Panesar has to play

Both teams need to make changes. England need more attacking options, and Australia should play MacGill (04:34)

November 27, 2006


Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, 5th day

Panesar has to play

November 27, 2006

England are going nowhere with Ashley Giles: Panesar must play at Adelaide © Getty Images

The Australians have comfortably won the first Test match, not only have they taken a 1-0 lead but they've now got quite a big psychological advantage. The Englishmen will be saying to themselves, to take a positive to Adelaide, "Well, we lost the first Test at Lord's in 2005, we bounced straight back at Edgbaston - had a terrific victory there, and went on to win the Ashes. We can do it again!"

The big difference this time, though, is that at Lord's on the first day England bowled very well and particularly Steve Harmison. That's the big difference, they didn't bowl well at any stage at the Gabba, and that's a big hurdle that England will have to overcome.

They did themselves a few favours on the fourth day, but they could have done themselves some more favours on the fifth day. If they had really pushed Australia, the Australians could've started to get anxious if the thunderstorms were on their way. But there was no chance of that once Kevin Pietersen was out to the first ball of the day.

He played a terrific innings; I'm very impressed with him, he's a good aggressive player, I think England will have him bat at No. 4 for the rest of the series; he can take the attack to the opposition and counter-attack. But getting out first ball as he did wasn't smart cricket.

As a batsman you've got to be aware of how the opposition is trying to get you out. When they put a short-midwicket in and you hit the first ball of the day straight to that fieldsman it just tells you that the brain is not in gear for that first ball. And if you're playing against a very good cricket team like Australia your brain has got to be in gear the whole time. Kevin Pietersen has made some terrific strides forward but that's another area where he has got to improve a little.

From there on the Australians just winkled away and picked up wickets and they were always going to win the Test match.

I find the thinking of the English camp very strange in regard to Geraint Jones. It is said he is picked for his batting; he gets bowled way too often, almost a third of his dismissals. Even though he is not a top order player if he's going to be picked for his batting he can't afford to get bowled every third time he goes out there to bat.

The other thing is that his batting graph is on the wane, it has been for some time, and that tends to suggest to me that the bowlers have worked him out a bit. I cannot see the justification for picking Jones as a keeper for his batting. I think that's something that England would have to look at. I don't think they'll change him for Adelaide, but the one thing they have to change for Adelaide is their attack.

They cannot win in Adelaide with the attack, bowling the way they did in Brisbane. (Monty) Panesar has got to come into the side, they are not going anywhere with Giles. I think somehow they have got to bolster their batting a little bit and that means that they probably going to go with four frontline bowlers. So, England have got some selection problems for Adelaide.

Strangely enough the Australians, who have had a resounding first Test victory, could also see some changes in their side. I think they'd love to play Stuart MacGill. Adelaide is traditionally a five- bowler pitch. And I like the balance of 3 quickies and 2 spinners. I think MacGill has got to come in to Adelaide, they could do it in one of two ways - they could drop one of the batsmen, probably Michael Clarke, and keep the same pace attack as they had in Brisbane. I don't think the selectors like doing that. I think they are only going to pick MacGill if they can play (Shane) Watson.

I wouldn't like to be the selector who does that and then has to tap Stuart Clark on the shoulder and say, "Despite bowling exceedingly well in Brisbane, mate, there's some bad news - you're out of the team!" So those are the choices and it's strange that a side that has won so resoundingly could be thinking of making changes.

The Australians will be delighted with their 1-0 lead; I don't think they are going to suffer the same problems that they suffered in England in 2005. After they won at Lord's they got a bit complacent, it led to errors and they lost the Ashes. It'd be silly if they fall for the same errors again.

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