Michael Hussey: what a pain in the arse. Two years of being crap, only to rediscover his form when least convenient for us. Funny how often that happens against England.
You probably took a bleary-eyed first glance at the score this morning and thought 220-5 wasn’t too bad, especially after being 96-1 at lunch. But then you’ll have noticed that at one stage we’d reduced them to 143-5, and it could have been so different.
Some people will today say we squandered a huge chance to wrap up their innings. But cricket, it’s always seemed to me, doesn’t work quite like that. The pendulum swings; there is ebb and flow. Clusters of wickets are almost always followed by a rally in the form of a significant partnership.
Plays starts half an hour earlier tonight – at 9.30 local time – which could make conditions a touch more bowler friendly. If we can nip this pair out quickly, we should restrict the lead to around 50. But if not…
Jimmy Anderson did much today to shake off the ‘pussy’ tag. Nothing went his way in the first hour; uncharacteristically, he responded with discipline and focus. He bowled the right, slightly full, length, whereas Broad seemed to indulge in what Michael Vaughan describes as his ‘pretty bowling’.
Earlier, England reviewed an LBW decision which Hawkeye showed to be hitting the outside of Watson’s leg stump. Under the rules, when the ball only glances the stump, the original decision stands. But it seems terribly unfair that the fielding side still use up one of their reviews in the process. The ball was hitting the wicket – according to the actual laws of cricket, it was out. So why should the fielders be penalised?
Meanwhile, there was an impressive Ashes debut last night for ITV. The channel are screening an hour of highlights at 10pm every evening, on ITV4. Commendably, there was no faffing around, just plenty of action, judiciously chosen. Some highlights editors only show an endless sequence of boundaries, but ITV’s team blended the four-balls with deliveries which beat the bat, and plays-and-misses, giving a much better flavour of the play’s real rhythm.
The commentary comes from Australia’s Channel 9, who were in great form all-round. Shame you can’t switch over to them on Sky’s red button. Bill Lawry was particularly exuberant. His orgasmic cries of joy when the – Victorian – Peter Siddle claimed his hat-trick are best left to the imagination.
Your thoughts, views, predictions…?