We arrived at work fully expecting a pleasantly dull late-night’s work, the blinkered bastards that we are. In a few hours, the game would be drawn and we could all go home and sleep until the next Test. But in a few hours, England jumped in their time machine and rewound to the early 1990s.
Apparently before the final day’s play, England’s bowlers didn’t even have a proper net. It was all about the batting, all about saving the game and, in that respect, they lost it spectacularly before a ball was bowled. This was England diluted. A very good team were made to look absolutely ridiculous – or rather they made themselves look like that. There seemed to be a clear plan not to score any runs in the morning session. None. Block it. Block it or get out but for God’s sake, don’t score any runs. It was classic 1990s and brought a reminiscant tear to our eyes.
England are back!
No, it’s not all that bad. One bad session does not a bad team make, as that old expression doesn’t go. But we have just lost the Ashes. Rather, Ashley Giles has lost the Ashes. We were quite cruel to him on commentary at Cricinfo – honest might be more accurate – but it was always deservedly earned. England selected him purely for his apparent multi-dimensional skills but he failed in every department. He bowled like a drain, batted like a rabbit and fielded like a pensioner.
After a blushing defeat, Duncan Fletcher still insisted he needed a No.8 who could hold an end up – “just look at what Shane Warne did with the bat” he cried, hopelessly. Nasser Hussain often says Fletcher very rarely makes a mistake, however blinkered his decisions might be. Picking Giles for this series is the worst, most short-sighted decision he will ever make and has cost England the series.
Only miracles from Monty, Harmison and Pietersen can save England now.