Australia vs England - Third Test - Days 4 & 5
Well the world is back to normal again - rotating on its proper axis as the trophy cabinet at the Australian Cricket Board is full once more - in fact fuller than it has ever been.
What an awesome sprint down the home straight is was too. A dodgy start to this Test, but as soon as McGrath, Clarke, Lee and Warne made short work of the English batting line up on day 2, then Mr Cricket - Mike Hussey set things up with his maiden Ashes ton - things were looking ominous for the POMS. Pup batted beautifully, showing he is once again ready to take his place, but once Gilchrist's frolic late on Day 3 was complete - England were batted, bruised and all but ready to hand back the Ashes.
Alistair Cook had some other thoughts, but failed at an important hurdle, then Pietersen and Flintoff gave the most optimistic some small reason to believe on Day 5, with a swash-buckling early effort. But as they say, "it aint over till the fat man spins..." and spin he did - bowling Flintoff and in dong so all but collecting the little Urn in the process.
The scoreline reads 3 - nil. 5 - nil beckons for the Aussies. It's an awesome feeling - and it should be pointed out, the euphoria, gloating and over the top celebrations are in part, thanks to England's marvellous performance last year in regaining the Ashes. Australia were better prepared mentally, organisationally and probably physically - nobody is laughing at the "boot camp now" are they?!?!
Anyway, a scoreline of 3 - nil, doesn't really do England's efforts justice. They performed well in the greater part of most of these games - one batting lapse in each test, has prevented a scoreline of probably 1 ALL. A better effort in the last innings in Adelaide and the first innings in Perth and who knows, it could've been 2 - 1 their way - but that's all "maybes" isn't it - it wasn't that way - probably because of this awesome line up that is Australia at the moment. You do alway feel though - watching these contests, that England are a constant threat, and until last year, we hadn't felt that for a long time.
England's selection woes will also come under scrutiny. That will happen when you lose and not when you win. Has anyone mentioned Stuart MacGill in the last three weeks - Stuart Who?
Many predicted the beginning of the end last year...and in fact while that may be, these guys have prooven that while they are all closer to the end than the start, there's no reason to let that mean losing Test matches. Warne, Gilchrist, McGrath, LAnger and Ponting are among the best ever to wear the Baggy Green, and it now appears they will go out that way. On Top! By this time next year there could be five of six missing from the squad that started this series, and perhaps some of the current titles may exit - but who cares just at the moment. These guys have got everything they deserve and right now it feels like we've just awoken from a bad dream that started on a gloomy day at The Oval last year.
Labels: ashes, ashes 2006, australia, england