Chester le Street, Durham – Fourth Ashes Test

Two days grafting cricket have been played in the fourth Ashes Test in northern England. The match is in the balance and Australia have a slight edge, trailing by a few runs only and with five wickets in hand. Plaudits to Chris Rogers, Australia’s first centurion of the series, other than Michael Clarke. It was always a question of who else when assessing Australia’s batting.

I’ve been quiet on the blog as I’ve been away from home with a group of friends and partners enjoying the fruits of far northern Queensland. I’m sitting at present, in an airport lounge on route home, considering the prospect of a first innings lead for Australia and relishing one topic deserving scrutiny.

Team Changes

So after getting pollaxed at Lords in the second Test Australia put forth a massively improved effort at Old Trafford last week. We pinned down England with the ball, made runs with the bat and were in a significant position of ascendency on the final day, only to be thwarted by inclement weather. Finally we had strung together a collection of good sessions, so what do we do? Change the team.

Not because of fitness concerns or injury, both of which would form reasonable cases for change given the 3 days between this and the last Test. No we didn’t have any fitness issues or injuries, we just seem to dislike continuity and love a revolving door. Not only did we change a successful and well balanced bowling attack, we shuffled the batting order, again.

Jackson Bird is a very promising bowler, but that isn’t the point and I think Starc has a right to feel aggreived at this exclusion. I don’t believe David Warner should open the batting in Test Matches and instead, could become a brilliant middle order destroyer. Clearly, those who matter think otherwise. Warner failed last night and ironically, after a not too long, we ended up four wickets down with former opening pair Rogers and Watson having to dig us out. They put on about 130 together and Watto nailed a 66. People might suggest that batting at 6 helped him achieve that, I’m not convinced.

I just get annoyed at sticking the team in the blender every week and the lack of direction permeating from the camp, especially after we just played well and arguably had an opportunity to stabilise the team environment, which looks about as sound as a straw hut perched somewhere on the San Andreas fault line.

Naturally if we go on and win in Durham some will say I’m a mug and the selectors know best.

On the positive I am really looking forward to tonight’s play and hoping Rogers and Haddin can peel off the deficit and establish a lead. I think, having to bat last, we’ll need at least 100 runs between us and them after the first innings’ are complete.

See you all tomorrow!

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