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Another incomparable Ashes Test

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Adam Mountford Adam Mountford | 20:08 UK time, Sunday, 12 July 2009

What is it about these Ashes Test matches?

As I left the hotel in Cardiff on Sunday morning I joked to some of my colleagues that what the series needed was England's last pair hanging on for a dramatic draw. No straightforward saving of the game I said, because who would remember that?

The last pair scenario certainly didn't look at all possible for most of the day as wickets fell with regularity, but thanks to a heroic innings from Paul Collingwood and the desperate efforts of James Anderson and Monty Panesar England somehow held on to give Cardiff the memorable debut Test match they must have dreamed off.

The mood of the most tense of final days was rather well summed up by this e-mail from TMS listener Andrew Robertson from London.

"I could go out - I would have a better day if I went out but I won't go out - I will stay in and listen to the cricket and by doing so commit myself to a day of stress, false hope and frustration. In addition my girlfriend and I split yesterday and if that's not enough my cat died last week... they owe me, they owe me."

Well at least Andrew now has something to cheer himself up with and we have a Test which sets up the series perfectly. For most of the last five days the spirit of the 2005 Ashes victory seemed a long way away from south Wales - but it was back in bucket loads on Sunday as a capacity crowd created an atmosphere more common at the Millennium stadium down the road.

The game began with a emotive opening ceremony full of glorious Welsh singing while in the Test Match Special box Christopher Martin-Jenkins decided to greet the new venue with the purchase of a new laptop and excitedly arrived with the machine on the first morning. CMJ's travails with technology are well documented - he famously once attempted to make a mobile telephone call with a television remote control - so to be honest we greeted this news with a mixture of anxiety and dread.

Sure enough, he spent much of the opening morning battling with loading software onto his laptop with various degrees of success. CMJ then surprised all of us by announcing he was keen to join the Twitter generation after admiring the following Jonathan Agnew was attracting on the website. Who knows which technological advance he'll be embracing in time for the second Test?

An amazing cake was delivered to the Test Match Special box on Saturday morning. Carefully crafted by TMS listeners Sarah and Guy, it featured amazingly detailed marzipan sculptures of Aggers and Henry Blofeld, including copies of their books and even an Ashes urn. We are exceptionally fortunate to be presented with some amazing cakes over a summer, but this one really was something special.

The amazing cake!

So onto Lord's where the 2005 series started also started in dramatic style four years ago. Describing the action this time around at the home of cricket will be Aggers, Henry, CMJ and Jim Maxwell, with Phil Tufnell among our expert summarisers.

I believe Tuffers is the first TMS summariser to release a single during an Ashes series - and if you are brave enough look out for his Ashes Anthem set to the tune of the Rolf Harris classic Two Little Boys released to raise money for the charity Cricket for Change.

Alongside Phil will be a man who also knows this ground especially well - the former England bowler Angus Fraser who is now of course the managing director at Middlesex - while the Australian viewpoint comes again from former captain Ian Chappell plus the former Australian wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist will be back for this Test. We hope he'll be popping into the TMS box to offer his thoughts on the game.

Comedian and huge cricket fan David Mitchell is featured in "View from the Boundary" on Saturday. David, of course, stars in "Peep Show" and "That Mitchell and Webb Look" currently on BBC television. He also writes a sports column for the Guardian.

To help celebrate the launch of the Test Match Special Ashes Archive, we are also going to speak to Enid Todd, the daughter of Harold Larwood, who was the architect of England's controversial Bodyline series success down under.

We'll be joined by two legends of the game in Richie Benaud and Derek Underwood to tell us about a special challenge launched by the English and Australian branches of the Primary Club.

As well as ball-by-ball commentary on Test Match Special there will be extensive coverage on other BBC outlets. Mark Pougatch will be on duty for Five Live throughout the game alongside Pat Murphy, Geoff Boycott, Jason Gillespie and Alec Stewart.

On Saturday morning from 11am tune in for Five Live's new cricket comedy show "Yes it's the Ashes", presented by stand-up Andy Zaltzman. On Saturday and Sunday evening look out for the "Ashes 606" phone-in whilst you'll be able to listen to Aggers and Geoff Boycott's review of the day which will then be able to download at bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket

But for now the Ashes of 2009 are underway - and I for one cannot wait for Thursday for the next instalment.

