When you get to go to an England-Australia match at Lord's, you aren't going to pass up the opportunity. I had not seen England beat Australia yet (though I did see the last day of the draw in Cardiff last year) and predicted Australia to win comfortably.
Having lived in England all my life, I was supporting the home team.
Shaun Tait may have been Man of the Match, but Shaun Marsh's fifty turned it, and his two sensational catches sank England when they looked to be in a strong position.
The Aussie run-rate in the first 35 overs. For a while it became so dreary that the spectators around me resorted to reading the report of the Murray-Nadal tennis match from the previous day. That did wonders for the sales of the Times around the ground!
Stuart Broad's barrage of short balls to Tim Paine was the only "face-off" worth talking about, but there was also Tait against the entire English team with his super quick fast-bowling speeds.
Doug Bollinger's reply to sledging from our stand. They said to him, "Dougie, you were **** at Worcester," to which his reply was "That's because Worcester was a **** place."
James Anderson received sarcastic applause after his final over went for 15 runs. But he silenced the crowd by taking two catches in the next over, including that of the brilliant Michael Hussey.
Swann provided some entertainment at the end. The crowd didn't particularly care who won the match as long as Swann kept going with his superb reverse-sweeping and big hitting. He was exceptional with the ball as well and provided three crucial wickets, including the hilarious dismissal of Tim Paine, who completely missed a reverse sweep. It was a bad decision by Strauss not to give Swann his full quota.
There were many huge sixes. Hussey hit a couple, as did Marsh. However, the best one was in the final over of the Australian innings, where James Hopes, on his first delivery, smashed Broad for six over the cover boundary, a few feet short of destroying the scorer's box, just below Father Time himself.
The match was a sellout. Though there was no music, the atmosphere was amazing going into the final stages of the match, even though the largely favoured England were at a stage of no-return. There was the big six that was caught in the Grand Stand next to us. Our stand grew fond of the security guard sitting in front of us, and he received a standing ovation each time his shift ended. However this may just have been an apology from the spectator who accidentally set off a champagne cork in his direction!
The first half of the Australian innings was dire, but Marsh and Hussey turned the entire match around, unfortunately a bit too far for my liking. Tait was devastating, and despite Collingwood, Bresnan and Swann's heroics, it was always looking unlikely that England would win. The atmosphere was excellent through the day, and the ground was full throughout. The overall experience was great, and not unlike the previous matches that I have seen at Lord's.
8. Everything was perfect. Fours, sixes, fast bowling from Tait. It had everything in it to make it a great game. But the only thing that was wrong with it was the result. My prediction was unfortunately correct, and instead of winning the series by a large margin of 4-1, it ended up close at 3-2. The Ashes are on their way, and the Australians now have the momentum.
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