Wednesday 10 July 2013

Mini-session Analysis 1st Ashes Test, Trent Bridge, 2013

Here is the final mini-session analysis for the first test between England and Australia at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, England

A mini-session is (normally) half a session, either between the start of the session and the drinks break or the drinks break and the end of the session. Occasionally a long session will have 3 mini-sessions where it will be broken up with 2 drinks breaks.

1-1aEngland 39/1 off 13draw
1-1bEngland 59/1 off 13England
1-2aEngland 36/2 off 13Australia
1-2bEngland 51/2 off 13Australia
1-3aEngland 30/4 off 7England
Australia 19/2 off 5
1-3bAustralia 56/2 off 16England
2-1aAustralia 42/5 off 12.4England
2-1bAustralia 112/0 off 21.2Australia
2-2aAustralia 51/1 off 9.5Australia
2-2bEngland 11/2 off 7.4Australia
2-3aEngland 38/0 off 17.2draw
2-3bEngland 31/0 off 18England
3-1aEngland 41/1 off 14Australia
3-1bEngland 36/1 off 15Australia
3-2aEngland 39/1 off 14draw
3-2bEngland 34/1 off 13draw
3-3aEngland 67/0 off 18England
3-3bEngland 29/0 off 16England
4-1aEngland 45/2 off 13.2Australia
4-1bEngland 4/2 off 3.3Australia
Australia 28/0 off 7
4-2aAustralia 56/0 off 17Australia
4-2bAustralia 27/2 off 12.4England
4-3aAustralia 38/1 off 17.2England
4-3bAustralia 25/3 off 17England
5-1aAustralia 33/1 off 15.3England
5-1bAustralia 84/2 off 21.3Australia
5-2aAustralia 5/1 off 2.5-

Final update, click here

England win the match by 14 runs, but the mini-session count is tied up 13 - 13

First drinks, Day 1: The mini-session count is tied up, 0.5-0.5

An interesting start. The first particularly interesting thing was the decision by the Australians to go with Ashton Agar ahead of Nathan Lyon. Agar looks like a good prospect, but he's been playing first class cricket for less than a year, and hasn't really set the world on fire.

Australia managed to get the ball to swing quite considerably early on, but they managed to avoid the edge of the bat, and while Root looked particularly nervous, Cook looked completely assured. Then Cook hit an absolutely awful ball from Pattinson to Haddin. It was a very even hour. - Mykuhl

Lunch, Day 1: England lead the mini-session count 1.5-0.5

Despite the fall of Root (bowled by Siddle), I'm giving this mini-session to England: our bowling's been nervous and/or even erratic (chiefly Siddle), and Bad Haddin again made an appearance missing a sharp-ish chance. Agar made his debut with no particular success, although, in his defence, he would probably have benefited from tighter bowling from the other end (again: Siddle). PS. We do have other bowlers, who even bowled this session, but apart from the one good ball (!) that got Root, Siddle's bowling was annoying. ENG 2-98, RR 3.77, 26 overs - Betti W Woo

Middle drinks, Day 1: The mini-session count is tied up, 1.5-1.5

A very strong session for Australia. They bowled consistently well, and didn't allow England the freedom of the morning session. The pressure built steadily and the wickets of Pietersen and Trott were well deserved - the latter being particularly important with Trott nearing his half century. - Freddie Wilde

Tea, Day 1: Australia lead the mini-session count 2.5-1.5

This was quite a close hour of cricket really. Australia managed to take two important wickets, but England kept the scoreboard ticking over nicely. Australia probably had the better of it, but it was certainly an hour that has kept this game quite interesting. Australia are on top here, but not by much. - Mykuhl

Final drinks, Day 1: The mini-session count is tied up, 2.5-2.5

England began with a fightback of sorts in this session, but from where they were going into this evening session almost anything was an improvement. However, this attempt to claw back some initiative was short lived. With Stuart Broad at the crease it is seldom dull. His batting reminds you of someone who has been given a $20 free bet on a gambling website. His 24 runs was interspersed with some beautiful shots and some horrific mows. When he went it wasn't a surprise. Unfortunately even less of a surprise was when Bairstow played around a straight ball, again. A serious technical flaw that needs working on. When England were all out for 215 it was no more than they deserved on this performance.

