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Kepler Wessels, writing for the Daily Telegraph, pays tribute to Nelson Mandela, highlighting Madiba's impact on politics, sport, and South Africa as a whole.
Mandela understood that everyone had a role to play in rebuilding the nation. He also knew that the pressure on the team was intense. South Africans expected our national sporting teams to dominate as they had prior to isolation. Never mind the lack of international competition for 21 years. They wanted success. Immediately. "Sport has the power to unite and you will achieve that by doing the best you can and fighting hard," he said. "I am proud of you."
Mitchell Johnson's performance on the third day at Adelaide Oval will live long in the memory, but Greg Baum writes in the Sunday Age that it should not be remembered solely as a "blood-on-the-pitch" spell.
Yet it is too simple to dwell on Johnson's powers of intimidation. Englishman RC Robertson-Glasgow once wrote of Don Bradman: "Poetry and murder lived in him together." All seven Johnson wickets here were from full-pitched balls. Four were bowled, two caught behind the wicket and one was lbw, the first and only of the series. He did not spare the bouncer, but the threat of it did more damage than the actuality.
Andy Wilson in the Observer considers the way Johnson has bounced back from the cutting and cruel mockery he received from the Barmy Army in previous Ashes.
But there is also the fact that he seems such a thoroughly good bloke. Perhaps not when he's at the top of his run with the ball in his hand, or snarling at Jimmy Anderson after dismissing him for a golden duck. But Johnson was affable, engaging company as he waited for a couple of coffees at the stall behind the Sir Donald Bradman Stand after Australia's net session on Wednesday morning. The express bowler really did order a double espresso, honest, and didn't blink an eye when the teenage girl behind the counter, surely one of the few who has remained unaware of the most recognisable moustache in the land, asked what name she should shout out when it was ready.
In the Sun-Herald, Malcolm Knox argues that England's capitulation has been all the more disappointing because they have played so far below their potential.
There have been substandard England teams before, but none quite like this since 1958-59, when a team of champions came to Australia and lost 4-0. The teams that lost eight Ashes series between 1989 and 2003 generally played to the limit of what their abilities and the overwhelming talents of their Australian opponents allowed them. This time it's different: these English players are substantial Test cricketers who recently defeated Australia 3-0 and have glittering records. It is hard to think of any team that has performed so far beneath its potential. It is nowhere near the worst team to leave England, but unless the players can turn this around, it will be one of the worst to leave Australia.
And Stephen Brenkley in the Independent on Sunday suggests that this England outfit appears to be finished as a force.
There are few able replacements, none proven and, bizarrely, most of the batsmen may have to survive. Matt Prior and Graeme Swann may fear the knock on the door from the selector, but dropping them would be no kind of answer. Doing nothing, however, in the wake of what is likely to be two heavy defeats is not an option in big-time cricket if credibility is to be preserved.
England slipped behind the eight ball again in Adelaide, facing a first-innings deficit of 535 with nine wickets standing. Many, including our own George Dobell, have begun to wonder if the gig is up for Alastair Cook's team and Martin Samuel, writing in the Daily Mail, focused on how quickly the momentum has shifted after England's 3-0 series win earlier in the year:
So while Test cricket may be a slow game to watch, in a sporting context things can change, and fast. England came to Australia on the back of three straight Ashes series wins, looking for a fourth, a record in the modern era. That should have been the clue. Records stand for a reason.
England have won as many as seven straight Ashes series, but not in living memory. Those levels of domination were attained in the 19th century, when Australian cricket was in its relative infancy and a series could be a matter of two Test matches. So this little trot is exceptional; and changing cycles of superiority are a constant in sport.
Vic Marks, the former England spinner writing in the Guardian, looked for the positives after Michael Clarke had struck a dazzling 148 during a match-turning partnership with Brad Haddin:
This is the Clarke that is beguiling a nation with superb, elegant batsmanship, far more endearing and convincing than when he tries to play the rough, foul-mouthed sledger of old. The pendulum has swung rapidly. Of the two captains heading for Perth and their 100th Test, Alastair Cook is the one feeling the heat of being tormented by the opposition's premier paceman.
But Clarke could not avoid becoming the first victim for Stokes, which prompted a straw-clutching consolation for desolate Poms craving 2010-11 but seemingly witnessing 2006-07. Perhaps down the line Stokes, still only 22 years of age, will be the all-rounder that England always crave.
