Cow Corner

England power past Australia’s Perth panic

Cow Corner

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The build-up to this Perth Test saw Australia clutching at Beer, straws and
anything else they could get their hands on.

Jimmy
Anderson would be too jet-lagged to bowl, they hoped... Stuart Broad with his 0
runs and 2 wickets at 80 would be missed... A green-top would favour Australia...
Another spinner from St Kilda would recreate the Warne magic.

But
though everything indicated that he would play, in the end Beer was put on ice
- as were a multitude of puns.

Australia
seem desperate. The selection policy is inconsistent and incoherent.

Two
bowlers - Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus - were jettisoned from the team
after the first Test and are now back for the third - Johnson without bowling
another ball in competitive cricket.

And just
as curiously there was talk that the additions to the Australian top six Phil
Hughes and Steve Smith would provide the team with 'energy'. An ability to bat
is what the top order requires rather more urgently, and for the time being
these two are some way short of Test standard.

For all
Marcus North's faults, he actually looked a Test player before getting out in
his 20s in Adelaide (England fans who remember the Mark Ramprakash era will be
familiar with this scenario).

Hughes'
technique looks to have regressed in the last couple of years, and he was all
at sea even before playing around a straight ball.

As for
Smith, he seems behind Adil Rashid in his cricket development and it is an
interesting comparison how far the talented Yorkshire leg-spinning all-rounder
is away from the England side.

Ricky
Ponting can be compared to George Bush (lookswise and in thought process)
or Captain Mainwaring (in attitude) but he is certainly no Nero fiddling while Rome burns.

On the
contrary; as his captaincy falls away he has seemingly lost all
judgment of when to leave alone. His strike rate in his career is a little
under 60, he is scoring (and not that many) in this series at 82.

Trying
to hit his way into some form he rashly nicked a wide delivery from a grateful Anderson,
who took some time to find his line and length.

Chris
Tremlett bowled particularly well, and ended the day with more wickets than the
man he replaced, Stuart Broad, had managed in the previous two Tests combined.

The bowlers' successes
owed plenty to poor batting and fantastic slip fielding. Paul Collingwood took
a beauty to get rid of Punter and Graeme Swann held an even better one to
dismiss Brad Haddin - but none of Ponting, Clarke or Haddin should have been
tempted to play at the deliveries in the first place.

During
the Aussie era of dominance there was a sense of certainty that nothing would
be dropped by Mark Taylor, Mark Waugh and Shane Warne and you feel the same way
about Andrew Strauss, Swann and Collingwood now.

Despite
the beautiful sky in Perth, the storm from hell hit my shack in Brisbane as the
guttering fought a losing battle to stop damage on deck. Mike Hussey and Haddin
know what that feels like.

Only
Shane Watson of the other Aussie batsman in this series average over 25. Where
would they be without them?

To be
fair to Johnson he produced a ballsy 62 without which Australia might not have
made 200 and Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus emulated Darren Gough and Devon
Malcolm at the SCG in 1995 with a fun hit-out to delight home fans in
attendance. You need to grab joy where you can when you follow a rubbish side.
Cowers, then known as Calfers, remembers it well.

Man of
the day:
Chris Tremlett - Everything he was supposed to be six or seven years
ago when he came on the scene and deserved a five-for. His spell before lunch
might only be behind Jimmy's second-morning spell at Brisbane as the best in
the series.

Stat of
the day:
One - The number of hundreds Australia's under pressure captain has
had in his last 35 innings. In his career he averages one every six-and-a-half.

User
comment of the day:
"My husband wants to name our puppy 'Ash' as he reckons
England will win the ashes. No worries there then, looks like I am saving the
poor pooch being called 'Jasper!'" Nana - and her puppy - take
their support to the next level.

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