Going into tonight’s game, I am less excited than I can remember ever having been in a match involving Australia. I’m not sure whether it is because the best possible result would only see Australia tie the series, whether it is the team that has been selected, or whether it is the bloke that will be leading them out.
I am excited for Usman Khawaja – I hope he smashes them around and that he is a mainstay in the side for years to come. He looks a relaxed, technically correct, and exciting young cricketer – and has done since he first played for NSW. I am a little surprised as to how much has been made of his background and religion. I am one who doesn’t think it of importance at all, but headlines are headlines I guess.
I am still confounded by the selection of Michael Beer, who has done nothing to indicate that he will be a top class spinner. I will wait to make my judgement, as better players than I obviously rate him, however, I am still struggling to grasp how 7 games with 16 wickets at 43.3 warrants selection and a baggy green. He has done much less than the bloke he is replacing – Doherty, and significantly less than the bloke that should be in the side – Hauritz.
The scheduled rain has made a draw more likely – if Australia can avoid yet another collapse – and this would leave the result as 2-1 to England, the third time in four Ashes series. A 3-1 result to England would probably be a fair one, one that shows the true differences in the way the two sides have played this series. But fair and Ashes series don’t always go hand in hand. Both the 2005 and 2009 series could or should have been 2-2, so it would be rather ironic if that was the result this time around.
I am not confident going into this match that it will last the full 5 days, or that Australia will be able to take the match, but I am hopeful. I am hopeful that a young boy from NSW can do well (take your pick as to whom – there are plenty of options) and that an inexperienced Victorian can turn it.