Look, there’s no doubt that Australia are way in front in this Second test and are heading towards a crushing victory and a 2-0 lead in the series that few of us saw coming.
England are rattled. Our fast bowling, led by the resurgent Mitchell Johnson, has been full of venom and spite and our opponents are playing poor shots and second guessing the deliveries they’ll face and playing their defensive innings in their heads or, worse, in the dressing room whilst padded up.
So, we can move past this stunning day of superior cricket and look at specifics.
Churlish as it may seem then, can we talk about Shane Watson.
The only thing that moved faster than a Johnson thunderbolt was the pace a thought takes to move through Watto’s brain. Like a car with diplomatic plates on a German autobahn, with nothing to stop it and at enormous speed, ideas and instructions must pass through Watto’s heads and out the other side with alarming pace.
Let’s be realistic and honest about the bloke. Talented as he is, so was/are the Poo, Tomic, Fev and others who flattered to deceive. Give me someone who knows his limitations and works with it (Colin Miller, Paul Reiffel and possibly Bailey) or works hard at his craft to succeed (Langer, S Waugh, and possibly Johnno) instead of the talent that Watto has wasted inside his body and brain.
A wag once wrote that God had a sense of humour in putting Shane Warnes’s ability inside Shane Warne. I also read somewhere once that when God made France, he sat back and realized it was so beautiful that he needed to compensate, so he filled it with French people.
Watson would be rejected as playing Lenny in “Of Mice and Men” as the directors would not believe someone could actually be that dumb.
The scenario is we are about 400 ahead, we sensibly bat again, looking to grind the English bowlers into the ground after an abject failure of a performance in this test and the Gabba, with only a few days break to the Perth test, and to build an even more massive and soul-crushing lead and destroy their batsmen. We also want to give our bowlers a spell.
So, after the unfortunate dismissal of Rogers, Watto strides to the crease like a vacant colossus. Second ball, with instructions in his head of building an innings fading to black, he reaches out wide to a delivery that should be left alone at any stage of any innings and restores Carberry’s fielding credentials after his let-off of Haddin in the first innings.
This bloke makes Homer Simpson look like Steven Hawking, and the intellect of Dr. Karl would be hard pressed to work out what’s going on in this bloke’s vacant space inside his two ears.
In Brisbane, he was bogged down for what for a player solely focussed on both himself and limited-over cricket must have seemed like a lifetime (three overs) before he played a stupid shot and gave an easy catch in the second dig. Innings one in the first test saw him waft at a delivery that he had not right to play at and innings one here, after working reasonably to a 50, go to a soft dismissal.
His year looks like this:
- Suspended from playing in India for behavioural reasons
- Storming home in a fit of pique
- Bagging the powers that be in Australian cricket
- Basically giving the game away
- Being a destructive influence around his skipper
- Captaining the side!!!!!
- The poorest use of DRS (repeatedly) that you could imagine
- A century in a dead rubber
- Smashing into Brad Hodge
- Being a complete idiot on a regular basis.
This guy hasn’t got the brains god gave meat, and although having the intelligence of a tree stump isn’t a pre requisite for being a Test Cricketer, you’d think he’d have cricket smarts at least.
But no, the self absorbed Watto looks to play shots for himself, not his team, and goes second ball, exposing his skipper early in the second dig.
His batting average is at that of Haddin’s, Warner and Haddin have more 100s, and he’s possibly the most self-interested and absorbed cricketer Australia have had, with no single thought for his team or mates beyond what benefits him
With two days to go, the focus will be on batting tomorrow and then asking the tourists to bat for about 5 sessions, already shell-shocked and bereft of ideas and facing a fast pitch in a few days with bowlers short on rest.
So, Day 3 was clearly ours with Johnson’s efforts one for the ages, possibly even ahead of his stunning Gabba all-round performance.
And we’ll go to Perth, only worried about resting bowlers and keen to clinch the series.
But lost in the heroics of today, is a snap shot of the frustration that is Watto.
This guy is not a team player, without a cricket mind, and not someone who plays for his mates or skipper.
Warner, for all his faults, is developing into someone who learns and studies, corrects and works, and places a value on his wicket that we thought unlikely a season ago. Johnson has worked to improve himself, taken advice, listened and worked for his team.
They got out the full length mirror and had a good hard look at themselves.
Watson gets out his mirror and just admires himself.