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Old 20th October 2015, 12:01   #481
Psyduck
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Looks like Azhar Ali might miss the second test too following the death of his mother-in-law. I think Pakistan might drop Shan Masood anyway for Ahmed Shehzad. Zulficar's place could be under threat from Bilal Asif too - yet another off spinner with a dubious action.

I expect England will unchanged but I would definitely be looking to get James Taylor into the team ahead of either Jonny Bairstow or Jos Buttler. If it looks like it might spin from much earlier in the game Samit Patel for Mark Wood might not be the worst idea in the world.
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Old 20th October 2015, 15:57   #482
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I don't particularly agree with the conclusion and certainly there have been very flat tracks in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and now UAE before. The real problem I have with your post is the implication that English pitches are dead flat. This summer's Ashes was played on pretty sporting wickets in the main, with several early finishes and nothing threatening to go the distance, let alone end up a draw. The two tests against NZ were dramatic run fests but both had results too. There might be a case to be made about balance across the various venues and Lord's and The Oval being too flat, Cardiff too slow and the other two too sporting but that's hardly what you said, nor would even that really be fair.

The Ashes was probably rather less popular (and the series still did pretty well in ticket sales) because of fatigue from the two sides playing one another every thirty seconds, rather than anything to do with flat wickets (which as mentioned, weren't much in evidence).

There are generally very few non rain affected draws in English tests.
There are plenty of examples in England. The Oval 2013 was a disgrace. An impossible pitch deliberately prepared as such as evidenced by how it apparently looked complelty different to others at the ground. The following two matches were a dustbowl series against SL the following season, which probably vindicated this kind of cricket to some as both had close finishes. Then it was on to Trent Bridge, another pathetic pitch, where the groundsman ended up apologising for removing all grass as if it had happened by mistake. That was an example of four in a row in recent time in England.

Lords this year was hardly great either. Despite England collapsing even in the first innnings. It did lead to more criticism than usual and possibly affected the remaining pitches.
Results dont vindicate surfaces in my opinion. Teams seem more willing to make a game of it late on or just more prone to collapse. It doesnt change the fact that it will chase people away as it always has
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Old 20th October 2015, 16:06   #483
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As chin said I was banging on all test about how similar this was the Adelaide in 06. I was staggered how few pundits and fans realised this. Everyone was so busy banging on about a shocking pitch to realise that test cricket is meant to last five days and but for a few lost overs due to light we would have seen a result late on the fifth day. I would argue that tests need more wickets like this than fewer. If people think these pitches kill the game then we need to go to four day tests and have pitches like in the ashes.

Isn't the groundman's aim to prepare a pitch which sees a result late on day 5? People seemed to hate it because it did not have pace and bounce. Different pitches are the beauty of the game.
but why should it be a groundsman´s aim to prepare for a late result on day 5? That is in itself part of the problem.

5-day cricket, or even 4-day cricket, never came about because anyone sat down and thought that would be a really good idea. It came about because pitch preparation techniques improved, which consequently led to attempts to lenghten the game etc.

cricket should be a ball game in my opinion, not an endurance contest.
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Old 20th October 2015, 19:25   #484
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There are plenty of examples in England. The Oval 2013 was a disgrace. An impossible pitch deliberately prepared as such as evidenced by how it apparently looked complelty different to others at the ground. The following two matches were a dustbowl series against SL the following season, which probably vindicated this kind of cricket to some as both had close finishes. Then it was on to Trent Bridge, another pathetic pitch, where the groundsman ended up apologising for removing all grass as if it had happened by mistake. That was an example of four in a row in recent time in England.

Lords this year was hardly great either. Despite England collapsing even in the first innnings. It did lead to more criticism than usual and possibly affected the remaining pitches.
Results dont vindicate surfaces in my opinion. Teams seem more willing to make a game of it late on or just more prone to collapse. It doesnt change the fact that it will chase people away as it always has
The Oval 2013 was pretty flat. I remember it fairly well as I'd layed the draw, which didn't turn out well for me. It would actually still have been a perfectly reasonable test if England hadn't picked an experimental bowler in Kerrigan who turned out to be awful and there hadn't been a lot of time lost to rain (far more than the pre match forecast suggested, grr), including a lot of day 2 and all of day 4. I think including that as an example of a pitch leading to a bore draw is pretty absurd, especially as the game even managed to come very close to a result despite the above. Not convinced I agree about the Sri Lanka tests either.

Do you have any meaningful evidence that flat surfaces chase people away beyond your statement that they do? As mentioned, an awful lot of tests have been played on flat tracks over the years and generally there are far more results now than there were. I don't personally object to test cricket being played on good batting surfaces where bowlers have to work for their wickets. None of which is to say that I don't think the test just played wasn't on an unacceptably dull surface and I also enjoy tests played on more sporting wickets. It's good for the game for there to be variation.
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Old 20th October 2015, 22:28   #485
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However Cook and Rashid covered up for some poor performances by certain batsmen and a couple of the bowlers were great either.
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Old 20th October 2015, 22:33   #486
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However Cook and Rashid covered up for some poor performances by certain batsmen and a couple of the bowlers were great either.
True. Many on here seem to want Stokes to be dropped but he's the only one of the new generation who's started to demonstrate match winning potential on a more than one-off basis.
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Old 20th October 2015, 22:46   #487
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True. Many on here seem to want Stokes to be dropped but he's the only one of the new generation who's started to demonstrate match winning potential on a more than one-off basis.
Who wanted him dropped?

