|Root, Root, Root!|
It started off quite well for the Baggy Greens. Ryan Harris was recalled for Starc and Khawaja came in for Ed Cowan, whilst Bresnan replaced Steven Finn . Talking of royalty, the start of play was delayed by the appearance of the Queen, although why she couldn't get there fifteen minutes earlier is beyond me. Surely the Lord's Test is more important than royalty? Cameras were also invited into the Long Room for the first time as well at the Home of Cricket.
Harris immediately made inroads into the English batting on an absolute road in thirty odd degrees and got his name on the honours board with a fivefer. Ian Bell scored his third hundred in a row in an Ashes match and Jonny Bairstow kept him company. I don't know if Bairstow seemed to be aroused by his performance but his nipples weren't half erect and it's not as if he could explain the cold weather either! He got bowled by Peter Siddle but was recalled as the Aussie overstepped the mark more than the Middle Stump lads after a few beers!
The following morning some hard hitting from Broad and Swann saw England to a par 361. When the Aussies batted I have never seen anything quite like it. Watto wasted a review again, whilst Rogers was out to the sort of dismissal seen in third eleven cricket. Missing a waist high full toss, which was missing leg stump, he didn't review it, and with regards to the ball, the shot, the umpiring and the review, it was all round crap cricket.
|Nine wickets for Swanny in the match!|
The ball was already spitting more often than El Hadji Diouf and Tiger Woods combined, and one delivery from Swann pitched outside off stump and turned to slip. Until the Aussies get a decent spinner, they have no chance of winning this series but I'll come on to that later. A Keystone Cop run out for Agar, and they were all out for 128, with the Nottinghamshire off spinner getting his name on the board. Cheekily afterwards he said, he was not far away from getting on the batting board too for a hundred!
As is the way these days, Cook decided not to enforce the follow on and before you could say Joe Root, three of his partners were back in the hutch. Root almost joined him as Haddin had a simple chance before dummying first slip Michael Clarke. The Aussies have to take their chances if they are to compete and an experienced keeper like Haddin should not be making mistakes like that. The Aussies who turned out in force dressed in green in the upper tiers of the stands at the Nursery End deserve better.
The Saturday was all about Joe Root. On a pitch made for batting, the Yorkshire opener became the youngest man to score a ton in Ashes history as he helped himself to 180. A full house, a decent day and a fast outfield, the young man from Sheffield certainly proved he is made of steel as he cut and drove his way to a big one, picking up the Man of the Match award to the un-Lord's like chants of ROOT, ROOT, ROOT. Cook declared leaving the Aussies a mere 582 to win!
I thought they would show a bit of fight and yet again they didn't. To get bowled out in just over two sessions on that pitch shows a lack of mental fortitude. Swanny picked another four wickets as England won by 347 runs inside four days.
|Feeling sorry for Boof!|
I actually never thought I would type these words but I feel sorry for Australia, and especially for their coach Darren Lehmann. They have lost their world class players all at once, and have replaced them with guys who are simply not up to it. Maybe chasing the rupees of the IPL has something to do with the shots on offer when they need to grind out the first hour or so to set a platform whilst they get their eye in? Maybe they are just not that good? Watson playing across the line the way he does to get lbw is not the mark of an opener.
Seeing Ponting in the stands fresh from a hundred for Surrey must be especially painful. I can't believe Voges or Cosgrove can't get into this side, both who have scored heavily in domestic conditions and are used to the pitches here in the UK. I know Cosgrove is supposed to be slightly on the tubby side but surely weight of runs is more important than weight of gut? Their pace attack is decent, although I would play Starc ahead of Pattinson, but Agar is out of his depth against Swann. Lyon will come in at Old Trafford I reckon, as will Wade for Haddin.
I know the Aussies never felt sorry for us back in the nineties, and the bloke from Cricket Australia who spoke about whether England were good enough for a five series match a few years back must be eating humble pie. To see a proud nation on their knees like this is not especially gratifying and England are not even playing that well to beat them. I have many friends from this island and they are disgusted by their performance. It was the most heartless display of batting I have seen from an Aussie side since they capitulated in 1985 at the Oval.
|Watson...too much IPL?|
Our top order is misfiring, and Cook is struggling. KP looks like he will miss the next one and I would be tempted to just move everyone up a place in the order and get Kerrigan in the side on his home ground. Old Trafford will turn square, but England will not change their formula. Flower likes the depth of having someone like Bresnan in the side, and with the Compdog persona non grata, maybe James Taylor might get a go?
Who knows? Whoever we pick, providing the Manchester rain stays away, we have enough players to beat the Aussies.
Their fans, here in numbers, deserve way better, and I never thought I would type that. The urn, always resident in NW8, will be staying there for a lot longer on this performance.
And that is a sad indictment for Australian cricket.