I said something before this Test started about what ultimately mattered being what actually happened, not what people, seduced by rampant hype and nostalgia, thought might happen.

What has happened since then is that Australia have, unlike England, taken the fullest advantage of a pitch made for batting. Their patience and skill have emphasized the ineffectiveness of the England attack, and their desire to turn the screw today contrasted sharply with the desultory nature of some of the England fielding this morning, which looked like the product of a side that seemed to simply be playing out time until the inevitable rain came. Trouble was, the rain was late.

Whether they win or not - and with a full day's play tomorrow you wouldn't bet against it - Australia's intention, successfully accomplished, has been to lay down a marker to England for the rest of the series. To let them know that the West Indies are long gone and they're now facing a real cricket team.

You want nostalgia? We'll give you nostalgia. Nostalgia for 1989, 1993 or 2001.

Plus, win or draw, we'll see you later in the week on a ground where we haven't lost since before the Second World War, and where the doubts will all be yours.


Rob said...

Absolutely. Today's heroics aside (and they were only by the minority) England were outplayed completely by the better side.

Not sure I followed the last paragraph.

Brian Carpenter said...

The last two sections were written from the Australian team's point of view.

A strange state of mind to try to assume, but it wasn't hard to imagine what they would have thought if they'd seen some of the media coverage which went on and on about 2005, ignoring the inconvenient fact that the last series was a masscare and Australia hold the Ashes.

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