Ashes August 22, 2009

England set for oddest Ashes win

This has been a curate’s omelette of a series, and it seems that the decisive egg was thrown into the pan by Stuart Broad yesterday
111



This has been a curate’s omelette of a series, and it seems that the decisive egg was thrown into the pan by Stuart Broad yesterday. Broad chose what can conservatively be described as a useful time to graduate from being a perennially promising bowler who had previously chipped away with occasional wickets, to being one capable of devastating an opposition top order – from a sporadically flaring barbecue to a full-blown Krakatoa in one magnificent spell.

He had taken more than three wickets only twice in 35 Test innings, so Australia’s backroom cricketing seismologists could be forgiven for not having detected the pre-rumblings of Broad’s extraordinary eruption of intelligently hostile swing and cut. He was ably aided by Graeme Swann, on a stupidly helpful surface, and Swann was unably aided Umpire Rauf, with two stupidly helpful lbw decisions.

England will have to pull off something spectacular to lose from here, which, on the patternlessly inconsistent form both sides have shown this series, is not out of the question. They seem set, however, to complete one of their oddest Ashes victories. They began this Test having been poor-to-hapless for large swathes of the first four games. No single player had compiled a properly good series – no batsman was averaging over 50, no bowler under 30, and even Strauss, comfortably England’s best player, had failed in two games out of four.

Australia statistically had most of the top batsmen and bowlers, but it now looks as if their irresponsible collapse at Lord’s, and less culpable but still carelessness-assisted one at the Oval yesterday will have decided the series.

The pitch for such an important match has been an embarrassment (although, as a general rule, one like this is preferable to a featureless featherbed), making the toss disproportionately important. Both sides appear to have selected their teams wrongly, Australia more wrongly than England. Jim Laker would have fancied beating his own 19-wicket record on this pitch. Even Nathan Hauritz might have come close to it.

However, a feature of the series has been how both sets of batsmen, products of an era of predominantly pancake-flat wickets, have proved totally unable to adjust to even mildly unhelpful conditions and moderate movement of the ball. I suppose it is inevitable that, if you live on a diet of pancakes, suddenly being served an unshelled crab will be a major test of your knife-and-fork technique.

In this decisive game, England’s batsmen and bowlers have so far been more disciplined. Ponting and Clarke, Australia’s two best batsmen, were out playing attacking, good-wicket shots early in their innings. Strauss by contrast has simplified his already simple technique, and scored some of his most important runs. And Ian Bell received almost no praise from a media that has become so obsessed with his supposed mental frailties that they failed to notice him chiselling out his toughest and arguably best Test innings after an unpromising start.

And, if England fail to pull off something spectacular and do complete the series win, Monty Panesar can clear his throat and prepare to deliver his Man of the Series acceptance speech.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sanya on August 29, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    Wow! 111 posts on this story! This proves how popular tests are.

  • scottishcricketfan on August 25, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    I agree with some people that the umpiring wasnt up to scratch, but dont think the result of this game would have been different if all the decisions had been correct, as australia got three top order wickets with no-balls (over two innings) and watson was so plum lbw to freddy early on day two that he began to turn purple, guess asad rauf must be colourblind. I think the pitch was a good wicket IMO - when i define a bad wicket, i look for two undersirable extremes - a wicket which is so hostile and unpredictable that freakish dismissals will be commonplace, with balls zooting from a length one minute and threating the batsmans teeth the next, and will guarentee a real low scorer. The second definition of a bad pitch IMO is one which is so flat and sedate that millions of runs are inevitable and a result is almost impossible (like some of the windies wickets this winter!) Ultimately both sides had centurions, three of the innings were over 300 and the game was won by a seamer.

  • Siddons on August 24, 2009, 17:20 GMT

    Ha Ha Ha, England have put the convicts where they belong. Australia will continue to struggle for the next 50 years. Cheers.

  • derrida derider on August 24, 2009, 7:13 GMT

    Congratulations to all those pommie bastards out there. I can't wait until we get our revenge.

    Oh, the pitch was a shocker all right. And the umpiring was dreadful too. But none of the Aussie players are whining about it; they know that the pitch is the same for both teams, bad umpiring is frustrating but it evens out over a series and that if they had been good enough neither would have mattered. Some of the Indian commenters on this blog should take note.

    As an Aussie, I reckon the big errors were in selection - we left some of our best players at home, and we left some of the best players on tour out of the team. But we desperately need a class wrist spinner (we all know pommies and saffers can't play leggies) and we haven't got one.

  • Andrew on August 24, 2009, 0:53 GMT

    I want to echo the words posted by many. I have read all the comments. next to none are from Australians blaming the pitch. we know it was not the case for why we lost. Once again this has turned into nothing more than an excuse for indian fans to have a go at Australia. We realised a logn time agao our golden era was over. As for the people bringing up McGraths comment. Come on, its a running joke not arrogance. McGrath says that about every series australia plays in. The English get it, bout time you guys realised it is just him having a laugh.

  • Fazeel Javaid on August 23, 2009, 18:32 GMT

    well there u have it it is england and theres someone up there whos saying that Hussey and Ponting shld be shown the door after this...........well i see that he'll/she'll have to eat his/her words

  • Freddie_Flintoff_Dhaka on August 23, 2009, 18:02 GMT

    Oh, what a moment for England. I feel so proud. I have tears in my eyes. I guess so does Glenn McGrath who predicted a 5-0 Australian victory. I feel for him too.

  • John on August 23, 2009, 17:40 GMT

    Murtaza, what a stupid statement....good to see England win but World Champions? Not & Never!!

  • CricketFan on August 23, 2009, 17:14 GMT

    Ponting and Clarke running themselves out. A batsman brought into the final test impacts the outcome... I dont know... sounds fishy to me. With millions being bet on the series outcome, seems like Match Fixing

  • Doug on August 23, 2009, 17:05 GMT

    Emergency services were today called to a cricket ground in London where onlookers watched helplessly as eleven Australian tourists choked after being force-fed a large slice of humble pie.

    Pitch unfit? When debutant Trott made a hundred on it, and out-of-form Hussey made a hundred on it, and Australia made three hundred and plenty on it when they had stopped panicking? It's ridiculous to call England the world champions, but my oath it's sweet to see all the excuses being made for Australia for a change. They thought all they had to do was turn up to win and they trod on a giant banana skin. No-one to blame but themselves.

  • Sanya on August 29, 2009, 8:57 GMT

    Wow! 111 posts on this story! This proves how popular tests are.

