Australia vs England - Second Test - Day 5
Warning: Gratuitous gloating, glory basking, and shameless egotistical Pommie bashing follows.
Now there's a day's cricket that is going to haunt these Englishmen for a long time to come.
After a slowly grafted 551, which made the Adelaide Oval pitch look hopelessly dead, Australia saved themselves from defeat, with what turned out to be an equally slow 514. I stated my opinion on this in comments on a couple of blogs around the traps, but England's slow batting was with a score of 3 for 400. Autralia at least had a couple of periods of consolidation and match saving to do. England were flat out too slow on day 1 and 2, to set up the win. You just can't bat for two days on the track that good, and not score 600+. But it got worse - miraculously, they hobbled along at 1.3 per over in this mornings session. You know England faced 54 overs today, and with just 40 or 50 more runs, the task could've been too much for the Aussies. They were always going to try though, so it could've been the difference between not just a loss or draw, but actually a loss and a win!
With this demoralising loss, the Aussies may have finished off Giles' Ashes careers, but after this performance, I think things should go further - yet another English / South African - Duncan Fletcher has a lot to answer for. His strange selection opinions and negativity cost England this match. Michael Vaughan's great work over the two years leading up to last year's series, creating an aggressive positive bunch of players is fast being undone in his absence - Flintoff and Pietersen aside of course.
You've gotta think that the little urn was just, as so many Aussies are once they've been here 20 years or so, off on an "OE"
England need two wins, out of three - and no losses, to retain them. How can they do it from here? Radical changes have never helped them in the past - in fact they are usually a good indication that the wheels have well and truly departed - but then when Kevin Pietersen fired in those four over throws today, giving Michael Clarke a 7, after Freddie's 5 dot balls, I think those wheels were pretty loose anyway.
They've now got a tour game and a slightly longer break before Perth. Surely, this time, they pick Panesar for Giles, who's bowling was ineffectual, and who's catching (or lack of it) probably turned the whole game. If Vaughan is fit, get him in there. Probably for Cook, who hasn't impressed that much to be honest. Mahmood has to play too, for Anderson. He was as ineffectual as the proverbial ashtray on a motorbike and is not the answer. You could see the batsmen relax whenever he cam one. Jones too has to be questioned - his dropped catch when Australia were just 8 runs away, is an example (in pressure times) why you need a really good keeper. They could even lift one of the burdens from Freddie's shoulders and give the captaincy back to Vaughan for good measure.
Get this side together, for the tour match, then get them out there at Perth and have a crack at a win. Going to Melbourne and Sydney needing just another win to retain the Ashes, could yet again, turn the tour on it's ear.
For a great reaction to this result, do yourself a favour if you haven't already and check out the bulletin on CricInfo
Labels: ashes, ashes 2006, australia, england