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Storm clouds gather over Camp England

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Tom Fordyce | 19:01 UK time, Saturday, 11 July 2009

You know you're in trouble when the sight of heavy rain falling from a grey sky is the most uplifting thing that's happened all day.

How quickly England's pre-series optimism has been washed away. Was it only four days ago that people were talking about the damage their spinners were going to wreak on the Australian batting, how the tourists' unheralded bowling attack was going to struggle in English conditions?

We are only on the first chapter of these Ashes, but the dominant plot is already clear. For England supporters it's also a horribly familiar one: Australia dominating, England in full retreat.

It's difficult to decide what was the most depressing element for the home fans on Saturday.

There's the raw stats, of course - 219 runs behind with eight wickets left, and the forecast for Sunday set fair; Australia running up their fourth highest total ever against England, and their biggest for 63 years; four Australian batsmen scoring centuries in the same innings of an Ashes Test for the first time in history.

broadanderson595.jpgMaybe it was the fact that, after Australia had gone over 26 hours losing just one wicket, England could lose two in less than 10 minutes.

Sometimes it's the small things that hurt the most - the sight of 2005 hero Simon Jones sitting in the grandstand, his only part in proceedings to lead the singing for the Barmy Army.

When Ravi Bopara trudged off just before the rain swept in off Cardiff Bay, a large number of seagulls were seen circling overhead. It took two or three looks to be certain they weren't vultures.

Australia's performance with the bat over the past three days has put England's first innings effort into perspective. 435 seemed like a decent tally at the time. It seemed almost impossible that England could be batting last, unlikely that they could be heading towards defeat going into the final day.

History and experience should have warned us. They have lost to Australia a full six times after posting totals of over 400, most recently and painfully after their 551-6 declared in Adelaide two and a half years ago.

As Ashes openers go, this game feels horribly reminiscent of the match at Headingley a little further back. 20 years ago an Australia under-rated by many observers rattled up 601 in their first innings of the series, England scored 430 in theirs to look safe and then collapsed to 191 all out in rapid time on a pitch free of demons and devil.

England will be hoping desperately that the rest of the series does not follow the lines as 1989. That was the summer that ended with a 4-0 Aussie win, Steve Waugh averaging 126, Mark Taylor compiling 839 runs and England fielding 29 different players.

There are plenty of battles to be fought yet in this series. But it will take a substantial rearguard action from England to prevent them going to Lord's next week 1-0 down, and a whole lot more to undo the damage done by this hugely impressive display from Australia.

Ricky Ponting's men aren't the greatest Australian team to visit these shores. What they have done is gone about this match like a battle-hardened Test team, eschewing unnecessary risk, maximising their opportunities and refusing to give the opposition an inch.

Kevin Pietersen is undoubtedly a more naturally talented batsman than Simon Katich or Marcus North. The fact that both of them scored almost twice as many runs as he did might well give him sleepless nights.

Pietersen alone is not to blame for England's predicament. His performance on Sunday could yet make the difference between defeat or draw. But almost every one of England's players has been outplayed by their opposite number, and when that happens, a game is likely to go only one way.

England's highest partnership of the match so far has been 138. Three of Australia's were bigger - 269 for the second wicket, 200 for the sixth, 143 for the fifth. England's second biggest was 86.

On Saturday it was North and Brad Haddin who did the damage, starting steadily and accelerating away as ragged England bowling and fielding threatened to unravel completely. Both duly completed first Ashes tons. If North was circumspect (his 125 took 242 balls), Haddin was destructive, hammering his 121 off just 151 deliveries and looking as comfortable as anyone could in the shoes of Gilchrist, Healy and Marsh.

Will the Welsh weather intervene to save English hides? According to the Meteorological Office, it's likely to sheet it down all night and all early morning and then clear up miraculously about 11 o'clock.

Then again, rain hasn't affected a result in an Ashes Test since a last-afternoon thunderstorm denied the Aussies in Brisbane almost 11 years ago. For the last twenty years, the team that deserved to win generally has.

In 2005 England lost the first Test but rattled and rolled Australia's batsmen. Doubts were sown in the minds of Katich, Clarke and the rest, techniques tested.

Not this time. Even if Andrew Strauss's men wriggle off the hook, a very different impression has been created. Five of Australia's seven batsmen filled their boots. The England attack looked as toothless as a kookaburra.

It's hard to find many rays of sunshine in all that.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    What worries me is not the bowling. We knew that was always going to struggle against good batsmen on flat decks.

    It's the batting. Cook and Bopara, in particular, look like walking wickets. And that's not because they lack skill. Both are exceptionally skillful.

    They look beaten in their minds. Both playing across the pad in the first 6 overs? What on earth were they thinking?

    We need a century from Colly, Strauss or KP tomorrow, and some dogged batting from the rest.

  • Comment number 2.

    Due to the scarcity of comments Tom it looks like we beleagured England supporters have wrapped up and gone to bed thinking maybe it's all just a bad dream!! But, I will leave you with this thought....We English have invented most sports, and, in the early days got pretty good at them.....and then.....along come a bunch of blokes wearing Blazers !!

  • Comment number 3.

    First off, forget our batting, as mentioned 435 should have been a total good enough to have England on the front foot for the rest of the match.

    2 Wickets in 4 sessions tells you everything you need to know about our bowlers, Flintoff has (yet again) been rushed back from injury and isn't being risked for long spells incase he breaks down, Anderson is (as usual) inconsistant, Swann has been even more toothless than the bird he is named for and Pansar has been much the same, though at least he has been more economical than the rest. For Austrailia to bat for more than 2 days only loosing 6 wickets is disgusting, each of our bowlers should hang their heads in shame, but instead people attack Pieterson, and say that if he'd have batted longer we'd have a better score, maybe, maybe not, maybe our tail end wouldn't have but up as much resistance if they came in with the score 400+, who knows, what I do know is that Strauss has been a poor captain right from when he was filling in for Vaughan, the guy seems clueless, even when our bowlers do get wickets, he then lets the match drift, no fielders putting on pressure and saving the singles, he seems to have coppied pointing tatics not realising that Ausise who give their wickets away don't normally get a 2nd go!

    I've said this many times, and I'll say it again, the selectors were very rash (and that's being polite) to drop Hoggard for one bad match, will they drop these lot too? I doubt it. He is the sort of bowler who creates pressure and forces mistakes which lead to wickets, each of the selectors should resign, and Giles should give back the hounours he recieved for our last win, becuase he has been complicite in our downfall since!

