BBC BLOGS - Tom Fordyce
« Previous | Main | Next »

Getting away with it

Post categories:

Tom Fordyce | 21:07 UK time, Sunday, 12 July 2009

You'd describe it as a remake of the Great Escape, except in the original the plucky Englishmen don't get away with it.

Quite how England dug their way out of Stalag Ponting will have their Australian prison guards scratching their heads for years to come.

They were goners, finished, handcuffed to the wall and waiting for the firing squad to put them out of their misery.

At 12.20pm, they were 70-5, still 169 runs in arrears with the weather set fair and 70 overs left in the day. With three hours and 40 overs to go, they were 159-7. Then they were nine down, still behind and with 69 balls to survive.

It shouldn't make sense. It shouldn't have happened. A lot of people still can't believe it did.

Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar were England's unlikely heroesIf the starring role went to Paul Collingwood for his epic five-and-a-half hour turn as a brick wall, the supporting cast as the drama reached its final act was almost as laudable.

James Anderson, inspired by the ghost of Trevor Bailey, blocking and blocking for 53 balls and 72 minutes. Graeme Swann, wearing bouncers on his body with grim determination. And while not even the most maverick director would cast Monty Panesar as the ideal getaway driver, as the sun sank low in Cardiff he was being garlanded for the bravest performance of his career.

Memories of Old Trafford in 2005 came flooding back. Then it was Brett Lee and Glenn McGrath who hung on the death - but that was for 24 balls. That Anderson and Panesar survived for almost three times as long left the Welsh crowd cavorting and crowing as if England had pulled off a famous victory.

They didn't. For 11 of the 14 sessions, they were dominated by a superior Australian side who did all the small things better and most of the big ones, too. Without the rain that wiped out Saturday's evening session, England would almost certainly have lost.

Despite all that, they go to Lord's for the start of the second Test on Thursday still at parity in this Ashes series. No wonder Ricky Ponting looked like he wanted to bite clean through the bottle of champagne he was given as man of the match.

It had been an utterly dismal morning for England, without a hint of the dramas to follow. Any early optimism had been punctured like a harpooned hot-air balloon when Kevin Pietersen's unprotected off stump was pinged backwards by Ben Hilfenhaus's straight one.

If that moment shocked the Cardiff crowd, there was something horribly predictable about the dismissal of Andrew Strauss, caught behind cutting at Nathan Hauritz the ball after hitting the same bowler for four. It might have been adrenaline, or a desire to be positive, but it felt like a cheap way for the captain's wicket to fall.

Matt Prior's shot was even worse. At a time when Collingwood was prepared to sweat blood to remain at the crease, Prior tossed his wicket away with a shot that had Geoff Boycott on the brink of smashing the window of the Test Match Special commentary box and marching across the outfield to clout him round the head.

At that stage, the mood in the ground among England's supporters had moved beyond dismay to anger. Then to laughter. Lists were drawn up of the most depressing England displays of all time - Adelaide 2006, Port-of-Spain in 1994, Zimbabwe 1996, Holland at Lord's last month.

At lunchtime, a tenor came on to the outfield to sing a pre-arranged version of Land of Hope and Glory. The irony was as bitter as coffee grounds. It would have been more fitting had the singer grabbed the microphone and blown a big, fat raspberry for four-minutes.

Even midway through the afternoon, England's fate appeared sealed. Andrew Flintoff stuck around for a while but nicked one to Ponting at second slip; Collingwood went 44 minutes without scoring a run.

It was only as partnerships slowly took root in the barren soil that hope began to grow. Stuart Broad stuck around to add 32 for the seventh wicket, Swann 62 for the eighth. For the home supporters, it almost made things worse.

"It's not the despair, Laura. I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand."

So says John Cleese's character, Brian Stimpson, in the 1986 farce Clockwise. On reflection, he had things easy.

He only had to deal with missed trains, car breakdowns and becoming a fugitive from the police. England fans had to watch Collingwood nurdle and dead-bat their team gradually back from the brink, allowing outlandish optimism to bloom and then just as suddenly wither when he played his only loose shot of the day to fall with 11 overs left.

Collingwood sunk to his knees when Mike Hussey took the catch at backward point. So did most people in the place. It felt like the cruellest way for the fatal blow to be delivered.

That should have been the signal for the credits to roll, but Anderson and Panesar were reading from a different script.

Every run was cheered, and then every dot ball. Ponting, having puzzlingly persisted with Mitchell Johnson despite a woeful spell of wides and leave-alones, then switched to part-time spinner Marcus North. Hilfenhaus, the pick of the day's bowlers, was left chewing his nails in the deep.

Hands hid faces. Fingers flicked through playing regulations. When Anderson flayed successive fours of Peter Siddle's attempted yorkers, England were ahead - two more overs knocked off.

Ricky PontingThere was still time for Australia to win. A wicket and they could have had an over, maybe two, to score 15 and snatch victory.

It never came. The England pair stood firm. Australian heads sunk in disbelief.

Whether this extraordinary denouement makes any difference to the final series score is difficult to say.

Australia were streets ahead in almost every department, England abject. Logically, there's only one team that should be feeling good about themselves as they head back across the Severn.

Then again, momentum can be a funny thing. So can confidence. England, down all match, finished on the up, Australia on the down. The series is alive.


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    What a memorable test match. Paul Collingwood was outstanding. Sensible batting by Monty and Anderson. Players can journey to Lords holding their heads high. Fantastic preparations. Best wishes to the two sides.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 2.

    Well written Tom, except for two points that you opened and closed with...
    'Pontings prison guards' wont be scratching their heads trying to figure out how England managed to grab a draw - theyre not that clueless as to where they went wrong and what they need to do next time.
    And finally, 'Australia's confidence on a down'?! No - results like that do not result in a dip in Aussie confidence - just the opposite in fact.
    Perhaps this is why some of the English fans dont understand the benefits of the focused mindset of the Australian team. The current team has alot of relative newbies but its not as if theyve been plucked from obscurity and thrown into the deep end, playing like an individual still out on the local pitch. The mantle of older, retired players hangs easy in the dressing room.
    Its a learning curve that they are all keen to be on & they understand the privilege of wearing the baggy green.
    Australia wont give up - they'll work together as a team, giving 100% in their pursuit of winning the Ashes!

  • Comment number 3.

    The kicker to Australia is that Monty Panesar is one of the worst batters ever. Maybe complacency kicked in when he walked towards the crease, but a terrific last wicket stand of what? 10? Not the highest scoring ever but one of the most vital.

    Cricket is the funny old game, at tea earlier today looked like the Aussies where heading to England dancing in their kangaroos, now Strauss and co have to capitalate on this confidence boost.

  • Comment number 4.

    i was there awesome !

  • Comment number 5.

    The only reason the Australians may be a little disappointed is because they now know that the 5-0 whitewash is out of reach. The English might as well get the the physio and doctors to waste time from day 1, session 1 because that's all that's going to save them. Bring on Lords and bring on an Australian win of the toss... the match will be over by day 3.

