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Bruce

If The Slot is selected I will jump from the Aussie bandwagon. I cannot support a team that selects him on his current form and future prospects.

m0nty

Hopefully after this match we can call them the Sussex Bombs.

Adsy

I'm on the Paki's if he gets picked. Even if they are more up and down than a bride's nightie.

Russ

5/117. What a promising start to the tour. Looks like Ponting needs a little more time to adjust to the swinging ball. Maybe by 2013.

Bruce, agreed, but add "past performances" to the list.

Samir Chopra

Pity Sussex didn't play Piyush Chawla, their leg-spinning import. That'd have really prepared Australia for the Ashes.

Adsy

Reports are no selector AT ALL turned up for the game. For a side that they are still trying to work out, thats horrible.

Tony

I went to bed when Australia were 5/115, so I was happy to see we got to 7 for 300+. But I would have been much happier if the scoreboard was reversed and Clarke, Haddin, Lee, and Hauritz had made 5 for 115, while Hughes, Katich, Ponting, North and Hussey had made 2 for 200+. If you know what I mean.

Tony

I don't know whether the selector no-show really matters. But the little man inside me who operates my "something is not quite right" detection system, has been sending preliminary emails warning about our prospects on this tour. I hope it's a false alarm, and the little man won't turn out to be the Hollywood-style hero in an earthquake movie. "Listen to me! The BIG one is coming!"

Samir Chopra

So long as Australia does not make the mistake of playing Brett Lee, believing too much in all-rounders, or showing the kind of mistaken faith they did in Matty Hayden in 2005, they'll be fine.

Russ

So... what you are saying then Samir, is that Australia is f**ked?

Brett Lee will play, I can feel it in my bones (and Tony's foreshadowing).

Half the squad are only there because they are all-rounders (North, McDonald, Watson, Haddin, probably Lee).

And they only picked six batsmen. If one fails they have to keep him. And there are a lot of potential failures in the top 6. Starting with the captain, and ending with a kid who inexplicably seems to have become the key to the whole series.

Tony

Slot Lee's inclusion would be a Turnbull-esque gamble.

If he plays and we lose the Ashes, the selectors will be gawn as quick as a sub-editor can say: "Andrew Hilditch connected to Treasury email debacle".

Samir Chopra

Russ: I hadn't thought of it in those terms; I still expect some sense to prevail and for Oz to win this one. But I do find the faith in McDonald, Watson et al baffling. Its un-Australian, really.

Tony: I think playing Lee would be a mistake similar to that of playing Hayden in the 4th and 5th tests in 2005 - a potentially Ashes-losing move.

Russ

Samir, ha! Australia only ditches its all-rounders when it doesn't need them: ie. when they have bowlers of the calibre of Warne, McGrath, Lillee, etc. Australian obsession with all-rounders (even useless ones) runs very deep. Check this team from the 1956 Ashes: Four batsmen, Johnson, Davidson, Miller, Archer, Benaud, Lindwall, the keeper at 11. Mackay had been dropped. And Burke, opening, took over 100 first class wickets at under 30.

Not a bad list of names, mind, even if they did lose.

And that's without mentioning the mysterious career of Greg Matthews, or the early part of Steve Waugh's... Dodemaide, O'Donnell, Bevan, Julian, Symonds, White... Australians love all-rounders. They are our cult heroes, our captains, our television hosts... un-Australian?? You must be joking.

Samir Chopra

My mistake. I should have the put the "Australian" in my "un-Australian" in quotes, to indicate the Australian cricket team post-Benaud/Davidson/Miller. (I was going to mention the 1953, 1954/55 and 1956 results but you've already hinted at the carnage of the 1950s Ashes, which only came to a halt in 1958).

More seriously, I don't think its a coincidence Australia didn't make a contribution to the All-Rounder Quartet of the 1980s. In the modern era, Australia's dominance comes from great bowlers - a reliance on all-rounders seems to indicate a return to, shudder, the early days of Steve Waugh and O'Donnell (the mid-1980s).

Russ

This is what's known as a beautiful set of figures:

B Lee  	  	5.4  	0  	32  	0  	5.64  	(4nb)  	
BW Hilfenhaus 	5 	2 	10 	1 	2.00 	(1nb) 	
PM Siddle 	6 	0 	18 	2 	3.00 	(3nb) 	
SR Clark 	9 	3 	31 	1 	3.44 	

Samir, I'd argue that if you take out the Lillee era (1971-1984) and the Warne era (1992-2007) then Australia has always been a bit obsessed with all-rounders. In the late 60s we cycled through Hawke, Philpott and Freeman and did our best to ruin Simpson and Walters. Of course, it is merely luck whether any all-rounder is "great" but we've had a few of those too.

nick

Lee. 4-5 an over. 7 no balls. 2 late middle order wickets after the others have done the work. Go home.

