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England struck by stage fright

Oliver Brett | 08:32 UK time, Thursday, 23 November 2006

ob66.jpgI am afraid there’s no other way of looking at it: England’s cricketers and their fans suffered collective stage fright on the first day of the Ashes series.

Blame the strength-sapping heat and humidity at the Gabba. Blame us (the media) for talking up the importance of these Test matches, if you must.

But most of all blame those brilliant Australian batsmen, who we have already watched scoring thousands of runs in the past, and who look like they could carry on doing so into their dotage.

Aussie fans do not go in for banners much, but when they do, they tend to be reasonably witty.

“Our Dad’s Army – Too Old, Too Slow, Too Damn Good” was pretty much to the point.

As for England’s supporters, the ones who surged onto the bus I took from the city were in chipper mood in the morning.

One boasted to an Aussie: “It’s better if you bat first anyway mate, then we’ll win in three days.”

When the bus carrying Freddie Flintoff and co arrived, plenty of England supporters were waiting for them.

But many of the faces they saw staring back at them wore nervous, apprehensive expressions. No waves or smiles for the supporters, though Flintoff himself looked at ease.

Playing with a black armband because his wife’s grandfather had recently died, the England skipper lost the toss.

But when he came on to bowl, he looked every inch the inspirational all-rounder we remembered from the 2005 series.

He took England’s first two wickets and was in the mood for more, but Ricky Ponting stole the mantle of day’s best player from under his nose.

When the ball got old, not even Flintoff could maintain his brilliance and Ponting, with a bit of help from his Aussie friends, took over.

Australia is a great country for pulling – and I’m not talking about picking up chicks.

No other Test nation offers such consistently hard, bouncy wickets, which invariably tempt fast bowlers to pitch short in the hope of catching a batsman unawares.

When that batsman is Ponting, however, the captain of the Australian cricket team, the tactic backfires with monotonous regularity.

Five times James Anderson, who had been a hero in England’s last away Test (in Mumbai), tried to bounce Ponting, and five times he pulled him effortlessly and majestically for four.

The shot also got the 31-year-old off the mark, when Steve Harmison was at his most timid, and Matthew Hoggard, who really should have known better, was another to suffer in the same way.

But although England’s bowlers, who like to “do well as a unit” failed to apply the necessary collective pressure to gain regular wickets, it did not help that the Barmy Army were being all quiet.

It was not entirely their fault. Their forces were fragmented in little pockets around the ground and the Australian fans’ constant noisy chatter was an effective defence against any impromptu singing.

Perhaps they could scarcely believe that Harmison, so brilliant on the first day of the 2005 series, could bowl so indifferently on one of the fastest tracks in the world.

It was remarkable, certainly, that the spinners did so much work. When Kevin Pietersen began his ninth over, some wag yelled: “Come on Monty!”

Presumably, the point was that after the long debate over whether to bowl Ashley Giles or Monty Panesar, with Pietersen doing so much work perhaps both could have played.

But Friday will be another day. Tonight it is time for England to ditch those nerves and on day two they must show their lion-hearted spirit once again.

Comments  Post your comment

It was just tremendously disappointing. To stay up well into the night to watch such a poor bowling display.

You point you made about Pieterson bowling is just spot on. If you wanted a part time spinner bowling 9 overs and a holding spinner bowling 18 overs then why didnt monty play? It seemed that Anderson or Harmison could have missed out.

Also, why isnt Flintoff opening the bowling?

  • 2.
  • At 09:20 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Matt Williams wrote:

Don't get too down hearted. This was always going to happen on the first day if we lost the toss. Ponting is the best batsman in the world and was always going to get runs.
Strauss and Cook are just as good at cutting and pulling so they will put a big stand on and we will be back in the test after day 3 and get a credible draw.

Harmison needs to improve 10 fold otherwise I don't see how he can keep his place, bring in Plunkett on the fast Perth wicket.


  • 3.
  • At 09:21 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Anthony wrote:

It don't look good, if we don't get a couple of quick wickets in the morning goodness knows what the aussies will get.

  • 4.
  • At 09:23 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Geoff wrote:

After 18 months of un-ashamed gloating - its time for the English media to eat some humble pie and confirm that there is a team out there better than yours - and please don't start trying to find someone to blame like you normally do.

  • 5.
  • At 09:33 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Marktheclerk wrote:

Why the depression? Accept Australia batted brilliantly on a superb wicket. England need to keep plugging away and then bat just as well as the Australians, to post enough runs or use up enough time, that Warne can't pressure them in the second innings.

Sill should have played Panesar though, and Harmison is unlikely to get a truer wicket to bowl on with the new ball.

  • 6.
  • At 09:34 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • William Brett wrote:

Ollie, are you coming home for Christmas?
Looks like you might as well. Luckily I wasn't at home to watch the lanky Durham paceman's first ball. I expect Dad had a seizure.

  • 7.
  • At 09:35 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • dominic mcmullan wrote:

all i've heard from media sources this morning is how lack lustre england were and in fairness, this was true of the first days play.

what's happened to the collective belief after the ashes win last summer, the country getting behind the cricketers like never before? after our first ashes win in 18 years everyone was on the band wagon, remember the scenes at trafalgar square? probably tara palmer tomkinson types who would no doubt turn up to the opening of an envelope.

where are they now?

it's one days play of a possible 25 days of cricket, get it in perspective.

harmison though, does look like a lost puppy, famously unhappy about being away from his beloved north east, he looked every inch a stranger to the test arena.

keep your chins up and believe in freddie and the boys, it's an unprecedented opportunity for greatness, lets send the right signals to our lads.

