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Tom Fordyce | 09:08 UK time, Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Melbourne, Victoria

When potential England match-winners were discussed before this series began - Kevin Pietersen with his glamourpuss runs, the showy tweak of Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad's bounce and aggression - the name of Timothy Thomas Bresnan did not pop up in too many conversations.

Pontefract is owed an apology. In a spell of 18 balls just after tea, the Yorkshireman who came to Australia as his country's fifth-choice seamer took three key wickets for only two runs to blow the Aussie top order away and ensure, beyond any reasonable doubt, that England will hold the Ashes for another two years.

The scene at the MCG as stumps were drawn was something that will have Bresnan and his more heralded team-mates smiling all the way to sleep tonight: Australia 169-6, 246 runs behind with all the big-name batsmen gone and only three fit men left, two days of unbroken sunshine to come - no wonder the warm evening air was filled with chorus after celebrating chorus from thousands of jubilant England supporters.

There is nothing remotely showy or glamourpuss about Bresnan. Built like a terraced house, schooled in the down-to-earth confines of Castleford and Townville cricket clubs, he is as complicated as a chip butty, as likely to be found at the wheel of a yellow Lamborghini as Australia captain Ricky Ponting is to be made a UN peace envoy.

The Yorkshire star's dad is called Ray; his mum, Julie, watches him at Headingley with a bottle of bitter in her hand. Everything about him says 1940s throwback, from his angular face and no-nonsense hair with Brylcreem wave to the old-fashioned attributes of relentless line and length which worked such a timeless treat on this strangely English pitch.

In the first innings, Bresnan's miserly spell allowed England skipper Andrew Strauss to regain the control he had lost when Stuart Broad returned home. Here in the second innings Bresnan was summoned to the front when Australia were starting to look a little settled at 99-1, and immediately broke through.

First it was Shane Watson, parked on his customary 50, trapped in front with one that reversed back in. Ponting, the head of the beast, was lopped off with another in-cutter that cannoned into the timbers from a bottom edge. Then, with the roars from the Barmy Army still ringing round the Great Southern Stand, Bresnan bagged the biggest of them all - Mike Hussey, tempted into an uppish drive at one moving away from him, pouched at short extra cover by Ian Bell to trigger delirium from slips round to deep square leg.

Ricky Ponting feels the Ashes slipping away after being bowled by Tim Bresnan - photo: PA

It was not meant to end this way for Ponting.

The best Australian batsman of his generation was booed to the crease when he strode in after Watson's needless run-out of Phillip Hughes, a paltry 97 runs to his name from his seven innings in the series so far and the weight of a failing team lying heavy across his shoulders.

Once he was feared by English teams down under, a merciless destroyer who would cut and pull an attack to pieces.

Here he looked a shadow of a different player, not even the old aggression visible, the big shots locked away and the belligerence all from the bowlers as he dug in with grim determination.

I might not be scoring like I used to, he seemed to be saying, but I'm not going to give you anything at all. Forget the sort of pugnacious drives that might lead to another wonder-catch for Paul Collingwood at third slip, or the leg-side flicks that might induce another strangle off the hips for Matt Prior behind the timbers. You will have to prise me off this crease with a hammer and chisel. This Punter is taking no chances.

It took Ponting 15 balls to get off the mark, 39 to hit his first boundary, a squirt off the outside edge that fizzed past the slips to the third man boards.

Twice in single figures he was hit on the front pad, his bat coming across late and angled, surviving by slim centimetres in television referrals and blinking back at the umpires with heart pounding in his chest.

James Anderson kept him poking uncertainly. Watson could not get off strike at the other end. Chris Tremlett continued the assault when Anderson tired.

The sight of Bresnan limbering up his meaty arms probably gave Ponting something of a lift. He had seen off the established leader of the pack and escaped from the sights of the man who had taken his scalp in the first innings. Maybe now was the time to start fighting back.

If the ball was a good one, the shot was poor. Ponting's bat was diagonal, his back foot barely across. With that dreadful clatter, his stumps were spread.

Bresnan barrelled off into the embrace of the close fielders, right arm raised in delighted salutation. Ponting gave a last look at the track and trudged off.

He had scored just 20 from 73 balls. For a run-of-the-mill opener that would have been disappointing. For a warrior of Ponting's gifts and ambitions, at this stage of both the series and his career, it was nowhere near enough.

Before this game, Bresnan was considered by many to be the definition of an honest county trundler: big on application, but short of stardust. On his Test debut in May 2009 he had failed to take a single wicket against a poor West Indies side, and was overshadowed by others in the easy wins over Bangladesh during the first part of this year.

To bring him in for Steve Finn, England's leading wicket-taker in the series so far, appeared both a gamble and play-safe strategy. Where would the wickets come from? Did he really have the weapons to trouble true top-flight performers?

Tuesday afternoon provided some answers. Just as Tremlett had before him, Bresnan demonstrated the strength in depth that England now have in their bowling ranks. Even with Broad injured and Finn weary-legged, not to mention Graham Onions back in Blighty recovering from the stress fracture in his back, Strauss has Test-class replacements ready to step in and swell the ranks.

What Ponting would give for such rich resources. With Ryan Harris almost certainly out of the series with a stress fracture to his ankle and Mitchell Johnson back in random delivery mode with 2-134 from 29 wayward overs, the Australia captain will have to chase a series-squaring win in Sydney with an attack that only occasionally offers him menace or meanness.

Barring earthquakes or acts of God, England will polish off this match on Wednesday with hours and hours to spare. The Ashes are secured. Now they must be won outright.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Thanks again Tom for a brilliantly lucid summary of today's events - I'll miss this in a couple of weeks time when all this is over and just a memory...

    So today I've been wondering, what should I be whistling - a few tunes come to mind, Perfect Day by Lou Reed, Beautiful Day by U2, We Are The Champions by Queen...

    I think today is a Beautiful Day...

    Tomorrow will be a Perfect Day...

    And in Sydney it will be We Are The Champions all week long.

    COME ON ENGLAND - finish them tomorrow, bring the Ashes home and make it 3-1 in Sydney - just like Aggers said!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Thanks, Tom, for the blog - you're right, lovely the way it's the 'ordinary' cricketers who are making the difference.

  • Comment number 3.


    You were saying?

    41. At 11:10am on 19 Dec 2010, appy_arry wrote:
    With regard to RoseSelavy's rather reckless statement that Johnson has limited talent. You are very much under estimating a bowler who will decide the Ashes. Johnson is a match winner and always will be, at any time on any track. Sometimes things may not go right for him, but on his day he is deadly. Dismiss him at your peril. Be warned. When he brings the ball back into the right hander he is almost unplayable.

