed2016
675Keaton jennings2017
677Dawid malan2017
681Craig Overton2017
682Tom Curran2017
684Jack leach2018
685Dom Bess2018
686Sam Curran2018
687Ollie Pope2018
688Rory Burns2018
689Ben Foakes2018
690Joe Denly2019
691Sam Northeast2019
692Jamie Porter2019
693Dominic Sibley2019
694Ryan Higgins2019

Top 10 Individual Scores:

Top 10 Individual Innings Figures:
Sam Curran- 7/47 (vs :ire:, Lord's, 2019)

Basil d'Oliveira Medal Winners:
 
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ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
well
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SQUAD FOR ONLY TEST VS IRELAND:
:bat: Joe Root :c:
:bat: Eoin Morgan
:bat: Rory Burns
:bat: Sam Northeast :redo:
:wkb: Jonny Bairstow
:wkb: Ollie Pope
:ar: Ben Stokes
:ar: Sam Curran
:ar: Joe Leach :redo:
:bwl: Mark Wood
:bwl: Toby Roland-Jones
:bwl: Jamie Porter :redo:
:bwl: Jack Leach

The squad for the Ireland tests is a largely experimental one with a few England stalwarts (Root, Stokes, Bairstow) and everyone else either on the fringes of the Test side or doing well in the County Championship.
 

ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
England vs Ireland
First Test
24-28 July 2019
Lord's

Lineups:

:eng::
27. Rory Burns
51. Jonny Bairstow (wk)
17. Sam Northeast (debut)
66. Joe Root (c)
16. Eoin Morgan
55. Ben Stokes
80. Ollie Pope
58. Sam Curran
33. Mark Wood
77. Jack Leach
44. Jamie Porter (debut)

:ire::
1. Paul Stirling
77. James Shannon (debut)
63. Andy Balbirnie (c)
7. James McCollum
22. Kevin O'Brien
9. Gary Wilson
50. George Dockrell
35. Andy McBrine
n/a. James Cameron-Dow
34. Tim Murtagh
68. Boyd Rankin

