Headlines Of The Day: English hottie James Anderson And Monty Panesar have saved the first Ashes Test! England were 70/5 with minimum 78.5 overs remaining, Ashes 2005 hero Freddie Flintoff and Paul Collingwood at the crease, a draw seamed like a miracle. Flintoff lasted for 23 overs, scoring 26 runs in 71 balls. Ponting took a low catch at slip to get rid of Fred, who kept looking at the Aussie fielders till Ponting told him "Yeah, I've caught it. You are out mate." Broad scored 14 off 47 deliveries, never looked comfortable at the crease. Swanny in. 2nd last over over before tea, Swann faces some chin music from Siddle. 3rd ball of the over hits Swann on his finger, physio called. 5th ball of the over, hits Swann on the elbow, physio has more work work to do here, Bumble says "Here comes the magic spray again." 6th ball of the over, smashes him in the helmet! 10 minute over. I didn't mind the delay though. No, not because I think time wasting would reduce some overs or it will rain but because if Swann and Colly bat till tea, I will be okay for 20 minutes, nervous at the moment. Swann and Colly shared a partnership of 62 runs off 117 balls. Swann was a bit unlucky to get out, the ball bounced lower than expected. Cutiepie in. I thought, all rests on the shoulders of Colly and jimmy because Monty is the next man in. First few balls faced by jimmy made my heart beat faster than ever. Jimmy survives 5 balls off Hilfy. Johnson continues to bowl far away from the off stump and a few deliveries outside leg, as if Australia are on a backfoot and trying to draw this Test. Making it easier for England. Bowling change, NH replacing Hilfenhaus. If you want to know why Australia are not going to win the Ashes, click here. 1st ball of Haurtiz over, Anderson steps back and cracks him square, 1 run, jimmy wants 2, come on Colly show some faith in Jim, he is a fighter. But no, Colly asked jimmy to step back. By the way, jimmy completes his half century of innings without a duck. 6th ball of Hauritz over, hits Colly on the pads, outside off, Punter takes a good "catch", appeals, Aleem Dar denies him, Ponting is in dismay, what for? This is the first time I've seen Straussy without a smile on his face. Johnson continues, Anderson on strike. 1st ball, Colly wants a run, jimmy sends him back, oh gosh! Colly would be gone had the fielder hit the stumps, but no, he's another Stuart Broad. Jimmy takes a single on the 5th ball. England 225/8, 15 overs left in the day. England need to score 15 runs to avoid an innings defeat. England 228/8 in 90 overs. 2nd ball of Johnson over, short, wide, jimmy smacks him for four! The good thing about jimmy is, he may be a tailender, he may not have scored a half century, he may give his give wicket away, but no matter what the situation is, he will smack a terrible delivery. Over 94: bowling change, Siddle replaces Johnson, gets Colly out. 11.3 overs left in the day. Monty in. I am wondering why he's in the team, he missed a run out, he hasn't done anything with the bat, took only one wicket. Had Sidebottom or Onions or Harmison been selected, England would still have a chance for saving this match. They field better than Monty, they bat better than Monty, they may have taken more than one wicket. Collingwood faced 245 balls, a class batsman, briliant fielder. Oh that reminds me, he has been Monty's batting coach over the last few days, hope Monty's batting has improved. Monty survives two balls, Anderson takes a single off the last ball. Jimmy survives the whole Hauritz over. Siddle steaming in, England need 5 more runs to make Australia bat again. Panesar takes a single off the last ball. The crowd cheers every block, a maiden over is cheered more than people cheered when Yuvraj Singh hit those six sixes. Jimmy hits Siddle for two fours in a row, Australia have to bat again! Minimum 7 overs reaming in the day's play with England 244/9. 102nd over: North replaces Siddle. 2nd ball of North's over, Panesar hits four! He's on 7 now, improved his Test batting average a bit. England's 12th Man Shafayat and physio waste a bit of time, oh this funny. Ponting says a few words to the bearded 12th man, who hits back at Punter. He's a frustrated captain. England 252/9, they have saved the Test!!! Ponting can't bilieve it! Nor can I! I have rarely been so happy in my life, never been happier! Test cricket is boring? Who says that? This was only a draw but so entertaining. I don't think anyone has ever enjoyed a Twenty20 as much as English Cricket Fans enjoyed today! The crowd cheers for our two new heroes, James Anderson and Monty Panesar! Collingwood's efforts has paid off. He not only batted well but teached Monty a thing or two about batting. Ponting was declared Man Of The Match. Booed when he came to receive it. Before the match, Australians have been saying that since the match is in Wales, not England, there will be more support for them. But whom are we kidding? Jimmy took two wickets, scored 26 in the 1st innings, 21 not out in the 2nd, great game for him. I can proudly say I'm a huge James Anderson fan. Johnson didn't look impressive in the match, I don't know how he took those 5 wickets. Australia usually plays better at the start of a series than they do at rest so England have a better chance to win Ashes. Perfect game for England. Tests are exactly what they are called, they test you. But England were not tested against West Indies in the 7 Tests they played this year. They were tested in this game though. The female fan in me wants to see Broad play but the cricket fan doesn't. I'd rather have Onions, Sidey or Harmy. Monty must be dropped too. England have a lot of work to do. The batsmen were too tensed. Kevin, too defensive. In this Test England proved that when they have to draw a Test, all the No.11 batsmen have equal ability. Cook needs to be more responsible. Bring in Belly for Bopara, who failed against Sri Lanka, scored all his tons against West Indies, lucky to make his Ashes debut. When Collingwood reached his half century, it looked like he's showing the bat to the dressing room. England batsmen need to do their job, bowlers usually do theirs. This was Australia's highest total against England in 75 years. This was England's worst bowling performance in a long time. Next Test begins on 16th at Lord's, the squad will be announced this afternoon. Cheero!
