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    July 21, 2005

    Ashes focus: Lord's test - Day 1

    Steve Harmison put in an early application to be considered for the Compton-Miller award for the player of the series (Miller died last year) by taking a five wicket haul as England's quicks bowled out Australia for 190 in just 41 overs, well before tea, on the first day at Lord's. Australian teams, especially since Waugh took over, have always placed a lot of emphasis on winning the first session of a series. They certainly failed here.

    England's reply had just got underway and although the openers had taken the team to the tea break, scoring 10 runs in the process and ensuring that McGrath would have to wait for 20 minutes more at least to get #500, McGrath got them both shortly after the break. Number 500 was Trescothick and 501 was Andrew Strauss, both in the same over. Trescothick tried to flick to leg and the ball took the edge and was caught by Langer in the slips. That made McGrath only the second pace bowler after Courtney Walsh to get to five hundred test wickets. Four balls later, he put one tick mark against Strauss in his diary when he had his target well caught by Warne. Doesnt he ever get bored, snapping up his victims in the same old manner? Damien Fleming on Glenn McGrath.

    At 11/2, Bell walked in with an average of 297 to play his first test against half-decent opponents. McGrath got his other man, skipper Vaughan, with a ball which kept low. He had been playing very cautiously but I suppose there's nothing much he could have done about that ball. The score was 18/3 and Pietersen walked in on his test debut. When we went to press, England were 18/3 in 13 overs with Lee and McGrath, in particular, causing quite a few problems. Gillespie, included in spite of an injury had not yet bowled. To (slightly) paraphrase Fred Spofforth, Australia's bowlers obviously must believe that 'this thing could be done'.

    It remains to be seen if Australia continue to win the first day battles. Unless England are five or six down before stumps, I really dont see it happening.

    Langer and Hayden took quite a few blows early on and Hayden was bowled by Hoggard, aiming an expansive drive. Langer decided to attack the bowling and when Ponting was dropped by Pietersen, it seemed like England were losing the grip. Ponting was then struck on his cheek by a Harmison snorter and a few balls later, fended to Strauss at slip. He didnt quite have the opportunity to show his other cheek. Vaughan's bowling changed worked immediately as Flintoff forced Langer into a horrible pull shot which landed after a long time in Harmison's hands at square-leg. Simon Jones struck with the very first ball he bowled, getting Martyn to edge to keeper Jones. Not too many runs later, a very unconvincing and edgy innings from Clarke came to an end when Jones trapped him lbw. I thought the ball was missing leg-stump but Koertzen didnt agree and England didnt care about what I thought, obviously! The game was barely 20 overs old and Australia were 87/5. I really cant remember the last time they lost so many wickets in the first session. Can you?

    Gilchrist came in and flashed a couple of aggressive airy shots just before lunch. After lunch, he hit Flintoff for three boundaries in an over before Flintoff had his man, again, as Gilchrist edged to the keeper, and presumably had no option but to walk. Warne joined Katich, who had been typically anonymous and the two reeled off a flurry of boundaries before Harmison struck after the drinks break in his second spell. First he bowled Warne round his legs, as Warne tried to act too cute and walked across his stumps. Then Katich, presumably desperate to eke some runs out of the tail and help the team cross 200, attempted a pull shot which didnt go further than keeper Jones. Pietersen then dropped Brett Lee but Harmison and Jones made amends the very next delivery. Then he trapped Gillespie in front, leaving McGrath, who had hit two boundaries, forty runs short of his second test fifty.

    Just came across this piece on "The Telegraph" where someone finally realizes that it was India who kicked Australia's butt quite a few times before other teams even got to thinking about it.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 8:40 PM |
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