Toss: England won and chose to bowl

7.2: APPEAL! Wood raps Stirling on the pads but it's too high. Thoroughly impressive from Wood and Curran, just eight runs have been scored as of right now.
9.3: He's got it this time! Back of a length, Shannon lights up and drives, grabs the edge and through to Ollie Pope at first slip! England have their first wicket. 1/12
17.2: Leach produces the magic! Two balls after coming on, the spinner draws a leading edge from Stirling, and a relatively easy caught and bowled is completed. 2/39
20.5: Porter's first ever wicket! A gem of a ball too, angling in and holding true, finds a gap between bat and pad of Balbirnie and cuts straight through, ending an enterprising innings. 3/57
24.5: Revenge! Stokes has copped some punishment this spell, including the big six earlier this over from O'Brien. The redheaded Irishman doesn't hit this one as cleanly and Stokes takes a great catch in his follow through. 4/87
29.4: The Irish continue to be aggressive and they continue to lose wickets. Wilson gets an underedge off the third last ball of the session, and Leach has two. 5/114
Lunch: 5/114. The Irish attacked after the opening spell, and it brought both quick runs and quick wickets. James McCollum is the hope now
37.3: Into the tail now! To be fair on McCollum, he's been by far the best Irish batter and it was a gem of a ball from Porter to remove him. Traps him plumb in front. 6/132
54.5: Partnership breaker! Some great resistance from the Irish allrounders comes to an end. McBrine edges a flash through cover, Morgan has good hands at second, and Wood has two. 7/202
Tea: 7/225. An impressive fightback by the tail, who have added almost 100 runs since McCollum's dismissal.
67.6: A timely wicket for England. Just as they were beginning to cruise towards the new ball, Leach brings an end to Cameron-Dow's resistance. Again good work by Morgan under the helmet. Wood may come back now 8/252
85.5: So cruelly denied! A thick edge and Morgan takes his third catch in a row, again at second. What an innings from Dockrell though, he's made Ireland become competitive with his Test-best 82. Porter has three, an impressive debut so far. 9/294
86.6: And the innings is over. Murtagh playing a really awkward shot trying to score quickly, and he gets pinned in front by Sam Curran.
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12.1: Poor shot! Bairstow's back in the pavilion in surely the last over of Murtagh's spell. Just got completely cut in half by that ball. 1/32
13.3: Disaster! Burns falls at the other end to Rankin, out in the exact same fashion! England on the back foot. 2/32
Lunch: 2/90. A great recovery by England's debutant Northeast and captain Root. Northeast ranging onto a fine debut 50.
36.2: Didn't pick it! Northeast falls just short of fifty. A great googly by Cameron-Dow, and he doesn't pick it and is trapped on the crease. 3/117
36.5: The Irish are celebrating everywhere! Eoin Morgan is out for a three ball duck! It was an innocuous dismissal, one that bounced a bit gloved to short leg. But a big moment! England again lose two without scoring. 4/117
36.6: Nearly three in the over! Just beats Stokes' edge. Ireland maybe on top now!
Tea: 4/218. The ascendancy has completely changed in the second half of that session. Root and Stokes are playing good attacking cricket and Ireland don't seem to have the answers.
73.6: Out for 99! It won't be a captain's century for Root, but what a knock. Rankin heeds the old advice of 'top of off' and he hits it, beating the outside edge. A great innings ends 5/262
83.4: BEN STOKES REACHES 100! Played calmly down to long on, and he runs the single he needed. A great aggressive knock, 159 balls to get to the ton. He's turned this around for England
87.1: England lose Stokes with the scores level. So they now have the tail to build a lead. Stokes just edges a drive, and Balbirnie takes it uncomfortably at first slip. Another great innings ends, 6/294
Stumps: 6/310. Pope, Curran and the bowlers have to increase the lead. It's simple
119.5: Finally, a wicket! The partnership of 115 is at an end. Pope played magnificently for his 67, but he just gets an edge on a good-length ball from Rankin and Wilson takes an easy catch. 7/409
124.2: That will be lunch. A simple dismissal, Wood just gloves the spin of Cameron-Dow to short leg. The players scurry off. 8/420
127.1: Curran's swashbuckling knock is over. Top edges one from Dockrell that dipped a bit, and Wilson takes a good reflex catch. 9/434
130.3: England all out with the lead on 149. A very Number 11 defensive prod from Porter, and he pays the price of his off stump. 443
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3.6: An early wicket! Wood pins Shannon in front. Soft dismissal, and England right on top now. 1/20
8.3: WHAT A CUTTER! This one from Porter pitched well outside off, but cut right into the stumps. Balbirnie is shocked. Porter's really staked his claim for the future with this performance, 2/29
20.6: Just as the momentum was shifting, Sam Curran comes up good! Stirling feathers one that angled across and Bairstow makes no mistake. 3/66
22.1: Golden egg! Caps off a miserable game for KOB. He gets a good edge on this one and Curran takes it easily. 4/76
Tea: 4/82: Two late wickets ruin the session for Ireland.
27.3: Chance goes down! A sharp chance to remove McCollum on an even 50 goes down by the keeper.
40.4: Gets him, finally! And a relief to England too, as McCollum and Wilson had carried Ireland past the England lead and into dangerous territory. Wilson plays a careless shot, just flicks the ball straight to short mid wicket. Curran is delighted. 5/164
45.4: Hundred for McCollum! Nobody else has stood up for Ireland this innings, so a big innings for the young man.
46.2: Four for Curran! Dockrell top edges a big pull and Leach takes it at deep backward square. 6/184
46.3: Five-for! Curran pulls off a near-perfect ball to complete it too. McBrine gone for a two ball duck, and if not for the no-ball prior, Curran would be on a hattrick. 7/185
Stumps: 7/209. McCollum being on 125* is the only saving grace for Ireland here.
54.6: Edged and taken! Cameron-Dow is gone, Wood induces the edge and Jonny Bairstow takes it easily. 8/215
55.4: BIG MOMENT! And for a multitude of reasons! Curran beats the edge of McCollum's bat and it shapes in just enough to take off stump. McCollum is out for a well-earned 129, and Curran has six. 9/215
55.5: CURRAN HAS SEVEN! WHAT AN INNINGS OF BOWLING! He goes short immediately to Boyd Rankin who moves away awkwardly, and he gets the top edge of his bat. Easy catch for Morgan at second slip.
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22.4: Delightful punch from Bairstow, it makes the rope and England have won the Test!

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Points for the D'Oliveira Trophy:
3- S Curran (1/35, 69, 7/47)
2- B Stokes (1/46, 106)
1- J Root (99)
 

ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
The Cricinfo format was fun but just took too long. So back to the normal format.

SQUAD FOR THE ASHES:
:bat: Joe Root :c:
:bat: Dominic Sibley :redo:
:bat: Rory Burns
:bat: Sam Northeast
:wkb: Jonny Bairstow
:wkb: Ollie Pope
:wkb: Jos Buttler :redo:
:ar: Ben Stokes
:ar: Sam Curran
:bwl: James Anderson
:bwl: Toby Roland-Jones
:bwl: Jamie Porter
:bwl: Jack Leach

It looked almost certain who would be picked in the batting department at the conclusion of the Ireland test. Root, Burns, Buttler (averaging 103 in the CC), Bairstow and Pope seemed locks (while Burns wasn't fully impressive, he deserves a greater shot), as did Ben Stokes, and it looked like Sam Northeast and James Vince (averaging 55 in the CC) would be the last two taking squad slots. Then Vince sprained his ankle and was ruled out, giving Dom Sibley a chance at a Test debut. Sam Curran will likely slot in at 8 after his seven-for meaning that one of the three bowlers will miss out.