  • 8.
  • At 09:38 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • stephen vallance wrote:

not unexpected but very disappointing.
harmison bottled it and let the side down.a swift kick up backside and tell him to start earning his considerable salary.
anderson lacked control.
giles wheeled away and kept the runs down. didn't trouble aussies in general.
flintoff offered some threat.
hoggard was ineffective.
im going to question the captaincy here. why go defensive form the outset. why no third man. i can't understand why test sides don't seal off this eay source of runs. bowl a short ball as england's seamers do, and its a free hit. slash at and its four!
very mysterious bowling changes, and a lack of imagination in the field.
i'll say it now. far too much is loaded onto flintoff. of course he wants the job as it adds about £2 million to his income per annum. but let him be an allrounder. bowl and bat like he can. that's enough for any cricketer without lumbering him with the captaincy.
the coach. he cant be doing his job properly if the side he send s out look like boys against men. and the 14 back up staff england has. what are they doing to justify their very big salaries?!
chuffed off from durham

  • 9.
  • At 09:39 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Reader wrote:

Well in anticipation and hope of a positive start I settled down with a big mug of coffee and play began - Harmison in --- What the hell was that! did this guy not do a warm up or what? Sadly that first over was my worst fear (worse than Giles in for Monty) cause if we're to win Harmison has to perform. So I spent the most of the night cat napping on the sofa, cause the play I did see certainly didn't do enough to keep me wide awake - I can only hope that they get a good nights rest and come out ready to get stuck in to em on day 2 and give us something to support!

  • 10.
  • At 09:39 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Tammy wrote:

LOL now wasn't it a great 1st day? :-)

  • 11.
  • At 09:48 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • alfie noakes wrote:


just imagine if England were 340 odd for 3 at the end of day 1. Would you sit back and relax thinking the Ashes were won..... no. Easy to imagine a wobble of the tail and all out for 380, Aussies then get 490, warney bowls us out for 120.


just imagine if Australia were 340 odd for 3 at the end of day 1. Would you sit back and relax thinking the Ashes were lost.....yes. Easy to imagine a wobble of the tail and all out for 580, England in reply get 190, and then warney bowls us out for 120.

  • 12.
  • At 09:48 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • geoff garside wrote:

Stagefright has nothing to do with it.

1. It was a very good pitch
2. They have only one genuine fast bowler, but he has not bowled well for a year
3. They have two swing bowlers who cannot possibly thrive in Australian conditions

  • 13.
  • At 09:53 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Simon Cooke wrote:

Oliver - thanks for the typical English inane piece. I think the sooner the hype created around this Ashes series dies dows, the better. Maybe then you will be able to realise the cold facts of this series. On or before Dec. 18th, the famous urn will have gone back into Aussie custody.
There is no chance in hell that England will win because they're simply not good enough. They weren't even good last year. But they used up all the good fortune that some of get over a lifetime. Every coin toss, injuries all went England's way & even then they only won 2-1.
But hey, I'm enjoying the coverage/hype that the BBC & media are giving to the Ashes. The last time this happened was just this summer gone, when we were all told that England would win the World Cup in Germany, effortlessly. Truth be told, they never even came close.
That's exactly what's going to happen here. I would be suprised if any of the Tests lasted the full 5 days.

  • 14.
  • At 09:55 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Tom wrote:

What's happened to the video highlights that were supposed to be up at 09:00 GMT??

Not that they will be good viewing lol

  • 15.
  • At 09:56 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

Dominic, I think at 9:30am it is a bit harsh to start saying that England fans are deserting them - play has only been over for a couple of hours, and many won't have seen or heard much about the action.

In fairness, the start was awful, with sadly, the first ball setting the tone for the first hour.

Yesterday was always going to be tough for the England bowlers, great batting track and the Aussies with somethign to prove. I think the real test will now come tomorrow when England (Harmison especially, who owes us a decent tour) need to grit their teeth, roll their sleeves up and really get amongst them. A couple fo quick wickets in the morning and things will look different.

I think the first session tomorrow will tell us a lot about this team.


  • 16.
  • At 09:58 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Nathane wrote:

this was a great day more poms will be quite from now on. England is a good team but stop overrating them. i hava a broken clock it gets the time right twice a day. U beat aussies great first time in how long? The british media is to blame. Before i forget when was the last time Aussie lost on home soil? when was the last time u bunch won in Australia? You lot must be humble before u r good. KP i am sure all South Africans hope u get what u deserve

  • 17.
  • At 10:00 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Proud Aussie wrote:

And soon justice will be restored in the universe!!!The person I feel most sorry for is The lion-hearted Andrew Flintoff - (He plays the game in the spirit in which its meant to be played and surely Englands finest player). Not only does he have to captain a watered down England side, he also has to deal with Micheal Vaugan no doubt sticking his oar in telling him how he should be doing it. Vaughan was lucky to win the ashes with the help of the bad light in England, the incredibly unsporting balmy army, a couple of very dodgy descions against Australia, and his very "clever massaging of the rules using his sup-subs". If you are such a great Captain Vaughan, why not stand up and be counted and try and retain the Ashes you "won" instead of letting Freddy cop all the soon to be coming flack! I think not, you stay in the dressing rooms watching re runs of times past. Your a brave man Freddy Flintoff, what a pity you will be crucified by the media if you don't retain the ashes. Ever thought about imirgrating?

  • 18.
  • At 10:03 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Mark Handley wrote:

If the English selectors wanted to lose one of the three potential no. 11s in the squad - why not pick Mahmood (who can bat) instead of Anderson (who can hardly bowl) and leave Monty in to bowl the way he can.


If you had to pick the best and most consisent English bowler of the last 12 months, Monty would be top of the list - so why was he the one sacrificed for a longer order?

  • 19.
  • At 10:06 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • CD wrote:

England in dire trouble I'd say !

Unless they get some quick wickets tomorrow, then they will be facing 550+ by tea.

The script will go along the lines of :-
1. Oz declare between 550-600 just after tea
2. England lose 2 or 3 wickets with barely 50 on the board
3. Game over late on day 4 with Oz victory

Unless, Steve Harmison has a few XXXX, a good kip & comes out bowling like the so-called premier bowler that we are led to believe he is.

Hopefully Im wrong, but I this will be the script i'm affraid of !!!!

  • 20.
  • At 10:07 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Gecko wrote:

From my perspective, couldn't have been better.
No Monty (even though he is dead set Phil Tuffnel, but can actually bowl), Australia win the toss & bat (Warne on day 5). Harmisons gem of a first ball.

What a great day to be a convict!!

  • 21.
  • At 10:09 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Kim Hughes' tears wrote:

I seem to remember Australia had a pretty good first day in the last series too. Fortunately England had the last laugh.

