14 July 2013

The Ashes 1st Test, day 5, Trent Bridge

The Ashes 1st Test, day 5, Trent Bridge:

England 1st innings
: 215 all out from 59 overs
Peter Siddle 5-50, James Pattinson 3-69, Mitchell Starc 2-54
Jonathan Trott 48, Jonny Bairstow 37

Australia 1st innings: 280 all out from 64.5 overs
Ashton Agar 98, Phillip Hughes 81*, Steven Smith 53
James Anderson 5-85, Graeme Swann 2-60

England 2nd innings: 375 all out from 149.5 overs
Mitchell Starc 3-81, Peter Siddle 3-85, Ashton Agar 2-82
Ian Bell 109, Stuart Broad 65, Kevin Pietersen 64

Australia 2nd innings: 296 all out from 110.5 overs
Brad Haddin 71, Chris Rogers 52, Shane Watson 46, James Pattinson 25*
James Anderson 5-73, Stuart Broad 2-54, Graeme Swann 2-105

Match situation: England won by 14 runs and lead 1-0.

When Brad Haddin found a tickle of an edge to give an exhausted James Anderson his tenth wicket of the match, I knew it was out before Alastair Cook tactically asked for one of his referrals. Aleem Dar, who has had a well below the bar time officiating the game, was the umpire to reverse the edge he did not detect. It was so faint there was doubt but I knew it was out and I became numb, my heart still pounding. Haddin seemed ready to plan how to grab the final 14 runs, but it was the softest dismissal to end his valiant effort.

Haddin & Pattinson. Well done boys, be proud! © Getty Images
What a great game of Test cricket it was, but seeing England celebrate just made me sink, and it was so sad to see Brad Haddin dismissed after he fought so hard, like an Australian batsman has not fought for such a long time. It was a Hussey-like innings and for that I am proud of him. With a sense of optimism, pride and hope I like to think of Haddin and James Pattinson’s effort as a case of us shedding some skin.

From being dubbed the underdogs of the series, we gave England plenty of grey hairs and it is certainly a series that is alive. They have the momentum as the more experienced side but there's only that element of collective experience really separating the teams. The home ground advantage is obviously massive for them.

This game was unfortunately been affected by controversy, but this has a major role in the world of cricket. Sadly it comes down to three things.

Firstly, Michael Clarke had a poor game tactically and admitted to this in an emotional post-match presentation. He totally misused our referrals and we paid the price as a result. 

Secondly, Stuart Broad not walking left a bitterness about the game knowing those runs he ended up scoring after actually being out flipped the outcome of the game. Having written that, I did write after the incident that he was not expected to walk.

That brings me to the third point and that was Aleem Dar being brought into the spotlight for his officiating. Umpires regularly check for no-balls with dismissals and a lot of the time the bowlers are way behind the lines. It is precautionary. Why couldn’t Dar have used his initiative, common sense with theobvious ball deviation off Broad’s bat and reaction of our team and referred it beyond the simple parameters of DRS? An umpire has this grounding and he could have checked he didn’t make a blunder.

It’s all history now and will forever be associated to this game but there were plenty of outstanding performances from both sides and this should not be dampened by any means.

Starting the day trailing by 137 runs with only four wickets in the bag, the fact we got within 14 runs and survived for 39.5 overs is staggering and I am very proud.

Haddin's determination brought 71 runs & nearly a victory.
Brad Haddin gave it his best and showcased some wonderful shots under heavy pressure. He looked calm, focused and showed belief in James Pattinson, who played better than that of a number 11 batsman, as Ashton Agar did so in our first innings. When Haddin was dismissed so cheaply at the end it was, as Allan Border put it, “deflating” and I just sat speechless watching England celebrate. So close, so damn close and it came down to a DRS moment. England played their cards right and beat us tactically. The result was a victory and this was as a result of securing big passages of play, controversy aside.

I am not going to elaborate much more on the game as my previous posts for each day have been written with clarity and an unbiased approach. However, I will state I am proud of the way we fought so hard in this game and while I am broken and totally shattered to lose to England, we have hope and four Tests to fight back. As a supporter I will be right back and ready for Lord’s to cheer on The Baggy Greens loudly and proudly!

