Great start then horror for England in Perth in ashes 2006

Well, great to have Panesar in the team for today's Ashes match (second test) - and superb that he did so well, taking 5 wickets and beating even Shane Warne's best figures (so far...) at the Waca.

Harmison also firing on all cylinders, which likewise great to watch. I'd figured he should perhaps be on a plane home after not seeming up for the fight, but there you go - the return of one of the world's most dangerous fast bowlers.

Hoggard and Flintoff also bowled very well. Mahmood a tad disappointing; but otherwise, a near perfect day in the field for England, as Australia dismissed for 244.

But then, England batted, and lost a couple of wickets for jut 51. Aussie bowling looking frighteningly good, to me - esp Clark and Lee; I almost felt like hiding b behind the sofa as I did when cybermen attaked Doctor Who, as Clark bamboozled Collingwood, who was darn near caught behind a few times, and even dropped by Warne. I'll be on tenterhooks as next day's play gets underway.

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2006/12/16 09:18

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Argh!

Another painfully bad day for England. Dismissed cheaply, despite sterling resistance from Pietersen and tail enders - including Harmison and Panesar, the latter especially remarkable given he was supposedly unable to bat for toffee.

Then, Aussies in - and wicket first ball (hooray! - I jumped up yelling so loud I woke my son in next room), after which they looked safe for most of the rest of the day's play, threatening more walloping of this hapless English side tomorrow.

To fair extent, commentators can say "I told you so".
Seems England indeed had too much self-delusion (on the part of Fletcher, others?) before the series even began:

- [b]Flintoff as captain[/b] seemed wrong choice to me; I'd favoured Strauss, figuring Flintoff should be allowed to be all-rounder who's one of few men who can scare the Aussies. He has captained ok at times; but also some captaincy not so hot - few slip fielders both days this test, and England attitude as Ponting and Hayden batted: England team seemed to become largely just spectators, watching as this pair banged a few more nails in the coffin. Pietersen's introduction to bowling right at the end at least added interest, with maybe a chance of wicket thro change. While bowling well, Flintoff has batted like a wuss - which surely means the real Freddie has yet to stand at the crease this series.
- [b]Trescothick's inclusion in tour party[/b] proved founded on over-optimism from him and selectors.
- [b]Pre series preparations[/b] were said by many to be woefully inadequate. Now, seeing Harmison bowling more on form, after that hideous, hideous wide first ball in the first test - straight to first slip, and subsequent spraying, plus talk of nerves that as one commentator noted, made him unworthy of being in fast bowling lineage including Tyson, Trueman, Snow.
- [b]Ashley Giles playing in place of Panesar[/b] in first two tests seems even stupider move now, especially as Panesar has not only taken wickets, but scored handy runs too (and was not out).

Post edited by: Martin, at: 2006/12/15 14:55

Anything good from this match today, from an English viewpoint? Not much. Pietersen seems a law to himself: I've just seen article saying the Aussies don't know how to bowl to him, as no plans have worked.

A minus this test: I'd seen Geoff Boycott wasn't convinced re Collingwood versus fast bowling. Well, he'd doubted Collingwood as test player, yet he played well in India, scored that double hundred the previous test.
But yesterday and today, he was all at sea against pace, especially Clark: extra bounce at Perth bamboozling him so much it was hard to watch.

Another day of test misery for England.

They bowled well, tho some bad luck with decisions. Fielding not so hot; and again lack of slips - a "catch" went straight thro first slip position.

But Aussies batted superbly. Accruing major total, and then Gilchrist came in - "out of form" Gilchrist, mark you, and blasted the second fastest test century in history. Must have left England reeling as if on the ropes.

A declaration, and in remainder of play wicket down for England - tho seemed the third unlucky decision in a row for Strauss, albeit this time he was partly to blame, not playing shot to ball straight at stumps (even tho a tad high - given lbw).
Time for all England fans to pray for miracles; but even if had five or six Kevin Pietersens in the side, even a draw would look massively unlikely.

The test is over now, with over half a day to spare. Good batting performance by England, but not enough to save the game.

Maybe Australia were so strong the'd have beaten any England side but - [b]Earth to Duncan Fletcher[/b] - if you're going to play in the Ashes, you really should pick your best players.

Adding to the errors resulting from self-delusion (and Fletcher being pig-headed, said Botham) I noted above:

[b]Geraint Jones instead of Read[/b] - did ok as keeper, but missed stumping and went for a catch that wasn't his in Aus second innings. Most lamentable, was supposedly in for his batting, and something re his temperamant - yet when big moments came, proved sadly wanting, bagging golden duck in this test (his last?).

Even before this series began, Geoff Boycott thought Duncan Fletcher past his best as England coach, time for new blood.
Proven correct; i've seen Brian Close said Fletcher should go.