  • Comment number 6.

    Bopara lasted 3 balls
    Cook lasted 12 balls
    Pietersen lasted 24 ball.
    Panesar lasted . . . . . 35 balls NOT OUT.
    So, why can't our established batsmen stay around longer ?

  • Comment number 7.

    Test cricket at its best. Except Collingwood England top orders failed miserably but the tail enders played some excellent cricket for a hard fought draw. Congrats to them. But from Aussies point of view they were pretty much in the game but failed to take the last wicket so they have to blame themselves.

  • Comment number 8.

    Tremendous day's cricket with the only sour note being the disgraceful sending on of the physio and 12th man twice - how inept was that? Strauss showcased his lack of international batting and captaincy skills during this test, but that was the cherry on the cake. Pitiful.

    Anyone think England could do with Bell opening instead of Cook? I do! And make KP bat three, not four too. Swann out for Onions or, god forbid, Harmison too. While we can talk up the positives of Harmison, really, his 'resurrection' is a damning indictment on the state of English cricket. The biggest wimp and whiner in cricket getting a call up due to a lack of strike bowlers says a lot.

  • Comment number 9.

    A fantastic test match in the end. Tonight, English fans will be delighted and relieved. However, I doubt it will do much for English confidence in the long-term. They were outplayed; tail-end batting heroics, however gratifying, do not provide a platform to build a series victory on.

    Sending on the physio at the end was embarrassing. No need for it whatsoever and it pretty much summed up Strauss's hapless contribution as captain.

  • Comment number 10.

    The England team was comprehensively outplayed in all categories. Let's remember that had a session not been washed out on day 4 the songs would have been different.

    On the other hand the "woeful" Australian attack took 19 English wickets in just over 7 sessions. The remaining 8 sessions were filled with Australian batting and in which the much vaunted England attack managed just 6 wickets.

    At least Collingwood showed he was up for a fight. I remain of the view that he is one of the more limited specialist batsmen going around. And yet a man who has indeed learned his limits as the great philosopher Clint Eastwood recommends.

    A draw maybe but honours shared? Hardly.

  • Comment number 11.

    Felt like a win to me.

    ...and how about those whinging aussies!

  • Comment number 12.

    Hate to say it, but the Aussies will win the Ashes easily.

    England were just plucky, and Ponting made some wrong decisions.

    Normal service will be resumed at Lords with Australia winning easily.

  • Comment number 13.

  • Comment number 14.

    Having Lived in Aus for 5 years this result will infuriate them. They are clearly the better team in all departments however if England can re-group and play to the best of their ability even the Aussies can be plauged by self doubt. let's hope so anyway and thank God for Paul Collingwood!!!!

  • Comment number 15.

    Hey Booysy I think I would prefer to have Paul Collingwood with me in the trenches than you with an attitude like that!!!

  • Comment number 16.

    Although Englands top order were awful in the second Innings, its really the bowling that was responsible for England limping towards an undeserved draw. 6 wickets for 650+ with 4 centuries is an appalling display no matter how generous the wicket or the class of the batsmen. The first bowling Innings is vital to set the tone and put doubt into a least a few of the top order. England did just the opposite and the Aus batsmen will go into the next test full of confidence, whereas England's will be full of rear. Psychologically England have been thoroughly beaten.

    The main mistake for Ponting was his not predicting rain and declaring earlier.

  • Comment number 17.

    just like to mention Graham Swann he stood firm for a long while against some very hostile bowling from Siddle he got hit three times in the same over but still stood at the crease smiling. Panesar was superb at the end but will more than likely get dropped for the lords test if he does get dropped hope they recall Sidebottom

  • Comment number 18.

    That was a fantastic escape. Unless the England team show some unity and team spirit in the face of the Australians cricketing disembowlment is imminent. Every park team in Melbourne is full of praise, support, guidance and verbal commitment to the team and the cause. This appears woefully lacking in the English side. The result, below par performances, apparent loss of concentration. We may have seen more gifted Aussie sides but this one is competent and committed and will ruthlessly exploit any weakness.

  • Comment number 19.


  • Comment number 20.

    I`m a Welshman and live in Australia, believe me they are bouncing mad about the, Quote Cheating Pohms" It is front news on every TV channel. They are saying that England is a disgrace and a bunch of cheaters!
    I have to say that bringing on a physio when he was not needed and the obvious slow handed play was a bit below the belt but Australia only have themselves to blame.
    This game was wrapped up the minute KP and AS made another cock-up performance and Australia still couldnt win it. So i think a draw was deserved.
    Beware! At Lords England because if you are so negative and Naive again then it will be embarrassing. The Ozzies will come out this time more determined and aggressive.

  • Comment number 21.

    Collingwood, a Casablanca on the burning deck must feel like the most honored batsman among the 22 that roamed the Cardiff pitch, in having received the greatest of gifts from his team two mates who found the grit and the gumption to last the distance. It was a gift that put into perspective and immortalised his memorable effort. The steel he showed was given a temper. That dagger into his heart when he ballooned a catch to unforgiving Hussey must have felt no more than an irritating wasp bite.
    The vaunted England batting line up, helplessly watching from the dressing room, must have undergone a castrating experience watching their tail-end specialists labour the decrepit ship back into harbor.
    I do not comprehend how people can ponder changes for Lords. The only possible change I can remotely think of is Harmy replacing Swanny in case some dodgy pitch specialist strongly feels it wont be that spinny a wicket as to merit two pliers of the trade. Seeing the way Lords pitch has been supporting spin over the last two months or so, I should think it will be immensely wiser to retain the team that underwent a catharsis at Cardiff.

  • Comment number 22.

    Lucky england but great effort from the tail.
    Can't agree with KIRANSHEKAR - the whole point that the test was so exciting was due to the fact that ozzies were so much better but the game format allowed england to squeak home, if there was another way of deciding the winner based on who was ahead statistically at the end of the 5 days then you will never get an exciting test match as the result will be decided way before the end of the 5 days and less people will bother watching, not more!! Top level sport is exciting due to the unpredictable nature of how things can happen due to human error and emotion, if results were all based on stats u may as well just play on a computer.
    England need to use this result as a big wake up call and work out why their bowlers couldnt take wickets but the aussies could, can't be the pitch, must be the personnel/coaching staff and mentality/preperation.
    Also, I like Strauss as a player but doesnt seem very motivational as a captain, bit too nice!!

  • Comment number 23.

    Collingwood deserves a medal for the way he played! Without him, the whole thing would have been over by tea. Both Anderson and Panesar were superb (feel a bit sorry that Monty is probably going to be dropped for Lords after an effort like that) and showed the top 5 how to go about saving a Test match.

    Having said all that, the Aussies outplayed us in every department and really should have won.

    As an England fan I was pretty ashamed at the tactics of sending out the 12th man and physio in order to waste some valuable time. That clearly wasn't in the spirit of the game and shouldn't be allowed to happen again! Some very ordinary captaincy by Strauss.

