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Record-breaking England hit back in style

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Tom Fordyce | 07:39 UK time, Monday, 29 November 2010

The Gabba, Brisbane

It was like stepping into some surreal parallel universe, a dream-like place where everything was the exact opposite of what you had come to expect.

England, not just untroubled but utterly dominant, flaying an Australian attack to all corners. Records tumbling at such a rate that it almost set a record in itself. Australia spilling simple catches, flinging down gaping wides, shuffling around with heads bowed.

For the record, England scored 517 runs for the loss of a single wicket in their second innings - 235 not out for Alastair Cook, an unbeaten 135 for Jonathan Trott, an unbeaten partnership of 329. It meant England salvaged a draw in the first Test after trailing by 221 runs on the first innings.

At an arena that has been the scene of almost ceaseless Aussie dominance over England, there was non-stop noise from a cavorting travelling army and barely a squeak from the home support. From Gabbatoir to Gabba-dabba-do in five sunny sessions.

On Saturday it had been a rocky horror show; on Monday, welcome to the pleasure-dome. No wonder England fans around the three-tiered stands were at times laughing with giddy delight.

Let's rattle through the caveats quickly.

The pitch was a dream to bat on, Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin put together a monumental stand of 307, England's staggering effort brought them a draw, not a win, and their bowlers struggled when given a late joust at the opposition ranks.

Then again, even the caveats have caveats. England had been bowled out for just 260 on the same pitch. Five Australian wickets went down for 31 runs in their first innings. England, 220 runs down with more than two days left, looked certain to lose.

At the start of the final day, there was a fear they still could. With a lead of just 88 overnight, a rush of early wickets could have triggered a deathly slide.

Cook celebrates his double centuryCook set records galore at the Gabba. Photo: PA

Instead, it was Australia who fell apart. First the wheels came off. Then the wing mirrors fell off, too, followed by the bumpers, then the doors. Ricky Ponting, like a modern-day Buster Keaton, was left sitting on the ground surrounded by the wreckage, steering wheel in his hands and an utterly bemused look on his face.

If it was an astonishing sight for England fans at the ground, it must have been almost as remarkable for bleary-eyed people waking up back in snowy Britain.

Two mornings ago, radios and phones were turned on to the grisly news of that Hussey-Haddin demolition job. If Sunday's fightback had led to some jubilant pillow-punching, Monday mornings in a frozen November can seldom have seen so many whoops and beaming smiles.

There were so many records broken in England's innings it's hard to know where to start.

Cook's score was first the highest by an English player at the Gabba, beating Ian Botham's mark from 1986, then the highest by any player in Tests here, sailing past Sir Don Bradman's 226 against South Africa in 1931/2 and taking him sixth on England's all-time Ashes tally list.

Cook became only the fourth Englishman to score an Ashes double century in Australia, batted for longer (630 minutes) than any of his countrymen in a Test down under and would probably still be going, somewhere past the 300 mark, had captain Andrew Strauss not declared.

With Trott's able assistance, Cook produced England's highest ever second-wicket stand in Australia and the highest partnership by any visiting team at the Gabba.

It was the first time in Test history that England had passed 500 for the loss of only one wicket and only the second time the top three batsmen had all scored centuries in the same innings.

By the standards most of us have grown up with, Australia were almost unrecognisable.

With Trott on 75, Michael Clarke dropped the sort of slip catch you would expect to be pouched in a game of beach cricket. Other fielders saw shots slip through their fingers for boundaries, or stood motionless biting thumbnails while the gum-munching Ponting masticated with mute fury.

Mitchell Johnson, he of the pre-match promises to rough up Strauss and clatter into the rest with raw pace and aggression, returned match figures of 0-170. Debutant spinner Xavier Doherty went for 0-107 as the left-handers he was supposed to trouble made happy hay.

It was hardly any better for Ben Hilfenhaus, a threat throughout the last Ashes series in England but impotent with match figures of 1-142 here. With the exception of hat-trick hero Peter Siddle, the Aussie bowlers to come out of it with reputations enhanced were Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris, purely by dint of being absent from the carnage.

Both are named in a 13-man squad for the second Test in Adelaide, although all 11 picked here have also been retained despite dark mutterings from locals here about Johnson's mental state and Hilfenhaus's lack of menace.

On Tuesday, players, fans and media alike will fly down to South Australia, the start of the Adelaide Test just three days further on.

Two days ago, it seemed as though Australia would have the momentum. The brilliant rearguard action of England's batsmen has made everyone think again.

"They have sent the message that England will not be a push over," said former Australia opener Michael Slater on Test Match Special. "The points go to England without a doubt."

Former England skipper Michael Vaughan agrees.

"Usually, as we go towards Adelaide, England are 1-0 down," he said. "This year, while it's not been a great start, they'll go with confidence. The question will be 20 wickets - how will England take those in these conditions?"

"There are a lot of psychological points for England," reckoned Vaughan's fellow TMS summariser Geoff Boycott. "In the past, England so often lost the first Test but they will now have great confidence because they know there's nothing in Australia's bowling and that they have batted very well in the second innings."

Although the Adelaide pitch can sometimes give help to the spinners on days four and five, it is traditionally a batsman's paradise. Only that ghastly last-day collapse four years ago prevented England strolling to a draw.

But this is a stronger, more resilient England team, one that has just batted serenely for almost two days rather than being dashed out twice in the same time period.

"I don't look at history and I don't think it should play a part in this present team," said Vaughan, who is upbeat about England's chances in Adelaide.

"Steven Finn might find it difficult with back-to-back games because it's draining mentally playing here in the Ashes with so many people watching and so much pressure on you," he said. "But Stuart Broad can go up a level and bowl better.

"Jimmy Anderson's skill levels are going up, too, and England have a good team unit. If we keep scoring 260, we will be under pressure all the time. If they can fight in the first innings like they did in the second here, then with runs on the board I am sure Graeme Swann will come into play. The next Test will be about runs on the board - England will want to win the toss and then score at least 450."


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  • Comment number 1.

    Shame we couldn't grab a few more wickets, particularly Ponting, in the second Aussie innings to really drive the psychological stake home.

    But after 3 days of looking nailed-on to go 1-0 up, the Aussie team will be feeling pretty grumpy about the outcome. 'The One That Got Away' was the tale of their eventual losses in the 2005 and 2009 Ashes, after all.

    Don't fancy Johnson's chances much in the Second Test, but will the selectors blink or want to show faith?

  • Comment number 2.

    I've not read the blog yet, but found this interesting contribution on your blog after the Australian first innings, courtesy of Bigbaldboab.

    "Do you look at any English batsmen and think ' If he gets in he could be there all day- a la Ponting or Hussey' No."


    Well done all three of the top order. While England may not have won, it was a performance that we are certainly not used to. Onwards and upwards.

  • Comment number 3.

    Main caveat is that England need to take 20 wickets too - and I do wonder if in going after Swanny, the Aussies may be starting to neutralise what was previously thought to be our most lethal weapon

  • Comment number 4.

