Please, please, please no more of this. My nerves can’t take it!
The first of ten consecutive Ashes Tests had everything. And I mean everything. Highest score by a number 11 in the history of Test cricket for Agar, ten wickets in the match for Anderson, a gritty ton by Bell, stunning catches by both Captains, a final day thriller with Haddin leading the Australian resurrection and that was before we hit the controversial decisions!
In the era of bubble gum Twenty20 cricket, it was fantastic to see a Test match hold the imagination for all five days. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was always tough, utterly compelling and hide-behind-the-sofa exciting.
I’ve struggled to remember a game where there’s been so many controversial decisions, especially since the addition of DRS. For me, Agar should’ve been out stumped, Root (didn’t review) and Trott (did review) were both not out and Haddin was out.
Broad, well, we all know he was out and Aleem Dar will probably keep having nightmares about that for years to come. Should he have walked? Not for me. Umpires give people out.
Man of the Match
When a teenage kid swaggers to the wicket, saves his team from certain defeat and breaks records that have stood for eternity on his debut, it’s a tough to look elsewhere for the man of the match. Almost as important as his first innings total, was his 14 from 71 balls during the second innings run chase – Paul Collingwood got an MBE for less than that! But young Ashton Agar will have to wait.
The main difference between the two teams was one man – Jimmy Anderson. Ten wickets in the match, the ball of the series to dismiss Clarke, a Herculean 13 over spell on the last day to drag England back to the front and the man the other bowlers looked to for advice. Without Jimmy, Australia would be 1 – 0 up.
For England, there are question marks over a Steven Finn and Jonny Bairstow. At his best Finn looks like a wicket taking threat who leaks a few runs, at Trent Bridge he just looked like leaking runs and his captain knew it. With Tim Bresnan a better batsman and Graham Onions waiting in the wings, he might be lucky to be walking out at Lord’s on Thurisday, however it is his home ground so he might get one more run.
Jonny Bairstow will probably get another chance due to a lack of alternatives and the fact that he looked combative during his innings. Too many more failures and England might have to look again at who bats at six for them.
For the Aussies, Ed Cowan looks the most vulnerable, with Steven Smith also a possible casualty. Cowan looked hugely out of form and anyone from the crowd would probably be a better option at three. While Agar’s batting looked top class, his bowling looked less of a threat. Despite Smith’s runs, he might be the one to miss out if Darren Lehmann decides to bring back Nathan Lyon and play Agar as the all round he obviously is. With the tail looking very comfortable with the bat, I’d push Hughes back to three, bat Haddin at six, Agar at seven with Lyon back in the team.
England were favourites to win the series and a streaky win at Trent Bridge. It will take a huge effort for Australia to come back from such a close defeat, especially with England’s bowlers looking like they have the number of most of the Aussie line up. Lord’s, however, is a funny ground. Touring teams tend to raise their game at HQ and England’s come down form this victory could well be a crash.
Whatever happens, I’ll be stuck in front of the TV, tuned into Test Match Special and biting my fingers nails again come 11am Thursday.