Monday, August 29, 2005

Trent Bridge Did Not Fall Down...

The Brits are thinking of changing the nursery rhyme 'London Bridge is falling down' to 'Sydney Harbour came crashing down'. If England does not lose the battle in the last test, they will seriously consider that change.

  • For the first time in16 years they became the first team to enforce a follow-on on the Aussies
  • For the first time in 8 years they are leading the Ashes.
  • For the first time in 16 years they look good enough to win the Ashes.

This series is not for the weak-hearted. Just when you thought England had it all easy when they kept the target to 129, the Aussie bowling lead by Warne produced a fantastic effort. His yesterday’s spell was another proof of the great bowler he is!

I missed Flintoff’s century, the innings that probably swung the match England’s way. At 229-4 it was anyone’s game. Jones produced another fiver. Aus’s batting order has never looked so vulnerable before. 4 LBWs in first innings among top 5! Hayden, Martyn and Gilchrist’s sorry run continued into the second innings, just when you hoped they would produce something magical. Alas , it was not to be! It will be sad if this fantastic hard fought series goes away without an attacking trademark Gilchrist innings.

Ponting, Langer, Katich and Clarke all played well but none held out to produce a long knock. It is extremely tough to do that when you are following on. Just about why Laxman’s 281 @ Kolkatta Vs Aus 2001 and Botham’s 149* @ Headingley, Ashes ’81 will always be on the top of every list. Only three teams have won following on, all victories have come against Aus, sadly yesterday Australia could not change the history their way.

The chase was tense very tense, and I think England lost the wickets they did due to nervousness. At 57-4 when Pietersen and Flinotff came together they took the attack to the Aussies. When in Rome do as the Romans do, when playing against Aus, attack the way the Aussies do. Simple rule! The duo was going well till one over from Warne had Pietersen playing all over and in a horrible mess, and he got out to Brett Lee the very next over.

Flintoff looked still good to take England home, when Brett Lee’s place had his stumps rattled. It was sheer pace! Geraint Jones’s shot reminded me of the one Mongia had played against Pak in ’99 in Chennai after Sachin had got out. We had gone on to lose that match. Oh, that defeat still hurts! Over here though, the England tail was much more determined than we were and they did not let go of their chance.

Hoggard played a gem of an innings, only 8 but they were worth a hundred! He tackled Lee’s yorkers pretty well and when one was over pitched, he was quick to pounce on the full-toss opportunity and slam it on the off-side for four. Giles too hung around and did not panic. It was a fine effort in the end.

We are not celebrating Australia’s loss we are simply celebrating cricket’s victory. Truly none can be greater than the game, it is indeed a great leveler!!

What a setting for the final test! All that England has to do is NOT LOSE. All that Australia has to do is to GO ALL OUT AND WIN. It cannot get better than this!

You cannot afford to miss the FINAL BATTLE. Prepare yourself as the WAR nears its end!!!

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nice post! As gripping as the match itself. Finally you say it the best, "We are not celebrating Australia’s loss we are simply celebrating cricket’s victory".

Swapnil

Minal said...

Hey Swapnil,
Thanks for the nice words:-)Hope you are watching The Ashes too:-)

Mangesh said...

Hey minu.. i know im not too much into this, but seriously yesterdays match was superb! :-) I cant believe im waiting for the final test too! ;-)

And BTW.. Agarkar laid another Golden Duck today! :-D

Minal said...

Hey Mangi,

Ya I can't believe too. So I think we really need to give the Aussies and Poms a huge pat on their backs for turning you into an enthusiast.
Saurabh will be proud of you;-)

As for Ajit Agarkar....Sigh there is a "huge" reason why he is called the Bombay Duck.

I've finally given up;-)

Truman said...

Liked your coverage. Certainly this isnt the series for any of the weak hearted. I also reckon if McGrath was there instead of Lee, things just might as well would have been different.

btw, my take on the same topic here.

Minal said...

Hey Truman,
One disagreement, I think Lee has played his heart out in all matches.

It will be a long time before people forget Flintoff's dismissal. Undone by sheer pace.

I think McGrath instead of Kaspa would've been good:-)Well McGrath is McGrath!!!

Truman said...

@Minal: I never said Lee has played badly :) in fact, I agree with you that Flintoff's dismissal, the one because of sheer pace as rightly pointed out by you, will stay in our memories for a long time to come.
What I meant to say was Ricky would have preferred to deploy McGrath and Warne for most of the time possible during England's chase.

Minal said...

@Truman,
Now that you put it that way, I shall not dispute;-) McGrath is too good and too accurate! How does he do it?

Mary said...

Hi Minal,

Just try living in Australia when the Poms are beating us :(
It will be a fantastic last test match, and for once a series involving the Aussies doesn't have a dead-rubber match! Do you think that Australia should retain Hayden? a lot of talk is that Mike Hussey should come and replace him.

Minal said...

Dear Mary,
I can understand your position. It's been a rude unexpected shock. I'm coping up with it too:-(

Btw just getting a bit patriotic, with Aussies in their prime, the last tests of the series with India in 2001 & 2003 weren't dead rubber matches too;-)

I think Hayden is all out of sorts! What do you say? I haven't seen much of Mike Hussey so I'll go with your judgement:-)

Michael Higgins said...

Hi Minal
The big reason England is where they are is because of Flintoff. An allarounder is crucial. But it is important to note that Flintoff was not very good for several years and England kept with him.

I'm not sure what prompted the Agarkar bashing above; didn't he take 4 wickets and help bundle Zim out for just 65? And what exactly do you expect someone to do coming in to the game with just 2 deliveries left in the innings?

India needs an allarounder. I doubt Agarkar could do it at this point only because so many people are down on him and he does have a tendency to get out early. But Irfan Pathan might fill that role or even Jai Yadav.

Minal said...

Hi Michael,

Actually the Agarkar bashing above was prompted by the fact that he has not lived upto our expectations over the years.

I've followed his career since he started out, and for us it's been a huge disappointment. Especially in the batting department as he had some good innings in India A tour of Pak & SL prior to his getting selected for India's national team.

A fine potential that never got converted from paper to field performance.

Nothing related to current series:-)

I believe that Agarkar got a lot of chances and he didn't grab his opportunity, you know sieze the moment. Add to it sometimes the selectors came hard on him. It's fifty-fifty!

I agree that Irfan(What a bowler, what a fine bowler, swing swing swing along:-)) stands a good chance, haven't seen Jai Yadav in action yet! Didn't have the heart to see that loss to NZ!:-)

Whole-heartedly support that All-Rounders make a huge difference. I sure hope team India realizes that.

Truman said...

@Michael: Lots of reasons for Agarkar Bashing. He is consistently inconsistent for one. Ironically, he is the most experienced bowler in the squad now.

His performance against Zimbabwe should not be taken seriously. Most of their players lack sound batting technique. I hope he plays good against NZ.