Sunday, 14 July 2013

Not Bad for a Dying Format

Unquestionably man of the hour
Short of writing some kind of dissertation-length post, there is really going to be no way of describing what has taken place in Nottingham over the last five days. Generally with major sporting events you can't wait for the next match and struggle to imagine how you'll survive a few days' gap but in this instance I think we'll all be grateful for a bit of a rest so we can let our heart-rates stabilise. I imagine plant life across the UK suffered from all the lack of carbon dioxide in the air as most of the country has been holding its breath since Wednesday. Needless to say, it's was pretty dramatic right to the death.

From Starc's wayward first ball to the inevitable DRS-induced conclusion, this game had the lot. Batting collapses, spin, swing, reverse swing, a century, three 5 wicket hauls, a record partnership and record debut innings, a whole host of controversy and a desperately tight finish. If this match is setting the tone for the rest of the series then 2005 might have to rethink its title of "The Greatest Series". 

A somewhat enjoyable moment
I've scarcely seen a game with the team in the ascendancy changing so often. England started reasonably well, before collapsing to a meagre 215. Australia failed to capitalise, being skittled to 117-9 before debutant Agar (alongside Phillip Hughes) wrestled back the initiative. The Aussies were seemingly on top until Cook, Pietersen, Bell and Broad batted England into the lead again. What had appeared a total beyond the brittle Australian top order then seemed possible at 84-0, 111-1 and 161-3. A brilliant burst last night and consistent wickets this morning left an England win a near-certainty, before Haddin and Pattinson kept hearts in mouths until the last.

There's so much to choose from but here are my particular highlights:

1) Agar: not that he batted so well and isn't it great to see a young man doing so well etc. No, what I liked is that he got out 2 runs short of his century. Come on people, he's Australian (half at least), we have to be ruthless with them. If you don't think 2 runs can make a difference, just ask Michael Kasprowicz.
Unexpectedly gritty
2) Ian Bell: One of the most elegant, stylish batters who has long been seen as fair-weather, only scoring hundreds when conditions are good or England are on top. And yet, he's now joint 10th on the list of English test-centurions, level with Vaughan and Gower, ahead of Atherton, Hobbs, Sutcliffe.
3) This Aussie article which says that cricket won, not England, that pays a decidedly backhanded compliment to Bell, talks about the "inner grubbiness of the soul" in relation to Broad, the vulnerability of Finn, and suggests that no-one can really be sure if Haddin edged it or not. Ah Australia, this is what makes beating you so enjoyable. Hopefully you are going to have a full 6 months of learning how to be better losers.

No comments:

Post a Comment