Changes for Game 2:
:up: James Vince (return from injury), Mark Wood
:down: Jamie Porter, Ollie Pope

Changes for Game 3:
:up: Stuart Broad
:down: Mark Wood

Changes for Game 4:
:up: Ryan Higgins
:down: Sam Curran
 
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ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
England vs Australia
First Test
2-6 August 2019
Cardiff

Lineups:

:eng::
27. Rory Burns
52. Dom Sibley
63. Jos Buttler (wk)
66. Joe Root (c)
51. Jonny Bairstow
17. Sam Northeast
55. Ben Stokes
58. Sam Curran
9. James Anderson
77. Jack Leach
44. Jamie Porter

:aus::
31. David Warner
15. Joe Burns
1. Usman Khawaja
49. Steve Smith
20. Shaun Marsh
62. Travis Head
7. Tim Paine (c) (wk)
30. Pat Cummins
56. Mitch Starc
67. Nathan Lyon
38. Josh Hazlewood
64.

I am somewhat concerned with my team structure- maybe playing Ollie Pope at seven would have been better than Sam Northeast at six- but too much batting in the top 8 isn't a problem, particularily with the last three bats in the team. As for Australia, it's the lineup everyone expected given these are pre-Cameron Green and Pucovski times.

On a sunny Cardiff morning (do they exist?), England lost the toss and Australia chose to bat. Anderson was expensive early but Curran got the first wicket in the eighth over, nipping a cutter back in and grabbing the off peg of Warner. Burns and Khawaja put together a strong partnership, until Burns bottom-edged a toppie from Leach and Buttler did a good job to hang on, ending his innings on 51. No further loss occurred before lunch but in the second over after, a big moment for Jamie Porter; a perfect yorker caught Steve Smith plumb in front. Khawaja's well-compiled 75 was ended halfway through the session to an inside edge off Curran that carried to the keeper. Head provided a nearly run-a-ball 57 before he too edged behind, this time off Leach, just after tea. No further wickets fell until the new ball was taken, although the slow pace of Paine before the new ball did factor into it- after carting the disappointing Anderson for 14 from the 83rd over, he tried to hit Curran for six over long off (a six that would have taken him to 99) off the final ball of the next over, and only succeeded in edging it to Bairstow at gully. No further wickets fell on Day 1 but ball 12 of day 2 caught Cummins plumb and gave Curran his fourth. Porter was next to get a wicket, a big edge from Paine finding second slip. Anderson got on the board by yorking Starc and, five overs later, Leach removed Lyon to end the innings on 428.

England's start was composed. Sibley looked solid, if a bit slow, until he got a world-class yorker from Hazlewood. Jos Buttler's arrival was the impetus for the scorecard to begin to tick and he put on 100 with Burns until the latter swept and missed at Lyon. Buttler departed to another great ball from Hazlewood two overs later, meaning England arrived at stumps with 7 wickets left and a deficit of 245 runs. Bairstow departed six overs into Day 3, pinned by a Starc inswinger, and when Hazlewood got Root in a similar way (albeit with the new ball) England were in some trouble. Stokes failed, edging to the Australian Burns at slip, although his short partnership with Northeast at least got England past the follow-on mark. Northeast was LBW four balls after the lunch break, and the tail, while showing more fight than expected, just failed to keep the deficit under three figures.

Warner came out of the blocks firing, which inevitably meant his tenth ball picked out mid wicket. The next partnership produced two concerns for England. One, Jamie Porter conceded fifty from his first 7-over spell. Two, clouds were forming. Burns fell again to Leach, just short of his fifty this time, plumb LBW. No more wickets fell for the rest of the day, but Anderson removed Khawaja with the seventh ball of Day 4, heartbreakingly for the Aussie who finished on 98. Marsh fell five balls later, to a catch on the other side of the edge, and Australia were pegged back. Anderson got Smith LBW four overs later, but that was the end of the success for the session as, after a hour-long partnership between Head and Paine, rain curtailed the session. It then wiped out the second and delayed the third. Shortly after the resumption though, Curran knocked back Head's off stump for a similarily fast 68. He then removed Cummins and after one more ball, a Starc two which took the Aussie lead to 400, Paine declared.

The English openers survived until close of play in a situation seemingly made for them. And they hung around for 75 more minutes on the fifth morning until Sibley nicked Lyon to slip. Buttler again upped the scoring but Burns continued to be resolute; throwing your wicket away with a chance of Test-saving rain in the afternoon wasn't a smart idea. Buttler reached his fifty and then was bowled by one that spun miles from Lyon. Root failed again, out three balls after tea, and some jitters began to occur when, with an over until the second new ball, Burns was pinned by Starc for a gallant 87. Cummins then disposed of Bairstow, but just as it was looking close, Northeast and Curran put on 50 in an hour to ensure the draw.

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Points for the D'Oliveira Trophy:
4 - Sam Curran (4/87, 23, 2/62, 2*)
3 - Rory Burns (59, 87)
2 - James Anderson (1/92, 4/49)
2 - Ben Stokes
1 - Joe Root
 

ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
England vs Australia
Second Test
14-18 August 2019
Old Trafford

Lineups:

:eng::
27. Rory Burns
52. Dom Sibley
63. Jos Buttler
66. Joe Root (c)
14. James Vince
51. Jonny Bairstow (wk)
55. Ben Stokes
58. Sam Curran
33. Mark Wood
9. James Anderson
77. Jack Leach

:aus::
31. David Warner
15. Joe Burns
1. Usman Khawaja
49. Steve Smith
20. Shaun Marsh
62. Travis Head
7. Tim Paine (c) (wk)
30. Pat Cummins
56. Mitch Starc
19. James Pattinson
38. Josh Hazlewood
64.