  • Comment number 4.

    I'm a natural optimist but today has left me stumped.

    It's not a batting problem or a bowling problem, it is a whole team problem.

    Of course Pietersen should not have got out the way he did and should have gone on to get a big, big score, but that's the way he bats and he was still top-scorer.

    The bowling has been very, very poor.

    Swann and Broad in particular have been shadows of the performers they have been in recent months.

    But it's the whole attitude of the team, that worries me most.

    Even though any hope of victory had gone, England had a chance this morning to get stuck into Australia, create a few doubts and gained some momentum.

    Instead they sat back waiting to be saved by a declaration and the weather.

    I'm sure it came as no surprise when Cook and Bopara were dismissed so meekly (although Bopara's lbw decision was a shocker).

    England are more than capable of batting for a whole day tomorrow on what is still a pretty benign pitch and an average spinner in Hauritz, but I just cannot see it happening.

    http://sportingchameleon.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 5.

    In light of todays failings yet again..
    Maybe Vaughan will be tempted from retirement to give Strauss some managerial tips on field placings etc.....
    Praying for rain tonight.

  • Comment number 6.

    STRAUSS OUT! He is not good enough to play for england let alone captain them. I honestly only got into cricket when the 2005 ashes came about, and i remember him and trescothick starting us off well getting us to 100-200 for none, and now he can't get past 50?! He's the captain and he's not leading by example. He's got to show the rest of the team that the aussies can be attacked, his run rate is so poor as well when he gets out, its like 10 runs from 50 balls or something then plod out. when his run rate is higher and hes actually playing he's a good batsman but its like he doesnt have the guts to go for it. shockingly though, who could do a better job? *cough cough KP cough cough*

  • Comment number 7.

    Unlike silk, its the bowling that worries me. We have lost 12 wickets already, so dont tell me its a batting paradise, even though I began to think that when Australia were batting on it. Our bowlers are dismal and we must ring the changes immediately. Panesar and Broad can pack their cases tomorrow and go home. I am not sure about Swann at the highest level either. Andersen can only bowl when the conditions suit him, and he is attrocious too often. Bring in Onions, Harmison and Rashid, and lets start playing good cricket again quickly.

  • Comment number 8.

    As Atherton kept repeating on 'Sky', today was the day that Ponting put the boot in and won the psychological battle. Today was the day that Australia set in motion another Ashes series victory. They were clinical, ruthless, determined and unforgiving - words not found in the English cricketing vocabulary.

    Today, Strauss looked like a public school new-boy; clueless and wet behind the ears, having just had his head flushed down the toilet by school-bully Ponting.

    Today, head coach Flower, having been thrown to the lions by the ECB - out of his depth and inexperienced - scribbled inane, meaningless comments in a notebook, with the hope these words would magically bring about the weekend rain.

    And today was the day that while England raggedly toiled in the field, the only cheers that rang out was when each bowler brought up their 100 runs against tally.

    They say Lords is another match. Well, pray for a miracle, because unless England can dramatically improve, we have 4 more Tests of excruciating frustration and disillusionment as Australia, yet again, dominate the Poms with the English victory, five years ago, merely a distant, one-off aberration amongst the usual mire of underachievement and heroic failure.

    July 11th '09 was the day that Ponting won the psychic battle against the English... YET AGAIN! Is it not surprising that the cricket BBs are full of angry and upset home supporters.

  • Comment number 9.

    I do believe that our first innings score of 430ish was plenty, its the toothless bowling attack that worries me. Anderson has shown that he is a quality bowler when it swings, when it does not he is extremely average to say the least. Broad is not a natural bowler and never will be, you hear nasser and beefy on sky claiming he is an 'intelligent' bowler. In reality he is a poor bowler with very little going for him! Freddi is a great bowler at keeping it tight at one end and creating pressure but he is not a natural wicket taker. We must choose harmy for the second test, he is our only test bowler with 200 plus wickets who actually has the ability to ruffle the batsmen and all the Aussies have massive respect for him (unlike broad and Anderson).

    The selectors need to get their heads out of the sand and take a deep look at themselves and make the right decisions!

  • Comment number 10.

    broad has been useless all test match, my instincts say drop him for harmison, but does that send out the wrong signals? also do you drop both spinners and pick rashid, or just one? onions in?
    the trouble is, even IF we save the match tomorrow, we still have the same questions and the aussies have all the momentum!

  • Comment number 11.

    I was one of those who was foolish enough to beleive this would be a "close" series. 2-1 either way, I guessed. Yet England have once again proved their uncanny ability to prove to us al just how bad they can be. The runs on the board seemed enough to me, I thought that Australia may struggle against Englands attack with the swinging ball. Now, the ball hasn't swung, but when you're playing in the biggest cricket series thee is, you'd expect bowlers to not be reliant on a swinging ball, surely?
    Strauss has shown his complete inability to captain the side, he's done nothing intriguing, nothing to make the opposition think, nothing other than set defensive fields and wait for the declaration to come. I honestly think that Pietersen would have done a better job, because he's not the kind of person that would sit back and let the Aussie batsmen hit us to all parts and he'd be willing to try every trick in the book to get rid of them. But that's just me. Another series I was optomistic about, and England don't fail to disappoint.

  • Comment number 12.

    Unfortunately this series is the culmination of a whole catalogue of huge blunders: the appointment of Andrew Flintoff as captain when Vaughan was injured, the utterly pointless Schofield Report, which brought about the sudden removal of Duncan Fletcher, the equally sudden appointment of Peter Moores, a coach completely without international experience of any kind and the removal of David Graveney, a selector with excellent experience, and the appointment in his place of Geoff Miller who is, let me remind people , the one who chose Darren Pattinson, a player whom not even the captain knew. Then Pietersen, a man who had no talent whatsoever for captaincy, was appointed. Then Moores and Pietersen were sacked, but the overall management remained the same. The best captain we've ever had gave up and packed it in. Then Flowers was appointed as coach by default, and Strauss had to come in and try to unite a dressing room in total disarray, all this only a few months before the Ashes!

    The whole management of English cricket requires serious scrutiny - not just the players. The current debacle at Cardiff merely reflects total disarray in the management of the game.

  • Comment number 13.