  • scottishcricketfan on August 25, 2009, 11:42 GMT

    I agree with some people that the umpiring wasnt up to scratch, but dont think the result of this game would have been different if all the decisions had been correct, as australia got three top order wickets with no-balls (over two innings) and watson was so plum lbw to freddy early on day two that he began to turn purple, guess asad rauf must be colourblind. I think the pitch was a good wicket IMO - when i define a bad wicket, i look for two undersirable extremes - a wicket which is so hostile and unpredictable that freakish dismissals will be commonplace, with balls zooting from a length one minute and threating the batsmans teeth the next, and will guarentee a real low scorer. The second definition of a bad pitch IMO is one which is so flat and sedate that millions of runs are inevitable and a result is almost impossible (like some of the windies wickets this winter!) Ultimately both sides had centurions, three of the innings were over 300 and the game was won by a seamer.

  • Siddons on August 24, 2009, 17:20 GMT

    Ha Ha Ha, England have put the convicts where they belong. Australia will continue to struggle for the next 50 years. Cheers.

  • derrida derider on August 24, 2009, 7:13 GMT

    Congratulations to all those pommie bastards out there. I can't wait until we get our revenge.

    Oh, the pitch was a shocker all right. And the umpiring was dreadful too. But none of the Aussie players are whining about it; they know that the pitch is the same for both teams, bad umpiring is frustrating but it evens out over a series and that if they had been good enough neither would have mattered. Some of the Indian commenters on this blog should take note.

    As an Aussie, I reckon the big errors were in selection - we left some of our best players at home, and we left some of the best players on tour out of the team. But we desperately need a class wrist spinner (we all know pommies and saffers can't play leggies) and we haven't got one.

  • Andrew on August 24, 2009, 0:53 GMT

    I want to echo the words posted by many. I have read all the comments. next to none are from Australians blaming the pitch. we know it was not the case for why we lost. Once again this has turned into nothing more than an excuse for indian fans to have a go at Australia. We realised a logn time agao our golden era was over. As for the people bringing up McGraths comment. Come on, its a running joke not arrogance. McGrath says that about every series australia plays in. The English get it, bout time you guys realised it is just him having a laugh.

  • Fazeel Javaid on August 23, 2009, 18:32 GMT

    well there u have it it is england and theres someone up there whos saying that Hussey and Ponting shld be shown the door after this...........well i see that he'll/she'll have to eat his/her words

  • Freddie_Flintoff_Dhaka on August 23, 2009, 18:02 GMT

    Oh, what a moment for England. I feel so proud. I have tears in my eyes. I guess so does Glenn McGrath who predicted a 5-0 Australian victory. I feel for him too.

  • John on August 23, 2009, 17:40 GMT

    Murtaza, what a stupid statement....good to see England win but World Champions? Not & Never!!

  • CricketFan on August 23, 2009, 17:14 GMT

    Ponting and Clarke running themselves out. A batsman brought into the final test impacts the outcome... I dont know... sounds fishy to me. With millions being bet on the series outcome, seems like Match Fixing

  • Doug on August 23, 2009, 17:05 GMT

    Emergency services were today called to a cricket ground in London where onlookers watched helplessly as eleven Australian tourists choked after being force-fed a large slice of humble pie.

    Pitch unfit? When debutant Trott made a hundred on it, and out-of-form Hussey made a hundred on it, and Australia made three hundred and plenty on it when they had stopped panicking? It's ridiculous to call England the world champions, but my oath it's sweet to see all the excuses being made for Australia for a change. They thought all they had to do was turn up to win and they trod on a giant banana skin. No-one to blame but themselves.

  • Noor Ali on August 23, 2009, 16:59 GMT

    England wins back the Ashes with a little help from the imported SA players ( Strauss,Trott and Pryors) Kind of makes Eng win over the the Aussies little hollow but England played well overall and deserved to win.

    Aussies big mistake was not to include another spinner. Why they need 4 specialist fast bowlers is beyond me when you consider Watson has good all-rounder. Its good for the game, Aust were getting arrogant and a defeat like this can bring the Aussies down a peg or two.

  • tim warne on August 23, 2009, 13:16 GMT

    does any one know whats gonna happen tothe trophy if our aussies team hang in there til the last play tommorrow?.......my prediction!!

  • Dave on August 23, 2009, 10:22 GMT

    Murtaza, be serious for a minute, if you beat one team that doesnt make you a world champion. And we all know England are terrible away from home, does anyone actually remember the last Ashes series (or has that been permanently wiped from your memory?), or the WI or............

  • murtaza on August 23, 2009, 9:10 GMT

    come on england u can do it again,show the world ur the world champion

  • abhishek on August 23, 2009, 9:06 GMT

    People dont hate winners/champions but they hate arrogant champions ..and aussies team in last 7/8 years is really arrogant.... now if you remember what mcgrath predicted before this series that aussies wud win this one 5-0, it only shows how arrogant and overconfident they are. Go england go... win it in style !

  • aby mathew on August 23, 2009, 8:44 GMT

    I hope England wins the 5th test in the fourth day itself. I want to see that look on Pontings face if, England lift that urn . Ponting will probably blame the " substandard pitch", lossing the toss, inexperienced bowlers, bad weather, rotten luck, hostile crowds, poor media , tastless food etc to cover up should his team comprensively lose to this spirited english buch. Go England Go. My wishes and prayers are with the English Team

  • Shay on August 23, 2009, 8:12 GMT

    Does anyone feel a world-record chase in on the cards today?

  • Fawad Alam on August 23, 2009, 7:59 GMT

    Common Oz! Play for 2 days and win the Ashes... Show that you are still the best to all these Pommy and Indian whingers.

  • Saurav on August 23, 2009, 7:28 GMT

    Well Australia just need ten 50 run partnerships and they have 10 wickets left. :) The fact that they have reached 80 for no loss shows all the demons are in the mind. They have better batsmen than England(which is a better bowling side) so this should be fun.

  • Sathya on August 23, 2009, 5:30 GMT

    Alan, valid points but you missed the most important one. People admire Roger Federer and Tiger Woods for being and winners and for winning with class. How many people outside of Australia do you really think use Aussie and class in the same sentence? Also, remember, people didn't hate Aussie teams under Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh.

  • Proud Aussie on August 23, 2009, 3:42 GMT

    There has not been a single complaint about umpiring or the pitch from the Australian team, not once in the whole series, nor any other series I can think of in recent times. And the behaviour of the team has been excellent for the past 2 years. So why all this hate? (yet again) Not a single player refered in 2 seasons, and nothing seen or heard from the cameras, mics or umpires. Strange, huh? Australia won a lot of matches over a long period. Get over it, and stop this hate fest. Maybe it's time you Indians stopped whining about the Sydney test, and get the chip off your shoulder. That was one hour of one test match, and you guys haven't stopped whining about it for 2 years. It's just boring, and petty.

