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Monday, November 27, 2006

"There are lot of things to enjoy about Test cricket, even if there is not a great contest."

Thus spake Cricket Australia's CEO James Sutherland about the huge attendances at the first test, which ended before lunch with an Australian victory by 277 runs .

I hope that for his and other people's (including my) sakes that there are some great contests for the rest of this series. On current form the best we can hope for are individual ones, eg Warne v Pietersen, but not contests between two closely matched teams.

The big question is: can England perform any worse than they did in this game? From what I saw on TV I'd say "I hope not but I wonder..." Their bowling is the weaker department but their batting is not all that good. A fourth innings total of 370 underpinned by 90s from Pietersen and Collingwood is not bad, but for much of the time it was facesaving batting practice, as winning was never a real chance (or even half chance).

Changes? Monty Panesar in for James Anderson? What about Michael Vaughan to stiffen the batting? Perhaps he's not quite fit enough now but he seems to be waiting in the wings.

And Australia? Barring further injuries (Shane Watson has already been ruled out) perhaps the same team, or maybe the selectors will bring in Stuart MacGill to take advantage of Adelaide's reputation as a spinner-friendly wicket. If the latter, who will drop out? Stuart Clark bowled exceptionally well here in the SA - NSW game only a few weeks ago, Michael Clarke made runs in Brisbane and while Brett Lee's bowling figures weren't too flash he batting, as he usually does nowadays, well.

PS. It was good to hear the Barmy Army in full voice today (albeit, as I far as I could tell, trumpetless). They win beyond the boundary, but the Aussies prevail inside it.

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