Sunday, 19 December 2010

Collingwood's sock - the third test

Paul Collingwood’s sock was more than subdued as it reported under its exclusive agreement to bring Fantasy Bob all the crucial insights from the England camp. ‘It’s tragic,’ he said, ‘It looks like the end of Jack the mystic monkey’s career.  He said we would win - how did he get it so wrong – there is a massive inquest into monkey predictions here.  He must be doubtful for the next Test - the lads think the octopus did a better job.’ The sock went on to focus on his wearer, ‘Obviously Colly is a bit down, he hasn’t delivered with the bat in this series and getting out on the last ball of the third day was muppetlike and more.  But he did pull off the wonder catch to get rid of Ponting on Day 1.  I hope I don’t have to find a new pair of feet for the rest of the series’

Perth remains easily England's worst Test venue - their win-loss ratio and batting average is the lowest among grounds where they've played at least ten Tests.

Day 1 – England win the toss and insert Australia.  It looks a good option as they are all out for 268 and Cook and Strauss survive the last hour.  But crucially Australia recovered from 69 for 5.  The Great Escape will be showing again on all TV channels this Christmas.

Collingwood’s wonder catch is the high spot of a high octane, high quality fielding performance.  Pundits are agreed that this is England's best fielding side since late 1970s when the talents of Gower, Randall, Botham were at their height.  Indeed pundits well and truly tempted fate by suggesting 'Colly, you've just caught the Ashes'.  Jack the monkey was more circumspect opting instead for a banana.

Mitchell Johnson became the first No 8 batsman to score a run in this series as showing good local knowledge of how to play the WACA he clubbed his way to a valuable 62.

Day 2 - comeback day for Mitchell Johnson – 6 for 38 including a burst of 4 for 7 to remove the pride of England’s batting and give Australia a crucial first innings lead.  Johnson was aggressive and controlled - behind the stumps Haddin for once had a sprawl free day. 

Coming into the match former Australian pace man Rodney Hogg called on the side to sledge at every opportunity.  Johnson took him to heart and had interesting discussions with Pietersen and Anderson in particular.  These discussions are unlikely to have been about the finer points of English romantic poetry.

Day 3 – Hussey gets another ton, and becomes the first batsman to hit six consecutive fifties in Ashes Tests. He also became the leading run-scorer in the series, overtaking Cook, and made this the most prolific series of his career. Not bad for a player who nearly lost his place before it all started in Brisbane.  Cook was labouring under the curse of the 200+ average which FB warned about after Adelaide.

Siddle edged to third to slip to hand Anderson his 200th Test wicket, the second fastest Englishman after Ian Botham to reach the landmark.

But Day 3 finished with England staring down the barrel - 300 behind with only 5 wickets standing.  Pietersen gave Hilfenhaus his first wicket since ball 3 in Brisbane. This match marks Pietersen’s lowest contribution in any test he has played where he has batted twice.  No more Lamborghinis to drive as the nets beckon.

Day 4 – Australia finish England off with ruthless efficiency on Ponting’s birthday and the series is alight. 

All the momentum clich├ęs are now Australian.  All Australians have been carefully schooled in the nets to respond to every question with ‘Aw, now, look………..’ and alternate use the following phrases until the interviewer gets bored – ‘Great bunch of guys’, ‘Gotta hand it to Mitch, Huss etc etc etc………..’  Cliches about regrouping and looking carefully at what went wrong are now the property of Strauss and Flower.

Elsewhere former Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh blasted the body art of Mitchell Johnson and Michael Clarke ‘How can we have a bloke captain Australia with tattoos?’ said Marsh. "It's just not on.’  This may have to be put to the test since Ponting is now doubtful after breaking the little finger on his left hand in the field.  Jack the monkey’s views are unlikely to be sought.

Man of the Match - from zero to hero

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