And Geoff - your comments about the English media conveniently ignore the fact that Australia's press doesn't exactly know the meaning of objectivity. While we're talking of humble pie, let's also mention pots and kettles.

  • 22.
  • At 10:13 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Ashley from Australia wrote:

There is nothing so dangerous as an Australian cricket team seeking to recover its lost pride.

We have the best batsman in the world leading the side and two of the greatest bowlers in history in Warne and McGrath. Please keep the jibes about their age coming as it only serves to motivate them.

We may be the best of friends off the field but we are out for revenge.

Go Australia and best wishes to all you Pommies from us cricket lovers down under.

  • 23.
  • At 10:14 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Phil wrote:

What is everyone's problem!!! It's the first day of the first test, in four days time we will probably be sitting here seeing England having posted a huge first innings total as well.

We do this all the time one bad day and suddenly we are rubbish, for once in our lives can we please get behind our team and judge them after 5 tests not one day!!!!!!!!!

We were 1 - 0 down 18 months ago and looked what happened, all you critics should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • 24.
  • At 10:17 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Paul Carroll wrote:

I think Boycott was right; Fletcher had two decisions to make (Read and Panesar) and failed miserably. Warne will get 40 wickets in this series he's 5/6 with the magic sign and only 4/5 with Betfair! Any chance of rain in Brisbane?

  • 25.
  • At 10:24 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • valerie esher wrote:

Let us keep our chins up a tiny bit longer, please! We have some very good batsmen who can post big totals too. Instead of being downhearted we can start hoping for a great batting performance starting tomorrow after we get them all out for less than 400.

  • 26.
  • At 10:25 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Nick wrote:

You Aussies make me laugh! You bang on about our media hyping the Ashes up, but perhaps it's time to look a little closer to home, to see how your media has instilled this rather worrying hatred in you all.

Honestly, relax, take a breath, and enjoy the cricket.

  • 27.
  • At 10:26 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Jim Sullivan wrote:

Its all to easy to be hurling blame about on day one.

Its a batting wicket and this was always going to happen.

No wonder the ozzies call us whinging poms.

Lets get behind the boys. Tomorrows an other day.

  • 28.
  • At 10:26 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Tractor Boy wrote:

Message to Dunc and his assistants. Let batsmen bat and let bowlers bowl. To win a test you have to take 20 wickets, even my 14 week old daughter knows this having told her 20 times this morning. So pick a side that can take wickets, thus Monty had to play. If the reason, as I believe, that Giles played was that Dunc does not have faith in his batsmen, then he should have selected players that he does believe in. Don't use Tresco as an excuse. 27 overs of spin bowled but 1/3 of these by a part time bowler. How much did the aussies laugh when they heard that Monty was not playing? Must still be confident to get them all out by just after lunch on day 2, then bat properly to be level with them by end of day 3. Set them about 250 to win and spin them out, oh just forgot, no Monty so play for the draw!!!

  • 29.
  • At 10:29 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Nick wrote:

Greetings from the land of OZ my English friends, wasn't it just a fine days cricket ?, Our team did what was expected of them , that is, win the toss bat well and then lay a good foundation for tomorrow with wickets in hand , Tomorrow you will be worn down even more , it will be hot and the pitch will improve for the batsman, while I like to watch the English team play and enjoy a good contest (like the last series) the Aussies wont lose on home soil, things will not get better for England , You are in for a hard tough time so dream on while you can victory is ours

Aussie ! Aussie ! Aussie !

  • 30.
  • At 10:33 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • JJ Foy wrote:

Last night one of the commentators on the radio said that Giles' new action meant he had lost some of his old spin. I nearly fell off my chair laughing, does that mean he's now bowling even straighter than he used to - I'm not sure that's possible. I can't believe they picked him over Panesar, a man who can spin it feet rather than inches. I'll happily eat humble pie if Giles and Jones are there at the close on Monday in a 3 hour unbroken stand....

  • 31.
  • At 10:39 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • peter bisset wrote:

Some of my fellow aussies here give us all a bad name. England is a great country as evident by the amount of aussies over there in london pubs, Stop being so cocky and show some respect to the current Ashes champions and a people who are rich in culture and history. On the cricket it was a great toss to win but don't write england off to retain the ashes which despite "proud Aussie's" delusions they deserved to win.

  • 32.
  • At 10:40 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • akram al-khatib wrote:

I can't beleive that in this day and age Oliver Brett is saying 'picking up chicks'. Stick to cricket please!

  • 33.
  • At 10:42 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • chris wrote:

come on fellas you honestly didnt think that we would have a shocker like we did in england 2005 its amazing what losing something that is taught to every young aussie and is bigger than religion it's self so imagine how low ponting has felt for the past 14 months oh thats right he has just shown you how he felt something about a caged lion

  • 34.
  • At 10:45 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Boy on tour wrote:

Wasn't a great first day, but it's only one day! I think everyone's getting a bit carried away with all the negatives; there's no reason why the team can't bounce back - I'm pretty confident that we should be able to get a reasonable score given our batting line up.

Having read some of the Aussies' comments, it does seem that they really do have a collective chip on their shoulders. All that rewriting of history re. 'England were lucky to win in 2005...- smacks of the same poor sportsmanship and whining that Aussies normally accuse us Poms of. Get a life guys, it's only sport. England won in 2005 because they were the better side. Based on the start of this series, Australia seem the better side, but nothing has been decided yet. I'm sure that there will be a few twists before the urn's fate is decided.

Now, back to your bar work you lovely, lovely people.

  • 35.
  • At 10:46 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • george wrote:

Well I can't say I entirely agree with 'proud aussie'. I do think England were very lucky to win the ashes last summer - there are any number of ways of cutting it. I think there were three factors - ponting's edgbaston decision, Mcgrath's ankle, Warne dropping pieterson on the last day. The other way of looking at it is that Australia lost the ashes by 2 runs (and a dodgy decision at that).
But that was then...
As an aussie living in exile in London I again marvel at the hollowness of english national teams - the football world cup, the english rugby team and now the cricket team. Puffed up by their number one enemy... the british media... they simply don't have enough self belief or steel. The British Bulldog no longer exists on the sporting field, if indeed it does anywhere at all in this once great country.