    Great stuff from Cook and Trott. My only worry for the next test is the fact that we only have 4 bowlers. They could tire quite easily and Australia could be all over them. Our batting looks good, although that could be something to do with the Australian's average bowling attack.

    I'm glad we got out of that with a draw, it looked very bleak for us after the 3rd day but we've shown we have bottle and a great deal of resilience about us. Hopefully this will have demoralised the Aussies a bit and we can take advantage in the next test at Adelaide.

    All in all, a very intriguing first test match.

  • Comment number 5.

    "The question will be 20 wickets - how will England take those in these conditions?"

    Surely Vaughn meant to include Australia in that sentence. Both sets of bowlers took the same number of wickets...

    Good blog Tom, and thanks for the live commentary and observations during play...

  • Comment number 6.

    Can anybody tell me whether there have been 2 stands in excess of 300 before in one Test match?

  • Comment number 7.

    It was one of those mornings when you wonder if your ears are playing tricks!! Even given the flatness of the pitch, Cook was immense as were Trott and Strauss. Only problem as previously mentioned is the taking of 20 wickets, but not all pitches will be this good. Ponting has proven utterly clueless as ever, but I think Strauss was also exposed as a limited captain by Hussey/Haddin.
    Overall, though I may stay with my previous prediction of 3-1 England given the demoralised and confused Aussies led by a poor captain. They have no chance of mentally recovering unless Johnson goes because they know he will never take a wicket, pocket a catch or score a run. Given his supposed talismanic status he will only drag the team down with him. Reminds me of Flintoff in 2006/7.

  • Comment number 8.

    Any England supporter has to be happy with that score , especially after trailing by 221 at the Australian's favourite killing ground. Fears of the team becoming demoralised by a heavy defeat have melted away in a rush, and one might wonder if the Aussies will be a bit set back mentally by the way the match was turned around.
    On the other hand the theory of "momentum" in a Test series was rather undermined in 2009 by the way results swung from England dominance at Lord's to the collapse at Leeds and then back to final victory at the Oval - if anything it suggested that the team that seemed to be on top was heading for trouble!
    I suspect there isn't really a lot between the two teams and the winner will eventually be the one who can seize their opportunities when they arise : and there is little doubt Australia will feel they have missed one here...

  • Comment number 9.

    Great result in the end, things looked extremely bleak on the third day.
    Interesting start to what my prove to be a very tight series

  • Comment number 10.

    Good blog once again tom, good point though wether we can take twenty wickets, for me although finn got 6 in the first innings, i'm not entirely convince by him, obviously don't think we should drop him, but think as the series goes on he's gonna need a rest. Swanny i hope will become more potent later in the series.

    On another note, it seems to me that roles have reversed slightly, the England bowling attack deemed unstoppable before the series, seem to have struggled for me, whereas the batters are deemed out of form and destined to struggle, most have made big runs with exception to colly who hopefully will come good by the end of the series

  • Comment number 11.

    Bowling weak on both sides, Batting strong. Going to be close. Perhaps the idiots who were talking rubbish about easy England victories will now be silenced. This pointless pre match bleating nearly cost us this game

  • Comment number 12.

    Now, without a doubt I am guilty of a knee-jerk reaction and should be ignored - but is there a case for moving Bell one up the order, dropping Colly and geting Tremlett in. Probably not, but it's an idea.

    It's probably best to stick with the settled team, but on Addelaide's notoriously friendly track and with Cook, Trott, Strauss and Bell in good nick it could offer another option.

  • Comment number 13.

    We missed a huge trick here today at the test. We should have batted all day and ground them into the dirt as we were never going to bowl them out! The Aussies always do it to us so we should have dished it out in their own back yard!!! The next test starts in 4 days now their poor bowlers and fielders have had a rest this afternoon. Would also show Aussies we are not afraid of piling misery onto them.

  • Comment number 14.

    Ianfursie wrote:
    We missed a huge trick here today at the test. We should have batted all day and ground them into the dirt as we were never going to bowl them out!

    Had we taken 3 or 4 wickets (esp Ponting again) then it would have been very different. In hindsight perhaps we should have batted them into the ground, but a few cheap wickets would have really sent them over the edge.

  • Comment number 15.

    What a happy blog to read Tom. England will surely take more from this draw than Australia. Just as they looked set to be turned over, they showed exemplary skill and attitude.
    Everybody seems to agree that lack of depth in bowling will be a problem, what price a Trueman or a Willis to get ripped into them. Hopefully the series will not end up looking like 2 great heavyweights mauling each other in the 14th round, neither of them able to deliver the knockout punch.

  • Comment number 16.

    The key for this series is resiliance and concentration under pressure. The majority of the pitches may well be flat (Adelaide is likely to be) so England need to keep knocking out big totals, be patient in the field and take their chances when they come along. 20 wickets will be tricky for either team.

    That said, england are normally 1-0 down by now and under huge pressure. Instead, the aussies arn't exactly under the cosh but their early momentum has gone, lets hope this will translate into some errors from their batsmen...

  • Comment number 17.

    After I got over the shock, I realised that Siddle's hat-trick was EXACTLY the sort of Ashes magic the series needed. Hussey, Haddin, Cook, Strauss and Trott have all waved wands over this game.

    What can happen at Adelaide to match it?

    (Answers on less than 1 side of A4 please...;))

  • Comment number 18.

    I'm not defending the bowling line-up, but people seem to be judging it on one innings and a session, on a good batting track. Being optimistic, it's not really something to draw conclusions from, and all four have the potential to perform better in Adelaide.

    And I'm not sure I understand the value on leaving the team to bat out until the end. There was the option to get into the Aussie top order, and just that extra bit of rest could help Cook and Trott for later this week.

    And what value is place on a not-out? If both had been bowled, what would it have done to their confidence, and would the Australian attack have been buoyed by finally getting rid of them?

  • Comment number 19.

    Ignore the 20 wickets issue for now, both teams at the Gabba only took 11, so flat was the pitch.
    What was really heartening is that 221 down and 2 days to go, England didn't fold under pressure, for once I got the feeling that whole batting line up would relish getting out there to fill their boots.
    So the Aussies now know that England 2010 aren't going to fold under a little pressure and to win this they are going to have to grasp their cojones and ala the Oval 2009, prepare a result pitch.
    Question is who will blink first? But England have certainly shown they are up for it.
    Game on!

  • Comment number 20.

    Firstly, well done England. However, the batsmen must do better in their first innings if we are going to have a chance in this series. 235 to save a test is fine but if it had been scored in the first innings would have been monumental. They have shown they are tough and that the Aussie bowlers are not world class ala McGrath and Warne. Our bowlers also need to do better, especially Swann who looked a pale imitation of his previous self. Perhaps the occasion got to him, but he is critical to us winning.

  • Comment number 21.