Clarke might have been out to the first ball he face on the second day, however, slicing Monty Panesar beyond the inner ring of fielders. The Sydney Morning Herald columnist Greg Baum mused on the condemnation that might have arisen if the ball had been caught, as well as Clarke's subsequent dominance:
The ball fell safely to earth. In a way, all that transpired on Friday flowed from that happenstance. Not in the least chastened, Clarke and accomplice Brad Haddin continued to hunt the England bowlers. Here, manifest, was the Lehmann credo.
Clarke's shots constitute not merely a range, but a repertoire. England's spinners chose lines and set fields that required him to come down the pitch and hit against the spin. He did it, repeatedly and unerringly, but don't try that in B grade. In this form, Clarke resembles a skilled carpenter, hammering in nails one after another, never mishitting, never wasting one, though dimly always conscious that a false blow will result at least in a bruised thumb. There were none. How Clarke sometimes must wish that he could handle sceptics and doubters with the lightly worn authority of his batting.
Australia's captain, though hammering another nail into England's chances of retaining the Ashes, fell short of a double-ton. Former Australia batsman Dean Jones, in the Canberra Times, wondered about the difficulty of reaching that landmark for batsmen of the modern age:
Michael Clarke is a man with a taste for big scores and on Friday at the Adelaide Oval he seemed well on the way to his fifth double-century before falling for 148. But despite two double centuries in similarly batsman-friendly conditions in Dunedin this week, there has been a noticeable decline in batsmen going ''big''.
When the South Africans wore pink in the opening ODI in Johannesburg on Thursday in aid of breast cancer awareness, the 'Indian connection' wasn't just restricted to the opposition. The pink helmets were manufactured and sent to South Africa by an Indian sports goods company based in Jalandhar, Punjab. Anand Vasu, in Wisden India, traces the association between TK Sports and a two-time South African hockey olympian who sourced the helmets in an emergency, for a good cause.
The range of helmets, called Shrey, gets its name from Shrey Kohli, the youngest member of the TK Sports family business. On November 17 last year, an enthusiastic Shrey got on the road from Jalandhar to Kanpur, intending to deliver a batch of equipment personally to Suresh Raina and some other Uttar Pradesh players. He would never make it as he was killed in a car crash, at just 21, when his life in cricket was just beginning.
The first day at Adelaide Oval featured an off-field controversy when Cricket Australia tweeted a photo of four turbaned men in Teletubbies costumes, with the caption "Will the real Monty Panesar please stand up?" The tweet was removed, but Martin Samuel writes in the Daily Mail that Cricket Australia cannot sink to such levels.
It was a cheap shot, immature and insensitive, and if Cricket Australia and some local boneheads cannot see this, it merely proves there is more to multi-cultural integration than having a token Aborigine speak a few wise words before the first day of each Test match. This is not about gestures, but attitudes - just as it was when white Spanish motor racing fans greeted Lewis Hamilton with black faces and curly wigs.
In the Guardian, Vic Marks writes that the selection of Panesar was a bold move, not only because England rarely play two spinners in Australia, but also because of Panesar's troubled year.
A further consequence of a selection like this is that it spices up the dynamics of the touring party, which may well be beneficial. England may have a rough idea of their personnel for Perth. But there is no certainty anymore. Now even senior players are put on their mettle.
Malcolm Knox in the Sydney Morning Herald considers Australia's batting and notes that batsmen can feel under increased pressure to succeed on pitches expected to offer the bowlers nothing.
Australia batted against itself on Adelaide's drop-in wicket, each man knowing only he could get himself out. Times past, winning the toss on such an easy-paced surface would have meant the lower order could pack away their gear for the day and find a nice place for a snooze. But most of the Australian batsmen are playing for their futures every game, not to mention the Ashes, and this was a day thick with pressure.
And in the Guardian, Russell Jackson shares his thoughts on the redeveloped Adelaide Oval.
Prasanna Agoram is one of the best video analysts going around in international cricket .The "whiz kid" from Chennai began as an analyst for the BCCI at the NCA, taking on crucial assignments such as India's U-19 World Cup campaign in 2006. He has also done work as a Royal Challengers Bangalore analyst when the IPL is in town. Indian Express' Bharat Sundaresan chronicles how Agoram first started mentoring the very same kids who now make up the bulwark of the Indian team who have arrived on South Africa shores, and what a delight it has been to see them transform themselves on the big stage.
