Ashes Blog – Third Test, Perth

Is there any way back for Australia in this series?

Or should they be resigned to the possibility of several years in the cricketing wilderness?

Is there any hope at all of Australia winning in Perth?

And just how many more “Beer” puns can we come up with?

Your thoughts, please…


  1. Perhaps the Australian selectors chose Michael Beer because his name is an anagram of “he be miracle”…

  2. Gigs (and all),
    given all the talk about fielding four quicks, I was wondering when was
    the last time Australia played four fast-bowlers?

  3. Peter Flynn says

    Don’t quote me on this:

    Australia v India in Perth Jan 2008.

    Attack was:


    Clarke and Symonds were part-timers.


  4. I’m soooo over this series.

    Just to brighten up my day a bit when this test starts I think I will go out to the shed, place the genitalia in a vice and slowly turn the handle.

    That should be much more comfortable than watching Australia.

  5. Whatever floats your boat Phantom!

  6. Not too sure I like the direction in which this blog is headed….but I will keep watching for “research” puposes.

  7. Sorry to lower the tone.

    I made a typo. To bring it back to cricket relevence I should say ‘Ganguly(s)’

    That should “fix” the matter.

  8. Poms win the toss and…..bowl!!
    Big selection decision by the Aussies to leave out Beer.

  9. I wrote last week that the asylum which is Australian cricket needs a Randle P McMurphy to fly into the nest and sort things out. Well, manna from Heaven, he arrived on cue with Liz Hurley under his wing, or at least somewhere in the same birdcage (if they have a Flemington birdcage at the Goodwood Races).


    What a classic! You don’t have musicals written about you if you spend your spare time working on your Iced Vo-Vo recipe for afternoon tea.

    The ongoing script of The Life of Shane keeps giving. Warney is, as always, up to plenty. And I suspect, happy to kiss and tell.

    The entire English nation is fascinated by him. Broadsheet gentlefolk and lovers of the noble art of cricket were mesmerized by his feats on the field – as a leggie, and as the spiritual leader of the Australian side. The rest have been intoxicated by the (ongoing) tabloid charisma bursting from the Cold Duck bottle that is his outrageous life. He is great fodder for the Barmy Army.

    The possibility of a Warney comeback, has been the topic of conversation in pubs this week. He could play that McMurphy role. He could have the nervy Australians stand a little taller. And, boy oh boy, would he be a help to Punter.

    Sadly, the problem with the team starts at the top. Ponting has never been the world’s greatest on-field tactician. He was heckled from the outer in Adelaide when he continued to bowl Marcus North when Pietersen arrived at the crease. But, for much of his time as captain, Ponting’s inadequacies were camouflaged by the runs which streamed form his bat.

    His failure to put runs on the board now is a key component in the general pressure the side is feeling. The challenge is with him here in Perth. If you think he can do it, he’s good odds with TattsBet to be the highest scorer in the Australian first innings – at $4.50. I won’t be taking it. I reckon he’s playing from second slip to mid-on early in his innings (even to G. Swann), and he might struggle with Jimmy Anderson no matter how jet-lagged the English fast bowler is.

    Which means the runs will have to come from somewhere else.

    And there’ll be more talk about Warney. Imagine him striding out on Boxing Day.

  10. Steve Fahey says

    As Hughes made 4 and 0 in his last Shield game, I guess his 2 today means that he is batting to his average.

  11. 1/4. Big improvement on Adelaide…

  12. Peter Flynn says

    Great planning and execution by England to get rid of Hughes.

    Just a beautifully constructed over.

    Hats off Flower, Saker etc.

    It was a risk to pick Hughes while his form was not flash.

    Hilditch would be oblivious to this.

  13. Ponting is a certainty to get a ton today………………….I think.

  14. Peter Flynn says

    I doubt it Dips.

    Anybody for Ponting down the order?

  15. Sorry, Dips. Flynny was right. 2/17.

  16. And as he departed the arena, the anguished look on Ponting’s face was
    a picture that told a thousand stories.

  17. Screamer of a catch by Collingwood.
    Remember when the Aussies took catches like that?

  18. On dear… 3/28

  19. Sorry I meant to say Clarke, not Ponting………………………..I mean Watson not Clarke.

  20. Flynny, I know you want to see Watto down the order, but he seems to be the only opener that can last more than a few overs!

  21. It is dejavu all over again.
    Good toss to win.
    The Aussies would have been keen to have first crack at ’em.

  22. 3/28 Gee How about the new rules changes for the NAB Cup!!

