Cricket Captain 2018: Big Billy Stanlake

Australia dominate a series in which they surprise and stun England on their home turf. England showed glimpses of the winning quality with individual performances but Australia had different players at different times contributing to a winning formula.

After England’s first victory of the series at County Durham, the crowd at Old Trafford were treated to an entertaining and thrilling match which went right down to the wire. Going into the dead rubber, changes were expected from both sides but yet again England were sticking to their rotation at NO3 as Malan re entered for Clarke whilst Sam came in for Tom in the Curran brothers swap. Australia made 3 changes as Hobart Hurricanes left arm spinner Clive Rose was handed his international debut in for Zampa whilst experienced Peter Handscomb replaced Stoinis and exciting and blistering wicketkeeper batsman Alex Carey in for Aaron Finch.

Aggressive hitting from Stokes and Buttler lift England above 300 after the platform was set from Morgan and Root.

Australia won their first toss of the series and elected to field which looked to have been the right decision when Stanlake removed the basher Hales for 2 caught behind by Paine. In the chop and change position at 3, Malan needed to cement the position for his own good and the good of the fans as the selectors continue to make puzzling choices for England. He started brightly and quickly overtook Bairstow at a fast scoring rate with quick running between the wickets the key. Bairstow was fairly content with keeping Malan on strike at first but had had enough which curtailed his innings as an attempted ramp off Richardson was failed and he was trapped in front. The imperious Root joined Malan at the crease looking to bring on the Australia’s lack of fifth bowler as soon as possible but the latter left England stumbling at 3-49 as Tye executed a perfect slower ball yorker bowling Malan for 22.

Morgan finding form at the end of the series in a patient knock mixed with boundary hitting.

Australia were keen to attack this crucial partnership which was diffident in the previous match which prompted the front line bowlers to have extra overs in a bid to run riot through the middle order. Morgan and Root had other ideas on a pitch where boundary hitting was tough to score from. After playing themselves in, Root and Morgan accelerated and took on debutant Rose and off spinner Maxwell in a bid to unsettle Australia’s lack of depth without Stoinis, scoring boundaries without pressure. With both passing half centuries and Morgan aiming for the ton, a change of attack by captain Paine allowed unusual fielding positions for Maxwell including two short midwickets and a leg gully and the latter position dismissed Morgan for 79 with an outstanding catch by Shaun Marsh to break the 143 run stand. A shift in momentum had taken shape as Root fell to Stanlake for 69 looking to upper cut the bowler but found Rose at third man.

A measured knock completed with the class in boundary shots through the leg side and the posh side.

The mini collapse didn’t deter England as Stokes and Buttler put on a 124 run stand to lift England above 300 into a competitive score. Both batsman played entertaining and exiting strokes with Stokes playing sheer brute shots in comparison to Buttler’s controlled slogging. 82 was hit off the last 10 overs including a Buttler onslaught but the momentum was back into Australia’s favour with the last 3 going for only 10 in tight death bowling from Tye. England would be pleased with their efforts again finding form in their middle order from their more dangerous and top scoring batsman but Australia would be feeling confident to chase 323.

2 wickets for the speedster at an expensive rate though.
Australia get home in the most entertaining game of the summer with a thrilling end causing England pain and Australia gain.

Short’s bowling ability gained his spot in the side ahead of the rested Finch and he was joined at the top of the order by exciting batsman Alex Carey. The left hand pair began nervously especially between the wickets as Woakes and Stokes took the new ball to good effect. But it was the running that cost Short as his racing start was halted by a direct hit from Hales in a dodgy single. Handscomb was brought into the side and came into Lynn’s position at 3 but his stay was short as Stokes found swing to get him leg before for 1. With Australia teetering at 2-26, centurion Lynn joined inexperienced Carey and soon began to settle into the job in hand with Carey showing his potential and class through his hitting. The new ball pair were seen off before Carey played Rashid the best out the Australian batsmen throughout the series. The 100 run partnership was up soon enough alongside Carey’s maiden half century. Sam Curran proved ineffectual much like his brother throughout the series and in the game as Lynn and Carey picked him off at a canter.

A rathe pedestrian innings from Lynn but nonetheless a vital knock with Carey

However, Plunkett utilised his extra pace and bounce to effect dismissing Lynn for 61 caught on the boundary by Rashid. Shaun Marsh came into the 5th ODI hoping for some runs to cement a future trip however Plunkett’s in swinger fooled him and he was bowled for 6. Run machine Glenn Maxwell capped off a mini collapse as in the next over Stokes found his edge for a golden duck through to Bairstow. Australia were cruising at 2-171 but with Maxwell’s dismissal they found themselves at 5-180 with Carey stranded in the 90s.

A brilliant knock of sheer resilience and courage to reach triple figures for the first time in ODI cricket.