That left Australia 10 minutes to bat before drinks and Watson showed intent from the very beginning, hitting two boundaries off Stephen Finn's first over. When he tried one expansive drive too many he was well caught by Root in the slips. When Cowan went next ball England's spirits were lifted.

The biggest concern for England going forward is an injury to Stuart Broad keeping him off the field. It was caused when he was hit on the shoulder by a James Pattinson bouncer. - TheCricketGeek

Stumps, Day 1: England lead the mini-session count 3.5-2.5

What a day of test cricket. When a match starts with the ball swinging round, it is almost always a good sign. With 17 overs to go in the day's play, it looked like the advantage was clearly with Australia. However two quick wickets and then it was dead even. Even in the final hour there were swings of momentum. When Clarke disappeared it looked like all hope was lost for Australia. Then Smith and Rogers put together a partnership that looked like they were going to take control of the match. However one tight LBW call and that all changed again. Now we're going to be treated to the prospect of Anderson bowling at the start of the day to Phil Hughes. While he has obviously done a lot of work on his technique, history still suggests he's likely to be vulnerable to Anderson's standard line.

All in all a great start to the Ashes. - Mykuhl

First drinks, Day 2: England lead the mini-session count 4.5-2.5

Phil Hughes and Steve Smith started off the session looking in total control. Then Smith played away from his body to one that moved away slightly, and then the skittles started falling. 5 wickets in 31 balls for 9 runs. Australia are in almost as much trouble as an ice cube in a furnace. - Mykuhl

Lunch, Day 2: England lead the mini-session count 4.5-3.5

What an hour and a half! Australia have the lead in the match courtesy of fifties from Phil Hughes and 19-year-old debutant No. 11 Ashton Agar. A hundred on debut for Ashton Agar would do Australia nicely after Lunch and, at the minute, anything is possible. Finn was not bowling the lines needed to extract tail-enders. He was too short and too wide this hour. Ashton Agar is doing a wonderful job at taming Swann especially and keeping Anderson at bay. Put simply, he should not be batting eleven.

It's possibly a strange scenario too for Phil Hughes but he has been an assured, stable, support pillar for the tail end this morning. He might be best for Australia in this position in the future instead of opening but time will tell. He has compiled a solid fifty and these two have wrested the initiative back into Australia's hands this hour and a half. - Aaron Bakota

Middle drinks, Day 2: The mini-session count is tied up, 4.5-4.5

I had the privilege of sitting up through the night about this time last year and catching Tino Best's 95 which I thought was a number 11 record that would stand for a long long time. Today I've been fortunate enough to watch that record fall.

Ashton Agar and Phillip Hughes, neither of them universally popular selections, put together a partnership of 163 runs that came at more than 5 an over. It was a phenomenal partnership in a game where the other players had generally made batting looked like an inconvenient annoyance.

It all could have been very different though, as Ashton was given a reprieve by a generous benefit-of-the-doubt decision on a stumping. It was really a type of poetic justice that in the end he got the record score, record partnership, but missed out on his century. Over all a stunning hour of cricket. - Mykuhl

Tea, Day 2: Australia lead the mini-session count 5.5-4.5

Another hour, another dubious decision. The three umpires in this match are all good umpires normally, but there have now been 5 decisions that have been quite dubious. Three of them have involved the third umpire.

Overall this topsy-turvy game has taken another turn over the past 3 hours. Australia now have the lead and the momentum. - Mykuhl

Final drinks, Day 2: Australia lead the mini-session count 6-5

Kevin Pietersen, in after tea with England in big trouble at 11/2, approached the task with the required carefulness, accompanied by captain Cook respectfully taking the backseat. Every now and then KP shoveled Australia's most recent youngest legend, Ashton Agar, away for four, nonchalantly dismissing any rumours about a certain correlation between himself, slow left armers, and the heel of Achilles. In the 18th over at 44/2 Starc, the demolition man from the start of the innings, got replaced by Australia's grim reaper of lettuces (emphasis on grim), and Agar had to make way for Watson. The drama queen started off with two maidens and the tension in anticipation of another wicket rose. Siddle bowled a maiden, Patto came back on, dumped another two damsels at the crease, and the English innings had come to a standstill... 49/2, time for drinks. - Steffi

