I wondered how long it would be before someone from Australia started to moan about the pitch having been favourably prepared for England and it’s the Sydney Morning Herald’s Peter Roebuck, the anti-English former Englishman, who has got the ball rolling with the following:
“Although they are loath to admit it, England ordered and prepared a dodgy deck. As it turned out the talk about producing a typical Oval pitch was all smokes and mirrors. England provided a track as dry as a camel’s tongue and as eager to spin as Gandhi.”
And then Malcolm Conn, never one known for biting his tongue in a fit of impartiality, moans in The Australian:
“There is the danger of a slow death on a wicket manufactured to ensure the result England so desperately needs to regain the Ashes….Bill Gordon should get an MBE.”
To be fair after the events of the second day it was always going to be more entertaining to read the Australian press than the English. At least they’re getting their excuses in early so it won’t sound so much like sour grapes when the urn is earned on the third or fourth days. And then, of course, should Australia mount a stunning comeback (and pessimist that I am I still won’t rule that out), they’ll look even more heroic.