Momentum had swung once again into England’s favour but Captain Paine was determined not to succumb to the pressure and smashed the ball through all parts of the ground. Carey reached his triple figures citing a massive celebration but soon he was gone LBW to Woakes for an almost run a ball 103. Richardson was promoted to 8 where he showed his potential with the bat alongside Paine and scored 13 before Rashid mopped up his front pad. Rose is not generally known for his ball striking but he soon gave a glimmer of hope with 2 boundaries through the leg side. All hope seemed to be lost when Paine’s electric 39 came to an end dismissed by Sam Curran leaving the Australians 8-250.

Rose and Stanlake needed boundaries quickly and through fortune and somewhat good batting, it came! Rose targeted Rashid to the leg side hitting 2 maximums over deep midwicket whilst Stanlake knocked the ball around with 3 maximums and suddenly the chase was on! But, Rashid strung a killer blow into Australian hearts as the debutant Rose was caught well by Root at slip for a great 36 leaving 12 to win as AJ Tye strolled to the crease. After two singles and a near run out, Tye edged past third man for 4 leaving six required off the last. Sam Curran bowled 3 dot balls at Stanlake, an unusual sight in Big Billy’s knock, before bowling a slower bouncer picked by Stanlake and sent far into the crowd for the Australian win! 41 off 23 in an innings that will be remembered more than Carey’s amazing century, led the Aussies to a narrow yet ecstatic victory.

Rashid was the main danger with the ball throughout the series and his two late wickets put England in charge before the 2 last wicket partnerships.

An amazing victory snatched from the jaws of a defeat typifies the courage we showed throughout the series and 4-1 whilst some games were closer the score line reflects our whole team and their contributions. D’Arcy Short and Aaron Finch seamlessly opened together with Carey slotting in fantastically in the Final ODI whilst Lynn, Maxwell and Paine made vital runs as Tye amongst others lead with the ball. Our all-round ability led us to a dominant victory as England will be rightfully angry and disappointed at a poor series with only individual contributions particularly with the bat to look at positively. Their bowling attack was wayward but the indecision comes from the selectors above who have received slack for their chopping and changing.

We face England next in a one off T20I before heading off to Pakistan and Zimbabwe for a T20I Tri Series in June and July. Be sure to revisit the site to see the progression of the Australian team in Cricket Captain and the other topics coming up on the website!!

Short Leg

Cricket Captain 2018: The revive of England

England show resistance in a high scoring chase with Root and Morgan leading the victory.

After the 3-0 series romp, County Durham was the venue for an England kickstart in what has been a disappointing start to their one day summer. Home pundits had been calling for changes in a poor showing from the Pommies so far against the under strength Australians and 2 were made. Joe Clarke replaces Malan in another vice versa switch from the 2nd and 3rd ODI- (will they choose who they want at 3?), and Tom Curran replacing brother Sam after an expensive start to his debut series. The Aussies made the singular change with Travis Head rested for experienced Shaun Marsh.

Lynn top scoring with a rapid century backed up by Maxwell’s aggressive 85 and lower order runs to get Australia up to 334 in their 50 overs.

The lethal partnership of Finch and Short was reignited with Tom Curran and Stokes aiming to strike early after new ball woes in the series so far. Stokes, with confidence with his last bat, took the early wicket of Short on a good length delivery, with Short looking to kickstart his innings. Lynn hadn’t fired so far throughout the series but he seized on some abysmal lengths and lines from the opening pair. Finch played a cameo role feeding the strike well to Lynn, who took down Curran and began to take on Rashid. But, the bowler of the series for England, Rashid took the wicket of Finch with another googly as batsman have struggled to pick Rashid’s deliveries. Marsh made a positive start and brought the Australians up to 130-3 after 22 overs in a quick fire run rate. However, after dispatching Curran for a boundary, Marsh succumbed to Curran’s slower ball and was trapped in front for 15 leaving Maxwell to join Lynn at 3-139.

72 runs scored in a power hitting knock from the Queensland batsman

Fireworks begun with Lynn continuing his imperious ball striking and Maxwell showing his destructive nature as Rashid, for the first time in the series, was knocked off his usual line and length. The 50 partnership was reached off only 31 balls giving the Australians hope for 350-400. Lynn took 24 off Woakes’s over before dispatching returning bowler Stokes for his 15th four to bring up his maiden ODI century. However, his celebrations were short lived as a rejuvenated Stokes trapped Lynn for the 3rd LBW out of 4. Lynn’s wicket was the first of 3 to fall for 3 runs as the inform Paine failed to pick Rashid’s top spinner and was bowled before Stokes took another in the next over as Stoinis inexpiably played a failed ramp and was bowled for 1.

