The drama continues to unfold as Aussies and Poms lock horns for the third test over the series. It’s an observation of mine, that both Aussies and Poms have had similar nature of problems, similar nature of performances. The injuries to Lee and to Pietersen, the fragile top order, lack luster performance of frontline bowlers, Broad and Johnson, the performance of the offies, Haurtiz and Swann, the centuries by captains, Strauss and Ponting. But I think the Aussies have a better middle order. I think both teams reluctance to beef up bowling i.e. both Stuart Clark, and Harmisson are busy chit chatting on the sidelines. So if someone said it has been an even contest,then the preceding are some proof of that.
The only differentiating the two teams is the colossal persona of Andrew Flintoff who like Ursa Major seems to be guiding the English Ashes conquest.
I have been dearly following and blogging cricket for some amount of time, I haven’t seen too many ex-captains playing in an Aussie team. I mean Indian test team has Tendulkar and Dravid also when Ganguly was also playing, they were all their (and will be there for some time at least) in the playing eleven led by Dhoni, there is Lankan team right now (playing ODIs) where Jaywardene and Jayasuriya both ex-captains are currently playing in the eleven, take Pakis for example in they have had such similar teams. But not Aussies, they keep captains till they retire or get/ forced dropped. I don’t mean that Ponting should be dropped or ex communicated. He is a terrific player, but he is one of the generation kind of Aussie captain who regularly gets beaten in tactics and seems to have just one plan.
I mean Punter is Punk’d. Flintoff retirement was surprise for most, but Ponting is not good at trademark Aussie verbatim, the entire barrage you associate with Aussie cricket players. He is undermining his own case; I wonder if he (Ponting) surely understands the gravity of the situation of this series. Why do you want to incite someone like Flintoff for any reason? Flintoff has been on and off the field with injuries, but when he is on song, he is the best bowler in the two teams combines and looks very lethal on top of his bowling mark with the red cherry in his hand. He won the last test doing it a la Botham style, on the very day, Botham eclipsed Aussies at a test in Headingley (1981), Aussies enforced the follow on and went on to lose (they have been the only team to do so and lose), Botham smacking a century and Bob Willis scything the Aussies bats. The test is remembered as Botham's test and the series the Botham’s Series. The clock did finally turn after 27 years as Flintoff completed the turn by blasting through the Aussies batting on teh final day of the Lords test. Flintoff not only defeated the Aussies, but also history in some ways, as Poms posted there first victory over Aussies at Lords in over 75 years, the home of Cricket’s Holy Grail, The Ashes and also home of English Cricket.
Flintoff isn’t far off, I wonder if he would make a century in this series for the remainder of the three matches (this one included in three)
The series could be more riveting if both captains chose team on merit of abilities. Stuart Clarke and Watson are a must for this Aussie team. Watson seems to have funk you need in cricket, he get something extra to bring it on the table. Harmisson should be there his pace and bounce will upset the Aussies, and also will cut down on load from Flintoff, this making the Pom bowling attack shaper. Swann will play coz Aussies have been traditional very ordinary to off spin bowling, like the English have been to seam and spin bowling.
Let the Test begin and may best team win.