It was during the mid-2000s at the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore that the whizkid from Chennai began taking his first strides along a unique path not tread previously in the cricketing world. On it, he came across the cream of talent making their way up. "At that time, all the scorecards from every nook and corner of the country would come to me at the NCA. I was very keen to see this Virat Kohli, who had scored three consecutive double-centuries at the U-17 level. When I did, I knew he was India material straight up," recalls Prasanna. "Then I remember a cover drive Rohit played, which I can never forget, against an Australian U-19 team in Dharamshala. It was class."
Just because Australians were on the receiving end of English bias in commentary and curried pitches during the previous Ashes, it doesn't justify a retaliation in these Ashes, writes Jake Niall, in The Age.
Well, ''what we need'' more than a quick wicket after drinks is commentary that isn't shameless barracking, that doesn't assume, as the English gaggle did, that everyone's with them. The vast majority of Australians might want the Aussies to win - though David Warner's mindless comments about Jonathan Trott doesn't make this team so loveable - but that doesn't give commentators a license to talk as though, to borrow from Australian ''bodyline'' skipper Bill Woodfull, only one team out there is playing cricket.
One of the responsibilities of the New York city mayor's office is organising an annual T20 tournament. Kamakshi Ayyar in Wisden India chronicles the rise in prominence of the game in the United States from an activity introduced by immigrants to the reason why some students went to school.
"It's like a breath of fresh air for them," Bassett Thomson said, the first Public School Athletic League commissioner of cricket. "They all tell me the same thing - if we didn't play cricket, we wouldn't be doing anything else." One player from John Adams High School told Thompson that the only reason he finished high school was because PSAL eligibility rules require participants to pass all classes. "He wanted to play cricket so badly," Thompson explained, "that he made sure he didn't fail any classes."
Ever thought those occupying TV commentary boxes look (and sound) a bit samey? Angela Pippos, writing for the New Daily, suggests it is time to make some changes:
Flick over to Channel Nine and you'd be forgiven for thinking women don't give a flying full toss about cricket. The picture presented is one of rotating masculinity - 14 men in a game of musical chairs, all dressed by the same tailor. All wearing the same comfortable grin. If nothing else, it's visually dull in the same way a commentary box made up exclusively of women would be. Mythical, I know, but you get my point.
Honestly I'd be less surprised if Don Bradman popped up in a blazer and tie next to Ian Chappell than a woman.
Daniel Vettori's performances in domestic cricket following surgery on his Achilles tendon had showed promising signs, but he was unwilling to put his body through the rigours of Test cricket until he was absolutely certain of handling the strain. David Leggat, in the New Zealand Herald, appreciates the former New Zealand captain's maturity and believes it will end up benefiting both him and the team.
"My Achilles is feeling really good but every part of my body is reacting to being used again," Vettori said. "I don't want to come back, get injured and go through the roller coaster of being in and out of the team. I really want to be 100 percent fit and have a number of games under my belt before I feel I can put my hand up for selection." Vettori is aware that the sight of him coming in and out of the national team, perhaps unable to perform at his best, would not be a good look, either for the team or himself
In the Independent, Kevin Garside considers the way Jonathan Trott's departure has shone a light on the culture of sledging.
He wasn't to know that Trott was torn by personal crisis, but at least the England batsman's departure has shone a light on a thug culture that has nothing to do with competitive spirit. Armed with a forthright sense of what so many believe Aussieness to be, Warner felt it acceptable to belittle and embarrass an opponent on the field with the tacit understanding that this falls within the limits of legitimate behaviour.
Also in the Independent, Angus Fraser argues that it is surprising that, when criticism cuts so deep, more players do not succumb to such illnesses.
Everyone is as bad as each other. Indeed, I do not remember many England supporters showing a great deal of sympathy to Mitchell Johnson when he was going through a difficult period a few years ago. Highlighting his shortcomings in song and humiliating him was viewed as great fun. It was irrelevant that it nearly ended Johnson's career and resulted in him spending lots of time seeing a psychologist.
John Leicester, in the New Zealand Herald, explains how stress-related illnesses can affect anyone and believes that the best decision was made in allowing Jonathan Trott to return home.