But if you can't wait until then for Ashes action don't forget the Women's Ashes which conclude on Monday at New Road with ball-by-ball commentary on Five Live Sports Extra from 1045 BST.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Great coverage as usual by TMS, got across the tension brilliantly, although commentary was barely needed with the crowd cheering every forward defensive. It was almost worth Sky nabbing the TV rights.

    Can't believe that this test ended up being every bit as good as any of those in 2005.

    England need to step up their performance massively though for the series to continue along this vein. Jimmy and Monty can't rescue us in every match.

    http://sportingchameleon.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 2.

    Adam, an all too frequent request of mine, is there any chance of a podcast of TMS features, such as the lunchtime interviews? I was lucky enough to hear Max Boyce during the rain delay yesterday, I had no idea he was on during the week in a lunch break, so please, please, please can you make it available? Please?

  • Comment number 3.

    Incredibly tense and exciting final day ... beautifully captured by TMS.

    God save our Test cricket.

    Let's not get too carried away - Australia took 19 wickets, England 6.

    Overall well done Cardiff.

    Can't wait for Lords. Hoping they get the most important factor in any Test match (the wicket) right.

    And ... for a change - we have a pitch with some pace and bounce.


  • Comment number 4.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 5.

    Where on the website does it say what was chosen as the Champagne Moment?

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm so glad that cricket was the main talking point of Cardiff's first test match. Roll on Lords...
    http://jumpersforgoalposts1212.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/collingwood-holds-firm-as-england-wobble-to-the-finish-line/

  • Comment number 7.

    This is Dunkirk! Thrashed until the beach by a better side, who were not expected to be "up for it". We all know how it ended.

  • Comment number 8.

    As an expat in Sydney for the next four years, I can tell you that this Aussie team is a fragile bunch; very similar to England! They have limited experience and Johnson, their only bowler with proven class, seems to be be going through a bad patch. Take no notice of Ponting's moaning, this "draw" was a defeat and he is hurt, which always affects his batting. After the first couple of wickets, the commentators here had written off England, a humiliating Aussie win was inevitable, and they pontificated about body language and attitude. They also moaned about the England bowlers "celebrating" their 100 runs. Aussies are generally great people, but the cricket commentators on SBS are a pompous, humourless bunch with lots of experience, but little understanding, of what cricket is really about. I look forward to England stuffing them (the commentators) again at Lords!

  • Comment number 9.

    alandowning1 are you bringing more Aussies, Russians, South Africans and Americans and the rest to clean up your mess again?

    Good tense cricket but I stand by my view that the scores are level but the teams are not.

    A draw is as close to a win as the England team will get. No wonder their fans are celebrating, while the Aussies are lamenting.

    And someone should advise Strauss to play silly games. As Ponting said it was very ordinary. Hey does that mean the same thing in English English? As spoken by an Australian it means it is poor form.

  • Comment number 10.

    What's all the fuss about? Did anyone really believe England would win? England should feel very fortunate to escape with a draw as it is a very ordinary side (note, i didn't say team) and was completely outplayed. The bowling lacks penetration and consistency of line; the batting lacks application and depth (Prior at six??). Results over the last four years reflect this - 2005 is irrelevant.
    However, while there's no comparison between this England side and the team of 2005, this Australia is maybe not as gifted as other incarnations of the past twenty years, but is forming into a gritty and united team that plays to its strengths. More importantly for now, England is far worse in every facet of the game and is lost in day dreams of 2005, wallowing in its own mediocrity and complacency with celebrations for a dishonourable draw.

  • Comment number 11.

    Wonderful coverage Adam! See you at New Road!

  • Comment number 12.

    Alandowning mentioned the parallel to Dunkirk. Dunkirk should never have happened in the first place, and neither should the England draw at Cardiff, and for the same reasons. The English were ill-prepared, given out-of-date and damaged weapons, were utterly complacent, and were gloating of past victories. (It mustn`t be forgotten that but for a bad umpiring decision against the Aussies at Edgbaston in 2005, England wouldn`t have won that match, or the 2005 Ashes.)

