There was a great joy in the Australian camp as Brett Lee successfully negotiated the last ball of the match from Steve Harmison. It was as if Australia won the match. Australia had just managed to live another day. How the mighty have fallen! The same people were calling the series one-sided even before it commenced.
The innings from Ponting was truly great for himself and his team. Before the last day of the match, many started to question the ability of Ponting to lead the team. There were few suggestions that Warne could have made a better captain. That is something that will always hurt the champion leg spinner. But to his credit, Warne has never let such disappointments get the better of him. He always gives his best as is evident in this test with both the bat and the ball. There is Anil Kumble who has a similar experience being an also-ran even with such a splendid record.
The Australians were never in the hunt for a win. They realised the futility of going after the target of 423 runs and played sensibly. It is this change in the attitude of Ponting and company that eventually saw them ward of the English challenge. Ponting received tremendous support from Warne and Clarke. Lee also rose up to the occasion and survived the threat posed by the Lancashire hero Flintoff. All the English bowlers performed to their best with the exception of Giles. Harmison was also below par through out this test match. Simon Jones and Flintoff looked threatening and Hoggard also created quite a few scares for the Aussies.That is perhaps the reason why the English failed to seal the issue in their favour. There were also a couple of umpiring decisions that went in favour of the Aussies- close leg before decisions. Martyn got a rough decision and that perhaps evens out the score of the Umpires.
The first three test matches have been really exciting as far as neutral spectators like me are concerned. There is no way test cricket can die if such matches are played. The last few overs were better than in any one-dayer. There were fielders surrounding the batsmen to take any chance. There was as many as seven slip fielders in the closing stages of the match.
The English are mightily disappointed at the outcome of the test. Now, can they overcome this result and land the shots in the next test or will the Aussies find their feet and turn around the English summer in their favour.