  • 36.
  • At 10:48 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Max wrote:

As an Aussie living in the UK, watching cricket since I was a kid in Australia, I've seen this type of thing happen at the Gabba so often on the first day of a series and touring teams not recover; it's a real worry for England.

I for one was glad England won last year. In all seriousness it had become a joke of a sporting "contest" the ashes. I was completely astounded by the outpouring of emotion I saw in England. The celebrations were completely over the top, not tempered at all by knowledge of the previous 20 years of failure. I could understand relief being the over-riding emotion but euphoria? Especially with such a short time until the defence (in such a tough place to play cricket).

The thing is, I really like your players and think they could succeed on this tour. But once your patriotic press takes a sporting team to heart (as they've done with the cricketers) look out, just look at your football team to see what happens.

Why on earth Monty wasn't picked is beyond me. Besides him being a QUALIITY bowler (memo to English selectors, Australia ALWAYS struggle against a talented spinner even if they are a bit erractic, Tuffers anyone?) as a Brisbane local and having watched tests there for many years, the pitch always takes spin after the first 2 days. It is actually the best test match wicket in Australia. Still has a lot of character, changes over the 5 days. Warney loves bowling there late on in a test match. Monty would have loved it, gee, even KP was turning it on the first day!

I read here late last night comments from Jonathan Agnew that it doesn't turn in Brisbane and nearly fell off my chair! Great researching ability Aggers. Just searching for excuses to back up the conservative selection of Giles.

I really do hope England improve tomorrow but fear it's all up to poor Freddie...

  • 37.
  • At 10:49 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • skipper wrote:

there's a long way to go yet, my aussie friends.
we lose one day and you think it's yours again! what do they say about fat ladies and singing?!

clearly we are concerned but what a crucial toss to lose.

harmison must come out raging tomorrow morning.

i cringe every time i see james anderson bowl. simply not good or quick enough. i cannot see that he will succed on this tour. please prove me wrong james.

mahmood is a better prospect. in terms of danger and threat, anderson poses none, whereas at leat mahmood is quick.

somebody will contribute with the bat for the "ashes holders". bell or pieterson will score big (don't prove me wrong lads!!).

no more days to aclimatise. good old british bull dog spirit required immediatley, harmy and the boys.

stand up and be counted tomorrow...PLEASE...!

  • 38.
  • At 10:55 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Jeff Keogh wrote:

Very well said, Nick.

Some people are clearly too emotionally tied up in this, and schadenfreud is a corrupting if tempting pleasure.

Mind you, I do find the sudden return of the England supporters' paranoia somewhat amusing. Get a grip, everyone. Remember that in the last series Australia won the first match comprehensively.

This is only day one of the first test.

  • 39.
  • At 10:58 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • duncan wrote:

Boycott, Botham, and Bumble have been preaching for what seems years about England's bowlers hitting a good line and length. Harmison and Anderson rarely do. Nicholas did Panesar does, and Dalrymple at least made batsmen think. Harmison is wild, Anderson unproven, neither reliable enough for Test cricket.
This has been clear and obvious since we lost Jones, the most consistent of bowlers. Fletcher's mission should surely have been to find similar bowlers

  • 40.
  • At 11:08 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • paul ochieng wrote:

i am happy that finally England after all the noise they were making before the Ashes are getting what they deserve:A thrashing!!!

thanks Ricky,teach them how to play ball, and not make a lot of noise.

  • 41.
  • At 11:11 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Max wrote:

To Nick at 10:25

You're on extremely shaky ground as as Englishmen talking about other countries media. You do realise, don't you, that no other country has such trashy tabloid papers with topless women on page 3 selling millions of copies every day. My wifes a Swede, I have friends from all over the world, we all say the same thing: we can't believe that Brits buy these tabloids in such big numbers. Maybe you can't see it becuse you're from there, I don't blame you then...

Rupert Murdoch is an Aussie (I'm certainly not proud of it, let me tell you...) and he has high
selling newspapers in Australia. While they are not great papers, the level of trashiness pales into insignificance against his British papers. I'll never forget my English mates laughing at the look of shock on my face when I saw my first page 3 girl. I still don't know how you people allow this to happen...

Aussie papers instilling fear and hatred? Compared to racist tabloids in UK, I think you're barking up the wrong tree there.

  • 42.
  • At 11:13 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • simonh wrote:

It was a very poor toss to lose - but that is luck and you cannot plan for that, but you can plan for team selection. The opening ball was a total travesty, one that will be remembered for test series to come, one that Harmy will have to carry with him and find an excuse for with our ever questioning media. How many times has Harmy EVER bowled a ball THAT wide? Not just in games, in practice sessions, nets etc.? How can someone who makes his living bowling a cricket ball make such a stupendous error when all the commentators made great play on how important the opening session of this test match would be. It beggars belief and is inexcusable from the team management that the problems Harmy have not been dealt with. We need his fire and aggression, without it we will not be able to bowl them out. Also Warne loves the Gabba, why are we not fielding 2 spinners ....?

  • 43.
  • At 11:18 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Alan Kavangh wrote:

What a despondent lot we are. Have faith!

Australia had the better of the first day on a friendly pitch but this is day 1 of a long series and much can happen. We have a lot of talent in the team and I for one will be cheering them all the way - Come on England!

  • 44.
  • At 11:19 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • baggins wrote:

"it did not help that the Barmy Army were being all quiet." - so England cant play good cricket unless all their fans are sitting together and singing??!!

Oliver - this is an AWAY series. Why should CA seat all your fans together, or keep the Aussie ones quiet? If the team can't motivate themselves on the first day of an Ashes series then what will? And if your fans only sing when they're winning - hang on I've heard that somewhere before.........

Also Nick - our media didn't instill this hatred in us. A few English judges did 220 years ago when you sent us to live in Australia with some corrupt soldiers as bosses.

  • 45.
  • At 11:31 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Vestan Pance wrote:

We're are suffering from the same problem as the England football team. Too many off form players, who are only picked because of name and reputation.
We need some youthful exuberance and a kick up the bum, but sadly we will persist with the same faces each time and suffer a 4-0 or 5-0 whitewash.