    Why do the English always have to suffer a defeat before realising that they`re in a time warp?, because both Dunkirk and Cardiff certainly WERE defeats, and only rear-guard action saved them from being disastrous defeats, and however much spin is put on glory, they remain defeats. Although the drawn result may belie the fact, the English were routed at Cardiff.

    After Dunkirk there was a complete shake-up and reorganisation of the essentials, especially at the top. The same must happen here, both with the team and the back-up. As for the team...

    Strauss is totally incompetent and as unimaginative a captain as England has ever had.

    Cook hasn`t learnt one lesson from all his failures, and should be told "thanks, but no thanks". (Neither should he be replaced with a still out-of form Bell.)

    Pieterson is more concerned about his own prima-donna status than he is about the team, and he has just been given a sharp lesson of how great batsmen should really bat, and even by some lesser talented batsmen than he. If he continues to bat like a prima-donna then he should either be made to open (which would perhaps instil some responsibility in him), or dropped to Nos 6 or 7. I`m sick of the excuse of "well that`s how he plays!". Great batsmen have stickability and WIN test matches. Seldom has Pieterson been able to claim that honour for England. By consistently throwing away his wicket he puts great pressure on the middle and lower orders. Great batsmen don`t do that, they mostly keep a cool head and put personal glory aside.

    Flintoff is way past his best and is a shadow of his former self with both batting and bowling. He should be dropped forthwith.

    It`s difficult to assess the bowlers` performances at Cardiff on such a flat pitch, but more commitment, fire, and accuracy is certainly required. The pre-alleged inferior Aussie bowlers bagged 19 wickets, and the English bowlers only 6, and on the same pitch. However with the exception of Collie, the blame can be put squarely on the top order English batsmen, who seem to be still in one day mode and gifted their wickets.

    The English haven`t beaten the Aussies in a Lords test match since 1934. Unless there is a drastic all-round improvement of Team England, the Aussies will yet again be triumphant at Lords I`m hoping for another miracle, but I can`t envisage one. An Ashes series is no place for past reputations, it`s action and performance on the day which matters.

  • Comment number 13.

    Great coverage yesterday, and was great to see an England side showing some real heart to hang on for the draw. Also pleased to see they did not celebrate like the Aussies at Old Trafford in 05.

    Have to agree with justmycorrectopinion though - Strauss and England showed a complete lack of class with the 12th Man/physio antics at the end. We did fantastically well to hang on, but we were outplayed for the whole game. If we lose the lose with dignity - blatant time wasting is not on. We complained when Pakistan did it in 2000 and the West Indies in the early 90's, but then resort to it ourselves.

    It soured a great rearguard action, and Ponting was spot on - it was very ordinary.

  • Comment number 14.

    RE: #12 datatarathian

    While I agree we were routed and got away with a draw, the suggestions you make are typical of Englands problems over the years - radical changes during a series. By dropping all and sundry (flintoff?????) you cause even more problems. Oh and while we are at it, yes, lets change the captain too as that always seems to work.....

    And while you suggest dropping Cook & Flintoff and moving Pieterson you lack something in your argument - Replacements?

    So for Cook - who? Key?????? Ha, a man who has scored no meaningful runs in two years (runs against surrey do not count) and who can replace flintoff? Two players perhaps?

    Look, we were lucky to get away with it. But bar some tinkering this is the best 11 we have available and it is up to them to improve. Wholesale changes would end the series by Saturday.

  • Comment number 15.

    stuckathome, I agree completely.
    Except maybe for one thing, although England were pretty poor in all aspects, were they lucky?
    Were the roles reversed, I think that people (aka the media) would now be talking about an heroic rearguard effort and an inability to bowl out the tail - twice.
    One light at the end of the English tunnel is that there is a good depth to the batting.
    It just needs the 1st 4 to apply themselves, no point in wholesale changes because it is clear that there are no suitable replacements.
    Harmison for Panesar? I know he keeps being given his "last" chance but I think he's worth one last punt, see if there's anything still there,
    mainly because I can't see anyone else to trouble the Aussie top 6.
    Great match!