  23. Smith is a certainty to make a ton today.

  24. Warne to return as captain; he’ll be the Rodney Dangerfield of official Cricket Australia functions.

  25. JTH – can you imagine the team bonding sessions with Warnie as captain!

  26. If the Poms had picked a team to play against, Hughes would open. Clarke, BTRW, would bat 4 also! Punter has never been a 3 but has come in behind solid opening partnerships. That being said, it is only Hughes who was not in my XI from the top 5. I had the SA duo of Klinger at 2 and Fergie at 6. I don’t have a big issue with Smith other than he is not a Test bowler and is a sort of Concession bet. He was not in my XI but will give his all.
    I haven’t seen the first session. Did the bowlers win or batsmen lose? Just hope Smith, Haddin and Mitch don’t try to blast a quick response. They are not Gilly. Leave the Poms out there. Batting will get easier.

  27. The Australian team is a certainty to make 100 today.

  28. #27 Dips, I wish I shared your optimism.

  29. John Butler says

    5/99- The 100 is in the bag.

  30. This is like Brisbane: there are runs in this wicket. Unfortunately a lot of them might be scored by England.

  31. Swann’s first over: promising. Careful though Brad: the slider is on.

  32. 6 to Haddin.
    And at last a member of the public grasps a catch!
    Methinks Australia’s fortunes are turning.

  33. Haddin down the track to Finn? At 6/130? The menaing surrounding Test cricket has definitely changed.

  34. Pamela Sherpa says

    JTH- Warne mania is one of the problems with Australian Cricket – not the solution. Instead of indulging in romantic notions of comebacks by Warnie it’s time to take a rational, reasoned approach to development for the future.
    Yes, Warnie playing again would excite the masses and bump up the gate takings short term but it would be a desperate solution and mask addressing the true situation.


    Aust all out for 268.

    This is the eighth occasion a side has made 268 batting first in a Test. The previous seven have yielded three wins, three losses and a draw for those sides.

    Based on that, this game is evenly poised!

  36. The natives are getting restless. This was waiting for me in my inbox this morning penned by my good friend Speighty:

    This is out of control. Insipid, uninspired, soft cricket. If we lose this it has to be a fire sale in the first XI. My 10 point plan

    1. Drop Ponting to 6 and strip the captaincy from him. Australian captaincy has become so ridiculously esteemed that retirement is the only way you go out. Screw that.

    2. Put Haddin in to open give him captaincy. Apart from the Kat he’s the only one in the team with the steel jaw and resolve to lead the team. Also, he’s the only one with the quality straight game to knock the shine off the new ball and doesn’t come forward early to the drive. Puts the square shot away when necessary – crucial for an opener, which Hughes does not have. He opens one-dayers, and is around the wicket to place fields. Wicket keeping captain works for the Cricket superpower of the moment, and Haddin is definitely in the mould of Mahendar Singh Dhoni.

    3. Drop Clarke. ‘Pup’ is now 29 and no spring chicken, and breaks down more often than a 1965 Skoda Octavia. Injury is massively holding him back and when the going gets tough he can do it, but only with fit body. I still can’t believe he is being touted as captain. Look at the quality captains of world cricket, Smith, Dhoni, Sangakkara, even Ponting (until this series) – tough as nails. Steve Waugh he ain’t.

    4. Lose the obsession with spin. Not long ago playing 4 paceman was a genuine possibility, now it’s 3 paceman, an opening batsman all rounder (who can’t get the overs at the back end of an innings because the he needs to go in and score runs). The 4 most dangerous best bowlers in the country need to be picked. Period. They are bowling the majority of overs and if a 2nd rate spinner is getting carted the captain is not going to bowl him and you’re one bowler down – you may as well bowl a part timer. On that, part timers have traditionally been pretty darn successful, and at the very least break up the pace of the game and consistency for the batsmen.

    5. Load the top order with hard nuts and form batsmen. If we’re bringing youngsters through and sticking by underperformers they don’t belong above 5.

    6. Let the bowlers off the leash. CA should have a blanket media policy that bowlers can say what they want whenever they want. No muffling of media sprays – and no one is safe. Brad Hodge’s spray is incredibly justified, and Dougy would have been equally justified, instead he has to sit back and be complicit. Bowlers shouldn’t be complicit, they should be angry.

    7. On that, bring in Brad Hodge. For fecks sake – he’s a genius. The sooner the selectors start looking south of Albury the better. Throw David Hussey in there also and bring on the fraternal rivalry.