I expect Australia to rack up 600 before declaring and skittle us out for about 350.

I'd love England to retain the ashes, but as a realist, it isnt going to happen. I just hope there are some decent battles worth watching, but its hope more than confidence.

  • 46.
  • At 11:42 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Fred wrote:

Idiot! We are one day into a tour playing on one of the best batting pitches i've seen! I'd be more concerned as to why Haydn and Martyn failed!

  • 47.
  • At 11:44 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Jim Sullivan wrote:

You have to hand it to Ponting for his work with the bat but its the first day, the boy's know what they have to do and I have confidence that they will come back in to it.

  • 48.
  • At 11:53 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Nick Metcalfe wrote:

I couldn't believe that Flintoff didn't have at least five close in fielders on the off during at least the first 6 overs. Where was the aggression? England have to really attack Australia if they want to get even close to retaining the ashes. I have been living living in Australia for the past thirty two years and quite frankly it's getting very embarrising when year after year we wait for England to be at least competitive. Come on England roll up your sleeves and start handing out some punishment.

  • 49.
  • At 11:56 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Matty B wrote:

With regards to the barmy army, and the crowd support inside the gabba, is it any wonder that the crowd are "subdued" as a result of the strict behaviour regulations that are being imposed by the authorities at the venue?

Whilst listenening to the ABC coverage in my seat at the Gabba I was surprised to hear Aggers state repeatedly that he was pleased with the crowds behaviour and that it was because everyone was so engrossed in he game. "There hasn't even been a Mexican wave" was another comment.

The police presence in our section (19) had 8 constant local police officers monitoring behaviour. At an early outbreak of social banter and singing. The tone was set early in the day when one guy started to get a mexican wave going....after bthe police had a word to him he took his seat again. 2 minutes later 8 officers appeared and ejected him from the ground. Mexican waves have been banned.

I hear also that the barmy army's trumpet player was not allowed in (or not allowed in with his trumpet depending on which story you listen to)

The fragmentation of the crowd is one thing, but the constant police presence and the "dob in a yob" campaign certainly spoilt what was supposed to be a great atmosphere.

I think with the ticketting fiasco and the new crowd behaviour policies, Cricket Australia is mor scaed of the Barmy Army than they are of the English team.

Lets hope tomorrow they are less severe on fans bringing a bit of enjoyment to the game and let the army get behind the team. We're not yobs. It's what we do at games.

  • 50.
  • At 11:58 AM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Jim Sullivan wrote:

Do you not think that talk of what happened 220 years ago, English Judges and hatred have little to do with the ashes test of today or indeed modern day life in general.

Behave yourself

  • 51.
  • At 12:04 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Tom Walker wrote:

never mind, the first day of many, but what a great start for the Aussies!!

I just think the whole series has come a little too early for England. I don't think anyone believed England were going to mount any serious challenge in Austrailia, just look at the facts:

Reliable opener has gone home with stress, best player/allrounder has just come back from injury, the captain is missing, Harmison has been out of sorts for ages, Jones injured. Added to this the ball is not going to swing as much over there than in England (our main weapon). It's clear to everyone that the Aussies would have to play poorly for the series to be closely contested and they are too focused to do that. The only thing they can do is hang in there and show some fight like they did in India.

It will be a different story when they come back over to England. No Warne, McGrath, Langer, Gilchrist etc. Should have a good shout at reclaiming the Ashes....

  • 53.
  • At 12:05 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Paul Hawkins wrote:

No stage fright just losing the toss and bowling to top class batsmen on a plumb wicket. The England batsmen when on form are every bit as good as the Aussies but unfortunately we lost the toss and now have to play catch up and that is when the batting sometimes fails. Flintoff was superb and Giles was made to look so good that, being a Monty fan, I think Panesar would have been made to look even better. England are carrying a liability with their coach and chief selector. He is playing his second best wicketkeeper and according to most his second best spinner. Do we reallly think Giles batting is a factor ? Australia will get at least 550 and let's hope England can hold out for a draw and maybe win the toss in the second test.

  • 54.
  • At 12:06 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Frank Ainslie wrote:

I was at the Gabba today and saw all the action. England needed to win the toss if it were to have any chance. It didn't and the outcome was predictable.

There is no question that England has been unlucky this time around with injuries and so on. However, I believe that a false expectation has arisen in the minds of the British public that does not tally with the facts. The fact that England won the last Ashes series was more to do with the sub standard performance of the Australians than the superiority of England. To expect to come to the home of the best team in the world and win is totally unrealistic. England do not have a team that is up to the challenge. Remember, I saw England in action today and apart from Flintoff, the bowlers were unimpressive, to put it mildly.

There seems to be an expectation that England will perform with the bat. Frankly, I do not believe this will be so. Remember, no batsman in the England side has played Ashes cricket in Australia before. Further, they are facing two of the greatest bowlers that have ever lived. They will be lucky to get 250, never mind the 500 plus they will need to catch Australia.

Oh! By the way I am a Pom so I do not have an axe to grind.

The Australians have been accused of being arrogant. I think the shoe is on the other foot. The English have been boasting ever since the last Ashes series finished. They are now crashing back to earth in a big way! Australia has won almost every cricket title on this planet in the last ten years but they never carried on the way England did when the Ashes were recaptured after 18 years.

When I was at the Gabba today, I exclaimed aloud, "Why is Harmison coming off after two overs?" A kiwi next to me replied, "Because he's been bowling pies!" Maybe it was humble pie he should have been bowling?"

  • 55.
  • At 12:08 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Dave Lillis wrote:

Very poor (apart from Freddy's Bowling!). To change the new ball bowler for one of the 1st change bowlers after 2 over says it all. After seeing Kevin showing Giles how to spin the ball, 2 things struck me, 1) we could have done with picking Monty- A spinner who can rip through the order of one of the best spinplaying sides in the world (pakistan) surely has to be included? 2) We'll be in Soapy Bubble when Shane comes on when we bat assuming we survive the pace attack.

Tho I still hope we can bat sensibly- The Aussies will prob bat till Tea tomorrow night, and then put us in- we just need to stand firm and not do anything silly, and there will be a draw on the cards.