    Fantastic blog Tom! Also worth a read:

    @Peterkirk1 #3 - I wouldnt be too worried about Swann. He has shown time and time again he is a thinking cricket and has proved to us all (Papashango aside) that he is more than capable of dealing with a bit of a smashing. I back him to come good over the entirety of the series.

    @JCB211 # 12 - An interesting suggestion, but I wouldn't advocate any changes just yet. The team will be on a major high after such a comeback and switching things around could do more harm than good. Certainly, the argument for havign 5 bowlers remains as strong as ever, but for the time being, Bell has done nothing wrong and indeed looking at the warm-up amtches appears to be in near-perfect nick. As a side point, I don'tthink Tremlett is up to Test standard, but that is by the by.

    @summerbayexile # 7 - "Reminds you of Flintoff in 2006/6" How?
    Flintoff was leading a team who had lost there regular captain - himself a fantastic batsman with a great knowledge of Australian cricket, had lost the stronger of their two opening batsmen, had lost the greatest exponent of reverse-swing bowling this country has ever had, in Simon Jones and had a strike bowler in Steve Harmison who seemed to think that hitting any of the strips on the square was good enough. On top of all that, he had to deal with the media of this country doing there usual good work by explaining in no uncertain terms that ''Flintoff will bring the Ashes back himself.''
    It's almost a miracle he didn't go potty, get drunk and steal a boat somewhere...

  • Comment number 22.

    "3. At 10:09am on 29 Nov 2010, peterkirk1 wrote:

    Main caveat is that England need to take 20 wickets too - and I do wonder if in going after Swanny, the Aussies may be starting to neutralise what was previously thought to be our most lethal weapon"

    Ah, but five drawn tests will see us retain the Ashes. The Australian's HAVE to take 20 wickets at least once.

  • Comment number 23.

    What a fuss about a draw. Let's face it, South Africa have more to shout about from the performance of their rugby players at the weekend than their cricketers in this match.

  • Comment number 24.

    Good job England.

    Looks promising, and if at this (early) stage you were picking a joint team, I'd have the whole England team, with the exception of Haddin for Prior and Hussey for Collingwood.

  • Comment number 25.

    Firstly, well played to englands top 3, a superb batting performance!

    Secondly, I dont think it is just the manner in which england batted that gives confidence for the rest of the series but the manner in which australia bowled. Mitchell johnson, whos record would suggest he is a far better bowler in australia, seemed to continue from exactly where he left off in england. The rest of the seam attack (apart from one spell from siddle) looks just as toothless. It would also appear that Australia's most dangerous spinner is a batsman who is one more poor performance away from being dropped.

    Now England's superior attack just need to fire and things are looking good!

  • Comment number 26.

    @ robert_marks#21

    why o why o why o why would you mention papashango when he has yet to darken this blog?? i imagine he is at home trying to find something to replace his mitchell johnson posters with?

  • Comment number 27.

    gsac123....apologies!! I shouldnt have mentioned it. I just can't wait to see him say those three little words. You know, the ones women never say...

    "I was wrong."

  • Comment number 28.

    And I'm not sure I understand the value on leaving the team to bat out until the end. There was the option to get into the Aussie top order, and just that extra bit of rest could help Cook and Trott for later this week.


    Agreed - batting the game out would have come across as negative and displayed a lack of confidence in our bowlers. And if Collingwood had taken that simple chance we'd have had 2 wickets and might well have got a couple more. Just because it didn't quite pay off doesn't mean it was the wrong thing to do.

    Also, as you say, putting the aussies out of their misery after over 5 sessions in the field for only 1 wicket must have been very satisfying. If they'd got a few wickets in the last session it might have cheered them up a bit...

  • Comment number 29.

    They say a dead wicket tells no tales.It did tell me something that i had previously thought,Mitchell Johnson is all washed up.Adelaide will probably be a batsmans dream too.Maybe it's time the bowlers practiced "yorkers' and "slower balls".If North doesn't get a big score he will be going south . The aussie selectors should get down on their hands and knees and beg andrew symonds for forgiveness.Who cares about how he conducts himself before and after the games.When he plays Australia wins and isn"t that what it's all about? Kids need role models like roy and warney.

  • Comment number 30.

    @Laughingjackass - Agree about Symonds coming back into ths squad in theory, but don't see him making such a difference. He has been out of the fray for so long he could also be just another selection that abckfires spectacularly, turning Australia into a laughing stock.
    Must disagree that kids needs role models like him and Warne though.

  • Comment number 31.

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

  • Comment number 32.

    So any changes to the Aussie bowling? - Johnson for Bollinger? Tricky for Ponting... dropping Johnson surely strengthens their bowling, but leaves them with a really long tail...

    Must be nice to be in Strauss's shoes, settled bowling, settled batting, no selection issues. Bring on Adelaide.

  • Comment number 33.

    One major point that seems to have been missed is that the Austrailian public seem to have given up on their side. They had no support on day five of a major test so what happens when England's bowlers really start to turn the screw. If this level of support is reflected in the remaining tests then the Barmy Army could well turn out to be England's match winners.

  • Comment number 34.

    They did well but lets not get all excited about it. We managed to draw a game after we got ourselves in a mess to begin with. Pleasing but it will amuse the Aussies no end that the English press are getting in a flap because we succeeded in getting a draw.

  • Comment number 35.

    Time to drop Strauss. Got bottom score in both innings and yet managed to increase his test batting average!

    (Didn't mean it really).

  • Comment number 36.

    Ive just worked out who papashango is! You're Alec Swann aren't you?? Graeme's less successful and now clearly slightly bitter older brother!

  • Comment number 37.

    Despite the brilliant batting displays by Strauss, Cook and Trott, somehow I always felt nervous for our prospects.
    Because there still isn't a solidarity about our batting.

    All it would have taken would have been a couple of bad decisions; a couple of poor judgments; or a couple of lucky catches or edges - and we'd have been stumbling badly.
    The England team still lacks a cast iron middle order.
    We could easily have gone from riches to rags on day 4 and found ourselves at 150 for 8 and staring an innings defeat in the face.

    Thank heavens for those solid batsmen - but please lets see more guaranteed backbone from numbers 4 to 7.

  • Comment number 38.

    @Rememberscarborough # 33 - Correct. I was listening to TMS last night and you could hear the singing and chanting over the commentary. It was fantastic to listen to...and CMJ did say it was like a home test for England.

    @ the infamous papashango.