    What depresses me so much about this gutless England Display is what appears to be the total lack of desire to win from the England team. At key points when we needed to dominate the Australian batsmen, the field settings from Strauss and the lines being bowled were defensive and benign and the attitude and body language of the players has either been too relaxed or, as the test has gone on, looking like they are resigned to defeat. This is a very average Australian team but as usual they bring it to the opposition hard despite their limited talents. We need to get in the faces of the Aussies and knock that unwarranted confidence out of them - for god sake lads get some fight in you. My hampster would give more cause for concern to Australia at the moment (if I had a hampster)

  • Comment number 14.

    #1 Silk. Absolutely on the money. But more than that. More often than not, our national teams (with the odd exception) in most disciplines seem beaten in their minds when it matters most. It seems to my untrained eye that there is something missing in the whole 'Why am I doing this?' calculation that must go through the mind of professional sportsmen. It genuinely feels like the answer is, in many UK cases, 'For the money'. Whilst the Aussies for example take into account their rock-solid national pride, age-old traditions of the 'Baggy Green', and an utter non-comprehension of the concept of being beaten as well, I am sure, as being well recompensed. I remember I think, prior to the 2005 series Steve Waugh taking his team to the beaches at Gallipoli, and the pride and comradeship it brought about. Contrast this with the 2009 England team visiting the WW1 battlefields in France. Sure Flintoff was disciplined, but by then its too late. Slightly over egging the pudding maybe, but I think the parallel is worth note. p.s. Note the score today. p.p.s Note which cricket team has dominated word cricket since I started watching cricket as a boy, despite the blip of 2005 (which probably wouldn't have happened at all if Sr. McGrath hadn't played football). I fear also that this concept can translate to many areas of life in the modern UK. Sad, but true. Who cares enough to give their heart and soul to a cause?

  • Comment number 15.

    Once again cricket "Fans" are quick to jump in

    For all those who follow cricket for 3 months out of every 4 years, i.e. the Ashes series I have news: We have been poor for a while now!

    Quite simply, our batting lacks discipline, i.e. Pietersen 1st innings and despite the decision, Bopara (2nd innings) hitting across the line to a length ball is unforgivable.

    Broad and Swann looked ineffective, but apart from Hoggard, name alternatives? Harmison has failed often enough to be written off and Rashid, Onions and Woakes are not ready...

  • Comment number 16.

    I`m a Welsh man living in Australia, and i have to say that the performance and body language by the English players has been disgraceful. They are leaderless, clueless and lack the drive and commitment to beat the Aussies in our own back yard. It is also ironic that the largest cheers of the game so far are after the lone trumpeter finishes his rendition of another Australian soap theme.
    This is the Ashes, yes the Ashes! Its something that has been advertised on Australian TV daily for over 6 months. the whole country has been up for this series for months, it seems that the English see it as just another game.
    The Captain should be replaced as well as Broad and Swan for the next match, all clueless and totally out of their depth.
    I also think the bowling coach who all he ever seems to do when we see him in the stand is yawn should take a good look at himself in the mirror and ask the question, Am i really good enough for the job as well as the rest of the team?" because the Australian TV and public think they are a joke. I tend to agree.

  • Comment number 17.

    You say Harmy has failed often enough, he averages 31 and has 221 test wickets! If that suggest failure on the flat wickets that we play on nowadays then quite literally WHO WOULD BE A BOWLER!?!

  • Comment number 18.

    I think if we bring back Harmison there's still a chance of winning the series, he might play terribly but then maybe he'll play at his best. but the bowlers we've got are just too average.

  • Comment number 19.

    exactly mothyproc, we all no that harmy is blows hot and cold but at least when he gets in right he will take wickets and unsettle batsmen. None of our current seamers can do that (apart from fred)!

  • Comment number 20.

    Prior to the Aussies arriving here the UK media had written them off as an average team and unlikely to disturb England's progress to an Ashes victory. Maybe their disastrous performance in the World 20/20 series lulled us all into a false sense of security, but hey, they'd only recently beaten the Saffers in the Republic. And I must say, having watched the way their batsmen set about demolishing the England attack, they have some pretty useful players whose technique, footwork, determination and confidence in their ability is miles ahead of ours. Not sure about their bowling attack. We'll have to wait and see what they do to us tomorrow. But England have it all to do. The batting looks weak. The bowlers look ordinary. And Strauss must be one of the worst captains of recent years. By the way, the last time we beat the Aissies at Lords waas in the 1930s!

  • Comment number 21.

    Blame the batsmen for not being disciplined enough and/or lacking the fundamental technique required at this level. Blame the bowlers for being wayward and generally toothless. Blame the captain for a lack of energy and ideas. Blame the groundsman for producing a horribly slow pitch. Applaud the Aussies for going about their business with determination, confidnc and discipline. However, this is only the first test - we haven't lost the Ashes just yt. It is worrying though when people are calling for Harmison to get a recall. The man is about as reliable as a London bus.

  • Comment number 22.

    While the English bowlers have undoubtedly struggled for the past two days, for me it was the English batsmen who set the tone for this game. While 400+ is always a fair effort, you could not get away from the feeling that all bar Strauss and Prior had given away their wickets and had missed the opportunity of batting Australia out of the game. A score of 430 still left Australia sniff, in that it was still feasible, albeit unlikely, that they accumulate a lead and still have to time to bowl at England. A score of 500+ eliminates that chance and the Australian 1st innings then takes on a whole new complexion as they are batting from a draw at best.

    As for the bowlers, the most telling commentary of the four days came late this afternoon when the Sky team were highlighting Johnsons's lack of swing. At that very moment he bent his back that little bit more, changes the angle subtly and pinned Cook plumb in front of the stumps with a dead straight one. Not a hint of that elusive element of swing that everyone seems obsessed with, but a healthy dose of effort and tactical smarts, two things that the English bowlers, with exception of Flintoff, appeared to lack for the duration of the Australian innings.

    The spinners have been disappointing, but I believe the English public and press have been kidding themselves about the likely success of this pairing. Yes, Australia do struggle against spin, always have, even in the hey day, but it is quality spin of the likes of Murali, Singh, Vettori, Kumble etc that gets them, not your average tweaker (think of Panesars record in the last ashes series in Oz). Swann and Panesar have been taking wickets against mediocre batting line ups, and like Giles and Croft, will never go down in the cricketing annals as prodigious wicket takers.

    For all of that, don't underestimate the let down for Australia if they miss the opportunity to go 1-0, whether it be due to rain, an English rear guard action, or both. Yes they will have the momentum, but it is a big mountain to have to climb again to set up the same ascendancy at Lords and a few quick wickets can soon erase the memory of the previous game.