  • 56.
  • At 12:18 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • tevor wrote:

Just a couple of quick points, many comments are stating that the English Press is awful etc- this is in the main a correct statement however does the tabloid press reflect the nature of the society? well I believe that it is impossible to judge an entire nation on its media. As for the cricket yes it was a bad day if you are english and good day if you are australian, but one day doesn't make a test and one test doesn't make a series. I was at the last oval test on the last south african tour to the UK it was a beautiful day a great batting track and on that first day the Saffies destroyed the English attack however the bowlers managed to get stuck in and when I attended the fifth day it was england that won. To use an ashes example- the old trafford test last year is classic for showing that cricket whilst played over five days involves many changes and swings of fortune.
I just hope that all those posting realise that the one thing that ANY true cricket fan would want is a hard fought, fair played, even contest because that is in the best interests of the one thing all posters seem to have in common - cricket and after the last twelve months when crickets reputation has been under fire (oval test and umpires and refusals to play, the issue of drugs testing and continuing issue of gambling in the sport) it would be nice to think that all who care about the sport (the cricket media - not the tabloids who rarely follow the sport, the supporters- who have a responsiblity to the game they love to ensure it isn't tarnished like soccer and the players- who will try their hearts out and lose or win with good grace) would realise that the spirit of the game, so ablely displayed in the last series (particularly by Flintoff and Warne) is more important that petty rows about national pride.

  • 57.
  • At 12:19 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Rob Hughes wrote:

Everything England did on the first day, from team selection to field placings, smacked of caution and fear. We showed Australia that we are scared of them - the exact opposite of our approach last year.

Of course it was never going to be easy, bowling first on a flat pitch against top-class batsmen, but in that situation top-class bowlers should be even more determined to put pressure on the batsmen, and if the pitch isn't doing anything, you have to be inventive - try slower balls, yorkers, off-cutters, aggressive short bowling - there was none of this. They all just plodded in and put the ball there - there weren't a lot of terrible deliveries, but there was always at least one in every over they could hit for four, which they did. They can moan about the pitch being flat, but you just know that when Australia bowl, the likes of McGrath and Lee will find a way to take wickets - that's the mark of a top-class bowler.

The decision to play Giles exposed England's cautious approach. I understand the logic behind it, but I think the logic was flawed. Of course Giles' runs could make the difference in a close game, but this is no longer a close game. And if the pitch is flat, surely you need as many wicket-taking bowlers as possible. People have said it doesn't matter because the pitch won't take spin, but that's even more reason to pick someone who spins it more. It sends out the wrong message as it makes it look like the management have no faith in the batsmen, but more importantly it weakens the bowling attack. Last year we had four wicket-taking fast bowlers and one containing spinner. We've lost Jones so that has put more pressure on the other three established quicks to take most of the wickets. Panesar was therefore effectively a replacement for Jones - an extra attacking option who could have helped us keep the pressure on the batsmen the way we did last year. But now, with Harmison struggling and Hoggard ineffective in these conditions, it puts all the pressure on Flintoff to take most of the wickets, which can't be good.

Finally, Flintoff's captaincy: he is a teriffic, inspirational player but I don't think he brings this approach to his captaincy. He's still feeling his way into it, and it shows - as a result he was too cautious, and not imaginative enough. Again, if the pitch is flat you have to be inventive - set unusual fields, keep them guessing, make things uncomfortable for them. Instead he just tried to be steady and solid, but that won't work against Australia - you can't try to contain them, because they'll just take charge - you have to try to dominate them, put them under pressure.

We were never going to dominate this series the way we did in 2005, but if we're not going to get thrashed the players have to develop some confidence in themselves, and start to show it in the way they play.

  • 58.
  • At 12:24 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Steve Roberts wrote:

I must comment here...

I dont like these billiard table wickets.

Have the Aussies played well? We arent really sure. When the toss is vital I feel it is to the detriment of the game.

  • 59.
  • At 12:49 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • rashidahmed wrote:

agreatbattingfrom aaustrliasidetosawengland a diffcult time their captain rickypointing have a great mind 346+-3 a badfilinding frmaustrlia and agreeeeeeeeeeeat forautrilia

  • 60.
  • At 12:53 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Joel wrote:

I can't believe that Ashley Giles was picked ahead of Panesar. This guy can't spin a coin let alone a cricket ball. Mahmood should be in the test side ahead of James Anderson based on previous form, but that is arguable.

Panesar is an attacking spinner who can take wickets on any track...whereas Giles lol.

Anyway good luck to England, but man for man I reckon the Aussies will take the Ashes back EASILY!

  • 61.
  • At 12:55 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Modge wrote:

Flintoff v Australia

  • 62.
  • At 01:02 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Owain wrote:

Maybe we shouldnt be giving the boys such a hard time. They'll come good. They came good after we lost the first test in summer 2005 and we can do it again. We've had one bad day watching the team, but I think on this pitch the mullet-brigade are gonna face the same problems as us when Mcgrath totters up to the crease to bowl to Freddy and Pietersen. We proved in Pakistan that when we play badly we can still put 400 on the board. Patience is key, ok so Harmy's first ball was a shocker and we shouldve picked Monty, but Im 100% behind the boys. We have to remember that all the pressure is on the Aussies to win back the urn, let them have their proverbial 15mins. For as we proved last time round when Mcgrath predicted a 5-0 whitewash we wiped the smile off the other side of his face, whilst simultaneously helping him to put on an ankle strapping. All my sympathies are with the England team, however, not for their poor bowling performances, but for the terrible beer they produce down under and the total lack of decent barbers in Aus, who still believe that a Waddle-esque mullet is en vogue.

The games not over until the fat Aussie sings!

  • 63.
  • At 01:09 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Anasuya Mathur wrote:

Hey, at least you folks didn't have to watch your team getting hammered in South Africa. I did, and it was painful going! From 62/3 to 91 all out in the Durban ODI. Good luck to England though for day 2 at Brisbane!

  • 64.
  • At 01:29 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Mike wrote:

So Australia have batted very well on a good batting pitch and the fisrt day belongs to them.

