Last year England won the Ashes thanks to a peerless bowling team. Simon Jones, Flintoff and Harmison, if we are honest, scared the bejeezuz out of the Australian batting.
This time round Jones is still injured with no end in sight and I think we may have witnessed the death of Steve Harmison.
A notoriously senstive soul, a poor traveller and a regular victim of the yips, this weekend he was hooted for hours by 40,000 Australians and it is hard to see how this will not finish him off.
All the experts seem to agree that he is just terribly short of overs, that he needs to bowl and bowl and bowl until his rhythm comes back. If I had a fiver for every time Botham, Aggers, Boycott or Atherton said “He just needs to keep bowling” I could have flown to Brisbane and kicked him up the arse myself.
Hoggard and Anderson were made to look distinctly village on a bone dry wicket already cracking up on the morning of day 2.
Flintoff, the lone bowling hero, confounded my expectations. I was hoping for/expecting a little of the Pakistan summer spirit, where a team without the great man banded together and played as though they did not even miss him.
I thought the team would perform and Flintoff’s ankle would falter. Instead he has returned to his best form and the team have gone to pieces.
Unless Monty is moved in fast, he will be isolated at the front, left like the Light Brigade to charge on his own into the cannon’s mouth.
Rumblings continue that Vaughan may be back before it is too late. This would be a huge psychological blow to Ricky Ponting, a boost to England and most importantly; an enormous relief to Freddie.