That candor helped demonstrate that there's nothing here to be ashamed of. Talk in sports that athletes should just "man-up" and tough-out problems is dangerous, macho hogwash. Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues don't discriminate: they'll afflict anyone. Thankfully, sports are recognizing that, too.
Steve James in the Telegraph notes the debt of thanks that players these days owe Marcus Trescothick for making public his struggles several years ago.
Trott is ill, and it will have taken huge courage to admit that. Last year I interviewed two cricketers who were admitting publicly for the first time that they had suffered with mental illness, and it was impossible to understate the fortitude it took them to do so.
The former ABC cricket commentator Glenn Mitchell, who suffered a breakdown in 2011, offers a personal perspective at the Roar.
For a long time such public utterances from those within the sporting world were viewed as a sign of weakness.Too often mental health issues carry with them a significant stigma that is associated with weakness which, in essence, is the antithesis of what many people believe top flight sport is all about.
In the Guardian, Mark Rice-Oxley considers whether the nature of cricket itself is to blame.
Does cricket have a problem? Is there something about the game, the combination of luck, bloody-mindedness, unpredictability and caprice that can drive a person over the edge? Or is it the other way around: that the kind of people who make it to the top of this game are the kind of intense, driven individuals whose very self-obsession makes them more vulnerable to mental illness?
Also in the Guardian, Mike Selvey considers various questions, including why Trott was allowed to tour in the first place.
Simon Hughes in the Telegraph and Vic Marks in the Guardian both look at who might bat at No.3 for England in the absence of Trott, while Scyld Berry in the Telegraph notes that even Len Hutton suffered with stress on an Ashes tour of Australia.
Michael Clarke's words to James Anderson during the Gabba Test, and subsequent fine, showed that there is sterner stuff inside the captain than many people suspected, Peter Lalor writes in the Australian.
One rising criticism of Clarke through the past decade is that he has been too conscious of his image. The metrosexual cricketer was thought to spend too long looking in the mirror. Ironically, letting the mask slip in front of the microphone appears to have instantly and inadvertently won him the respect that's been denied by his critics. It was a glimpse of the Sydney western suburbs tracksuit riding up above the Hugo Boss suit. And, if Twitter, Facebook and the like are any guide to the public mind, there's a fair argument that cricket fans prefer an ugly Australian to a pretty one.
In the Age, Chloe Saltau also considers Clarke's channeling of Allan Border's "Captain Grumpy" persona.
The moment Michael Clarke bared his teeth as Australian captain might be the one that finally makes his country appreciate him. The International Cricket Council's decision to fine Clarke for his ''broken arm'' sledge at Jimmy Anderson prompted a wave of public support for a man who hasn't felt a lot of love in his own country despite being the team's best batsman by miles and an intuitive, imaginative on-field strategist.
Also in the Age, Greg Baum writes of the lack of subtlety in Australia's approach at the Gabba, and notes that it was a popular method with Australian fans.
On breakfast television, Women's Weekly editor-in-chief Helen McCabe reflected on the conflicting standards in play. She said the Clarke/Anderson confrontation made for ''good television''. She also said since Australia had won a game at last, she could not find it in herself to condemn Clarke. This seemed to reflect the nation's outlook: even those who typically would query the means found justification in this glorious end. In a perfect world, Australia could have victory without end and unfailing good grace, too. In practice, it rarely works that way.
In Open magazine, Madhavankutty Pillai puts all the hype and hoopla surrounding Sachin Tendulkar's retirement into perspective, slamming all the celebrities and eminent personalities who joined the bandwagon for just furthering their own interests.
There is, however, another way of looking at it. Because the image also shows this--common folk kept at bay by a wall of VIPs, a club of the elite, who have co-opted Tendulkar. These are also the celebrities who just picked up a phone and got a ticket to the Test match while the rest of India had to count on a lottery for the fraction of seats reserved for the general public. The men who make up this queue are also the ones who have been asked over the past few days to relentlessly comment on Tendulkar as he bids farewell. The ones who, through their unending superlatives, give the appearance that the world has come to a standstill for the Test.
In the Hindu, carnatic vocalist TM Krishna draws comparisons between sport and art, with a focus on Tendulkar's craft. Like in art, where the musician and the music are borderless, when watching Tendulkar play, the man and his bat became one. It was like watching life's beauty in its most natural self.
