August 2009


Should Matt Prior go through a lean spell after February 2010 then it is entirely feasible that England’s numbers 4, 5 and 6 be made up of Yarpie farm boys. Kieswetter, who qualifies as a Pom this winter, looks quality. Pietersen will return. And Jonathan Trott has sealed his place in the England team with a quality knock against the Aussies, on a tricky pitch, and when it really counted.

Trott batted magnifcently. At no stage did he look in any trouble. His shots were crisp, hit temperement tempered and he provided the solidity that England’s middle order have sadly lacked all summer. England have probably done enough to guarantee a win in this test, however, one shouldn’t tempt fate by citing inevitabilities.

England’s bowlers failed to make inroads into the Aussie batsmen this evening, but a good day tomorrow could see England claim the Urn 2-1. I’ve got a nagging feeling that it won’t be that easy.

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Blimey george! Stuart Broad is on fire. Three weeks ago he was up for the chop and England’s biggest bowling loser. Now, 11 wickets later, he has possibly bowled England to the brink of an Ashes series winning win.

I really don’t want to tempt fate here, so I’m not saying anything more!

307 for 8 isn’t necessarily quite where England would want to be at the end of day 1, however, it isn’t necessarily the worst start to a test that will produce a result.

On a classic Oval belter England would have wanted 500 at least. This, however, is not a classic Oval belter. It looks two paced and it has turned already.

Crucially England has batted first. England would want at least another 50 tomorrow morning, however, they are in the game, have the better bowlers for the conditions and everything to play for. Game on!

Oh, and this is the first time I’ve seen Jonathan Trott bat. He looks good and reminded me of Steve Waugh. That can’t be a bad thing.

So, England have replaced Bopara with Trott for the final test. Trott was the next cab off the rank, but it is a massive ask for him to come in and perform on the biggest stage possible at the first time of asking.

It could of been Bopara or Bell he replaced, both players that have shoine brightly against second rate test sides before being exposed against the very best. I reckon that Bopara is a better long term bet that Bell, but I guess you have a problem when you have three batsmen (Collingwood, Bell and Bopara) all best suited to and fighting for a number 5 spot.

Fingers crossed.

Thank the lord that Prior was dropped off the last ball of the day, otherwise Ponting might have claimed the extra time and possibly ended the test inside 2 days. To be fair, I don’t think the end can come soon enough for England. We have been woeful in every area this test. Poor batting, poor bowling, poor fielding and – dare I say it – poor captaincy. The bowlers have been abominable, which has forced Strauss to set fields for bad bowling, but he shouldn’t be doing that.

England’s top order has looked inadequate all series, and this test has ruthlessly exposed its weaknesses. We are too relient on Strauss and Pietersen. Take one out through injury and the other has a poor test, then we are in trouble. Cook showed promise during this match, which is far better than the previous tests, but he didn’t make it count. Bopara has been made to look very poor by the Aussie bowlers. Ian Bell, well, he has been Ian Bell-like. The Aussies seems to have Paul Collingwood’s measure. Strauss aside, Prior is looking like England’s best batsman, and he hasn’t delivered big yet.

England are too reliant on four players – Strauss, Pietersen, Flintoff and Anderson. Take two out due to injury, and the other two have poor matches, and – to be honest – England look like a club side.

England will lose this match in a hurry tomorrow morning, leaving enough time for England to have a serious think ahead of the fifth, final and deciding test at The Oval. England are short on form and class in the batting department, and while I wouldn’t usually demand changes, the nature of this performance needs fresh faces to reinvigorate a damaged side. These are desperate times, I wonder what Rob Key and Mark Ramprakash are doing?

No, but it feels a bit like it. 72-6 at lunch, oh dear.

Listening to Radio 2 the other day, I was treated to hearing the bizarrely named song Meeting Mr Miandad, by The Duckworth Lewis Method, a cricket-inspired Irish pop group formed by Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy and Thomas Walsh of Pugwash. If I get hold of a copy of their album I’ll review it on the site. A cricket-inspired Irish pop group, whatever next?

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