Ashes To Ashes

Sunday, September 11, 2005 | 10:02 pm

tombstoneNothing lasts forever, and indeed this rule of nature toppled the Aussies from the top of their cricketing perch today. After 2 days of interrupted rain, a day cut in half by bad light (nope, you aren't allowed to turn on the floodlights in cricket test matches), and a Flintoff rousting of our middle order, the Aussies left themselves a mountainous task to win this test on the last day. The mountain was too high.

As befits such a great series, it went down to the wire again, and the English were entertaining dark thoughts of the urn being yanked from their grasp during the early sessions, but after a couple of lives, Pieterson righted the ship and held on long enough to run the total too high with the time to short. The match was drawn, and the series was lost 1-2. Full credit to the Poms though. After being thumped in the first test, the hope could have been sucked from their hopeful young side, but they held their nerve and proceeded to hold sway over the Australian batsmen for enough of the next three tests to eke out that decisive extra win.

How important does McGrath rolling his ankle during the warmup to the 2nd Test and the subsequent 2 run loss look now. But let not the weather nor the result detract from a sparkling series. The Aussies aren't even used to having a test go past day four, and this series provided a host of nailbiting finishes. Good for cricket.

I am sure the Aussies will face quite an inquisition on their return home. Old-age has a way of just creeping up on you, and many members of this world-dominating side are reaching their end. But never forget that some of the most senior players performed out of their skin. Warney bowled (and batted—more total runs for never scoring a century than any other batsman) like the legend he is, and the Aussies never lost a test while McGrath was playing.

Perhaps time to let the next generation of batsmen see some Test time though, and the blooding process could be painful for spectators who are used to just winning. The Aussie selectors are hopefully too clever to throw out the bathwater. They lost to the #2 side in the world in probably the closest fought series in my lifetime. That's nothing to be ashamed of, but many will feel that they never played their best, and that's the sign that some changes will be made. Gillespie, Kasper, Hayden may be making way. Gilchrist will be examined, but he can still dominate top sides with the bat, and is the best gloveman in the world, especially to legspin. A curiously opposite situation to England (keeper is a good bat, but a miserable keeper). Fielding expertise and dedicated bowling coaches will be the examination to come. And Buchanan, the coach, may feel the wrath (especially when 2 other top 5 international sides have Australian coaches!).

Congrats to the Poms. Though I'll hazard a prediction that they won't be holding the urn for twenty years. ;)

"But it's beautiful out!" Aussie spectators poke fun at the umpires decision to halt play for bad light.


At 12/9/05 8:18 pm, Blogger Trundling Grunt said...

Bad news to mock the afflicted, I know, but here's a quote from The Times....
"But Warne's biggest contribution to the final outcome - which clinched England's first series success over Australia since 1986-87 - came when he put down a straightforward chance at slip, offered by Pietersen on 15, off Brett Lee. "

Ouch. Clearly he deserved the player of the series award for the enemy (by the way, it was 2-1 not 1-2) but there was a lot of baggage he was carrying, wasn't there?

I doubt if we'll give them back soon even if you do win them.

At 12/9/05 9:18 pm, Blogger Aussie-Askew said...

An unfortunate drop, but not the first life Pieterson got. And without Shane's 11 (?) wicket haul, we had no chance this test. No point dwelling on moments.

And I had forgotten how amusing it looks to see a team cheering as they jump up and down holding a 4-inch urn in the air. ;)

At 14/9/05 12:53 am, Blogger thisismarcus said...

Nothing lasts forever, and indeed this rule of nature toppled the Aussies from the top of their cricketing perch today.

As long as we didn't beat you using skill! Just teasing. You are actually being very gracious about this. Of course, I only care about sport when we win. Or if I'm watching it in a pub.

At 14/9/05 9:14 am, Blogger Aussie-Askew said...

I am sorely tempted to quiz you Marcus, on one or two basic rules of the game. ;)

At 14/9/05 2:47 pm, Blogger thisismarcus said...

Basic rules wouldn't be a problem cos I played in school. But technicalities and changes in the last 15 years? I got no chance.

At 18/9/05 8:58 pm, Blogger Trundling Grunt said...

You still in mourning Juz????


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