Posted by: tootingtrumpet | January 6, 2011

Fifth Ashes Test Day Four – The Final Over of the Day

The Australian Cricket Team yesterday

Ball One 11.05am – Touching scenes as Colly, in the pre-match huddle, tells his teammates of his decision to retire from Test cricket. With a World Cup to come and a technique more or less disintegrating in front of our eyes, it’s a good decision, as well-timed as Nasser Hussain’s in Andrew Strauss’ debut match

Ball Two 1.35am – Mitchell Johnson is still quick, even when physically and psychologically beaten, so why was he so reticent about bowling bouncers at England’s bowlers? Even if the wicket doesn’t come, there’s a chance that a finger might be broken and, at 600+, that’s about all one can hope for.

Ball Three 3.00am – Even with one of the biggest leads England can ever have had in an Ashes Test, it wasn’t long before Strauss posted a deep mid-wicket and dispensed with the short-leg. Defending is the way of 21st century captains, but if ever there was a time to get men in close, this was it. I would want a silly point as well as a short-leg, unless there is a very good reason why not.

Ball Four 3.20am – When you’re down, you’re down and mistakes beget mistakes. If India had not suffered a run out from a dropped catch in the current Cape Town Test, Hughes and Watson’s verbal and visual communication breakdown would be the most farcical wicket of the week, month, year.

Ball Five 4.10am – It’s just about possible that Philip Hughes and Usman Khawaja may play a lot of cricket together and, if they do, what a contrast they will make – one all closed off and jumpy, the other all orthodox and beautifully balanced. There are many ways to bring bat and ball together, but I’m willing to wager that Khawaja do so more effectively than Hughes.

Ball Six 7.20am – Another day totally dominated by England, begging the question about where Australian cricket goes from here. The inquests already underway will intensify and, with eight months until the Baggy Greens are seen again, there’s plenty of time to get it right – if the resources are there to it right.

The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.





  1. Would’ve gone with one of those murky shots of the Titanic myself Toots.

    But you’re on the right trac… errmm shipping lane.

  2. Lev, the 2006-7 squad was a luxury liner – the 2010-11 squad is a bit of rusty of tanker.

  3. Ah 2006-07, they were the days.

    Perhaps we can dial the co-ordinates into the alternate reality machine sometime soon.

  4. As poor as Australia were a mention should be made of the England seamers who did a tremendous job. Swann, like most of the tour, was disappointing. Like many finger spinners before him he came with a big reputation but failed to deliver consistently.

    Tremlett has bowled so well that the selectors will find it hard to leave him out in future. Not a bad conundrum and one that only very good sides ever encounter.

    • The English bowlers’ discipline is admirable. All of them.

      The Aussies look cowed don’t they as well they might.

  5. Part of what sleeping through large stretches of the day’s play entails is how you go about finding out what happened. You don’t what to miss the match situation as it comes, providing the vital context for a flurry of runs or crucial wicket. So just immediately reading the score is no good.

    I have been going to cricinfo to read through their full commentary, which is helpful, but you end up scrolling down a bit too quickly out of impatience.

    Today (having gone to bed at lunch) I decided to read the final over to see if I could gather what had happened. I was convinced that Khawaja had got a decent score but that England had already won. Are you aiming for a positive, upbeat outlook on all things English or simply massively damning of the Australians? Is it generally a good idea at all to assume 99.94 will provide as good a summary as a full scorecard? I will have to try this experiment again.

    • Jake – The idea of the Final Over of the Day is precisely not to provide a summary of the day’s play many of which are available (Cricinfo’s bulletin is often excellent and, for a more thorough account, The Guardian’s Over-by-Over is superb). The Final Over of the Day picks out six “deliveries” and uses them as a jumping off point for points, illustrations, observations whatever. It attempts to do something a little different (and it allows me to get a piece from two hours watching, rather than being obliged to watch the whole day!) Sometimes, it’s damning of the Aussies, sometimes of England and sometimes of neither – I try to be fair and not to be boring, but they are the only guidelines I set for myself.

      I hope that makes sense and thanks for reading 99.94.

      • I do know what the Final Over is about, it’s nice to have something different! My point was that it was interesting to see the difference between the overall mood – which the Final Over is so good at capturing – and what the actual score is.

  6. Australia are a bit like Liverpool. They are still a scalp but in reality beating them is not a sign of greatness. Next three series look tough. Sri Lanka away, SA away and India at home. They could improve and easily lose all three series. As for England, we will benefit from having such a strong squad as long as those not selected can play county cricket regularly. The domestic calendar will probably scupper this plan.

    • Actually as a Baggies fan, right now they remind me of West Brom. For the most part when batting today they didn’t really look that troubled – everyone except Mitch into double figures – I certainly wasn’t fretting about a quick tumble of wickets, and yet when wickets did fall, none of them felt like a surprise either.

  7. Bush – I couldn’t agree more. Aus have a very tough schedule and the best players getting older. England need to have a squad of bowlers playing regularly in four or five day cricket – Flower seems more willing to let batmen play for counties, but not bowlers. The rests last summer for Broad and Finn didn’t seem to help them much.

  8. Where do we go from here? As long as it’s no where near New Zealand until after stability restored and the flotation devises removed. That would be a bridge too far I fear.

    Having the two test matches – 1v2 and 4v5ish run in parallel (they even had better weather!) makes me think that a 2 division test cricket roster is a must. If they are designing a test cricket championship then logically they should be able to have a promotion/relegation battle as well. It doesn’t mean a team in div 1 cannot play a team in div 2 in a 4 year cycle, just that it would not be mandatory like it is now.

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