Both new members of the squad play for England, replacing Northeast who may feel a tad unlucky to sit on the bench for this one, and Porter who shouldn't. Australia meanwhile have taken the odd step of resting Lyon.

This time England won the toss and batted. And there were early problems. Within two overs of each other Sibley, Buttler and Burns all nicked to the keeper. Unusually for Paine, all three chances were held. Vince and Root got England going again. But when Cummins yorked Root just after lunch, England found themselves in a tricky spot at 4/98. Vince and Bairstow dealt with that, Vince bringing up the first ton of the series just after tea, Bairstow getting his just after the second new ball, and the pair remaining not out at stumps. They set an England record partnership of 256 before Vince chipped back to Starc for a brilliant 152. Stokes played aggressively but was out quickly, and Curran failed, meaning Bairstow had to get quick runs with the tail. Mark Wood hung around for 65 balls and added 30 runs, a very welcome contribution on both counts, and thanks to similar resistance from Leach, YJB got to his double ton. Leach fell for 40 shortly after (geez is he becoming the real 2019 Ashes Jack Leach?) and Anderson didn't last long, leaving Bairstow on 208.

While the other England quicks were wayward early, Anderson was precise and then rewarded when Burns was rapped on the pads by a straight one. Warner and Khawaja, though, were aggressive and got some significant benefits. They put on 230 of their own before Curran jagged one past Warner and into middle. It came at significant cost- his economy rate for the first 80 overs was 6.43. The pain didn't stop there as Khawaja and Smith piled on their own misery. By the time Curran got Khawaja with the second new ball, for a run a ball 190, Smith was at a faster than 100SR 123 and his economy rate was at 7. Leach and Wood brought the run rate down after tea but when Smith fell for 151, Australia had the lead. Curran returned to remove Marsh, and Paine was LBW Leach the next over. Head also fell in the same Curran spell and the tail had trouble handling Anderson and Curran. In a massive twist, Cummins took this literally, a Curran bouncer fracturing his thumb. His Test was over, Australia would have to bowl England out with three bowlers to win. Australia finished with a lead of 76.

Burns lasted four deliveries of England's reply. Sibley also had a similar showing to his first innings, but Buttler was improved. He got to his fifty before edging Pattinson. Vince's dismissal to Steve Smith left England in trouble at 4/110. It got worse when three balls later, Root went too. Bairstow and Stokes improved the situation with matching fifties before, after 261 runs, Bairstow was finally dismissed. Stokes got to 84 before Head became a second part timer to take a wicket, and the tail hung around long enough to give England a lead of 235 which seemed insufficient. The saving grace was that only nine wickets were needed, Cummins absent.

Hope arrived in the tenth over when Curran yorked Burns. No more wickets fell for another hundred runs though. Even though Smith failed, a run-a-ball ton for Khawaja just about sealed the deal. And unfortunately, three balls after lunch on the fifth, it all ended. Australia 1-0.

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Points for the D'Oliveira Trophy:
4 - Sam Curran
3 - Rory Burns
2 - James Anderson
2 - Ben Stokes
2 - Jonny Bairstow (208, 53)
1 - Joe Root
1 - James Vince (152, 24)
 

ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
England vs Australia
Third Test
22-26 August 2019
Headingley

Lineups
:
:eng::
27. Rory Burns
52. Dom Sibley
63. Jos Buttler
66. Joe Root (c)
14. James Vince
51. Jonny Bairstow (wk)
55. Ben Stokes
58. Sam Curran
8. Stuart Broad
9. James Anderson
77. Jack Leach

:aus::
31. David Warner
15. Joe Burns
1. Usman Khawaja
49. Steve Smith
20. Shaun Marsh
62. Travis Head
7. Tim Paine (c) (wk)
56. Mitch Starc
67. Nathan Lyon
19. James Pattinson
38. Josh Hazlewood
64.

England and Australia make one bowling change each. England drop Mark Wood after an awful display at Old Trafford, and bring back Ashes antihero Stuart Broad, while Australia's change is forced- Cummins is ruled out with the broken thumb he got last match, and Lyon returns.

Australia won the toss and chose to bat first today. In the tenth over, the first wicket fell as Anderson got the ball between Burns' bat and pad, and onto middle wicket. England's change bowlers were at first ineffective, to the joy of Warner and Khawaja. However, just before lunch, Broad returned and his first ball wet to Buttler at slip off the edge of Khawaja's bat. Australia's two best batsmen, Warner and Smith, then put their heads down and batted until an hour into day two in a 368-run stand. Warner finally gloved a Curran bouncer to leg slip to be out for 232, and three overs later Leach finally got Smith for 197. Head played an aggressive knock to end up on 71 when Paine declared after the score passed 600.