Samir Chopra

Russ: Fair enough. Clearly I've allowed my impression of Aussie cricket to be colored by those times that I've had the most direct access to! Its also because I tend to think of Benaud/Davo/Miller/Lindwall as bowlers first and foremost (their bowling styles stick out the most - not so much their batting).

Tony

To quote John Anderson this morning on 3AW: "Lee 3 for 53. That's a bit of a worry. They can't pick him, can they? Surely not. He can't play. He doesn't deserve to play."

To paraphrase Ando's plainly concerned tone: "He's a hack. Send him home!"

At least the final scorecard supports his exclusion. The other quicks had manifestly better figures:

B Lee  		13.2  	2  	53  	3  	3.97  	(8nb)  	
BW Hilfenhaus 	11 	3 	31 	1 	2.81 	(5nb) 	
PM Siddle 	15 	3 	33 	2 	2.20 	(5nb) 	
SR Clark 	15 	4 	46 	3 	3.06 	(1nb) 	
NM Hauritz 	18 	0 	98 	0 	5.44 	(3nb) 	
SM Katich 	8 	1 	32 	1 	4.00 	

Never. The. Less. Everything we have heard from the selectors, Ponting and CricAussie since Lee hurt his foot says they want him to play. Here's hoping it's just polite public support for an injured teammate.

RT

Love hearing this from Neilsen:

He said Clark, who floored Sussex wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd with a searing lifter, had regained some of the 'zip' and sharp bounce he lost when he injured his elbow last year in India.

Clark firming for Cardiff. He'd be cert for Lords where it was bouncey treat earlier in the Pommie summer, so a test under the belt would be good. Ritz a first up worry but with Cardiff being a turner, he plays. Poms talking up 2 spinners first up. Pommie brains trust saying hold the Onions...Sorry.

Bruce

I was listening to the BBC stream for a while last night.

Sizzles wickets were pleasing. Beat the first one for pace and had him sky a hook shot to the keeper and the second was a regulation edge by pushing him back with a couple and then dragging him forward.

And Hauritz's first spell sounded awful. Repeatedly smacked back over his head.

Apart from a few too many no-balls from the guys I want in the side, I like those numbers. A couple of tidy spells each is just what I want to see in a warmup match.

Russ

Ritz biscuits get served on a platter with cheese. The fact that Kat bowled after extended neglect during the summer says something I think. Four seamers is the likely lineup, not least because it gives them a way to shoe-horn Slot into the side (at Hilf's expense unfortunately).

There is something of a slope, apparently, which explains the no-balls. Slot's tendency to lose the plot when his rythym is off, or someone attacks him, is both depressing and frequent. He had quite reasonable figures after I accidentally anti-mozzed him, but no bowler should be going for 5+ an over when wickets are falling at one end.

The closer we get to the first test, the more I suspect the batting is our weakness. And the captaincy, naturally.

And that BBC stream is a lark. At least one of the commentators is completely senile.

Tony T

I've been listening to the Beeb stream for about half an hour. What's the bet the bloke commentating (by himself for the whole half hour so far) also calls local lucerne prices at the stock fair, then in the evening, calls the local dog meet.

Tony T

You thought I was joking? I thought I was joking:

Southern Counties Radio

John Lees Factfile

He's the gentleman of sport. He lives and breaths it. But John is also passionate about other things. He's an avid birdwatcher and he has an instant view on everything else on the Sussex Breakfast Show too.

He's the first person I've even heard of whose favourite food is soup.

Bruce

What kind of soup?

Tony

Not mushroom.

Stewie Griffin

So, ahhh, Brett, how's that, you know, wickets off no-balls thing? Ummm. How's that working out for ya? Yeah.

chris88

Good news in the press today about Sizzler being a "lock" for the opening test, leaving Clark, lee and the Haus to fight it out for one or two remaining pace spots.

Tony T

With any luck it will be Johnson, Siddle, Clark and Hilfenhaus. Lee's been bowling tripe and no balls and to pick him would be madness. As I said above: pick him and the selectors are putting their jobs on the line.

It's not Warne and McGrath, but Studs, Sizzle and Clark look good to go, and fingers crossed the Hilf can swing it our way, so to speak.

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