Stumps, Day 2: The mini-session count is tied up, 6-6

Even though the formula awarded this hour to Australia, I felt that England actually were the team that took the momentum. Kevin Pietersen and Alistair Cook played proper test cricket for 2 hours. They were content to try and wear the bowlers down, and made sure they didn't end the day by losing a wicket. If England bat all day tomorrow, they will put Australia in a position where they need to score a reasonably large total in the final innings. With the ball starting to take some turn, that could be a difficult prospect. - Mykuhl

First drinks, Day 3: Australia lead the mini-session count 7-6

England were winning that hour. They had given the first half hour to the bowlers, and then had started to attack. Both Pietersen and Cook were looking comfortable, then Petersen managed to absolutely smash one into his stumps.

The most interesting thing in that hour had been how difficult the batsmen had seemed to find it to time the ball. It's hard to say if it was due to the pitch being a little two paced or the Australian bowlers mixing up their pace and length. - Mykuhl

Lunch, Day 3: Australia lead the mini-session count 8-6

Australia take another close mini-session. They are just doing enough to keep England at bay, but aren't really grabbing hold of the game. The match is at the point now where one player can win the game for their team. One big partnership or one incisive spell of bowling could win this match. The game is actually even closer than a mini-session count of 8-6 would suggest.

The big moment in that hour was right at the start when Aston Agar picked his first wicket in test cricket. It was a srange delivery, bowled with a scrambled seam, but it kicked up off the footmarks and took the shoulder of Alastair Cook's bat on the way to a wide slip. - Mykuhl

Middle drinks, Day 3: Australia lead the mini-session count 8.5-6.5

A rather fascinating hour of test cricket there. The older ball was doing enough in the morning to warrant an extended spell with it after Lunch today. The wicket of Bairstow helped prolonged the older ball's use for three overs. There were good lines from the pacemen and Watson assisted ably with a miserly run rate and good swing. The Bairstow and Bell partnership looked a little frayed at the crease with patches of wafted stroke play throughout. The Prior/Bell partnership will be a vital one to break for Australia. The new ball is swinging around a little bit so the pace bowlers will have the lions' share of the say in the rest of the session's proceedings. Agar was extracting good turn from the pitch in the hour and will play a key role later on today. - Aaron Bakota

Tea, Day 3: Australia lead the mini-session count 9-7

England have been rebuilding their batting performances more often than a child trying to create sand castles as the tide comes in. And just like the kid on the beach, when things were starting to come together a wave has come to wreck their efforts. This mini session began with Bell and Prior tying to once again set up a winning position. Prior has not been at his counter attacking best since his rear guard effort on the tour of New Zealand but here he seemed to have found his timing at last. He was playing his trade mark shots on the off side and had reached a well constructed 31 when he mistimed a pull from Pattinson to be caught at mid wicket. As we reach the end of day 3 the only time that this pitch has seemed easy to bat on when Ashton Agar was announcing his arrival on the international cricket scene and this England innings has been hard going with the run rate rarely getting about 2.5 runs an over at any stage. England lead by 165 and still have Ian Bell at the crease.

Neither England or anyone watching will have any idea if that is close to a winning target. Much is made of the fact that Broad and Swann can bat, if England want to go into the final innings of this match with any level of comfort they both need to put these supposed skills in to practice. - TheCricketGeek

Final drinks, Day 3: Australia lead the mini-session count 9-8

That's only the 4th hour of the match where a player has not been dismissed. England are probably just ahead in the match now, but it is really quite close. The pitch seems to be quite easy to survive on, but scoring runs has seemed to be a very difficult task, unless your name is Ashton Agar. - Mykuhl

Stumps, Day 3: The mini-session count is tied up, 9-9

I have a theory that it's never a good idea to use your last review on an lbw decision, unless it is as plum enough that Ray Charles could have probably given it out. The margin of error that's allowed for in the hawkeye system means that there are not many lbw reviews that are upheld. There's no problem with having a punt with your first review, particularly against a top batsman, but the way that Clarke wasted the second review against Bairstow earlier in the day had the potential to come back and bite them, and it did. Stuart Broad was as out as Julian Clary when he edged one to first slip in the first over after drinks. However the umpire was not completely sure that he'd hit it, (perhaps understandably as the ball had also ricocheted off Haddin's pads) and so gave it not out. The view that Clarke had of it would have made the decision much easier than the view that the umpire would have had. While Clarke can mumble about the umpire being there to do a job, if he had not wasted his review earlier in the day, this innings could potentially be over now.