    8. Australian public stop playing nice to the poms. The Barmy Army aren’t endearing and fun – they’re arseholes. Why does the WACA have a green top. This test was downhill for the Aussies from the start. I’d be surprised if the curators didn’t shoot a couple of pods of iodine up in to the clouds for some extra moisture. You don’t see hard seaming tracks at Lords, nor at Nagpur. When we tour other countries the entire fibre of the place is against us – including the curators. It’s tragic how accommodating we are. There should be brass-effing-bands standing outside their training sessions. Which are held on school ovals in Mt.Druitt. Next to the M-effing-7.

    9. Stop farming out our coaches to the world. Screw them. It’s our sports technology. They should get their own minerals boom and get their own specialty coaches.

    10. Get McGrath out of New Idea and Warnie off TV and get them in the nets looking at the 18 year olds out there. They are the greatest ever at what they do and they are spending more time being airbrushed or made up than giving back to the game that made them. Warnie may be still pissed that he was never given the captaincy and if that’s the case, someone better pucker up and kiss his arse real quick and get him back on side. McGrath has no excuse.

  37. A reminder that a par score batting second in a Test match is 100 more than the side batting first. (Well that’s what I think, anyway.) So England need to top 368 to be in front.

  38. #36.6 Maybe time to have a look at a third opener taking the No. 3 spot, as Boonie did with great success?

    #36.7 Agree. But Hodge needs to “unretire” from the longer form of the game first.

    #36.3 I like the sound of the 1965 Skoda Octavia. Where can I get one?

  39. We don’t call Clarke Lemming for nothing. Whenever there is a collapse, Clarke is front and centre following the rest over the cliff. Drop him, or make him open and value his wicket.

  40. 39. Wasn’t that JTH’s role until recently? Director at Lemming-Clarke House…?

  41. #36 Tim – great stuff, especially your point number 8. Feck’em I say.

  42. It is still much more comfortable out in the shed.

    Open with Paine

    Drop Clarke.

    Sack the Captain and bat him at 6.

    Keep an eye on James Faulkner.

    And, didn’t think I would ever say this, bring Warne back a la Bobby Simpson. Could be good to see Shane “Hurling” a few at the Poms.

    Doesn’t matter anyway, it’s only a game.


  43. John Butler says

    Captaincy by rote. Punter starts again with the openers- no feel for the game.

    With the new ball period critical, get Johnson on. He’s clearly our main hope to run through them. Harris and Hilfy just don’t have many tricks up their sleeve. Johnson will crash through or crash.

  44. John Butler says

    Where was Haddin when the nick came? Looking at first slip (again). The keeper has to go for it when there’s a chance.

  45. That’s what we get for picking a keeper cos he can bat! (and a spinner cos he can field; and a skipper and No3 because he is the best batsman)…

  46. Not many batsmen putting their hand up. WA out in the first session. SA five for few (McDonald 3/1).

  47. Pretty hard to take a catch when you can’t see the ball. How bad was that? I’m officially really cut now.

  48. Looking further ahead, Boof Lehmann’s boy was the leading run scorer at the National U19s, just ahead of Trevor Barsby’s son.

  49. John Butler says

    Stay as angry as you want Mitch, just keep taking wickets.

  50. Finally the penny’s dropped for Mitch – get the ball on the pitch and you’re a chance.

  51. John Butler says

    MITTTTCCCCHHHH! Now we have a contest.

  52. John Butler says

    Will a week in the nets with Troy replace a weekend at Hepburn Springs?

  53. How infuriating! But brilliantly so. Points at leadership – again. Imagine M Johnson under Ian Chappell or Tubby Taylor.

  54. Thrilling session of cricket.
    Have not seen the Aussies bowl so many potential wicket-taking balls in ages!
    Credit where it is due: M Johnson was fantastic. Edge-of-the-seat stuff.
    For once, the Poms looked to have pushed the panic button.
    Peiterson: from a rooster to a feather-duster.

  55. Lucky wicket to Siddle. I. Chappell is spot on when he says the short ball should be the shock ball, not the stock ball.

    In the space of a 40 minute lunch they have forgotten that Johnson got his wickets by pitching the ball UP!

  56. Another over from Siddle – 5 short balls, 1 full. Only the full one looked to cause any discomfort. 6 comfortable runs off the short ones.

    This just hands control back to England.

  57. John Butler says

    Absolutely agree Gigs.

    Why wouldn’t you have Johnson back on by now?

  58. Andrew Starkie says

    hilfy getting good swing, just needs to bowl closer to off peg

  59. Johnson back on. Inswinging full ball almost gets through.

  60. Andrew S, just about to post your piece.

  61. John Butler says

    Brad Hodge in the extended World Cup squad. Do they intend to follow through?

