Ashes Third Test Preview

15 12 2010

With the anticipation building for what could be the decisive test in the Ashes battle, we thought we would do the obvious thing and put a few of our thoughts down on paper (or screen perhaps?!). There are still a few questions to be answered for both teams as to the composition of the two sides yet the essential feeling remains that England should, if they play well, come out on top.

Australia are, as many observers closer to the team than us here in sunny Dubai, a team in no small amount of turmoil – something emphasised by their selection policy and the obvious panic within it. We know that if we were Ricky Ponting we would be fuming at the general inconsistency shown. As if the prospect of losing a third Ashes series isn’t enough, he is being asked to captain a side that has little do with his own preferences and that includes someone he has never laid eyes on before.

According to Simon Hughes and others on their Twitter accounts, that man, Beer, looked lost during the Aussie net session today and, with the pitch being green, (and therefore in theory offering assistance to the seam bowlers) apparently the Aussies are leaning towards four seamers. The alternative of playing Beer with the hat trick hero from the Gabba, Peter Siddle, being left out as many have suggested, implies the Aussies are no where nearer a coherent selection policy. Granted he has taken zero wickets since his six wicket haul in the first innings in Brisbane, but dropping someone who is your only success story in four innings of test cricket beggars belief – especially when the other quicks apparently first in the queue to play have both been dropped already in this Ashes.

For England it is a simpler equation and as we have written before our pick would be Shahzad – there is something about his bustling nature that we quite like. Tremlett had been the hot favourite until the last 24 hours when Jonathan Agnew, Michael Vaughan and one or two others threw their weight behind Tim Bresnan.

As long time readers will be aware we have a profound distrust of Bresnan’s ability to take wickets in test cricket. A wholehearted trier, a useful limited overs bowler and someone who undoubtedly would be willing to run in the ‘Freemantle Doctor’ (the stiff wind that is liable to blow up at a moment’s notice causing havoc with the bowlers) that we have been hearing so much about over the past few days – but surely someone who is less likely to take a crucial ‘fivefer’ than the other two.

Perhaps we are wrong – and few people try harder and therefore perhaps deserve success as much as Bresnan – but in a game where Ricky Ponting particularly knows that perhaps his entire career, let alone the Ashes, is on the line; we think that Bresnan is the bowler the Aussies would most want us to pick. On that basis alone it should be one of the other two…

Mind you, perhaps this is balanced out by the Australian’s picking Steven Smith to ‘have fun’ and be the joker in the team. We can’t remember any specific examples but imagine if ten years ago England had picked a young player and gave him this message – think what Steve Waugh’s take might have been! The word scathing would probably not have done justice to his response.

As a Kiwi friend of the Compulsive Hooker warned us yesterday in one of our cockier moments, ‘you can never discount these buggers until their beaten’; something that remains undeniably the case. If Ponting gets going; if Hussey continues where he left off or even, as is possible, Hughes blazes a quick ton and Australia manage to get 450 on the board – well then things could get tricky. England should still have enough of an edge in the batting to stay in and eventually win the game, but runs on the board adds a pressure that was absent in Adelaide and this, being cricket, you simply never know.

Whatever happens we cannot wait and have decided to side with the prevailing winds. We believe that after a close fought battle, England will ultimately emerge triumphant.

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2 responses

15 12 2010
Jonathan

Good pick on the England win Bradders.

Tremlett is in, right choice.

Alarm clock set, let battle commence!!

On another note, if anyone has not read Shane Warne’s column on the Daily Telegraph website abouit English complacency today, well worth a read, the guy has lost all sensibility!

15 12 2010
Bradders

completely agree on Warne – I almost wrote something about that article actually. Saving it up as Justin Langer also is writing some fairly silly things… Come on England!

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