    That said, I get the impression that the Australian bowling attack will only improve with time (Johnson is much, much better than he has looked thus far and Clark is still warming up in the background, not to mention Lee's possible recovery), so England will have to lift a few gears if they are going to achieve a turnaround.

  • Comment number 23.

    It seems as though England think they are still playing the West Indies. They think:

    A score of 400 plus on a good batting pitch is adequate.
    That the opposition batsmen will wilt under the weight of their own insecurities and waft at balls they shouldn't.
    They don't need to keep constant pressure on because the opposition aren't up for a fight.
    That this opposition's bowling attack won't fly in all guns blazing on the last day.
    That this opposition will "settle" for a draw as a good result.

    Well boys, I've got news for you: this is Australia, in the Ashes, and they won't lie down, they won't be glad for rain, and they all think they can win this test match from an improbable position at lunch on day two. Strauss needs to take a good hard look at himself as captain and wonder if he's really done enough to WIN this test. The batsmen need to take a good hard look at themselves and ask why they gifted their wickets in what should be their most focussed innings of the year. And the bowlers need to consider that they're up against a dogged, stubborn mentality that requires pace, aggression and consistency of pressure and wits to bowl out.

    England will not win this series as they seem uncapable of taking 20 wickets. I predicted a 5-0 loss, but was surprised by how much caution and respect the pundits here in Oz were giving England. That's slowly ebbing away now, like England's chances.

  • Comment number 24.

    Good God guys get a grip, if the England team went in with your mentality we would hand over the ashes to the aussies now.

    We do not suddenly become an abyismal team over night. I think our biggest mistake is selecting 2 spinners on a pitch which has about as much life as a dodo; this has meant a greater workload and fewer options for our captain. (true the aussies have only got 4 main bowlers, but the upshot is they have a longer batting line up which puts greater workload on our bowlers trying to get more frontline batsman out).

    Lets not chop and change uncessarily, a few days ago we thought we had a team who were good enough to win the ashes, surely we are not so tempormental as to have our minds completly alterted after a couple of days of bad cricket.

    My only major change would be to bring back Harmy, for all his faults you do not consistently drop and recall your strike bowler like hes a piece of confetti. I hae lost count of how many times he has been dropped over the last 12 months, you have to give him a run (his games for Durham hae been ery uesful)games and back him.

    But lets not be all gloomy now theres a fantastic day of cricket still left.

  • Comment number 25.

    inlandreveneuk: Instead of commenting on the cricket, please could you attend to your "new computer system" which is delaying our tax refunds. Thank you.

  • Comment number 26.

    Australia are no 1 in the test rankings, England are number 5. England haven't won a proper test series for ages, Australia beat the South Africans in South Africa. England haven't got a single bowler with over a hundred wickets with an average under 30. So, surely it is predictable that England will lose this series.

  • Comment number 27.

    England were woeful! Their bowler failed to put any presure on and the spinners, who should have been bowling all day were very disapointing on a pitch that should have given them some assistance.

    As much as I enjoyed watching it, it wasn't a contest.

  • Comment number 28.

    Lots of negativity in the above comments. Sadly, much of it is justified. When England last won the ashes in 2005, we had had an excellent run leading up to the series. We had a settled side with a great bowling attack which combined pace, aggression, control and reverse swing. Vaughan was an inspirational leader who seemed to get the best out of players. His level of tactical awareness was brilliant. What do we have now? Poor old Cook, as in Australia, looks out of his depth. Strauss looks short of ideas in the field. The rest of the batters look like they are still playing the West Indies. Australia are not the West Indies. They don't role over. They make full use of the talent they have and play with a determination and focus that is not evident in our players. Our spinners were oh so disappointing and poor old Stuart Broad has had a nightmare. Even poor old Freddie Flintoff could not sustain the brutal hostility he showed in 2005. As previous bloggers have stated, this is not an experienced Aussie team, but don't forget they won their last series in South Africa after losing in their own back yard. What does that tell you about their mentality? Harmison is the one bowler the Aussies fear. He will come back at Lords (I suspect for Panesar). The Aussies undoubtedly have the psycological edge at the moment. Ponting has looked utterly focused and determined - fair dinkum!

  • Comment number 29.

    Im am soo bored of flat average test cricket pitches at the moment! it is doing bad things for the game. Test Cricket needs a steady balance between runs and wickets, and all winter running through to this first ashes test match, the pitches have been flat and boring! PLEASE SOMETHING CHNAGE FOR THE FOUR REMAINING MATCHES!!!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    Few observations:

    1) I think the mentality of our first innings was wrong. The Australian batsmen gave us a lesson on how to keep your wicket. When i saw Swann smash that 40 in quick time i knew we would be in trouble. If Swann can score freely then that's a good enough indication the track is a belter!

    2) The Aussies got the best of the bowling conditions. Prior would not have got that ball on day two that is for sure!

    3) In hindsight we got the squad selection wrong. As Geoffery has been saying on TMS, the pitch is offering slow turn that is very easy to defend against. Flintoff has been keeping it pretty tight at one end but we have nobody else to keep the pressure on. Onions/Harmison for Panesar?

    4) Panesar offers nothing to the team. Might as well pick Rashid, his bowling is as good and at least he would be able to contribute in the field and with the Bat.

  • Comment number 31.

    From an Australian perspective, it seems to me the main problem with the English team is attitude. They have a good session or two and they seem to think the game is won. This has happened in so many matches I have watched them play, I don't understand why they continue with this mindset. They seem to relax and the pressure comes off the opposition. They also seem to accept defeat too easily. The Aussies, on the other hand, never accept that the game is won until they're shaking hands with the opposition at the end of 5 days. They also don't accept that they're beaten until the match is over. They keep the pressure on and keep trying and suddenly the match can change.
    The English also seem to think that there is some magic bullet that will win the match for them. There has been so much talk about swing and spin winning the match for them. The trouble started when the ball didn't swing and the spinners didn't work out. They were then out of ideas. The Aussies on the hand, even though they only have 4 frontline bowlers, have part timers that can do a job if need be. We bat right down to 8, with Mitchell Johson able to score some runs if required. We just have more options and therefore more ideas. This is definitely not the best Australian team to ever contest the Ashes but their attitude is the same.

  • Comment number 32.

    Firstly, lets focus on some positives - England's fielding has been relatively good, even under immense pressure from the Aussies.
    Sadly, that is all the positive aspects I can see so far.

