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BethnalGreen

The Aussies have arrived

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So...Day 1 of the First Test of the Ashes to Australia. Just when the Poms think that they have the world's best team on the ropes, in comes Pidge and Lee and whoshka!..

7-96!!

How many of those supposed new and exciting batsmen in the English line up are wondering how long their test career will be now  :P

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The man who's got that job was in Downing Street today. Poor soul.

A simply incredible day of Test cricket has just ended with England reeling at 92-7.

Two late wickets for Brett Lee have swung the day Australia's way after Kevin Pietersen and Geraint Jones fought back well from 21-5.

England bowled very well and only Langer and Katich looked capable of playing the type of innings that was required. But the spell of bowling McGrath produced after tea is among the very best I have ever seen.

Had England got to stumps at five wickets down, you'd say honours even. At seven down, it's definitely advantage Australia. Having said all that, Pietersen is still there. He has looked assured in his first Test innings and holds the key tomorrow.

I also think the pitch has something to do with the clatter of wickets we've seen today. It appears to be a bit two-paced, with some balls not coming onto the bat as the batsmen expect (see the dismissals of Langer and Katich) and some coming on very quickly (see the dismissals of Jones and Giles). You can make runs on it, but it is difficult.

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How many of those supposed new and exciting batsmen in the English line up are wondering how long their test career will be now  :P

You make a habit of judging players on one innings then.

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Well, day two was a little less exciting.

Australia closed 279-7 in their second innings, a lead of 314.

A good initial fightback from England, particularly Kevin Pietersen to get to 155, but I fear the Aussies are already too far ahead.

Having said that, if Clarke and Martyn can make runs on this track, why can't our guys?

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If this is the best English side for decades, either the last twenty years or so saw some pitiful players or the media has been watching a totally different team.

If I was an Aussie selector and I was asked who would I take from the current pommy team in place of any of our guys, the only ones I'd see any value in would be Harmison and maybe Vaughn (and Vaughn only because of his work during the last tour down under). Harmison is a strong and classy fast bowler..no Bob Willis or John Snow, but certainly in the Graham Dilley mould.

And as for the fielding...obviously the team has spent more time listening to their own media's hype that practising. Geraint Evans is not test standard at this time; his blunders on the morning of day 3 would make the likes of Alan Knott, Bob Taylor and Jack Russell blush.

The psychological and skills gap between the two teams has barely narrowed since the last Ashes series, and Trescothick and Bell particularly would be two players who will have to tread very carefully in case the selectors revolving door hits them in the arse.

I'm yet to see a Gower, a Botham, a Lamb or even a Gatting emerge from this current line-up....

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You clearly haven't watched this England side very closely recently. If you had, you would realise that this team is better than any other in the world, bar Australia.

You would also then realise that England can play better than what we have so far. We've dropped too many catches (not for the first time against you lot), didn't bowl particularly well this morning and, in some cases, played some pretty average shots (or non-shots) to lose wickets.

Geraint Jones has been working with Jack Russell and his glovework has improved. And you clearly missed the two run outs if you think England can't field.

As for Trescothick, a man who has played 60+ Tests and averages over 40 is hardly likely to be dropped. Bell played a poor non-shot, but the boy has talent, as everyone in England knows, and he will show it.

Are you seriously saying that this team is no better than those you steamrollered in the 90s? If you are, I suggest you wake up.

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Well, whilst the rain (probably the best asset the English have when it comes to cricket :P ) drizzles down at Lords, let's look at the current scorecard...

England 5-156, 264 runs behind and featuring such highlights as:

Vaughn: bowled Lee for 4 (where has the indominitable batsman from the last Ashes series gone?)

Bell: lbw Warne 8 (another youngster bamboozled by the guru of googly)

Flintoff: comprehensively bowled by Lee (the next Botham? hmmm...don't think so)

Now, let's look at Trescothick and Strauss...nice opening partnership, but to lose both openers before 100 after such a good start is a blow. And let's not forget, whilst Trescothick may have a 40+ average in all tests, against Australia it's under 30. Very average for a guy who can tear apart the vaunted Bangladeshi attack!

And if Geraint Jones glovework has improved...christ, he must have been abysmal beforehand. Now I know why his nickname is Michael Jackson...both he and Jackson wear gloves for no apparent reason.

I will say that the two run outs were nice pieces of work, so I'll retract gladly my observation on the overall standard of England's fielding. Instead I'll leave it for those who have seen the catching from Martyn to dismiss Pieterson in the first innings and Lee's caught & bowled of Strauss compare how the two sides have caught.

