So the collective feeling of English optimism was quickly sent running for the hills with its tail between its legs in Perth, and my body clock was utterly wrecked by the fact that the WACA’s in a different time zone. What a nice sequence of events it proved to be.
- Paul Collingwood’s über awesome diving catch to get rid of Ricky Ponting in the first innings. Not that I saw it live as I was in the kitchen making a cup of Horlicks and bemoaning the lack of a slip in the position which Ponting had edged through at the start of his innings.
- Shane Watson’s hissy fit when he was out for 95 in the second innings. What made it all the more amusing was how adamant he was that he’d edged the ball first, despite his unsuccessful referral of the decision saying otherwise.
- Chris Tremlett bowled rather well.
- Australia’s bowlers spared us a whole day of watching the tailenders struggle.
- Reality slapping us all in the face and reminding us that our batting lineup isn’t always going to look invincible when Mitchell Johnson suddenly finds an iota of late swing.
- Collingwood getting out to the last ball of the third day ranks up there with Michael Clarke in terms of setting the tone for the next day.
- Getting tonked so soon after a comprehensive win can be pretty hard to stomach, although I was probably too tired to care at the time.
I suppose that it was inevitable that all the voices of dissent would emerge from the woodwork after a match like them, so I thought I’d join in.
- The bowling attack is suddenly under scrutiny, and it can’t entirely be blamed on Stuart Broad’s injury, since Chris Tremlett didn’t look out of place at all. What was worrying was James Anderson lacking the same degree of control which he had achieved in Adelaide, whilst Steve Finn’s bowling suddenly looked fairly attractive to Australian batsmen, resulting in him going for around five runs an over.
- The only highlight for Graeme Swann was the wicket of Hussey in the first innings – from then on, it was all downhill. Not that you can really be that critical of him, the WACA pitch didn’t have much in it for the spinners, hence Australia’s five-strong seam attack.
- The batting went from god-like in Adelaide to quivering field mouse-esque in the first session of the second day, a transformation from which they didn’t recover.
- It’s not necessarily cause to start panicking over, although given how relatively comfortable Ian Bell’s looked, perhaps it would be a good idea to move him above Collingwood so that he has more batting partners to eventually run out of. Or just tell Collingwood that he’s at last chance saloon, that tends to bear fruit.
- The talk about ‘resting’ Finn for Melbourne has left me raging over comments in the media. Quit with the euphemisms and admit that he bowled bobbins and that possible alternatives are being lined up – see it as character building. Whether Tim Bresnan would cause Australian batsmen to lose sleep is anyone’s guess.
- Battering us has probably done the series a world of good, given how many fans in Australia seem to get turned off of cricket the minute Australia look a bit turd.
- Mitchell Johnson was back to his best, making the decision to rest him in Adelaide look a masterstroke. The ‘resting’ of Steven Finn is probably England’s attempt for similar results.
- Mitchell Johnson’s form doesn’t necessarily guarantee that he’ll play as well in the next Test, nor will he have the Fremantle Doctor over his shoulder. But then I said something similar about Michael Hussey being crap after career saving centuries, so I’m willing to believe whatever happens in this series now.
- What’s more remarkable is how Australia managed to win as comfortably as they did with the likes of Phil Hughes and Steve Smith in the top six. Correct, some genius thought that bits and pieces cricketer Smith could do a better job at #6 than in-form Brad Haddin. And with Ponting and Clarke not necessarily batting well, it’s been largely the likes of Watson, Haddin and Dr. Cricket, Michael Hussey getting all the runs.
Suddenly this series has exploded with unpredictability. Good for Test cricket, bad for people who make relatively safe bets.
It would seem that we have officially entered bizarro world, folks. England are a Test up after two matches in the series, and bar one injury, have a pretty stable lineup, while Australia have a batting line up which is pretty much made of filo pastry held together with saliva, and a bowling attack likely to change again when the Perth Test starts.
- Shane Watson and Simon Katich’s comedy running which left Katich heading back to the shed without facing. Neither of them had appeared to call, comical.
- James Anderson bowling like he can cope with Aussie conditions, on the contrary to what a lot of people suggested.
- Michael Hussey displaying something which might resemble what you call ‘form’. Usually he follows up career saving innings with very little, so this was a pleasant surprise.
