…And so it continued. The Aussie batsmen would threaten to pull away, Watson & Rogers put on 84 before the former was out, then England would take a wicket or two and have me breathing easier. I spent the late afternoon sitting by a lake behind some fishing rods but the radio had most of my attention. At the close England needed 4 wickets and Australia 130 something runs. Breathing easily now but this is Ashes cricket.
The final days play started at last, Australia began nicely but then a new ball burst from Jimmy reduced them to 231-9. Surely the game was ours now? No, we had to endure another 10th wicket partnership that went on and on. An Edgbaston scenario loomed and I couldn’t settle anywhere, pacing between the TV in the living room and the radio in the garden. Nervous texts between friends, lots of groaning and chuntering…then lunch.
The forty minutes just ramped up the tension then the players took to the field again. England needed one wicket, Aussies just twenty runs. After the break England looked more in control but the Aussies nicked a few more runs…then Jimmy got the edge and after another DRS review England got the wicket and won by 14 runs. Breathe……………
England’s plus points; Our big two batsmen, Cook & KPego both got a few runs in this match and Bell scored a fabulous century in the most difficult of circumstances. Jimmy Anderson was brilliant with ten wickets in the match and Broad bowled with control. Swann had an indifferent match and Finn had good spells and bad.
Australia’s bowlers look good and showed they can take twenty wickets, unlike 2010/11. They make up a strong tail too and England will have to work hard to get them out. Australia’s batting line up has one obvious star and a couple of decent players but little else. Their star player was without doubt Ashton Agar but it will be difficult for him to repeat this performance.
Australia gave everything and pushed England to the brink. We know England can play better than this and expect them to do so but can Australia improve??
So England won what was probably the best Ashes test match since 2005 but it has to be said, if the 3rd umpire had got that stumping right on day two the game would not have been close. Bad umpiring almost ruined this match and only the fair final result allows it to be classed as a classic, had Australia got over the line, England would have felt robbed.
It's not easy loving cricket when the Ashes are at stake...