Sorry it’s been a while, the time between Tests threw me into some sort of lull where I retained a somewhat normal sleep pattern. It turns out that Horlicks does affect your mood when you wake up the next day, or so it would seem. I wonder what would happen if I drank it during the third Test and didn’t go to sleep.
Malted milk drinks aside, the third Ashes Test begins tonight, huzzah.
For once on an Ashes tour, England don’t have much in terms of selection or performance issues, apart from the obvious omission of Stuart ‘do you know who my dad is?’ Broad who went and tore a stomach muscle, the careless boy. The selectors seem to be ignoring the potential influence of the Fremantle Doctor on swing bowling and going with a like for like replacement in fellow beanpole Chris ‘I play for Surrey’ Tremlett. No problems with that, this formula worked in the previous Test and Tremlett was probably the best performer in the games the second string bowlers got. What I’m not sure about though is the suggestion that Tim Bresnan is above Ajmal Shahzad in the pecking order. That Bresnan offers runs down the order shouldn’t be a contributing factor to being picked in a four man unit.
Australia meanwhile have been experiencing a whirlwind of speculation about what their lineup would be.
The most high profile story amongst it all is definitely the calls for the greatest McDonald’s ambassador since Alan Shearer to make a return to the Australia side. This is somewhat understandable, given how being called an Australian spinner these days invites as much ridicule as performing artists who put ‘of X Factor fame’ on their business cards. The brevity of a spinner’s Test career is also akin to a TV talent show winner’s period of fame – Nathan Hauritz bringing a period of stability before disappearing makes him the Will Young of Australian spinners.
Thank God then that Shane Warne (and Liz Hurley) diverted the news stories away from such nonsense with a return to form in off-field antics. The whole thing smacks of desperation (the comeback that is), although English folk are no better – remember the calls for Mark Ramprakash to be recalled for the Oval last year?
With that in mind, the question is whether Australia opt to play Michael Beer or an additional fast bowler, something which wouldn’t be the worst idea at the WACA ground. Steven Smith will come in for Marcus North (something about his form going South), which means they still have a batsman who can turn his arm over should spin be required. I’d have made a Bollinger to Beer pun about the decline in quality of Australia’s bowling attack, but I’ve seen enough of them this week.
Furthermore, Mitchell Johnson arguably has more riding on him in this match than he did in the opener at the Gabba. That duff performance saw him dropped, only for him to be brought back into the team for this Test on the basis of him performing rather well in his three Tests at the WACA. This may be either the match where he turns it round like he did at Headingley last year, or his reputation diminishes somewht.
Methinks the key battle will be England vs themselves, all too often they’ve had moments where they let the opposition back into the series. Shake that monkey off the back and it’s a big step to the urn returning to England. Not that they it leaves that glass box in the museum at Lord’s, but there is that big crystal replica, I suppose.