Aug 4-8, 2017 - 4th Test at Old Trafford, Manchester
SOUTH AFRICA From:
Old Trafford Weather
In eight the past nine series England have played, they have lost the final Test eight times occasions.
The idea I find truly hilarious is that Jonny should bat at no. 7 because Gilchrist did. That Australia team had so many world class players in the top 6 that Darren Lehmann couldn't get into it. The England side has four test-class batsmen: Root, Bairstow, Cook and Stokes. It has one "solid citizen" in Westley and a highly talented but "flirty" sort of player in Moeen Ali. Quite what Malan is doing in the team - other than that he looked promising in an ODI - isn't clear (at almost 30 years of age, he can't be the youth policy). In my view, they might as well have picked Hildreth, who has many of the virtues of Westley though is probably well past his best now, or gone back to Vince. But neither should bat ahead of Bairstow or Stokes.
Sky keep showing a chart that indicates Bairstow has a better average at 6 or 7 than at other places in the batting order. I don't know what that is supposed to show. Since he has mostly been picked to bat at 6 or 7 in recent years, it probably just indicates that he is getting better as a test player, which isn't exactly surprising - and is really an argument for moving him UP the order. Or it could just mean that he's had more not-outs through running out of partners.
Someone even suggested that it might be best to leave him at 7 because he's good at batting with the tail. But you get to bat with the tail if you're good enough to stay in. Joe Root often bats with the tail and Jennings could if he were capable of staying in for that long.
Jonny batted very frenetically at Trent Bridge, but then so did the whole team. I think they were probably getting ahead of themselves after a comprehensive win in the first test. To move Jonny back down the batting order after that was both a misreading of the situation and entirely pointless, since he effectively batted at 5 anyway after Jennings and Malan failed to make meaningful contributions.
The DRS thing is more complicated than is currently being understood by most of the commentators. If umpires are willing to give those sorts of decision out, when previously (ie before Hawkeye) they would have given the benefit of the doubt to the batsman, then "umpire's call" has become problematical. Only the most atrocious of umpires would have given that out before the days of DRS. To put it another way, the whole "finely balanced architecture" of DRS requires that umpires behave like human umpires, not cyborgs who think they are second-guessing the technology. In this situation, there is still "doubt" because the technology isn't perfect, but such "benefit of the doubt" as there now is is actually going to the bowlers!
Looking at this again, I see I've possibly just found a more long-winded way to say "Crap decision" and "the whole batting order is bonkers".