First Test: As good as 2005?


What a ridiculously fluctuating and entertaining Test match. This series has the potential to capture our imagination like the 2005 series did, although both sides aren’t as good as they were back then.

Losing the toss on Wednesday morning was a blessing from heaven for the Aussies. With sunshine and heat having enveloped the country for the last week, Wednesday’s dull and heavy conditions came from nowhere, then disappeared again as if on cue.

Peter Siddle bowled beautifully after that poor start. He’s never swung the ball so effectively, often taking the ball away from the right handers from wide of the crease. That was certainly what undid Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell, and caused Johnathan Trott’s miscalculation.

England missed Stuart Broad’s bowling presence on the first evening, and you suspect we would have been more than four down overnight if he’d been able to replace the tiring Anderson or Finn.

We are still looking flaky at the top and Ed Cowan’s shot was that of a man whose head has been spun by his relegation down the order. Steve Smith was terrific because he took the game up to England when all seemed lost.

The Agar – Hughes partnership was a fairytale. Not only has it tipped the match on its head, it delivered a strong message to Graeme Swann and co that they are not unplayable. As always in those situations, the fielding captain seemed bereft of ideas.

The match is fascinatingly poised. Cook will look to dig in all day as he does, and KP is anxious to dominate Agar. We must take our half-chances.

The two most worrying aspects for day three are the looseness of Mitchell Starc and the keeping of Brad Haddin. Starc bowled a lot better on the second day than he did on the first, but he’s got the Mitchell Johnson loose canon element to him. Our attack can’t afford it, not with Shane Watson on limited bowling rations and Agar in his first Test.

And Haddin looks very much like he did when he last played Test cricket  –  a good cricketer who has lost his his mojo.


  1. Bushy,
    I agree that Starc’s looseness is a worry, particularly on the small, fast English grounds where that waywardness will be punished.
    Your point about Haddin is also pertinent: he put down Bell, a crucial missed chance which was tough, but should have been taken. (Wade was crucified in India when the selectors batted him at 6…although looking back, his batting was far from the worst on that tour).
    The other worry is the continued poor body language of Shane Watson. Half the time he appears to be brooding and sulking. It just is not a great look from one of the so-called leaders of the team. He really needs big runs, or it is time to cut him – and all the issues associated with – loose.

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