Edgbaston Awaits……

Yes ladies and gentlemen the wait is ALMOST over!

Tomorrow sees the third installment of the 2009 Ashes series and this time it is the turn of Edgbaston, Birmingham to hopefully follow in what has been an amazing series so far.

I am going to the third day, my first ever ashes experience (bet it rains!)……

So after England’s fine win at Lords, many questions have to be answered in this test and with every passing day it seems to throw more questions into the ring.

Where should I start with my opinion on these?

Kevin Pietersen’s absence?

It can not be doubted he is an excellent batsman but due to injury and his mind in my opinion still having issues over the loss of the captaincy this maybe the blessing he and England need.

Yes he is a world class batsmen but it did feel he was been carried by the team, the break will do him good and hopefully he will return fresh for the winter.

Mitchell Johnson’s Inaccuracy?

Class as they say is permanent and form is temporary but the sudden fall from grace that Mitchell is currently experiencing beggars belief.

He will play as he offers more than his front line bowling and I feel he will benefit like any other player from bowling through this dip. He still takes wickets!

The Bell Factor?

It is a concern as his form before been dropped was poor but I am hopeful Ian Bell will do as Andrew Strauss did and benefit from this break from the limelight.

He has played well for Warwickshire and will come into the side having experience against the Aussies. We may need a dogged bat or two from him.

Elementary My Dear Watson?

A loss to the series thus far. He has been ever so unlucky with injury in his career since his test debut in 2005. His one-day and first class records speak for themselves.

I do believe he will play and I believe it maybe at the expense of Marcus North as Watson does offer the team more than North. His alround ability could be key. 

The Fred Effect?

A lot, in fact too much gets written about Mr Flintoff, but his class cannot be doubted. He will be key and hopefully fresh enough to play a key part in this and the other two tests.

More runs with the bat in the absence of Pietersen maybe key to the result England can push for or defend against.

Clark’s Control?

Seems like a very nice person and a very good line and length bowler. Australia need discipline in the bowling department and with Ben Hilfenhaus he can offer this.

Who is dropped for him to come in will prove a very big decision but it has to be one that needs making as his form at Northants proved the other day.

Strauss v Punter?

Proving to be a cracking battle between the two captains. I have a lot of time for Ricky Ponting unlike it seems many English fans and Strauss is growing as a captain.

The key decisions from these two will obviously change the game. The toss, changes of bowling and possible declarations are paramount.

It started off with a win, it was only ONE win?

As with any sport in England we win one match and then the whole country believes we can rule the world. It will not be that easy against the Aussies.

Their never say die attitude needs to be admired and as a country we need to be prepared for a nerve jangling few days and weeks ahead. Let’s not get too excited! Please!

My prediction?

As many of you will be aware by now my predictions usually do not come true but after winning the tickets for Saturday’s play I feel a bit more confident. It won’t last.

It is always a close call at Edgbaston, 2005 defends that. So far in the history of the ashes;

– England 5 wins, Australia 3 wins and 4 draws.

Hence this in my opinion will be a draw and the weather forecast is not promising for a result to be made from this game. I only hope I’m wrong. Check out the latest odds @ http://cricket.betfair.com/

Those are my views, let us hope it is a cracking match, fingers crossed on the weather. 

Thanks for reading and enjoy your sport viewing this week.

Many thanks.

Gaffers

P.s. My thoughts are with Felipe Massa and his family after the bizarre and horrific accident at the Hungarian grand prix qualifying session last Saturday.

I hope he makes a full recovery and will be able to race again in the near future.

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