  • Comment number 16.

    RE: #14 stuckathome

    "While I agree we were routed and got away with a draw, the suggestions you make are typical of Englands problems over the years - radical changes during a series. By dropping all and sundry."

    I didn`t say radical changes had to be made, I said a "complete shake-up and reorganisation" and "drastic improvements". That`s not quite the same. Neither did I say that "all and sundry" need to be dropped. Just Cook and Flintoff.

    "(flintoff?????) you cause even more problems. Oh and while we are at it, yes, lets change the captain too as that always seems to work....."

    Unfortunately Strauss is the only candidaate for captain, but it`s not a matter of changing the captain, rather that it`s the captain who must change himself, and his way of thinking. From being negative to being positive.

    "And while you suggest dropping Cook & Flintoff and moving Pieterson you lack something in your argument - Replacements?"

    Let`s face it, unless Cook learns quickly to rectify his faults he (Cook) will continue to fail. If there is one team who can work out weaknesses then it`s the Aussies.

    "So for Cook - who? Key?????? Ha, a man who has scored no meaningful runs in two years (runs against surrey do not count)..."

    Where did I mention Robert Key? I`m not a Key fan either. You`re trying to say that there is no one in the whole of GB who can replace Cook?

    "...and who can replace flintoff? Two players perhaps?"

    There are several I could mention. One man I did suggest in a previous post was Peter Trego. He couldn`t be any worse, and at least (as far as I know) he doesn`t carry injury baggage.

    "...But bar some tinkering this is the best 11 we have available..."

    A debatable point, but it`s horses for courses, which is why there are more than 11 players in the squad.

    "and it is up to them to improve."

    On that we can agree!

    "Wholesale changes would end the series by Saturday."

    Agreed, but when I said "After Dunkirk there was a complete shake-up and reorganisation of the essentials, especially at the top. The same must happen here, both with the team and the back-up", I didn`t put a time frame on it, just that it needs to happen. It obviously won`t happen overnight, or even by the time of the Lords test. But attitiudes and proper commitments CAN change. Monty showed that.

    Interesting point about Monty was written in one of todays papers in respect of his bowling. The stats say that he has played 33 tests. It was argued that this is incorrect. He`s only played one test but 33 times.

  • Comment number 17.

    Games like this put me off the game.

    Australia won. Tell me any other game in the world where one team gets one innings and the other gets two, scores a few more runs and loses more wickets - and gets anything out of the match?

    The rules are crazy and England didn't deserve anything. Reading all the comments about how terrific they were to secure a draw is a farce. They were completely outplayed once the Australians came to bat and were made to look like the average side they are in the second innings.

    It's madness like this that will be the death of cricket. It makes no sense at all and youngsters simply won't subscribe to following a sport when a draw is extracted from a resounding defeat without any merit at all.

  • Comment number 18.

    Re: #17 - Games like this are actually the reason why Test Cricket is the ultimate form of the sport. The game tests every element of a players game - application, dedication, talent to name but a few. Ponting showed KP up for the show pony he is by understanding the situation and batting with great inteligence. He may be an appalling captain (Johnson get 20+ overs and Monty having to face the part time pie chucker North) but he is a great batsman.

    If youngsters don't understand the intrinsic value in the game then it is a reflection of them more than the game. Test cricket has been around for over 100 years, and will be around for a lot longer. 16,000 fans cheering on a draw demonstates that it is not about the result, but the situation. Test cricket is the game - without it there would be no T20 or One Day whackabout rubbish.

  • Comment number 19.

    I predicted a draw based on weather predictions and the way the game went over the first 3 days. Nice to see my prediction was vindicated although not by the means i anticipated ...thank goodness.

    I watched the remaining 2 hours of the last day in the comfort of my golf club members bar, having delayed a round in preference for what was clearly becoming a mesmeric end of five day Australian dominance. The effect within the room was quite astonishing. At 4.30 the interest in the game was minimal and mostly cynical with people moving past the screen muttering minor obscenities about the failings of the England team. With half an hours' play to go the same critics were cheering and egging on Anderson and Panasar, comparing the match with any of those played in 2005. Rounds of applause and cheering greeted the Ponting/Anderson handshake.

