The weather for Edgbaston is set fair; dry, not hot but quite humid. The big talking point so far, and which will continue, is the pitch. Concerns have already been raised, mainly by the groundsman, Steve Rouse, which in itself is worrying. The inclement weather of recent weeks in Britain has prevented Rouse from preparing the pitch, but we’re still not sure how it’ll play, other than it will undoubtedly be slow.
As an Englishman (I’m half Welsh, and a quarter Kiwi actually. In fact, I have no English blood whatsoever, but we won’t bother going into the finer details here now) I’m very positive about this Test. Dropped catches and superb Australian bowling performances aside, England did alright in the first Test. McGrath took the plaudits for his nine wickets, justifiably, but Steve Harmison took eight in the match, and bowled with a ferocity not seen by a home bowler at Lord’s for years. No Australian looked comfortable against him – remember, he hit the top three of Australian’s lineup; Langer, on the arm, Hayden on the head and Ponting on the cheek.
So that’s one great positive – England’s spearhead is on target and firing. The other is Flintoff’s bowling, which continues to be world class. His dominance over Adam Gilchrist, which started in the one-dayers and has continued into the Tests, should not be ignored. Not that it’s panic-stations for Gilly, of course.
I’m not going to bother talking about the negatives, for they have already been documented elsewhere. Let us just hope, for Cricket’s sake, that England perform as well and better than the first Test, and keep this series alive.