Colly To The Rescue

As 6.40pm on Sunday grew ever closer, I decided to change my mind and do a review of the 1st Ashes test whilst previewing the 2nd test.

This was decided after a fantastic 1st test which was a fitting start to the summers cricket and I wanted to get excited, but as a cricket fan, sorry an English cricket fan I couldn’t.

But thankfully we had Paul ‘Colly’ Collingwood.

My reasons are obvious we should have lost the test and but for some resilient batting, a little bit of fortune from the English, sorry Welsh weather and some poor bowling in the final 20 overs from the Aussies.

After waiting two and a half years since the whitewash down under but more importantly the 4 years since we won the ashes back in that famous summer of 2005, the anticipation was almost too must.

Thankfully this first test lived up to all the billing and proved to be a superb advert for test cricket. A very pleasing outcome for all concerned. Well except the Aussies who fully deserved to win this test.

Though someone needs to remind the Aussies that the game of cricket is based around taking 20 wickets, yes 20, sorry if that’s surprised you. Some would believe it is only 19.

Cardiff needs to take credit for producing a five-day ashes test match, the first outside of the two playing nations homelands. It proved to be a decent test venue.

Where to begin with the two teams?

England have to admit for the majority of this match they were poor in many areas of the game and appeared to be playing in one-day mood for most of the time. It has to be a case of adapting to the demands and rigours of test cricket, we cannot continue to swing the bat.

Many players got in then got out and the main batting praise has to be given to Paul ‘Colly’ Collingwood. I am not his biggest fan but whilst watching the 1st days play I said to a friend that he is what you need when it is going against you, or as Athers (Michael Atherton) calls him, Brigadier Block – fitting I think you’ll agree?

The bowling from England was a non event and apart from a Colly cameo and some aggressive stuff from Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff it was a poor display.

As for Australia, superior with the ball, despite a bowling attack many cricket fans had not heard of, this same attach took South Africa apart earlier this year. Typical of us English for the over-optimism and only believing what we want to believe. Nathan Hauritz put our spinners to shame.

The early T20 World Cup exit had allowed the Australian batsmen to prepare mentally for the rigours of test cricket and this was shown with four of them making hundreds for the first time in ashes history.

Ricky ‘Punter’ Ponting was a joy to watch and yet again proved why he is one of the finest batsmen ever to play the game. His captaincy apart from the final twenty overs was superior to Andrew Strauss, is that Strauss fault?

Partly but then is Strauss a natural leader? I think not. Punter is a natural and is gelling a new team together. Well it will be England’s job to stop them first and then think about winning the next test match let alone the series.

Lord's Cricket Ground

Problem for England is the next test is at Lord’s and this is a ground where all opposing players raise their games and want to win more than usual. It is an unbelievable 75 years since England have beaten Australia at Lord’s, time for a change I feel.

This will pose a completely different test from that at Cardiff. I would be surprised to see Australia make any changes, especially as Brett Lee is still unfit, though England will drop one spinner, probably Monty Panesar and another change will depend on the fitness of Freddie.

Steve Harmison has to start for what my opinion is worth. All I can say is I cannot wait for this second test to begin and the coverage of the 1st test on Sky Sports was fantastic, especially my favourite David ‘Bumble’ Lloyd.

The summers quintuple blockbuster has screened it’s first episode, sit back, crack open a beer and enjoy the other four episodes.

True cricket fans will!

Thanks for reading.

Enjoy your sport.

Cheers

Gaffers.

P.s. My best wishes are with John Hartson and his family at this difficult time as John faces a fight against Cancer.

The disease has spread from starting as testicular cancer to his brain and lungs, very much like Lance Armstrong. I only hope he is as fortunate.

Good luck John and I only hope you fight through this disease.

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