    It is natural to want to compare but perhaps we should look at the game and take it as it was. We are dealing with now, not then. Two teams in their own way contributed to a wonderful climax and a ganme that will be talked about for months to come. Yes, England had their failings, more so than their counterparts, but so did the Australians. But surely matches like these are made interesting because of not only genius moments but also of human errors. The Australian bowling was akin to Englands in the latter few hours and the battling efforts of Collingwood, Prior, Swann, Anderson and Panasar were equal, in their own right, with the technicaslly sound efforts of the Australians in their innings.
    The day was partially marred by the rather unfortunate, but blatantly obvious tactics employed by the dressing room with 10 minutes to go. Risky i thought at the time and I commented on the potential disruption to the batsmans mind set. Was it cheating? Was it gamesmanship? Was it outside of the ethics of the game? Maybe it was an unfortunate use of a ruling that permits it ... if so, that ruling should change. No other person than the players on the field of play should step onto it without prior permission from the umpires. Seems simple to me.
    But there again it also added to the drama of the day. Time wasting tactics are employed by most teams in the world of cricket but not normally so blatantly near the end of play.
    This was a dramatic match that has successefully set up the summer for an uncomprimising battle for the ashes. The players have much to prove and contest for and i look forward to viewing it ... warts and failings and successes alike. Let's not be cynical - but rather sit back and enjoy!

  • Comment number 20.

    "It's madness like this that will be the death of cricket. It makes no sense at all and youngsters simply won't subscribe to following a sport when a draw is extracted from a resounding defeat without any merit at all."

    I couldn't disagree more. The possibility of the draw kept this match (and many others) alive long right until the death and provided a rousing spectacle. I'm not sure how that kills cricket.

    And the principle remains simple, you have to bowl teams out in order to win.

  • Comment number 21.

    Four Australians post centurys, almost seven hundred runs and nearly bowled England out twice on a very slow wicket. England is not even close to the aussies, There is a good reason why England is ranked number six in the test rankings and thats because they lack class and skill and think they are better than what they are. Australia will always play or try to force a win, fancy being happy and content with a draw

  • Comment number 22.

    Thoroughly enjoyed Ian Chappell's comments during the match; and Gillespie and Boycott were very entertaining too. The least said about Henry Blofeld the better - no amount of flowery description can detract from the fact that his ball-by-ball commentary was as infuriatingly gaffe-ridden as ever. When you're listening intently to a thriller, the last thing you want is 'HE'S OUT, HE'S OUT!!!'....when of course it's yet another misjudgement.
    The match itself was a thriller, wasn't it? Who says limited-overs cricket is where it's all at?

  • Comment number 23.

    In answer to a couple of queries. Not only was there a tense finish to the match, there was also a tight battle when it came to our Champagne moment. At one stage there was a four way tie ,but the award eventually went to the Australian captain Ricky Ponting for the six which carried him to his 150 - not sure it was much of a consolation but at least he could drown his sorrows last night.Also the Max Boyce interview has been put on this site - details at http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/8146027.stm. We will try and put as much of our special interviews for you to be able to listen again.

  • Comment number 24.

    A quick addendum - make sure you click on

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/8146027.stm

    (without including a full-stop after the "stm")

  • Comment number 25.

    The sheer virulence of some of these blogs make one more worried about the state of the English mind than about English cricket. We don't have a right to win every time and hurling abuse at the team won't cure bruised egos.
    Moaning about the rules of the game (yes, there is another game where one side may play much better than the other but doesnt necessarily win - its called football, you may have heard of it) or wanting to change virually the entire team is mere silliness.
    Perhaps these people werent told often enough by their mummies that its just a game. Over-identification with sports teams smacks of a serious inferiority complex as well as unhealthy nationalism.
    And Mr Mountford - to say Larwood was the architect of the Bodyline tactic is a mistake. He was the somewhat reluctant spearhead of it but it was the team management and captain Doug Jardine who thought it up, as a way of neutralising Bradman. And it hasnt been controversial for years. It was later endorsed by West Indian and Australian teams that copied the tactic of bowling at the body - but a different part of it, the head rather than the legs.

