Australia v England – First ODI Ratings

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at 2018.01.15
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With the Ashes won and lost – or lost and won, depending on your allegiances – England and Australia turned their attention to the T20 series. Then, begrudgingly, turned it to the one-day matches when their respective boards pointed out that they had to get through five of those ruddy things first.

Here are the ratings for the First ODI between Australia and England.

Selection Arguments
Grade: C

Australia controversially failed to choose Glenn Maxwell in their squad, with the selectors coming up with some nonsense about batting averages to justify their decision. Madness. Since when has batting average been the best measure of the impact of a late order batsman in the one-day form of the game?

And doubly madness when you consider that cricket doesn’t yet have even the most rudimentary statistics to measure comic impact. After all, in a just and hilarious world, a basic comedy measure would see Maxwell first man picked.

Many fans defended the selectors’ decision, based on their Marshian success so far this summer. Of course, there’s a logical flaw in that argument. To avoid getting muddled up in particular players with their individual merits or flaws or tendency to reverse sweep despite Mark Waugh’s hatred of the shot, let’s just call them Player A and Player X.

If Player A is selected on a whim, with arguably not the strongest playing record to back such a decision, Player A has the opportunity to prove the selectors correct.

On the other hand, if Player X is discarded on a similar whim, when perhaps the playing record doesn’t justify such an axing, Player X has zero opportunity to prove the selectors wrong.

That’s a fundamental asymmetry and an argument you can feel free to throw into your next heated debate about why the selectors are idiots/geniuses.

You’re welcome.

Mark Wood
Grade: B-

England, meanwhile, had abandoned their tour tactics so far and selected their good team instead. Chief among these good players was Mark Wood, who bowled with impressive pace in his opening spell to dismiss David Warner.

Wood was bowling too fast for his own feet, stumbling in his follow-through on multiple occasions. Eventually, he and captain Eoin Morgan asked the umpires to check the force of gravity. Upon inspection, the officials agreed the fundamental cosmic force was behaving ‘too Newtonian’ and called for a more Einsteinian understanding of it, which seemed to satisfy England captain and bowler.

Wood went on to take 1/49 from his ten overs, pushing 150km/h at times, making England fans wonder ‘what if?’. Had he been fit for the Test series, it’s easy to imagine that Wood would have been on fire for the Ashes.

Milestones
Grade: C+

Australia recovered from England’s early blows that reduced them to 3/78, thanks mostly to a 118-run partnership between Aaron Finch and Mitch Marsh.

Finch made 107 from 119 balls, while Marsh made an even 50 from 68 balls. Mark Nicholas stated in commentary that Marsh looked to be a man ‘in control of his own game’. Impressive, yes, but surely the next level is to take control of somebody else’s game. Like a Jedi.

Or perhaps he already does this. Because Marcus Stoinis clubbed a suspiciously Mitch-Marshesque 60 runs from 40 balls to help push Australia towards 300.

Mind-control or not, it did raise the question of why all these players were being dismissed just after reaching a milestone. Should coach Darren Lehmann redefine his team’s batting milestones to be multiples of, say, 70 and stop these wickets? Common sense says yes.

Jason Roy
Grade: B-

In response to Australia’s 8/304, England raced to fifty within the first five overs and Australia’s total suddenly looked about 400 below par. And never looked much better after that.

Jason Roy celebrates no longer having to play with the Sydney Sixers in the Australia v England First ODI 2017-18

Jason Roy celebrates no longer having to play with the Sydney Sixers in the Australia v England First ODI 2017-18

Jason Roy was the man who did all the damage. You can tell Jason Roy likes to score quickly because his name sounds like a spoonerism of racin’ joy. And with the England opener joyously racin’ along, Australia seemed powerless to stop him. Even when the umpire gave Roy out LBW to a Zampa wrong’un on 91, Joe Root sensibly urged him to overturn the decision on review.

Roy went on to make a record 180 from 151 deliveries, surpassing all previous records at the MCG. He’s the Alastair Cook of one-day international cricket.

Root, obviously, made a score between fifty and a hundred. He’s the Joe Root of one-day international cricket.

BBL
Grade: B-

With 20 overs remaining, England needed almost exactly a run a ball to win. It’s the kind of total that the Perth Scorchers would defend without raising a sweat.

And yet, Australia, stupidly, did not sub out for the reigning Big Bash champions, instead stubbornly sticking to the eleven who took the field to begin with.

As a result, they could only look on, dumbstruck, as England cruised to victory with seven balls to spare.

(Originally published at http://www.theroar.com.au/2018/01/15/liebke-ratings-australia-vs-england-first-odi/)

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