    

"34. At 10:35am on 19 Dec 2010, RoseSelavy wrote:


I agree with the tone of the post - it happened, forget it and move on. Perth is a freak track and played to Johnson's limited talent. The good news is that he is now undroppable for the remainder of the series and will surely return to being rank bat fodder."

  • Comment number 4.

    Nice blog Tom. Good to see Bresnan come away with a good haul. As you say, he's a real grafter and deserves some reward. Perhaps he'll go on and get a five-for tomorrow. So pleasing to be looking at another innings victory - so what if this Aussie team are a shadow of the past...they're still Aussies and seeing them get a good walloping will always feel sweet! Let's hope they go on to win at Sydney as anything other than 3 - 1 series win would not be a fair reflection of England's dominance in this series.

  • Comment number 5.

    @2
    The ordinary cricketers that are making the biggest difference are Australia's spineless batsmen.

  • Comment number 6.

    Like you Tom, I was surprised by Bresnan's effectiveness. He did a good support job in the 1st innings and was outstanding today. He was quicker than normal, extremely accurate and parsimonious and fully deserved the three prize scalps he got. And I thought he was just the token fat lad that can always be found amongst a group of Englishmen abroad.

    Ponting has been a great player - arguably Australia's best batsman since Bradman. But his decline of the last two years has become a rapid descent into mediocrity. His innings today was more scratchy than the most vicious of alley cats and I wouldn't be surprised to see him retire at the end of the series.

    England are on the brink of retaining the urn, but hopefully once they do there will be no let-up and the focus will become winning the series 3-1 in Sydney.

    Oh and great post again Tom.

    Here are our observations of the day including why the dying days of Ponting's reign as skipper presages the French Revolution and the execution of Louis XVI - revolution is nigh...

    Day 3 at the MCG dissected: England on the brink as revolution looms down under http://bit.ly/fS7SWE

  • Comment number 7.

    I was sceptical about Bresnan's inclusion at the expense of our leading wicket taker but always thought he had the character to thrive in the fetid MCG cauldron. He looks born to it so cheers indeed, Pontefract! Punter hasn't covered himself in glory this test but I hope he gets the chance for one last hurrah in Sydney rather than be booted like Lawry or break down like poor Kim Hughes...
    http://pavilionopinions.blogspot.com/2010/12/hanging-ponting-out-to-fry-hughes-or.html

  • Comment number 8.

    @5 Ordinary cricketers have always made a difference - Giles and Hoggard scoring the winning runs in the 4th Test 2005, can't get more ordinary than that! (begging their pardon and in full respect for their abilities)

    In one way, at least PSAR is right, we HAVE over-performed but that's only what makes the winning difference. I have coached in a different sport, rowing, and the trick there was not to get the best out of those with most ability (they'd do that anyway) but to raise the performance of all others beyond their 'standard' , and that's what this England team does, perform beyond itself, on a regular basis.

    Whereas Australia are performing beneath their own level of ability both as a unit and as individuals.

    Some people have commented that this series, though between two equally talented teams, has not produced balanced cricket. Either one side or the other has been in total control for sessions on end. I wonder whether this is because both sides are striving so hard to excel themselves and only one can do that at a time.

    It now looks as though Perth was the aberrant match, where we were beneath our self-set standard and Australia above.

    Normal service has, however, been resumed.

  • Comment number 9.

    Well played Bres but this still feels a hollow victory with two South Africans in our side.

  • Comment number 10.

    #9 tedious comment

  • Comment number 11.

    #9 clueless observation

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm made up for Bres, for England and for Strauss's captaincy. Made up and proud. It staggers me to think what Strauss, Flower and this hard working, likeable, and often classy team has accomplished since the Moores/pietersen saga.

    We had absolutely nô right to expect that England would be at this level after what struck me as thé greatest catastrophe for thé ECB in living memory.

    And yet there are a few on these sites who mock these honest sportsmen.

    I repeat, I'm proud as punch of these men.

    Remarkable achievement.

    Let's administer the coup de grace at Sydney.

  • Comment number 13.

    #12.

    Forgot to add that after Perth I was worried that our campaign would derail. True, in the back of my mind I also retained a faith in thé Flower/Strauss combo. So Credit to the BBC pundits (and many of thé subséquent posts) who quite correctly downplayed the Perth result. Aggers and you were at thé forefront.

    Anyway, must go. Think I'm being followed......

  • Comment number 14.

    As someone who remembers the first TMS I am always reluctant to count chickens against Australia but I think I can allow myself the luxury of doing that right now.
    What I find encouraging is that we expect someone in the England team to perform and give us the chance to win - not too long ago it was more in hope that we watched! I put this down to the appointment of Strauss as captain after the ill fated Peiterson experiemtn. Never a chance in hades of that working.
    Now I have just retuned from my daughter's house where the iconic image of Freddie consoling Brett Lee has pride of place and this provoked me to consider how unsporting the current crop of Australians are. Their captain has always set a poor example but they seem to be descending to new lows here. After ignoring a clearly hurt player completely I was just waiting for Ponting to seek a referral over his dismissal in the second innings. Doesn't the world know that he is not allowed to be dismissed until he is ready!
    I would seriously suggest that all the TV stations refuse to interview him after the inevitable tomorrow but that would spoil a great opportunity to make him look like the pathetic loser he has become.

  • Comment number 15.

    Lets face the facts here. Bar the abnormnal Perth wicket - the type England batsmen RARELY play on - England have totally dominated this series.

    This England team is so far ahead of its opponent its not funny.

    First day Brisbane Test on a VERY bowler friendly pitch - England get work hard to get to 260. In exactly the same conditions on the first day in Melbourne, Australia can't even get to 3 figures - against an attack missing two of its three first choice fast bowlers.

    Second innings Brisbane - facing a somewhat sizeable deficit, England TOTALLY dominate the opposition over the last 2 and a bit days to force a draw in the most impeccable fashion possible. In exactly the same position in Melbourne on a similarly good wicket, Australia collapse to 160 odd for 6 - again against an attack sporting two fast bowlers who were'nt even in the frame in November.

    Hughes is what we thought he would be - a failure against a good team with some idea on how to plan a batsman's downfall - and with bowlers who can execute the plan. Ponting is finished - he's a shadow of his former self. Clarke has too much Bingle on his mind, and even Hussey went back to his pre-Brisbane ways in this game.

    Australian fans can say "this is the worst Australian team ever" but thats a real cop out. Johnson, Siddle and Hilfenhaus represent an attack that 1-2 years ago were being touted as potentially becoming the best in world cricket. Sure there's no McGrath and Warne anymore but they were two of the best players ever in Test history - those types don't come around very often and rarely together. Ponting's deficiencies as a captain have been well and truly exposed over the last 2-3 years when he could'nt just throw the ball to McGrath or Warne to get a few wickets.

