Ashes 1st Test Day 5: Australia win by 277 runs

The 1st Ashes Test is over as Australia managed to mop up the English tail before lunch, winning by 277 runs. England weren't even able to last the 25 overs required before the Gabba didn't have to provide ticket refunds (which would have Gabba officials gnashing their teeth, I'm sure). Pietersen fell in the first over, flicking to Martyn in mid-wicket and it was a steady procession from there. I thought I might reflect on some of the 1st Test highlights:
  • Worst ball: I still like to replay Harmison's first ball in my mind's eye with a smile on my face. I particularly enjoyed seeing how Flintoff caught the ball and casually threw it to third slip as if it was a normal event. Inside, I imagine he died a little.

  • Best sledge: Pietersen vs Warne. While some question their friendship, it's inevitable that you'll get tension when two alpha males come up against each other in competitive sport. And you don't get any more alpha than Warne or Pietersen.

  • Best innings: Ponting's man of the match earning 196 was dominant but I can't go past Pietersen's 92 - he's a compelling batsmen to watch when he attacks the bowling (particularly Warne).

  • Worst shot: Andrew Strauss's pull shots are semi-finalists but for pure ungainliness, Collingwood's wild swing on 96 takes the gong.

  • Best bowling: Andrew Flintoff did well to keep England vaguely in the contest, Glenn McGrath defied the critics by taking 6 for 50 but surprisingly, Stuart Clark was Australia's best and most consistent over both innings.

  • Most gratuitious Channel 9 new technology: I can't see much use for the Hot Spot camera except for seeing exactly where Justin Langer gets sconed on the helmet.

  • Winning margin: in 2005, England played out of their skins, had better luck with injuries and umpire decisions while Australia's bowlers lost form and batsmen couldn't deal with English conditions. England still only won 2 Tests by 2 runs and 3 wickets. This time the situation is reversed and we won by 277 runs.

  • Worst umpiring: On Day 1, England went up for an LBW appeal and Billy Bowden put most of the Aussie crowd into heart palpitations by raising his hand to scratch his nose. I umpired a church game a few years back and when the bowler went up for an appeal, I slowly and dramatically scratched my nose as a bit of a lark. The fielding side were not impressed with my antics. To do so at Test match level takes Bowden's show-ponying to a new level. On the plus side, Geraint Jones nearly took him out at square leg in England's first innings.

Posted by JC on Mon 27 Nov 27 comments
Best shot: The ball that struck Billy Bowden's walkie-talkie

Best banner: "Thanks for doing my shift Stewie!"
Posted by TA on 2006-11-27 14:51:53
Good win Australia but there is cause for concern. England blew off the cobwebs in their second innings at bat and look potentially formidable.
Brett Lee's performance was not far short of that of Harmison so it may be time to replace him. Don't think you can call him a genuine all-rounder. And of course we have both Ponting and McGrath under an injury cloud. How the Aussies respond to an in-form English side will be the true test.
Posted by Dan Tas on 2006-11-27 14:56:16
The big question is whether England's bowling attack can get it together - they took 9 Australian wickets (+ one run out) for about 800 runs. Australia had the same problem last year when Gillespie suddenly lost his mojo but it's a lot more serious when your number #1 bowler loses the plot. And at least Dizzy could get the ball on the pitch.

On an aside, how good is McGrath? There were huge cracks on the pitch but it still looked placid for most bowlers whereas Pigeon was able to consistently land it on the cracks.

I also agree with TA on best shot of the match (that moment gave me great pleasure).
Posted by JC on 2006-11-27 15:01:39
No need to worry about an "in-form English side" this year. To have two experienced batsman get out in their nineties when England's back was against the wall doesn't signal any return to form to me.
Posted by TA on 2006-11-27 15:57:58
Hope you're right TA. And of course Flintoff will be burned out by the end of the Adelaide Test if he continues with the workload brought about by his other bowlers.
Posted by Dan Tas on 2006-11-27 16:03:34
This will prove to be England's best game - it's only going downhill from here on in. Gilly hasn't scored a run this series, Warnie hasn't got 5 and Hayden is yet to hit the straps. The AO Test will go even worse for them and at the WACA they'll lose by an innings and 500. You heard it here first...
Posted by virtualgaz on 2006-11-27 20:05:51
I agree with your summary here... you make some fine points. I'm not going to harp on about last year's Ashes when Australia emphatically won the first and blah blah blah. But I don't think it's cut and dry just yet... England showed some form - if we can only get Harmison approaching his best I think it'll be a different story at Adelaide.
Posted by on 2006-11-27 22:11:48
Can Billy Cooper play a good "Last Post?", referring of course to Monty's unfortunate wicket falling , and Australia securing the ASHES!!
Posted by Part timeCricket tragic on 2006-12-18 22:16:36

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