Ashes update, third Test, fourth day: Ian Bell, Andrew Flintoff, Matt Prior, Mitchell Johnson, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, Graham Onions and Shane Watson we salute you

Crikey; I can’t imagine a much better day’s Test cricket than that. Can you?

In fact, apart fromwhen Australia’s batsmen were thumping England’s attack to all parts of the Swalec Stadium on the second and third days of the first Test, I can’t remember a predictable session in the entire series so far.

Today was a perfect example of team cricket: by that I mean that picking an outstanding player of the day would not only be pointless it would be grossly unfair to the many who played their parts so well and ensured that a game rudely disrupted by the weather goes into its final day with at least two results on the cards.

First of all, there was:

Ian Bell: another delightful fifty, which he failed to convert into something greater, but there was enough sweet timing to engage the purist and then he had the decency, just as he was beginning to get bogged down, to get out and leave the stage clear for….

Matt Prior and Andrew Flintoff: Prior continued his bullish approach to batting in this series with a number of crisp strokes at a crisp rate, while Freddie, on his favourite ground for batting, at last played something more than a cameo, perhaps reminding Ricky Ponting why he left it 65 overs before bringing on Shane Watson. And when these two departed there was….

Graeme Swann and Stuart Broad: among the best No8s and 9s in Test cricket already, Broad played a series of magnificent shots, one down the ground off the back foot on the up to Mitchell Johnson coming round the wicket really taking the breath away and Swann matching Johnson boundary for sledge and word for word, but…..

Mitchell Johnson: had the last laugh, switching to round the wicket and fooling Swann with a slower ball which brought an end to the most entertaining over of the day and, by adding the Nottinghamshire spinner to Ian Bell as a victim, suggested his worst struggles are over and he will still have an important part to play in this Ashes. And continuing to make his mark was…

Graham Onions: who celebrated earning a partial central contract with another burst towards the end of the day which got rid of Simon Katich and troubled Mike Hussey after Australia had threatened to wipe off their deficit and opened the way for….

Graeme Swann: again, who bowled one of the finest overs of off breaks at Ricky Ponting which, had Rudi Koertzen’s radar not been out of synch would have resulted in the Australia captain being dismissed leg-before, but not allowing that disappointment to affect him my plundering his middle and leg stumps with a ball that turned perfectly between the stretching batsman’s bat and pad two balls later, and finally….

Shane Watson: who may not be experienced in the opening slot, but looks more comfortable than many in that position. He had a solid, attractive technique and he could steal the man-of-the-match at the last from any of the above if he can turn that into a long, long innings tomorrow

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Ashes update, third Test, fourth day: Ian Bell, Andrew Flintoff, Matt Prior, Mitchell Johnson, Graeme Swann, Stuart Broad, Graham Onions and Shane Watson we salute you

  1. Malcolm

    Surely the script writers cannot pen another Flintoff inspired victory. He takes another 5 for and leaving us 120 to win in 15 overs out he comes to opening the innings…

    You heard it here first! Ponting then says we deserved to win.

    Clinic appointmnet for 4.30 today, cuckoo cuckoo!!!

  2. John McNamara

    It was a great day, but to pick you up on one point – Ian Bell yet again showed why he shouldn’t be in the team. Both his innings (well done Rudi) had some stylish shots, but once again when substance was needed he fell short. Added to his dodgy temperament, he also showed quite an alarming technical weakness – both times he was out to Johnson, and the time Siddle seemed to get him (Hawkeye was probably being generous to Koetzen) were basically Bell missing balls that were hitting middle stump. Despite our strong position, our batting is incredibly weak, with both Bopara and Bell out of their depths

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