England 7/336 (90ov, K Pietersen 69, P Collingwood 64, M Prior 56) v Australia:
Ashes Test #1 Day 1 at Cardiff
7/336 looks a reasonable score on a pitch with a bit of turn and uneven bounce, though Kevin Pietersen was out to a stupid shot when he looked well on the way to a century (having been treated leniently by the umpires earlier).
1. Why did Australia omit Stuart Clark?
He's the most experienced bowler in the squad and the pitch looked well suited to his bowling style.
2. Why did Australia include Nathan Hauritz?
Sure, he got Pietersen out (from his widest delivery) and extracted some slow turn but as the TV pitch map showed he generally bowled too short. I agree with the caustic piece, written before play began, by Patrick Smith in today's Australian .
3. Why did England include Monty Panesar instead of Graeme Onions?
Apart from England's warm up match last week how long is it since Panesar has shown any form? I thought Onions bowled soundly ( without Harmison's sharp edge) for the Lions, and well, albeit in favourable early season conditions, in the West Indies Tests.
4. Why did Pietersen play that shot?
Plenty of others, including the man himself, will have their five cents or pence worth about this.
5. Why didn't Marcus North bowl?
A few days ago he was Australia's no1 spinner. He didn't bowl particularly well in the Lions match but then neither did Hauritz or any of the acknowledged part-timers. Is he now no 4 in the spin bowling order?
6. Will the pitch improve or slowly deteriorate?
I can't say. The general opinion among experts seems to be that it'll turn more as the match proceeds.
Electronic media coverage
Both SBS and Fox Sports relayed the UK Sky TV coverage, supplemented by expert comments from the studio (SBS) and the ground (Fox). I jumped between the two and listened for a while to ABC radio's coverage. The SBS picture is a little better than the Fox one (at least on my set), yet I think it was SBS who cut to an ad during a replay at the end of one over.
Why isn't, as happens with other teams touring England, eg New Zealand, at least one of the Aussie commentators integrated into the Sky commentary team? During the tea interval Fox's Messrs Border, Julian and Blewett struggled to compete with Tom Jones belting it out over the ground PA system.