“We have got some really good quality time under our belts as far as the batting goes and two chances to bowl, so that has been perfect for us.”
Ricky Ponting, talking to the BBC after Leicestershire batted out the final day to draw their game with Australia. The game was “perfect” for Australia (apart from not winning). This seems to be the trend of captains these days: never, ever say anything that could possibly be interpreted as sounding negative. This wasn’t a great warm-up for Australia’s bowlers, I don’t think. The pitch might be flatter than a pancake, but Australia’s “support bowlers” of years gone by would have laughed in the face of a flat pitch on a hot summer’s day.
Brett Lee returned decent first-innings figures, when the pitch was at its most juicy no doubt. But his second innings effort failed to impress: 13 overs, 1 for 78 with seven no balls. Seven no balls, in 13 overs? How old is he, 12? More of the same for Thursday please Brett.
Jason Gillespie is slowly improving, about as fast as a tranquilised tortoise. His match figures of 31 overs 2-100 are deeply concerning for me, let alone an Australian fan. I have always admired his bowling, if only because he’s been in McGrath and Warne’s monstrous shadows over the years, yet has consistently performed brilliantly.
I presume Brett Lee will open with McGrath. But what of Australia’s support bowlers? Can McGrath and Warne provide Australia with 75% of 60 wickets to retain The Ashes?