For musicians, there are times when the musical flow seems boundless, the voice is at its best, when they think that they control music and can command it to do whatever they want. Are these the 'times' when music can be said to not just take place but actually happen? I think not. These are days when artists might be successful and feted by people but, within, they know that the music has, at an essential level, stopped. Sometimes it does not matter how great the voice is or whether the artists are at their fluent best. By letting music sing through them, they come in contact with an essence that is beyond music itself. But for this the musician must remain in the deep acceptance that music exists and he only participates in its life.
Australia's victory at the Gabba was significant for several reasons. In the the Sydney Morning Herald, Malcolm Knox argues that both teams are now on unfamiliar ground, for this England side did not know it could be beaten by Michael Clarke's men.
This leaves a delicious set-up for the four remaining Test matches. Australia have crossed their psychological Rubicon. No matter what they said, they didn't know they could beat this England team until now.
Greg Baum also explores the unexpected result in the Age.
It is too soon to say that the Ashes are about to change hands again, but it is the moment to note that often the course of Ashes history alters when least expected.
In the Daily Telegraph, Malcolm Conn notes that history is on Australia's side.
This country did not have television when Australia last won at the Gabba but failed to go on and win an Ashes series. That was in 1954-55, when many of the players' parents would not have been born.
The fiery finale, including Michael Clarke's sledge at James Anderson, caused some controversy but in the Guardian, Russell Jackson argues that Australians should not worry about the captain's choice of words.
The old Australian Ugliness has returned and for now it's a welcome sight down under. A nation that has spent so long berating its team for the frequency and calamity of their losses can hardly turn around and complain about the way they win.
Johnson can hardly be planned for, because he either destroys everything in his path, or himself. If you happen to appear in his proximity in the latter event, just console yourself that it has happened to others.
In the Guardian, Mike Selvey looks at two of England's out-of-form batsmen.
The two major concerns are Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior. In the case of the former it might be simplest to compartmentalise his batting into that on pitches with pace and bounce, with bowlers to exploit it, and the rest. At The Wanderers in Johannesburg, Perth and now here, all of which fall into the first category, Trott has demonstrated a paucity of technique at odds with his overall Test record which is high-class. His second-innings dismissal in particular was that of a man whose mind was scrambled and, if there is a temptation to say that Pietersen's ill-judged hook shot immediately after a drinks break was equally so, then it would be wrong: Pietersen was in total control of himself; Trott anything but.
In the Telegraph, Simon Hughes looks at how England's batsmen should handle Johnson.
Watching Alastair Cook and Ian Bell play Johnson was illuminating. Both remain still and composed at the crease. Neither committed themselves to the front foot. Bell took guard with a two-eyed, open stance, his left shoulder pointing to mid-on, roughly from where the bowler was delivering. He represented a much slimmer target. When the ball was banged in short he flexed at the knees and ducked or swayed backwards, limbo-style, and allowed the ball to pass harmlessly above his chest.
And Vic Marks in the Guardian also considers Alastair Cook's fine example of how to play against Johnson.
Cook played Johnson better than anyone, partly because he was confident he could get out of the way of his bouncers. There is not much time to do that, but if relaxed and watching the ball there may be a fraction more time than might be assumed. Often he swayed, occasionally he ducked, sometimes he pulled the short ball. This is quite an art. David Gower once explained to me how he combatted the bouncers: he would look to hit the short ball, but then if it was not in the right place he would get out of the way. Of course I was gobsmacked that anyone should ever have the time to consider all those options.
After England's early ascendency at the Gabba, fortunes have been thoroughly reversed. Australian newspapers saluted David Warner and Michael Clarke for their centuries on the third day, with Greg Baum, writing in the Sydney Morning Herald, particularly impressed by how the captain weathered his personal storm:
When Clarke was new at the crease, Cook manoeuvred to keep him on strike, twice yielding singles to deep-set fields. It was a curious and even insulting tactic, treating Clarke as a tailender. It didn't work, and you imagine that if anything, it hardened the Australian captain's heart.
Later, England set three on the hook, but Clarke was alert and decisive, and England lost interest in this artifice. For the next three hours, he batted with his flair and fluency of old. His century was as timely as it was well-timed; in 19 innings against England in the two most recent Ashes series, he had passed 50 just three times. It was the glitch on an otherwise imposing record.