    Bowler O M R W
    Hilfenhaus 19.0 4 60 1
    Siddle 16.0 3 54 6
    Johnson 15.0 2 66 0
    Watson 12.0 2 30 1
    Doherty 13.5 3 41 2
    North 1.0 0 1 0

    Bowler O M R W
    Anderson 37.0 13 99 2
    Broad 33.0 7 72 0
    Swann 43.0 5 128 2
    Finn 33.4 1 125 6
    Collingwood 12.0 1 41 0

    Bowler O M R W
    Hilfenhaus 32.0 8 82 0
    Siddle 24.0 4 90 0
    North 19.0 3 47 1
    Johnson 27.0 5 104 0
    Doherty 35.0 5 107 0
    Watson 15.0 2 66 0

    Bowler O M R W
    Anderson 5.0 2 15 0
    Broad 7.0 1 18 1
    Swann 8.0 0 33 0
    Finn 4.0 0 25 0
    Pietersen 2.0 0 6 0

    Please explain how Swann has done anything particuarly unique in this match. True, we would have like him to have taken a couple more wickets, but on a belting track, I wouldnt be too concerned. So explain away.

  • Comment number 39.

    As I said on an earlier blog before the match started, the difference between now and 4 years ago is that Australia no longer have 3 individual matchwinners in their bowling lineup. Despite their decent quality, Siddle/Hilfenhaus/a.spinner are never going to be on the same plane as Lee/McGrath/Warne.

    Englands batsmen dont have any psychological issues coming to face the current crop, whereas I would suggest if the bowling lineup from 2006/7 had been in this game, the outcome would have been very different.

    I can foresee the series actually ending 1-0 with 4 high scoring draws. It will depend though on how the Perth pitch is set up and whether the real Mitchell Johnson can turn up at some point.

  • Comment number 40.

    Not trying to be boring but as England hold the ashes, a drawn series would be good enough. Then we get to keep them for anothe 2 1/2 years not just the 1 1/2 in between England home and Aussie home series.
    The Aussies are going to have some interesting discussions about pitch preparation, now they know we can bat.

  • Comment number 41.

    We scored 517 runs for the loss of one wicket. In Australia. In Brisbane. I'm going to let my brain absorb this for a while, probably whilst I'm asleep at my desk.

    Terrific stuff.

  • Comment number 42.


    Didn't you say we'd be 1-down by breakfast this morning?

    Back under your bridge you go.

  • Comment number 43.

    Well Mitchell Johnson has made himself look like a right idiot in this one! Giving it the biggun' about pace and bounce to Strauss/Pietersen etc and returns with figures of 0/170 in the match!

    Australia's attack (apart from Siddle's spell) looks utterly toothless. England's attack hasn't exactly flourished either yet but I'm tipping them to improve given that this is the first test and some are still adjusting to bowling in Australia.

    It may only be a draw but England are well on top after this one. I expect them to go on and retain The Ashes from here. If they can't beat this side, there's something wrong!

  • Comment number 44.

    jacko is spot on - anybody saying 'england need to take 20 wickets too you know' is just plain wrong!
    all i want for xmas is 5 draws. keep the little aussies at arms length & let them flail away with their impotent little attack.
    we'll spare them the indignity of actually beating them on home soil & wait till people are actually watching (in 2013) to give them their dooing!

  • Comment number 45.

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

  • Comment number 46.

    Apologies for the above post, a massive cut and paste error. Please delete...

  • Comment number 47.

    well a draw, a result we could of only prayed for on saturday morning as we woke up and found england had been taken to the slaughterhouse. the way we batted was tremendous though. cook accused of being out of form for much of the year, gets his first ever double ton and i will always say hes tremendous for us even when the going gets tough. he knows what shots he can play and doesnt try the one's he cant. strauss, how many times has he scored a century in the 1st match of a series??? the captaincy hasnt got to him either, unlike so many of the previous leaders on the pitch. trott, still a lot to improve on but give him a chance on a good pitch and he seems to take it. how he does when its tougher we will see.
    i still think our problems though are in the middle of the batting line up. pietersen is a donkey more often than not, colly never looks comfortable anymore, prior can do it against weak teams but can he handle the pressure here.
    as for the aussies, its needless to say after years of mcgrath and warne, they are very much a bowling line up going through a changing period. they lack experience really at the moment. only good thing for them is we only got the same amount of wickets as them.
    looking at the sides its still going to be a close series, and the side who can find a way to take 20 wickets may well be the team who go on to win the urn

  • Comment number 48.

    We had to declare, not making any effort to win would have sent out all the wrong signals to Australia.
    The top order had gained every plus point they could have and both Cook and Trott would be happy to register not outs.
    In any case declaring would have been inevitable at the fall of a wicket because Kp and Coll would have had little to gain by batting.

  • Comment number 49.

    England took 11 wickets from 184 overs. Ave: 16.7 overs/wicket.

    Australia took 11 wickets from 228.5 overs. Ave 20.8 overs/wicket.

    The English bowlers performed better, not great, but better than the Aussies.

    Happy with the result, a few more in the hutch in the last innings would have been nice, but job done after a shaky start.

  • Comment number 50.

    Great stuff by Trott and Cook, Johnson sprayng the ball everywhere, hilarious stuff! Glad we declared when we did and was hoping for some super bowling after Katich went. Sadly, it was not to be. Need to make sure to continue this form in Adelaide. Clarke was siply awful. Hopefully, England get off to a good start. We need one.

  • Comment number 51.

    Not going to comment on England's batting performance for the simple reason that sadly, 25 years of following the England cricket team has not actually furnished me with the vocabulary or the comprehension to comment on a score of 517-1. Let alone against Australia. Let alone against Australia in Australia. Let alone against Australia in Australia at the Gabba. Let alone against Australia in Australia at the Gabba after a 200+ 1st innings deficit.

    So I just won't comment on it ;-)

    The declaration was interesting though. Strauss has previously attracted criticism for being an overly cautious captain. On this occasion I don't think anyone would suggest that he should have declared earlier, however thewre are a few voices to suggest that he should not have declared at all.

    Personally, I'm glad he did. Yes, Punter and Watson got some time at the crease, which is a shame but I don't honestly think that they could take a great deal away from their respective innings after what had preceded it. The wicket of Katich was a great bonus. He is arguably the most adhesive batsman in the Australia side once set and could potentially be a real thorn for England over the coming months.

    It also sent out a message that England had the confidence to knock a few wickets down. That they didn't is by no means the end of the world on such a batters paradise, but it did send out a statement of intent from this England team: while the Aussie press is battering their attack and Punter is struggling to stand up for them, Strauss was happy to back his men and ultimately they achieved the same as the Aussie counterparts in a much shorter space of time.

  • Comment number 52.

    Hey lets face it, they are on the back foot here. Whilst it would be good to win down under if we draw we retain the Ashes - they need to win this series.

  • Comment number 53.

    Yes, I agree with those hoping for 4 more roads. Not only do we not need to win, but our batting doesn't look quite as shaky as theirs (taking the last few months into account, not just 1 Test) and we have the better bowling attack to go for the throat when a collapse begins. That will all come together at least once in 4 Tests to give England the series win, no matter how benign the tracks are.

  • Comment number 54.

    Well done England... That performance has been coming for a couple of years now, as they always seemed to get in then get out but full credit to the top order on that performance!

    Lets keep pilling it onto them remember for a period of 15 years and more they gave us so much grief... Is it payback time!?!?!?