    Australian cricket is in turmoil with little REAL potential coming through the ranks in any facet of the game. Its going to be a tough 4-5 years - at least - for the Aussies.

  • Comment number 16.

    #10, 11. well said.

  • Comment number 17.

    @14
    I agree that the current Australian team are poor losers, but you are beginning to sound like a poor winner as well.

  • Comment number 18.

    #9, would you extend this observation to Australia? After all, Symonds is English (not in the side any longer, I admit, but a fixture for years) and Usman Khawaja Pakistani? Bit of a hollow victory for England if Australia can´t even find 11 Australians for Sydney, isn´t it???

  • Comment number 19.

    Well done Tim, very pleased that you've proved your worth last night and shown that you're more than capable of being in a four-man attack. England won't be missing Broad or a seemingly easily tired Finn while you are around. Here's to hoping that getting Ponting out won't be your career highlight!

    Excellent blog Tom, perhaps too much use of a thesaurus however, or maybe thats just me.

  • Comment number 20.

    Well played England!!! Were so proud. The important highlights have been well documented already but I've loved Boycott's predictions during this match - just how wrong could they all be? 'Winning this game won't be easy (for England start of 3rd day)' 'Australia should get over 500 on this wicket and could make England struggle in their 2nd innings' ...there are many more. Could the BBC or a blogger officially summarise them all!?

  • Comment number 21.

    #17 I know what you are saying about being poor winners, but considering the arrogance that Austrailia have shown over the years i wont mind dishing out some medicine to them this time. No need to make it a permanent feature of our style, but for the moment i am quite happy to see them face down in the yellow snow with me pushing them deeper into it.

  • Comment number 22.

    game, set and 2 days worth of match points! roll on sydney. I am however concerned that everyone seems to be so happy about this match being the game we retained the Ashes. Surely, our minimum objective is a SERIES WIN and potentially drawing the series if Australia did win in Sydney would be a dissapointment. Retaining the Ashes via drawing the series would be a consolation rather than a great prize. I have every condfidence that we can win or at least draw the final test but I find that there is a premature sense of triumphalism about winning this test match. Well played so far but still plenty of work yet to do..

    PS. Papa Shango prediction about England collapsing from 245 to 260 all out followed by 150s from Ponting and Clarke to save Australia... Do you still think you are always right? So far, your predictions have been about as dreamy and out of reality as a quadraplegic rock climber hoping to scale Mount Everest with nothing but a toothpick and a pocket full of dreams!

  • Comment number 23.

    Tim Bresnan, the most unlikely of heroes, demonstrates the old fasioned virtues of line and length with the ability to nibble the ball around, something which, Peter Siddle apart, Australia have singularly failed to achieve.

    I know the Bresnans, I played against his Dad, and I'm sure that Tim would be the first to admit that he is no superstar. More than a county trundler for sure, showing control and no little bit of nip off this perculiarly English type deck, but certainly, at this stage in his career at any rate, hardly the first name on the team sheet during selection. More power to you though son, as you have done all that has been asked, and more, on be given your opportunity.

    On the subject of pitches though, I read with interest that the groundsman (or curator as they are known in Australia) changed his choice of drop in pitch for this game, opting for a more bowler friendly strip than would have been his normal choice. I would have thought, given the state of the Aussie batting, that he is nor rueing the decision.

    By the way Ricky, if you had been playing in the Pontefract League with me and Ray Bresnan, I'm afraid you would have got a lot more than a 40% match fee fine for your disgraceful behaviour yesterday. As you also have previous, it just goes to show how spineless the ICC are. It sets a dreadful example and, hot on the heels of the match fixing/spot betting scandal, can only further damage the formerly excellent image that cricket has had. All in all sunshine, I think it's time you went - not that you are going to

  • Comment number 24.

    where is Papa Shambles today? He was saying that England would contrive to lose this match the other day

    anyway, Bresnan has clearly worked very hard to get in shape and is now a valuable member of the squad. It's great that they have enough strength in the bowling attack to be able to rotate as required

  • Comment number 25.

    #24 i think the troll has gone back to his bridge - although it was burnt a longtime ago

  • Comment number 26.

    #20 - PSAR = GB ?

  • Comment number 27.

    #17 - certainly not the intention. Was trying to emphasise the difference between current and other recent Aus teams.

  • Comment number 28.

    Thank you Tom for a great blog. As a Yorkshireman I too am proud of Tim Bresnan, and the "ordinary" cricketers who have got us into the wonderful position of retaining the ashes. You,Tom, and your team of bloggers on this site, may be able to answer a question which has puzzled me for a while which is in regard to the deluge of adulation poured on Kevin Pietersen. To me he only seems to be able to score runs when there is no pressure on him, viz. his double century when England were so much in the ascendancy. Ask him to come in at number 4 and perform when England are 2 down for 20 and to me he invariably fails. I would like to know his test average in innings which mattered, innings where he should have grafted to get his team out of a tricky situation, not dead rubbers, not matches which will end up drawn, or where he can come in with the score at say 200 for 2 and there is no pressure on him. Yes he is a flamboyant cricketer, but there are times when you need to graft, a quality which Paul Collingwood does have although he is going through a rough patch at the moment.

  • Comment number 29.

    We have 5 quality Test calibre fast bowlers now with Shaz a possible 6th. We have the best spinner in world cricket as well (Swanny bowled REALLY well today on a pitch offering little turn).

    The only position in the side under threat is Colly's spot due to lack of runs in recent times - and Colly is also the oldest player in the team by some margin.

    Great position to be in.

  • Comment number 30.

    #26 was thinking something similar myself. I don't think they've ever been seen in the same room as each other.

  • Comment number 31.

    Well played England, congratulations to Strauss & co. to a man. This includes Collingwood in my humble opinion, who although he has been badly out of form with the bat has still made a definite contribution to this impending Ashes retention with some excellent catches at key moments in the series. Drop him, certainly, but don't forget to thank him as you do so, good servant that he has been to the England side for a long while.

    Generally a very bad show from Australia, and it's just desserts for them and their odious captain. This is what you reap in reward for an attitude that spawns remarks such as 'it's just cricket', in order to justify haranguing the match officials when you haven't got a leg to stand on. Ponting and Siddle; it's just NOT cricket, and, sadly, the fact that you can't grasp this concept reflects even more poorly on you, given your fairly recalcitrant remarks in the press.

    Once again, well played England!

  • Comment number 32.

    #28, err Oval 2005...

