Alan Tyers writes Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Australia have got a fresh captain, but he’s following the Ponting method by showing the team just how it isn’t done with the bat. What has happened to this team? Michael Clarke looks like he shouldn’t be allowed near a cricket ground for his own safety, Shane Watson and Phil Hughes wrestled manfully with their own stoopidity for a while but eventually got themselves out.
The only bright spot for Australia was the performance of the debutant Usman Khawaja. He looks the part – some style, some composure – and there was no shame in being out-thought by Graeme Swann. At least he didn’t throw it away like his three more senior team-mates. I note that he was not born in Australia. Surely this is the way ahead for poor old Oz? The system within is busted, so they must recruit from without. All that wide open space, decent weather (although not today), as many sausages as you can eat, plenty of work available in daytime soap operas: it must be a tempting destination for migrant labourers. With a new PM, and a new captain, surely it is time for a new national motto: Foreigners of the world, give us your poor, your huddled masses – and let them come and bat in our middle order. No reasonable offer refused.
Jarrod Kimber Michael Clarke made a bold Australian decision to bat in overcast conditions, while the English were always going to take the soft option and bowl first. Clarke’s innings may not have been every inch a captain’s knock, but his fortitude in batting first on this pitch will surely be written in Ashes folklore. Instead of being protected, like in other teams, young Usman was taught about an honest day's work, batting in the hot seat on a tough pitch. He may have only made 37, but that 37 will be whispered about in years to come as people talk about how Australia’s resurrection started when bloody gutsy Usman was made a man by Michael Clarke’s bold captaincy.
Alan replies I think that in years to come we might well be watching Usman play Test cricket. Michael Clarke? Not so much. Come on, Australia, there is no shame in it. The world has changed. The future is bright: the future is foreign. Who knows, we might even have some spare English knocking around the place...
Jarrod replies We don’t need spare Englishmen. We’ll continue to steal from Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Netherlands and wherever Shaun Tait is from, thank you very much. You’ll be seeing Michael Clarke around, his PR team is almost as hardworking as his tattoo artist.