England carried the advantage of freak escape into the second test and ended the Lords jinx with a 115 runs victory and a 1-0 lead in the Ashes.This is hard test cricket for you .And the wrecker in chief was Andrew Flintoff who sent out 10 high quality overs unchanged, to end with a man of the match award.
Now then , England suddenly are looking a potent outfit with a good bowling attack. Graham Onions was straight and full on most occasions while Graeme Swann extracted a fair amount of turn from the surface. Jimmy Anderson probed with a nagging length and immaculate direction with support from Stuart Broad .But one man chose the occasion to leave a mark on the last test at Lords .Andrew Flintoff. Bowling consistently in excess of 150 Km/h he defied pain to script a famous win for England . One just wonders if Flintoff would have been fully fit for most part of his 77 tests and had pitched the ball up the way he did at Lords , how many more wickets he would have added to his kitty !.
The match appeared to go down to the wire after the Cardiff show. But any thoughts of that soon vaporized when Brad Haddin edged one outside off stump towards the second slip .Then onwards it was just delaying the swift conclusion.
It was the bowling that made the difference, eventually .Australia was always going to be a depleted bowling attack after Brett Lee’s loss due to injury .Mitchell Johnson went for pace and sprayed the ball around whereas Ben Hilfenhaus maintained a steady line and length just outside off stump and consistently troubled the English batsman with his swing was the only bright
Michael Clark must find a mention for the way he timed the bowl and was decisive off either foot . This was a top effort repeatedly penetrating the covers area for boundaries and he got able company in Brad Haddin who is trying his best to fill up the void of Adam Gilchrist .
Australian captain will be severely tested hence forth , not many times one finds the Australian team trailing in the series .
At 1-0 down, and after surrendering their 75-year sovereignty of Lord’s, Australia are in unfamiliar Ashes territory. In fact, the last time they trailed England so early in the series was in 1997. However they went on to win the next three Tests.
Having lost most stalwarts to retirement, he will have to make some tough decisions and the name which comes under scrutiny is Mitchell Johnson who has failed to carry the load of a strike bowler in Lee’s absence
What an advertisement for Test cricket these two matches have been. This after the T-20 fever threatens to suffocate test cricket. There is a big break before the third test and it remains to be seen how Ponting gets his combination right .Will Ponting the batsman again come to Ponting the captain’s rescue ? .At the moment the plate looks full for skipper Ponting .With Lee looking least to be risked against Northamptonshire, Stuart Clarke is the only realistic choice if Ponting takes the bold decision to leave out Mitchell Johnson .Whereas Shane Watson will be seen as a batting all rounder , which does not aid Australians to make a strong statement of intent towards taking 20 English wickets . If he decides to go with five specialist bowlers , who will be left out ?
Testing time ahead for Ricky Ponting !