By / 1st December, 2017 / Cricket, Tests / 6 Comments

Last time, JR made some bold predictions for the first Ashes test in Brisbane which, ahem, did not come to pass. Will that slow him down?

Scoring a D minus for my tips means I should be ducking for cover… Bad luck, here I go again!

Why was I so far out?

The Gabba “pudding” was reason no 1, I reckon – and off-spinner Lyon was number 2.

As my curator down here explained: Kevin Mitchell’s normal, early (deep) pitch-watering plan came unstuck when unpredicted cool moist days arrived in Brisbane for the weeks leading up – the pitch never dried out to allow a crust to be formed. Perfect for Lyon.

And suddenly it was the Warne glory-days all over again as Lyon got turn and bounce at good pace unlike any offie before him in Brisbane. Not only did he get the middle order out, he reduced runs to a trickle and what might have been 500 for England ended up as 300. And when at last the pitch dried on days 4&5 it was a batting paradise for Warner and Bancroft.

Then came the Smith show.

My friend Brian Sawyer, who coached him in a NSW schoolboys’ team for a couple of years, told me what incredible self-belief he had then – and he sure has now. I thought Broad in particular and Anderson were superb, but when they couldn’t get Smith, there was no firepower to follow as England had in 2015 with Wood, Finn and Stokes – and Moeen was nowhere near as good a spinner as Lyon.

I’ve long had reservations about Lyon’s ability to get people out. As a young groundsman at Adelaide Oval, his net bowling against an Aussie team had him plucked from obscurity into the Test team inside a year – and you don’t learn confidence when the best players in the world are often belting you all over the park. Now it seems he’s got that confidence – it was pleasure watching him bowl. At times in the past it has been agony as the good players milked him.

So what does England do?

Lyon made mincemeat of their left-handers, Root was trapped lbw by both Cummings and Hazlewood and the tail disintegrated against Starc.

No. 3 paceman Ball will probably be dropped. Not enough pace and poor with the bat. Fellow paceman Overton is of similar pace and can bat but has 3 ducks from 3 outings on tour. The young (replacement for Finn), ex-South African Tom Curran might be a bolter – he bats and bowls quite well. Bairstow should be batting 5 to split the lefties. If it wasn’t a day-night test where batting needs to be bolstered, I’d drop Malan and try Crane as the spinner. It would make the tail longer, but Anderson and Broad badly need a back-up wicket-taker.

And there could be a bit in the pitch. That cool moist tropical air that affected the Gabba has been sucked down to Adelaide and Victoria, and it’s been bucketing down as a once-in-a-generation weather event – and that might just suit the poms

So I’m sticking with my prediction – Anderson and Broad to win it for England!

Cricket game with rose in the foreground

Big slog coming up… Another weekend, another Buck’s Day cricket match, and guest-of honour Nick is enjoying himself. That’s a “Mr Lincoln” rose in the foreground.


  • Brian Sawyer 14/12/2017 at 7:27 pm


  • GMG 03/12/2017 at 5:05 pm

    JR You have never lacked self belief even when hopelessly wrong. Only Richard Pym has faith in you.
    The Poms are so mediocre. If the aussie quicks stay up the poms will be thrashed. Lyon has been magnificent.
    Stark terrorisers the tail and not much else . Cummins and hazelwood are the guns!
    Time to update your predictions.
    regards Geoff Garland

  • Jeff Kernot 03/12/2017 at 7:09 am

    I love to read your predictions and reports. Wisdom? We are all correct sometimes and your turn will come. Meanwhile, be a Donald Trump and deny you said it.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Eve Ryan 02/12/2017 at 8:29 am

    The Poms will thrash you colonials 4 blot in the remaining Tests. They were only getting warmed up in Brisbane.
    Eve Ryan, Secretary of the Colin Cowdrey fan Club.

  • Son #1 01/12/2017 at 11:43 pm

    Your explanation for why you were so far out hints at the Aussies being lucky with the weather only. C’mon JR, Root/Cook et al weren’t undone by mother nature.

    Are you still sticking with your 3-1 Pommie prediction, ie winning 3 of the next 4 tests??

    Still sticking with my 3-0 Aussies.

  • Brian Sawyer 01/12/2017 at 10:24 pm

    I am ‘mis-quoted’ here. I was not the coach but the manager. Terry Willis was the coach. The same observations apply – Steve Smith had lots of self belief back then as a schoolboy – so did David Warner – not hard to believe.
    The only hope the MCC side has here is the toss of the coin. Will they elect to bowl first? Cannot see them winning if they don’t.

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