There have been a lot of rotten tomatoes thrown at the Australian bowlers this tour, especially Peter Siddle and Mitchell Johnson. They average 40 and 42 respectively.
England have two bowlers with averages of over 50 (the benchmark of proper shit) and their national hero Freddie has a bowling average of 48. He has taken 7 wickets in the series with 5 coming in his Lord’s haul.
Only Onions and Anderson have bowled well for them in this series, and then only when the ball has swung. Today the ball did not swing, and England never looked like getting 4 wickets, let alone 8.
Michael Hussey and Shane Watson started off nervy. Neither ever looked like staying in, and after England brought on their best bowler of the series, Anderson, Watson was caught behind. Hussey scratched and nurdled for another hour as he tried gamely to hold onto his baggy green cap.
Eventually he was out to Broad, who has gone from the opening bowler at Cardiff to not getting the ball until the 50th over in this innings. At this stage, just before lunch, England looked like they could put serious pressure on Australia.
North and Clarke formed a partnership so solid that from half an hour after lunch Australia looked safe. The only live chance either batsman gave was when Andrew Strauss threw the ball to Bopara. Clarke cracked a half tracker (a ball you’d be embarrassed to bowl) straight at Strauss who dropped it.
At least one English journalist asked, “Has he dropped the Ashes”.
North pushed hard for his hundred, too hard, and was caught for 96 to a classic catch from Anderson. Clarke shoewed his experience (even though he is younger than North) and slowly got himself to his hundred. The only serious scare Australia had on the day was when a bomb threat was called in on the pavilion.
England now has plenty of worries going into Headingley. Swann often struggled with his length, unless he was trying to bowl full tosses and half trackers. Flintoff did not take a wicket in this match, and looked like a reanimated corpse that hadn’t been reanimated at times. And Stuart Broad continues to be toothless.
Australia’s plan was to bat out the day, they did so by only losing 3 wickets, and ended up 5/375. It was amazingly easy, most of the luck came when the game was obviously already a draw when Clarke had a ball hit his stumps and not dislodge the bails and he was caught off Ravi Bopara on a no ball.
England need swing to win another test, Australia need Mitchell Johnson to win one.
Some people are already wondering if one nil is all we will get. Not me. I think one all sounds way cooler.