More then any other contest, the Ashes series tend to be defined by the first over. In 2005, Harmison hit Langer on the head. This year’s opening salvo was a wide that woke up second slip. For England, it was all downhill from there.
There’s been a lot said already about how bad the English bowlers were. I think though that is harsh. The bowling was honest, after the first hour, and Flintoff was incisive. However it is a blissful batting track, and all five of the Australian batsmen on display looked in tip-top form.
Ponting was sublime. He’s scored nine centuries in his last twelve tests, and this was as good as any of them. His treatment of the short ball was as crisp as ever, and his on-driving was spectacular. He’s in such good nick that he made the bowling look ordinary.
It was heartwarming too to see cricket, and I mean real cricket, not that limited overs stuff, or that 20/20 rubbish, being played before a full house. There was plenty of good natured banter and singing, and plenty of English support, and that is the way it should be.
For Australia, they’ll look to cash in. England can charge back into contention in this match, but only if they bowl well this morning. Hussey and Ponting must both be removed before they settle. If either one of them do settle, Australia are set fair for beyond 500. And Pieterson was getting spin, so what Warne will do with it, I leave to your imagination.
Australian view by Chloe Saltau
English view by Simon Wilde