This current English team is a good team...capable of matching it with the very average test teams outside of Australia that are currently in the mix nowadays, or suprassing them. But do they appear to have the resilience as say India at home would have? I don't think so. Australia has had to work bloody hard to get past the current Indian team both at home and in Australia (where's England's Tendulkar, Drahid, Laxman?). There's no danger from the current English line up to do to the Aussies what Tendulkar and Dravid did to us back in 2003-2004. I'm sure if you speak with the Aussies they would say that playing England 2005 in England is a far easier prospect than India.

And as for the previous English test teams that have been steamrollered by the Aussies in the last 16 years, well in the  first test of the 97 series you had Hussain score 207 and Thorpe 138, and the arguably much weaker attack of Gough, Caddick and Malcolm knocked over an arguably better Aussie line up for 118 in the first innings. In fact, having seen Gough's hat trick at the SCG back in 1999, he is certainly one English bowler who stands above the current roster. He had Yorky guts and fire that English cricket has grown oh so scare of these last 15 years or so.

Finally, yes Pieterson looks a good prospect. But it's not just one player, or even two or three that make a great team. It takes an entire team, that can work together to support each other when things go well and when things go crook. The Aussies have shown that in spades this test, as McGrath, Warne, Langer, Katich, Lee, Clarke and Ponting have all demonstrated, and even poor Dizzy who's bowling has been disappointing still was able to knock up 13 runs and contribute to a 52 run 8th wicket partnership. If England escapes thanks to the weather with a draw from this test their first priority will be to review their fragile first 5 batsmen, and their support for Harmison.

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And if Geraint Evans glovework has improved...christ, he must have been abysmal beforehand. Now I know why his nickname is Michael Jackson...both he and Jackson wear gloves for no apparent reason.

De-dum. It's Jones by the way.

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And if Geraint Evans glovework has improved...christ, he must have been abysmal beforehand. Now I know why his nickname is Michael Jackson...both he and Jackson wear gloves for no apparent reason.

De-dum. It's Jones by the way.

A malapropism...goes to show how memorable he is  :D Post corrected (unlike much of the English batting technique  :laughlong: )

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The weather forecast is pretty appalling for the next couple of days, so I'm still pretty hopeful of getting out with a draw. Mark Nicholas has just said on Channel Four that there is no immediate prospect of play.

Vaughan has had a downturn in form and, for me, needs time at the crease. Here lies the problem of central contracts in that players don't get as much time in the middle between internationals. That said, he hasn't had a real trot of low scores and you certainly can't argue with his record as captain.

Bell's a young lad who played a poor non-shot. It doesn't alter the fact that he has bags of talent and, all being well, will be a mainstay of the English middle order for many years to come.

The one Flintoff got from McGrath kept so low it was unbelievable. I wasn't too keen on his second innings shot, but if he thinks it's there to be hit, he will go for it. That's why he has been so successful with the bat in the last couple of years.

Strauss didn't play a particularly good shot, but what a fantastic catch from Lee. He's had a wonderful start to his Test career, as Michael Clarke has had, and maybe they're both just being found out a little bit. Trescothick looked like he got a good one from Warne. Nonetheless, its a concern that we seem to be losing wickets in such clusters. Having said that, so are you.

I'm relieved that Pietersen has made a promising start to his Test career. I feared that he may start in a similar fashion to a Graeme Hick or Mark Ramprakash and never recover.

Review support for Harmison? There is plenty of support for him. Simon Jones has bowled superbly but got absolutely no luck whatsoever. I wouldn't say anybody bowled particularly badly.

And I already said we've dropped far too many.

You raise 97. Yes we won comprehensively at Edgbaston. But look what happened thereafter. 77 all out at Lords with the same line-up and several more batting collapses along the way to a series defeat. And Goughie's knee wouldn't last a Test match these days.

Just out of interest, are you getting the Channel 4 coverage in Australia?

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Yes, we are getting the Channel 4 coverage...it's being shown on Fox pay TV and on SBS (our so-called multicultural free to air channel). I must say that the coverage and commentary has been excellent (although why the 4 team have included Tony Grieg is a shame...he is an absolute joke). I find the standard of commentary from the likes of Atherton, Hughes and Boycott very high. Richie Benaud doesn't need comment, aside from one word. Legend. Also, the overall production values and format is entertaining and informative. Down under we have the likes of Dean Jones, Greg Matthews and Mark Waugh adding expert commentary on the TV feed in studio.