What I do foresee come Lord’s is that Ed Cowan is unlikely to be in the starting XI, so Usman Khawaja – while not a miracle maker – will likely make way into the side as a younger, more versatile player. I have expressed my views on Cowan’s cricket numerous times via the site and unfortunately my optimism for his turnaround just seems too far removed from what this team needs and where they’re headed. It’s nothing that is meant to sound nasty or personal. That is not how I write.

I have supported Ed and will continue to do so where needs be, but there’s better candidates than him and he’s been played out of his opening role and he was put under a fair bit of pressure to be the number three batsman. He was also ill during the match, so that must be added. Should he play I really hope he gets loads of runs to help us, but I think the selectors will overlook him.

Mitchell Starc gave us some key wickets and would have gained incredible experience in this Test, but I do have a gut feeling he will miss out on the Lord’s Test as off all the bowlers he seemed to struggle the most to control the swing, manage his line and wasn’t able to build enough pressure. Starc is a fine young bowler and I do believe he could be a big impact player at Lord’s, however with the slope at the ground if he struggles to control his line and length he will be easy pickings and Brad Haddin’s life will be made a living hell. His selection or omission will be tactical, but hard to write him off. Should Starc not play, Ryan Harris or Jackson Bird, who are both natural swing bowlers, seem to be strongly in contention.

Positives were there, no doubts there! Peter Siddle proved me wrong with a five wicket haul in England's first dig and he gave it his very best out there. Chris Rogers, while seeing it as half a job done in his eyes, scored his maiden half-century and looked the part facing the new ball. Steven Smith and Phillip Hughes failed in the second innings when it truly mattered most but they contributed in our first innings with strong signs that they’ve really matured as players. A small victory for us in that regard, a big one for Hughes in particular after 2009.

The biggest positive was Ashton Agar. Sure, he broke a few records with the bat in hand as he scored an incredible 98 runs in our first innings, a massive achievement in the context of our run chase, but he put on a fair show with the ball and could have had three wickets in England’s second dig. He looked good when I saw him play for Western Australia. He looked sensational out there representing the Baggy Greens with the bat and ball. Couldn’t have been expected to repeat his heroics in the run chase but he has made an entrance into the elite level.

We have a few days to recover before the Lord’s Test. England have taken first blood and history would show that in this position our modern era side cannot make a comeback when losing an opening clash. However, this run chase spawned a return of the old Australian spirit. It was a side shedding skin and showing England we are not pushovers and we will not go down without a fight. This is our battle too and we can regain the urn. With Darren Lehmann there I picked up a different energy, mostly amongst the newer players or our players who are naturally fierce, hard faced Australian cricketers.

Part two begins on Thursday. We’re still in this. It will be tough but we’re in it fanatics.

Come on Australia!

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Alan Barnes said...

On the England celebration, they are not in that position too often. They make the most of it when there are.
Broad should have walked.
Why not play the whole game on a computer.

Ian said...

Hi Alan,

Thanks for your comment.

They've won most of their recent tests in comparison to our last five, along with the urn in the last two clashes. They've had plenty more to celebrate than we have and really get into it.

I am looking forward to our turn to celebrate again.

Unknown said...

Yes, you have to be proud of the fight shown by our bowlers with bat in hand.

Haddin's innings was fortunate but he was hardly alone there and it was an important innings for him.

Clsrke needs to be less of a gambler with the referrals that is not what they are for. But he is a risktaker by nature, so he might be chsncing them sgsin.


Northerner said...

As an England supporter of 30 years, I feel your pain.

The most controversial DRS decision of the match (to me) was Agar not out when (again, to me) no part of his bat or body was behind the line.

If he's out, the Aussies are rolled for 120, and there's no way back from there - possibly all series.

But these calls are made, I'm sure, in good faith, and I think they add a bit of spice.

I never thought I'd say it, as a traditionalist, but I love waiting for third umpire decisions.

Roll on Lord's!