Posted by: nestaquin | July 12, 2009

Ashes 2009: Several Sunday Musings

Marcus NorthMarcus North

A century on debut in Johannesburg and now another on debut in The Ashes shows that the selectors were on the money when they chose him to replace Andrew Symonds. His experience, temperament and technique will make him an automatic choice for No.3 in the unlikely event of Ricky being injured.

Brad Haddin

Still finding his feet at international level and his hundred yesterday should put the ghost of Gilchrist to bed for good. It was a very mature innings and won’t be his last on this tour. His burgeoning partnership with North will provide Australia with a lower order that will become the envy of world cricket in years to come.

England’s Top Order

It is always difficult coming to the crease after three days in the field but there is no excuse for flashy shots across the line to the opening bowlers. It is cricketing suicide and Cook and Bopara have gifted Australia a golden chance to remove Pietersen with the new ball early on Day Five.

Andrew Strauss

Organising your strategies around the advice of the Bureau of Meteorology is not a sound cricket tactic and his team were deservedly punished for their captain’s fecklessness. He also bowled his quicks with the old ball and his spinners with the new a tactic that was so bizarre that it had to be seen to be believed.

Stuart Broad

A very ordinary Ashes debut from every perspective. He demeanour suggests that he believes that playing for your country is a right and not a privilege and his continued sledging and disrespect for Monty was a as sad as it was illuminating.

Jimmy Anderson

His petulance cost England a wicket and yet he was joking with his captain at the end of the over. A schoolboy would be hauled over the coals for not being behind the stumps for an outfield throw yet if you play in an England cap it is no concern at all. He was also verbally abusive to Monty and when he went for a hundred was as jolly as Santa when congratulated by Broad and Flintoff for his ineptitude.


It is well known that the entire population of England have chosen to forget that the last Ashes series ever existed. Apart from the disrespect this produces towards their combatants it has also deluded them into the firm belief that their team will be able to compete this time around. It is essentially the same team and if the first four days of this series are any indicator they are probably as poor or worse than last outing.

Day Five

If the rain stays away Australia will win. England have shown no enthusiasm for the contest and it would be very surprising if they suddenly grew a backbone now.

[Image: Getty]


  1. The Australians seem ready to win this 5-0. As for England, they will be lucky to escape with a draw if the rain gods save them.

    England should start over with a new bowling attack. Wouldn’t make much difference anyhow.

  2. Nesta,

    I was not able to watch long portions of yesterday’s play live.Only caught the highlights and Cricinfo commentary.

    Can you throw more light on the disrespect/abuse of Monty by Broad and Anderson, please? If what you say is true, it shows Strauss and Flower in a poor light as well, for allowing such things to happen within the team.

    A bad performance is okay and it can happen to any player or team.But if certain Eng players continue to behave as if its a friendly exhibition match (positively disgusted by the smiling faces after the run out chance was messed up), it shows that they don’t respect themselves as players.I would love to see Australia sledging these guys very hard, in the hope that at least then, these players will show some steel.

    Again, I still don’t think a draw or a loss in this Test will mean any thing.We all know Aus are a better side than Eng, and this test has run as per form till now.Eng will run Aus close a few times this series.Australia can ensure that those sessions are sandwiched between sessions of Aus dominance.Or take Eng too lightly, and allow successive 2-3 sessions of Eng dominance, in which case the outcome will be close.

    If KP, Strauss, Collingwood and Swann can string a session and a half today, they can ensure a draw.But if KP goes within the first few hours, I see a successful Australian race against the rain.

  3. Sorry..if KP goes within the first few overs :)

  4. it is hard to describe it, Kumar.. I dont know if you saw Sidebottom scream and screech at Monty not once, but over and over again during an international match, never in my life have I seen such undiscipline. Not just cricketing undiscipline but in ordinary human activity in any context..

    Broad, and like wise Creaking Jimmy are freely given licence to be, and in the habit, of such blatant undisciplined bullshit, yet the bizarre thing is none of them, Sidebottom, Broad and particularly Creakers are of any standard of bowling AND FIELDING above the Wagga Wagga Special School for the Blind Reserve under 11 team.

    I mean.. it’s not as if they are in any position to be slinging off.

    But Monty seems quite comfy with it, in so far as he follows the procedure. Looks hurt, chases down a run slower, and takes on the mantle of the professional victim.

    To my mind, Monty is just as much an enabler, a participant in this pantomime as the other three. Each enjoy their roles, each has chosen it, and each relies on it. It makes Broad feel better, it makes Creaker feel bigger, and it makes Monty feel useful.

    That it is a revolting spectacle never seems to cross the tiny minds of these entrants in the Dipshit Stakes.

  5. Whatever it makes Sidebottom feel is a mineshaft down which I feel unable to delve.

  6. Marcus North.. *smoochies* .. such a lovely guy, too, and cool as ice …

    I loved it when after Haddin reached his goal, he and North let rip with some fun stuff, entirely for their own and Ricky’s enjoyment, and ours, too. They knew we’d all be up there, no way would we be missing it, no matter the hour.

    And in a way, it was an ‘up yours’ century plus innings, like Ricky’s, like Simon’s to that Cardiff rabble that booed the Punter.. one of the big tactical mistakes that cannot be laid on the ECB, or the players, or the Eng coaches.. that one can be fairly and squarely laid at the feet of the English cricketing public for whom undiscipline is status quo.

