Temper temper …

Ricky lost the plot and Ian Botham doesn’t like strong aggressive Australian captains – take your pick, Chappelli or Punter. 

That’s pretty much it for day 2 at the MCG.

A lot has been made of the Pieterson non-dismissal and Ponting’s response to it.  While the response was over the top, and rightly he was fined for dissent (or an overly long conversation with the umpire on the field), this matter raises another issue.  One which FIFA has arguably gotten right over the years.  The ACB in an attempt to show transparency and keep the fans at the ground “in the loop”, have decided to show on the big screens what viewers at home, and the third umpire see when deciding on a referral.  It was this that caused such consternation with the Australian team, and the captain in particular.  In the comfort of my own home, it was pretty clear that Pieterson was not out, but on the ground, all that they would have seen was the “hot spot” at the base of his bat.   Assuming this was caused by the ball, the Australian team was shocked that he was (rightly) given not out.  I am not excusing the behaviour at all, but perhaps this is as good an example as any as to why such replays should not be shown live at the ground.

Despite being unimpressed with the skippers behaviour, I must admit the hysteria surrounding the incident is somewhat ridiculous.  I have found the incredulous reaction by most sections of the media to be over the top, which is probably why I am not as disappointed as I could or perhaps should be with Punter.  There was no real aggression and nothing that was completely out of order – other than whinging for too long and speaking to both umpires.  Once it was over, nothing more was made of it by the skipper or the team for the rest of the day.  Ian Botham and David Gower’s “holier than thou” approach was a little hard to swallow – particularly from those blokes.  The press response was predictable and over the top.

In reality, Ponting was showing the strain of the game.  The strain of his failure to produce runs, of the likelihood that this match, and with it the Ashes, is gone and probably his disenchantment with the team he is charged with leading. 

The English side are better overall in most aspects than this Australian side.  It is how it is.  It is sad that Ricky will be remembered for being the only Australian captain to lead 3 Ashes losing Australian teams (although with a bit of luck in Sydney, it might only be 2 loses and a drawn series).   No one will worry about it in the years to come, but he was 2 runs (or a referral system) away from winning in 2005, and a wicket away from retaining the Ashes in 2009.  History can be harsh sometimes.

The selectors, and the players charged with the responsibility of representing Australia must also take some of the responsibility.  Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor wouldn’t have been able to do any more with this side, and it is about time that people started to recognise that.

However, despite this one ugly incident, the response by the Australian team to the bizarre (although again correct) situation where Aleem Dar first gave Prior out, then decided to check upstairs for a no-ball, which reversed the decision, was first rate – but no one apart from Mike Atherton recognised that.

It does raise the question as to whether every wicket taking ball will or should be checked for the legitimacy of the front stride.  Umpire Dar was spot on when something triggered him to check Johnson’s front foot – but what happens next time when he (or another) doesn’t?  Something to ponder perhaps.

The Australians didn’t have much luck throughout the second day, but they didn’t really deserve it.  Siddle was used too sparingly, and Clarke looking like he was trying to cause injuries  to the beer swilling folk in the Ponsford stand.  Hilfy didn’t really look like taking a wicket, and Harris was below his best.  At least the fielding was better than it has been!

And yes, Trott batted well – albeit annoyingly.  I don’t really like watching him bat, he is a grafter who does not look pretty, but his Ashes record is one to be proud of, and at the end of the day, it’s how many, not how you got them.

Can Australia bat for the best part of 3 days to retain the chance to win back the Ashes?  In the unforgettable words from the Castle – “[3 days?]  Tell them they’re dreaming!”

Ricky lost the plot and Ian Botham doesn’t like strong aggressive Australian captains – take your pick, Chappelli or Punter. 

That’s pretty much it for day 2 at the MCG.

A lot has been made of the Pieterson non-dismissal and Ponting’s response to it.  While the response was over the top, and rightly he was fined for dissent (or an overly long conversation with the umpire on the field), this matter raises another issue.  One which FIFA has arguably gotten right over the years.  The ACB in an attempt to show transparency and keep the fans at the ground “in the loop”, have decided to show on the big screens what viewers at home, and the third umpire see when deciding on a referral.  It was this that caused such consternation with the Australian team, and the captain in particular.  In the comfort of my own home, it was pretty clear that Pieterson was not out, but on the ground, all that they would have seen was the “hot spot” at the base of his bat.   Assuming this was caused by the ball, the Australian team was shocked that he was (rightly) given not out.  I am not excusing the behaviour at all, but perhaps this is as good an example as any as to why such replays should not be shown live at the ground.

Despite being unimpressed with the skippers behaviour, I must admit the hysteria surrounding the incident is somewhat ridiculous.  I have found the incredulous reaction by most sections of the media to be over the top, which is probably why I am not as disappointed as I could or perhaps should be with Punter.  There was no real aggression and nothing that was completely out of order – other than whinging for too long and speaking to both umpires.  Once it was over, nothing more was made of it by the skipper or the team for the rest of the day.  Ian Botham and David Gower’s “holier than thou” approach was a little hard to swallow – particularly from those blokes.  The press response was predictable and over the top.

In reality, Ponting was showing the strain of the game.  The strain of his failure to produce runs, of the likelihood that this match, and with it the Ashes, is gone and probably his disenchantment with the team he is charged with leading. 

The English side are better overall in most aspects than this Australian side.  It is how it is.  It is sad that Ricky will be remembered for being the only Australian captain to lead 3 Ashes losing Australian teams (although with a bit of luck in Sydney, it might only be 2 loses and a drawn series).   No one will worry about it in the years to come, but he was 2 runs (or a referral system) away from winning in 2005, and a wicket away from retaining the Ashes in 2009.  History can be harsh sometimes.

The selectors, and the players charged with the responsibility of representing Australia must also take some of the responsibility.  Steve Waugh and Mark Taylor wouldn’t have been able to do any more with this side, and it is about time that people started to recognise that.

However, despite this one ugly incident, the response by the Australian team to the bizarre (although again correct) situation where Aleem Dar first gave Prior out, then decided to check upstairs for a no-ball, which reversed the decision, was first rate – but no one apart from Mike Atherton recognised that.

It does raise the question as to whether every wicket taking ball will or should be checked for the legitimacy of the front stride.  Umpire Dar was spot on when something triggered him to check Johnson’s front foot – but what happens next time when he (or another) doesn’t?  Something to ponder perhaps.

The Australians didn’t have much luck throughout the second day, but they didn’t really deserve it.  Siddle was used too sparingly, and Clarke looking like he was trying to cause injuries  to the beer swilling folk in the Ponsford stand.  Hilfy didn’t really look like taking a wicket, and Harris was below his best.  At least the fielding was better than it has been!

And yes, Trott batted well – albeit annoyingly.  I don’t really like watching him bat, he is a grafter who does not look pretty, but his Ashes record is one to be proud of, and at the end of the day, it’s how many, not how you got them.

Can Australia bat for the best part of 3 days to retain the chance to win back the Ashes?  In the unforgettable words from the Castle – “[3 days?]  Tell them they’re dreaming!”

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