  • Comment number 33.

    #28 Your comments about Pietersen I find to be harsh. In my memory, pre 2009-10 slump, KP was invariably the batsmen who came to the fore when the top order were failing which used to be faily commonplace. I havent taken the time to refer to stats but this is something which stands out in my memory. My memory maybe slightly hazy but surely there is something there. It is also very rare that KP has come into bat with England 200-2 so I would correct you in saying that in the majority of KP's test career in which he averages over 50, there has been a relatively decent amount of pressure on him to perform. The very fact that he IS kevin pietersen and the reputation that follows him means he is always under pressure to perform.

  • Comment number 34.

    I think Tom mentions some valid points about Ponting. I dislike him for many reasons, including his attitude and demeanour (can anyone believe he is STILL trying to claim Pietersen edged it?!). However I imagine the reason the most of us boo him and love to see him dismissed is because he has been a brilliantly gifted batsman and I cheer when he is dismissed mostly with relief that he hasn't yet managed to reverse his terrible form. Every time he has walked in I've thought "is this the time he gets it right?" and I've been delighted he hasn't. I imagine it's the same view Australian fans have of Pietersen, who must pray the crazy KP turned up rather than the brilliant one.

    And can we finally put to bed the myth that English bowlers can't swing the Kookaburra ball?

  • Comment number 35.

    #21.

    Suckered yet again. I thought you were PS and that I was agreeing with you (ré: posts #9, 10, 11).

  • Comment number 36.

    Grand Canyon sized gulf in class between these teams. Question now is are we looking at a really really good England or an abject Australia? Bit of both obviously, but which is the more true? Will be answered over the next couple of years.

  • Comment number 37.

    #20, Steve S

    Australia *should* have done a lot better. There is really no great excuse for them to have slumped to 169-6 on a largely blameless pitch and against what is very much a reserve England attack. Let´s face it, how many of us would have picked either Tremlett or Bresnan for Melbourne last August? The overwhelming opinion was that Bresnan was an honest trier who would struggle to take wickets against good batsmen on decent surfaces (look what Jon Agnew said about him when the squad was announced) and Tremlett wasn´t even on the radar. Credit to the bowlers that they have grown into the job and that come May, the selectors could just be wondering who to leave out from Broad, Anderson, Tremlett, Finn, Shazad, Bresnan and possibly even Onions.

  • Comment number 38.

    *18-stargazer
    Good comment;aren't Australians the last people who ought to complain about imports?
    Weren't all theier recent winter olympic medals won by hurriedly naturalised Eastern Europeans? Isn't their leading -and only world class-male gymnast of recent Asian origin? I believe Stuart Clark who bowled for them relatively recently was born in England. Didn't the wallabies have an Argentian forward when they were in their pomp?
    I think that medical professionals refer to this as '(Keppler)Wessel's syndrome.

  • Comment number 39.

    #35 Sorry - cant help myself sometimes. It would good to see the thing make an appearance. Would show more spine than the Australians have - but then again as it is Australian its no surprise its not here.

  • Comment number 40.

    its on a knife edge ...

  • Comment number 41.

    #8: i agree that england players get the best out of their talents, but to say that they consistently OVER-PERFORM is an oxymoron in my opinion. if a team or the individual players consistently achieve a particular standard then they are not over-performing, they are in fact performing to their capabilities.

    What i think sets this england side/squad apart from previous teams is their almost obsessive attention to every single detail. be it fitness, fielding, analysis of conditions, including how best to bat and bowl in said conditions, bowling plans for individual players, etc, etc. To coin a phrase, no stone is left unturned. i think we can liken their preparation for games and series to that of the british track cycling team where the goal is to eek out every fraction of improvement in every department.

    A lot of credit has to go to andy flower and the backroom staff that he has been instrumental in setting up. Together with strauss, they have created a philosophy that was needed to turn england from potentially good into a very good team, but most of the credit obviously has to go to the players who have completely bought into this philosophy and are now seeing the rewards of their efforts.

    #9 Absolute rubbish, i am so disappointed that people keep banging this drum. All the england players are fully qualified to play for england and do so with pride. many players have played for england who were 'naturalised': Basil Dolivera (spelling), Allan Lamb, Robin Smith, Derick Pringle, Jamie Dalrymple, Graham Hick, Gladstone Small, Devon Malcolm, Tony Grieg, to name but a few, the list literally goes on and on. Also what makes someone english (or british)? What if you were born in a different country but one or both parents are british (e.g. Geraint Jones, Kevin Pieterson) or if you were born in england and both parents are foreign (e.g Owais Shah)? What if you were born in a different country but your family emigrated to england when you were young (Andrew Strauss)? Is there an age limit to that? The fact is all the players who play for england qualify to play under the current qualification rules and play with absolute pride.

    That is all.

  • Comment number 42.

    Well done Team England on doing the simple things well and being well organised. OK, it doesn't always go right but invariably it has so far in this series.

    Made up for Bresnan and clearly we now have strength in depth as a squad. I particularly enjoy seeing the team thrive even when one or two individuals play poorly.

    Let's hope for a win tomorrow and another in the 5th Test for a 3-1 win. Then bask in team glory whilst watching all of the fallout and histrionics as the Aussies make excuses and try to rebuild. Shame.

  • Comment number 43.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 44.

    #38, yes, everyone does it apart from South Africa and Zimbabwe (who both seem to supply players). Even the West Indies have an Australian now who is injecting some grit into their middle order and showing that even if Australia never rated him, he is Test class. If KP has a British mum, the Union Flag tattoed on him and has married a Britisg girl and settled in the UK who am I to say that he isn´t British? There was a time when we would play players like Robin Jackman who "went home" for the winter; KP and his colleagues have declared the UK home.

    If anyone is really horrified by naturalised players, avoid basketball; even Greece play a giant afrocarribean with a remarkably American name in their national side.

  • Comment number 45.

    Good blog Tom, I enjoyed reading it.
    Brilliant to watch Bresnan perform like that!

  • Comment number 46.

    after suffering many Ashes beatings through out the 1990's and early 2000's by the Aussies its nice the boot is finally on the other foot.

    Don't feel sorry for the Aussies please.. they certainly were not labelling England useless no hopers in the past

    someone mentions England have many South Africans

    Kepler wessels played for Australia back in the 80's and where is he from ?? South Africa

    Andrew Symonds was born in England but he was adamant he was an Australian

    So stop taking the gloss of a well prepared ENgland tean for this tour for once

  • Comment number 47.

    My bet on England to win the series at 7/4 now looks like a great price. Am wondering if it'll be worth backing the Aussies to win the last to make it 2-2 to cover my bet, not sure what sort of price the'll be though.

