WHAT A LOSS!
There are few instances in the history of test cricket that a team lost after putting up over 500 runs in the board and still end up the loser. The Ashes win by England in 2005 was not a fluke. It was the result of some great cricket played by a bunch of determined cricketers from England. But the loss in the second test made that victory look like a fluke.
The moment Giles grassed the chance offered by Ponting, the match and with it the entire series slipped out of English hands. Ponting has been scoring runs by the hundreds and he made the most of the let-off. Michael Clarke came good with a ton after a long time. Hussey only added to his growing reputation. It is really baffling that the Aussie selectors ignored a player of such class and caliber in the last Ashes. Gilchrist contributed with a knock of substance after a while.
Collingwood and Pietersen rendered the Aussie big guns like Warne and McGrath ineffective. Hoggard was the lone English bowler to cause difficulties to the home batsmen while Flintoff bowled well in patches. The burden of captaincy is having the effect on the free-flowing brand of cricket played by the Lancastrian. Flintoff was one of the architects of the last series between the two teams.
In the second innings, the English batsmen were on a mission to lose their wickets and the match. Warne bowled as only as he can and picked up four wickets. The wicket of Pietersen gave fresh energy to Warne. The ball was similar to the ball bowled to Mike Gatting in terms of effect. Pitersen does have this habit of coming up with shots that border on overconfidence.
The Aussies scored the runs with Ponting and Hussey once again shared the spoils.
Duncan Fletcher erred in not picking up Monty Panesar. Giles mostly bowled a line that was once famously desribed by the Indian commentators as ‘negative’. Moreover, Giles did little to justify the supposedly superior batting talents.
The English have to salvage some pride in the remaining matches.