New Maturity

It was good to see that Hoggard got his five wickets. In fact he made it seven, extracting more life from a moribund surface than any of his colleagues.

Nice also to see Michael Clarke make a century. At times on the 2005 tour it was easy to see why he was so highly regarded in his homeland, but the period since then has been difficult for him, with his repeated failures to convert good starts and flashy half-centuries into match influencing hundreds leading to his eventual omission from the side. The word is that he displayed a new maturity in this knock and it seems certain that he will stay in the side for Perth, probably at the expense of Damien Martyn, if Shane Watson is fit to provide the extra bowling option which Australia feel they need. Not that England will lose any sleep.

At some stage in the early hours Christopher Martin-Jenkins said on TMS that Michael Clarke reminded him of Kim Hughes. This struck a chord, partly because there are certain clear similarities, but also because Hughes is a bit of a forgotten man, regarded as a representative of Australian cricket's darkest years and chiefly remembered for resigning the national captaincy in tears. I saw plenty of Hughes in England in 1980 and 1981 and he was a stylish, aggressive and individualistic batsman. Perhaps a bit more spontaneity and flair than Clarke, but I have a feeling that Clarke will end up doing better in Test cricket.

With England finishing the day on 59-1 the draw still looks the best bet and would probably be a fitting end to a match played on a pitch too bland for the bowling attack of either side. The game has reminded me a bit of the Lord's Test between England and Pakistan last July - plenty of decent batting to enjoy but not enough of a genuine contest between bat and ball.

More pace at Perth, please (time was, you wouldn't even have to ask).

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