  • Comment number 48.

    ~43

    Australia only really in this series had 4 players the rest did not turn up - Hussey, Haddin, Siddel and Watson

    Shows you how rubbish your team is
    ----------------------------------------

    If people are complaining about Cricket..its even more daft in Rugby where you can be playing for two different teams between World Cups...there was a guy called Tiann Strauss who played in 1995 for SOuth Africa in the world cup and 1999 for Australia in the world cup

  • Comment number 49.

    @43 Amusing. Best hit the cash machine though.

    Worst player ever to pay for England? And he with an average in the 40s. Silliness and below your usual standard.

    I did once try to come up with worst team of those with greater than 20 caps.
    Geoff Miller was my all rounder, Paul Downton kept wicket. Anone else want a go?

  • Comment number 50.

    #43 papa..

    i see you refer back to your abuse of Collingwood because nothing you have said about this test match has come through so far. Therefore, its easy to pick on a player who hasnt shown their best form. Worst player to play for England?! An average over 40, an ability to help out with bowling and take the odd wicket and without doubt, the best fielder in the world..Not forgetting he is a popular guy in the squad and his presence is good for team morale. If this went to court, a judge would rule that beyond all reasonable doubt that you are wrong and would throw the case out of court.

  • Comment number 51.

    He should have got the no7 spot Prior at 6 Collingwood left at home before the start of the series.I said that before the start of the series many times. How many times does Collingwood have to let England down with his failures before he is replaced with someone like Bresnan. Collingwood out now he has failed for too many years.

  • Comment number 52.

    There has been much talk in the press about Katich coming back in place of Hughes and Ponting dropping down the order. The answer my friends is staring you in the face. Move Ponting up the order to open with Clarke. Their indomitable focus and determination on day three revived glorious memories of the sainted Chris Tavare. Watson then comes in at three some time after tea. By then, Punter and Pup will have built a foundation of 19 for 1, the deck will be as flat as a pancake boat in a calm sea, and there will be hardly any time left in the day for Watson to run out his partner. Problem solved! This Aussie side is not the Titanic. Fact! The answer really is to rearrange the deck chairs.

    By the way, has anyone else cottoned on to the possibility that Papa and a certain G Boycott may be one and the same? Surely it is impossible for cricket to be blessed with two national treasures. Yet another prediction offered to a grateful public by me.

  • Comment number 53.

    No BoroNick, show faith and bet on 3-1.

    What is interesting is that a lot of Australians still regard England as a talentless side and feel that maybe one, or at most two England players would be worth a place in a combined XI. Duncan Fletcher and now Andy Flower have had a talent for making a side that is far greater than the sum of its parts. In 2005, before the series the suggested combined XI had just one Englishman (guess which), but went on to win. In this series teamwork is making a team that has modest talent (sorry, but Ian Bell is not the new Tendulkar and Alistair Cook is no Jack Hobbs), but who use it to the full and combine to produce a team.

    Just think. Back in August the collegiate opinion on these Blogs was that Cook and KP should not be picked, that Bresnan and Finn would be a disaster, that Bell could never get runs when they matter, that Strauss would be too defensive to win matches, that Broad would get banned for a tantrum because he wouldn´t take wickets and that the Australians were licking their lips waiting for Jimmy Anderson to serve up a buffet. And not so long before people said that Andrew Strauss should never play for England again because he is embarassing short of Test class (mind you, some people said that of Marcus Trescothick in 2004!!!)

  • Comment number 54.

    @PSAR: No-one is giving any credence to your words - the very fact of your commenting makes it instantly an article of fun.

    Give it up son, you've become the story.

  • Comment number 55.

    With the Ashes retained, the England team now have to set their sights on making it 3-1 in Sydney and then challenging India and South Africa to become the No.1 test team in the world.
    It is attainable with this squad, there is the required strength in depth, the main thing that now needs to be looked at is their attitude.
    While individual players can grow in confidence and ability Strauss and Flower will have to back them up with attacking fields and attitudes when it most matters.
    The start of the Aussie second innings today was a prime example of conservative thinking in the field which may hold them back in the future.
    With a 400 lead and 2 and 2/3 days left, the opening seam attack only had 2 slips and a gully, several catches flew through a vacant 3rd slip area off Chris Tremlett,which was then plugged, the field set to Swann was also not attacking enough.
    It seemed England were struggling for the breakthrough and had it not been for the excellent run out from Trott, Aussie could have got to 150-0 or somesuch.
    Taking nothing away from England, they've played some great cricket and I'm over the moon we've retained the Ashes in Aussie but if England are to attain that No.1 spot they will have to be more aggressive and give the opposition nothing.
    Because other great sides will make more of their chances than this Aussie side has done.
    Well done England, let's keep it going, and take it to india and South Africa.

  • Comment number 56.

    #14. Didn't (nearly) every Aust player shake Trotts hand at the end of Day 2?

    Harmison injured Ponting in 2005 and didn't ask him if he was ok. Noone cares. Why do you.

    Ponting's actions towards the umpires were not appropriate for any captain. He has apologised for his actions and worn his punishment. Move on.

    And have you ever heard him being interviewed? Perhaps you didn't understand him as he speaks at a million miles an hour, but I don't think an objective person could claim him a sore loser. In fact, most UK correspondents speak well of him in this capacity.

    The cricketers representing England have outplayed Australia in every facet of the game and deserve congratulations. English fans should celebrate this victory. It is a shame their supporters seem to derive more pleasure in the fall of the opposition.

  • Comment number 57.

    another fantastic day and think i had better stay up tonight to listen to the victory. but like a few have said we have got to win the series, not just the ashes.a drawn series against such a poor team would be a bad result in my book

  • Comment number 58.

    #53 Very salient comments, pertinent to the ethics of teamwork and determination which have seen this crop of decent players post some excellent performances.

    The sweet, fresh air of common sense issues forth from the mountains of sanity, rolling down into the valley of contentment. Or something like that...

    On, on you noblest english! (I'm feeling quite light-headed this morning, I can tell you).

  • Comment number 59.

    Already looking ahead to next Test. Wondering whether Finn will get a recall if he is fit/rested and if so, who will miss out...

  • Comment number 60.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 61.

    Credit where credit is due: all four results are still mathematically possible. This statement is correct. Of course, some are slightly more likely than others. Bet365 is no longer even offering odds on this Test, which suggests that they don´t think that there is any money to be won now. If someone wants to make a killing, I suspect that the odds on an Australian win are quite generous now: certainly more so than yesterday´s 39-1.

  • Comment number 62.

    The only way Finn gets a recall (barring injury) is if England decide to play 5 specialist bowlers in Sydney.

