What an amazing turnaround not only by the Australian cricket team, but also by the Australian press.
Day one and Australia was bowled out in a day again, albeit for a score higher than it should have been thanks to the wonderful Hussey, Haddin and Johnson. The final score also aided by some poor bowling at the tail by England. The press was baying for Ponting’s head as well as Captain-elect Clarke. Hughes as we predicted on the show showed that he does not have the technique for test cricket at this point in his career, and on that we all agreed.
Day two and England were destroyed by Johnson, who was confident playing on his home track at the WACA, and used the conditions to his advantage. Australia’s top order again crumbled but Hussey again stood firm aided by Watson.
Day three it was game over with England’s top order destroyed, and suddenly we had one esteemed cricket writer saying how the Australian selectors “Rotation policy” of its bowling stocks this summer had paid dividends. This same writer, having never mentioned such a policy previously had before been one of many criticizing the selectors.
If such a policy were in place why have we seen Bollinger and Doherty come out and criticize the selectors for making changes too quickly? Surely if such a policy place was in place you would make the players aware of your tactics? You would think you would anyway, certainly before you advised a journalist.
Let’s be honest – and yes I would like t9o see England retain the Ashes – Hussey saved Australia and Johnson finally found his radar. Australia thoroughly deserved to in this test match. Did the selectors have a lot to do with it? I think not. Did Ponting’s captaincy have a lot to do with it? Again I think not.
Both parties were lucky that they have some fighters in the team who dug deep and showed the fighting, never say die spirit that Australia is famous for that managed to bring Australia a victory.
The series is now very much alive, and both teams are going t9o have to call on that spirit if one of them is to come out on top in the next two test matches. If it comes down to one moment where a captain will influence the outcome of the series, both err on the side of being conservative, but Strauss could hold the key to retaining the Ashes.
As for the selectors, sitting for five days with your fingers crossed is not an enjoyable way to watch cricket.