After all the talk surrounding the Ashes, Glenn Mcrath predicting a 5-0 Australia win for the 3rd time in a row, Ashes finally got underway yesterday. Cardiff, where a Test is being played for the first time, is in Wales, not England. No one knew exactly how the pitch is going to be, although most believed it would help spin. England captain Andrew Strauss said before the match that there is something in this pitch for everyone.
England won the toss and choosed to bat first. England didn't started the day well, Alastair Cook fell to Hilfenhaus on 10. Bopara, Strauss got the starts, both scoring 30 odds but didn't go on to score big runs. Bopara fell to Johnson on a slower delivery, soft dismissal. Pietersen and Collingwood showed some resistance by scoring 60 odds. Prior and Flintoff entertained the crowd. It was good to see Freddie back among the runs. Siddle has been bowling well all day without much luck but finally bagged two vital wickets. Jimmy was sent as a nightwatchmen, a move which surprised many, delighted me. Although I would have been happier if Prior and Flintoff would bat till the end, I didn't mind seeing jimmy on the first day of Ashes. I don't understand why England sends Broad before Swann, who opens the batting for Nottinghamshire. England finished the day with 336/7 with James Anderson not out on 2, meaning he has played 49 innings in his career without getting out on duck. It's a rare record for a No.11 batsman. I've seen him getting out on duck in one dayers a few times, god knows why no bowler has got him out on duck in Tests. His highest score in Tests came when he was sent as a nightwatchmen, scoring 34 against South Africa at Leeds, Headingly in July last year while his highest in ODIs is 15.
Back to the match, I think it's evenly poised with Australia coming back in the match with the wickets of Prior and Flintoff late in the evening. England are playing two spinners which is a bit risky because Monty has not been bowling two well in recent times. The man missing out is Graham Onions, who was selected in the 13 man squad alongwith Ian Bell for the first Test. Harmison is back in contention by taking wickets for England Lions against Australia just before the first Test. The match is going to be even more interesting today because England's strength is bowling and Australia's stregth is batting. It will be very interesting to see how jimmy looks and bowls, he is in the form of his life, swinging both ways consistently. This is his chance to become an England hero, an Ashes hero.
When I first heard about the concept, I was very critical of it, mostly because I was worried about the bowlers. And 10 wickets for 20 overs doesn't seem like a good idea to me. The first Twenty20 game I seriously watched was the semifinal between Leicestershire and Essex in the Twenty20 cup 2006. I also saw young Stuart Broad for the first time during that match. It got me interested, so I watched the final between Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire. Broady took David Hussey's wicket, which impressed me a lot. Now I'm a female, I can't keep talking about a bloke without mentioning his looks, he looked awesome, he had cold which made him look even more cute. I loved the way Nasser Hussain was commentating at that time, he kept saying, "Hit the deck hard young man, hit the deck hard". I just hoped this young bowler would come into the England side soon. And so he did, so he did. He debuted at Bristol in a Twenty20 game against Pakistan. He took 2 wickets in 2 deliveries, Shoaib Malik and Younis Khan. He also made his One day debut very soon, at Cardiff in the series following the Twenty20. Only 7 overs were bowled in the Pakistan innings, but that was enough for Broad to pick his first wicket in One Day Internationals, Shoaib Malik.
But his career was not going to be so fruitful, he was smacked for six sixes in an over by India's stupid slogger, Yuvraj Singh. I don't thin' he bowled that badly and Yuvraj Singh didn't show any bravery by hitting a 21 year old bowler for sixes in a small ground (Grounds in South Aftrica are petite) when his on-going battle was with Freddie Flintoff. Fred even got him out in the next over. And I don't think you can be called a great batsman for hitting sixes in a small ground when your average in Tests is 35. Twenty20 can never make anyone's career, it can only break career. I'm glad that it didn't effect Stuart badly. I'm sure that if an Indian bowler would have given that many runs, he would have been dropped, FOREVER.
Now, don't get me wrong people, I don't hate this format, i enjoy it, I'm just not in support of the Twenty20 tournaments. Too much of anything is toxic. I don't mind one or two Twenty20s in a tour but I don't see the need for a Twenty20 tournament, Twenty20 doesn't always ensure that the best team wins and obviously 20/9 is even worse. Also, there are too many tournaments in cricket these days, which has led to the reduction in series between countries. This year, we already saw IPL and ICC World Twenty20 and there is more, APL, Champions Trophy, Champions League Twenty20. I know some would argue that out of these, only ICC World Twenty20 and Champions Trophy are part of the FTP but it's quite tragic that Dwayne Bravo played in the IPL when West Indies were struggling in England. Personally speaking, I don't want to see any of these, not even Champions Trophy, only ICC World Cup (One Day offcourse) is good. Until next time, take care, Cheers.