    And the pitch today is sub-standard, and has been made to ensure a result. As Roebuck said, it's overbaked. Good on Australia for just getting on with it, and not blaming it. That's why Australia never take long to bounce back, and why they will still try to win today, no excuses.

  • Shibayama on August 23, 2009, 2:58 GMT

    I'm Japanese and have been following cricket for only ten years. One thing confuses me..

    Where is the evidence of the Australian team complaining about the umpiring or pitch? The journalists (mostly English or Indian) seem to be doing all the commenting, not the Australian players or press.

    I don't care who wins, but I love this game of cricket and would rather watch Australia play than any other team. When Australia play India, South Africa or England, the cricket is always intense and well-fought. Such a marvellous game benefits from their dedication to excellent play and a respect for the history of the game.

    Some of the comments here are shameful and, it seems to me, unsubstantiated, ill-mannered and immature. Let us all appreciate how wonderfully enthralling this test series has been.

  • grant on August 23, 2009, 2:26 GMT

    Turn it up TRUE BLUE AUSSIE the Sydney pitch was a turner long before Warney. You obviously aren't very old. And it went flat long before Warney retired. Aussie pitches were never doctored. We let the Windies beat us up regularly in Brisbane and Perth. They have all gone flat because Australia have been so far ahead the administrators want the dollars of five days of cricket.

    On another subject the Aussie cricketers haven't complained about the pitch and as for the other complaint everyone has - the sledging, we were powderpuffs before Watson started giving it to them, and the best four teams in the world are the four who are sledging the most, South Africa, Australia, England, and India (the blatant cheats).

  • JJ on August 23, 2009, 2:02 GMT

    Australia will lose the Ashes.

  • Harryvh on August 22, 2009, 23:46 GMT

    So there have been 3 comments saying the pitch isn't up to standard (only one of which, the first, was saying it in a partisan way) and 23 people whinging about Australians whinging about the pitch! The Aussis were out-bowled in this match, that is why we're losing. It was the same at Lords. It was the other way at Headingly and Cardiff, but the most crucial factor in this whole series is that England didn't lose at Cardiff. (ok, the 2nd biggest factor, after the fact they only took an injury-prone all-rounder as the batting back-up) There is also anawful lot of people saying Australia should realise after this test that their time is over and sledging and being aggressive won't work anymore. Australia realised that the age was over after we lost to SA at home. In came Siddle, North, Hughes, Hilfy. If you've noticed all the talk about Aussis not talking during the tests, there has been a directive not to sledge. So why the hatred? Is it because you didn't like losing over 20 years?

  • Ben Hurley on August 22, 2009, 23:16 GMT

    I love this column. Zaltzman, you are a clever man. "backroom cricketing seismologists could be forgiven for not having detected the pre-rumblings of Broad’s extraordinary eruption of intelligently hostile swing and cut." If Hemmingway had been a cricket fan....

  • ujjalg on August 22, 2009, 23:02 GMT

    Pitch is OK. You have to be a good enough player to score runs on all types of wickets anywher and against all kinds of bowlers. Rickiy ponting and Hilditch and co are a bunch of hihgh headed idiots as far as their cselection and captaoncy goes. Ricky loses the plot more often than not and he just wasted two valuable years of Brett Less prowess when he was at his peak. Austrlia are not dumb thinkhers. How can they watse talents of some one like Shaun Tait who is currently the fastest bowler in the world. Cullen bailey is just inored. Hauritz not given the backing that is required for an youngster to nurture his talents. They ignoreBrad Hodge and continue with Hussey ( a very good plyaer but now in no from to hold a place in the team) They do not think of cirrecting the shocking technique of Phil Hughes who has so much talent oitherwise. They ignore Luke Ronchi, Nathan Bracken (who is the best swing bowler in Australia after Hilfenhaus). Stuart Clark is outdated past the st buy date.

  • gerard on August 22, 2009, 22:53 GMT

    Both these sides are overrated and will now be rightly ranked in the mid table of world cricket. Australias slide began in the home series against India and they have never really recovered. The batting looks frail and they have collapsed twice in the series. England only prosper in condtions that suit them ie where the ball swings but are often exposed by better swing bowlers such as Zaheer Khan and Chaminder Vaas and better spinners such as Kumble, Harbajan and Murali. The Aussie bowlers are too pridictable and this attack would struggle to bowl out an average club side on the subcontinent. Things look grim for Australia as Katich, Hussey and Ponting are all on the wrong side of thirty. Grimmer still for England without Freddie and a question mark over Pieterson's fitness.

  • Shane on August 22, 2009, 22:40 GMT

    Mike, to level accusations that England are being unpatriotic by poaching South Africans is a low and frankly ridiculous statement to make, and smacks of someone clutching at straws to find something else to take the credit away from England. Some people might ask why Australia don't pick more indigenous players instead of immigrants - which would be just as low a statement to make.

  • akshat on August 22, 2009, 22:38 GMT

    To Alan: Well! no one hated Windies when they were so successful. No one hated Steve Waugh even! The problem supposedly is with Ricky, who wants the credits for what his predecessors had provided, without even bothering to maintain it. same goes for CA. They alway took it for granted that some great leader/mentor will do it for them like Border and Waugh did. If assumptions could not carry the momentum for windies, how could you assume it to carry for Australia???

  • ashutosh on August 22, 2009, 21:54 GMT

    all cheers to england team,,one thing is for sure they have not been the better team this series if you look at all the stats ,,they niether look strong on paper, with only 5 batsmen that batting line up looks very vunerable,,but still they are the ones who look likely to regain the ashes,,thats the beauty of this game thats why i love it,i still cant comprehend how have they got themselves in to such a series winning position against such a potent australian team

  • Neutral on August 22, 2009, 21:05 GMT

    First the English go "Bring Back Ramps" and now its the Aussies' turn to go "Bring Back Border" - *this* really is music to the English fans.

  • mcgreenway on August 22, 2009, 20:30 GMT

    england deserve to be where they are in this series--tomorrow will decide the match

  • James Aldous on August 22, 2009, 20:20 GMT

    The Oval wicket is not a bad one. The pace and bounce have been true - save for a couple that have spat or kept low or stuck in the pitch a bit, but they are the exception rather than the rule. The only major difference between this wicket and others prepared this summer is that it is turning. I don't think that is such a bad thing, really... A 5 day, high scoring snooze-fest is frankly a waste of time for all concenrned. Test cricket is truely testing when the conditions are difficult for the batsmen and not ridiculously helpful for the bowlers. (If England rock up tomorrow thinking the game is in the bag and *expect* ten wickets to fall in their lap then they'll be sorely mistaken.) And Test cricket is most compelling when when the ball is doing something; the excitement and anticpation as a bowler steps into their delivery stride: will it spit off the pitch or run along the ground? Will it seam a lot? Will the spinner turn it square?