  • Comment number 26.

    Some hilariously bitter Australians on here, and some football fans who don't understand cricket. You need to get the other side out to win. That's the game. Just because it doesn't satisfy your instant gratification rules doesn't mean it's bad.

    And just because you can scrape a draw in one test doesn't mean you can't win the next one. I don't think this England side is good enough, but test series do not always progress in a line from the first game.

  • Comment number 27.

    Typical Australian sportsman is Mr ponting whine when things dont go their way Australia should think themselves lucky three bad lbw decissiond went their way about time all lbw appeals went to electric techknowledgy

  • Comment number 28.

    Some interesting views on here about England "timewasting". Despite Scottish heritage I have been an England cricket supporter for many a year and regularly travel abroad to watch them. I have seen Australia do exactly the same sort of thing on more occasions than I can remember when the need arose. Gloves off, re-tie shoelaces, gloves back on, prod the pitch - all to use up overs in a tight game. Ponting's outburst is a bit rich.

    As for celebrating a draw, I can well recall the reaction at Old Trafford on the Australian balconey when they salvaged an improbable draw in 2005. But for the time lost to rain . . . . .

    Those who don't think finishes like Sunday's are good for test cricket will probably never understand the game. 5 Days play, domination by one side over the other, and it still comes down to the last ball - wonderful!

  • Comment number 29.

    I was lucky enough to be at the 5th day of the test in Cardiff yesterday and it was a fantastic experience. For sustained excitement and intense crowd support, it was more than a match for any other sporting event I've attended, including Grand Slam winning rugby matches.

    One thing I would like to comment on is the excellent sporting attitude of the large group of Australian supporters seated near us in the grandstand in the face of sustained abuse throughout the day. What started as banter (a fun part of any sporting event), turned into supposedly humourous, football-style songs/chanting and even crossed the line into crude, racially abusive comments (generally in direct proportion to the alcohol consumed). The Australian supporters (all of whom looked more than a physical match for the abusers - and the men looked like they could handle themselves as well!) bore all that and the disappointment of not winning with great dignity and stoicism.


  • Comment number 30.


    The honourable draw did look like a good victory for test cricket. Tussle between the bat and the ball is what makes test cricket unique and different from other forms of cricket. Long live test cricket. Great coverage by Team TMS. Thanks.


    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 31.

    Adam and team.
    Excellent coverage. I just want to add to the request of
    adding the lunch time interviews to the site as podcasts.
    I'll be back @10.30 on 198 LW:-))
    Next time..... Can we have full coverage of all the womens
    games too? (please!)

  • Comment number 32.

    #23, many thanks Adam, that would be great.

  • Comment number 33.

    Sadly, the two best English bowlers weren't in Wales the last few days but in the North. Harmison and also Hoggard. At the time of Hoggard being dropped and forgotten about there was confusion as to why he had been discarded, and I do no think a far conclusion was ever reached.

  • Comment number 34.

    Am surprised Aggers has failed to make any comment about England's apparent time-wasting sending on the physio and 12th man at the end of the match on Sunday. Come on Aggers - get off the fence and let's hear what you think ? Would you do it/sanction it ? I hope not.

  • Comment number 35.

    1. What's up with the excessive referencing of the women's Ashes? Who really cares?

    2. If the England batters were indulging in egregious dilatory conduct, as lamented by Ricky P, why were the umps not enforcing the statutory penalties as enshrined under the clauses and provisions of Law 42? Would that have made a difference in the outcome? Who knows?

    3. Now on to majestic Lord's where every schoolboy, amateur and professional cricketer dreams of playing; and every ardent fan wishes to spectate!

    4. Weather permitting, this will be a riveting, intriguing contest!

    5. Happily, we do have a great cast of commentators to describe the unfolding action which should make for enjoyable and easy listening.

    BTW, CMJ is not the only one having clumsy difficulty trying to figure out technology! Ha-ha!