    Still, it was a thrilling Test match and Thursday can't come around soon enough. Well done Colly, Jimmy and Monty!!!

  • Comment number 24.

    I think too many people are giving the Aussie bowlers too much credit. Most of the England wickets were tossed away by utterly stupid shots, induced not by the wiles of the bowlers but by the lack of intelligence and application of players with an exaggerated idea of their abilities. Australia were arguably better in the field, definitely much better led, and much more professional in their batting. It's too late for England to find yet another captain, but they can recover their judgement and concentration when batting. I wouldn't do much about the bowling, Onions for Monty at Lords maybe, but they do need to do some homework on the Aussie batsmen. It should be part of what they are paid for!

  • Comment number 25.

    England were completely outplayed. And i dont think there is any way they can turn things around in this series. Their bowling line-up is very weak. I cant see them takin 20 wickets in a match. They might just pull off a couple of more draws. But thats it. Australia will win this series very comfortably.

  • Comment number 26.

    Great entertainment at the end - edge of seat stuff. However the business with the physio and the twelth man coming on the pitch was disgraceful -'just not cricket!'. Was this down to Strauss? I think that if it was the Aussies who had pulled those stunts there would be a bit more comment about it.
    Well done to Anderson who did his best to ignore them and well done to Collingwood and all the supposedley 'lower' order for a great finish.

  • Comment number 27.

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

  • Comment number 28.

    This test was almost always going to be a draw, the fact that almost England lost it by an innings- is telling.

    I dont think Australia would make too many more changes, they dont have a batsman to replace Hussey, so will have to rely on the confidence that they are a better & harder working team than England.

    Nothing about the English display impresses. Flintoff gloating about the dismissal of Hughes & Pietersen dismissing himself twice are fine examples of the bigger problem. This XI play for themselves & have absolutely no sense of team. Winning in 05 seems to be enough for them, and casting a cloud over the current group.

    The best English player, for mine, was Collingwood which is telling as he is one of the least talented players. For the rest:
    Cook looks out of his depth,
    Bopara is no first drop & his career shouldnt be put at risk there look at what theyve done to Broad
    If Pietersen really wants to be the best player in the team move him to 3 & dont shelter him
    Prior is an ordinary one-day keeper bring back Chris Read
    Swann and Panesar arent needed in the same team bring in another seamer Harmison? Someone with real FIRE

    Heres hoping for a competitive series though I wouldnt bet against Australia winning the lot from here on in, based on how fragile the English team seems

  • Comment number 29.

    This is the sporting equivalent of Dunkirk, and may lead to success by either enraging Australia or inspiring England.

    Being de-hyped and exposed in the first Test gives England the time to do something about its deficiencies, although whether it has the means - ability, confidence, skills & temperament - remains to be seen.

    Tom Fordyce's quote continues to apply:
    "It's not the despair, Laura. I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand."

  • Comment number 30.

    Don't agree with most of the ' England were rubbish for 4 and a half days' and anybody who feels Australia will be the more buoyant squad before Lords doesn't really understand psychology.

    We batted OK in the first knock & most of the 'experts' agreed it was above par at the time , but as usual the 'experts' revised their views with hindsight being added at 20-20 definition , following Australia's excellent first innings.

    The pitch had very little in it for the bowlers & only the suicidal batting on Saturday night & Sunday morning were really poor sessions. from England.

    The positives were that England can look at how ordinary the Aussie bowlers were once the pressure went on & not have any fear of them for the rest of the series. Siddle , Hauritz & Hilfenhaus bowled well , but don't stand out as anything that special as long as you apply yourself correctly as a batsman.

    Australia meanwhile have blown an amazing chance to increase our inferiority complex & also need to worry about how poor Mitchell
    Johnson was.

    The thought of being lectured in sportsmanship by the Aussies is deliciously ironic. Maybe Martin Johnson's friend , the ex-prime minister , could be approached for a comment.

  • Comment number 31.

    Weel written Tom. I agree with you. John Cleese got spot on. Being an England fan for all sports for many years I can cope with the despair of a bad performance, but when Colly got passed 50 I started to have hope, so it was time to mow the lawn and do the dishwasher, getting regular comments from the wife and kids.

    Seriously though lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater. I agree with Aggers that Broad should be first change (slow down - line and length). I afraid Harmy is too much of a liability (which Harmy wil turn up).

    Andy F needs to read the riot act to the batsman and seriosly remind them 20 20 is over.

  • Comment number 32.

    For some reason, prior to the start of the 1st Test, I had some serious doubts about Collingwood's selection. Once again he proved himself and the doubters wrong again.
    However, I shall continue my doubts about Collingwood's position. I find when I entertain such thoughts he plays a blinder to prove me wrong! So I shall persist and hopefully Collingwood will too.

  • Comment number 33.

    Maybe the Aussies should've declared a but earlier. Those few extra overs that they batted are now biting them in the arse.

    The English are too hard on themselves. When the WIndies pulled off a similar last wicket stand to thwart English efforts in Antigua earlier this year, the talk was about how Strauss should've declared earlier. He should've used his bowlers in a different way, blah blah blah.

    Aus have to take some of the blame here. They batted on too long. They robbed themselves of the extra time to bowl England out . . . given that their bowling isn't as strong as in previous years.


  • Comment number 34.

    One more thing. Dead pitches that allow the hosts to eek out a draw (when they're outplayed) don't only exist in the West Indies . . .

    It's happened here in the UK too.


  • Comment number 35.

    Question for you: if Australia had been in England's situation, would Ponting have gone for any similar "physio on, 12th man on" tactics? And was his appeal to Aleem Dar for a bat-pad catch off Colly completely in fitting with the spirit of the game?

  • Comment number 36.

    How can any English person hold their heads high after this undeserved result? What an utter embarassment. The English batsmen couldnt take advantage of the conditions on day 1, the English bowlers were appalling, and only the weather effectively saved a draw. Australia were in a different class the whole match. If being proud of Strauss and his shambolic team is what being British is all about, count me out. Churchill would be disgusted.

  • Comment number 37.

    Colly CAN hold his head up high - as can the tailenders that hung around with him. Pietersen and the rest of our over-rated batsmen have got two or three days to learn from him.
    But let's not forget, England's biggest mistake was made before the match started - by the selectors. How come that Harmison and Onions, the two best-performed fast-bowlers in the country (who have already shown they can rattle this Aussie line-up) were not in this match? Grumble all you like about Harmison's inconsistency (I do)...but the fact is that when he is confident and bowling well, as he is at the moment, he's too good to leave out. Just like Pietersen, who should have been hung from a hook by his captain - not so much for his shot, but for his unrepentant attitude afterwards.
    Given that the selectors will not make the mistake of playing two spinners again, I hope they don't let Broad's useful lower-order batting overshadow the fact that his bowling is not up to it at the moment. I suspect that Swann got himself too pumped up for this match (he doesn't seem the type to be overawed); I suspect that he will bowl better from now on.

  • Comment number 38.

