Third Test – Day 1: It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish

Australia won the toss and batted. Stumps, Day 1, 3 for 303, Clarke 125 no, Smith 70 no. Rogers 84, Swann 2/82

 

The remodelling of Old Trafford has resulted in a squarish ground, surrounded by stands without roofs, a strange sight to see for Australian fans. There’s a zebra painted on the field behind the bowler’s run ups and Clarke wins a toss for once, so everything’s slightly out of kilter.

 

Australia though returns to a pattern of consistency by dropping one Test opener batting out of position in the middle order and replacing him with.., well, you get it.

 

Australia’s selections, whilst understandable, start to take you back to the days when Australia was dominant in these contests, and would make perhaps one change through an Ashes series, when England would bring in all sorts of unknowns and trundlers who would play twice then disappear. England’s unchanged line up makes you pine for the good old days.

 

Brett Lee on Channel 9 signs off by saying Australia need to get off to a good start. Brett will be on Rockwiz on Saturday night when Julia Zemiro will quiz him on his special subject, “the freakin’ obvious”!

 

In the glory days, when Shane Warne was bowling, you got the feeling a wicket could fall any delivery, and you had to time your dunny runs within the ad breaks between overs, lest you missed anything. Australia coming out to bat on the first morning of an Ashes test at the moment has a similar feeling of dread.

 

Early on, Rogers seems comfortable, judging the swing well and despite being patient, is timing the ball well and going at about a run a ball. He is a picture of economy, not much of a follow through compared to Watson but highly effective. Maybe the much vaunted English awareness is paying off.

 

Watson is playing the circumspect role, sees off his kryptonite in Anderson, and then the up-until-then ineffective Bresnan bowls a ball that does nothing and Watson provides catching practice to Captain Cook.

 

Khawaja never looks really set, but then The Decision occurs. The less said about it the better, save that it was the worst, most useless, terrible, awful, ridiculous, brainless, insane, simply wrong, shocking decision we’ve ever seen. Anything that makes me nod my head in agreement with a KRudd tweet is more pain than I need.

 

Khawaja’s shot itself it should be noted was poor, with his bat being as far away from his pad as it was from the actual ball.

 

Maybe the BCCI has it right with refusing to use DRS. It sadly will be a talking point of the series and so far, this match.

 

The only positive thing that the DRS has bought to cricket has been the return of the word ‘howler’ to popular conversation. Seemingly, cad, bounder and egad can’t be far behind.

 

Rogers, wearing an armguard that looks like a piece of dirty plaster board married to a piece of cuttlefish, eventually goes for his highest score and brings to the crease Smith.

 

Smith baffles me. I just can’t see him at Test standard, but he keeps making runs, although the gods are with him and Australia for a change. He’s an enigma wrapped in a mystery, rolled into a pork bun, but his 70* is impressive.

 

Clarke does what all Australia have willed him to do for ages, and be the man that we build an innings around. Coming in again far too early, he shows why we both take so many openers on this tour, as well as the fact that regardless of whether he bats at 4 or 5, he’s always in reasonably early.

 

A fine hundred, the much clichéd ‘Captain’s knock’, and we wake to the surprising news that we’ve both taken the points and returned to the Waugh days of making 300 in a day.

 

It’s not quite “In your face Shelbyville” just yet, but it’s a better day than we’ve had for a while. It’s not where you start though, it’s where you finish, and recent form tells us the chickens have yet to hatch and we are always a few balls away from ruination.

 

The best bits of the day?

 

The bowlers got a full day off

 

Someone other than an Australian spinner with 100 runs next to his name

 

We all go back to loving Clarkey again

 

Anderson, nonefa

 

Watson couldn’t waste a referral on his decision

 

Worst?

 

DRS, of course

 

The rev counter when Swann bowls, useless and tells me as much as the late Tony Grieg’s players comfort level used to

 

Watson, another start wasted

 

Warner’s ad for sport sox. Get off

About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.

Comments

  1. Luke Reynolds says:

    Sean, that’s the best description of The Decision that I’ve seen or heard. Unbelievable conclusion made by the 3rd ump.

    Smith had a bit of luck but generally batted well, he has surprised me with his form here and in India. Still not convinced by him, I hope he keeps proving me wrong.

    Fantastic innings by Clarke. He really can make runs at number 4! Nice to feel positive about our team after a days play.

  2. Sean's Son says:

    Hey dad! Good article. See you at Home!

  3. Ben Footner says:

    I went turned the radio of and went to sleep after the Rogers dismissal – I could not believe it when I turned on the TV and we’d made it through the remainder of the day without loss!

    Great knock from the captain.

  4. Bad luck Sean. Looks like you will have to wait until the Brisbane Test for your call up now. Boof should have listened to me and played 2 spinners the way Swann turned it.
    Loved your description of Rogers’ technique. A classic no frills opener with a short backlift. Not an extravagant one day opener with only a good eye.

  5. Michael Viljoen says:

    To sum up the Khawaja decision succinctly, an SEN caller said that he once made a bad decision with girl he encountered in Thailand named Bob. Even that one was better than the decision made by the video umpire.

  6. Andrew Starkie says:

    favourite movie: Shawshank Redemption? Favourite TV program: The Simpsons? Favourite sportstar: Michael Jordan?

    Cmon Aussies! Win this Test! In for the kill!

    Go Sidds!

    Very funny Michael V.

    Yep, should’ve played two spinners.

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