Burns was out three balls into the reply, plumb LBW to Starc. Sibley and Buttler got stuck in, but just as they looked settled, Pattinson grabbed the off pole of Buttler. Sibley departed three balls later, to an absolute peach of a bouncer that only went as far as slip, putting England in a hole. Vince reverted to form, out in double figures going for a big shot, and when Root was bowled, England were 5/109 and in trouble. Bairstow and Stokes survived the rest of the day, but Bairstow departed three overs into Day 3. Stokes also fell short of his 50, LBW sweeping Lyon, and after the inevitably quick fold of the tail, England were 370 behind and forced to follow on.

Burns and Sibley put on fifty before Pattinson yorked the latter. Buttler hit a quick 29 that was probably out of place in the circumstances, but rain arrived 17 minutes before tea, ending the day's play just after Burns reached his fifty. He didn't get much further, out early for 62, and Vince was Vince. When Root went for 67 to a world-class grab by Paine, England were five down for an inadequate total yet again, although at least it was 216 this time and not a frustratingly familiar 5/110. Bairstow and Stokes responded by putting on a very quick 80 runs, suggesting the Aussie openers may have to bat again. And while Bairstow fell just short of his ton, a few quick runs from Leach and Broad confirmed that. That said, 27 was never adequate, and the Ashes were confirmed to make the trip home with the visitors at 5:20pm on Day 4.

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Points for the D'Oliveira Trophy:
4 - Sam Curran
4 - Jonny Bairstow (41, 92)
3 - Rory Burns
2 - James Anderson
2 - Ben Stokes
2 - Joe Root (16, 67)
1 - James Vince
 

ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
England vs Australia
Fourth Test
4-8 September 2019
The Oval

Lineups:

:eng::
27. Rory Burns
17. Sam Northeast
63. Jos Buttler
66. Joe Root (c)
14. James Vince
51. Jonny Bairstow (wk)
55. Ben Stokes
22. Toby Roland-Jones
8. Stuart Broad
9. James Anderson
77. Jack Leach

:aus::
31. David Warner
14. Marcus Harris
1. Usman Khawaja
49. Steve Smith
20. Shaun Marsh
62. Travis Head
7. Tim Paine (c) (wk)
56. Mitch Starc
67. Nathan Lyon
19. James Pattinson
38. Josh Hazlewood
64.

England have dispensed of the underperforming Sibley and Curran, bringing in Northeast and a fourth bowler in Roland-Jones in their place. Australia appear to be focusing on blooding Marcus Harris as a future Warner replacement with their one change here.

The toss and pitch looked scarily similar to last game. However, the opening partnership was different. It was much longer (30 overs), it was slower (only three an over), and importantly Warner was first out, LBW sweeping Leach a ball before lunch was due to be called. Stokes then LBW'd Harris just after lunch, and Smith fell for 49, edging a big drive off Broad. The over after tea, Khawaja feathered Leach behind too, then Head got a first baller. TRJ joined the fun, Paine edging to slip for his first Test wicket in four years, and then bouncing out Starc. Leach bowled Marsh, and Broad cleaned up the tail within one over of taking the new ball.

The openers negotiated Day 1, but after the first session of Day 2 was washed out, Northeast was bowled three balls into the second. Only three more overs were had before that session too fell to the gloom. England would have wished the last did too but after a 30-minute delayed start, Burns, Buttler and Root were out within two overs of each other, leaving England 4/41. Bairstow was out early on Day 3, Vince and Stokes joined them halfway through the session, and after a touch of resistance, England were out 100 runs in arrears.

After a 68-run opening partnership, TRJ got rid of Harris (LBW). Warner fell two balls into Leach's spell, and Khawaja got settled and then out to a fast one from Anderson. Smith and Marsh played through the rest of the day for a century stand, but off the first ball of Day 4, Marsh drilled it straight to Stokes at short cover. Leach then finally removed Smith, edging to the keeper for 96. As the new ball ranged, Leach then got Head LBW. Starc came out with aggressive intent and a run-a-ball 79 righted the Australian ship, with good support from Paine, who eventually summised that a lead of 543 was enough. But was the threat of rain going to be an issue?

Predictably by now, Burns and Buttler failed. Root got a fifty that was solid if not spectacular, Vince was yorked, and when the impressive Northeast finally fell after feathering one behind for a well made 62, England were in trouble... again. The tail folded to ensure a series win for Australia.

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forgot to grab the total

Points for the D'Oliveira Trophy:
4 - Sam Curran
4 - Jonny Bairstow
3 - Rory Burns
2 - James Anderson
2 - Ben Stokes
2 - Joe Root
2 - Jack Leach (3/82, 4/115)
1 - James Vince
1 - Stuart Broad (3/50, 0/83)
 

ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
England vs Australia
Fifth Test
12-16 September 2019
Lords

Lineups:

:eng::
51. Jonny Bairstow (wk)
17. Sam Northeast
63. Jos Buttler
66. Joe Root (c)
14. James Vince
55. Ben Stokes
29. Ryan Higgins :redo:
22. Toby Roland-Jones
8. Stuart Broad
9. James Anderson
77. Jack Leach

:aus::
31. David Warner
14. Marcus Harris
1. Usman Khawaja
49. Steve Smith
20. Shaun Marsh
62. Travis Head
7. Tim Paine (c) (wk)
56. Mitch Starc
67. Nathan Lyon
19. James Pattinson
38. Josh Hazlewood
64.