England are now starting to get into quite a strong position. 261 is already a very difficult target to chase. 320 would probably be the point where Australia are out of the match. They will need to bowl very well in the first hour tomorrow to avoid setting themselves too steep a mountain to climb. - Mykuhl

First drinks, Day 4: Australia lead the mini-session count 10-9

That was another hour that was very difficult to decide who had won. If drinks had been taken at the end of the 146th over, the mini-session would have belonged to England. But they didn't take it then, and as a result the mini-session was taken by Australia. Australia still need to take the final two wickets very quickly. The pitch is deteriorating, and the longer the English tail can remain there, the harder batting is going to be for Australia. - Mykuhl

Lunch, Day 4: Australia lead the mini-session count 11-9

Confession: I'm not exactly sure when this 'mini-session' is supposed to have started because I got too wrapped up in the moment. I'm starting after the Garden Gnome fell for 109. (Yeah, that would be Ian Bell to his compatriots.) Which means that I don't have to write about our atrocious bowling in the morning nor Twatson's pathetic attempt at posing as a slip fielder. Which also means that I'm not exactly sure how to 'grade' this mini-session. On the one hand, Australia struggled to FINALLY bowl England out - just not in this session. On the other, we did. On the third hand (it's a special cricket hand), we didn't lose a wicket once we came in to bat. On the fourth (oh, you knew that was coming), we looked like we were going to every second ball. I therefore declare this mini-session a draw. (You may call it a Dar decision.) Betti W. Woo

I'm actually giving this hour to Australia, as England scored 4 runs for 2 wickets and then Australia scored at 4 an over without losing a wicket. - Mykuhl

Middle drinks, Day 4: Australia lead the mini-session count 12-9

The mini session after lunch on day 4 saw the introduction of Graeme Swann. Watson was rather impressive during this hour against spin, particularly with his ability to get to the pitch of the ball.  However, on an aging wicket the importance of getting the ball to reverse swing appeared imperative for the English side. With Australia finishing the hour on 84-0 (Watson 46*, Rogers 38*), I would say Australia won the mini session.

There are a few demons developing in this pitch so it is vital for Australia to keep adjusting with the pitch as it progressively gets slower and lower. Batting will only get harder here on out for the Australian’s and I would expect if they can keep their wickets in hand into the evening sessions the test will go deep into the fifth day. - Nathan Harlow

Tea, Day 4: Australia lead the mini-session count 12-10

Australia have really had the rub of the green go against them in this match as far as decisions go. Shane Watson is a prime lbw candidate. The way that he plays around his front pad means he can generate a lot of power off the front foot, and can switch to play the pull quickly. But it also means that if he misjudges a full ball he always gives the opponents a good shout. The decision today should probably not have been given out. Hawkeye suggested that it was only just clipping the edge of the stump. In most cases he would have been given benefit of the doubt. Certainly Joe Root was with an almost identical ball on day 2. But the nature of the DRS system means that the umpire, not the batsman, gets the benefit of the doubt.

Australia were looking quite good with Watson there, but the loss of him, and then Cowan, means that this game is now certainly advantage England. - Mykuhl

Final drinks, Day 4: Australia lead the mini-session count 12-11

After the removal of Ed Cowan by Joe Root just before the tea interval, England will have been eager to unleash the pace and guile of Anderson and Broad on Clarke and Rogers, but it was a mistimed flick off the pads, rather than English bowling acumen, from the 35-year-old opener that gave England the inroad they so desired as the Middlesex man departed for his maiden Test 50.