An innovative filled innings of destructive batting from Maxwell propelled the Australians out of the mini collapse.

Adam Zampa rebuilt the Australian innings in a cameo role with Maxwell taking the anchor with Plunkett in particular taking the brunt of Maxwell’s aggression. The run rate began to climb as England showed glimpses of anger and dispute with each other with 2 dropped catches of Zampa and a hard chance of Maxwell put down. 75 runs were added for the seventh wicket partnership before Woakes used his slower balls for success dismissing an impressive Zampa for 37. Maxwell’s onslaught continued whilst at the other end, Jhye Richardson contributed with a maximum of his own going into the final 5 overs.

Stokes with 3 valuable wickets and helped restrict Australia to under 350.

Plunkett had frustrated Maxwell in the previous over and his steeping bouncer managed to dismiss Maxwell in the penultimate over for an 85 boosting Australia’s score. Tye fell first ball to Plunkett a few balls later but Richardson promptly smashed 16 of the final over to bring the momentum back to the Aussies. Lynn and Maxwell starred with impressive ball striking whilst Finch, Zampa and Richardson played cameo roles in a 334 which would be tough to chase down. Stokes was the main contributor with the ball with 3 as Rashid and Plunkett chipped in with 2 but at an expensive rate.

Last over heroics give England the victory with experienced heads Root and Morgan leading the Pommies to a successful chase.

With a difficult chase ahead for England, they got off to a less than ideal start as Stanlake ripped through Bairstow for a golden duck. The NO3 position had been highly talked about before the match and the constant changing between Malan and Clarke hadn’t payed off so far and failed once more as Clarke nicked behind to Paine off Stanlake for a mere 9. Root took the mantle of the aggressor in an unfamiliar role for the Test Captain with Hales following suit to drag England inline with the required run rate. Boundaries flowed off the seam bowlers from both batsman targeting the short boundary to the offside. Zampa was attacked early on but it was Tye who broke through as Hales’s free flowing 44 was ended by a deceptively slow slower ball by the WA paceman.

Untypical powerful innings from Root in a match winning 92.
A proper captains’ inning which contributed to England’s first victory

The Vice Captain and Captain were joined together to dampen the Australian spirits with the pitch beginning to show signs of wear making the batsman’s life easier. Morgan and Root began to form a flourishing partnership with Zampa and Stoinis going at 9-12 runs an over. The momentum had turned towards England with both batsman reaching their half centuries and motoring on. Maxwell and part timer Short had bowled tight overs back to back and the pressure created culminated in the downfall of Root for a fabulous 92 playing too an extravagant shot on this occasion and finding the edge to Paine off Maxwell. (131 run partnership) Stokes followed the platform from Root and put on a brisk 28 with Morgan before the latter succumbed to the left arm spinner Short in front for 76. With only 95 required with 15 overs left, the game was firmly in the balance but the momentum of the record breaking partnership swung England into control.

Buttler had struggled so far in the series to replicate the form shown in the IPL but with the pitch in favour of the ball striker, he flourished in a supporting role with Stokes. Stokes bulldozed 8 boundaries in his innings with Australia’s main bowlers failed to strike the crucial breakthrough as England looked destined to victory. Richardson though sparked a twist in the tale as Stokes became the third out of four victims of LBW for 42. Woakes struggled throughout his 36 ball stay as the Australians kept the pressure on well to him but it didn’t deter Buttler who brought the total to 10 off the last 3 overs before Tye dismissed him for 48 becoming the fourth LBW victim. Rashid, though, finished the game off in style with a second ball six to defeat Australia and give England some light in a darker tunnel.

Billy Stanlake took 2 early wickets but in a losing cause.

In a pleasing performance for England, the experienced heads found form and steered them to the big scoring chase with the Australians fairly disappointed to have bowled poorly especially at Root and Morgan with 7 bowlers used. Stoinis and Zampa in particular were too expensive and relied on part timers to fill up their allocation. The fault lied in the bowling and fielding performances as the batting was boosted by different contributors. We head off to Old Trafford in the final ODI with the Aussies intending to finish the series off 4-1. Alex Carey, Peter Handscomb and Clive Rose are expected to play a part in the final match with Rose on debut.

Be sure to revisit the site for more Cricket Captain reports as well as different cricket topics including Ashes Cricket, the Big Bash and International Cricket. Until next time Short Leg

Cricket Captain 2018(PC): Revenge on the Pommies


Cricket Captain has arrived and I will be taking on the role as Australian head coach and Selector in a time of turbulence leading the Aussies in all 3 formats (Test, ODI and T2OI). Starting in the summer of 2018, Australia embark on a 5 match ODI series against England away followed by a one off T20I. Join me on a rollercoaster ride to restore some faith and pride back into the national side as well as winning some games (hopefully)?