    Yes. This is a good Test.

  • swarup kumar basuri on August 22, 2009, 20:06 GMT

    Hopefully through out the world ashes was enjoyed and now it is in its last stage but very intersting....i would like to describe about jonatthan trott ....the dedication,determination,and the courage he has shown in this match........i m sure he is the next petersion of england.....if england beat aussies in this match this will be the greatest sucsess for them.....and because this is the last match for flintof is right time for him to perform for the last time for his country which will be memorable forever........all the best for struss and his brave man......

  • Vyshal on August 22, 2009, 19:59 GMT

    I am happy with the downfall of the Aussies and being an Indian am happy as it started here in India last year. T20 cricket is a nemesis to test cricket but the Aussie dominance on the world was more of a nemesis to it. Most of the time when Australia was playing against any team in the world, it was more or less evident that they are going to win. They were the team who had made cricket hopelessly boring because they used to win every match. With their downfall, I think the teams now are evenly matched and the contests between them would be more exciting.

  • Nadeem Akhter on August 22, 2009, 19:59 GMT

    So, it was the pitch. Does the current state of the match have nothing to do with England playing better cricket than the once all conquering Australians in a match which really matters. Come on men, don't snatch the credit from the Poms :(

  • MartinAmber on August 22, 2009, 19:24 GMT

    Well, moaning about/apologising for the pitch looks very silly now, doesn't it?

    First of all Andy, surely you didn't want another Barbados pitch? Back then, didn't you call your blog: "Barbados: Please make it stop"? And now England have made 373-9. Are we not playing so much better that the toss has become a relatively minor factor?

    On the whole though, it just goes to show how much piffle our media has churned out during this series. After Lord's they forgot that Australia should have won in Cardiff, and praised a 5-wicket haul comprising largely of tail-enders and freebies from Koertzen as if it was some hybrid of Willis and Massie. After Edgbaston all the "momentum" was with England even though Australia saved the game very easily; after Headingley England were no-hopers.

    And through it all the same key observations remained constant: Australia's initial squad selection was dodgy, they bowled filth, and (Strauss apart) England were laughably over-rated.

  • Gilly on August 22, 2009, 19:23 GMT

    Exactly right dog. Application over arrogance would have left this ashes still in the balance. If England can make 300 back to back then there is nothing wrong with this wicket... as has been said before test cricket needs more wickets like this. we need to stop complaining and start dealing with the fact that australia have played terrible, SPINELESS cricket when given favoritism in a test, im gutted but hey as freddy proves champion status doesnt come from stats but performing when it counts.

  • tjsimonsen on August 22, 2009, 19:11 GMT

    Strange world. The pitch has apparently been doctored to act like a 47th-day minefield when the Aussies bat, and a flat batting paradise when the English bat! Admittedly, I am not a curator, but I don't think that's quite possible! The incomprehensible fact (for many Aussies anyway) is that this series has been very even, and that England will (probably) win it because they have been better at seizing the crucial moments (Lords and here at the Oval), whereas the Aussies couldn't do that when the whole series probably was up for grab in Cardiff. Against one of the really good teams (SA or India) both teams would probably have lost 4-1. If, however, the Aussies win this one (I don't think that a draw is in the cards) I will bow my head to one of the great batting lineups. At the moment, however, my money are well and truly on England.

  • C.S.Dayanidhi,Texas,USA on August 22, 2009, 19:04 GMT

    Well it is going to be waterloo for Ricky Ponting. He should call it a day and can no more lead from the front

  • MMorris on August 22, 2009, 19:03 GMT

    I know I am going to be criticized for this one, but why did Straus declare? Why not take 30 mins and try and put on 30 more runs????

  • Brian on August 22, 2009, 19:02 GMT

    Simon - the only reason the world's supporters sound bitter to you is when so many Aussies Whine when things go (slightly) against them. I guess we'll give it a rest when the whining stops - which I doubt will be any time soon!

    And any news from Uncle Glenn about his prediction of a 5-0 whitewash? Keen to read his next column....!

  • another indian on August 22, 2009, 19:01 GMT

    I agree with Simon - Australia hating is getting a little tiring now. Even I didn't like it when the Australians were winning - but now that they are the underdogs, I feel a little sorry for them. I think they will give a good fight in the 4th innings - this Australian team is not even close to being considered a world beater - what this Australian team can show the others that they don't give up. I hope hussey and ponting score hundreds and clarke bats for a full day. But, of course, I hope they lose :).

    And all the talk about umpiring decisions and pitch is rubbish. Andy, the article was a little disappointing. But, I liked the part about how Bell's efforts were not appreciated.

  • Matt on August 22, 2009, 18:59 GMT

    The Ashes are decided over 5 tests not 1. The sides are fairly even matched but Australia have collapsed on 3 key occassions and let England in. If you keep on doing that in Cricket you will lose test series.

  • Brian on August 22, 2009, 18:56 GMT

    North's dismissal was NOT a no-ball. Bowlers foot lands BEHIND the line, then slides forward to end in a marginal "no-ball" position - but the critical moment is on impact, not where the foot ends up.

    Sleuths of the rules - please confirm or keep me quiet.

    And by the way, it's great to see England on top, and the Aussies not sure how to win.....! :-)

  • John on August 22, 2009, 18:55 GMT

    A pitch is a pitch, both teams have to play on it so stop blaming that! Australia really lost the plot this test & they will pay for it. How ironic though, England's best batsmen, a Sth African, is out so they bring in another Sth African who probably helps them win! Oh well, good on you England, the rankings are back to being even again so hopefully more interest in Test Cricket.

  • Anonymous on August 22, 2009, 18:49 GMT

    Nothing wrong with the pitch . The Aussies are 80 for no loss on a third day pitch .

    Just because they got out for 160 in the first innings all of a sudden its a bad pitch ? They are going to score more in the second innings than their first innings so how is it a bad pitch ?

    England scored more in their second innings (373) than Aussies did in their first innings (160) although England were batting on the third day as opposed to the Aussies who were batting on the second day .

    If it was a bad pitch how come England scored more runs on the thirs day than Aussies did on the second day ?? How come Trott scored a century on the third day ? Shouldn't the conditions on third day be worse than the second day if it was a bad pitch ?

    The 4th test ( Leeds ) got over in 3 days , this test is going to last longer than Leeds..so why was the Leeds ( 4th test ) pich not a bad pitch , even though the match didn't last 3 days..Why wasn't Leeds a bad pitch..Is it bcoz Aus won @ Leeds ??

  • Anonymous on August 22, 2009, 18:49 GMT

    England must feel aggrieved, no matter what they do it is never good enough. A match winning performance in the deciding test and all people will ever talk about is Australia and the pitch, and the unpires,,,,,and well, anything else other than what they;ve achieved.