    [Question for you: if Australia had been in England's situation, would Ponting have gone for any similar "physio on, 12th man on" tactics? And was his appeal to Aleem Dar for a bat-pad catch off Colly completely in fitting with the spirit of the game?]
    I was about to say (!) can any of you guarantee 100% that Punter wouldn't have done exactly the same thing in the same situation? And yes, his attitude towards umpires is really starting to grate - was it any coincidence that the umpire at Worcester collapsed moments after Punter had been haranguing him about a decision?

    Re. Harmison - I was at Worcester on day 1, and although he bowled well for a couple of overs at Hughes, the general opinion around me was that his body language in the field was not of someone who was desperate to get his place back. Just generally drooping about looking miserable, demanding water and tablets, grimacing and feeling arms, legs, you name it in an 'Oh I'm really suffering' way. The most damning comment was "He's just here to collect a 4-day match fee."
    Wonderful bowler when he's on song, but can you ever trust him to turn up?

  • Comment number 39.

    Many a drawn game has added another nail to the coffin of Test cricket in this new age of instant gratification and Twenty20 excitement. But Cardiff 2009 witnessed a great victory for the five day game with plenty of runs, wickets and sheer drama spread liberally over each and every one.

    For years England have been labelled as a team unable to apply the killer touch that our proud Aussie foes had in oodles. Now we can at least claim that we are not the only ones that struggle to finish off a badly wounded victim. And how important may that psychological blow prove in the rest of the series?

    Of course England's batsmen are going to have to up their game several notches. It just cannot be coincidence that none of the top order could make something out of good starts in the first innings and someone, somewhere, is going to have to get hold of that before Lords. But lets enjoy the lower order who, in both innings, did us proud.

    Paul Collingwood stood up like the true fighter he is and worked his **** off to put England into a position where saving the game was just possible. It was incredibly unfortunate that his one lapse cost him his wicket and, at the time, what looked like the game. Arise James Anderson and Monty Panesar to eke out the overs, even dare to give us a lead and then claim the draw. They did Collingwood proud.

    In deference to #36. Yes England were poor overall. But even Churchill would have been proud of that last afternoon's resilience after all that had gone before. It is never darker than before the dawn. Collingwood has given us a second chance - now it is up to Strauss to make that count.

  • Comment number 40.

    I'll tell you why, Trevor Barker, post 36...

    The performances by Colly, Broad, Swann, Anderson and Panesar showed grit and determination, something which is more often associated with our Aussie friends. English batters posted over 300 on day one (which is hardly not taking advantage of the conditions, is it?), and whether or not the Australian team where in a different class or not, the scorebook says that this test match was drawn. The Aussies had more than enough time to wrap up the tail and could not do it. People like you make me laugh, I bet if the boot was on the other foot, you'd be moaning about how rubbish English bowlers are, not being able to finish off the tail enders.

    I'm not sure if Churchill was a cricket fan, but if he was, he'd have been proud of how our lower order performed.

    Did you actually watch the game (or listen on TMS)? Were you not excited about the game and the performance? I doubt it.

  • Comment number 41.

    And I forgot to say...well done England, and I hope it has a huge effect on the players' morale for the next 4 games.

    IMO Collingwood really earned that 2005 medal yesterday - never have understood anyone who wonders why he's in the team.

  • Comment number 42.

    So England escape with a draw AND manage to get up the collective Aussie noses. Couldn't be much better really! England have been on the receiving end of a few "9 wickets down" situations of late, including in 2005, so I think this is a fair result.

  • Comment number 43.

    I would get Harmison in. He's on fire and the Aussies can't believe their luck that he's not being selected. And why is Broad so untouchable? I'd rather Onions or Sidebottom. Commentators say he's a great one for the future, but surely an Ashes series is for those who are already at their peak. Bowling is relatively easy to tweak - many options, but what to do with the batting...aaggghhhhh...!!

  • Comment number 44.

    Excellent analysis Tom! In every sport, the true greats are cold bloodedly single minded in pursuit of success - look at Senna & Schumaker in F1, McEnroe & Navratilova in tennis, Man Utd, the Springboks in Rugby ... and Australia at cricket. It is much harder in team sports to instill this in each squad member, but the Aussies seem to do this easily. Ponting may not be the greatest charmer in the world - but that's not what he's interested in. Winning - and winning against England especially, is all that matters. He leads by example and every player in the Aussie squad follows his example. It's an attitude which transfers seamlessly from squad to squad (think of Border & Waugh .. not to mention McGrath, Warne, Gilchrist, Hayden etc)Losing is not an option.

    In 2005, Vaughan & Fletcher made England believe in themselves. Vaughan was a great captain, because he would not permit anything less than 100% - and all the players knew it.

    Strauss simply doesn't have what it takes. His tactics lacked any imagination and there was no evidence whatsoever of passion. (Think Steve McClaren ....) He needed to stamp his authority on the team and earn their respect. If he'd done this, would Petersen have thrown his wicket away twice? Playing for England is a privilage, and has to earned. I would drop Petersen for the Lord's test and bring back Bell. Dropping England's (supposedly) best batsman would send a strong message to every other player in the team - you are not there by right!

    Make Colly captain - at least he leads by example ...

  • Comment number 45.

    Terrific result, but I've never been as ashamed of an England team as when that farcical exchange of gloves occurred - or the physio running on unasked for. Disgusting tactics marring a brilliant result, though credit to Ponting for admitting they didn't change the course of the game.

  • Comment number 46.

    # 35 A clever question,Tom. If some posters say 'yes, Ponting would of done that and some more in a similar situation', it will serve to mitigate English guilt at the unsporting tactic. Well my view is Punter is no saint and has rarely bothered with the 'spirit of the game' in a brazen pursuit of his own cause, but I would feel much better had England shunned the debasing ploy.

  • Comment number 47.

    Who said test cricket wasnt exciting enough for the modern punter!!! I almost burnt a roast dinner because I was glued to the telly watching the last hour!! You wouldnt see tension and drama like that in a 20-20 game

  • Comment number 48.

    Our top order batsmen need to take a long hard look at themselves, their averages are proof of their abilities, but they don't seem to believe they are good enough to beat Australia and their mindset is all wrong.

    Hopefully the grit shown by Colly, Flintoff and Broad (sort of), Swann, Jimmy and Monty, will lead the way for more belief and mental toughness in the Tests to come.

    As for the match itself.

    Wow, it's 2005 all over again.

    Brilliant stuff for fans and Neutrals alike!

  • Comment number 49.

    Nicely put, sevenseaman.

    As we all start moving on to thinking about Lord's, what did people think about how Glamorgan and Cardiff handled their Test match debut?

    From my experience, the stewards were relentlessly friendly and efficient, the facilities bang up to scratch and the setting splendid. The new stands were full, the atmosphere good when there was anything for the home supporters to cheer about, and for the aesthetes, the view across the Taff to the blooming Bute Park and north to Pontcanna Fields was a bucolic treat.

