Monday, July 13, 2009

The Saga of Punter's Bottom Lip - Of time-wasting and the absence of Warne and McGrath (1st Test)

The first test ended in a draw...Siddle didn't take a bag of wickets, Hauritz outstripped expectations (including mine), Punter scored a magnificent hundred as did three others, the umpiring was woeful, Collingwood showed enough guts for the whoe team, and KP played perhaps the worst shot of his career - so far.

However, as I predicted, Punter's bottom lip was in evidence in the last session. His unhappiness about England's time-wasting tactics was more from frustration that he couldn't land the killer blow. One session, three wickets needed, a new ball, and batsmen of the class of Panesar and Anderson, and he still couldn't finish it off. Don't let the time-wasting issue distract you...Australia weren't good enough to bowl England out twice in the time available - with the aid of a bit of rain.

Also, as I predicted, Mitchell Johnson got wickets with surprise straight balls. Poor old Cook was so worried about his off-stump he forgot to hit one that was going to hit middle. Johnson struggled get anything near the stumps for 90% of the time. This hardly boded well for his ability to bowl out the tail - those guys simply aren't good enough to hit anything wide to the fielders - and so it proved.

It is now clear (as it always was to true cricketing fans) that without Warne and McGrath, Australia would win less tests. The batting is still OK, although they weren't really tested this time, but the bowling is average for test match cricket.

Umpiring. My god...I can remember at least four LBWs given not out that were clearly out (2 on each side) and I saw Andrew Strauss robbed of a run when the ump gave a leg-bye to a ball that missed the middle of his bat by a centimetre or so. Even so it was a gripping last day and good for the series. It's all still alive.

My sources (and they are as reliable as rain in the Sahara) tell me that Harmison is a shoe in for the next test, and that Siddle is looking for a brighter zinc cream. They also tell me that Simon Jones watched the England bowlers this weekend and reckons that he could do better even if he only has one good leg. Watch this space...who knows what could happen at the England selection table.

That's all for now...keep tuned in for the exciting installment of The Saga of Punter's Bottom Lip

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