I was planning to trial more county stars in this game. Unfortunately I accidentally picked an unchanged squad, so I could only call up Ryan Higgins for his Test debut. Australia unchanged- why would they?

England finally won the toss on a stormy day at Lords and chose to bat. If it's OK I don't want to talk about what happened next.

The conditions were clearly awful- the Aussies laboured to 22 off 10 overs before tea. They preserved their wickets for 18 overs though, before Warner nicked one from TRJ. Harris' shot selection let him down on 35, trying to work one angling away to the leg side, and Leach disposed of Khawaja edging in a similar way three overs later. Smith and Marsh bedded in and aimed for three an over, and it worked, until Marsh chipped one back to Broad as the clock struck 3:40 and tea. Smith edged one from Anderson when the new ball was taken, and TRJ got Head after another quick fifty. Starc and Paine nearly pulled off another act like they did in the last game, but Anderson repeated the Smith dose to the man who succeeded him as Aussie captain, and the tail got polished off for 413 by Leach taking two in two. If England could somehow get past 349, he'd be on a hattrick.

England were at 4/46 in their reply and fans would be forgiven for thinking it'd be as bad as in the first innings. However, it didn't, partly because of the rain and partly because of Stokes and Buttler putting on a gritty sixty together. They got out within two runs of each other though, leaving the rest of the game solely as an audition for Higgins' batting. It wasn't bad in fairness but the reality was a 4-0 Ashes loss, one which could have been a sweep but for the weather.

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Points for the D'Oliveira Trophy:
4 - Sam Curran
4 - Jonny Bairstow
4 - Jack Leach (3/82)
3 - Rory Burns
2 - James Anderson
2 - Ben Stokes
2 - Joe Root
1 - James Vince
1 - Stuart Broad
1 - Toby Roland-Jones (3/91)

Our issues were on both ends. Our bowlers were alright but not brilliant, although Jack Leach did a good job if you factor out the third test where he got a Pant-esque belting. Our batting though... only Bairstow averaged higher than 33 and that was mainly because of said Game 3. To the drawing board I guess
 

ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
SQUAD FOR NZ TOUR:
:bat: Joe Root :c:
:bat: Dominic Sibley
:bat: Rory Burns
:bat: Sam Northeast
:bat: Rob Newton :redo:
:bat: James Vince
:wkb: Jonny Bairstow
:wkb: Ollie Pope
:wkb: Jos Buttler
:ar: Ben Stokes
:ar: Ryan Higgins
:ar: Sam Curran
:ar: Ravi Bopara
:bwl: James Anderson
:bwl: Toby Roland-Jones
:bwl: Jamie Porter
:bwl: Jack Leach
:bwl: Stuart Broad

The big news is Northants man Rob Newton beating Adam Lyth to the reserve opener spot, and Ravi Bopara getting recalled after an excellent county year. Pope, Curran and Porter's reinclusions were expected
 

ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
England vs New Zealand
First Test
24-28 October 2019
Otago

Lineups:

:eng::
27. Rory Burns
52. Dom Sibley
66. Joe Root (c)
51. Jonny Bairstow (wk)
63. Jos Buttler
55. Ben Stokes
80. Ollie Pope
56. Sam Curran
8. Stuart Broad
9. James Anderson
77. Jack Leach

:nzf::
48. Tom Latham
31. Martin Guptill
22. Kane Williamson (c)
47. BJ Watling (wk)
3. Ross Taylor
86. Henry Nicholls
50. James Neesham
38. Tim Southee
61. Ish Sodhi
35. Neil Wagner
18. Trent Boult

England have returned Burns and Sibley to the top of the order, restoring Bairstow to his natural place, and tried Ollie Pope at seven again. Meanwhile, NZ also have a funky order- Watling above Taylor?- but that shouldn't be an issue given the opposition.

England won the toss and, either seeing something in the pitch or taking their medicine early, batted first. The openers lasted 26 overs for 64 before Sibley flicked Wagner to mid wicket. The next partnership was equally successful, Burns and Root taking England to 139 (also in 26 overs) before the former lost his off stump to a Southee cutter. That brought together England's two best batsmen and they weren't separated until Root was bowled 30 minutes into the middle session... of Day 2. By this point Root had 120, and Bairstow passed 150 shortly after. He ended up making 188 before a good inswinger from Wagner (easily the best bowling Kiwi) removed middle. The English lower order hit some quick runs to get the score to 530 before, at stumps on Day 2, Root declared.

NZ had a similar (but slightly faster) strategy than England- it took 25 overs and 78 runs to separate Latham and Guptill. Stokes eventually bowled Guptill, but ten runs later Latham went too, LBW Leach. Just as the new pair survived trial by fire (Anderson), trial by docility (Leach) got its second LBW, and this time it was a big one- Williamson. BJ Watling then got out to Leach in his next over, edging to slip. Continuing a trend, Taylor and Nicholls stabilised, and then just as they got in, Taylor edged Curran behind. Nicholls finally got to his fifty (after five Kiwis fell between 20 and 40), then Stokes got Neesham edging after a quick 24. Nicholls finally fell for a well-made 97 after the new ball was taken, and while gritty determination from Southee and Sodhi ensured safety from the follow-on, Leach ended the innings 170 in arrears with his fifth wicket.