    Only questions would be about the pitch. There's a decent argument that it was too flat for a Test track, but then again, England lost 19 wickets on it. Plus it hosted one of the most dramatic finishes we've seen since 2005.

  • Comment number 50.

    Re: Your comment at 35 Tom, I'm sure that if the Australians had been battling to save a match they would have no problem with time wasting, and would feign outrage at an opposition captain calling their tactics into question. It's always "one rule for us, another for them" with the Australians. Take 'mental disintegration' as they call it. Is that in the spirit? Not really, no, but they defend it in a machismo fashion, saying that if you can't take it, you shouldn't be playing etc.

    And Ponting has form for these sort of whinges to defend himself from criticism. Remember the Gary Pratt run-out in 2005 when he launched a volley of abuse at the England dressing room? That was to cover for the fact that there was never a run there and he ran himself out. It's the same here. Mitchell Johnson was bowling like Devon Malcolm on an average day (ie anywhere but on a line and length) and yet Ponting persisted with him, and underbowled the impressive Hilfenhaus.

    The problem with the English is that we're far too sensitive to opponents crying foul, and would do better to ignore them. I'm not advocating we go out and claim catches that weren't, or try and intimidate the umpire (Mr. Ponting, ahem)but am advocating that we fight fire with fire in a sensible fashion (ie not by childishly placing jellybabies on the pitch)

  • Comment number 51.

    Would Punter have done the same by bringing on the 12th man? No, probably not, because as a way of slowing up the game it wasn't even a proper, literal waste of time. Would Australia have applied gamesmanship to try to escape from such a situation? Of course they would have! Sledging and pyschological mind-games are part and parcel of cricket, and Australia are the finest exponents of these darks arts.

    Examples in this matrch alone were Ponting's extended appeal for a catch he knew full well to be off the pad and Hauritz and Haddin doing a "Monty" and appealing every time ball hit pad, even when well outside the line of off-stump. Come, come, lads - you're pro cricketers, and you know full well the batsman cannot be given out outside of off stump unless he's not offering a shot, so why the appeals? Perhaps to worry the batsman? Make him think he's walking a finer line than he actually is?

    Summary: the 12th man daftness was a rubbish attempt by England to waste time, had no bearing on the game and was no better or worse than any number of incidents in that last session, let alone cricket as a whole. For all but the first day and a half and last hour and a half, England were hopeless, Australia merely efficient, but the joy of test cricket is that you still have to finish the job, and just as England failed to do (twice) in the Windies and once against Australia at Old Trafford in 05, if your bowlers can't get rid of a couple of tailenders, you don't deserve to win.

    Now to Lords. If Stuart Broad can learn the virtues of patience and accuracy and our top 3 can hang around as long as our tailenders, it might actually be a good game.

  • Comment number 52.

    It was unbelievable that England got themselves into this situation and a miracle that they got themselves out of it.

    I really don't think the Aussies are that much better than us, the batting looks stronger but I don't think their bowling is anything special.

    Do we have a team psychologist? The batters can bat but excluding Collingwood they were terrible this time. Somehow, they've got to step up to the plate at Lords.

    For me the variety that Sidebottom offers puts him just ahead of Onions. Playing him instead of Monty is the only change I would make. Broad, Anderson and Swann have all performed well enough in the past to be excused a bad match.

    And no more 12th men interruptions please, we embarrassed ourselves with that.

  • Comment number 53.

    Amazing day's cricket, but let's not forget how comprehensively we were outplayed for most of the match.

    In terms of talent I don't think there's much between the 2 teams - in terms of attitude, commitment, application etc, Australia are simply on a different planet.

    Our mental processes and thinking under pressure just seem to be wrong. Unless there's a huge change here (and not in personnel), I think we will get outplayed at all the key pressure points, and end up losing the series comprehensively.

    Also, just to add that like most posters, I was embarrassed by Strauss's amateurish efforts at time-wasting...

  • Comment number 54.

    Yes it was a bit like the Great Escape with Collingwood playing the Steve McQueen role - nearly getting there but eventually crashing into the barbed wire of Siddle. Unfortunately the top order were more like the blind Donald Pleasance character who got caught in a field not knowing where he was going.

  • Comment number 55.

    I'm struggling to understand the rumpus about the physio. Whether it was a mis-understanding as Strauss has said, or a bit of gamesmanship is largely irrelevant. I was listening to TMS, and at the most, it accounted for 60 seconds delay. Maybe 2 more balls? The Aussies couldn't bowl Anderson out in the 1 hour and ten minutes they had. Why would another minute make any difference?

    England broke no rules, and did nothing that Ponting wouldn't have done in the same situation. Maybe the Aussie bowlers should have stepped up to the mark a bit earlier and bowled us out in good time? It was there for the taking ...

    The bottom line is that when it mattered, the Aussies choked, England didn't and that is why a draw is a fair result. Well done lads!

  • Comment number 56.

    Tom, re: 49.
    It still doesn't sit right with me that the hosting of this match was down to money.
    Questions: will they be so quick to bid again? Will they bid for anything other than Australia, knowing that it's likely to be a comparative let down? How will they feel about hosting, say, Bangladesh in May, or a weakened West Indies? Selling-out a Test Match against Australia isn't really an achievement.

  • Comment number 57.

    The great pity about all this is that it was a fantastic sporting finish that would have attracted a lot of people to test cricket - only most people either didn't realise it was going on or found out after the highlights on channel 5 had finished. It's really disappointing that the ECB has sold out to sky and cricket fans or potential cricket fans or indeed the same people that were so taken by the ashes in 2005 can't actually watch what's going on. I respect the BBC's coverage but ultimately its not the same as watching it live. I've been watching the highlights all week but the really great thing about test cricket is the fact that there was 69 balls that Monty and Anderson had to survive together - not the five or so I saw on T.V! People talk above about how easy it is for Wales to fill a ground for an ashes match, keep the coverage on sky for a few years and even that will be an achievement.

  • Comment number 58.

    Tom, have you been on a course on how to write cringeworthy analogies, similes and metaphors? If so, it worked!! ;-)

  • Comment number 59.

    results like that do not result in a dip in Aussie confidence - just the opposite in fact.


    You're wrong there. Despite being definatively outplayed throughout the match, it will be England who go to the second test in high spirits, feeling like the team that equalises in the final seconds of a football match to force a replay do that maybe just maybe their name is on the cup. Meanwhile their opposition will reflect back on this match the moment things start to go wrong in the second test (and there are always those moments), knowing that they should be 1-0 up already, that if any one of them had tried that little harder, bowled a couple less loose balls, scored a touch faster they would have won.

    But even more damaging than that for the aussies will be what they think of Ponting. Respect and love him they might but each and every member of that team will internally be questioning Ponting's decision making as a captain, his decisions to allow underperforming bowlers to continue to leak runs in the first innings, the negative fields during the first day and a half that allowed England to get any sort of base in the match. Then of course the decision to chase one extra over instead of the wicket on the final day, putting all his trust in England's ability to capitulate, effectively trying to defeat his opposition via siege warfare instead of going in for the kill. An action of 'lets wait and see' when decisiveness was needed.

