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Pedro de la fiestra

Funny how much a day makes a difference.


Or even half an hour, when Mitch bowled fabulously. But my point still stands - one bowler discovering his mojo does not mean they suddenly have strength in depth.

mark oppe

...just goes to show, like getting laid you have to continually work at it.

Hopefully there will be a renaissance in West Indies cricket - just watched Grenada v, St Vincent and there was young talent on display - though, like in Aus sadly cricket is no longer a major interest for the Ute.

cheers Mark


My thought yesterday was, 'if you win to a lackluster Aus team, everyone will tell you it wasn't a REAL victory, it was just because Aus weren't their usual awesomeness'. Now at least you've got more of a chance of people saying 'it was an epic win against a side that really came back at you'. ...if you win, that is....

keith seed

Arguable England won the ashes in 2005 because Troy Coley's bowling coaching gave us fast and effective reverse swing bowlers (Jones and Flintoff).Apparently, in the last couple of week's Cooley has got Johnson to bowl with a higher arm and a different hand position and ,sadly, what happened last night is a reflection of that.I'm actualy going to the Melbourne and Sydney tests and was,until last night, looking forward to just gloating at the situation with the ashes won. One crumb of comfort is that Shaun Tait decided to take the IPL money/route and not still play test cricket. I actually e-mailed Lev just before the series to say I reckoned Johnson was the key to the series and maybe I've (for once) got a cricket prediction right. If Tait was half fit (and with Cooley's technical help)and Johnson got it right we would be blown right away.Hard to see Johnson doing this in the last two tests though. He appears to have some un-Australian cricketing characteristics (he's emotional and self-doubting). Hopefully,he implodes at either Melbourne or Sydney.Perth is his home (he took his other best test figures there) and he has the Freemantle doctor and the bogans behind him there.Melbourne and Sydney are very different places and very different test venues.Apologies for this long and opinionated e-mail

Lev Parikian

Thanks everyone for the comments.
On the face of it, it looks as if events on the second day have rendered my argument meaningless. I'm not so sure - Keith was right: Mitchell Johnson, on his day, is the one world-class bowler that Australia have (England have 2, in my opinions: Anderson and Swann, neither of whom has had his day yet). But the return of his missing mojo does not change the underlying situation: Australia don't have strength in depth the way they used to. And it still remains to be seen how regular MJ's day is to be. At the moment he is an extreme version of Steve Harmison. Devastating occasionally, but a liability the rest of the time. it will be interesting to see if his performance with bat and ball here boosts his confidence enough to make him a danger for the rest of the series. I was pleased to see Ian Bell effectively challenging him to do it again in the second innings. This game is far from over.
I would disagree with the Cooley effect. He's been over-rated in my view: if you believe in the effect of his coaching on the bowlers, then he completely screwed up Jimmy Anderson for several years (Jetlag Jimmy has blossomed since Cooley left), and raising Johnson's arm and getting the wrist behind the ball was a blatantly obvious solution as long ago as Lord's last year, so how come he hasn't done it until now? I reckon Johnson's talent is quite hit-and-miss (and yes, very confidence-based). Even in his later spell (why didn't you bowl him after lunch Ricky?) he sent several balls down his usual channels towards third slip and leg gully. And don't forget that apart from that spell of 4-7, the Australian attack has taken something like 10 for 12 gazillion in this series - dismal stuff even on flat tracks.
Laura - good call. It'll be less comfortable but more valuable when we get a hard-earned, Ashes-retaining, 2-2 series draw with a last-gasp victory at Sydney. Gulp.
Mark - you are in the West Indies, which is a hot place. We're not talking to you. :-)

Frank D.

Lev, as I write, we've just been skittled out in the second innings for next to nothing and the Aussies have claimed victory with the best part of two days remaining.

I blame you.

Lev Parikian


I understand your anger, but if you check what I wrote youll see that I covered my arse with the thoroughness of a tabloid following a royal romance.

I never said we would win the test or even the series. I refer you to the series is Englands to lose and England may still lose the series and They were going to happen anyway. Not my fault.

This win was the result of one mans brilliance, a brilliance I think he will struggle to repeat in the rest of the series. It was backed up by Husseys excellent batting and huge experience of condtions at the WACA, which was fed by our moronic plan to feed him with short stuff. Apart from him, and to an extent Watson, the Australian batting still seems to be in disarray.

And the main point I was trying to make, among the lame puns and hopelessly stretched metaphors, was that the broader picture of Australian cricket isnt so healthy. If we had won this match, we could have expected half-empty grounds at the MCG and Sydney, and press coverage to match. Cricket is struggling to recruit young people - the last thing we really want is one-sided series, whoever is the winner. Mike Selvey wrote an excellent article about it here:http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/blog/2010/dec/18/ashes-2010-hussey-johnson-day-three

Oh, and remember Headingley 2009. This England team has one atrocious performance in every series. Now its out of the way we can go on and win.


Frank D.

Lev, I thank you for your calm and reasoned response to my hasty accusation, posted in the immediate aftermath of the 3rd Test debacle.

After a good morning's sleep, I can now reflect on the overall picture and look at the match more objectively. I take on board your points about MJ and Hussey and the still valid observation concerning the current lack of depth in Australian cricket.

More difficult to accept is the contention that, for the overall good of the game, we should all have hoped for an Aussie resurgence in this series. Personally, I believe half-full grounds in the remaining matches would have been a price worth paying if it meant a crushing England Ashes victory. Whilst it might have been too much to expect the phrase "Australian humility" to enter any future cricketing lexicon, I, for one, could have lived with a little English dominance for a while yet.

No, I don't blame you or your original, caveat-strewn post.

The real culprit, of course, is Nasser Hussain. His waffling on about the widening supremacy of English cricket over its Australian counterpart when we were seventy something for nought in the first innings, would have had Engand fans screaming in frustration at their TV screens. This was not so much tempting fate as taunting it - dropping a firework through fate's letterbox and running away laughing. As a piece of foolish commentary, it by far usurped Keegan's "There's only one team going to win this, and that's England" utterance.

For all students of commentators' law, there was a familiar feeling of inevitability about the following events.

Looking to salvage something worthwhile from the WACA wreckage, I suppose we can anticipate a closely-fought final two matches. That's if English confidence isn't completely shot.

But the idea of watching an Australia cricket side grovel must, I fear, be consigned to Fantasy Cricket Land.

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At the moment he is an extreme version associated with Steve Harmison. Devastating occasionally, but the legal responsibility all of those other period. it will be fascinating to ascertain if their performance along with softball bat as well as golf ball right here increases his self-confidence sufficient to make him or her some risk throughout the series. I was pleased to see Ian Bell effectively difficult him to get it done once again within the second innings. Farmville is far from more than.

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