    I sometimes wonder, what the English have to do to get applauded because once the euphoria wears off, every in England thinks its only a matter of time until they once again become the whipping boys of world cricket.

    Is the shadow that Australia casts so long that England will never esacape from it? Poor Andrew Strauss.

  • Marco on August 22, 2009, 18:39 GMT

    England bat, and the pitch is flat - 7 wickets and 350 runs in a day. Never seen such a flat , docile wicket. Australia to bat and it is like a minefield - 15 wickets and 200 runs. Never seen such a horror pitch. It's time we introduced neutral curators to go with neutral ummpires. Even the most biased English supporter cannot fail to see how this result is being doctored. Tomorrow, expect a horror pitch again, as Australia bat.

  • billy on August 22, 2009, 18:39 GMT

    what is with you people and the bad pitch. As far as i am concerned, the toss wasnt rigged and the umpiring decisions equaled themselves out throughout the match and frankly throughout the series. As for the pitch, its always to the taste of the home team period. As for the pitch, it looks anything but like the pitch in Sydney Cricket Ground.

  • Travis on August 22, 2009, 18:18 GMT

    Yet another cricinfo thread descends into mindless Aussie-bashing. And yet again all these commentors aren't even responding to specific comments when they accuse Australians of whinging, they're just responding to some archetypal evil Australian that is a figment of their own fevered imaginations.

    Re-read the comments, people. Apart from the first one by Mike Smith (who may or may not be Australian), I can't for the life of me see what so many of you are angry about.

    Some of you really need to get over your childish hate-filled bitterness regarding everything to do with Australia.

    And the article was written by an ENGLISHMAN. Not an Aussie.

  • michael on August 22, 2009, 17:52 GMT

    england are doing superbly---good preparation for the sa tour which is the next to follow

  • Rory on August 22, 2009, 17:22 GMT

    To Mike Smith: your attitude is pathetic and embarrasses this Australian cricket fan. If the pitch (and hence the toss) was the sole deciding factor in this match then England would have scored 150 in their second innings.

    The fact that they didn't shows that they're playing better cricket in this match.

    Australia has been outplayed. Being a bad loser does Australian cricket a disservice.

  • RareBeast on August 22, 2009, 17:21 GMT

    All the comments about the Aussies complaining about the pitch! Nowhere have I read or heard the Aussie team complaining. Ponting comes out and admits their batting was poor and the England bowling was good.

    It is the media who has been making a big deal about the pitch and the toss, not the Australian team and not the England team. Seems a lot of people here have big chips on their shoulders and just hear what they want to.

  • Sid(not peter siddle) on August 22, 2009, 17:04 GMT

    well if this pitch was a dustbowl, how does one xplain england getting 300+ in both innings, a seamer getting a five for and so on, the aussies have a habit of whining and it seems they'll continue to do so, even if it's a dustbowl they should be happy so that they'll get some practice of the subcontinent pitches, and may b win a match the next time the tour india...:)

  • DevilsCricket on August 22, 2009, 17:02 GMT

    Just to add to the previous comment..if the batsmen is good..he should not worry about which pitch he is batting on..he should be good on all surfaces.. That is why is called TEST cricket. It TESTS the players skill at all levels..Punter made a blunder by picking an all pace attack..so he should own up to the defeat(I M SURE ENGLAND WILL WIN) and retire..

  • DevilsCricket on August 22, 2009, 16:59 GMT

    I am sure England batted on the same pitch as the Australians..or will Aussies accuse England of having some kind of a supernatural power to go past 300+ scores twice..Aussies are Bad Losers..and so are some of the Aussie Fans..lets see.next time England tours Australia, prepare a perth pitch which will not aide a Fast bowler..Pls grow up and accept defeat graciously..its the least you can do..if not praise England for batting and bowling with some fire and determination..

  • P.Satish on August 22, 2009, 16:40 GMT

    How does a wicket become horrible if it turns? Something seriously wrong in the genetic make-up when a turning track is anything from horrible to disgraceful. This is a wicket that tested the batsman's true ability and some big guns came unstuck and clueless.

  • p.h.pagey on August 22, 2009, 16:20 GMT

    Come on Ponting ! Ypu Can make 547-- Show the world - there exists Aussies Cricket !!

  • Dog on August 22, 2009, 16:20 GMT

    Hopefully the whines of poor pitch will have quitened after Engalnd comfortably topped 300 for the second time in the match.

    Fact is Australia bottled it in the first innings- for the third time in the series. They're all fine hitting big runs when the pitch is flat and there is no pressure, but lose a couple of wickets and they crumble

  • Chris on August 22, 2009, 16:15 GMT

    So Australia get skittled and "the pitch is a disgrace/unethical". Trott's second inning century on debut proves it's down to Australian batsmen error and Broad's superb bowling.

  • Arvind on August 22, 2009, 15:39 GMT

    Andy, have you noticed: The Aussies (or at least the supporters) have now found two more things to blame their defeat (or draw) on. The pitch and the toss. This is in addition to umpires, and twelfth men. It is probably a good time to add their own recklessness to the list.

  • Shokku Masta on August 22, 2009, 15:32 GMT

    When and by how much will Australia lose this game, one that they have been outplayed from the moment they selected the team? So finally is this the passing of the old order, Ashes lost, brittle batting middle exposed, Hussey not quite on top of things, bowlers wayward, timid spinners, confidence swinging? Was the series in South Africa a last flash? There is a strong line up but the Aussies are not overwhelming, they seem unable to "shut the door". Maybe they will get close, but not quite enough. England's last 3-4 wickets have proved to be a major challenge for Australia, fourth test first innings excepted. Their sharp edge seems blunted. The spirit of the team was kind of exposed in the World 20-20 tournament. I think the Australian transition might not be easy for the team, their supporters and even some sections of the media.. so much hype..

  • Simon on August 22, 2009, 15:27 GMT

    Why is htere all this rubbish about the aussies complaining about the pitch when this article was written by an englishman. I am also tired of the Ponting hate. There hasn't been much if any instances of him being arrogant yet he still cops flak. Australia didnt even particularly get out to bad batting. Broad just hit a major purple patch in his bowling and caught the aussies by surprise. I dont think it has affected the result of this test but the pitch is terrible. I honestly dont think it would handle five days of test cricket. Breaking up so much that it would be unplayable in the last session of day 5. I am keen to see more bowlers wickets but there has to be a limit. And to those constantly moaning about australia's successes and supposed arrogance. Give it a rest. This isn't the same team from a few years ago and your constant whineing is becoming annoying. IF you arent going to let any australia team be judged on its current actions then you will always be very bitter.

