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    November 23, 2006

    Australia vs England - First Test - Day One

    Dear o Dear Geoff ol' chap...I hope there's better than that to come...;-)

    While Harmison's start smacked of nervousness, you can't say the same for Andrew Flintoff. When you're in the slips and the ball comes your way, from a wild fast bowler, and natural inclination is to brace yourself for it, maybe shy sideways or whatever - not Flintoff, who just calmly took it at about knee height at second slip! almost like it was all part of the plan.

    Incredible stuff.

    Then Langer set about showing just why he was the correct choice as opener. Phil Jaques will get his turn - no doubt. But Langer is class. A quick 50 was a very positive start to Langer.

    Hayden didn't quite look right today - although it was pleasing to see him settle down and not assume the big, bullying millionaire batting style of early innings in England last year. He ensured Langer's great work was not to no avail.

    But Australia at 1 down for 106 at lunch was far better than I expected. I seriously thought there would be more life in the GABBA wicket and we'd be 4 or 5 down. I thought Harmison would be better and Flintoff more penetrating. But this was only the first session of potentially 75 sessions But England's bowlers didn't bowler sensibly. The succumbed to the occasion and Langer particularly, capitalised.

    With all the hype and publicity, it would be the side that played the percentages, kept their heads and trusted their game. In Session 1, this was Australia, and it certainly wasn't England. There is a long way to go.

    To the second session, and England bowled much better, but by now the Aussies were in. Langer started agressively, then failed to contain himself, and dollied a catch to Pietersen. I think he got a little over confident and missed the opportunity to open the series with a ton. Martyn got settled in but also couldn't go on. Ponting, worked his way to 50 and set up a ig last session. Would it be Flintoff and England who could expose the Australian tail before the end of day one, or would be Ponting and Hussey to set up a big total and possibly a winning first innings total.

    Then in the final session, that old feeling of comfort returned for us spectators. It's a feeling that until last year we were quite used to - where you walk into the room and casually ask, "Sso how many's Hussey/Ponting?" - "70 odd" - "hmmm?" you reply. "I go and watch when he gets his hundred." It a great feeling really, but far less exciting than we came to expect last series. So what will change this for England? Who will lead them back into this match? Don't forget they lost the first Test, convincingly in that series we all remember so well - what is in store? Well England know they have what it takes to beat Australia these days. One thing is for sure, they won't give up after just one bad day. A big performance in the first session tomorrow and all is not lost. The pitch should stag in good shape for at least a couple of days.

    The biggest worry for England would have to be the bounce and turn Pietersen got. If a part time can do it, well I don't have to remind you do I. One call from an ABC commentator was, well "he" could end up with all 20 wickets!
    Cross posted on STUmpcam

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    Thus spake Stuart Helwig @ 4:18 PM |
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