The 1st Test – What I could tell him

I apologise for the four day delay in updating, however I am sure that most people were as loath to read about the Brisbane Massacre as I was to write about it.

I shall not labour points which have been given a more than good airing in other media, England were justly humiliated, the team simply did not perform.

Flintoff’s bowling showed the opposition were not immortal and the batting of Collingwood and Pieterson have kept burning the embers of competition. Indeed the contempt with which Collingwood swatted Warne for the boundary rope suggests that Australia are more vulnerable than the score suggests.

The second test on Friday offers England a chance at complete redemption. Strauss needs to address a serious technical flaw in his hooking and Flintoff must bat with unnatural caution, but there is still more than enough talent to overcome an Australian already creaking after one test.

I for my part remain quietly confident that history will repeat itself. After the Lord’s thrashing last year, the more loquacious cons spoke of a whitewash, England found a team spirit forged in the crucible of defeat. 

Last year G McGrath flung himself over a cricket ball and found himself injured, over the weekend McGrath was restricted to a very limited part in the second inings due to a sore heel. If only an innings play can cause him problems, the famously hard pitch in Adelaide may see him off.

The lads in green will also smart from the absence of Shane Watson who would almost definitely have made the side.

Flecher’s quixotic selection policy may find England fielding two spinners at the expense of James Anderson. This is unfair to the lad but it is not possible to jettison England’s primary paceman after only one diabolical test.

The inclusion of Monty would lift the dressing room no end, and ensure that England did not live and die with the new ball.

One of the most apparent disparities I noticed over day four, in addition to the obvious ones on the pitch, was that of the commentators on Sky.

Normally I eschew listening to the television in favour of Aggers and co on TMS, but the time lag was so pronounced it was hearing every delivery before the bowler started his run.

Sky, according to time honoured tradition of about five minutes, has alternating teams of home and away commentary. As Pieterson and Collingwood made their stand of 150, the Australians could not praise them enough.

Collingwood was hailed for batting out of himself, for his mettle under pressure and his gritty determination to hold the bridge. Pieterson had his litany of talents listed over and again and they were praised as a wonderful double act.

Every boundry was cheered and complimented.

Then in stepped the English team. Instantly the moaning started, every shot at the rope was greeted with a sharp wheeze as Atherton predicted a catch. But the worst was Boycott.

The skeletal Yorkshireman systematically took apart the career of every England player over the five days with cringeworthy self-reference. Each self-important criticism starting with “What I could tell him is…”

I earnestly hope he is after Duncan Fletcher’s job, at least then he might have to show some modicum of solidarity and respect for the England team.

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