    All of a sudden they will wonder if the questions surrounding Ponting's ability as a captain are true, is his fantastic record really down to having matchwinners like Warne, McGrath, Lee, Gilchrist, Langer, Hayden and of course himself with the bat who were able to mask his very ordinary tactics. He captained a team of talents that frankly most club cricketers could have lead to success. Now for the first time he is being tested as a captain and he is struggling badly, they will all be wondering.

  • Comment number 60.

    Yes, bringing on the physio was outrageous cheating. Bit like ordering your bowler to bowl the last ball of an innings underarm to stop the other side hitting a six.

    You'd never catch an Aussie cheating like that, would you.

  • Comment number 61.

    I am very embarrassed by the interruptions towards the end of the match. That was simply not cricket. If the tables were turned and Ponting had committed the same offense we would be up in arms. The Australian media is right to be irritated. Doesn't anyone remember Lee and Kasprowicz in 2005?
    To think this was a good result for us is a joke. Only the weather and luck saved us from embarrassment. The Australian batsman can teach us a few things about grit. I had hoped we were better than this...

  • Comment number 62.

    Fantastic backs to the wall effort lads.

    Now if we can only conjour up the same level of excitement for the "other" Ashes event of the summer.......Elstow CC in Bedford are hosting the "Elstow Ashes" - a 2 day "Test" against a team of Australian ex-pats on Sat 25th and Sun 26th July (no England game that weekend!) - please come along and suport your team whover it is, admission is free and all food/drink proceeds go to Cancer Research

    How about it Tom?
    Nigel Ryalls

  • Comment number 63.

    Once again, Ponting's lack of captaincy nouse has cost Aussie an Ashes test win... and more importantly given England a confidence boost early on in the series. deja vu 2005.

    All through this test Aussie have beaten englands batting line up and humiliated their bowling attack... except in the last session when it really mattered.

    To bowl 2 VERY inexperienced spinners in the last session for the sole purpose of fitting more overs in is laughable. It only takes 1 very good delivery to get a wicket - especially a tail ender! Get the experienced fast bowlers on to do their job!

    Why bother chucking 20 overs of toothless spin at them? At best it's just batting practice.

    The fast bowlers should have been charging in and making life as difficult as possible for the English tail end, pile on the pressure, and make it a matter of life and death for them to stay out there and save the match. At least then if they did hold on for the draw it will seen more as luck than skill and they definitely won't be looking forward to the next time.

    That's what Flintoff and co would have done!!

    Maybe Ricky should consider what England would do in a situation and then do the same - his captaincy could only improve.

    Ricky, you're a great batsman and we love you for it... but you're a clueless captain - get some help mate or give someone else a go!

    As an Aussie supporter I can accept England holding on (very well) for the draw... but what I cannot stand is our captain conceding a huge psychological advantage and making the job as easy as possible!!

    Well done England.

  • Comment number 64.


    The game lasts 5 days and it's not relevant who got what when if it ends in a draw. Part of the game is knowing when to declare.

    In sport it isn't always the bext team that wins, if it was they wouldn't keep score, they'd have a judging panel. What you say would be a bit like allowing an extra 15 minutes at the end of a football match if the 'best' team weren't in the lead at the end of 90 minutes.

    Finally, there's a button on your keyboard (left hand side) marked 'Caps Lock'. Could you press it?

  • Comment number 65.

    The fact is England should have got soundly beaten but didn't. Fantastic.

    So what if a little bit of gamesmanship combined with a superb tail order did the trick. It led to an absolutely fascinating and exciting finish. Roll on Lords!

    Before we all feel too sorry for the (whingeing) Australians just remember that there is a long way to go and they will be using every trick in the book to win.

    And anyway Siddle deserved it - absolutely poisonous

  • Comment number 66.

    England were poor - but if they'd applied themself in the first innings and got 500+ on a pitch were there to be made this may well have ended up a dull honours-even draw. As it was, the aussies were able to bat themselves into control on a pitch which even the 2005 bowling attack would have struggled on. That said, the england bowling attack needs to improve significantly, as do the captainancy and tactics.

    Ausralia were a lot better than england but given the sunday lunchtime position, the team of a few years ago would have skittled this england team out by mid afternoon. They remind me more of south africa now - moderately talented but with a high level of discipline. England are moderately talented at best so will need to match the aussie work rate and concentration to stand any chance in the rest of the series...

  • Comment number 67.

    Personally I think that England's delaying tactics were no worse than Australia bowling as many overs as possible within the last hour. Both are technically within the rules of the game but warp the amount if time/overs remaining.

  • Comment number 68.

    One-Nil down in a test series against australia is not a good place to be and should be avoided by absolutely any method available. It's for the better team to win, by bowling out the other team twice - not for the poorer team to lay down and die.

  • Comment number 69.

    Totally got out of jail. Roll on Lords.

    Loving the Aussies whinging about the 12th Man/Physio.

    We should give Collingwood a Knighthood, that will really p*ss them off !!!

  • Comment number 70.

    Enough of the Dunkirk references please. Yes, England saved the game but their approach to it is one of the key differences between the teams. In Australia this would be seen as lucky and a good save but there would be much angst about how poor the team was. And they are terrible based on this game let's face it. Here it is seen as a good result because you didn't lose.

    Stop praising failure! Australia failed because they didn't win a game that they should have. England failed because almost all aspects of their game were terrible and they couldn't even bat on a dead pitch.

    On the questions. No Ponting wouldn't have pulled that disgraceful 12th man physio thing. Yes he appealed a bit much but that is very common when a situations gets as tense as this.

  • Comment number 71.

    Just one moment! All this doom and gloom - had there been a 6th day, I reckon Jimmy and Monty would have rattled up another 150 by lunchtime and we'd have skittled them for 87 to win comfortably

  • Comment number 72.

    Hackerjack, despite the English team going into the 2nd test in 'high spirits', surely they will not be resting on their laurels of the final moments of the match when they took the draw? Surely they will be looking at the rest of the game from the bowling, batting, fielding and captaining perspective?
    It dawned on me, when reading your post, that the difference is that you are looking at things from the Aus perspective with English-coloured glasses, and therefore unable to understand the dynamics & force of the Aus cricketing culture....never the twain shall meet!!
    Aus confidence will not take a dive - it will only heighten the team's desire to play the game to the best of their abilities....and beat the Poms!!! ;)
    And come on Andy, bowling underarm was completely covered in the rule book....
    I remember watching that game, happy that we were going to win, but totally horrified that it hadnt played out properly to the last ball. But then again - we were playing the kiwis...
    I love the banter and the 'spirit of the game' - bring on Test Match 2!!

  • Comment number 73.

    @jasoninuk ...

    we're continually berated by the Aussies for "whinging", advice, that I note with interest the Aussies are currently finding hard to follow themselves! But now your're having a go at us for praising the team too much?!

