Cricket is a cruel, cruel game indeed. At Cardiff, Australia came within one wicket of taking the lead in the series and just three days later, at Lord's they were chasing the game after the first session of play itself. Ultimately, losing the Test, one is not so sure how this particular Aussie team will take to the loss.
Cricket is a cruel, cruel game indeed. At
For they put in a mighty effort in the first game and to come out empty handed from there wouldn’t have been pleasing. On top of that,
Yes, many would think that
There were at most a handful of players who played well enough to keep
In the second innings, there were three 50-plus stands and that takes their series tally to five, for there were two such stands in the first innings at
Even then, that might not be good enough to get them to a decent score should the top order fail again, and it would be too much to expect Monty Panesar and James Anderson to do their bit for a second time in the series. The middle order has to come to grips and stitch together some runs before it is too late to rectify this error.
Batting is not the only worrying point as the bowling is in a bit of doldrums as well. Hold on, didn’t they just take twenty Aussie wickets to win the match? Yes, they did, but again just how many of their five-man bowling attack was visible for the match. James Anderson, Andrew Flintoff and Graeme Swann to some extent; in fact, it would be better to say that dubious umpiring got more scalps than their support put together. Graham Onions was just that, support bowler, and either Tim Bresnan or he will be doing this job for the summer.
But the role of Stuart Broad has to come under strict scrutiny here. Does the team management want him or a genuine strike bowler in his place? The answer will depend on how they see the scales: Broad, who could maybe take a couple of wickets at best or Steve Harmison who could really trouble the Aussies with his pace and bounce? The former can stay at the wicket a bit longer but the latter will provide a lethal strike partner to Flintoff and Anderson.
And talking about Andrew Flintoff, the retirement debate comes up first and all else is secondary. Now there are two ways to look at it; foremost it is his body which is giving way. How he chooses to last out the few remaining years of cricket is his wish. If he can earn a fast buck out of it, then the sanctity of Test cricket be damned, for not many players around today care much about it anyways.
The other point is the effect his declaration will have on the series result. Quite clearly it has fired up the big guy as well his team, seen clearly with the way Strauss has begun using him aggressively with the ball. Now if only he could do it with the bat as well,
And though they are quite capable of doing the same,
(The columnist is a sports writer and Mobile ESPN cricket commentator based in