    As for the Aussies I've got a feeling they may go with five bowlers, drop North and Johnson, who were very average and try and get the 20 wickets with the two new pace men, although I think that could play into our hands!

  • Comment number 55.

    I stand by mt comments pre match that the key will be the bowling - both sides (as amply proved) are capable of posting big scores, and the difference will be something special in the bowling department.
    For me England have more to take away than the Aussies - the only bright spot for the Aussies with the ball was Siddle's spell in the first innings, as Geoffrey would say my Grandma would have more chance of getting a wicket than the rest of this lot!
    England on the other hand, bowled well - Anderson was very unlucky, Broad caused real problems and Finn's 6 for will I am sure be the start of a great series for him (yes I know he picked up most of the tail, but still good performance). The only disappointment was Swann, however he is a gutsy, intelligent cricketer who I am sure is already working hard on doing better next time round.
    All the momentum is with England and I think it will be 2-1 England. I think this series is shaping up to be another classic, as the sides are fairly even, superb stuff!

  • Comment number 56.

    @ imintaunton: "We could easily have gone from riches to rags on day 4 and found ourselves at 150 for 8 and staring an innings defeat in the face."

    Yes, you're quite right, we drew this Test match by not collapsing like a house of cards. How insightful of you to notice.

  • Comment number 57.

    There were only 22 wickets taken in five full days of cricket but there seemed to be an awful lot of simple catches dropped. I know players tend to find excuses but surely those awful "camouflaged" seats can't have helped matters especially when most of them were empty.

    I actually think Australia batted better than England. Hussey and Haddin were given a real going over on the third morning yet battled through. Strauss, Cook and Trott were up against a bowling attack that was far less potent.

    I'm looking forward to a match where the battle between ball and bat is far more even than this one-sided travesty. I hope the groundsman feels suitably embarrassed with the pitch he provided that was anything but "Testing".

  • Comment number 58.

    Well I thought we'd have lost by the end of the fourth day so well played Strauss, Cook and Trott. I hope its a feat we can repeat in Adelaide and we dont revert to type. It was a topsy turvy macth all round really - aussies forget how to catch and we bat for two days. Again, big totals are required to put the aussies under pressure (well, even more pressure) and a draw will be fine, BUT we need big scores to start with. Bowling, if there is anything in the pitch for anyone (which I doubt) will largely take care of its self for england and hopefully Jimmy Anderson will get the slice of luck he needs to bag a few.

    One thing, and I think its going to become a bigger issue as the series

  • Comment number 59.

    well done England
    One out of the way
    The Aussies are under pressure to do all the hard work

    Gabba Dabba do - what a laugh after all the hype from the Aussies

  • Comment number 60.

    Tom - what score England want and what they will get are at this time too vague and uncertain for a worthy guess and/or reply. The Gabba test is over and to base predictions for Adelaide Oval on anything that happened at the Gabba is pointless and a waste of time. As usual more "sensational" media coverage - after Hussey/Haddin Australia were expected to win. After the first 3 English batsmen, the old hyperbole and conceited arrogance returned. England are not the better side. Swann, the "world beater/best spinner in the world", etc, etc was stupidly pronounced thus without having bowled in an Ashes test in Australia! Madness! And look at his performance - his body language was enough to tell us he knew he was bowling badly. Also the Aussies have done the correct thing - they attack him from the start - no pushing the ball around and tightening the noose around their own necks as most others have done. Positives and negatives for both teams but when they both hit a pitch that does give the bowlers real assistance, it will be the Aussie batsmen and bowlers who will prevail, simply because they are used to Aussie pitches and they are gutsy fighters. Anderson was fantastic and he will have really good returns but who will help him? To me it now seems irrelevant if Swann manages (doubtful) to raise his game for the Aussies have the measure of him anyway. God help us (also doubtful)if Panesar is brought in for him, or with him - a man bereft of ideas and variation who has believed the ridiculous praise earlier heaped on him. Hussey, Ponting, Watson, Haddin, Clarke etc will feast on him and Swann likewise as I've already said. There are too many still rashly touting England as if there's no tomorrow - I see Australia winning at least 2 of the remaining 4 Tests and do not see England winning both of the other 2. Australia may not be a vintage Aussie team, but in Australia, they are greatly superior to the over-hyped England Team, and players. "The draw is as good as a win" I heard said by many afterwards - what rubbish. England were lucky to get the draw and a few things could easilly have gone wrong and they would be 0-1 already. Think back to the close of Day 3 - am escape is what occured.England will be very fortunate to escape again, especially with a draw.

  • Comment number 61.

    For those quick to criticise Englands bowling attack; Don't forget the last 5 wickets fell for little over 30 runs. Without the partnership of Hussey/Haddin, Australia would have been well short.

    I thought England bowled with a great deal of intelligence, paricularly Anderson, pitching the ball up causing problems for the batsmen. Although the 3rd morning went wicketless, there was no luck there...and both batsmen easily could of fell in the first few overs, if decisions had gone their way (Hussey lbw) or edges went to hand.

    I've got full confidence England can take the 20 wickets required, with a bit more luck and Swann coming into play in the latter stages of the game. Don't forget this is an Australian batting line up that has collapsed on a number of occasions over the last few years. Hopefully with a bit more 'rub of the green' thinks might go our way in a few days time.

  • Comment number 62.

    60. At 1:12pm on 29 Nov 2010, closertofine wrote:

    "The Gabba test is over and to base predictions for Adelaide Oval on anything that happened at the Gabba is pointless and a waste of time."

    "And look at [Swann's] performance - his body language was enough to tell us he knew he was bowling badly. To me it now seems irrelevant if Swann manages (doubtful) to raise his game for the Aussies have the measure of him anyway. Hussey, Ponting, Watson, Haddin, Clarke etc will feast on him and Swann likewise as I've already said."


    Run that first statement by me again? I presume that renders much of your post "pointless and a waste of time," then.

    Also, paragraphs are a wonderful invention.


  • Comment number 63.

    Days 4 and 5 of a test match produce just ONE wicket each! What sort of a pitch is that? I don't think it can just be attributed to inept bowling but how on earth was any side going to get a result? No wonder the public in Australia are turning their back on cricket, it needs to be more exciting than this!

  • Comment number 64.

    @ #60: "greatly superior" teams usually win quite easily when they get a 200+ lead on first innnings. They certainly don't end up leaking 500-odd for 1 second time round, and bowling and fielding like a club side into the bargain.

    Agreed that there are things for both sides to work on. But it's Australia (not England) who need to win this series. That doesn't mean taking runs off Swann, Panesar or anyone else: it means taking 20 wickets. And on the evidence we've seen they'll need some pretty major reworking of their attack to do that. Will they dare, or will the traditional faith in the existing selection of "gutsy fighters" come back to haunt them? Remember what cost them last time round - Oval dustbowl and no front-line spinner...

    Not an England fan FWIW - just curious how Oz will respond.

  • Comment number 65.