    Maybe the prospect of desperate times are thawing old attitudes?

  62. Peter Flynn says

    The current bowling tactics to Bell are just plain dumb.

  63. John Butler says

    Whatever the cause, Mitch Johnson has turned this series around.

    England look a little stunned (Bell excepted).

  64. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Mitch has the ‘McMurphy’ factor. Great to see the Aussies show a blend of skill and spirit. We do have another 10 wickets to take without a spinner. Long way to go yet.

  65. Andrew Starkie says

    Bloody hell! Don’t read anything I write, I have no idea.

  66. Jake 'Cobba' Stevens says

    As soon as everybody starts to complain and criticize about a player, a lot of the time they find a way to win back the crowd. (hopefully Ponting can take a hint)

  67. Peter Flynn says


    The last Aussie leftie to take 6/38 in an Ashes Test was Ian Meckiff in 58/59.

    England made 87 on that occasion.

    In the Melbourne Herald that night, former English tweaker Johnny Wardle wrote a vicious article accusing Meckiff of throwing England out.

    The title of Meckiff’s autobiography was Thrown Out.

  68. Geez,
    Didn’t Clarke realise that it was only Day 2 of this Test match?
    Too bad he doesn’t bat like that when he is captaining the 20/20 team?
    Hussey could teach him a lesson or two in patience.

  69. 67. Flynny, many (about 15?) years ago Ian Meckiff spoke at our cricket club during
    a sportsman’s night. He was a thorough gentleman. There was a wistful, almost certainly sad
    tone to his story about the “chucking” incident which led to him being put out of cricket
    altogether. At the time I had little knowledge of the incident, but felt extremely sorry
    for him.

  70. Smokie, given recent dismissals, I can understand Clarke starting his innings that way, but you’re right, once he’d settled in, the wise thing to do would’ve been to just calm things down a bit.

  71. John Butler says

    A fantastic days cricket. Who would have thought?

  72. Andrew Starkie says

    The beauty of Test cricket. Watson and Huss must go on with it tomorrow

  73. The dreamers hoped it, JB :D But none of us could rationally, realistically have predicted this (much as we might try to claim we did :P ).

    Very happy for Mitchy Johnson – like Hussey of yester-year, he was made a scapegoat. Watch as all the journos who cried out for him to be crucified start building him shrines in the morning paper …

  74. #73 – Susie, Johnson still has a long way to go in my book. One good ession does not make a great bowler. I want to see him do it when thigs aren’t going his way. Good luck to him nonetheless.

  75. Andrew Starkie says

    settle down Haddin. two and a half days left. we need a lead of 400 plus. remember South Africa two years ago.

    felt sorry for watson

  76. Peter Schumacher says

    This was a great day but whoever coaches Johnson and particularly Harris ought to reinforce the fact that they were supposed to be batting for the team not themselves. And being even more of a party spoiler the fact is that neither Ponting nor Clarke are justifying their particular places in the batting order let alone the team. Having said that though I have no smart ideas about replacements.

  77. Great comment Peter, I was worried people would get caught up in the maelstrom of wickets and forget that at the moment the bowlers, Hussey and Watson are painting the walls of the house despite the fact that the roof has already collapsed.

  78. When he plays 20/20, he bats as if playing a Test.

    When he plays in a Test, he bats as if in a 20/20.

    Michael Clarke.

  79. Peter Flynn says

    Who allowed Johnson’s bowling arm to get that low in the first place? The late swing he generates when his arm is high is Akram-like. Devastating.

    I’m with Dips here. We can’t have Johnson as a bowler being what North was like as a bat.

    Gigs, Watson batted well. Out in the usual manner but this is being picky.

    Finally Hilfenhaus and Harris bowled a good line and length and were supported by generally tactically sound field placements.

  80. Super day’s cricket was day 3. I went out to the movies to see “The King’s Speech” (fabulous film, highly recommend it) and got in the car at about 9 o’clock just in time to hear Collingwood go out. I always love hearing Collingwood suffer.

    The Aussies aren’t a great team, but this day showed the Poms are pretty ordinary also. Melbourne should be a beauty given that we will clean the Poms up on Day 4.

  81. Wonderful Test match. Must send a Christmas card to the curator. Haven’t seen the term used for Johnson yet, but ‘enigma’ will get a run. ‘Inconsistent’ is another one. Will be interesting to see how long it takes today, and whether Smith gets to roll his arm over, just to make him feel part of it all.