    Batting
    Strauss - clearly not good enough to open the batting, and certainly looks bereft of the captaincy ideas in the field. He needs to be able to create pressure with field placings - which is something the Aussies (Ponting) do very well.
    Cook - Both innings showed his inexperience, and lack of bottle in the big occasion. His is very talented, but needs to develop - maybe some overseas experience is required?
    Pietersen - Stick him down the order, next to Flintoff.
    Collingwood - You've had plenty of chances - time to go mate...
    Prior - Admire his approach to batting, and is probably the only player to hold his head up...
    Flintoff - Clearly not fit yet - The Aussies don't fear him - so why is he playing?
    Swann - Average (And that's an understatement)
    Panesar - Please, please, please drop him - he's laughable, lamentable. He can't catch, bowl, field, or bat.....
    Broad - No. Just no.
    Anderson - Promising talent, but if it's not swinging - he might as well bowl underarm to Ponting.

    One more worrying aspect here is why did England insist on picking two spinners for a wicket that (presumably) was going to offer significant turn?
    Robert Croft (Glamorgan) insisted that the wicket doesn't turn and he's played there for years. Hussain/Botham and the Aussie commentators predicted that the pitch wouldn't turn - so WHY did we pick two spinners? Who on earth makes these decisions? It is just random?

    Anyway, we could ramble on for years about poor England performances. The bottom line is that they need more fight, a better attitude, more experience, and a lot more pride.

  • Comment number 33.

    As a Pom living in Oz and watching from afar, I have only one observation to this mess. I believe the venue has a role to play. Cardiff to start an Ashes series? 16,000 capacity? Has anyone else noticed the complete lack of atmosphere coming from the place?

    Think back to Lords 2005. Yes, we lost, but what an atmosphere which continued through to the following venues!

    Yes, Strauss and his team have been lacklustre and blame like credit has to be apotioned where due. But when England come to Oz, the Ashes will be played at the WACA, Gabba, SCG, MCG and Adelaide Oval - all massive sporting arenas, not some minor venue.

    I think the ECB made a massive mistake picking Cardiff as an Ashes venue.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm still perplexed that the average England supporter had such unrealistic expectations of both England and Australia. The number 1 team who had been locked in battle with the number 2 team (SA) for much of their preparation was thought to be over rated and a spent force by the English media? And England believed all this hype?
    This is England cricket (and football) biggest problem, they believe their own hype too often. The facts are that Australia have been preparing and gritting themselves for this test for a long time while England have been basking in the glow of beating lesser teams and past performances (2005).

  • Comment number 35.

    Some really good debate on here, which I guess reflects the pain for England supporters of watching the last few days.

    We've all talked about the problems, but what are the solutions? Australia aren't unbeatable, as India and South Africa have proved - so what tactics and personnel should England use from this point on?

  • Comment number 36.

    Wow, guess the pubs in Cardiff close at 2:15am these days!

    Perhaps England need some of the world class players in the Indian and SA teams... or failing that just Harmison in for Panesar for the Lords test.

    The batting reminds me a lot of the SA tour last year, where England played 20-20 shots before SA knuckled-down, played proper determined test cricket and racked up big scores. England's main hope is gambling on livelier pitches, so I hope the Lords pitch is better than it was for the SA test last year.

  • Comment number 37.

    Given that the pitches should be livelier for the rest of the series (which might appeal to the likes of Johnson, Siddle and Lee) I daresay that Harmison will be recalled, but it's hard to see any other change of personnel that is likely to be of benefit. Rashid might come into the reckoning, although you'd think he'd have played in this Test if he was under serious consideration.

    The only solution I can see is to 'be bloody, bold and resolute'. Quite simply, England's batsmen sell their wicket too cheaply and are much too interested in stupid, show-off shots (well, some of them anyway). This comment from Marcus North says it all, really:- "Regardless of where you play and whatever the conditions, if you get in, make sure you go on and get a hundred, and if you get a hundred, try to get a big hundred. We saw Ricky [Ponting] do that and we saw how determined he was to do that. I guess looking back at England's innings, that's something they might have looked at and thought, 'Gee, we might have let ourselves down a bit.'"

  • Comment number 38.

    This is a sad state of affairs. The worst Aussie team in history coming to our shores and we don´t even look like taking wickets because the Cardiff pitch doesn´t suit any of our bowlers. I was also fully expecting us to go in without losing wickets but 2 down in 10 overs; nightmare. Keep Broad and Swann in for their batting, drop panesar for harmison. Onions is a possibility if either broad or anderson are underperforming but it would have to be for a while. If the pitch isn´t spinning it might be an idea to use 5 seamers and a bit of pieterson. There isn´t really anyone else challenging for the seam posistions which is worrying. I don´t know about bopara at 3 either he´s a real gun ho batsmen who against the aussies might be better at 5 and Colly swapping with him. I can´t believe Colly seems to have been overlooked for the england test job, he would have been the best pick after vaughan i think both pieterson and strauss were bad decisions.

  • Comment number 39.

    From an Aussie perspective I can't say I know too much about what back up players England have in the wings, but what I can say is that we all know what damage Harmison can do when he's firing. Sure he seems to be pretty useless once you lads head overseas, but we definitely respect him on home soil and he can get the bounce that only Freddy seemed to be getting this match.
    Strauss's captaincy is terrible, but I can't see the ECB doing a backflip and changing now. They just need to make sure he consults his other senior players like KP more often.
    As for people blaming KP, I think it's a bit rough. He's a magic player, and everyone knows, that's how he plays! He could well come out and hit a ton in the second innings to save england and everyone will love him again. Similar to Gilchrist for us, you've just gotta let him play his natural game. Sure it was a bad shot, but Collingwood also should have gone on with it, as should some of the other batters.

  • Comment number 40.

    My Team for Next Test,

    1. Andrew Strauss
    2. Alistair Cook
    3. Paul Collingwood
    4. Kevin Pieterson
    5. Ravi Bopara
    6. Matt Prior
    7. Andrew Flintoff
    8. Graham Swann
    9. James Anderson
    10 Steve Harmison
    11. Graham Oninons

  • Comment number 41.

    Tom,
    Solutions are pretty hard to come by because it seems it is an issue of individual and team mentality. Individual mentality is built in from an early age and team mentality is generated by a driven and respected captain and coach.