  7. Thanks, Pepp.

    Yes, I saw Sidebottom abuse Monty once, and put it down as a bowler’s frustration at bad fielding.But if this is a pattern against one player (Monty), it shows the whole team in bad light.And yes, Monty doesn’t deserve sympathy if he sees it as ‘being useful’ in his role.

    But I doubt if it was always like this, especially when Monty was taking wickets early on in his career.

    England anyway are not a great allround fielding side (Colly, and Bell to an extent are the exceptions, and the miss notwithstanding, Anderson himself is also excellent).Broad, as we have seen him under pressure, can be a very bad fielder.He, of all the people, has no right to shout at a team mate.

    IMO, when a team lacks self-belief, and individual players are made to feel they are better than they actually are, they would resort such pathetic shows of asserting their ‘superiority’.

    Even if Eng draw this match due to rain, they would be leaving Cardiff with more problems than they came here with, and the worst of the problems is their attitude.

  8. Nesta
    your comment about Haddin’s being a mature century is spot on, and what impressed me most. There’s no such things as a bad hundred, but this one was one of the best, well timed, chanceless, and moving from solid to spectacular in tune with the game circumstances. He embodied the Aus team in playing with solidity and intelligence, which only highlighted that England were doing the opposite. Maybe people will soon stop prefacing every reference to him with “he’s no Gilly, but…”, and just accept he’s a a key part of a dominant team.
    I can’t always pick it up on TV, but I’m pretty sure he never stops chewing gum, nor smiling, even as he’s swinging.

  9. ~There’s still a fair amount of patronisation towards Monty from the commentary box as well, though mainly from the English rather than the guest commentators. Add that to the crowd cheering his every move and it’sa ll a little unedifying now. What may have started out as a bit of a joke really doesn;t look that way any more. His fielding’s nowhere near as bad as when he started and given the effort he’s put into improving it is certainly not worthy of special note. Botcott and Blowers are always particularly harsh towards him.

    It’s definitely not right that fellow players who are playing with an attitude that isn;t worthy of their position should berate a man who always gives his best. If a few more players played with his attitude and application then we’d probably not be in such a mess. The longer this game goes on the worse KP’s shot looks on replay.

  10. If England apply themselves today then they should be able to get a comfortable draw.
    Bowling teams out who are playing for a draw is still Australia’s biggest challenge. I’m not sure they have figured out how to yet.

  11. Well at least it wasn’t a stupid shot this time by King Kev

  12. Hilfy shows the benefit of bowling straight. Why England didn’t do it is beyond me. (And England didn’t as the Guardian’s Hawkeye tool showed).

  13. Strauss goes to Hauritz. Oh dear, this is going to be a shambles.

  14. Hauritz bowling well and Australia showing how poorly England bowled.

  15. Aus have bowled well, but the most minimal of pressure has produced some dismal shot selection.

    • Thought Hauritz bowled quite well to Colly early and liked that Prior ball. Strauss was a long hop, should have smashed it. Good luck to Nathan, he’s been alot better than l thought he would be.

      Aus bowling line much much better. Cook, Bopara* and KP all attacked in line. KP?! Eng bowled very poorly l thought and Aus batted with great discipline in their partnerships.

  16. Seems like the rain and bad light are likely to stay away. Sorry if I’ve got that wrong as well as the 350 par score on the pitch. Not a good Test for lots of Englishmen!

    • Colly and Freddie have settled in… Average spell from MJ at the moment.

      • That is the only reason l’m not skipper of Aus – l would have taken MJ off :)

  17. Yes – Colly and Flintoff were going well. The team have shown some fight since Prior’s dismissal.

  18. Could Hauritz be in line for his first 5-for?

  19. It’s always frustrating to see tail-enders batting in such a solid way when two top order batsmen have given their wickets away playing across the line.

    With 30 overs to go it’s very difficult to see England salvaging this test but the very fact that we’re still playing at this time is testament to the dogged batting lower down.

    • Or the ordinary bowling.

  20. Just seen haddin having a laugh and a joke with Katich after letting through four byes that might be vital – does he get the same scorn that the England players got for smiling yesterday? Fact is, players have to release tension during a day’s cricket and we shouldn’t be judgemental about how they do it – the result is what counts.

  21. Question – Do bowlers have more bottle than batters?
    Not just these two teams but we have seen the same rear guard from SA and India in recent series.

  22. I suppose they would, tooting, if it was the hundredth time that Haddin had let it through…

  23. Test match cricket hey.

    Brilliant fight from Poms, huge respect to Collingwood, and very disappointing that our bowling haven;t gone through them after lunch.

  24. All credit to Monty here. very well defended.

  25. Well fought. Geez makes for a huge second test match. Who responds best from this?

  26. Cracking work. Good leaves, well blocked, average bowling. Great drama all round.

  27. It was very much a get out of jail though, and if England ignore the failings earlier in the test then it’ll have been a wasted effort.

  28. Fantastic stuff from Colly and the tail. So, so pleased that Punter seemed to forget that he had Hilfy on the field.

    • Not sure Hauritz was the right choice in the final pressured moments, but MJ would have been my choice. Still, spinners can add their own pressure, and H had a reasonable match, so not such a bad choice.
      Wonder what Broad might have to say to Monty tonight? Hope he doesn’t hurt his jaw too much as he squeezes out a “well done”.

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