Australia vs England - First Test - Day Five
Five at least. Even Kevin Pietersen, who gave us so much entertainment yesterday, folded this morning on just the second ball of the day. Many will say "that's just how he bats - unpredictable", well I would suggest he may need to work on a predictable side of his game because that soft dismissal this morning let himself and his side down.
While many will point out that Australia were 1-0 up, 15 months ago and lost the Ashes, there are actually more similarities to the last Ashes series in Australia (4 yrs ago), right down to the way the English came out a applauded the Barmy Army after being smashed at the Gabba that time as well.
Let's look back to the last series, when Australia led 1-0 after the first test. England will be trying to take heart in the fact that they regained the Ashes from there. In that Test, Harmison had made a big statement and Australia had been rolled cheaply in the first innings. Langer and Ponting had been struck early by a venemous spell from Steve (Harmison). Only McGrath's brilliance had kept Australia in the match on day one. Gillespie had been flogged to all parts and Australia were struggling in the field.
Now lets look at Brisbane - Harmison, well, well - all over the shop, enough said. The above mentioned batsmen made 438 runs between them, both with not outs, averaging therefore 219! Australia's bowling too never looked like being bettered, save perhaps one session on day 4 when England were just 600 odd behind and little mattered. Remember too that in England last year, England had already beaten Australia in a few one dayers and a 20/20, and Australia had lost to Bangladesh. This time, we come off an ICC Champions Trophy won, for the first time by the Aussies, smashing England along the way. Amazingly too, for the first time in an illustrious era, every available trophy could be in the Aussie cabinet in a few months.
I would suggest the similarities so far, with 2005 end at the scoreline after just one test. The similarities with the last tour, in which Australia won the first 4 are far greater.
The only English batsmen to offer any real resistance in this match, Collingwood and Pietersen, threw away centuries with soft dismissals, Pietersen, when the glimour of hope for a draw still existed - although that about snuffed it out, second ball of the day.
So a big disappointment for England in this Test. Can they regroup by next Thursday? Of course they can. They are professional sportsman led by one of the most gallant warriors they've had. But have they actually got the cattle to go with the in form Aussies, over 5 days, I doubt it. A lot will depend on match winners like Pietersen and Flintoff, Australia will seem to have big performances by those guys, covered somewhere - as they have so many options.
Just a note though, for other over optimistic Aussies like me - I did predict on this site only last week, a 3 - 1 win for the Aussies with a live final Test in Sydney. In that prediction I said they'd probably win the first two (thinking mistakenly that the second Test was in Perth like it usually is - so granted that equate to 2 out of the first 3), so a win in Brisbane was part of the plan...maybe best not to get too carried away.
One big question which will now get a lot of press over the coming 3 or 4 days will be, will anyone have to make way for Watson and/or MacGill. It's very hard to see that happening, especially now that Australia has a one/nil lead. Mess with a winning line up? - I doubt it!
Labels: ashes, ashes 2006