Ball One 4.30am – Is there a growing case for the return of local umpires? Hussey’s many years of batting at the WACA allows him to leave the ball on height with confidence and, by extension, call for the UDRS on the same evidence. With Hawkeye increasingly accepted within the game, home town umpires’ incompetence or bias (conscious or subconscious) would soon become clear and those issues addressed. Not only would this change to the umpires rostering get the best men for the conditions, it would also allow umpires to spend less time travelling – a major issue for men who at an age when an itinerant lifestyle is not an attractive option.
Ball Two 5.20am – Where is Swanny? All morning and now into the afternoon, England’s go to man has been left ungone to by Strauss who seldom needs a second invitation to whistle up his spinner. Many explanations could account for it – a minor injury for example – but it certainly isn’t the quality of the other options that is keeping Swanny away from the action.
Ball Three 5.33am – Smith survives a very tight UDRS LBW referral via the umpire’s “not out” and the extreme boundary of margin of error. Nevertheless, I believe that the right decision was made. If you can see two stumps as an umpire, it is very hard to give a man out LBW, as there must be doubt about the ball sliding down the leg-side. The UDRS rules and the field umpire’s decision combined to get a very close call go the way that does justice.
Ball Four 6.07am – Australia have much for which to thank their less than stellar young Shield batsmen, since if any of them had built a strong case for selection, Mike Hussey may well have made way for them in Brisbane. As they have done more often than not over time, Australia stuck with their man and Hussey has repaid that faith handsomely. If an evil scientist built a man to bat at Perth, he’d build Mike Hussey.
Ball Five 6.24am – Hussey, overdoing the aggression that has worked so well against Swanny in this match, calls Haddin through for a single that would have left the ‘keeper short by yards had Colly hit the stumps. Unsettled, Haddin was in no position to play Tremlett’s next delivery and was bowled off the inside-edge. Being aggressive in everything one does on a cricket field, is the Australian way, but it’s cost a lot of wickets in this series.
Ball Six 7.55am – If you want to assess England’s chances of chasing this target, history is a poor guide, as run chases seem much easier on 21st century pitches than on 2oth century strips. Cricketbetlive have England at 3.30 (or just over 4/1) to win the Test and retain The Ashes. I reckon they’re calling that just about right. Game on!
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.