The Ashes: First Test, Day Three Talking Points

It was another brilliant day of cricket at the Gabba today, particularly if you are a fan of the men in the baggy green. Australia have, since the final session of day 1, won every session of this test match and today was another clean sweep. With two days to go, there can only be one result in this game save that the rain bucketing down on my roof may still play a role on the ultimate outcome.

Having watched, again, every minute of day 3 live (but for 15 minutes after lunch) here are my talking points arising from the day:

The English are rattled: and it is showing!

A funny thing happened midway through this day of cricket: the Poms started barking at each other. First it was Prior at the Captain. Then it was Swann at Prior (after an errant throw). Then it was Broad at Prior (after he did not move quickly to intercept a 4). From a unit united only 36 hours before hand all of a sudden the wheels were falling off. Things did not improve after Australia declared: J Trott’s display with the willow was indicative of a muddled outlook and a rattled psyche.

D Warner: I salute you!

I have been a staunch critic of the selection of David Warner and that was before he tried to deck Joe Root and all of the other off field palaver that he went through this year. I was concerned about his temperament and about his technique standing up to the rigours of test match cricket. Today he proved me wrong. His innings today was one of both sound temperament and technique: it was almost like we were watching Warner mature on the spot. No longer was he wafting at balls outside off stump, no longer was he, from I was sitting, picking fights with the opposition. His driving was sublime, his defence solid and he set a solid, if not spectacular tempo. It might have been his 4th hundred but this one will be remembered as the one that won the diehards.

Cook v Clarke: stop the fight now!

I commented earlier in this test match that Michael Clarke has had an excellent tactical match. I will go further now, having seen Captain Cook seek to marshall his troops today, and say that Michael Clarke has metaphorically played Alastair Cook off the break in this game. Cook, again, today seemed bereft of ideas and was simply reactionary. I lost count of the number of times a ball was struck in the air to a particular part of the field that was unmanned only to see a fielder move there the very next ball. There seemed today to be no plans in the English arsenal to get the Australian batters out, other than the idiotic plan to milk the strike to Michael Clarke upon his arrival.

Absent a day of batting of Laxman / Dravid proportions from Cook and Pietersen tomorrow, I would not be blocking out my diary on Monday to watch to Day 5: Australia should finish of the English on Day 4 and post its most important victory of the Michael Clarke era.

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