    Can't see it happening.

    One thing I did notice the other day on this blog was the number of Aussie fans saying Australia are a "shoe in" to win in Sydney. Based on what I can't fathom. Sydney normally favours spin and England have the best spinner both teams could field by some margin. If they "rig" the Sydney wicket to favour pace bowlers well we all see whats happening here in Melbourne.

  • Comment number 63.

    On an unrelated note, great test match going on in SA. I'm curious as to why there is no DRS in place. Anyone got a view?

  • Comment number 64.

    Evening/morning all - hats off for all the comments and debate (with one exception....) Just wanted to apologise again for not being able to post back very often. Time difference between here in Aus and back home a killer - when the blog goes up, I'm usually off to bed. Has been great waking up through all the chat though.

    Quick question: who sees 3-1, who 2-2, any for a Sydney draw and 2-1?

  • Comment number 65.

    Stargazer - I placed my bet before the series began, England to win the series, a rather substantial amount. As much as I think, and hope, that it will end up 3-1, or a draw to make it 2-1 at the seires end, for purely financial purposes, the smart move is to see what price the Aussies are to win the last test and place a bet to cover all eventualities.

  • Comment number 66.

    #53 i couldnt disagree more. this england team, as any good team, is better than the some of its parts yes, that is the essence of what makes a true team. however, to belittle the individual talents of the players is incorrect, and to use absolute greats of the games such as tendulkar as comparison to back up your argument is churlish.

    Andrew strauss: Fastest english batsmen to 6000 test runs.
    Alistair Cook: Only tendulkar has scored more centuries at the same age.
    Jonathan Trott: Currently has the 2nd (to Don Bradman) highest average of any player ever (i think thats right anyway)
    KP: A fantastic batsman feared by any bowling attack in the world
    Graham Swann: Best spinner in the world rankings and very close to the worlds number one bowler.
    James Anderson: Also has to now be considered one of the best bowlers in the world.
    The Rest: All very good players with batting and bowling averages to prove it.

    If a world XI was picked right now then i would expect 3 maybe 4 players to get into that side: Swann, Anderson, KP/ Trott (or both).

  • Comment number 67.

    UDRS is only available to the richest broadcasters right now. Last winter the Bangladesh Broadcasting Corporation asked for a quote on two HotSpot cameras... $10M (just for HotSpot, without going into the more expensive Super SloMo)! SABC just does not have the kind of money available to make an UDRS system a viable proposition.

    #58, if you live in France and work as a translator I´m out of here! :-D

  • Comment number 68.

    Tom, a word of advice about an otherwise promising blog. I agree with #19 about overuse of the thesaurus. Whatever that is, it should be used in moderation, leniency, self-control. No-one likes a show-off. And too many words. Don't get me wrong, some of the words are really very, very good indeed – I have used many of them myself, but less is more. One final thing: you need to change the subject once and a while. For crying out loud! Cricket, cricket, cricket! There are other things in life to talk about – me for instance. Tom, take it from someone who knows about these things, you need to get a wider perspective.

  • Comment number 69.

    Great blog as usual Tom, and to answer you question I think that 3-1 is now a real possibility. After Perth I'd have gone for 2-2 but the 'momentum' in this context must now be so strongly with the tourists that a Sydney win must be definitely on the cards. In previous years we'd all be talking about the Aussie 'battling team spirit' but that seems further from view the more this series progresses. Team spirit must surely be drawn in part from individual performances and in light of their absence the hosts look truly shaken.

    3-1 must now be the bookies' favourite.

  • Comment number 70.

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

  • Comment number 71.

    Wahey the real papa shango is back and the imposter "always right" has once again spouted his usual rubbish about all results being possible.

    And he once again starts on colly and refers to 3 average fielders as better than him. Let us not forget in 20/20 he was the captain that won us our 1st ever international tournament.

    And 41 is a good average. When vaughan played and averaged 42 he played against a very poor zimbabwe team, bangladesh were worse than they are now and with the exception of australia every other team seems to have found better bowlers.

    Finally well done to england and in reply to Tom's quetion i can see it being a 3-1 scorecard although i would quiet happilly see our reserve bowlers in the final test just as i believe we could keep the likes of anderson fresh for the one dayers that are coming up.

  • Comment number 72.

    OK #66, you seem to have missed the point completely. No one is saying that this side is full of great players because it isn´t. And Australian fans have been extremely disparaging about it, as have many of the fans posting here not so long ago. But cricket is a team game. In 2005 England won because its attack played as a team and hunted as a pack. In 2010 England are winning because good players are playing as a team and everyone is contributing to the team effort.

    Just to correct you, Jonathon Trott has the highest Test average of anyone to have played more than 15 Tests (bar Bradman), comparing his current average with *completed careers*. However, if I recall rightly, Michael Clarke averaged over 80 after 20 Tests. It´s a slightly specious stat because you don´t compare like with like, although it is indicative of just what an impact he has made (and yes, after 6 Tests people were talking about him not being Test class after a couple of failures).

  • Comment number 73.

    I cannot wait for tomorrow as long as the tail do not wage and ruin my bet!

    But let’s not forget this is a poor Australian team, any side that in two consecutive test matches can be 65/5 in their first innings are just useless! The fact that they won the first one in Perth, shows that England lack a ruthless to consistently kill teams off! They have the guts to grind out draws, Cardiff, Cape Town to name two and after the 98 a/o the ability to dismantle a team! And in the process a country and end a glories era for Australian cricket!

    Win tonight and then demolish them in Sydney and this could be the start of something, that could lead to victories over Australia becoming boring!

  • Comment number 74.

    @ #64 - Tom, i think it's very much a question of mental attitude, not physical ability; if the players retain the attitude in Sydney of the series being still all square at 1-1 with all to play for then yes, i believe we will win 3-1. If we let the words 'unassailable lead', 'ashes retained' and all that lot sneak in to sap our hunger, we could be brought back down to earth by some talented aussies with wounded egos.

    The only thing for sure is that it's up to England and NOT Australia as to what happens from here. It seems as if there's about as much control in the Aussie camp right now as BMW M3 in drifting race on an ice rink.

  • Comment number 75.

    Tom, do you see the Aussies trying to fix the pitch again in Sydney to have more grass and juice in it than normal?

  • Comment number 76.

    In reply to Tom's question, a séries win means EVERYTHING to Flower & Strauss. That was the original team goal. Heat of the moment bravura perhaps but I expect a heavy defeat of thé Aussies. And it won't do our ICC ratings any harm either.

  • Comment number 77.

