Before we get down to today’s amazing action at Edgbaston, I thought I’d do something a little different. It’s because this blog isn’t just a cricket blog to me, but also a little window on my life and memories. For me today has been an exceptionally sad one. When I saw this afternoon the reports of the death of Sir Peter O’Sullevan, I have to admit, a little tear came to my eye.
I’m not a racing nut. I like a bit of the top quality flat stuff, and I’ve increasingly gone off the iconic Grand National, but for people of my age, Sir Peter was an integral part of our lives. I was a young kid in a council flat in South East London, and on Saturday afternoons I was plonked in front of the TV while the horse racing was on. Now as a little kid I was fascinated by horses. When we got our first dog, we called her Gigi – not after the film, but because I wanted a horse! But I used to watch all the horse racing on BBC and the man who guided you through it, as a youngster, was Peter. He was an anchor, an icon for my childhood. When I used to play horse racing games (Totopoly anyone?) I’d imitate his voice. Dad used to think I was a bit mad. I still am. It’s the same with the other great commentator we lost this year, Richie Benaud. In the days of three channels, it was those voices that took you through the sports. A part of my childhood died today.
I’m sorry it’s not cricket, but RIP Sir Peter.
Now to the cricket. This series is getting plain daft. Australia were never going to put England in even if this pitch was a sticky dog. Too many memories, too much past form saying batting first is crucial to win the match in the Ashes. It seems like this, in hindsight, might have been a mistake. The Aussie batting, so serene at Lord’s, was put under pressure early and folded like a cheap suit. Steven Finn came back and made a great early impression, Jimmy Anderson hit the perfect notes, and Broad picked up a couple too. 36 or so overs, the Aussies had gone for 136. This is typical of this series. Expect the unexpected.
Without Chris Rogers it would have been even more disastrous. Warner has been a real disappointment thus far in the series if you are an Aussie, that pressure-free second innings at Lord’s apart, and nicking him out early opens Smith up to the moving ball. I’m sure those who think Smith is too high at three feel vindicated today, but he’s too idiosyncratic to judge strengths and weaknesses in my view. The rest of the order doesn’t seem to be in form, and the fear is that the Aussies might be carrying a passenger at #4. We all know this Aussie batting line-up is a little flakey, and England exploited it today. I always felt we had a 100-150 score to chase in us. This one puts England in pole position.
I’m just about to see Lyth’s dismissal on the highlights…. and this one doesn’t worry as much as the others. He’s playing an attacking shot, which he could have creamed for four. He wasn’t technically undressed as he has been a little. This one was non-substantial for me, other than, of course, he needs a score. Sure, have a go at the execution, maybe even the selection, but this wasn’t the same as some of those other more concerning dismissals.
Bell appears to have got out to a crazy shot – and I won’t wait for the highlights to show me it – and The Deer Hunter to some misfortune. Fact is we are three runs behind, with seven wickets in hand, and with a long batting order. Time to take control. Joe Root is the key, and I don’t know why, and I’m probably wrong, but this might be Buttler time.
SimonH asked who would make a fool of themselves? We have a winner….
This was a massive “f**k you” to the gobs of Steve Smith, Mitchell Johnson and all those BTL who were chuntering about “psychological scars” and “normal service resumed”…….what scars? The only psychological scars visible were that of Michael Clarke doubting his own ability….and the only normal service resuming is what has been going on for the last decade on English soil – clueless Australian collapses
The likes of Bairstow, Root, Stokes, Buttler and Ali have some great freedom to bat as they wish.
It goes on to show that it is easy to bat when your team is on top (which is why David Warner’s stats should never be taken seriously – he has five or six centuries in third innings after his team have gained a first innings lead). This was the first proper test of the much hyped Aussie batting in classic English conditions and they failed miserably.
Beaten by 405 runs? Zero wickets at Lord’s? That is how you bounce back.
You skittled us at the hot and dry WACA with Mitchell Johnson bounce and your crowd baying for English blood? Here is some classic wet and nippy Edgbaston for you added with Jimmy Anderson seam. Mitchell Johnson sure looked wound up by the crowd. Go England Go!
Let me count the ways…. As Shaw Taylor said “keep ’em peeled”.