The English openers put on 77 in 35 overs, then both fell trying to up the scoring rate. Root, Bairstow, Buttler and Stokes all departed quickly, leaving England in a familiar 6/123- the 170-run lead proving necessary. The English hierachy must have been thrilled with a pair of gritty fifties by Pope and Curran, and when the former was trapped LBW by Sodhi, England declared with a snuff at the win in 1.5 sessions.

Guptill fell after he and Latham had blunted that .5. Williamson fell almost immediately, before Watling and Latham batted for another .5. Anderson got Watling from the third last over, but that was it- a draw.

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Points for the D'Oliveira Trophy:
6 - Jonny Bairstow (188, 4)
5 - Jack Leach (5/93, 1/30)
4 - Sam Curran
3 - Rory Burns
2 - James Anderson
2 - Ben Stokes
2 - Joe Root
1 - James Vince
1 - Stuart Broad
1 - Toby Roland-Jones
 

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ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
England vs New Zealand
Second Test
7-11 November 2019
Auckland

Lineups:

:eng::
27. Rory Burns
52. Dom Sibley
66. Joe Root (c)
51. Jonny Bairstow (wk)
63. Jos Buttler
55. Ben Stokes
80. Ollie Pope
56. Sam Curran
8. Stuart Broad
9. James Anderson
77. Jack Leach

:nzf::
48. Tom Latham
31. Martin Guptill
22. Kane Williamson (c)
47. BJ Watling (wk)
3. Ross Taylor
86. Henry Nicholls
50. James Neesham
38. Tim Southee
61. Ish Sodhi
35. Neil Wagner
18. Trent Boult

Two unchanged teams. Well that makes my formatting easy!

It was also easy for Joe Root to bat after winning the toss again. He wouldn't have liked being 1/0 thanks to a Rory Burns brain fade. The opener lamely defended the ball up into the air and back to Neil Wagner. Root was also out early to Wagner (albeit to a much better ball), as was Bairstow, leaving England 3/29, and 4/29 when Sibley edged one from Southee. You wouldn't have expected the same bowler to take the fifth with the next new ball, but when you find a strategy that works... Buttler and Stokes played to survive for a few overs, then began to get more aggressive, and put on 200 before Southee bowled Buttler for 115. Stokes was out to the same bowler the next morning for 166, and while Curran picked up a duck, the resistance of Leach and (oddly) Anderson allowed England to get to 498 and more importantly, Pope to get his ton, the third of the innings. Imagine that from 4/29!

The Kiwis were slow to start, scoring just 21 off 14 overs. This wouldn't have been bad (Stokes and Buttler had a similar strike rate at one point), but Guptill was yorked on the last ball of that 14th. Williamson was also out cheaply and slowly, and when Leach got Watling, the Kiwis were on a most un-Kiwi 3/48 from 27 overs. They went to bed in an even worse position, with Taylor falling to Leach in the last over of the day, leaving the Kiwis 4/56. Leach's ridiculous 0.6 economy rate was spoiled in the morning with two boundaries from Latham, which Anderson punished by nicking off Nichols. He also got Neesham in that spell, while Leach got Southee and Curran, after replacing Anderson, the defiant Latham. Wagner and Boult hauled NZ over 100 before they were all out for a miserable 107.

They obviously had to follow on, and this time Guptill in particular showed much more intent. This nearly went bad when Latham was only just in on a tight single, and then it did ten overs after lunch when a Guptill flick found mid wicket. Williamson was aggressive, hitting sixes off Anderson and Leach in successive overs, but at the other end Latham fell to Anderson. Broad pulled the big one after tea though, getting Williamson plumb LBW. He also got Watling in a sublime spell of bowling after which his figures were 14-4-17-2. Taylor tried to drive Curran for six and only picked long off, and from the all rounder's next over, Nicholls was trapped in front. All England had to do was clean up the tail, a task Leach and Broad failed to accomplish before stumps by one wicket. Boult hit a few counterblows before Curran got him with the new ball, ending the game with a massive innings win.

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Points for the D'Oliveira Trophy:
7 - Sam Curran (0, 4/28, 4/39)
6 - Jonny Bairstow
5 - Jack Leach
4 - Ben Stokes (166, 0/15)
3 - Rory Burns
2 - James Anderson
2 - Joe Root
2 - Stuart Broad (0/17, 3/34)
1 - James Vince
1 - Toby Roland-Jones

Very pleased. I think I've found a batting strategy that works when the top order fluff their lines.
 