    Make you're mind up!

  • Comment number 74.


    What are you praising? The weather? Praise good performances.

    As I said, both teams failed. But I think taking hope from that finish is deluded. You need to change the team. Drastically.

  • Comment number 75.

    Doh! I would like to formally hang my head in shame re the incorrect use of an apostrophe not once, but twice in the post above. I'm going to go away and whinge at myself whilst cooking a celebratory bacon sandwich for lunch!

  • Comment number 76.

    Dont you just love Test cricket! I spent most of the time from 5.00 pm yesterday to 6.42 hiding behind the sofa (just like the denouement at Trent Bridge in 2005). There has never been a T20 contest that matched the drama of the final session. Let's face it, many T20 games last barely as long as that.

    England were comprehensively outplayed for more than three days, but showed the resilience that brought back other memories of 2005 - as someone else has observed - like when the Aussies held out in the final session at Old Trafford having been outplayed for most of the match.

    If, at 10.45 on Wednesday morning, England fans had been offered their team making 435 all out, I imagine 99 per cent would have taken it without hesitation. However, because of the way it was achieved it was disappointing. If just one of the nine England men who passed 15 had matched Ponting's score, England would have passed 500 and, yes, it would have been a dull draw. However, the fact that none even reached 70 and most perished to ill-judged shots makes me wonder if there has ever been a higher score made as poorly as this.

    The bottom line is that as badly as England played for much of the match, Pontings captaincy was truly terrible. He let England's batsmen score at nearly four an over in the first innings and then, with bad weather threatening on Saturday, he batted on until the Haddin/North partnership was broken, instead of declaring when Brad reached 100. The way England played in the 7 overs before tea might have been cataclysmically worse, with Pietersen and/or Strauss joining the Essex boys back in the hutch. OK, so the Aussies scored 25 runs in those 15 minutes between Haddins ton and his dismissal, but could you really have seen Panesar and Anderson surviving, even with a narrow lead, but almost 20 overs remaining?

    How typical of the whinging Aussies that all Ponting could do was complain about England's time-wasting. If he had made better bowling changes in the final session, all the arguments would have been moot and they would have been going to Lords with one hand back on the Urn. Thommo had it right when he lambasted Punter on the eve of the Test, saying he was a poor captain (not that Strauss was much batter). It may have been unedifying to see the physio and 12thie come out for phantom reasons, but the reality is that in a Test match, you should do everything you can to avoid defeat.

    If there had been one over remaining and the Aussies needed 12 to win, six near-wide deliveries and 9 men on the fence is how I would have expected England to bowl and field. That isn't cheating, that is playing the game if not to win, then not to lose. Batsmen don't walk when they get an edge and the fielding team appeals for dismissals which they know are not out, but that's within the rules, so what's the difference?

  • Comment number 77.

    (No Craig - the apostrophe was only used incorrectly once, at the end of the post - the other time you typed double 'r'....enjoy that sanger!!)

  • Comment number 78.


    Personally I'm not praising anything, you mentioned it first! ;-)
    I'm just pulling your leg as it's a bit of a change from the whinging pom business we normally get.

    There were some good performances from the tail end, and they should be praised, however the team as a whole were poor. The bottom line though is that the scoreline is 0-0, and from an English perspective that's a bl**dy good result!

    I don't think anybody is taking any hope from the finish, that would be ridiculous. We're simply pleased with the end result. Nobody expected the draw, or the psycological boost that the team will get from the way it was achieved. The England team are in a better place to prepare for Lords, but we all know that this alone isn't going to win matches.

  • Comment number 79.

    Agree on the Ponting captaincy point. He made some big mistakes. Would prefer a weak captain with a great team though than the other way around (not that Strauss is good).

  • Comment number 80.

    Unlucky Australia you were the better team for a big part of the match, as you were in Lords 2005, only this time you don't have legends to turn to to win the match. I got the impression that England felt they were going to win from day 1 however this was quickly blown away. Roll on Lords.

  • Comment number 81.

    "Maybe the Aussies should've declared a but earlier. Those few extra overs that they batted are now biting them in the arse."

    Not a very bright comment, given England gained an overall lead. An earlier declaration would have meant England were further ahead and Aus would still have run out of time. Declaration was exactly right. In general I find the pessimism too much. Our batsmen did well in the first innings, only missing that one person to go on to a big score. Clearly our bowling was awful, but there is no reason to think another pitch will be the same. I suspect the pitch didn't suit our bowlers (although traditionally neither does Lords) but in future matches it is very likely we will bowlmuch better. Game on!

  • Comment number 82.

    are people forgeting that we only took 6 Australian wickets?? in 2005, although we were soundly beaten in the first test, at least we had taken 20 wickets and shown we had the bowling to win test matches.

    everyone understands that the pitch was batsmen friendly, but that doesn't mean you forget the basics of cricket (bowl an area, dry up the runs and create some pressure).

    What needs to be done to be more effective in the second test (its unlikely that lords will be particularly bowler friendly)?

    we won't play two spinners, so the question becomes do we play harmison or onions. I assume anderson, flintoff and broad (although he had a shoker) are safe. broad, flintoff and harmison are pretty similar (hit the deck, back of a length bowlers) and as such perhaps the more balanced attack includes onions. However, england will need to ask, if we desperately need to break a century partnership, who would you prefer to throw the ball to.

    i think the answer is probably harmison.

    well done to the tail for showing grit, determination and great application, but their real job should be taking wickets (something that we rarely looked like doing throughout the innings).

  • Comment number 83.

    craigwatkinson wrote:
    Doh! I would like to formally hang my head in shame re the incorrect use of an apostrophe not once, but twice in the post above. I'm going to go away and whinge at myself whilst cooking a celebratory bacon sandwich for lunch!

    Calm yourself, I can only find 1 example (make you're mind up). The other apostrophes look ok?

  • Comment number 84.

    As an Aussie living in the UK, it was devastating watching us being so close but yet so far from victory. Part of me also wants to complain about England's stalling tactics but I'm also fully aware of our history and accept we would likely do the same thing. Move on I say.

    I also think Ponting's captaincy left a bit to be desired and contributed. the declaration was actually perfect timing but why would you remove Hilfenhaus from the attack just after he took a wicket?

    But ultimately, say what you like about England's tenacity at the end.... we dominated the game and would have won without rain delays. Feeling pretty confident going into Lord's and I think England have a real selection headache in the bowling department. Harmison at his best is a certainty but a huge question mark remains over temperament

  • Comment number 85.

    All that really happened was that our tail confirmed what the Aussie batsmen showed:-that the wicket was an extremely slow, easy one to bat/survive on, and that wickets fell only as a result of errors by the batsmen or during the occasional, brief periods of swing. Our batsmen made some horrible mistakes to give their wickets away against largely toothless bowling.

    All you had to do to survive on that wicket was to get yourself "in the zone" and concentrate hard on building an innings. North, Ponting, Haddin, Katich, Collingwood and Anderson showed that with the right application for that particular pitch, it was not hard to graft a score. Flamboyant stroke-making was not the way to go. The Aussies adapted to the conditions far better. The wicket was always too slow to allow adventurous strokeplay.

