The Over: The Ashes, First Test, Part 2

Now that we’ve had a lie-down, we feel ready to write up the last couple of days:

1. Sunday’s action proved eerily reminiscent of Edgbaston 2005, not least the fact that we spent most of the morning absolutely bricking ourselves. Let’s not beat about the bush, this will go down as one of the great Test matches. It swung to-and-fro, featured mind-blowing performances with bat and ball, and, ultimately left fans with no clue who was going to win right up until the moment it finished. ODI and T20 cricket are, in part, designed to replicate the tension that Test matches like this produce. However, they never quite cut it. Both sides spent five days carefully crafting a chance to win. Both sides had so much to lose. Both sides nearly did. Test cricket once again demonstrated why it reigns supreme.

2. Why aren’t the Australian papers howling at Haddin’s disgusting failure to walk at the end? This ridiculous piece in the Sydney Morning Herald suggested that the Broad incident was worse than other examples of not walking because he’d got such a massive edge on it. No. Either you believe a batsman should walk, or you believe he’s entitled to stand his ground and wait for the umpire to give him out. Both stances are acceptable, but there is no middle ground, no shades of grey. It wouldn’t work the other way round – if the bowler appealed when he knew the batsman had got an inside edge on an LBW shout, it is irrelevant whether the batsman middled it or only got a feather. We will have a piece on the spirit of cricket soon, but frankly the whole thing is faintly ridiculous.

3. Steven Finn’s Test record is still very good, but he really ought not to play at Lord’s on Thursday. His confidence must be a wreck after those two overs trampolined Australia twenty runs closer to their target (that was the bit that really had us drafting the piece saying that no one should worry that we’re 1-0 down). Even in the first innings, he only bowled half his overs because Broad couldn’t. The only thing that can save him is his superior record at Lord’s to Tim Bresnan. Frankly, we still remembering him wanging it down the leg-side there against Sri Lanka in 2011.

4. Enough of the naff, ill-thought-through jingoistic nonsense after lunch on Sunday, with some opera singer no one’s ever heard of belting out a few Imperial classics. Australia would have been well within their rights to play an impromptu game of dodgeball with Sean Ruane and some practice balls. Either that or just pile-on. It’s bad enough having Jerusalem devalued every bloody morning.

5. England’s twelfth man was not the increasingly pissed crowd, but David Saker, who lurks behind the scenes most of the time. Since Saker’s appointment in 2010, each of England’s current pace trio have improved their records, most notably Broad and Anderson. Some of this must be down to natural career progression, but the statistics are dramatic. Jimmy’s Test match bowling record was 156 wickets at 34.81 before Saker was appointed, and 161 wickets at 24.73 since. That’s more than a ten-run improvement. Blimey. Broad, meanwhile took 83 wickets at 36.15 before Saker turned up, and has 115 wickets at 27.18 since. More blimey. It can’t be just coincidence.

6. If the rest of the Test series is like this, we’re going to need more than a lie-down. Sectioning probably, or at the very least some pretty serious therapy. Our nerves are shot.

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2 Comments

  1. Given the central role DRS played in this Test’s drama, would be interesting to hear your views on it.

    Reply
  2. Breathless.

    Reply

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