Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Virgin soldiers

At last then, some actual cricket to write about... Show me a man who knows who's ahead after a day like that, and I'll show you a fool or a knave, my friends.

With the weight of expectation, things were always likely to be heightened, and so it proved. England were edgy, manic, prone to doubt or perhaps disbelief while they were ahead. Australia were uncertain too, curiously passive for long passages before they remembered that they were, well, Australian. As England's first day of the Ashes usually goes, this one was a raging success. As Australia's usually go, well, the echo of what they were bounces around them. 

England played more to type, getting themselves in and then getting themselves back out again, and in pairs too. Pietersen played his brainless one thirty runs earlier than usual; Collingwood was dismissed using the shortest backlift visible to the naked human eye; Ravi Bopara was done in by a slower ball so flirtatious that it could have been imprisoned along with that honey trapper today [the deception that the slower ball pulls on the senses is worth a separate entry - suffice to say here that one I was suckered by two decades ago came pouring back through the holes in my brain-stem as Ravinder trudged back up the steps].

Australia went off piste. Their pre-lunch plans were beautifully thought out. Bopara was chinned, Cooked out-fished, Strauss embarrassed. They had Pietersen sussed too, making him play on that braced front knee, his eyes high over the ball. And then after lunch... they apparently decided not to bother persisting with it. Why get KP out, anyway?

The pitch and the tides had their effect. Australia will covet a first innings lead of 70+ to negate batting last, which means at least 400. It's impossible to know how achievable that is until they're actually out there. Fools and Knaves...

It was a taut day, a slow day, a raucous day, a heightened day. No-one won it, which means that no-one lost it either. Oh, and where exactly was Sky Sports' Shane Warne?


Ceci said...

Warne was off playing in a poker tourney somewhere - and MV sitting sipping Pimms and being harangued by various people - and Lord Gower was wheeled out from his Hampshire retreat (although that's absolutely fine by me)...

Fab tweet from Jimmy A this evening "Nothing on TV, better get an early night - got to get some runs tomorrow!"

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The Old Batsman said...

Jimmy's tweeting? The things these young people do. Yes, he better get some f*&%^ing runs tomorrow. He's right about that.

Brit said...

I'm intrigued by the new Aussie new innovation: the bowler-less team. They appear to have picked 11 batsmen, a few of whom bowl a bit.

Unfortunately, that 'bit' appears to be enough to take 7 English wickets in a day.