- Kevin Pietersen doing a Steve Harmison and getting a well set Michael Clarke out with the last ball of the fourth day. Clarke was probably too busy thinking about what film he was watching that evening (Sleepless in Seattle).
- The general vibe about Australia at the moment is doing my nut in. Yes, they’re not as good as they used to be. All great teams have this problem when the good players go, get with the times.
- Kevin Pietersen’s revival has been the main story to come from England’s performance in this Test. He’d been threatening to make a big score for a while, and what better time to finally do it?
- Graeme Swann looked more at ease with the Australian conditions, taking the crucial wicket of Hussey in the first innings before claiming a five wicket haul to wrap up the game in the second.
- Now face a trilemma over which of the three reserve seamers is to replace Stuart Broad, now out for the series.
- A shout out to Alastair Cook, who has transformed into Optimus Prime crossed with Batman, or so it seems.
- Ryan Harris bowled better than Mitchell Johnson.
- No one else was of much use though.
- It still took England five days to win the Test.
- Maybe the batsman coming in for a knobbled Simon Katich will be super awesome?
- Erm, at least things have become so bad now, that anything Australia manage might be better than this shower. Poor Xavier Doherty, I’m not sure this is how he imagined his career panning out.
So the ghosts of 2006 have been put to rest at the Adelaide Oval, nice going folks. There’s a bit of a gap between now and Perth, so plenty of time for speculation and other Ashes related crap until then.
A few wickets and a million runs from a handful of batsmen later, and the first Test of this Ashes series petered out into draw. A post-mortem of events seemed like the most appropriate way to term my summary, given the crowd at the Gabba on the final day.
- Group Captain Strauss winning the toss and electing to bat first. Nasser Hussain could learn from this.
- Peter Siddle’s hat-trick, because any Test match hat-trick is a pretty awesome achievement. And on his birthday of all days! I’d probably be too busy thinking about my cake to focus on bowling at the stumps.
- Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook batting like Michael Hussey and Brad Haddin hadn’t put on a 307 run partnership to put Australia 221 runs ahead after their first innings.
- Australia looking like England of the 90s in the field, dropping lots and lots of catching opportunities.
- David Gower copping one on the foot, courtesy of Nasser Hussain in the Sky Sports commentary box.
- The pitch didn’t particularly offer much for the bowlers.
- As previously mentioned, the turnout for the final day was particularly disappointing. Just because you don’t have match winning bowlers any more, there’s no need to act like Indian ‘fans’ who only turn up when Tendulkar and not one of their other world-class batsmen is batting.
As for the two teams:
- Not getting overly flustered by the early departures of Strauss and Maximus Trottimus in the first innings is a bit of an achievement in itself, compared with England performances of old.
- Ian Bell looks a lot more settled at the crease this time around, although he was unable to cash in after England ran out of batsmen, thanks to Peter Siddle’s birthday burst.
- Could consider themselves unlucky not to get Hussey out before he reached his hundred, but they didn’t really look like getting the Hussmeister out again until he eventually pulled Finn down someone’s throat.
- Strauss, Cook and Trott didn’t look like batsmen with pressure on them, this can only be a good thing as they all made BIG runs in the second innings.
- Graeme Swann struggled to make an impact in this Test, so he’ll be hoping to bounce back in Adelaide.
- Lost the toss, but ultimately didn’t suffer for it as Siddle’s heroics left them with a manageable first innings total to nullify in batsman-friendly conditions.
- When it almost looked like they weren’t going to generate a big lead, Hussey and Haddin dug them out of a potentially deep hole. With a bit of luck, they took Australia to a very good position.
- Bowled like complete wankers in the second innings to undo the Huss/Hadd work and failed to really put England under and pressure. When Marcus North is looking like the most dangerous bowler on the field, you know you’ve got problems.
- Mitchell Johnson was once termed a ‘once in a generation bowler’ by Dennis Lillee. What the moustachioed former pacer meant by this is beginning to seem a bit unclear, given the number of wides he bowled in the second innings. This really upset Brad Haddin, who didn’t like a lot of these wides being classed byes, since they went against his name. The inclusion of Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris in the squad for the next Test certainly means the Australian attack is under pressure to perform or face the chop.
Roll on Adelaide, where I’m hoping Strauss can be the ringleader in a cricketing exorcism.