    Cook has certainly made a few people, myself included, look silly in this test match. First innings a solid 60, and the double hundred considering the match situation, was probably the best I've watched from an England batsman overseas. Over 15 hours of batting over the test match.

    517-1 is a crushing total, and will force Australia into a couple of changes

  • Comment number 66.

    All things considered i think England did well to obtain a draw, but the question still is whether we can take 20 wickets. Anderson had the stand out spell of the game but and still didnt get a wicket. Personally I feel that one win for either team will be enough to win the series. Adelaide and Sydney will be draws and the series (in my opinion) will hinge on what happend inbetween at Perth and Melbourne. I am dissapointed that KP didnt get a chance to have a bat as it would have been an ideal change for him to get some runs, maybe we should have batted until the end and looked to get near 700 which would have completely crushed the Aussies. All things considered we should admire the batting of all the centurians,it shows what a bit of application and determination can do.

  • Comment number 67.

    #60, you'd rather judge Swann on 1 innings rather than 18 months of bowling all over the world?

  • Comment number 68.

    Alistair Cook's double hundred was a gem and full credit to the others for a magnificient fightback.
    However I have one major concern. Can Test Cricket flourish when we continue to have flat pitches. The pitch on the 3rd, 4th and 5th day (together with the Kookaburra ball)was so devoid of any major turn, bounce or seam and offered little to the bowlers on both sides, with the exception of Steven Finn.
    I just hope we do not have a repeat of the 2008/9 series V West Indies, where flat pitches, big hundreds caused a loss in interest in the games as they progressed.

  • Comment number 69.

    Difficult to take any negatives really as far as I'm concerned. Let's face it, in the second innings we murdered them. Have even Bangladesh ended up facing down 517-1? And had Collingwood held that catch off Watson who knows? I doubt we would have won but they might have gone in five down.

    All credit to Cook. I personally don't feel he should have been on the plane, but fair play, he's proved his class. It goes to show what a few warm up games can do - the best thing an out of form player can do is go out and murder a couple of weak attacks. All the top six look in good shape - Collingwood might have failed but he did well in the warm ups. And while they weren't effective here Australia will know how dangerous our lower order batting trident of Prior, Broad and Swann can be. Australia's attack is rubbish, let's face it. Johnson is less dangerous than my grandma's false teeth, and while Siddle and Hilfenhaus are honest triers Doherty is about as dangerous a spinner as Ian Salisbury. Quite frankly we were bowled out by a bit of inspiration in the first innings but I think we've learned our lesson. We'll really have to be off our game to struggle against these bowlers.

    Bowling-wise we need to step up a gear, particularly Swann and Broad. If Anderson gets more luck he could run through them, and I don't think anyone should be writing Swann off after one game.

    I owe a few comments to those Aussies who were ripping me in the pub on Saturday when England were facing defeat!

  • Comment number 70.

    Hang on, A record is surely something that has beaten someone else. How can getting 4th in some list be a record?

    Highest score by an Englishman at the Gabba - a Local ground Record although means little when compared to the next one
    highest by any player in the Gabba - Its a local ground record. Who cares that its anglocentric
    6th on all time ashes list - not a record, just a note
    4th Englishman to score a double in Aus - not a record, an achievement
    batted longer than countryman - dubious record, it assumes someone has batted longer down under surely?
    Highest ever 2nd wicket stand in Autralia - dubious but a record for England in Australia
    highest ever for any visiting team in the Gabba - it's a local record only surely?
    First time over 500 for 1 - thats a good old fashioned record
    Second time all 3 batsmen over 100 - 2nd? so not a record then

    I don't know about you, but from that list I count 1 proper record eclipsing all that have been before, 2 England in Australia only records, 3 local ground records and 3 "best of" list entries.

    As impressive a performance as it was, England and our reporters need to get their collective heads out of the clouds and concentrate on the facts - All of the above avoided a loss, nothing more. We didn't win anything and only one decent record was entered into the books. Local ground records mean nothing in the grand scheme of things and it glosses over the pretty mediocre first innings that really left it wide open and required "heroics" and it doesn't take into account just how bad the aussies were either.

    A lot of hard work still needed lads. Don't choke on the shampoo when youre only 10% done

  • Comment number 71.

    #60 you must have spent a long time writing that garbage, the only conceited arrogance I have seen has been from the Australian supporters. After having so much luck to not be bowled out for 200 England then showed them that their batting performance was nothing special.

    Your statement about Swann shows you up for the idiot you are, there was very little there for a spinner, so you dismiss all of Swann's previous performances. Yes a good team might be able to come out and put Swann to the sword on a pitch like that but Australia are not even a decent team anymore, let alone a good one.

    With the exception of Ponting Australia have no players I would want in my team, including Clarke. Australia has a poor batting line up and an even worse bowling attack. Come back on here at the end of the fifth test and we'll see who's right, I promise I will.

  • Comment number 72.

    #60 people are saying a draw for England is as good as a win because after day 3 all hope looked gone for us. That's why we're so happy to have got the draw.

    You've said Australia will prevail because they are gutsy fighters. If Strauss, Cook and Trott haven't jus shown that england are also gutsy fighters i don't know what will. Even on a flat pitch, with the pressure of a 200+ run deficit and having to save the first test, England could easily have crumbled. Just like australia did twice back in england two years ago.

    you say that the aussie batsmen will feast on our attack, but no matter how great there batsman are (which i personally dson't think they are anywhere near as special as they used to be) thet still need to take 20 wickets to win a match. The current attack look devoid of ideas, particularly Johnson. The fact it was North and none of the specialised bowlers who took the only second innings wicket shows that.

    England's attack look more potent, Anderson was unlucky not to take Haddin or Husseys wicket on saturday morning, and the game could have been totally different. I still think there's things we need to work on, and we shouldn't get too carried away just yet, but as many have pointed out, it's australia who need to win a match in this series. Without taking twenty wickets they won't do that.

    Swann wasn't at his best this match, but let's judge him after five tests, not one on a flat pitch.

    We shouldn't get too ahead of ourselves, but after this first test we have no reason to feel inferior to australia and every right to take confidence into the Adelaide test

  • Comment number 73.

    2 average teams and a dull result. The match was only made interesting by England's inept 1st innings performance.

    Having glimpsed the prospect of a victory, of course it is the Aussies who will be the more deflated going into the 2nd. This, and the fact that they have the better players means that England should be favourites for the series.

  • Comment number 74.

    @Robert_Marks #21

    While I agree that Flintoff was under far greater pressure than Johnson I still think the comparison is valid with regard to his talismanic qualities. When the standout bowler of the previous 2 years cannot find form for whatever reason he drags the rest of the attack down with him. No coincidence surely that England got beaten so badly when Flintoff, the attack leader, lost his way for many reasons physical and mental and Australia have their worst two days of the last 30 years when their attack leader goes missing.

  • Comment number 75.

