This match, and series, has helped me develop a deep respect for English cricket fans. They have had to watch, with despair no doubt, an insipid team with little heart and even less talent for a very long time. Now, after 20-odd years they can play, and play well. Well, they can against rubbish opposition. Having watched some of the South Africa v India series, I doubt that this side will seriously challenge those sides, particularly with the fields Strauss sets, but they are good enough for our lot. Much too good.
Now I understand how it must have felt in ’89, ‘91/2, ’93, etc. Basically never looking like winning, clearly having a team filled with individuals that should be struggling to consistently play in a first class team, let alone be untouchable in the test side. Having to console yourself with the odd win, when a bloke suddenly turns up for a change. Mitchell in Perth was very much like Devon Malcolm at the Oval … but I digress.
This match has made me angry, dispirited, and just plain upset and there wasn’t much I felt like writing about until about an hour into the Australian innings – and once again one guy managed to inspire me (surprisingly not Siddle, who has bowled with distinction and really shown what it means to him to be playing for his country on the MCG).
If I didn’t know that people I liked and respected, people that really don’t like bad language, then I would be very tempted to drop a very nasty word, in fact many very nasty words, about Shane Watson.
What had started as a very positive, almost exciting, approach to an ultimately doomed position all came tumbling down due to another outrageously bad call by Watson. Running Katich out for a diamond in Adelaide was bad, very bad. Running out a kid, who has really been struggling, was fighting for his spot in the side, who actually started to find a bit of form for the first time this season was unforgivable.
I was chatting to a mate at the ground and he was livid, and got in touch with me just to vent his anger at Watson, suggesting that he may be doing that sort of thing on purpose!
Then to top it all off, he does what he ALWAYS does, and went out timidly soon after a break soon after reaching his fifty. Fifteen 50s and 2 hundreds is simply not good enough.
One thing that absolutely astounded me last night was when Clarke came out to bat, and the description offered of him was “out of form, but not a man playing for his place.” All I could think of was why the devil not?
Especially now that it appears he will be given the honour of skippering Australia in Sydney. Outrageous. Clarke is short term – I have said over and over that he should have been dropped already this series, and instead, it looks like he is being rewarded by being promoted to captain. Australia has always picked the best side, and then the best person in the side to captain the team – at least in my living memory. What are we saying now if Clarke, a guy who shouldn’t even be playing, the captaincy? Hildich and that mob really need to explain themselves, then get sacked!
I will name my thoughts on who should be named for the Sydney test side tomorrow to see what people think, but just for the record – how is Steve Smith, a guy who has scored 162 Shield runs this year at 32.40 with only one score over 50 in the top 6 batsmen in the country? Even Marcus North has a better Shield record than that this year, and he has been pox.
So probably another hour, unless Johnson and Haddin can excite for a bit, then maybe we’ll get two, and the Ashes will be officially confirmed as staying with England for another 2.5 years.
They have deserved to win and to win comfortably.