Ashes Diary 2013-14, Entry no.1

Brisbane was a great Test – desperate and intense – and the result has set this series up.

Australia won the big moments and therefore the match. Softened by Siddle in both innings and finished off by Harris and Johnson respectively, Pietersen’s dismissals opened the door, particularly in the first innings when England lost 6-9. ‘That’s the way he plays’ doesn’t cut it. Pietersen let his side down, particularly in the second dig.

Clarke’s century was another defining ‘moment’ and possibly his finest innings; far more memorable than 300 against a surrendering India. Facing his fears and technical flaws by taking on Broad was courageous and inspiring. If he had failed, knives would’ve been sharpened. This is the sort of innings a career is remembered for.

Australia had contributions from many, not a few as has been the case for so long. Our bowlers teamed well and fed off each other’s pressure. Thank God for Harris and Sidds, they are gems and remind me of the tradies renovating the house up the road. Cook got a few on Sunday, however could easily have feathered one from Harris when on a duck. He got away with it and knew it. Harris has his measure.

Good Mitch showed up in Brisbane. With his mo and aggression he took us back to the 70’s and England were seriously shaken. Let’s hope Bad Mitch, the evil twin, doesn’t slip through dressing room security in Adelaide.

Lyon’s first innings spell and the wicket of Cook in the second should silence criticism for a while. He uses bounce well and should be valued more.

Warner has always reminded me of Scruffy, a fiesty silky terrier we had as kids. Dad had him put down when he started biting visitors and I had been thinking the same should be done to Warner before Brisbane. He displayed maturity and technique not see before, for once putting the team cause before his own desires. He respected the bowling, and heaven forbid, offered the full, straight face of the bat. There was something ominous about his form.

Playing his 50th Test, Haddin’s contribution was sustained and telling. With GM, he rescued the first innings, backed up again in the second when it appeared Australia may not take full advantage, and finished the Test with five dismissals. Haddin was MOM behind Johnson. Having spent much of his career appearing flaky and unreliable, Haddin has emerged as a leader since his return. He’s a player who doesn’t want to leave the scene with regrets.

Australia still has concerns with its top 3. Rogers’ get out shot in the second innings was out of character. I’ve staked my dogdy rep on him for years and still think he’ll come good. Watto was irrelevant except for comedic value. His reservoirs of self-confidence are bottomless, for example: he drags Trembles – who, when running in looks like he’s tip-toeing back to his dorm room – for four, realises ‘Shit Watto, you’re Bradman’, tries to do it again to another bad ball, and skies one to Broad of all people! Hilarious.

Our top order problems will be exploited at some point.

Smith’s first innings was important, while his fielding was as influential as usual. He may be turning into a Test cricketer. Bailey’s catch to dismiss KP was match turning, however his batting wasn’t up to standard. Hitting across the line with an angled bat, due to a career in coloured clothes, Bailey had a lot of David Hussey about him. Selectors should be keeping an eye on Marcus North who is plundering in First Class cricket.

England were underdone going into this Test due to bad weather and embarrassingly parochial scheduling. (Can’t we beat them fair and square?) Broad carried the bowling. His height and speed are perfect for our tracks and he may well decide the series. Swann and Anderson were terrible, but are world class and will improve quickly. Kerry O’Keeffe’s call for Swann’s head was ridiculous.

The third seamer is England’s problem. Despite appearances, Trembles is unfit, out of practice and half the bowler who performed on and off field here last time. Fortunately for Australia, he took junk wickets and will probably get picked in Adelaide. His hair may not last the tour, however.

England’s top three is also shaky. As said above, Cook goes pheasant hunting outside off. Carberry looks a Test player, but the Aussie bowlers have already found a weak spot and will go around the wicket to him until the cows come home.

Unfortunately for England, Trott has left. A damn good batsman, Trott appears to be a loner within the team and intense and cerebral. He obviously has bigger things to take care of at the moment. I wish him well and hope he receives the support he needs.

Bell and Prior were done by the bounce and Root (insert joke) looked pretty green. A sound technique and still head should see him get runs this series. He may head up to three.

England are a good team and will bounce back.

Of the captains, Clarke was by far the best. Proactive and well prepared, he kept trying things. Cook was boring as always, allowed play to wander and his defensive field settings to Clarke early in his innings allowed the score to keep moving. Cook played for a ‘respectable loss’ after day two.

For what my opinion is worth, a bit of banter is fine, but personal sledging isn’t. The blue at the close of the Test detracted from Australia’s win and CA needs to be careful about the image this current team is creating. Warner should never be our spokesman.

Winding up Broad only serves to inspire him. Never give a sucker an even break or opponent extra motivation. The best way to get inside a male’s head is to ignore him.

In relation to The Daily Telegraph coverage, what else do you expect in a state whose Premier doesn’t believe in separation of powers and wants to throw motor bike riders in purposefully built solitary confinement in pink uniforms?

This Test will either prove in time to be a watershed for Australian cricket or a timely wake-up call for England.


  1. Andrew Starkie says

    Apologies Cookie. Never again, I promise.

  2. Luke Reynolds says

    Great analysis Andrew. I had big doubts about Clarke’s future after his dismissals at The Oval and especially in the first innings at the Gabba. What a reply from the skipper. Agree that it was a much more memorable knock than his triple ton.

    Maybe a 34 year old North in his new role as opener is a contender for 36 year old Rogers place if Rogers doesn’t deliver?

  3. Andrew Starkie says

    Can see both in the team. Bailey , to me, is the typical current day Aussie player. Cross bat, scooping style.

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Good write up Andrew how ever the scheduling needs common sense by both boards and have the same warm up games in both countries how ever this needs the good of the game not money to rule . Norths form means he must be the , 1st batsmen bought in and Hughes should not be written off . smith is gradually working out his game .
    We need more good , Mitch just hope the bowlers get thru the war of attrition in , Adelaide

  5. Andrew, agree North is a good middle order prospect if he keeps making runs.

    Wouldn’t rule a line through Ed Cowan either

    Think blooding too many young players like Maddison etc in this series would be unwise.

    If the Poms win the toss and bat in Adelaide, and bat for two days, it will do some damage to Harris etc

    It’s just one test, a great result of course, but this isn’t a return of 2005. Best the team shuts up now, shows some hubris and knuckles down to the fact that the Poms probably won’t play two tests badly in a row.

    It’s a marathon not a sprint

  6. “Cookie”??? You obviously don’t read your emails Andrew.
    Writing sense AND insulting the chief assistant sub under editor.
    That’s 2 strikes in one day. One more and the next piece you’ll get published is Round 11 of 2014 – Kangaroos at Subiaco – so long as things are going to plan for Adam and me.
    Mr Cooke has taken on other duties as Recruiting Manager for the Dairy Farmers Team of the Century, and the Footy Almanac’s Manager of Mergers and Acquisitions. We are looking forward to being rebranded as the Saputo Warrnambool Cheese Footy Almanac if current negotiations proceed satisfactorily.
    Mr Harms is planning to retire to the Riviera, and Mr Cooke as mine host of the Numurkah Arms. I will be unemployed, but until then show a little respect for the low standards of this publication.
    Consider this an official warning.

  7. Sean,
    Love it. I couldn’t see any redeeming feature in the baiting of Broad. I reckon the Grade 3 kids at our local school have a better grasp on taunting than the CM.
    And yep, the poms will be back. Hubris in short supply worldwide, it seems. Good stuff.

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