Perth Test – Day 3: Things I Saw Today

Just over four months ago, I sat in the packed grandstand at Manchester and watched as Australia piled on a huge first innings score of 7 declared for 527. Quite apart from Michael Clarke’s imperious innings of 187, there were a couple of brief but instructive incidents involving English bowlers which caught my attention, surprised me, and remained locked in my memory bank: at the point of passing 100 runs conceded from their bowling, both Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann doffed their caps in a faux show of appreciation to the Bronx cheers emanating from some sections of the crowd.

In isolation, these incidents could be passed off as humorous, self-deprecating. But to me, in those brief moments the bowlers came across as smug and self-satisfied. So what if we have conceded 100 runs (as both Anderson and Bresnan also did in that innings)…we are that much better than this bunch of no-hopers that the milestone of conceding a ton of runs should be celebrated; the joke should be shared and its rarity noted, the bowlers seemed to be saying.

Today a number of things again caught my attention, and I doubt there will be many others did not catch a glimpse also. I saw Stuart Broad hobbling off to hospital for an x-ray, wearing the expression of a man who knows his series is shot. And I saw Graeme Swann, a paltry seven wickets to his name in two and a half Tests, carrying the look of a fifth-grade bowler who has been invited down to the nets to bowl to the first XI because the Jugs machine is on the blink. What did we call those blokes back in the day? Sight-screen fodder! Smorgasbord! Help-yourself!

A couple of other things I saw: Alistair Cook, standing at slip, bemused look upon his face as Dave Warner thrashed his Broad-less attack, carrying the demeanour of a man who cannot believe quite what is happening before his eyes but is powerless to stop it from continuing nonetheless. And Matt Prior, hitherto as solid as a rock behind the stumps, keeping wicket as he had been gifted a transplanted pair of hands from Humphrey B Bear. My ears thought it noticeable that Prior – a noted sledger – had about as much to say from behind the stumps as Humphrey himself.

I am the first to put my hand up and say that I have been shocked by the home team’s dominance. But really, what has been ever more shocking is the lack of fight in this English team. Today was the day when they all but surrendered, shrivelled in the relentless Perth sun.

At 4/180 overnight, the English would have been entertaining thoughts of either winkling out a first-innings lead or getting somewhere near Australia’s total – 200 behind, but with Ian Bell at the crease and Prior and Tim Bresnan still to come. However, the middle and lower orders fell away. Australia was allowed to seize a 134-run lead, and it was game (and Ashes) over.

I would not be surprised if I end up seeing Michael Clarke with his hands on the replica Ashes urn sometime tomorrow. Whilst in the visitors’ rooms, we will get a quick glance at Cook, Swann, Broad and co licking their wounds and acknowledging that the Lord’s whitewash was like another lifetime ago.

About Darren Dawson

Always North.


  1. Peter Flynn says

    I thought Swann bowled reasonably well yesterday Smoke.

    I’ve been waiting patiently for Old Mate Prior to make a goose of himself.

    I don’t know much about keeping but I reckon he was batsman watching and coming up too early.

    Is it time for us to revisit Warne’s manifesto.

    Cook doesn’t seem to have a feel for the game.

    Listening to Test Match Sofa at the moment is hilarious.


  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    I agree with , PJF while , Swan is a arrogant twat he did bowl a lot better yest but I agree with your , 1st paragraph Smokie overall they were over confident with a lack of planning and way too smug . Cook couldn’t captain pop eye let alone it looks like the titanic . Prior kept like , Edward scissor hands which was fantastic to watch and yes it did seem like he was , Marcel Marceau behind the stumps yest ahh pretty to watch
    Thanks Smokie v enjoyable with the morning coffee

  3. Great stuff Smokie.
    Front-runners are not the most appealing, are they?
    It seems that both of these teams are fragile. Prone to lapses in concentration. Ill-discipline. In the instant age, can anybody concentrate any more?
    Going right back to Trent Bridge, the toss of the coin has a pretty strong correlation with Test results.

  4. Andrew Starkie says

    Let’s get the job done first and then have a crack at the Poms.

    Couldn’t quite believe the contrast from days 1&2 to yesterday. Epitomised series, I suppose. Poms not up to fight. But as I said, let’s get the job done. Won’t quite believe it till Clarke has glass replica in hands.

    Should bat until 20 mins post lunch today just to annoy them. 530 in front; send them in. Roll em.

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