Monday, 6 December 2010

England... win!

Some say I've been waylaid by a mob of rampaging Tories trying to justify their economic policy. Others whispered that I was the victim of a freak yachting accident involving the England cricket team and Pope Benedict IX. Still more dreaded that I'd finally fallen victim to my own ego. All were wrong. My break from the internet was as a result of a ludicrous workload and a lack of anything interesting to post.

Well, now I do.

England have beaten Australia at cricket. In Australia. In the Ashes and not some poxy one-day thing. OK, so it's only the second Test, but the point is that we never, ever lead the Aussies in the Ashes in Australia.

We played well. Very well. Not just in piling on 620-5 dec, but also in taking 20 wickets and winning by an innings. Don't get me wrong, this Australia team is nothing compared to the great side at the start of the decade, a side with Waugh, Warne, McGrath, Lee, Gilchrist and Ponting all at their peaks. Throw in Langer and Hayden and you're talking a sensational team. The only survivor of that side is Ponting... and he's aged badly over the last couple of years.

He's still a danger. After 150 Tests and a Test average of over 50 you can't discount the talent of the man. He'll come good this series, hitting at least one big hundred on the way, but the rest of the side is lacking. Katich, Clarke and Hussey are all fine players - but they're not the likes of Adam Gilchrist.

But England deserve credit. Against a mediocre attack the batting lineup did the damage in fine fashion. Pietersen looks back to his best, as does Cook. Only Strauss didn't impress in the most recent Test - and he hit a ton at the Gabba. And as for the bowlers: Swann was imperious, Anderson's ever-dangerous and Finn has struck at crucial times. The best attack in the world is still young in cricket terms (Broad is 24, Finn is 21, Anderson 28 and Swann 31) and it all bodes well.

Roll on the next Test. I promise to enjoy it.

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