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Monday, July 13, 2009

Collingwood and lower order save smidgin of respect for England: Ashes 09 T1 D5

England 435 and 9/252 (P Collingwood 74) drew with Australia 6/674 dec: Ashes T#1 D5 at Cardiff

Well it didn't turn out as I and most other commentators expected. England, more precisely numbers 5 to 11 inclusive, batted as if the series depended on their finding sufficient guts and determination to keep a good, though not world beating, Australian attack at bay.

Paul Collingwood's 74 (334 min/245b/13x4) was of course the platform around which the resistance rallied after Andrew Strauss, Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior didn't trouble the scorers, or the Australian bowlers, very much.

At 5/70 England looked finished but somehow the remaining batters found some g & d: not in lavish quantities but collectively sufficient to - just - hold out. When Collingwood was ninth out out at 233 again it seemed all over but Jimmy Anderson (not surprisingly) and Monty Panesar (very surprisingly)
stayed together for the remaining 11.3 overs. The Australians generally bowled well, if occasionally erratically, though one or two of them showed signs of tiredness in the final session: has Nathan Hauritz ever bowled 37 overs in an innings before, I wonder?

Enough for now. I stayed up until after 3am local time to watch the finish. England were outplayed for much of the match but, Test cricket being Test cricket, a draw is a legitimate result. In the post match euphoria England and their supporters will feel enervated and Australia dispirited, but as the Lords Test (which starts on Thursday) draws closer the realisation that this was a moral victory to Australia will surely grow.

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