    How do you get a batsman to not throw his wicket away? If it was easy to impart such knowledge Boycott would be a coaching legend, but it isn't. It is part of the psychology of cricket which some individuals do well with and others don't. Bowlers need that determination to always be trying something, and talented bowlers will always find something, regardless of the conditions. This has been evident for years, all the times England have failed to make a decent score on good batting tracks. Broad and Anderson in particular need to add this to their game, like Johnson has rapidly. I can't see how Harmison would improve things mentally; he hasn't exactly proven himself to be a steely-edged competitor in recent years.

    So the solution is for Collingwood a KP to prove their worth and save this test, then for the team to go away and take a good hard look at themselves

  • Comment number 42.

    BBC blog 090712

    Thank you BBC for your great coverage of the Ashes. Ive stayed up most nights this test to listen. You fellas provide a colourful and entertaining coverage. I prefer it to the tellie.

    Firstly, the series has just begun, so dont lose hope yet. Its interesting, as an Australian reading all your blogs. I feel sorry for those poms who live in this country and have to put up with us Aussies ribbing them, now that you seem to be on the back foot. The thing I agree with in the above blogs as the cause of your teams problems, is the poms attitude to the game. Im not English, so can only guess at the reasons, so will concentrate on the Aussies.

    We dont like to be beaten. We hate to lose. The only way to overcome that is to win. Its a backward way to victory, but it works.

    This era goes back to Border. He was a man who was in a team that kept getting slaughtered. He went over with an inexperienced and unheralded team and won in 1989. He probably had a bit of the little man syndrome, which as a country we all probably suffer from.

    Then every successive captain, apart from Tubby who was a tactical genius, each of them hates to be beaten. Waugh, as a twin was intensely competitive, not wiling to be dominated. Warne, who I believe was the Aussies real captain before Punter, is a bully who wont be bowed, and now Punter. Punter is not the greatest tactician, but he has played with the best team in Aussie history. He has come over with one thing on his mind. He does not want to be the only captain to LOSE two series in England. Hence he batted long and carefully for his captains knock of 150. After the 2005 series in which we got beaten, the Aussies reset their mentality and destroyed you guys 5-0.

    Now we have a young side. Pup, the next generation, is more in the Tubby mould. He seems more tactical. But you have players like Siddle, Haddin and Katich who want to beat their opposition. If we dont get on top in one session, well come out and bust our gut to win the next.

    The most telling aspect of the test series in Australia against the South Africans was Smith took a while to believe he could beat the Aussies. He was almost scared to do so. This is the attitude you confront when entering a contest with our cricketing team.

    So, where do you blokes go from here? You have to look for leadership. Vaughan had something special. He was for the team. He got the most out of his players, was tactically courageous and was a strong leader. KP was a poor choice. Theres nothing wrong with a big ego, big personalities are great for the team and game, but KP seems in it for himself. Im not sure about Strauss. Perhaps you need to look at Collingwood. He seems pretty belligerent. I dont know what hes like as a leader. Perhaps with a bit of responsibility and the team built around his attitude, he could be a great leader as a frontman.

    I cant imagine the fallout if Australia had lost all the Ashes bar one over twenty years. I suspect every Aussie team would come out and try to kill you. Anything less would be castigated by us supporters. The performance would be judged on the teams fighting quality. And there lies the difference. We just hate to be beaten.



  • Comment number 43.

    Its going to be a very severe test of England's discipline and application. No more, no less.

  • Comment number 44.

    Another inept performance from an English team that seems to have no desire to win. They look defeated before they get started and have no self belief at all come on guys show some fighting spirit.

  • Comment number 45.


    Test cricket calls for patience, endurance, skill and stamina. On home soil England are capable of facing the visitors during the remaining three sessions on Day 5. Staying at the crease and putting on decent partnerships can be the way forward. The severe test and trial can turn out to be a fine preparation for the Second Test. Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4 have been dominated by fascinating partnerships. The four centurions have shown the way. There is no reason why Day 5 should be different in Cardiff. Baptism by fire could be on the cards providing rain decides to make it otherwise.


    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 46.

    Some quick feedback from Trev from Australia:
    1. Straussy seems to be a nice enough bloke, but not a captain.
    2. If you are arrogant you must also be good. Kevin plays some shots and fields like an under twelve's player.
    3. One decent over from Freddie does not a summer make.
    4. Stop talking about how good the English spinners are - let them show us.
    5. Tell the bloke with the trumpet to play Thorn's "Funeral Marches to the Grave.'

    Best regards, Trev

  • Comment number 47.

    Tom,

    It is hard to answer and maybe there are too few changes that can be made to shift Englands attitude significantly enough to win the Ashes back in this series. Only time will tell. However, one solution I'll put out there is that England need to plan better and stick to it. They (ECB) appear to never plan for the long term and are chronically driven by the opinions of the public and media.

  • Comment number 48.

    THIS GAME AINT OVER YET!!!!..

    Should England manage to hold out for a draw then it will feel like a victory of sorts...Australia will have failed (to have won) ...so who goes into the next Test with more zip is debatable.....Never Never surrender.....even if England lose this match the series aint over...Geez guys c'mon, have a little faith.

  • Comment number 49.

    I keep reading here that many of you think this Aussie side is only average. Not quite sure where that leaves the English by comparison - worse than average? much worse than average? dire? but it does sum up the English attitude. You know, the one that you always have about how good you really are, and how you're going to win. And then you think that, because you are going to win, you have won. And all you need to do is turn up for the parade.

    The day you learn to respect your opposition, is the day you start winning.

    As for the Aussies being "clinical, ruthless, determined and unforgiving", the usual cliches you use as excuses, most of this team are perfectly nice, good-natured boys, who just happen to have honed their skills in a very tough domestic competition, not in the beauty parlour or Hugo Boss store like a lot of yours (Michael Clarke excepted); led by a very determined, unforgiving but inspiring captain. "Ruthless" is Ponting, but also your KP, if his ego didn't get in the way. The rest are just like your lads. Marcus North, in case you didn't notice, smiled politely all the way through his century. Hilfenhaus is shy, Hussey reads poetry, Johnson amiable and rather naive, and Clarke borders on silliness.

    But they all respect the occasion, the game, each other, the fans and the opposition. It's something you English could really do with. Watching last night, felt angry that your team just didn't bother.

  • Comment number 50.