Course the TMS team on the radio is great too. If Jonathon Agnew could have bowled as well as he commentated now he would still be in the team. And dear old Blowers  :) . Ask any Aussie cricket tragic what the Ashes in England mean and they'll invariably say falling asleep listening to Henry Blofield.

The shadow of Graeme Hick wont fall too much over Pietersen; Hick never carried any of the self-belief his county form should have sustained into tests, whereas no matter the seize of Pietersen's talent it would appear his own confidence will always outstrip it. If anything Pietersen reminds me a little of Herschelle Gibbs...mercurial, can do significant damage, but the level of maturity needs to be developed further.

Frankly, the best aspect of the current English team is their own self-belief, no matter how well based it is on facts, that they can take the game up to the Aussies. But this is also going to be the achilles heel if things continue to go awry with the first five batsmen, or catches keep falling unclaimed. Having seen how incredibly virulent the UK tabloid press can be, if the first test ends with a defeat of say over 150-200 runs then there will be some serious bemoaning and wailing; how this until now relatively successful English team cope with set backs will be the true gauge of their capabilities.

As for the pitch and how it has been playing...it's not as if Lords is a foreign ground to the English. The slope has been there since WG Grace's time, and the individual players in the English team should know its properties far better than say Michael Clarke or Simon Katich. The problem is for the English is that most haven't had to face the quality of the attack of Lee, McGrath, Warne and Gillespie at home or elsewhere, and that's why technical deficiencies are being revealed.

Of course, all this focus and discussion on how disappointing most aspects of the English performance in this test has taken away from how great the Aussies have been. Ponting's captaincy has been spot on plus he compiled a nice 42, Martyn's 62 was well scored and Katich played a dab hand for his 67. Clarke bounced back nicely for 91 and got out to an exuberant over-confident shot any young tyro could be guilty of. Langer's first innings 40 was ground out well in the face of good quick bowling, whilst even McGrath has 30 runs against his name without once being dismissed (a worry for the English attack...this is McGrath we're talking about). Lee has bowled qucikly and with venom and taken some great wickets, McGrath's 1st innings efforts were just masterly, and Warney is still the king of spin and will be sure to claim more wickets. The only Aussies who haven't really got stuck in are Hayden, Gillespie and Gilchrist, and of these I'm only worried about Dizzy. Man on man the Australians have generally outplayed the Poms in this test, and the score card reflects this.

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I have to say I like Tony Greig. Judging by his regular, lengthy discussions of the merits of the ladies of various Caribbean islands when he was commentating on our last tour there for TalkSport, he seems like a sensible, well-rounded sort of chap.

It's such a shame that this is the last year of cricket on Channel 4 and terrestrial television thanks to the greedy so-and-sos of the ECB. I can't see Sir Richie staying on to do highlights on Five and I'm not sure he'd really fit in with Messrs Botham, Willis, Holding, etc on Sky, so this may well be the end of an era.

Ah well, it'll just mean far more days spent with Aggers and the boys on TMS. I remember we took the ABC radio coverage during our last tour Down Under and I was shaken from slumber by Tim Lane giving Aggers a big build-up for his run-in with the Barmy Army during the Sydney Test. That and Jones' injury in Brisbane.

The thing about Pietersen is that he had been given such a build-up by the media, as Hick was, that it all seemed set up for him to fall flat on his face. The South African experience probably helped him no end.

Of course, England showed their battling qualities last winter in South Africa. We were bundled out cheaply in Durban and conceded more than 200 on first innings, but came back and very nearly won the Test match. Then, after losing in Cape Town, we came back and won in Johannesburg.

I heard the Lords groundsman quoted as saying he thought the pitch was a day over-prepared. The ground may not be foreign to England, but I cannot recall a Lord's pitch behaving like this in many years.

Equally, I have to say I think Australia have been helped into the position they're in by England. We've dropped far too many catches and we've lost too many clusters of wickets.

That said, I haven't been impressed with most of Australia's batting either. In the first innings, only Hayden and Ponting were got out by good bowling. The rest of the batsmen got themselves out through poor shots. The second innings was better, but there is still room for improvement.

McGrath bowled an incredible spell, the like of which I don't think we'll see again in this series. Lee has improved a great deal since I last saw him. Warne is Warne. Maybe he needs to text a few dozen more young ladies.

I don't think anyone can argue Australia have been the better side for most of this match. But, if and it's still a big if, England get out with a draw, it can only boost England as the teams head to probably England's favourite ground - Edgbaston.