Prashanth S Kharche

Club Captain
Joined
Apr 13, 2020
England vs Australia
First Test
2-6 August 2019
Cardiff

Lineups:

:eng::
27. Rory Burns
52. Dom Sibley
63. Jos Buttler (wk)
66. Joe Root (c)
51. Jonny Bairstow
17. Sam Northeast
55. Ben Stokes
58. Sam Curran
9. James Anderson
77. Jack Leach
44. Jamie Porter

:aus::
31. David Warner
15. Joe Burns
1. Usman Khawaja
49. Steve Smith
20. Shaun Marsh
62. Travis Head
7. Tim Paine (c) (wk)
30. Pat Cummins
56. Mitch Starc
67. Nathan Lyon
38. Josh Hazlewood
64.

I am somewhat concerned with my team structure- maybe playing Ollie Pope at seven would have been better than Sam Northeast at six- but too much batting in the top 8 isn't a problem, particularily with the last three bats in the team. As for Australia, it's the lineup everyone expected given these are pre-Cameron Green and Pucovski times.

On a sunny Cardiff morning (do they exist?), England lost the toss and Australia chose to bat. Anderson was expensive early but Curran got the first wicket in the eighth over, nipping a cutter back in and grabbing the off peg of Warner. Burns and Khawaja put together a strong partnership, until Burns bottom-edged a toppie from Leach and Buttler did a good job to hang on, ending his innings on 51. No further loss occurred before lunch but in the second over after, a big moment for Jamie Porter; a perfect yorker caught Steve Smith plumb in front. Khawaja's well-compiled 75 was ended halfway through the session to an inside edge off Curran that carried to the keeper. Head provided a nearly run-a-ball 57 before he too edged behind, this time off Leach, just after tea. No further wickets fell until the new ball was taken, although the slow pace of Paine before the new ball did factor into it- after carting the disappointing Anderson for 14 from the 83rd over, he tried to hit Curran for six over long off (a six that would have taken him to 99) off the final ball of the next over, and only succeeded in edging it to Bairstow at gully. No further wickets fell on Day 1 but ball 12 of day 2 caught Cummins plumb and gave Curran his fourth. Porter was next to get a wicket, a big edge from Paine finding second slip. Anderson got on the board by yorking Starc and, five overs later, Leach removed Lyon to end the innings on 428.

England's start was composed. Sibley looked solid, if a bit slow, until he got a world-class yorker from Hazlewood. Jos Buttler's arrival was the impetus for the scorecard to begin to tick and he put on 100 with Burns until the latter swept and missed at Lyon. Buttler departed to another great ball from Hazlewood two overs later, meaning England arrived at stumps with 7 wickets left and a deficit of 245 runs. Bairstow departed six overs into Day 3, pinned by a Starc inswinger, and when Hazlewood got Root in a similar way (albeit with the new ball) England were in some trouble. Stokes failed, edging to the Australian Burns at slip, although his short partnership with Northeast at least got England past the follow-on mark. Northeast was LBW four balls after the lunch break, and the tail, while showing more fight than expected, just failed to keep the deficit under three figures.

Warner came out of the blocks firing, which inevitably meant his tenth ball picked out mid wicket. The next partnership produced two concerns for England. One, Jamie Porter conceded fifty from his first 7-over spell. Two, clouds were forming. Burns fell again to Leach, just short of his fifty this time, plumb LBW. No more wickets fell for the rest of the day, but Anderson removed Khawaja with the seventh ball of Day 4, heartbreakingly for the Aussie who finished on 98. Marsh fell five balls later, to a catch on the other side of the edge, and Australia were pegged back. Anderson got Smith LBW four overs later, but that was the end of the success for the session as, after a hour-long partnership between Head and Paine, rain curtailed the session. It then wiped out the second and delayed the third. Shortly after the resumption though, Curran knocked back Head's off stump for a similarily fast 68. He then removed Cummins and after one more ball, a Starc two which took the Aussie lead to 400, Paine declared.

The English openers survived until close of play in a situation seemingly made for them. And they hung around for 75 more minutes on the fifth morning until Sibley nicked Lyon to slip. Buttler again upped the scoring but Burns continued to be resolute; throwing your wicket away with a chance of Test-saving rain in the afternoon wasn't a smart idea. Buttler reached his fifty and then was bowled by one that spun miles from Lyon. Root failed again, out three balls after tea, and some jitters began to occur when, with an over until the second new ball, Burns was pinned by Starc for a gallant 87. Cummins then disposed of Bairstow, but just as it was looking close, Northeast and Curran put on 50 in an hour to ensure the draw.

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Points for the D'Oliveira Trophy:
4 - Sam Curran (4/87, 23, 2/62, 2*)
3 - Rory Burns (59, 87)
2 - James Anderson (1/92, 4/49)
2 - Ben Stokes
1 - Joe Root
Buttler scored 52 and 72 and still nothing points?
 

ddrap14

International Coach
AUS..
Brisbane Heat
Avengers
Joined
Jan 11, 2017
Buttler scored 52 and 72 and still nothing points?
Yeah, I thought Anderson's top order wickets were marginally more important.

Look for this to return when I have more free time. That's likely in about six weeks, because I have a week where not only do I have no exams but I also will hopefully get Pfizer 2. So I'll probably spend whatever day I get that doing nothing, so maybe this
 

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