Clarke and Smith came in for the Australians, though, and blunted England’s advances, stymying Swann’s efficacy on a slow, low pitch, and seeing off bursts and spurts from Finn, Anderson and Broad. The tourists will’ve been happy going into Drinks at 149/3, with Clarke 18 and Smith 10, and with the team needing just 162 more runs to win this opening Test. - Jack Marshall

Stumps, Day 4: The mini-session count is tied up, 12-12

Throughout test history, the final 4 wickets have contributed roughly 25% of a teams runs. Australia need their final 4 wickets to contribute 44% of their runs for this innings if they are going to win the match. That seems somewhat unlikely from the seat I'm in. However the Australian tail contributed more than half their runs in the first innings, so it is possible.

In that hour, Swann finally got his radar working. He still has a terrible record at Trent Bridge, having taken no 5-wicket bags in 38 first class matches at the ground. However, a rough pitch, and the opportunity to bowl at the Australian tail might mean that run is going to end tomorrow. - Mykuhl

First drinks, Day 5: England lead the mini-session count 13-12

It took almost 5 overs, but the new ball finally did its job for England. Agar looked very good again this morning, but it was a good piece of bowling to dismiss him. Australia needed a miracle at the start of the day. They still need a miracle. - Mykuhl

Lunch, Day 5: The mini-session count is tied up, 13-13

Surely Australia can't do this, can they? Brad Haddin has batted like a dream so far. Australia now need just 20 runs to win this. - Mykuhl

End of match, Day 5: England win by 14 runs, but the mini-session count is tied up, 13-13

England finally managed to get the last wicket, but not without creating some more drama. What turned out to be the final ball was a length delivery, outside off. Haddin seemed to have a swish at it and make no contact. A couple of the English appealed, but without too much conviction. Then, Cook, seemingly out of nowhere, chose to refer the decision. It took a number of minutes, but eventully Erasmus decided that indeed, Haddin had made contact, and he was sent on his way.

That brings to an end one of the best test matches in recent memory. There were all sorts of talking points, and the momentum changed a number of times. It's unlikely that the rest of the series will be like this, but I, for one, will not be complaining if it is. - Mykuhl


  1. Good start to the Ashes, maybe, but not a great day for Test cricket. It was faulty batting technique all the way, from both sides. Test batting is in terminal decline, it appears. Cricketkeeper has more on that.

  2. The modern techniques do look awful when the ball starts swinging don't they.

  3. It was a very exciting Day 2, wasn't it?! Oh, the drama when we thought that all was lost and that we were staring yet another humiliating defeat in the eye but were suddenly rescued by the unlikeliest of White Knights: Phillip Hughes and a 19-year-old spinner on debut!

    A humiliating defeat is still always possible, of course, but at least it won't arrive until Day 4, and after our batting debacle on Day 1, that feels like victory - however small and moral.

    I can't find fault with the mini-session count, but somehow, I still feel that England is ahead overall. Partly, this is probably due to my lack of confidence in our batting; partly, because with the glaring exception of 2-1b, I thought that England won the mini-sessions they did win more emphatically.

  4. 'Interestingly most fans seem to think their team lost that session, regardless of which team they support'

    Pffft. I didn't. I called it A DRAW! Had I thought our bowling better*, I'd have given it to (A)us, given that we didn't lose any wickets once we came out to bat. Had I thought England's bowling better, I'd have given it to England, but given that we didn't lose any wickets once we came out to bat - well, how could I?!

    You're clearly biased, Mykuhl! ;P

    *'Better' as in good, not as in 'getting some tailenders'.

    1. haha - sorry Betti. I wasn't saying that you'd called that mini-session a draw, just that most Australian fans online had been calling that England's session, and that most English fans though that it was Australia's session. A case of mutual pessimism.

    2. I fully understand your giving that mini-session to Australia.

      It was a bit of a strange one: with the pause between the innings, it was a bit truncated; more importantly (to me), we didn't bowl particularly well, yet still got wickets, then we didn't bat particularly well, yet didn't lose any wickets (but neither Twatson nor Rogers looked the least bit convincing). Mostly, that's why I called it a draw. I just didn't argue my case particularly well.