  • Chris Dunn on August 22, 2009, 15:20 GMT

    The game still has 2 and a bit days left. Australia has the talent to still win this match. 500 on this mad wicket will remind people that Australia is still number one and have an Aura as well.

  • Saurav on August 22, 2009, 15:18 GMT

    Why on earth is everyone whining about the pitch? England have scored over 600 runs on this pitch. The match in India had a very bad pitch and both sides were in a bad position. It was a question over who was able to hang on. Here its just ridiculous selection by Australia and vastly superior bowling by England. Australia have to accept that they were outplayed and get back on track and try to pull of a miracle.

  • SRK on August 22, 2009, 15:14 GMT

    Nothing's wrong with this pitch, but with all the other flat pitches which is wrong with Test cricket. We need pitches like these to make Test cricket.

  • Kas77 on August 22, 2009, 15:13 GMT

    England played the better cricket... PERIOD. I don't know how somebody can blame the pitch. What is a perfect pitch??? We will get a result in a reasonable period of time..What more do we want.

  • Mike on August 22, 2009, 15:00 GMT

    Yep, Australia are indeed in the stages of rebuilding their team, maybe they should do what England have been so good at and poach a few South African players (and a Zim coach), there is one out there now doing pretty well. How patriotic

  • Ramnarayan Iyer on August 22, 2009, 14:57 GMT

    I am not a big england fan or broad fan but well if its australia as the opponents, GO ENGLAND GO, BEAT THEM ALL ENDS UP and earn the URN !!!

  • T. Hasan on August 22, 2009, 14:31 GMT

    Blood on Ponting's lip...any correlation?? Yes, England is now in driving seat...everything is arranged ...freddy is going to get the historic end!

  • True blue Aussie on August 22, 2009, 14:22 GMT

    Ooooohhhh a Doctored pitch to gain a result it would never happen in Australia mmmm apart from when Warne was bowling at the SCG that was a spinners delight till he retired and then it became a boring batting pitch!! C'mon fellow Aussies accept that its just one of those home test advantages you get.

  • vin on August 22, 2009, 14:09 GMT

    Pitch.. what pitch? Beaten Australians will whine about umpires, pitches and UFOs for there defeat. Matter 0f fact there glory days are over and they are back with everyone else.... Using North(y) for spin.. Huh... and your #1 spinner out of the team... simply laughable.

  • Zach on August 22, 2009, 13:42 GMT

    The only home advantage England has is its supporters. The pitch itself is not to England's advantage cos 1. they aren't great players of spin, certainly not better than the aussies 2. Leaving Hauritz out is not England's decision. 3. The uncertain bounce or balls kicking off footmarks is same for both teams. 4. Dodgy decisions can happen on any pitch to any team (North's was extremely close)

    Why the hell are Clarke & Katich not bowling very many overs when at the other end North already has 3?

  • Nayeem on August 22, 2009, 13:15 GMT

    The oz's should not talk abt getting on the wrng side of umpiring decisions... Coz they shld remember hw many times BUCKNOR has won them matches by making favorable decisions for them!

  • ph_pagey on August 22, 2009, 13:04 GMT

    What seems sure May not be true ! Aussies have a chance to to prove that ! Ricky pnting need not be asked to retire--This is cricket my boy !!

  • samuel on August 22, 2009, 12:59 GMT

    how soon do we forget...sydney..hmm bob holland to best the windies....allan border the same.....stop the whinning and get on with it..

  • Ali on August 22, 2009, 12:51 GMT

    whatever mike smith!!...THE AUSSIE REIGN IS OVER...gone r those times when the proud bloody ausies used to dominate cricket... the great players are gone...and finally now there is some competition in international cricket..ALL CREDIT GOES TO ENGLAND!!! well done!!

  • Alan on August 22, 2009, 12:49 GMT

    Help me out, why does everyone hate Australia, or is it you just hate seeing Australia win. Do you hate Roger Federer, or Tiger Woods because they have been so successful? I don't, I sit back and applaud what champions they are, but I also applaud anyone who can rise up and defeat them too. Fairs fair, don't get personal about a bunch of guys you have most likely never even met (and that includes their supporters).

  • Rudolph Clarke on August 22, 2009, 12:38 GMT

    I am from all the way in the Caribbean, BArbados to be exact, an i do wish that England not only beat Australia, but do it in four (4) days too. I was once a strong supporter of Australia's cricket, but have lost faith in them due to alot of careless remarks made by now captain Ricky Pointing. It all good for some to say all sorts of things about England, but honestly, from watching all five (5) games, I personnaly think that England have been the most professional out of the two (2) an seem to want it more. On that note, winning would be the perfect send of from test cricket for their own hero Freddie Flintoff. So Englan, Straus, Flintoff & company, you have the backing of your friends in Barbados.

  • cric_lover4u on August 22, 2009, 12:34 GMT

    no no no this is not fair!! NOT AT ALL. how english team can win this test(?). had they ever thought of?? its only because of RAIN that they could win n its not satisfactory. aussies has been consistent right from 1st test. and they should win. even north n clark were not out as james said...hard luck....good luck aussies.

  • abhishek on August 22, 2009, 12:28 GMT

    i dont think there is anything wrong with the pitch , finally its same for both sides.big mistake by aussies by not selecting hauritz and brett lee and they wud pay the price. time for ponting to step down from captaincy

  • amit on August 22, 2009, 12:28 GMT

    i totally agree with mike smith's emotions.. n well the issue of bombay wicket.. n probably other few .. perth last yr.. n th ones australia lost... shud b raised.... even th sofia gardens wicket.. loss against bangladesh.. n many more...to me watever is going on is purely tough cricket...i wish a great farewell to ricky n his senior partners of aussie team.. many of them will b hard to find in this team in future...go england go..

  • Jeswin on August 22, 2009, 12:14 GMT

    why everyone is crying himself hoarse over the pitch I fail to understand? England made 332 in the first inings and as I see it now they are 157/4 at lunch. Don't blame the pitch. Praise the english bowlers and blame the Aussie batsman.

  • mike on August 22, 2009, 12:03 GMT

    With the amount of cricket that the aussies play in the sub-continent, they shouldnt be complaining about the "dust bowl". They dont have a Langer or Steve Waugh to salvage their innings after a collapse and with Hussey's current form it just makes it worse.

  • bobby on August 22, 2009, 11:44 GMT

    As I write this, England are 140-3 in the second innings and will shortly be passing the 160 Australia scored. It looks like Australia's total of 160 was more due to good bowling and poor batting than the pitch as England are handling it quite well in their second innings.

  • James on August 22, 2009, 11:39 GMT

    Everyone keeps moaning about the pitch but if England manage to get 250 today could you not argue that Australia should have got 300. Added to the fact that they should have played a spinner you could maybe have knockered 50 runs off Englands first Innings total.

