Action: second Test December 2, 2006

When Warnie met Nemesis

Hubris, in tragedy, is followed inexorably by Nemesis – the goddess of retribution, whose job it is to take mortals down a peg
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A few days ago, Shane Warne was dismissing England’s batting – in the middle at the Gabba, and in the papers afterwards. England still can’t play me, he said. Only Pietersen played me well, Collingwood was lucky, I’m all over Bell. Warne is usually a better read than most players because he isn’t bland, but this was cheap stuff. It was what the players call mind games. And what the ancient Greeks called Hubris.

Hubris, in tragedy, is followed inexorably by Nemesis – the goddess of retribution, whose job it is to take mortals down a peg. In Adelaide, she paid Warne a visit. First she rendered him wicketless on a dry, turning pitch. Then she put an idea into his head: if he couldn’t get wickets by attacking, he could go right on the defensive and bore Kevin Pietersen out.

This was an eventuality more shaming than any bowling figures. Australia had to break that partnership, and all the biggest wicket-taker in history had to offer was leg-side filth. Warne was not himself: he was reduced to Ashley Giles – another man he had been disparaging a few days ago.

Warne has often made a fool of himself off the field. Here, for the first time in Ashes cricket, he was humiliated on it.

Pietersen’s patience was formidable, a bonus to add to his exceptional talent. And Paul Collingwood played a monumental innings for someone who was heading for the 12th-man slot a month ago. When Collingwood started his international career with a few unsuccessful one-dayers in 2001, Steve Waugh said he saw something in him. Maybe what he saw was something of himself: the ability to know your game, stick to your strengths, survive on a bad day and and cash in on a good one.

Yesterday I wondered if England had built enough of a platform. O me of little faith. Today they were superb. Flintoff, who could well have flopped after an interminable wait, eased back into the runs, and then wisely yielded to the chorus calling for him to take the new ball himself. They may not win the match, but they have made a powerful point.

Tim de Lisle is the editor of Intelligent Life magazine and a former editor of Wisden

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • fanedlive on December 10, 2006, 15:58 GMT

    I have only just read this, and I am so glad that Warne was able to make a complete fool out of you. Did you even consider the strategy behind Warne's defensive tactics in the first innings? The advantage he has is that by frustrating the batsmen down his end, he has the likes of Lee and McGrath to take advantage of this down the other end. To me this is an example of the unselfish play of Warne. Good on him. No other team could have pulled off this test victory, and Warne is the reason. Never doubt a true champion.

  • fanedlive on December 7, 2006, 5:04 GMT

    Come on Tim, Fletcher and co. I thought your team could play Warne. Who got bowled around his legs first ball. The nemesis. Yes the nemesis was the bowler. He's been doing this since 1993. Obviously you guys don't take note of the number of times Warne has ripped England apart. Continue to write Warne off at your own peril. He will win the battle of the mind and on the field.

  • fanedlive on December 7, 2006, 5:01 GMT

    I just posted a response to the last blog you had put up mentioning about the fact the english and many cricketing pundits talked on Sat about England not being able to lose the match. As you aptly put it, the may not yet win this match. I ask the question why did you think on Sat night after their big score you were not confident of the english beating the aussies.

    You english have a lot to learn about being positive. The aussies are all about being positive that's why they are the best cricket team in the world.

  • fanedlive on December 5, 2006, 16:01 GMT

    Pieterson won the first battle but Warney won the war! Write off the greatest cricketer ever at your own peril, you would think that the past 15 years would have taught you poms something. Lets go for 5 nil and rub Duncan Fletcher's miserable stubborn nose in it.

  • fanedlive on December 5, 2006, 13:32 GMT

    and now...Nemesis visits Pietersen..can't bowl me around my legs indeed...never write off a champion

  • fanedlive on December 5, 2006, 11:51 GMT

    It's all well and good to write off Warne and McGrath... I look at all these comments (in hindsight I must admit) and you were all writing them off based on their first innings... Cricket is a long game... Who has the egg on their faces now? :-D

  • fanedlive on December 5, 2006, 11:35 GMT

    yeah but Ashley Giles has been bowling leg side filth throughout his whole career and so don't you think he also makes a fool of himself on the cricket pitch every time he plays? I wonder if you said thesame thing when Giles employed the same tactic to Tendulkar and frustated him to the point that he gave his wicket away. you and the others who agree with you were probably labelling Giles a tactical genius then.

  • fanedlive on December 5, 2006, 11:27 GMT

    I think the real humiliation here goes to Mr Tim de Lisle who had the insight to critique Warnes performance before the game was won. From humiliated to man of the match in a couple of sessions.

    Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi

  • fanedlive on December 4, 2006, 20:21 GMT

    Tim's out with the bugle and he's blowing hard and fast.It's ridiculous to write off Warne because of roughly 6 sessions out of a career spanning a decade and a half, round about the same period England were routinely pulverized into submission by the Aussies, or maybe Tim wishes to be selectively amnesic? How easily Ponting negated the English attack was much too sublime, and you can expect equal grit from the others in the tests to come. If England are to equalize and then incredibly go into the lead on Australian soil,a miracle need happen, much similar to one that occurred 2000 odd years ago. Anyone see a lonely star near the Southern Cross lately?

  • fanedlive on December 4, 2006, 19:14 GMT

    Nice one Vernon, nice to see an aussie making some sensible comments and not overacting because Warne and McGrath have been rightly criticised!! Warne bowled as negatively as Giles in this game and from an English point of view it's great to see the world's greatest bowler reduced to that against England who he usually torments.

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