Warner made his first Ashes hundred, playing with typical verve, but Chris Barrett, also in the Sydney Morning Herald, picked up on a different side to the combative opener. Speaking to Howard Warner, David's father, he was told about the son's off-field generosity:
''He's got us a house. We move in in March or April next year. He's done a lot,'' Warner snr said. ''He's got us out of debt, even though we weren't in big debt. But we had credit cards and he paid them all off for us.
''He's a bloody good kid. It helped us out something terrible. He's basically just put me into retirement so I can go around and watch him play.''
The touring press pack, meanwhile, lined up England in their sights. They are never short of trenchant opinions in the Daily Mail and Martin Samuel's piece on the struggles of Jonathan Trott is dug in halfway down and aimed at the head:
Somehow, England's No 3 batsman has developed a style so flawed, so easily bested, he is a cheap wicket waiting to happen.
Bowlers pass through him, as an express train does a small-town station, on the way to Kevin Pietersen. Trott offers no pause, and no respite for his beleaguered colleagues. Australia have worked him out, as will the rest of the world's quickest bowlers after this, and while England are already engaged in an uphill battle to retain the Ashes after three days in Brisbane, Trott's personal fight borders on the existential.
One of Australia's clear plans on the third day was to try and hit Graeme Swann out of the attack. Malcolm Knox in the Sydney Morning Herald pointed to the difficulties this could present Alastair Cook, England's captain, with on the tour, while emphasising the hard work put in by Clarke and Warner:
Against Swann in both innings in Brisbane, most of Australia's batsmen have batted like men who are sleeping on five-star hotel beds after a year of camping. The torment of facing Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Swann in the past nine Test matches on dusty crusts of earth has pushed them to review and improve their technique and attitude. Without mastering those conditions, they worked to get slowly better. Now, on a true Brisbane wicket, things were a good deal easier. Swann was forced to slow his pace and give the ball more air in hope of extracting turn, but this only gave Clarke and Warner the time to leap down the pitch and punish him. For Clarke this is second nature, but Warner's footwork was a revelation, the fruit of months of application in India and England.
After the shenanigans involving Stuart Broad and a certain local newspaper, the Guardian gave a platform to Christopher Dore, editor of the Brisbane Courier-Mail, to explain their tactics. He admitted that a change of plan had been in order, until Australia dramatically struck back in the match:
By midway through the next day's play we were contemplating surrender. For the next day, would we run a white flag and an open letter of apology to Broad, or publish an Australian citizenship form on the front and invite him to sign up, given that he seemed to have seen the error of his ways - he hadn't cheated in the first two days, and appeared to share several characteristics for which Australians were renowned: bravery, good humour, exceptional talent, fighting spirit and a mop of blond hair surely only the Pacific Ocean and the searing antipodean sun could have had a hand in creating.
Then along came Mitchell Johnson. Any fears that we were losing our readers with the brazenness of our coverage were allayed when Broad was welcomed to the crease by the (slightly adjusted) time-honoured Aussie chorus of "the 27-year-old English medium pace bowler is a wanker".
The first day at the Gabba was dominated by all things Stuart Broad, particularly the local reaction to his mere presence. While banners displaying various slogans were held up in the stands, Brisbane's Courier-Mail decided not to name him at all in the newspaper. The front page made headlines of its own but Vic Marks in the Guardian wondered if all the goading hadn't given England a helping hand:
Broad, no shrinking violet, rather likes an extra bit of pressure. No doubt Australia's fourth estate was trying to offer patriotic support but we were soon reminded of the "Is That All You've Got?" headline, which was directed at England's reliance on Jonny Wilkinson's boot at the start of the 2003 Rugby World Cup. This competition came to its conclusion exactly 10 years ago in Sydney with England beating Australia 20-17 in extra time - thanks to Wilko's boot.
On Thursday Broad demonstrated that, like Wilkinson, he had enough as well. No matter that his first delivery was a no-ball, carted for four by David Warner. Broad has been belted for six sixes in an over by Yuvraj Singh and bounced back without any obvious scars. Here he would do so with a flourish.