I wanted him saved for South Africa.
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Old 20th October 2015, 23:24   #488
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True. Many on here seem to want Stokes to be dropped but he's the only one of the new generation who's started to demonstrate match winning potential on a more than one-off basis.
Took 4 wickets in the first innings and got plenty of runs.

It's the keepers and opener who need to up their game.
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Old 20th October 2015, 23:25   #489
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Took 4 wickets in the first innings and got plenty of runs.

It's the keepers and opener who need to up their game.
Cook got a few runs.
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Old 21st October 2015, 15:09   #490
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The Oval 2013 was pretty flat. I remember it fairly well as I'd layed the draw, which didn't turn out well for me. It would actually still have been a perfectly reasonable test if England hadn't picked an experimental bowler in Kerrigan who turned out to be awful and there hadn't been a lot of time lost to rain (far more than the pre match forecast suggested, grr), including a lot of day 2 and all of day 4. I think including that as an example of a pitch leading to a bore draw is pretty absurd, especially as the game even managed to come very close to a result despite the above. Not convinced I agree about the Sri Lanka tests either.

Do you have any meaningful evidence that flat surfaces chase people away beyond your statement that they do? As mentioned, an awful lot of tests have been played on flat tracks over the years and generally there are far more results now than there were. I don't personally object to test cricket being played on good batting surfaces where bowlers have to work for their wickets. None of which is to say that I don't think the test just played wasn't on an unacceptably dull surface and I also enjoy tests played on more sporting wickets. It's good for the game for there to be variation.
I think there is plenty of evidence. The worst wickets are usually in asia where test cricket is already close to gone. West indies pitches began to go the same way and interest there has since nosedived. Or england in recent years. Pitches getting flatter, people staying away.
It is also how it happened originally. When four and five day cricket began, attendances plummeted.

2005 was a rare example of bowler-friendly cricket. That series is famous for many reasons but that is certainly part of it. Very few centuries, just one declaration in the whole series, high scoring rates and very short matches. The edgbaston test, often referred to as among the best ever lasted just 270 overs, only a few hours longer than englands marathon abu dhabi first innings nonsense, and that was even the shortest. It was three day cricket as it was once played.

There are fewer draws but i am not sure thats a good thing. It encourages flat surfaces as they can get away with it better. But its still the same slow non-contest with batsmen in far too much control.
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Old 21st October 2015, 16:08   #491
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2005 was a rare example of bowler-friendly cricket. That series is famous for many reasons but that is certainly part of it. Very few centuries, just one declaration in the whole series, high scoring rates and very short matches. The edgbaston test, often referred to as among the best ever lasted just 270 overs, only a few hours longer than englands marathon abu dhabi first innings nonsense, and that was even the shortest. It was three day cricket as it was once played.
Surely the short Tests in 2005 were down to the batting approach of both sides and the skill level of the bowlers as opposed to the pitches? Edgbaston was hardly a minefield, most of the wickets were down to ultra attacking batting, ditto Old Trafford. The Lord's Test, it could be argued, was bowler friendly but then Australia still scored well second time around.

Both sides had excellent bowling attacks, in fact I don't remember England having a better one. The series will always be remembered for the ultra attacking cricket played by both teams though.
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Old 21st October 2015, 17:02   #492
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Surely the short Tests in 2005 were down to the batting approach of both sides and the skill level of the bowlers as opposed to the pitches? Edgbaston was hardly a minefield, most of the wickets were down to ultra attacking batting, ditto Old Trafford. The Lord's Test, it could be argued, was bowler friendly but then Australia still scored well second time around.

Both sides had excellent bowling attacks, in fact I don't remember England having a better one. The series will always be remembered for the ultra attacking cricket played by both teams though.
Yes, perhaps englands best attack and australia featuring the best bowler in history. They outdid the pitches making the series unusally tough for batsmen similar to the way cricket once was. But as we cant always have the best bowling attacks of all time at their peak, better pitches can help create the same balance
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Old 21st October 2015, 17:38   #493
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Or england in recent years. Pitches getting flatter, people staying away.
I wish more people had stayed away for the Oval Test this year. Took me 10 minutes to get to the lav and 15 to the Yorkshire Tea van. Wasn't like that in 1981.
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Old 21st October 2015, 17:47   #494
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It's the slowness of the wicket that was my issue. Yes most of the seamers had good economies but more because it was so hard to score due to the slow bounce rather than because they carried much wicket taking threat. Was there a single drive through the covers for four all match? And the slowness nullified the spinners until the last day.
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Old 25th October 2015, 22:04   #495
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... I think interest is consistently falling and that uber-flat pitches are the main reason. There was an article this summer about shockingly poor viewer-numbers for a close saturday finish of the first ashes tests. And that was compared to 2013 which was again way poorer than 2009. Broadly speaking, I think 50% of viewers are gone. Many pitches in England have cynically been prepared for non-contests out of apparent extremyl short sighted greed.

No sane person wants this nonsense. Two teams "batting" four days to finish their first innnings, both declared obviously. It will take a long time but test cricket is headed for being comparable to polo or the Eton wall game. For some countries the end may even come sooner.
We've been hearing this cry for years. Isn't test cricket dead yet?

I wonder what the test attendance figures would be like if there was no such thing as one day internationals or 2020 internationals.

Likewise, I wonder what the viewing figures would be if the cricket was on real telly.

I thought that first test was OK. Call me mad if you like.
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