    I support previous comments on England's general attitude in the field. I have been shocked by how friendly it seems to have been out there, with England players laughing and joking their way through a number of sessions - with a general 'matey' attitude towards the Aussie batsmen. The lack of intensity is worrying. Swann, Broad and Flintoff have typically been in the face of opposition batsmen, but have seemed subdued this test. Perhaps it is the lack of atmosphere, lack of fitness, lack of attacking field placings, quality of the opposition, or a combination.
    I am also worried about the alarming way in which Flintoff's & Broad's pace seemed to drop off completely after their first spells or first few balls. Sure at the end of two days in the field some fatigue is to be expected - but first spell of a new day?? The way they have both been on and off the field regularly also sounds alarm bells.
    Solutions? Well one criticism of England has been not picking players in form. A look at current averages and who is considered to be playing well suggests batting options of: Tresco, Bell, Ramps, Afzaal, Moeen Ali - I suspect the only realistic option that England selectors would consider is a return for Bell. On the bowling front: Bresnan, Mahmood, Onions, Harmison, Blackwell (also batting well), Finn, Harmison. I think Harmison is a shoo-in especially after how he bowled yesterday - but how about giving Steve Finn a debut, a young, tall, aggresive fast bowler - Lords is his home ground, he is taking wickets and he is not short on self-confidence

  • Comment number 51.

    Queenslanda has taken the words right out of my mouth. We Aussies havee an absolute determination not to give up without a fight. When was the last time you used the words 'weak willed', 'lacklustre', 'clueless' for any international team from Oz?
    It is that refusal to walk away until the last ball has been bowled that wins games, that turns matches around. England has repeatedly relied on just two men in recent history to take matches by the scruff of the neck and win them: KP and Fred. That's not enough, you need more than just two... what if they fail?
    Australia knows that any one of our players can potentially take a game away from the opposition, yes we have our favourites, but one of those did not even play in this test. Many of our recent match winners have retired but it has made no difference to the state of mind in the team.

    We go out there to win, every match, every time and breaking that will now will probably prove impossible.

  • Comment number 52.

    Same old story, lots of hype before the Ashes about how we were going to go toe to toe with the Aussies (the worst side to come from down under for years). They'd just been humiliated in the 20/20, we were playing our first test at Cardiff where our twin spin wizards would bamboozle the Aussies (who apparently don't do well against spinners?) I fell for it and actually thought we had a chance of winning albeit a close contest.

    Then reality kicks in we get totally and utterly trounced in all areas and after 4 days are looking down the barrel, the coup de grace to be administerd today. But what we fail to remember amongst all the hype is that Australia are the No 1 side in the world England are No5, and that the Aussies had just beaten SA the No 2 side the world in their own backyard we had just about beaten a poor windies side at home. The probability was this was always going to be a one sided affair. Comments like the best test cricket contest there is are surely ringing hollow now, based on historic sentiment, yes it suits Sky and the media to hype it up as such, they have subscriptions and papers to sell but in truth Australia against SA is the true No1 Test battle in the modern game the days of the Ashes being so are now sadly part of history. Yes I know in 2005 England won the Ashes but that was a freak result when put into context of the last 20 years, the following series we were totally huniliated 5-0 down under (business as usual) and the previous 9 or so ahses series had a familiar story, pommie bashing by the aussies, to all parts of the park!!!

    What we need is a reality check England are a below average test side, Australia are the best side in the world. It was always a long shot that England were going to be able to compete consistently let alone win the Ashes. To re-instate the Ashes as the supreme contest in Test cricket there needs to be a root and branch examination of why we do not produce players of quality who can compete consistently at test level and why we do not produce enough players of quality to compete for places in the Test side to put pressure on the first 11 to perform or get replaced. We can say KP should have scored more, Swann and Monty to bowl better Cook and Bopara to sort out their technique but who is coming in to replace them that's any better?

    County cricket needs to take a long hard look at itself, they rely on a successful England side to finance their existence. They in turn should do their part by producing a sufficient number of quality players to play for England. County sides that fail to produce a minimum number of England players over a period should be fined or have their income from the ECB reduced. Too many county's make the default decision to recruit Kolpak players and oversees players in the county game does not help enough young English talent to emerge. Don't give me that old arguement about young England players improving their game by playing with quality oversees players. The actuality is that it benefits the aussies, & SA's more to acclimatise to our conditions before they batter us in Tests.

    I suspest this will be another long and tortuous Ashes series for us England supporters, with another ashes defeat it's conclusion. I can only hope that a positive outcome from all this is a fundamental and wholesale review of how the game is run in this country which hopefully will lead to the restoration of England as a strong test cricket side with the ability to compete at the same level and maybe just maybe beat the Aussies.

  • Comment number 53.

    england batted ok,if our flash and dash tempo had caught fire as in the 05 ashes,someone got a big score,crowd roaring along you would all be loving it,we were probably one batsmen going on away from a 500 score.plus we batted on the first day when the pitch had a bit of life.we have bowled badly on a flat track and australia have batted really well within themselves.how we let hughes score runs by bowling outside off was criminal,everyone knows you have to follow batsmen that back away to leg,and our fielding demeanour has been like a warm up county game,everybody having a jolly old time.but,get some perspective,australia in 05 enjoyed a bit of rain relief,helped them save the old trafford test and they were a great team,on a livelier pitch we will create chances we need to get harmy in for lords and tell pieterson he is letting the side down as that will fire him up,still i reckon australia to win 3-1

  • Comment number 54.

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

  • Comment number 55.

    Is it just me who is an optimistic England fan? This definitely isn't the strongest aussie side to tour this country but what they lack in talent they make up for in effort, all credit to Ponting and the coaching staff for getting everything out of them.

    The problem is England knew this side was weak in comparison to sides of the past and I think they took things for granted. This test has been a wake up call and provided they don't lose this game, I fully expect them to step it up at Lords. Lets not get on the bowlers back though. This has been a flat, slow deck and it's not that the aussies bowled well, it's that England gave away their wickets and the Australians didn't. Provided the batsmen play with due care and attention and don't try to sweep balls 3 feet outside off stump then this game will be drawn.

    I imagine they will bring in Harmison for Panesar, who in all honesty has been disappointing in this game lacking the control we're used to. Hopefully Harmison will bring his recent good form with him, he bowled pretty well against Australia for the Lions and has played well for Durham.

  • Comment number 56.

    I agree there is precious little to be cheerful about for an England supporter just now and, having spent Friday at the game, I can say that the match was also a real grind, one of the least enjoyable days of Test cricket I have seen in some time. Despite the worthy efforts of the Bugler and Glamorgan to create a good atmosphere, and not helped by an England team seemingly lacking ideas and attitude.