    Fair enough Australia had two dodgy wickets in North and Clark (I think) but weren't Strauss and Bell dismissed off no balls, when both firmly set on 50+.

  • anshul on August 22, 2009, 11:36 GMT

    i dont think there s anythig wrong with the pitch....for watever it is offering to the bowlers it for both sides....nd i never quite make out y do people have problems if its a spinning surface....if its a pacy green wicket they say its a sporting track...if its spinning..wts the big problem...a different sort f skills are being tested there...

    nd regarding the match...i hope England wins it..coz first of all for Freddie Flintoff nd secondly its high time Aussies realize that they cant carry on with the same arrogance that they used to in times on Mcgrath and Warney...they are simply that gud enough now

  • wazza on August 22, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    2005 Ashes series was a great contest. The series in Aust was great but not contested properly by the visitors. This series has not been great as the stats reflect and there's hardly been a contest - compounded further by poor umpiring throughout impacting both sides, slow over rates, lousy pitches, and the media too critical of standard practices (e.g. Hughes playing County matches). T20 doesn't have so much unnecessary fuss, and respects both sides need an even keel.

  • anshul on August 22, 2009, 11:21 GMT

    i dont think there s anythig wrong with the pitch....for watever it is offering to the bowlers it for both sides....nd i never quite make out y do people have problems if its a spinning surface....if its a pacy green wicket they say its a sporting track...if its spinning..wts the big problem...a different sort f skills are being tested there...

    nd regarding the match...i hope England wins it..coz first of all for Freddie Flintoff nd secondly its high time Aussies realize that they cant carry on with the same arrogance that they used to in times on Mcgrath and Warney...they are simply that gud enough now

  • Dheeraj on August 22, 2009, 11:17 GMT

    Everyone is saying that the pitch is like a sub continental pitch. That means that the aussies cant play on sub continental pitches. No wonder their record is pathetic in India

  • chezza on August 22, 2009, 11:01 GMT

    Australia had an opportunity to bat and get 300. The pitch isn't as bad as you are saying. Just sour milk from a bunch of Aussies who have to get used to a new sporting world order where the aint what they used to be.

    If you guys had a world class spinner like you used to have in Warne you would have been licking your lips. So your fault for not having any spinners. Not the track's fault.

  • crickenthusiast on August 22, 2009, 10:56 GMT

    All ssaid and done Ponting and the selectors of Austrailan Cricket have proven themselves to be idiots. Ponting notoriously ignored and topok away two glorius years form the carrer of Brett Lee when he was at his fastest best - used him only in one dayesr and ignored him fro venomless gillespies and kasprowizes. He has ignored lee agin for a very docile looking Stuart clark bowling military medium at kneee height. God knows when will the Aysies learn to bowl with venom and restraint. He keeps on using Hussey - who should now stand aside on his owwn. His captiancy is as thoughtless as one can imagine, His attitude as a batsman is ofteen brash and how often ahve the Aussies failed due to irresponsible batting in the first innings of so many test matches of late - one has lost count. Only the tail pulls them out. They surely miss a class captain like Steve waugh and Mark Taylor. I wonder how they could drop Phil Jaques and Brad Hodeg. They should also groom Cullen Bailey and play him.

  • SURESH on August 22, 2009, 10:19 GMT

    Everybody tells that the pitch is similar to sub-continent, how many times a side has been bowled out less than 160 in 1st innings in sub-continent. it is very rare. this pitch is horrible.

  • boomboom on August 22, 2009, 10:04 GMT

    Take a breath Mike Smith. Have you seen any of the dismissals??? How many were due to a dodgy pitch? Did you see our bowlers in the first dig? What was it... 36 extras, 44 boundaries??? The poms bowled a decent line and length that asked a few questions and as is becoming more frequest in recent times our batsmen did not have all (or on this occasion any) of the answers. The pitch might be a bit 'dusty' but geeze...

  • deucelow on August 22, 2009, 9:58 GMT

    As an Englishman living in Australia, I've mixed feelings regarding this series. I do hope England go on to win it, but don't feel that they are a better side in any way. Only in Leeds did the Aussie selectors get the team right, and the makeup of the squad was highly questionable {and highly questioned} in the first place. Jaques ought to have been their, probably also Hodge. Manou is not the second or even third best keeper going around. Hussey should have lost his place a series ago. Clark ought to have played the entire series. At almost no stage were the right personnel selected. Ponting and Hilditch can't both survive the series if they lose it; and there's quite a good chance that neither will should England go on to victory here. The fans and press here are pretty mad with their boys. Being beaten by an England team minus their best batsman, a one legged all rounder, Bopara and "The Shermanator" is unacceptable. There will be a cull after this, just watch.

  • Game Altar on August 22, 2009, 9:50 GMT

    I dont know why people talk of a dust bowl Oval pitch? Its not like Indian tracks! Sure, there was assistance for the bowlers but the batsmen have only themselves to kick the legs off.. It was disciplined bowling and taking advantage of the crucial moments. Much like what one blond German used to do at Wimbledon eons ago.

  • Harry on August 22, 2009, 9:48 GMT

    "And, if England fail to pull off something spectacular and do complete the series win, Monty Panesar can clear his throat and prepare to deliver his Man of the Series acceptance speech."

    Surely man of the series is Mitchell Johnson, for his match-winning bowling at Lords.

  • Ashish Golechha on August 22, 2009, 9:48 GMT

    Fundooo Game and Contest is going great...I just want England to win....so that Aussies and Ricky Ponting realize that others r fast catching up and I want Ashes Victory as the best farewell gift To the Hero Flintoff...It would be fun to see Aussies losing who just dont have the habit to lose and who cant tolerate defeat...

  • pitch fight on August 22, 2009, 9:42 GMT

    I do not understand all this brouhaha about the pitch being an embarassment. It is just that the pitch is a sub continental one with some uncertain bounce and good turn analogous to a wicket with steepling bounce or a nice seaming wicket. Good batsmen need to adjust to all sorts of wickets without many complaints.

  • Jacob on August 22, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    Baffling. What is wrong with cricket at the moment? I certainly didn't see any of this test comming. Bell showing fight? Broad taking a magnificent fuve? Madness.

    I hope the pitch doesn't become too much of an issue. A four day dust bowl thriller beats a run/snore-fest. India v South Africa in Kanpur over Sri Lanka v Pakistan in Karachi any day.

  • amit on August 22, 2009, 9:14 GMT

    now ponting should take retirement......

  • amit on August 22, 2009, 9:14 GMT

    now ponting should take retirement......

  • Justin Nolan on August 22, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    "The pitch for such an important match has been an embarrassment".