    I'm hoping for England to keep their focus and get 3-1, but so many years of historical pessimism makes it tough to avoid pondering the 2-2 result and the Aussies getting a very undeserved draw!

    So I hope the former is the case; England deserve to win this series outright, and a 3-1 scoreline would not flatter them.

    Vaughan was talking a lot of sense about how England should handle themselves when this Test is won, I hope he has a word in an ear or three of the England side!

  • Comment number 78.

    72: Maybe I have missed your point and i still am missing it to a certain extent. Im getting the bit that it is a team game and that england have clearly played well as a unit of players, backing each other up, all contributing in some shape or form to the overall performance.

    The bit im having trouble with is that you seem to suggest that this england team have no great individual players. What does a player have to do to be considered great? Perhaps greatness, apart from some obvious candidates like tendulkar, lara, ponting, warne, richards, marshal, etc is something that is only bestowed near the end or after ones career. What I am saying is that the players that iv listed compare very favourably in terms of talent with anyone in the world currently playing. Not sure that makes them 'a great' but I think we should recognise the individual talent of these players instead of just putting it down to teamwork.

    Thank you for your clarification of trott's average, and of course you are correct that over a long career this can fluctuate, usually downwards, as teams work out weaknesses and exploit these deficiencies.

  • Comment number 79.

    Even with this loss there is glory for the Aussies; "Strauss' cricketing journey and his life in general has been heavily influenced by Australian forces." Sunday Herald (it's actually a good article by the way)

    And yes, "South African Born Trott" is now the official title.

    Its funny that these irrelevant things are repeated. How many national sides in different sports have players born elsewhere? For example, the best Australian football (soccer) player (Tim Cahil) is from Samoa. The list is endless.
    As an English born person working for A German company in Holland, I just find it all fairly amusing. Its frequently insidious sniping masking as stating the facts.

  • Comment number 80.

    Tom, you mention that England have a decent sized pool of fast bowlers to choose from and this is all down to Flower and the selectors policy in the 12/18 months leading up to this series.

    At every possible opportunity, especially with the bowlers, they were making small alterations to the team to give as many players as possible experience of playing test cricket and seeing if they are up to scratch.

    Yet at the time they were criticised for not putting out their strongest squad, yet still won their test series (admittedly 2 against Bangladesh) and have created a situation where injury and fatigue does not prevent them from having an attack they can have fall confidence in.

    Further, given the demands of test cricket due to the quantity do not be surprised if England use 6-7 seamers over the summer because of injury/strengthing periods.

  • Comment number 81.

    #78, I am as English as you can get and as proud of this side and its achievements as one can be, but no one can reasonably argue that it is full of great players; it has a lot of good players, but very few who would get into a World XI, or even an Ashes XI of the last 20 years. That is not being churlish, it is being realistic and is a tribute to how they are using their talent.

  • Comment number 82.

    @ 80: Absolutely spot on and this is the type of thing I was alluding to in my post #41.

  • Comment number 83.

    This is a great England team with a great depth of talent waiting in the wings. A 3-1 win will be fully deserved and justified, I just hope they don't take their foot off the Ozzy throat in Sydney.

    Must mention the umpires here as well, they have been outsatanding.

    I have also just listened to Shane Watson saying that England had the best of the pitch conditions (for bowling)in both innings, pretty pathetic really.

    There is only one Australian cricketer that will walk away with his head held high, Peter Siddle, he was fantastic

  • Comment number 84.

    Also "papa shango always right" you have banged on about being right all series, but you suggested australia would win 3-1 if i recall.

    You also mentioned that ponting would have been on 150 not out and australia closing in on the lead. Wrong again.

    You mentioned swann failing this series. By close today(or yesterday if your an aussie) he had bowled 22 overs for 23 runs, took a wicket and had 2 stumping opportunities missed. Kinda think that shows his class so yet again your wrong.

    Now you saying that all 4 results are possible. A win, a draw or a defeat, where is this fourth possible result. And you still believe the aussies can win even with a batsman injured, only 1 recognisable batsman (johnson hit 60 once so not a batsman in my eyes) and the tailenders whilst being over 200 runs behind still. Tomorrow morning i will be back on this brilliant blog by Mr fordyce reading how we won by an innings and about 150 runs just hoping you are man enough to eat some humble pie.

    All in all i do believe you should change your name to "papa shango occasionally right if ever" and learn about sport before you start commenting on it.

    I do believe that if in football Manchester utd were 10-0 up against fc united of manchester at half time you would still predict fc untied of manchester winning 20-10. Your predictions are histerical so please keep the up. and tell me also that johnson will get double century and the bowl england out for 37 just to make me laugh even more.

  • Comment number 85.

    #81 This is where we disagree, as i said i believe that 3 possibly 4 players would currently get into a world XI: Anderson, Swann, Trott/KP (either or both, definitely trott anyway, and KP looks to regaining some form after a disappointing 18months, his form previous to that would certainly see him picked). Thats about a third of 'the side'. Not bad really.

    As for a combined ashes XI of the last 20 years. Lets not forget that during that period Aus had some all time champions of the game playing then: Mcgrath, Warne, Ponting, Gilchrist would all probably make an all-time world XI, with others not far off. So i agree with you there.

  • Comment number 86.

    3-1 for me, Panasar in for Colly in Sydney, England have some talented young cricketers and are building a good side under Stauss. When Cooke takes over from Stauss we will have built a side that will be world beaters!

  • Comment number 87.

    Now you saying that all 4 results are possible. A win, a draw or a defeat, where is this fourth possible result.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    mate you can infact tie a match. not sticking up for papa shango but at the start of any game there are 4 possible results: win, lose, draw or tie (i.e. the chasing team is bowled out when the scores are level)

  • Comment number 88.



    #34 BennyBlanco

    Both good points well made.

    First, RP is still saying that the ball took a nick, despite video evidence to the contrary.
    And, in the same breath, that the hotspot showed up -somehow- in a different spot from where the ball would have hit the bat, given its flightpath.
    It seems unlikely that he will ever be appointed as a video umpire.
    Perhaps he has a future in ads for "Shoulda gone to Specsavers".

    Second, that booing (and all the blog-banter and pub-banter) stems from insecurity.
    A lot of Aussie fans and England fans have a deep-rooted inferiority complex about themselves.
    Hence the tidal wave of crowing over a session's good play.
    Or a single test match won.
    Or, dare I say it, a raft of knighthoods when England beat Australia for the Ashes in 2005.

    Tom -thanks for a great series of blogs.
    Objective, informative, and even humorous: a great read!

  • Comment number 89.

    I do know about a tie however at the end of a match a tie is the same result as a draw. It would keep the series square so it really does mean weve given two name's to an identical result. Therefore in my eyes there will always only be 3 results, win loss and draw.

