Day one at Adelaide

Looks like I picked the wrong day to tune in ten minutes late.

I can’t have been the only one to do a double – even triple – take. 2-3! 2-3? Eh? Have they put that the Aussie way round, with the wickets first?

After the Gabba, some commentators began describing Australia as ‘the new England’. In other words, a disorganised rabble, much like we were for most of the 1990s. To my ear, that smacks rather of complacency. We have a very, very long way to go yet in this series. But saying that, Australia are now committing the kind of self-destructive once associated entirely with England. Exhibit A: the Katich run-out.

As fantastic as 2-3 was, and 245 all out is, we can’t help feeling that a few people have become rather carried away. Triumphalism, so early in a match, feels very dangerous. This test will surely spring a few more surprises; surely Australia won’t just sit back and be trampled over. As Angus Fraser wondered this morning on BBC Five Live – did England use up all their centuries at Brisbane?

That said, Ponting is already throwing his toys out of the pram, which can only be good news. Speculation continues into exactly what he was carping about to Strauss as they walked off the field at close of play. Probably, England’s sledging of Brad Haddin. Or as Alan Tyers imagines in the Telegraph, “Mate, that was pretty bloody ordinary walking off like that when Brad here was only trying to make a bit of polite conversation.”

Earlier, it was inevitable that bloody Mike Hussey would rescue Australia from the depths of 2-3. As we’ve said before, the man is a royal pain in the arse. From his stupid painted nose, to his rubbish nickname, and annoying habit of playing badly against everyone but England, Hussey is now officially Australia’s irritant-in-chief.

His main rival to the title is Shane Watson, who looks completely unconvincing at the crease, and nothing like an opener, but still always makes 50. There is something annoying about Watson I can’t quite put my finger on. It might be his vaguely Home And Away-reject face, or the sense that spiritually he’d feel far more at home wearing a singlet than cricket whites.

On the bowling front, Broad has won much praise for his accuracy today, but from where I was sitting he again seemed very innocuous: too short, and slightly too wide. What target, exactly, is he aiming that? And how does he think he’ll get batsmen out? Finn appeared out of his depth at times, at least in the morning session. In tighter situations his inability to prevent a four-ball every over will cause Strauss a lot of problems. At least Swann was right back on the money.

Meanwhile on Sky Sports, the commentary team were attempting to break the world record for Most Mentions In A Day Of How Beautiful The Adelaide Oval Is.  We get the point, lads. With their audience shivering at home in dark, freezing Britain, it was a bit rich of them to keep banging on about it all night.

It’s hard to recall the last time anyone looked ahead to the next day’s play in a test match and didn’t say ‘the first hour will be crucial’. But surely that cliche is extremely apt tonight. We have a real opportunity to win this test match… if only the batsmen can hold their nerve.


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