There’s a website called CrickViz which is a statistical heaven for those who want to try and assess a game of cricket using data alone. It’s not the scorers type of date but tries to forecast events. At the start of play it was forecasting the following:
England 340 and 290
Australia 310 and 200 – so an England win by 120 runs (with a probability of 43%, Australia 27%)
Based on what I saw on Day 1, that looked generous. So how did Day 2 go? The following was written at the time of each event/break so shows hopefully a contemporaneous feel but also with hindsight can show great wisdom, knowledge or I’m a complete numpty!
Australia wasted new ball early on, there was so no plan, no gumption, so England reach 4-211 after 30 mins but as I write there’s the best ball of the day so far from Hazlewood making Malan look a novice!
By the first drinks break England reach 4/234 Malan making a solid if unspectacular 50, his game against top class spinners may need some help. Lyon and Cummins are best for Australia who eventually wake up – perhaps 930 start was too early! But it’s Attritional stuff…bat Oz out of the game, tire their bowlers, traditional test cricket, slow by comparison, measured, determined which means the competing areas of Richies and the Barmy are each in full voice!
Lunch – delayed as England make 302 all out. Good comeback from Australia 6 for 70 in just over 90 mins. The England lower order is missing something! If Stokes had come to the crease at 6/249 with Bairstow- how would that have looked? Probably still batting at lunch, and beyond. Lyon bowled well – England not paying attention to him but…only one innings so far. Good play on both sides – reckon both happy England probably 40 to 50 short.
But at tea..Australia 3/76 – who saw that coming? England really fired up, on all fronts…fielding and bowling but especially Root’s captaincy. A lot of homework has been done and it seems to be paying off but one swallow doesn’t make a summers etc but there is still some way to go but an impressive start. At tea Australia trail by 226 with 38 more overs today. End of play looks like Australia close to 200 but for ? All depends on Smith and Handscomb
At Drinks 4/113 – Handscomb perished and Marsh struggled against a determined attack which kept to the plan, the exception being Chris Woakes who struggled with line and leaked runs in relative terms. Close of play looks likely to be close to 160 but for? Smith stuck to his task led from the front and quietly just got on with it. But without him, Australia will struggle.
Comparing the Captains:
Root – planned, dynamic, assertive, decisive, backed up and supported. Made Australia play the ball more, less fast stuff, bouncers etc. His batting let him down but that’s probably lack of decent match practice but he has no time to address that before the next test.
Smith – seemed to have fewer plans, no real plan B or C if plan A doesn’t, bowlers reasonably supportive but a reliance on spin and fast short pitched stuff. The pitch was not as responsive as of old to pace which perhaps blew some of his Gabba plans off course a little but his Batting is supreme…timing, approach, shot selection…clear reasons why he’s one of the worlds current best!
Close 4/165 – the forecast has moved slightly to almost equal between the two sides – each has a probability in the low 40s of winning. Going to make Day 3 and how England perform in their second innings key to success/failure. Day 3 as always could be the decisive day but there’s a forecast of showers here in Brisbane and looking out of the window at 6.30 am, the forecast could be right…we shall see.