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It still looks very dark overhead, not that it will help if we continue to play brainless shots like Geraint Jones just has.

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7 for 158...McGrath picks off the underwhelming Jones and Giles...this is going to be a BIG win for the Aussies and BIG reality check for the Poms.

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It is raining. And there are four Tests to go.

There are few species more retch-inducing than an arrogant Aussie.

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Well that lasted a long time, didn't it?

Michael Vaughan summed it up perfectly in his post-match comments for me.

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It is raining. And there are four Tests to go.

There are few species more retch-inducing than an arrogant Aussie.

And there's nothing far more predictable than a whingeing pom making excuses lol  :D

Good test...of course the word test means that one must be examined, and so far the result must be pass with credit for the Aussies and fail with no distinction for the English. Lose Jones, Trescothick, Bell, go back to basics re catching, tell Flintoff to stop believing that 5 day's cricket is not 5 one day games, get Vaughn to remember who he was from the last Ashes series and maybe promote Pietersen to 2nd drop and you may have a challenge. A 239 run loss doesn't bode well for the so-called best English team for decades...

aussiescheer1_300.jpg

Get used to this arwebb...you're going to see this plenty of times yet.. :laughlong:

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You might be struggling to see it, but there's nowhere near as much between the two sides as some may be seeking to make out. England have to improve and they know that better than anyone.

I see Warne's been at it again.

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:D One down!

Four to go! :P

Who cares what happens off the field, on it is WHAT MATTERS!

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You might be struggling to see it, but there's nowhere near as much between the two sides as some may be seeking to make out. England have to improve and they know that better than anyone.

I see Warne's been at it again.

Oh dear....Even an 'English-man' from the Pommy web site cricinfo.com can see what you can't arwebb:

New faces but same result

Peter English

July 24, 2005

Performances like these ensure that no matter how much England improve against everybody else they will be mocked by Australia until they can ride side-by-side over five Tests. With rain on every radar, the final five batsmen collapsed faster than even the most parochial Australian could have imagined, and a potentially difficult conclusion became a ridiculously gentle stroll. With this England embarrassment the series now leans the same way.

What began as two sessions of home fire turned into eight of drowning. What opened as an Ashes series of intense, reciprocal testing became an amusing anecdote by the end of the first stage. What started in '89 with David Gower and Allan Border has been passed on to Michael Vaughan and Ricky Ponting.

The faces change but the results remain the same. New profiles, ones that hadn't been scared by Steve Waugh or Mark Taylor, were meant to bring clear scrapbooks and fill them with positive clippings against Dad's Army. As England enter the second Test at Edgbaston on August 4 Strauss, Bell, Flintoff and the two Joneses - selectors permitting - will carry the same Baggy-Green scars as their team-mates and so many of their predecessors. The group disease shows no sign of clearing, but individual cases have been shown to disappear when the infected picks up a commentator's microphone.

In the series preamble Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath dismissed - sometimes politely, sometimes not - England's prospects as they had since their first series in '93 and '94-95. At times they appeared to be trumpeting too loudly, but they were right about false dawn No. 8 all along. When it comes to beating England they know everything and deserve PhDs. McGrath tips Australia to win 5-0. It is no joke now.

Combining for the final wicket, the pair finished off the rabble with five victims in 10.1 overs, including four ducks. Warne's comfortable catch of Simon Jones meant that despite having a portrait in the Long Room his name will never appear on the dressing-room honour board for five-wicket hauls. Both men are bowling as well as their mid-30 bodies will allow, but Warne will be 39 in 2009 and too old for a fifth Lord's Test. England must hope McGrath also never returns.

Vaughan said at the presentation there was no need to panic. There are four more Tests for that. Second in the world is again a place that is a hemisphere's distance from No. 1. Contenders must stand tall for entire series instead of 42 overs. England released their squeeze and Australia wiped off the rust and the blood to dominate as they had since Headingley '89.

As wickets tumbled the huddle laughed and cheered. The batsman doing the most damage was from South Africa, just as Robin Smith had been 16 years before. Same old England; same old result.

Peter English is the Australasian editor of Cricinfo

Source

I'd rather have a ratbag like Warne than the non-performing duds like almost all of the current English team playing for Australia anyday. For all his off field idiocy the bloke makes the English look like idiots on field.

239 runs isn't close...it's a shellacing  :laughlong:

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...239 runs isn't close...it's a shellacing  :laughlong:

:D Yeah! :wwww:

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