Australia ODI Squad

Following the Sandpaper incident in Cape Town, Darren Lehmann stepped down from his role as Coach and Selector and opened the door for rookie Jamie Hamilton to take over in a challenging situation with the aim to bring back Australian love for cricket. With the bans to Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft leaving them unavailable as well as frontline senior players in fast bowlers Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood and Mitchell Starc due to long term injury, the Aussies were depleted and fresh faces were required to replace them. Tim Paine will captain and keep for the side with Hobart Hurricanes duo D’Arcy Short and Clive Rose called up for their impressive form for their domestic sides. Added to that, inexperienced players like Jhye Richardson, Alex Carey and Billy Stanlake have the chance to don the cap for their second time whilst power hitter Chris Lynn finds himself in the squad. WA duo in Mitchell Marsh and Ashton Agar were left out by Hamilton in a bold move to add experience with inexperience with Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh completing the stocks. A youthful Australian squad (in terms of caps) needed to prove themselves on the big stage for future competitions and the upcoming World Cup in 2019. England chose both Currans and left out Jason Roy and Mo Ali in their starting XI.

England batting first scoring 290 in the 1st ODI. AJ Tye taking four wickets and Jonny Bairstow leading the way with the bat with 95 for England.

After losing the toss, Australia were sent out into the baking hot Oval and didn’t start brightly with Bairstow and Hales targeting young speedster Jhye Richardson in the powerplay. England were going at a rate of 9 and 10 an over come the end of the powerplay and continued in that fashion for a little while yet. It took a deceptive slower ball from Tye to dismiss Hales for a brisk 51 to slightly lift the spirits to break the opening partnership. Malan, on debut, showed patience at 3 and slowed down the scoring rate in fact contributing to his dismissal with ambitious running seeing D’Arcy Short, on debut, running him out. With a variety of bowlers being chopped and changed, Zampa impressed and maintained his end economically picking up Root for 27. A promising partnership begun between Bairstow and Morgan but as both neared milestone, up step Marcus Stoinis to create havoc. He first picked up the dangerous Bairstow for a superb 95 and then swiftly followed working his magic to dismiss Stokes for a golden duck, with an even better catch by Paine. The aggressive natured pairing of Morgan and Buttler were at the crease to revive England out of trouble but Stoinis continued his rampage and the mini collapse was complete with Morgan departing for 44 also caught by Paine.

England just didn’t recover from their middle order collapse with the dangerous Buttler dismissed by the variation bowler Tye for 5. Rashid and Sam Curran on debut, fell to Tye for 1 and 0 respectively bowled looking to attack in the final overs. Stanlake got in on the action dismissing Tom Curran for a duck with a smart catch from Lynn to leave Woakes stranded on 19 and England all out for 290. After being 3-263, England lost 7-27 in a spell led by Stoinis and backed up ably by Tye and Stanlake. A very good latter half to the bowling innings from Australia brought them back into the game!

Australia’s new look opening partnership in Short and Finch began electrically with new ball bowlers Tom Curran and Ben Stokes hammered to all parts of the ground. 91 was brought up after the 10th over with Short in particular going aerial with Finch playing some classical shots for 4. England made their breakthrough at 1-98 as Finch was bowled by an in swinging delivery from debutant Sam Curran for a fantastic 57 from 46 including 10 boundaries. Short took the mantle from Finch and with Lynn looked to target Curran and leggie Rashid in an aggressive manner. Short brought up his maiden ODI 50 on debut with a glance onto the onside but fell soon after a 91m six off Curran, aiming to sweep Rashid but got a top edge to Sam Curran.

Left hander Travis Head began a more patient knock with boundaries and rotation of the strike blending in with Lynn’s counter attacking style. Nearing 50, Lynn went for one shot too many and fell to Sam Curran in front for a well made 41. Head was soon dismissed to Rashid caught on the boundary by Malan for a productive 28. Maxwell and Paine led the charge to the victory in a 101 run partnership with attacking shots a plenty. Maxwell brought up a swashbuckling 50 but it was Paine who finished the job with a four to win the match by 6 wickets with 15 overs left. Australia finished with a very high run rate taking all bowlers out of the ground in an imperious victory to begin the Aussie winter.


With the current predicament of the cricket in Australia, we played fantastically well to provide a comeback in England’s innings with a super 7-27 eliminating the attacking middle order. We then continued the momentum with an aggressive nature at 9-10 per over with the loss of only 4 wickets and plenty of pleasing scores. We head off to Cardiff from the 2nd ODI, looking to repeat our heroics with the aim for a 2-0 series lead going into the crucial 3rd ODI. The team are humbled by the renewed support and look to continue their winning start. Be sure to revisit the site to see how the rest of the series plays out!

Short Leg