    There is usually a great deal of tosh written regarding "momentum" to be taken from drawn test matches. In 2009 England apparently took "momentum" from Cardiff whereas in 2005 Australia didn't after snatching a draw at Old Trafford ?
    What England can take hope from is that currently Australia have more question marks than England.
    Michael Clarke - He has been a fine batsman for a long time. At the moment though he looks very jittery against the short ball. Broad and Ishant Sharma have both roughed him up recently with the short ball. As a result it looked as though he was staying a little leg side during his painful innings the over day. His dismissal when it came was more a merciful putting him in out of his misery.
    Marcus North - is the worst starter since my local restuarant served up prawns and bananas with feta cheese. If by chance he does place all 5 test matches then he will score a century and still not reach 200 for the series.
    Xavier Doherty - almost certainly the best left arm spinner in history beginning with X. Being useful in Cricket Scrabble shouldn't be a basis for selecting your team. Looks certain to play in Adelaide unless North is picked as specialist spinner which I doubt.
    Mitchell Johnson - should spend more time in the nets and less time a the tatooist. However Australia have a balance problem if he is dropped. A lower order of Doherty, Siddle, Bollinger and Hilfenhaus looks a little 6 out all out territory. (Not quite as spectacular as Tufnel, Malcolm, Mullally line up from England in the 90s). May yet survive the chop on the basis of useful lower order runs ?
    I know that England also have some issues as I am sure the good Papa would be more than happy to explain. Collingwood is more than a concern (and will survive for parallel reasons to Johnson for Australia). KP badly needs runs.
    But for all you pessimists out there allow yourself a few days of gentle but quiet satisfaction. There will probably be many days in the future for terminal depression. Cheer up in the meantime !

  • Comment number 76.

    A "combined XI" shows the strength of the 2 teams:

    1. Strauss (c)
    2. Watson / Cook
    3. Ponting
    4. Bell
    5. Pieterson
    6. Hussey / Collingwood
    7. Haddin
    8. Broad
    9. Swann

    6 from England, 3 from Aus and 2 50:50

  • Comment number 77.

    Well, who'd have thought that after day three with England in the early stages of climbing the mountain of a 221 run first innings deficit? Three centurions later, it is England who now have the momentum going into the Adelaide Test on Friday.

    Here's how they rated in Brisbane:

    Australia marks out of 10

    England marks out of 10

  • Comment number 78.

    Cracking blog; particularly enjoyed the image conjured when describing Ponting's Buster Keaton moment.

    This is the type of fightback that England have systematically fail to produce in recent years. Yes, there are bound to be a few concerns about where 20 wickets are going to come from on these batsmen-friendly pitches, but we can rest in the knowledge that our frontline far outshines the Aussies'. We could easily be sat describing a famous England win had Hussey fallen in the morning session on day three when Jimmy Anderson produced a magnificent bowling masterclass. Lest we forget, Hussey was plum in front and was given not out. Australia could easily have crumbled then.

    Also, delighted for Cook, who found himself under pressure again coming in to this series. He's a class act, no doubt. I read this morning that he is the most prolific English batsman by age, scoring more runs than anybody else has previously managed by 25. Trott was also terrific, even if he was dropped on several occasions. I thought the determination to press on that was so evident when all three batsmen reached their three-figure landmarks spoke volumes about the new-look disciplined and resolute makeup of this side.

    Confidence is sky-high and I expect England to go and win this series 2-1 now.

  • Comment number 79.

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

  • Comment number 80.

    I'm with Rob Evans and a few of the others - this was Brisbane, in Australia, the grave yard of England batting for decades, the place designed to cause nightmares - and three (yes three!)batsmen with lions on their shirts and wearing dark blue batted for two days and got four centuries, including taking a record from the Don!!!!!!!

    Just which bit of this is staggering, wonderful and worth getting up at 3.45 on a Sunday morning for are a few people not getting?!

  • Comment number 81.

    He was on life-support prior to the selection of the squad, he was almost certainly not going to be included, but a timely century against Pakistan salvaged his career.

    Now, here he is with a match aggregate of 302, far more than his series aggreagate in last year's Ashes in England. England 517/1 declared. Wow!That is a great moral victory, especially after the match hung in the balance after day three.

    Well done, Alastair Cook! Well done, England.

  • Comment number 82.

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

  • Comment number 83.

    “Don’t get me started on how poor Cook is?” Any readers of recent cricket comments want to guess the author?

  • Comment number 84.

    papa shango - I know at age 15, this seems really funny to you and I am sure I would have been as annoying had I internet access at that age, but it really is getting boring. Your appalling English gives you away and your blatant attempts to wind people up are getting tiring - please go back to the football boards until you hit puberty.

  • Comment number 85.

    #83 LMAO :)

  • Comment number 86.

    Can't understand why we gave the Aussies batting practice. This is the start of a long series and we should have made them bowl/field for two hard days with the intention of causing them to develop fatigue/blisters/injuries.

  • Comment number 87.

    England don't "need to take 20 wickets". They hold The Ashes.

    Go back to the second test in the last series in Australia, when Australia were already one up. With Pietersen at the crease, England were racking up a good score and looking to set a declaration. But Ponting (or at least Shane Warne) were happy to bowl around the wicket outside leg stump until he lost it. England then made a hasty declaration and went on to lose the series in spectacular style.

    In 2005 at the Oval it was in Englands favour for Pietersen to continually pad these deliveries away because a draw suited them fine.

    Now a draw will suit England just fine. I'd still like a 4-0 series win. I think it unlikely that will happen, but I would still take pleasure from a 0-0 result.

  • Comment number 88.

    I think I ran into papa shango at B&Q at the weekend. I needed to buy some black paint and luckily he was on hand to point out where it was to me. My freshly painted iron railings look great now - and blend in beautifully with the fresh fall of snow we had last night.

  • Comment number 89.

    #87 whilst i dont disagree that a draw will be adequate, we can't approach the games like that with a negative attitude. If you recall KP was dropped 3 times during that Oval knock, it could have been so different otherwise. We have to look to take the inititive, if we slump to another defeat in Aus it could be a generation before we have such a good chance to retain the ashes on the old enemies territory!

  • Comment number 90.

    England bowling attack was the unluckiest I have ever was some of the best bowling I've seen for a long time on day 4. Any other day the Aussies would have been all out and 75 in deficit, the last 5 wickets fell for 30 runs. All credit to Hussey and Haddin but will they do this in 4 other Test's?

    The Aussies need Bollinger and Steve Smith to beef up the batting and bowling, although dropping Hilfenhaus would be good for England, as I thought he was their best bolwer. Siddle had a great day on his birthday but he won't get 6 wkts in each proved by 2nd innings. Johnson loos out off it....he has lost his mojo.

    I stoll think Adalaide will be a draw, both sides get big scores but England shade the attack again.

    I predict England win in Perth as Finn, Broad and Jimmy will be a handful, can't see aussies taking 20 wkts or scoring bi at Melbourne or Sydney....England win 2-0 or 3-0.

