Originally Posted by Rey
We don't have a Nathan Lyon we can pick ahead of Moeen. There is no plausible alternative, to suggest otherwise is plainly absurd. Without Stokes, even a crocked Moeen was undroppable for this team. The alternative would be Ballance at 6, three seamers and Mason Crane as sole spinner.
Should England have done better managing their spinners, possibly giving Crane a debut in the summer? Maybe, but they were trying to win those games, not develop a squad for the Ashes.
Lyon still averages over 35 in first class cricket despite his hundreds of Test wickets at a much better average. His Shield average must be about 40 and there are examples of finger spinners in England who have much better records than that in the Championship but will never, ever get an opportunity to play. If we played someone like Leach or whoever, we may actually get a pleasant surprise if they're accurate over long spells and have the DRS in their favour.
Smith's innings is the crucial factor in this, I'm still trying to work out just why he is so good.