Day One Headingley, Ashes ’09

 Fire alarm waking up England early morning, Prior’s injury on the stroke of toss, Flintoff’s exclusion, Prior on a stretcher, Talk of flying in Tim Ambrose from Edgbaston, the delayed toss, Prior back with his gloves on… I haven’t seen so much of chaos on the first morning of an Ashes test.

And then more drama unfolded. It was 16 for 2 in quick time when I hoped  Bell and Collingwood would do some repair work. Nothing at all happened. It was Australia’s morning all the way. Nine out of eleven were caught in the ring between wicket keeper and gully. That’s a shame. When they’re 1-0 up with 2 to go and a toss won on a good pitch with good bounce, they should have capitalized. Yes, there were fine spells of fast bowling but test batsmen are required to see them off. Not one batsman did that. 102 is pathetic.Here was a chance to further tighten their grip on the urn. They lost it.

Stuart Clark went out of the team due to injury and there was never a problem with his form. He should have been in the line up right from Cardiff and he showed his worth today.

 The Aussie Innings

 Harmison started off well. Ideally all the bowlers should have been bowling full but Harmy, with his height can afford a spell on the ribs. He started the attack there and Katich was trapped. Watson and Ponting started off with such freedom that it looked like Australia already had a huge lead with them. David Lloyd called it a boundary fest and that’s what happens when the bowlers have nothing to bowl with. They were short, wide and both batsmen were helped along. 

Why don’t new ball bowlers in swinging conditions bowl full??

Ponting and Watson were chancy though. I cant forget a Harmy delivery which pitched on leg and absolutely squared up Watson and hit his box. Of an Anderson( if I’m right) in swinger, Punter was totally beaten and when the ball hit the outside of his leg, he wasn’t attempting to play a shot off it.He was initially trying to play at it but quit that attempt when the ball swung in. He couldn’t have been quick enough to play that. The batsmen took a leg bye and Billy Bowden signaled a dead ball. It was a fantastic decision to me but the commentators found it wrong.

The bowlers were visibly trying too much, looking for wickets without a specific plan. There was no patience. No consistency. That happened because they were trying to get Australia out for 100 or as little as possible. They had nothing to bowl with. Batsmen’s poor show affected the bowlers as well. Micheal Holding would agree with me I’m sure.

Just when I was thinking Stuart Broad was leaking runs and should be replaced by Swann, he produced a quick angling delivery to get rid of Ponting. Earlier, Watson was caught plumb in front off Onions and  Australia had two new batsmen in the crease. Broad produced another quick angling ball from around the wicket to get rid of Hussey. Its not been the best of times for Hussey but he shouldn’t be disturbed. I’ve seen many a middle order batsman with lengthier patches of poor form been given more time. Hussey will be back.

So at stumps on day one, the damage has been done for England. It’s a Herculean task from now on but I’m still looking forward to a collapse tomorrow morning.

Was good to see Mr. Dickie Bird watching the proceedings today.


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