England have broken their Lord’s hoodoo against Australia, and done it in style. There were some questionable decisions but, as I can attest from personal experience, people tend to remember the decisions that go against them when they lose and don’t worry too much if their team won. Having said this, the umpiring has not been of the standard required for test cricket. Perhaps this is because umpires are now trying to second-guess what the TV replay is going to show – I don’t know.
But on to the cricket. Phillip Hughes has to stop trying to tread on the square-leg umpire’s toes every time a short ball is bowled at him – imagine him against the West Indies of old – he’d have had a test career with the longevity of an ice-cube in an oven. Toughen up son! Get your back foot in line and you won’t have to worry as much about edging to the slips. You looked like a timid schoolboy.
Michael Clarke looks the goods, and Hussey managed to get some semblance of form and was a touch unlucky (just a touch!). Punter did a magnificent job of keeping Broad’s confidence up. I think he’s trying to keep him in the side for the next test and trying to keep Harmison out. But Harmie will play in the next test – take my word on this. Broad will need a haircut and this will be just the excuse England need to drop him.
But what of scattergun Johnson? He once again got wickets with his elusive straight ball. Keep him in the side I say…he’s great entertainment. Perhaps he’ll be kept in for his batting.
Nathan Hauritz continues to do his best to disprove my theory that only his mum would have selected him for Australia. Perhaps his mum should have picked the whole team. He continues to masquerade as a test-class spinner, and seems to be doing a good job of it.
Freddie once again proved that only having one good leg is not enough to stop him single-handedly wresting the Ashes from Australia’s grasp. Personally, I thought Strauss missed an excellent opportunity in the first innings to send Freddie in at number three when England had just put on 186 for the first wicket. A quick 40 or 50 would have been the equivalent of a few solid punches below the belt. It would have been worth the risk. I predict that by The Oval, Freddie will be roaring in, in a wheelchair, and still delivering 150kmh thunderbolts.
KP continues to limp and this means that England is two legs short of a fit cricket team. Surely a team with only 20 legs between them did not beat Australia. Bopara continues to promise a Gower-like innings without actually delivering one, Collingwood still refuses to smile while batting, Prior just belts it, and is very entertaining as a result, and Cook is looking bewildered by the crap bowling he gets to play him in at the beginning of his innings and the way his technical flaws are studiously ignored until he has got some runs. Strauss can obviously only go downhill from here!
Graeme Swann finally showed some of the flight and guile that has taken him so many wickets in the last year. Possibly the ball of the match that got Clarke.
Punter Ponting has some decisions to make. Is Lee fit and will he better his bowling average of 40 in the last series if he is selected here? Is Stuart Clarke fit, and will either of these bowlers replace Johnson’s stoic batting at number 8? But Punter he has re-affirmed his faith in Johnson and Hughes – surely the proof that their places are in jeopardy – but there is no reserve specialist batsman.