  82. 6 fa !!!
    Anderson did not look at all happy when bowled by Harris.
    I think he made a point of not looking back at the stumps in case
    the Aussies told him all about it.

  83. #81 Great point, John. I reckon the pressure must be building on the
    Melbourne ground-staff to come up with something special with the
    drop-in wicket. The term “sporting wicket” has not been used for ages,
    but it applies to this Perth deck.

    Come on, Punter. Get that finger right and make a big ton on Boxing Day.

  84. And I reckon the Perth Test can be summed up thus:
    Andrew Hilditch is a genius.

  85. #83 Apart from Flynny using the term in his Day 2 summary, of course !

  86. John Butler says

    The line between genius and lucky can be hard to discern Smokie. :)

    A stunning turnaround in this game. But a long way to go.

  87. John Butler says

    I think the term “sporting” was designed with Flynny in mind.

  88. Any one want to buy a vice?

  89. Andrew Starkie says

    bring on Melbourne. Cmon Aussie!

  90. Phil Dimitriadis says

    How many of us honestly wrote Hussey off before the series? His performance is a major reason why we love sport. Boxing Day is shaping up as the most meaningful cricket match of a generation.

    Two years ago many of us were complaining that cricket is boring because Australia win too easily. How easily we forget.

  91. 74 – Agree with you completely, Dips. I know he’s not “back” yet – I was moreso happy that he finally has a good session/game behind him, and can hopefully embark on his journey to recapture his form from two summers ago.

    The point I was trying to make was, in the lead-up to the second test, how many journos were coming down hard on Johnson? Yet after that one session – ONLY one session – I was waiting for them to come out singing his praises and worshipping him again.

    The vast majority of that mob are extremely fickle.

  92. Mitchell Johnson….What gives?
    All I can think of is Melvin Udall’s assesment:
    “Think of a man and take away reason and accountability”

  93. Phil Dimitriadis says


    so true. Some perform best when reason and accountability doesn’t count. That’s why I take a bow to Mr. Cricket and Mitch McMurphy. Australia needs character and emotion to win these Ashes. England may be well coached, but they are susceptible to the swinging ball and some well timed taunts…as we all are.

  94. Was that Collingwood dummy late spit last night a preamble of next year? (Just getting back to footy for a bit)

    Loved it, just quietly.

    Cricket gurus. (Gigs) Who was the last visitor to get out on the last ball of the day in Perth?

  95. Peter Flynn says

    Johnson is the ‘bellwether’ re Australia’s Ashes fortunes.

  96. #90 – Phil – I wrote off Hussey before the first test. Wouldn’t have had him in the team. Same with Johnson. Still not sure he will do it consistently when we need him. He’s a bit like Steven Milne for Saints fans; always the niggling doubt about temperament and psychology.

  97. Actually Phantom, as a Sunderland supporter Collingwood hates the Magpies.

  98. Ian,

    yes it was just the name association and a Collingwood dummy spit that was good. Grasping at straws I suppose.

  99. No-one has pointed out the significant difference between Johnson a la Brisbane and Perth. Yes, I know he had his arm higher in Perth and followed through better, but he also SHAVED OFF THAT RIDICULOUS MOUSTACHE !!!

    You simply can’t generate aggression with such a ridiculous look (albeit that 2010 has proven that you can win Norm Smith and premiership medalions with a dodgy tache).

    Full marks to the curator as noted previously. What a pleasure to see Test cricket on a strip with some life in it. Also great to see the nearly lost skill of leaving the ball on such wickets come to the fore, as practised expertly by Watson and Hussey.

    On a related note, play lasted less than an hour on Day 4. Does anyone know whether spectators were therefore entitled to a refund ? I hope not, because this will only encourage administrators to pressure curators to present lifeless decks that help Tests go the distance. There was more action and suspense in this Test in 3 days and 51 minutes than in most Tests.

    Roll on Boxing Day.

  100. Ah yes Boxing Day.

    eighty thousand Australians jumping around like Jack Jumpers (nasty Tasmanian bitey ants) when their nest is disturbed on a hot day.

    Poor Poms

  101. And Phantom brings up the 100!

    By all accounts we are looking at 90,000 or more for Boxing Day.

  102. Yes Gigs. I am assuming there will be about 10,000 Poms there.

    The Balmy Army has stopped replying to emails all of a sudden.

    I took the fight up to them but now they have gone to ground. I didn’t even mention the latest result. The Christmas plum pud may not be as tasty now.

    And…….. the WAGs have arrived. Further worries as they were sure they would be at least 3 nil by now and they have distractions.

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