England have pulled it off. They have stared down the barrel of defeat but with a little rain, a little luck and a little grit, they have narrowly avoided a humiliating defeat. I imagine that England would be pretty chuffed with a humiliating draw. Under the circumstances, to go to Lord’s with the series nil all must be rather good for morale.
Disappointed Australians may feel miffed. What if Ponting had bowled the right bowlers? What if Collingwood have been claimed bat-pad early on? What if Billy Doctrove actually gave an lbw and had given Broad out first ball? It’s all easy in hindsight. The truth is that the wicket was less than helpful for the bowlers, the Aussies have an inexperienced attack and 9/252 was not a bad effort. The truth is that as time remaining tends towards zero, the muscles tense up. Many is the time that sides are inexplicably unable to take the final wicket. I seem to remember the boot being on the other foot four years ago in the 3rd Test.
The second Test starts at Lord’s on Thursday. It will be interesting to see what changes are made. Lord’s has been Australia’s domain forever. Sophia Gardens was supposed by many to be England’s best chance. But I reckon that if we come across a pitch with a bit of life, the Aussie batsmen may struggle. The Australian selectors still have a dilemma. Hauritz exceeded expectations in the 1st Test. I’m not saying that Hauritz will be the best choice for Lord’s but he has helped his own cause.
England will surely drop one of the spinners and we may even see a recall for Harmi. Who knows?
Around the traps, after narrowly losing the 1st Test to Sri Lanka, Pakistan have been skittled for just 90 in the first innings of the 2nd Test. Sri Lanka replied with 240 and Pakistan have exceeded their first innings total with just one wicket down. Exciting times.