It was mentioned to me that I may have been a little harsh on Shane Watson yesterday. I wasn’t.
It’s hard to tell what is going on with Australia at the moment. Some would say that the skipper has lost the plot and tried to implement one of two plans all day – bowl it short or very wide. Others think that he has nothing at his disposal, and there isn’t much more he can do. I’m a little on the fence about this, he doesn’t have much, and nothing that he tried had any real effect – it was hard for me to see whether it was because they were rubbish plans or just that the bowling line up is just simply not up to it.
One thing I find very curious is that neither Clarke or Katich have rolled their arm over at any point over the last 1000+ runs … my position on Clarke hasn’t changed – he shouldn’t be playing as he is not fit. But Katich has a 5-for and a 10 wicket match to his name on this ground, and surely some left-arm was worth a shot?
To be perfectly honest, I am a little surprised that there hasn’t been more “bring back Warnie” talk … and I’m sure if we could let McGrath bowl 4 over stints and rest off the ground in between he would add something to this attack.
Although the Australian performance has been absolutely terrible since day 3 in Brisbane, you do have to recognise Keven Pieterson’s sensational innings – back to his brutal, arrogant, nonchalant and poser best – exactly what we were concerned about happening going into this series, the reason why Australia is most concerned with him, and the reason we love watching him bat! Bell looked remarkably un-Bell like, and actually pretty good.
I guess the only thing England look like they have stuffed up in this match is that they are planning to keep batting. With the rain the answer to a lot of Australian prayers, and looking like hanging around for a lot of today, and most of tomorrow – why keep batting? You are 300-odd in front, you’ve dominated the Australian batting save for one great partnership (and Hussey and Haddin can’t save the day every innings), there’s only a maximum of six sessions left – but in all likelihood a lot less than that. To me, it shows that the England is “we will not lose” rather than “let’s get a win” … it’s not like Adam Gilchrest, standing in for an injured Steve Waugh in 1997, where he declared having dominated the game, giving England a real shot if they went for it – which they did and won brilliantly – Ramprekash is my main memory of that … but it is not like that – Australia have no chance to win, the only thing they can get out of this match now is to have lost every session thus far and NOT LOSE … and Strauss seems to be giving them a chance of doing that.
Interesting to see if the selectors, having dropped Johnson and got pretty much exactly the same out of Doug the rug, will go back to Mitch for Perth? It has been great seeing Johnson go back to his state side and get some much needed match practice … oh yeah, apparently we are not doing that anymore … if fairness, his enthusiasm on the field has been pretty good for a guy “who’s head is in the wrong place”.
I might actually get some sleep tonight – someone let me know what happens.