As familiar as the demonisation of Broad was a sense during the build-up, particularly in the home media, that Australia were coming into the series with an edge over England. Yet there were familiar failings on display in Brisbane and Martin Samuel, writing in the Daily Mail, suggested that the confidence was as misplaced as the attacks on Broad:
Day one was no laughing matter for Australia, though. Rarely has so much swagger been supported by so little action. 'Broad can talk the talk, but can't walk the walk,' read one banner, a reference both to his refusal to depart when plainly out at Trent Bridge in the summer, and the Australian fantasy that his confrontational nature is not backed by true courage or ability. Stuart Fraud as the Courier-Mail had it, before they baulked at using his name.
Opposite. It was Australia whose claims of confidence and resurgence were exposed as so much blather; England and Broad who demonstrated the steely resolve that demonstrated the 3-0 gulf between the teams in the summer was perhaps not the fluke that has been depicted in these parts.
For the Australian view, over in the Sydney Morning Herald Malcolm Knox lauds the effort of Brad Haddin after he rescued the first innings.
When Haddin came back into the team this year, his wicketkeeping brought sweet relief. The neat freak was back. If keepers aren't obsessive-compulsive about tidiness, they're nothing. They are also, in the post-Gilchrist era, increasingly judged by their batting. International cricket is enjoying a golden age in just one facet today, which is the glut of superhero-gloved all-rounders, men who have made a norm of what was once a rarity, the wicketkeeper's Test century. Haddin has scored three, but his career is inevitably overshadowed by the men who came before him, Ian Healy and Adam Gilchrist, and his coevals on the international stage. He is somewhat in the lee of Kumar Sangakkara, A.B.de Villiers, M.S.Dhoni, Matt Prior and Brendon McCullum. At any other time, Haddin would be recognised at his full value.
And in the same paper, Greg Baum is allowed to mention Stuart Broad's name as he added another entry to his list of outstanding Ashes spells
Now Broad sprinted, and vaulted, and high-fived, and all but clicked his heels, and in the field dived lengthways to save four overthrows, and flounced twice when urging Alastair Cook to refer not out decisions, for he had made himself the central figure this day, and he knew it. When he did walk, it was with his head up and his chest out. In 15 balls, he had cut out Australia's heart, and the Ashes series had picked up where it left off in August.
Anjali Doshi, writing for Open, notes the lasting impact that Sachin Tendulkar has left on his team-mates, fans and the game of cricket in general.
We all know the runs and records, the stats and scorecards. But as Tendulkar wakes up to make himself tea and contemplate life without cricket in the many mornings to come, it is time to examine his impact on the three generations he played alongside and the ones to follow; time to understand the intangible legacy of India's most celebrated sportsman and its most revered hero since Mahatma Gandhi. Paaji, coaching manual, bhagwan, role model extraordinaire, legend, inspiration and master, Tendulkar has essayed many roles and earned many labels from his teammates--of whom 93 made their Test debut and 121 their limited-overs debut after him.
As Jacques Kallis looks to extend his career, South Africa could do well to show support for one of their greatest match-winners, in much the same way India did for Sachin Tendulkar in his last few years, writes Neil Manthorp in Business Day.
Indians missed seeing their hero but accepted it was in the best interests of the team. South Africans say their man should stop playing golf and get back on the cricket field. Or retire. Despite the team clearly lacking a middle-order batting anchor and the security of another all-rounder in the lower order.
Bangladesh captain Mushfiqur Rahim speaks to The Daily Star on the progress his team has made, the way forward, his captaincy, his life off the field and more.
Now it seems that when we win a series, it is almost expected that we will complete a whitewash (laughs). There is a confidence now. Often there is huge expectation and responsibility. But now, not just us, but the public -- even rickshaw-pullers -- also know that when we are in trouble someone will put his hand up. Not just Shakib or Tamim, but anyone like a (Sohag) Gazi, a Mominul (Haque) or a (Shamsur Rahman) Shuvo can turn up and play a big hand.
Geoff Miller's tenure as England selector comes to an end this winter. Mike Selvey, in the Guardian, writes the tireless work done by Miller in the last five years will leave a tough-to-fill vacancy in the selection panel.
Miller's retirement and Whitaker's elevation means there is a vacancy on the selection panel and a personal view is that he should not have an association with a county (as Ashley Giles was when first appointed); nor be involved with the media, unless prepared to give it up; nor have connections with the management of players. It will not be an easy spot to fill.