  • Comment number 91.

    Ah BlogCabin - you misunderstand (or choose to do so). What I said about Swann was nothing to do with a prediction for Adselaide Oval - it was and is my opinion about the problems he has, and will continue to have, in Australian conditions and with adventurous and aggressive Aussie batsmen. The "predictions" I was referring to are the views of others, especially members of the media (who should know better) who predict all sorts of "situations" that will be encountered at Adelaide and the other 3 venues based on what happened at the Gabba. Nothing will be the same or similar to the Gabba anywhere else but Swan has a basic problem that I keep referring to - first time in Ashes Teat in Australia and the approach of the Aussie batsmen to him. The first was always going to be difficult for him - the second could have been forseen - both of which make his record to date elsewhere of little relevance.

    Oh - paragraphs - I see - something I have leared from the Gabba Test - many thanks.

  • Comment number 92.

    Ignore Papa Shango, the guy is a complete idiot who despite claiming to be an England supporter seems only interesting in talking them down. Now, that's his perogative, but coming out with blatantly incorrect conclusions without providing evidence to back them up (despite accusing others of doing the same) is a nonsense. He clearly can't stand Swann, so I'm sure if Swann takes a five-for in the next match, it'll be because the pitch was easy for spinners, and that anyone could have done it. He would have loved it if England had lost today so that he could have gloated about it. All frankly pathethic, but if we ignore him, hopefully he will go away, despite the outrageousness of some of what he says.

  • Comment number 93.

    Alistair Cook's centuries are like buses. You wait ages for one, then two come along at the same time! What a star.

  • Comment number 94.

    Hopefully after this series we will hear more claims from the Aussies that they should have won (despite losing) as they took more wickets, etc.

    What happened to Beefy's knighthood?
    I notice Sir Don kept his.

  • Comment number 95.

    83. At 2:57pm on 29 Nov 2010, Steak and Ale Pie wrote:

    “Don’t get me started on how poor Cook is?” Any readers of recent cricket comments want to guess the author?

    Was it the same person that wrote.......

    20. At 12:38pm on 28 Nov 2010, papa shango wrote:

    None of you can back up your points. I predict by breakfast tomorrow we will be 1 down in the series. But hey on the plus side, Collingwood is a decent fielder.

  • Comment number 96.

    Great improvement by England after a disapppointing first day. The second day got better until Hussey and Haddin got going but the last 2 days were terrific stuff. As others have said the Gabba has been a haunting experience for many England players in the past but they can take real confidence from this match. Things aren't perfect no but it's a good start and a solid base to build on.

    It's clear that this pitch couldn't have been much more batter-friendly, however the guys still have to go out there and score the runs which they did in pretty impressive style. It's all very well being able to score a hundred in friendly conditions, it's another altogether to break almost every batting record going in the process. Cook's performance was excellent, a terrific knock.

    I think the declaration was a decent call, no need to go over the top but I expect the bowlers would have been asking for another little go at the Aussies, just to see what they could do and to try a few things. No harm there and good to take a wicket as well.

  • Comment number 97.

    In the excitement of the remarkable scores achieved by Strauss, Cook and Trott, I wonder if anyone agrees with me that we're missing the crucial part of England's second innings recovery?
    When we went in again, 221 behind, we had conceded 340 odd runs to Australia's last six batsmen, had watched two of them enjoy a huge partnership, and had suffered a lot of ill-fortune in the first hour of that day's play.
    Notwithstanding the morale-boosting taking of the last five wickets (eventually!) for 31 runs, England must have felt pretty down, with 16 overs to face against the hat-trick hero and Hilfenhaus, who'd done Strauss like a kipper in the first innings.
    Hands up, who thought we were going to get to the end of the third day with 10 wickets intact? Putting it another way, any Australian with even a half-decent memory would have expected at least two wickets down by the close after the battering England had just had.
    I really think the seeds of that astonishing second innings total were sown by the determination of Strauss and Cook not to let the situation get to them, and to ensure that when day four started, not only would the Kookaburra ball be past its dangerous period, but England would be dealing with what in reality is an ordinary attack, on a placid pitch, with all of their wickets in hand.
    That it subsequently went as well as it did is an absolute bonus, but if we'd been two down on day three, a second innings score of 500 (even for ten wickets) would have been nothing but fantasy.

  • Comment number 98.

    #86 RoseSelavy - I presume that Strauss put them back in with about 30 overs left in order to either (a) try and force an unlikely win, (b) take 4 or 5 wickets, thus knock their confidence even more or (c) just rough them up a bit with some hostile bowling. I agree that in hindsight it looks like a bad call, but I guess Strauss knows what he's doing. If Colin Wood (sic) had held that catch we might have scared them a bit more.

    One slight worry for me is Mitchell Johnson, insofaras he sometimes bowls SO badly, then produces one jaffa in 5 overs and gets a couple of big wickets. Kind of inadvertently using the element of surprise. Plus he can be a destructive batsman, on his day. But I tend to agree with james (#90) that he seems to have lost his edge. Let's hope they pick him and he plays so badly again.

    Post 92 - you are 100% right. If there was any doubt before, I think it's pretty clear that Papa Shango is a doos (trans: 'box'). You can get idea of the cntext in which it's used from this:

    Overall, if there is such thing as momentum, we've got it. If we can win one and draw one of the next two tests then they are really in trouble. I think we have got the players to do it.

    And on a technical (petty) note, they don't have to take 20 wickets either. If you recall the last Adelaide test in 2006, Flintoff declared (prematurely) and we ended up losing. They only took 16 wickets in that match

  • Comment number 99.

    In defence of the good Papa.
    Not everything he says is complete rubbish. Miserable yes, rubbish no. There are people posting more rubbish than him.
    He does remind me of a person who used to play cricket for our club. He was similarly miserable and was always ready to denigrate the England team and individuals in it. He did however have a cracking looking daughter who used to regularly watch games. He therefore kept his place in the team.
    Even if for that reason alone, to remind me of summers admiring a cracking pair of legs and other such things, keep posting my good man. But just try every now and then to be happy and smile. England really aren’t as bad as you think

  • Comment number 100.

    Hahahaha at PAPA SHANGO, every point you make just makes more and more people laugh. Let us not forget last night you said that england would be bowled out this morning and lose this test.

    And okay Swann wasnt great but didnt collingwood drop a catch off his bowling this afternoon... Please tell me what planet you live on to say after 1 match that Swann should be dropped.

    Also before the match you wanted cook dropped. He scored 200 plus. SO where exactly have you ever got 1 comment right. Keep your opinions to yourself and i suggest you never enter a betting shop as you would be bankrupt after a week.

    On a positive note well done england for actually getting something out of the pitch. I think every country should use the dukes cricket ball over the aussie favourite (kookaburra if thats how you spell it) as the dukes lasts longer and gives the bowlers something later in the innings. Just my own thought but would like 2 hear peoples opinions on that.


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