Two things to remember 1) England have some pretty good batsmen 2) Australia have to claim 20 wickets to win.

Why all the doom and gloom?

Poor Freddy must be having nightmares about having to bowl about a thousand overs in this series, while Warne is having pleasant dreams of loads of wickets, if Petterson turns it what is Warne going to do? When the coach selects a people who can bat instead of doing what they are supposed to do ie Giles at 8 then the batsmen havnt done the jobs required, batsmen bat bowlers bowl and if they chip a few runs it is a bargain. The best bowling side has to play 20 wickets are required to win the game. Fair enough last ashes England were hammered but the tone had been set, the Aussie batsmen were roughed up this time..... well what a mess, Harmison so obviously has a fragile mental state and the Aussies wiil go hard at him.
Glenn it looks as if 5 -0 is about right, come on guys give all of us whose sleep patterns are turned upside down a reason to stay up all night.

  • 66.
  • At 01:55 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • PottedMeat wrote:

Ollie, given that the entire BBC has deserted the world of cricket, bar a token effort to secure some highlights which nobody will watch, why do you think we have any interest in hearing what you have to say? I'm actually surprised you have anything at all to write, since the message boards were closed down.

  • 67.
  • At 02:09 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Chris Jones wrote:

I think we need to put the first day into perspective o.k. ponting hits a ton, what did we expect from the best batsman in the world at the moment. Australia have a good day but it’s only one day! The media have a lot to answer for in all this as I don’t recall so many people getting so worked up by a bad start to a test series in the late 80’s and all of the 90’s. I cant go back any further as I’m in my 20’s, yes it was reported but not plastered on every page of every paper. People think King of Spain was a bad selection then what would they have made of a 40 year old John Embury turning out in the early 90’s. England’s selection process in years gone by was so awful it makes me shiver to think back. I admit Monty is a good spin bowler but so is Giles. Some people said play both but what would come of that? An Australia middle order attack of baseball proportion I don’t doubt. Giles deserves his place due to his experience and I don’t remember people complaining about his selection during the last ashes. Harmison on the other hand don’t get me started, bring back Devon Malcolm I say.

  • 68.
  • At 02:13 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Matthew Berry wrote:

come on people lets get 150% behind the lads. All this rubbish about the aussies being fantastic is so frustrating, at the end of the day its 11 v 11. theyv all got the same amount of limbs! we showed in 2005 we can compete (the guyz that say england were lucky to win the series are dumb what about the rain at old trafford you fools, you must have selective memorys), i just wish that harmy could hit a few helmets tommorow. ask yourselves whats the one thing an aussie numbers 6,7,8 will not want to see. Harmison and freddy (especially harmy) steaming in and hurting people. I dont care where it hits them, elbow, head, forearm fingers, hrum (borat)(or box) come on england. Ps iv gotta fiver on bell to be top runs scorer in this test match. all you doubters start thinking positive, its a flat track imagine what pieterson and freddie could if they get in. in my view there are 3 absolute explosive match winners, we have two of them, aussies have warney, greatest test player of all time which makes it tricky lol

  • 69.
  • At 02:43 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Michael Brett wrote:

Well played, Ollie, keep up the good work. They should send you out there to carry the flag.

Uncle Michael.

  • 70.
  • At 02:46 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • dave wrote:

I think ihave figured out why Giles was picked instead of Panesar. It was to enable the selectores to pick a second rate wicket keeper who might score runs. This might save a game but if he drops a catch or misses a stumping we lose easily! Why dont we pick batsmen who we are confident in, to score the runs and pick a more specialist keeper who missess nothing!!!!!

I think its just a get out clause by the selectors to try to defend the ashes rather than going out to put pressure on the Aussies and beat them!

  • 71.
  • At 03:31 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Anton wrote:

Why do England still persist with the over rated James Anderson. He should be dropped for Panesar. It seems so simple........

BTW, I am a South African so am neutral in this game.

  • 72.
  • At 04:16 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Sam wrote:

Unbelieveable. How many of you people were claiming to be the biggest cricket fans last sumer when the ashes finaly returned. But now turn on a side who has been ravaged by injury Simply because of one days worth of cricket. Admitedly the bowling was poor but this has always been a batters wicket and even before a ball was bowled a draw was a likely result. Id save your opinions till we have batted then im sure you will all be singing the teams praises again. This match will be clearly be a draw with both sides scoring high in the first innings.

P.S Monty had to play but gilo will still do a job.

  • 73.
  • At 04:57 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • James wrote:

It's fair to say we looked nervous, and the pitches are not going to be the same back home. We could complain about the weather, but then we'd get labelled as winging poms!...again!

We have a team oozing with talent, we are a great test team. So lets show the Aussies that a summer ago was not a fluke!! We will settle oursleves and we'll find our feet. It had better be quickly though becasue if we get spanked in this test it is going to be hard to come back from. Esspecially this far from home.

  • 74.
  • At 05:07 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Darren wrote:

One good point for England, at least they didn't drop 3 catches as usual. Encouraging!!!??

  • 75.
  • At 05:10 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Pablo van G wrote:

Hmmmm - Nerves?

You need to have a heart to suffer from nerves, England with the exception of th skipper showed none.

What a conservative bunch, not playing Monty is a blessing for us in Ozzie land, while Giles can bat a bit, I thought you should always pick your best bowlers and batters , you only have one true all rounder and he ain't Giles.
Imagine that picking an under prepared bowler hoping he would save a Test match with the BAT!! What folly!!!!

Monty has the potential to be your best spinner since Embury and this is how you treat him?

Your loss, our gain.

  • 76.
  • At 06:10 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Andrew wrote:

As with most message boards, a lack of perspective from many posters on both sides. England haven't become a bad team overnight but without conditions that favour them, several injuries and facing a very good Australian team, it was always going to be a struggle. Basically an exact replica of what the Aussies faced last summer in Engalnd. It's not over after one day, so no need to get hysterically depressed, but to most people I know it wasn't entirely a surprise, especially after England lost the toss.

The one thing I can't understand is some Aussies seem to think that all England fans and media expected us to win. I haven't read those papers or talked to those people, if they exist. Of course we enjoyed winning the last series, but the last time I was in Australia (several times) their press is at least as rabid and one-eyed as ours can be, if not more so. And today's widepsread English depression after just one bad day surely shows a lack of self-confidence, not an excess of it?

