Before we get to the main event, I am happy to announce that we have a winner in the “Nearest to Off Stump Competition”. Last night, when on 92, Michael Clarke had a delivery actually graze the off stump but not dislodge the bails. You might point out that technically, the entry does not count, as Clarke at least had the sense to play at the ball. However, it’s Michael Clarke, and he can do no wrong, so he wins. Besides, perhaps Hussey will now stop trying to win the blessed event and start playing at those balls on off stump.
Nor surprisingly, the third Test ended in a rather anti-climactic draw. Although, it would have been interesting to have another day of play. In the end, honours were even, I would say. One thing is certain: If conditions are conducive to swing, England is far better than Australia. If not, Australia is probably just in front. It is also certain that Australia will not win a match this Ashes with the current four bowlers. No way.
With no warm up matches, the selectors need to re-think the personnel. England had just one innings in this match and those indecisive selectors will not have been helped. Johnson bowled better, but nowhere his best. Siddle was ordinary, as was Hauritz. If the selectors thought Watson was going to boost the attack, they were sadly mistaken.
I watched and watched until Watson was finally called upon. Last time I saw him bowl, which was in India, he impressed. He was aggressive, hit the deck hard and was bowling at about 145 km/h. On Sunday, he was utterly pathetic. He looked like someone running up on egg shells, trying silently to lob a hand grenade into the enemy trenches. He bowled at 130 km/h. Either he is not fully fit, or he is scared of getting injured. Either way, unless he can do a lot better than that, the selectors can forget about calling him an all rounder. Watson was smashed for three overs and that was a turning point in the England innings, as Flintoff and Prior settled in.
I’m dying of anxiety waiting to see if the selectors are stupid enough to rush Brett Lee back in. Or smart enough to make a place for Stuart Clark before he gets bored and goes to sleep. Clark simply must be a better option than Siddle or Hauritz. Neither have been bad, but we need a match winner. To bowl Brett Lee, with no warm up match at all is simply not worth the risk.