England announce Ashes squad

England have announced their 17-man touring party for this winter’s Ashes series, and there have been one or two surprise call-ups.


Alastair Cook and Joe Root have been selected as expected, and will almost certainly open the batting at Brisbane. The selectors have chosen Michael Carberry as the back-up opener ahead of Nick Compton. Carberry’s form in the County Championship has not been great, but Compton shot himself in the foot when he criticised the selectors for dropping him after the New Zealand series, and his Test career looks to be over despite scoring 889 runs in this year’s County Championship so far.

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My Ashes Articles

The 2013 Ashes series is over, but you can relive the series by reading through my articles for the first three and the final Test (I was on holiday for the fourth) by clicking this link. I have articles on each day’s play, plus statistics, previews and one or two other posts. Over the next few days I post some articles looking back on the series and also looking ahead to the return series this winter, so keep an eye out for that!


Random Stats of the Day – 5th Ashes Test, Day 5

At the end of a dramatic final day of this year’s Ashes, here are some stats from the day:

  • A total of 447 runs were scored in the day, which is the most scored in the fifth day ever in an Ashes Test, and the third most on a fifth day’s play in all Tests. The most runs ever scored on a single day in Ashes cricket is 475 by England at The Oval in 1934.
  • England have now won three Ashes series in a row, the last time they did this was when they won in 1977, 1978/79 and 1981. They have also won three consecutive home Ashes series, the first time since 1977, 1981 and 1985.
  • England have won 31 Ashes series at home, the same number as Australia.

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The Ashes – Fifth Test, Day 5

Close of play score: Australia 492-9 dec and 111-6 dec, England 377 and 206-5, match drawn

Ian Bell and Chris Woakes started and finished the day batting together at the crease, but no-one could have predicted the drama that would happen in between. 447 runs were scored in a thrilling day of Test cricket, something which was very much needed after the snorefest that was the third day. England batted aggressively to get past the follow-on mark and were all out not long after lunch for 377. Australia took the attack to England but lost wickets to regularly, declaring at tea on 111-6, setting England a generous target of 227 from 44 overs. Kevin Pietersen hit a sparkling 62 and England looked set to take a 4-0 series win when the umpires took the players from the field with 21 more needed to win from four overs. It was an unsatisfactory conclusion to a great day, but the umpires had their hand forced by the new ICC regulations on bad light, and it would have been unfair on Australia if they had been forced to continue playing,

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The Ashes – Fifth Test, Day 4

Persistent rain meant that the whole of the fourth day’s play at The Oval was washed out. Play was called off at 4pm, and unless England have a catastrophic final day a draw looks certain, which would give the hosts a 3-0 series win.  England are 247-4, trailing Australia by 245 runs, so the tourists need to pick up the last six wickets quickly and enforce the follow-on if they want to force a win. Tomorrow’s forecast looks fine but with the rain expected to continue overnight, the ground staff have a battle on their hands to get the outfield fit for play at 11am.

Random Stats of the Day – 5th Ashes Test, Day 3

Not the most exciting day of Test cricket, but here are my top stats from today’s play.

  • Before Chris Woakes, the last England player to hit the first ball he faced in Tests for four was Richard Johnson versus Zimbabwe at Chester-le-Street in 2003.
  • Kevin Pietersen’s slowest fifty is 134 balls versus India at Lord’s in 2011. His slowest Ashes fifty before today was 123 balls at Perth in 2006. Today’s fifty took 127 balls to reach,
  • In Tests with balls faced recorded, this is only the third innings in which England’s top 4 have all scored at least 20 at strike rate less than 40.
  • England’s opening stand has scored at 2.15 per over this series – their second slowest in the 45 series they’ve played since Atherton retired.
  • England’s score after 100 overs today was 217-3 – the fewest in the first 100 overs of an Ashes Test innings since 1993 at Birmingham.

Have any random stats from today’s play? Put them in the comments section below!

The Ashes – Fifth Test, Day 3

Close of play score: Australia 492-9 declared, England 247-4 (Root 68, Pietersen 50)

England batted through the day comfortably to make the draw the most likely result of the final Test of this year’s Ashes series. England plodded along at a rate of about two an over the whole day despite a lack of movement and threat from the pitch.  Cook got out chasing a wide one, Root fell to Lyon and Trott was out leg before as everyone got starts but no-one went on to make a big score. Pietersen fell chasing a wide one and Bell and Woakes batted through to the close, by which time most of the spectators had left.

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The Ashes – Fifth Test, Day 2

Close of play score: Australia 492-9 dec (Watson 176, Smith 138*, Anderson 4-95), England 32-0

Steve Smith scored his maiden Test century as Australia continued to control the final Test at The Oval. Rain meant that play didn’t start until mid-afternoon, and when play did start the conditions were in favour of the bowlers. However, Smith batted superbly with great support from the lower order and Australia declared with just over an hour remaining on 492-9. England batted out the day comfortably and will resume on 32-0.

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Random Stats of the Day – 5th Ashes Test, Day 2

After the truncated second day’s play at The Oval, here are my stats of the day. My daily report will be up tomorrow.

  • Steve Smith is the sixth Australian to reach his maiden Test 100 with a six. The others are: John Benaud (1972), Ian Davis (1976), Greg Matthews (1985), Andrew Symonds (2006) and Mitchell Johnson (2009).
  • Jimmy Anderson has now dismissed Peter Siddle 10 times, making him his most frequent victim.
  • Of the 270 teams that have scored 492 or more in the first innings of a Test match, only seven have gone on to lose the match.
  • The highest first innings total overtaken by the team batting second at The Oval is 484, set by South Africa in 2003. England replied with 604-9 declared.
  • At 24 years and 81 days old, Steve Smith is the youngest Ashes centurion for Australia since Ricky Ponting, who was 22 years and 219 days when he scored his first Ashes hundred at Leeds in 1997.

Have any random stats from today’s play? Put them in the comments section below!