    I just quickly need people to answer whether i should go through all of papas predictions and point out his total score of right versus wrong. It shall keep me sane as i have been stuck bedbound for 2 weeks due to illness but i dnt wish to annoy anyone by doing so.

  • Comment number 90.

    Papa's ok leave him alone

  • Comment number 91.

    For me the big change in this England side is simple: mental strength.

    This England side *know* they are better than the Australians. They *know* that every time they step onto the field for each session they have a better than even chance of coming out on top. This test series had a maximum of 75 sessions, they knew from the beginning that the edge they have is too big for it not to count over the long haul (ie. over the whole series). That's how they were able to overcome the set-back of Perth. They really believed it didn't change the fact that they were better than the Aussies and had two more tests to make it count. No previous England side I remember (I'm 27 so we're talking back to c. 1992-3 here) truly had this belief.

    Can't speak highly enough of Strauss and Flower for forging this strength and belief in the England side. I wish the England football team could do the same (!)

  • Comment number 92.

    89: i wasnt trying to be a pedant, and i appreciate that a tie has the same effect on a series as a draw. i was simply correcting you to deny a certain person from having any comeback on your otherwise perfect analysis of his, erm, what i can only call delusional ramblings.

    i for one would find it funny, if you can be bothered, to re-live some of papas posts. i certainly wouldnt find it annoying!

  • Comment number 93.

    Oh how the aussies love to gloat, and rub our noses in it when they're on top. Feels so good to stuff them, especially in their own back yard! An ashes win in australia is a great achievement at any time!

  • Comment number 94.

    The continual sniping at the so-called 'Saffers' in the English team is mystifying - though more than likely the snipers' are just showing their Daily Mail influenced view of what 'purity' should be!!!

    V good blog - literate and funny - love the comparison of Bresnan/Lamborghini vs Ponting/UN ambassador.........

    Just a personal perspective though - I think we are seeing a very good team making a good team look poor. Gatting yesterday said that it's a national trait we have, always putting ourselves down - if we win then the opponents must be poor, not that we were good. This England team is very good and in a World XI there would be 5 Englishmen (in my list anyway).

  • Comment number 95.

    I hope they go for 3-1, but every time they think they are really good they blow it. Before the 1st test there was such trumpeting of their chances, I thought they'll come a cropper. 3rd ball and I thought "Here we go!". The they pulled themselves together and showed great grit and strength to dominate days 3 - 5 and then the next test. After that it was "we can win everything". Day one of Perth was received with great praise and a feeling of "the Aussies are down and we just have to turn up" (At least that's how it looked like to me) and we know what then transpired.
    Then the Aussies start saying they'll win, we English prefer to be the underdog, so they pull themselves together to show them!
    Now, can they refrain from taking the foot off the Aussies throat and put the series to bed with another win? I hope so, I don't think they'll let them back in again.

  • Comment number 96.

    I must apologise as I'm only a 'casual' fan, so I can't speak with any in-depth authority or knowledge here but I would just like to say two things: 1) Have really enjoyed your blogs throughout the series Tom, excellent work and thank you. 2) It's been a joy and a treat to see an Australian team put under (almost) relentless pressure throughout the series and see them fumble.

    It's been a great series so far for everybody to enjoy. Long may it continue.

    Oh and 3-1 please.

  • Comment number 97.

    When potential England match-winners were discussed before this series began - Kevin Pietersen with his glamourpuss runs, the showy tweak of Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad's bounce and aggression - the name of Timothy Thomas Bresnan did not pop up in too many conversations.
    -------------

    And rightly so. Le's not go overboard here, Bresnan's bowling in the second innings has been very good, but it is not in any way matchwinning. Those acolades go to Anderson and Tremlett in the first innings and Trott with the bat.

    This match was 99% won before the second innings even started.

  • Comment number 98.

    #91 Good call. I'm a bit older than you and have watched too many England teams crumble under pressure. The mental toughness of this unit is palpable, but I think that, coupled to this, is the mental fragility of the current Aussie team. In the same way you say that England know they are a better side than the Aussies, I'm pretty sure the Aussies know (though they would never admit it!) they are a poorer side than the English.

    All in all though, another great performance by this improvng England side, made better by the fact that it will, for now at least, see the end of the dominance of the graceless Aussies. Wholesale changes (again!!) for Sydney - out go Hughes (never will be good enough), a one legged Katich is better, possibly Ponting, Harris obviously, Hilfenhaus (again), Johnson (again!! - it gives me great pleasure to type that one as well - loud mouthed, celebrity under achiever!) and Smith (or he may stay but bat at 7). In comes Beer, Hodge(?) and Khawaja, plus some others that the skipper can drum up when ringing round on the morning of the game!!

    I think it is also time to give Colly a rest. Great fielder that he is he is in the side to score runs and, as much as it grieves me, he hasn't done it. He will still be a great squad player. Time to give Morgan a go. He seems to have the mental toughness that is required at this level, although he stats do not stack up at the moment. Hoever, he will get better. He is also an outstanding fielder in his own right. Backward point is made for ginger, middle order batsmen seemingly!!

    C'mon boys, wrap this one up then off to the SCG to finish the job in style!!

  • Comment number 99.

    Well done Bresnan your making Yorkshire proud mate. I for one will be at the open bus cellebrations in trafalgar square that will no doubt put on when you return with the urn. Make sure you go and win in Sydney! To make it worthy of a proper party.

    When i watched england from 2003-2005 with Flintoff, Harmison, Hoggard and Simon Jones with Anderson in reserve I thought I would have seen such an array of bowling talent for England again until i was an old man.
    Although this attack is not up to that standard (yet) the fact we now have a world class spiner in Swanny, Anderson is as good as any of the above supported by two young bowlers Broad and Finn and the fact the replacments in Tremlett and Bresnan in addition to the talents of Shazad and also the amazing talent of Rachid (who should have been our squad as second spinner an all round talent that we so far have no utilised)the future for our bowling looks very bright. I dont envy the selectors job for the series in the summer.

    How does our batting look for the future, pretty decent as well, Cook, Trott and Bell will be in the side for a long long time and KP and Strauss have a few more years at least but as Collingwood nears the end is Morgan the best young talent we have yet to break into the team? How do the next generation of young English batsmen look?

  • Comment number 100.

    The wheels have come off the Australian wagon like a total train wreck; the emperor has lost his robe! Some may say he has lost his marbles, particularly after arguing with an aplomb umpire.

    One powerful empire falls and another rising!

    It is also a fall from grace ---into disgrace!

    Alas, the coveted loot will soon be traveling back to England, proudly!

 

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