    Oh heaven forbid we should have a result wicket for the final test of a Ashes series. Heaven forbid we should have conditions that are favourable to the home team. Its obvious that England shouldn't haven't any benefit from playing from home, so for the next Ashes series we should let the Australians prepare our pitches. And pick our team.

    I can't believe we're even having to apologise for this pitch. Its the same for both sides and how many of the Australian top and middle order got out to deliveries spitting out of the rough? I could have been mistaken but a seam bowler, bowling a good length with a bit of seam movement, was responsible for the destruction. To make up for this underhand tactic maybe Broad should bowl underarm in the second innings.

  • Sanya on August 22, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    True, it's v ery surprising that Stuey took 5 wickets and Australia got out for 160. Whenever Stuart took 5/6 wickets earlier, it didn't help England coz the opposition scored a lot of runs. This is his first good performance in Tests and a perfect time for it. I think England have picked up their best side, although Sidey deserved atleast one Ashes Test. I don't have mych faith in Monty, didn't bowl well at Cardiff, a spin friendly wicket. Although he has played a big role in Ashes alongwith jimmy and colly.

  • Akshat on August 22, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    Wow! Even Andy left speechless considering his standards. Man this really was a shocker.

  • Fil on August 22, 2009, 8:49 GMT

    No one wud one given England a chance to be in a position which they r in right now-- series deadlock at 1-1 and England an upper edge here in Ashes decider. Infact McGrath hav to eat up his words when he had expected the current ashes to be 5-0 in favor of Australia.

    The way pitch has played, i feel that australia hv missed a ploy here in leaving Hauritz out seeing the way Swann bowled on day 2 pitch. But when ur 6 batsmen gets out on a single-digit score, it's calling for trouble and that's why aussies are back to the walls in this Ashes decider.

  • salem on August 22, 2009, 8:49 GMT

    Very funny article. I could picture Ponting slicing his knife through the pan cakes, and then struggle with the crab. Bell did okay. Only a century would've taken over the headlines. Stuart Broad couldnt have timed his 5 wicket haul any better, but having said that, he still has a lot to learn about bowling in sub continental pitches. Even through this series, he didnt look threatening till he got to bowl at Oval.

  • Pat. Williams on August 22, 2009, 8:46 GMT

    How I truly hope England wins this test. Australia had it in the bag before a single ball was bowled.Aussies whinge about poor umpiring decisions. The opposition's bad decisions are not mentioned.I so want England to win, if only to show the Aussies that arrogance, sledging and whingeing do not win matches. Australia forgets that, if nothing else, the English are vey patriotic. They are also not arrogant.

  • MIke Smith on August 22, 2009, 8:46 GMT

    In the end the Ashes are decided by the toss of a coin on a disgraceful wicket, I hope the powers that be are happy. I was looking forward to watching 5 days of cricket, I guess winning is the most important thing doesn't matter how. England has won four out of five tosses and the two most important ones at that, statically speaking its very clear the better side is going to lose the series. We shall see how good this England test side is in SA; hopefully the review system is in used in that series so the players get a fair go, after all it is 2009...

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • MIke Smith on August 22, 2009, 8:46 GMT

    In the end the Ashes are decided by the toss of a coin on a disgraceful wicket, I hope the powers that be are happy. I was looking forward to watching 5 days of cricket, I guess winning is the most important thing doesn't matter how. England has won four out of five tosses and the two most important ones at that, statically speaking its very clear the better side is going to lose the series. We shall see how good this England test side is in SA; hopefully the review system is in used in that series so the players get a fair go, after all it is 2009...

  • Pat. Williams on August 22, 2009, 8:46 GMT

    How I truly hope England wins this test. Australia had it in the bag before a single ball was bowled.Aussies whinge about poor umpiring decisions. The opposition's bad decisions are not mentioned.I so want England to win, if only to show the Aussies that arrogance, sledging and whingeing do not win matches. Australia forgets that, if nothing else, the English are vey patriotic. They are also not arrogant.

  • salem on August 22, 2009, 8:49 GMT

    Very funny article. I could picture Ponting slicing his knife through the pan cakes, and then struggle with the crab. Bell did okay. Only a century would've taken over the headlines. Stuart Broad couldnt have timed his 5 wicket haul any better, but having said that, he still has a lot to learn about bowling in sub continental pitches. Even through this series, he didnt look threatening till he got to bowl at Oval.

  • Fil on August 22, 2009, 8:49 GMT

    No one wud one given England a chance to be in a position which they r in right now-- series deadlock at 1-1 and England an upper edge here in Ashes decider. Infact McGrath hav to eat up his words when he had expected the current ashes to be 5-0 in favor of Australia.

    The way pitch has played, i feel that australia hv missed a ploy here in leaving Hauritz out seeing the way Swann bowled on day 2 pitch. But when ur 6 batsmen gets out on a single-digit score, it's calling for trouble and that's why aussies are back to the walls in this Ashes decider.

  • Akshat on August 22, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    Wow! Even Andy left speechless considering his standards. Man this really was a shocker.

  • Sanya on August 22, 2009, 8:50 GMT

    True, it's v ery surprising that Stuey took 5 wickets and Australia got out for 160. Whenever Stuart took 5/6 wickets earlier, it didn't help England coz the opposition scored a lot of runs. This is his first good performance in Tests and a perfect time for it. I think England have picked up their best side, although Sidey deserved atleast one Ashes Test. I don't have mych faith in Monty, didn't bowl well at Cardiff, a spin friendly wicket. Although he has played a big role in Ashes alongwith jimmy and colly.

  • Justin Nolan on August 22, 2009, 9:03 GMT

    "The pitch for such an important match has been an embarrassment".

    Oh heaven forbid we should have a result wicket for the final test of a Ashes series. Heaven forbid we should have conditions that are favourable to the home team. Its obvious that England shouldn't haven't any benefit from playing from home, so for the next Ashes series we should let the Australians prepare our pitches. And pick our team.

    I can't believe we're even having to apologise for this pitch. Its the same for both sides and how many of the Australian top and middle order got out to deliveries spitting out of the rough? I could have been mistaken but a seam bowler, bowling a good length with a bit of seam movement, was responsible for the destruction. To make up for this underhand tactic maybe Broad should bowl underarm in the second innings.

  • amit on August 22, 2009, 9:14 GMT

    now ponting should take retirement......

  • amit on August 22, 2009, 9:14 GMT

    now ponting should take retirement......

  • Jacob on August 22, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    Baffling. What is wrong with cricket at the moment? I certainly didn't see any of this test comming. Bell showing fight? Broad taking a magnificent fuve? Madness.

    I hope the pitch doesn't become too much of an issue. A four day dust bowl thriller beats a run/snore-fest. India v South Africa in Kanpur over Sri Lanka v Pakistan in Karachi any day.