    Get rid of the ridiculous number of backroom-staff and simply get in a man who can advise the players on the tactics to adopt based on the type of wicket they are confronted with, and a sports psychologist that can ensure that our batsmen walk out to the middle with total focus and steely determination. Pieterson desperately needs the services of such an expert. Even Gilchrist would have had to rein himself in on that wicket which screamed "Draw" from the first moments of the match.

    The fun part was watching Punter resort to North(!), the hapless Johnson or the spitting but ineffectual Siddle, where in the past he would simply have tossed the ball to Warne and McGrath to close out the game.

  • Comment number 86.

    Of all the plesure there is in this result for we English, that Ricky Ponting is complaining is the sweetest!

  • Comment number 87.

    Sport is a strange animal and how often is it the case that the better team fail to win. How many football finals are "stolen" at penalty shoot outs because the better team failed to score in normal play or boxing matches won with a lucky punch as the better boxer drops his guard. That is the what makes sport so unpredictable and so great. Both teams know the rules when they enter the field and Australia knew they would have to bowl out England a second time. They had 4 sessions to do it and they failed - it was their inability to finish the off the test from a winning position that resulted in the draw. It was not an England win but an Australian failure we witnessed. Passions apart it is the best result for the the series. Had Australia won easily we would have probably seen the series as a sporting spectacle finished, forgotten and ignored by test three just as the football season starts.

  • Comment number 88.

    I am glad that the selectors don't pick the team on the basis of some of the comments above or we would change the team constantly, dropping everyone who has a couple of bad games.

    The reality was that this test should have petered out into a pretty boring draw as the pitch didn't offer enough for the bowlers. The reason it didn't was because we bowled particularly badly (and Australia batted well) meaning that we gave up the advantage of winning the toss and struggled pyschologically in the second innings due to the fact that we were just batting to save the game. The vast majority of our dismissals were due to poor shots and ultimately we were saved by the fact that Ponting is a poor captain and the Aussie bowlers don't have the genuine class of McGrath, Warne etc (as well as Collingwood playing one of the best rearguard innings since Atherton's).

    I expect that the only change for Lords will be Onions for Panesar. The bowlers, particularly Broad and Swann, will need to bowl better and some of our batsmen need to convert starts into big scores to give us a chance. Luckily, Australia aren't that great a side, particularly on the bowling front, so hopefully should be a close series.

  • Comment number 89.

    I wonder how good old "Richie" would respond to this little snippit?
    Yesterday, he was waxing lyrically, if I recall, about adhering to "the spirit of the game, right?"

    The Underarm bowling incident of 1981 occurred on February 1, 1981, when Australia were playing New Zealand in a One Day International cricket match, the third of five such matches in the final of the Benson & Hedges World Series Cup, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.[1] In order to prevent New Zealand from scoring the six they needed to tie, the Australian captain instructed his bowler to deliver the last ball underarm, along the ground. This action was technically legal, but seen as being against the spirit of the game.

  • Comment number 90.

    Thought the flat pitch scraped the draw more than anything Anderson or Panesar did, however I wonder if anyone has any ideas on why Hilfenhaus was not used later? Found this very strange given his performance.

    Collingwood was simply superb, but England are in major trouble IMO!

  • Comment number 91.

    Richie probably reacted like the crowd at the game and the people at home, Dovidw, with great disgust. I havent heard of anyone condoning the action - have you?

  • Comment number 92.

    To Dovidw

    I remember watching THAT game as a kid. A very sad thing to watch.

    The underarm incident was a hugely embarassing moment for all Aussies.

    The crowed booed the team off the field and no cricket loving Aussie thought it was in anyway an acceptable way to play/win the game.

    The Aussie captain (Greg Chappell) who told his brother (Trevor Chappell) to bowl it, later admitted that he was ashamed/embarassed about it. Too right - if only he'd thought about that at the time rather than how much money he stood to earn by winning the game (at all costs).

  • Comment number 93.


    1. Get England to order some more mints. That should help their bowlers.
    2. Give Colly another OBE or MBE or Knighthood or Castle somewhere in Devon.
    3. Whilst I applaud the grit of Colly et al, I'm concerned surrounding the euphoria of avoiding defeat. Are you blokes trying to win, or just compete?
    4. I was hoping the big bloke on the pitch wasn't going to disrobe and streak. It was a bit of a disappointment really to a truly riveting test match, but just a sour taste after a brilliant meal.
    More late nights ahead - and don't believe everything you read. Most of us in Aus acknowledge the Great Escape, and just want the next test to start. Whilst some press might beat up the "Spirit of the Game" angle, just think of it as Australians thinking that everyone in England and Wales supports wholeheartedly all that's written in the News of the World or The Sun

  • Comment number 94.

    Heard it here first: England team for Lords Test

    Flintoffs knee gone again:

    1 Strauss
    2 Cook
    3 Bopara
    4 Pietersen
    5 Collingwood
    6 Prior
    7 Broad
    8 Swann
    9 Onions

    Although Flintoffs injury would initially set in motion panic, the reality is that Broad is just as good a batsmen as him and Harmison is more likely to take wickets. Onions will replace the spinner and therefore strenghten the side.

    The strange stat of England winning more games without Flintoff than with him may just be about to continue. I fancy England to win with that team.

  • Comment number 95.

    And Dovidw.
    The year was 1981...

    You poor soul.

  • Comment number 96.

    It is such a shame that bad weather prevented a result in this match. If England could only have had those overs then Monty and Anderson could have built up a decent lead to allow us to knock those wingers over. 20 wickets needed Ricky. 19 is for losers.

  • Comment number 97.

    Good bit of political misdirection from Mr Ponting. The main talking point from this game is the incident with the Physio and 12th man, not poor decision making from the Australian Captain. Had Hilfenhaus bowled more than 4 overs in the last 25 the game may have been over long before the scheduled close.

    Lucky England, awful captaincy Ricky.

  • Comment number 98.

    I wonder what the 'in play' odds were on Eng drawing the match at 159 for 7, or after Swann and Colli were dismissed?

    Does seem 'interesting' that Ponting brought on an all spin attack after the quicks dismissed the last 3 recognised batsmen.

  • Comment number 99.

    The English team regarding this performance as a great escape and a draw something to be proud of. Australia considering anything less than a win as unsatisfactory.

    That just about sums up the difference between the two sides.

  • Comment number 100.

    Too many people on here looking to drop half the English team! What planet are you on. Making 5/6 changes after one test!
    This mentality was to the detriment of English cricket in the 1980s & 1990s.
    England outplayed by the #1 team in the world-dear oh dear-flog them!

    Onions & Harmison should come in for Panesar and Flintoff.
    And leave Stuart Broad alone. He is in the top 10 bowlers in the world in ODI (different format I agree) so he must have something going for him.Lord's will see a different England bowling display.


Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.