    We know our batting is talented but fragile - I would like to see some real selfishness and doggedness from the batsmen and Im also convinced our bowlers will come again. Im equally certain that Australia, while having the same age old qualities, are not good enough to justify their premature celebrations yesterday. This series will only be decided this weekend if England let that happen in their heads - England owe it to themselves and their supporters not to allow this to happen, win or lose today.



  • Comment number 57.

    I've said it before and I'll say it again......Buffoons in Blazers....have destroyed cricket in the West Indies, and the same breed are doing it here....Praying at the alter of the Money God and Sky TV...at this very moment I don't believe that many English fans would stand up and say..."hey, all this money the ECB has acquired has really boosted English cricket"
    A massive humiliation for us in this series will switch the kids off for years, and with no terrestrial coverage switch the bulk of the population off as well.
    My selfish desire is that Sky's viewing figures for cricket slump so low that they hand it back to Terrestrial

  • Comment number 58.

    what did everyone expect?

    people talk as though it's a foregone conclusion because the aussies are weak for their standards. what you have to remember is that they are weak for THEIR standards. this current english team is a shell of the one in 2005/2006.... and our standards are significantly lower than theirs.

    not one of our batsmen can be relied upon to dig in and produce the goods when we are in trouble, flintoff is the only bowler we have that can give the opposition problems when the conditions aren't tailor made, and he'll be out injured by the end of the third test.

    we don't have a batting order to bat for a long time and we don't have the bowling attack to bowl anyone out, how are we supposed to win the ashes?

    our only chance is if the umpire accuses the aussies of ball tampering and they go all pakistani outrage in three seperate tests.

  • Comment number 59.

    Hey, Cousino, what's your problem with Colly? His test batting average is 44.20. He posted the second highest score in the first innings. He bowled well and took a wicket. And his fielding is world class. If the rest of the team had his attitude we wouldn't be in the position we are in now.

  • Comment number 60.

    I'm so disgusted with the spineless performance that I've put my tickets for Lords up for sale.

    4-0 to the aussies I'm afraid. The West Indies series win has been put into perspective methinks. Warne has Bopara sussed (as do the aussie bowlers.....shocking LBW decision mind you) and Cooks reputation is going to be in tatters by the end of this series.

    Pitiful performance, it's going to be a very very long summer :-(

  • Comment number 61.

    Right - the covers are off here in Cardiff for the start of play. What are our predictions for the day? Lots of somewhat dejected talk in town last night that it would all be over by tea - hands up who disagrees...

  • Comment number 62.

    England as ever are not as professional, thorough or even mature as the Aussies. Witness KP sure, but also Anderson missing a run-out yesterday by not being in position behind the stumps for a throw. The list goes on and has its roots in the county system.
    England's horrendous kit also stands out awfully against the Aussies' on screen with the blue white tinge and the flimsy fleeces.
    All the talk of 'flow mapping' and 'moisture management' to enhance performance is crap if you the team plays in such a mediocre fashion. Perhaps be less interested in replica kit via global apparel suppliers than getting the basics right. I am in favour of constant innovation in cricket, but England's kit is desperately close to chav Sunday best. The wool sweaters don't seem to have hurt the Australians.

  • Comment number 63.

    All over by lunch?

  • Comment number 64.

    Tim, here is a bold prediction for you. No rain = Aussie win. And with only a few days break between tests the trend will continue at Lords. Maybe the 3rd test will prove to be a closer match.

  • Comment number 65.

    People seem pretty harsh on England but perhaps we could just accept that some very Aussie good batters played some very good innings?

    Hopefully the pitch can keep playing true and England can see out the day and head to Lords with the first test safely rescued. If so, then two difficult days in the field haven't proved costly. If not, then it certainly isn't impossible to come back from 1-0 down.

  • Comment number 66.

    To start with I believe Australia are the much better side mentally physically and most importantly skillfully.
    I do believe England have tried to shoot themselves in the foot-I agree with an earlier comment saying 2 spinners was a poor choice and I believe onions should have been included owing to his good performances in his maiden test matches and his county form. 2 spinners has meant a huge workload for the seamers-As has the seamers awful performances.

    That aside Katich was plumb to swann-that would have helped.
    If anderson had a basic skill of cricket(getting behind the stumps for a shot that produceda tight 2nd run) Haddin would have been run out for less than 50-That would have helped.
    Bopara had a tough call-may have helped

    England go 1 down and need to re-assess

    Onions and dare I say it Harmison should play-otherwise we will struggle to get 20 wickets-leave out 2 of anderson broad panesar-I would stick with anderson although his performances are regularly not test class.

    To finish-
    All those people saying they are fed up of watching boring test matches on flat wickets-this pitch will produce a result-maybe due to Englands poor cricket but it still has produced a result

  • Comment number 67.

    65. At 11:34am on 12 Jul 2009, PiripiT wrote:
    People seem pretty harsh on England but perhaps we could just accept that some very Aussie good batters played some very good innings?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    i'm sorry. yesterday australia made 600 + for 6 or 7,

    today england are 83/5 against a less than impressive bowling attack. there is no excuse i'm afraid

  • Comment number 68.

    NIGHTMARE SCENARIO? Combination of a 50 from Broadie and bad light/rain saves England. Broadie is retained for 2nd test because of his "invaluable" batting, but Enland who leave out both spinners are rattled out at Lords by the "Demon Hauritz". By Third Test Broadie has solved problem No 3 Batting position and is limping in on one leg to bowl stoically but unfortunately with no success. After being left out for Third Test by the selectors, Harmie decides he's had enough and announces his retirement from English cricket. He researches his family tree, finds out he has long-lost Aussie ancestry and when Johnson drops out of Final Test he gets a call up from Ponting and takes 5 English wickets to complete an Aussie Series win.
    Or should we just hang the weather forecasters for getting it wrong at Cardiff? Just joking :-)

  • Comment number 69.

    and I'd bet alot of money that you would NEVER see the Aussie bowlers congratulate each other on having 100 runs scored against them...the English team - they obviously dont give a toss about winning and the Ashes - their attitude is truly pitiful. Heres hoping that all your wishes come true for the second test and Harmy comes in and gives a bit more than whats currently happening!! (But I think thats a bandaid reaction by the English supporters). I was talking to a Pom the other day and he told me that the English dont give a rats about the Ashes. At first I didnt believe him - but as this test has unfolded, perhaps he is right?!!

  • Comment number 70.

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