  • Comment number 36.

    Ricky Ponting, and the Australian media, should stop their whining about alleged time-wasting. Every team does it, and the Aussies do it more than most. In recent years under Ponting`s captaincy the Australian Cricket Team has been fined 33 times for such tactics.

  • Comment number 37.

    re post 31:

    [QUOTE] One thing I would like to comment on is the excellent sporting attitude of the large group of Australian supporters seated near us in the grandstand in the face of sustained abuse throughout the day. What started as banter (a fun part of any sporting event), turned into supposedly humourous, football-style songs/chanting and even crossed the line into crude, racially abusive comments (generally in direct proportion to the alcohol consumed). The Australian supporters (all of whom looked more than a physical match for the abusers - and the men looked like they could handle themselves as well!) bore all that and the disappointment of not winning with great dignity and stoicism. [QUOTE]


    As an England supporter and cricket lover I totally agree...

    After all the drama. The players leaving the field to a crescendo of moronic soccer-style "your not singing anymore" finger-pointing put a damper on proceedings.

    Not saying all Australian support is beyond reproach but the vast majority certainly know how to behave. Some of our alcohol-induced "abusive" support makes me wanna bury myself under my seat in shame. Belittling the other nations instead of befriending them. Boorish, lumpen and overly-aggressive.

  • Comment number 38.

    "Not saying all Australian support is beyond reproach but the vast majority certainly know how to behave. "

    Without wishing to condone in any way abusive behaviour by "our" supporters, your comment appears to indicate that you have never been at Melbourne for an Ashes test. At least English supporters don't throw beer cups at the opposition fielders! A bit of singing hardly compares.

  • Comment number 39.

    Anyone who has had to endure 'tanked up' English football supporters abroad will know what I am talking about.

    Obviously I am talking about a minority at Cardiff, I stand by my statement. The verbal abuse thrown at the stoic Aussie section in front of me was inexcusable.

    Nothing wrong with a good old sing-song, musical accompaniment and The Barmy's. The mass "your not singin anymore" and finger-pointing at the end resembled Cardiff City vs. Leeds United from the 70s.

    And no I haven't had the pleasure of attending a Melbourne test match. The nearest I have come is sitting directly behind the Lleyton Hewitt fan club at Wimbledon. Noisy, monotonous, occasionally boorish but on the whole good natured.

  • Comment number 40.

    MalcolmW2, the boorish bogans of bay 13 at the MCG are certainly beyond the pale. Apparently, the beer cups you mention are ritually filled with urine, then thrown joyously in the air during the odious mexican waves that rise with the afternoon booze tide. The resulting golden shower for the culprit and his accomplices never seems to bother them in the slightest, in fact they glory in it, which says it all. But the fact is the denizens of bay 13 make up a tiny proportion of the overall crowd, which can be as much as 90,000 at the MCG, just as the drunken oiks at Cardiff are hardly representative of the majority. However, British scum and Australian scum have plenty in common for the very reason they are scraped from the bottom of the same barrel.

  • Comment number 41.

    "It's madness like this that will be the death of cricket. It makes no sense at all and youngsters simply won't subscribe to following a sport when a draw is extracted from a resounding defeat without any merit at all."

    Totally disagree. I once had a similar view - but being involved with playing the game (late in life) and with two of my youngsters, its through them that I've fully understood all of the dimensions of cricket, and why Sunday represented a tremendous example of the finest form of the game - test cricket. My two were jumping up and down with excitement when we secured the draw - and cheering when Monty bashed the ball to the boundary for 4.

    Youngsters benefit from sharing the enthusiasm of others to understand the significance of many things - test cricket is no exception.

  • Comment number 42.

    Has anyone asked the ECB what the television viewing figures were for Sundays play..?

  • Comment number 43.

    Just wanted to chip in and say what a great double act Jason Gillespie and Alec Stewart were on 606 last Saturday night. Great knowledge, great insight into Test Cricket from their experience and great banter!

  • Comment number 44.

    call me a pedant but if this test can be compared with other "incomperable tests" it is, by logic, not "incomperable"

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

 

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