Can't people enjoy the cricket, wait til the series is over, and then congratulate whichever team wins? Over a five-Test series, the best team does tend to win (that includes last summer!).

  • 77.
  • At 07:44 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Gabbo wrote:

I am a native of Brisbane, and I have seen Warne and other spinners destroy a team in the forth innings on that crumbling Goodna clay. England need to bowl well soon or the 'Gabba will consume them.

  • 78.
  • At 08:06 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Tony wrote:

What a fiasco, England will lose by an innings. Hussey will make least 300. Don't worry, in '54
we lost by an innings in the first test and then thrashed the Aussies thereafter thanks to messers Tyson and Statham. I expect the same.
Ha Ha Ha

Let's not all get too down hearted. We we're in the game up until Ponting and Hussey got going, and we can still fight back. We have an in from batting unit, and the Aussie's have just 4 bowlers. What if Lee and Clark have a day like Anderson and Harmison yesterday?? McGrath and Warne will have to do a lot of bowling! Any how let's at least wait until we've had a bat before dismissing our chances. And also remember that before this first test most England fans(and maybe players) would have taken a draw to get us off and running in the series. The draw in my mind is the most likely result.

  • 80.
  • At 10:44 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Shmick wrote:

Stage-fright? In Bris-Vegas??

I'd like to see what happens when the boys travel down to the MCG on Boxing Day where the crowd is expected to tip 95,000 on day 1.

  • 81.
  • At 11:01 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Ian wrote:

It is really going to be painful for the Aussies to get so far ahead in the first test and still get wupped.

Regarding our bowling, that will simple spur on our batsmen to all put in a sound performance and score heavily.

Jones and Giles will get into the 100's, ably supported by the best ever rearguard action of the apparently weak tail.

After finishing off the Aussies tomorrow, batting with panache to get ahead, the bowlers will make amends for their inferior first innings performance, by destroying the Aussies in their 2nd innings.

England will come bouncing in to bat to smash the ball around, take the test, and leave the Aussies in disarray.

OR we will all be suffering with a stress-related illness, which by the way, I think must have been passed on to Harmison before Trescothick departed.

Either way let's enjoy it!

  • 82.
  • At 11:01 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Keith wrote:

After all the pumping up and let down of the first day's play we are already assuming the little urn is lost. I sem to remember that we had a good hiding in the first test in 2005 but bounced back. I must admit that Harmison must be the most frustrating bowler ever. So much talent and natural aggressive ability that fails to come to the fore. Come on Harmy, we all know you can do it so start believing in yourself and give us hope forthe rest of the series.

  • 83.
  • At 11:02 PM on 23 Nov 2006,
  • Evan Jones wrote:

Why is everyone being so depressing about this? It is really getting on my nerves. Why can't you people just get it into your thick heads that the batting surface was a dream for batsmen, england didnt bowl badly, australia played well on a surface offering little for the bowlers, and ENGLAND havent batted yet. I think they will keep their heads, although Aussies will score around 450 - 500, and I think England will match it, and draw the test - not an unthinkable task.

STOP being so negative!

  • 84.
  • At 03:49 AM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Ann wrote:

You all worry to much - same as the English team - you can see it on their faces, they need to relax and play their regular game. Bit hard when Harmison is obviously a no talent friend of Freddys who is a tremendously entertaining, talented player. Shame you don't have more like him.

  • 85.
  • At 09:03 AM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • S. Feekins wrote:

The aussie cricketers are going to take no prisoners after their defeat in last Ashes. Facing the Aussie crowds who are equally obsessed with winning the England players will need nerves of steel and lots of support. Jet lag, heat and the Aussie hype can be daunting enough but Ponting and his team on home turf will be relentless.

Its no picnic for our boys out there and lets not forget someone has to do it. So lets cut some slack and give them the support they deserve not hang them out to dry!

If they get slaughtered - at least they had the guts to get out there. There's nothing more shameful than a whinging pom being disloyal to their team - as an Aussie would say!

  • 86.
  • At 10:25 AM on 24 Nov 2006,
  • Nick wrote:


Don't get me wrong, I dislike the British tabloid media as much as any other person with half a brain should. Having said that, I think you're doing the British cricket lovers a disservice if you think for a moment they share the tub-thumping mentality of the red tops.

Having lived in Australia for 3 years before returning home, I found your gutter press easily as capable of racial slurs and nationalistic nonsense as anywhere else!

Maybe you can't see it because you're from there, I don't blame you then... ;)

  • 87.
  • At 07:43 AM on 25 Nov 2006,
  • john wrote:

Its the first test , we are losing, yes But its a five match series.

We could lose 5-0 yes, but we could win 4-1 or anthing in between. Is this the first time that a first test has been so one sided, and then reversed in fortune?

Its not over till the fat lady sings.

In any event if England lose , then what is clear is that Each side is best on their respective home soil.

I think England are doing okay considering Vauhan Jones, Trescothink and others are all unable to play.

  • 88.
  • At 09:26 AM on 25 Nov 2006,
  • Paul Bennett wrote:

I feel totally desolate at waking up this morning to this news. What a catastrophe!

The only shred of comfort I can glean from this is that the result doesn't necessarily reflect the skill levels in the teams.

So much of the game could have gone differently. If England had won the toss and batted then they would almost definitely have posted a useful score.

If any of those early streaky shots from Hayden and Langer had gone to hand, and if Ponting had been given out when patently lbw to Giles on day 1 then who knows what might have happened?

If KP was given not out today when patently not lbw, and if the umpire had opened his eyes when Flintoff was given out and noticed that it was in fact a no ball then we may have even scored a half decent amount.

So many things have gone Australia's way and against England.

Starting with the toss we have had no luck whatsoever. Taking the element of "luck" out of this game there wouldn't be such a huge gulf between the teams.

Obviously Harmy has been poor but the others would have been far more successful on home soil.

So ... big sigh ... things could have been very different. Let's hope that next match we can recover some sense of pride and self-belief and give those Aussies a pasting.

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