Was that the best of Australia?

What a Test match that was, not necessarily for top class cricket, but more for top class entertainment and a bit of everything. In the cricket betting, England now find themselves at 1/6 to win the Ashes series outright, Australia and a drawn series are both 8/1.

The two stand out quality performers were Ian Bell and Jimmy Anderson. Bell can’t have played too many better knocks than his 2nd innings century, and to play an innings like that and not win man of the match shows just how well Jimmy Anderson did.

I was really pleased for Bell, he gets plenty of stick, but this time he did the business when it really did matter. As a biased Warwickshire fan, I’ve criticised him at times when I believe he has rightly deserved stick

His knock showed just what he is capable off though, and I really hope it is the start of another golden period for Bell. He is just too good a player technically, and should do better than he has been lately with the talent he has. Bell is now 3.50 to be top England series batsman at bwin.com/en/cricket.

I thought the Aussies showed tremendous fight throughout, and although I’ve never doubted they have a decent seam attack, they have surprised me with just how much fight they showed. Their 2nd innings batting display seemed quite gutsy.

Although I think their 1st innings display was pathetic. Take Ashton Agar’s one off knock out of the equation, and it was pretty rubbish. And let’s be honest, it was a one off knock.

I do wonder which is the real Australia? The 1st innings one, or the 2nd innings one? Was that 2nd innings showing as good as it gets for Australia? Did they also make the most of England’s customary slow start to a series?

If that is the case and England’s level rises, and Australia’s dips, then maybe a 4-0 thrashing could be on the cards? From an Australian perspective, it must be fairly dispiriting to give it your best shot and still lose.

Anyone interested in a one sided hammering, 4-0 England is 11/2, and 5-0 England is 13/2.

At the start of the Ashes, I did believe it would be closer than a lot of people were suggesting (I thought 2-1 England). Now to contradict myself….. having seen Australia close to winning the 1st Test, I actually feel England could hammer the Aussies here. I just can’t see England playing that bad again now, or not until the series is won anyway (just a warning with my views, I thought England would lose 4-0 in India last winter).

I’m not going into all the so-called controversies, but if Ashton Agar had been correctly given out stumped (on 6 in 1st innings), the Test match is over a day or so earlier. This supports my view that England could walk this now, as Australia would probably have been hammered inside 4 days.

I also felt a bit sorry for Aleem Dar, whom I believe to be probably the best umpire out there at the moment. The Stuart Broad incident seemed to be just one of those unexplainable aberrations that unfortunately occur in the best of them at times. Totally unexplainable, just a one off clanger.

It was unfortunate for Dar that the last ball of the match had to see him (correctly this time) over ruled with Brad Haddin’s dismissal. None of the TV commentators picked up the edge, and they suggested that even some of the England players didn’t seem convinced either.

Let me put things another way, given a choice between Dar and the other two umpires in this match, I’d take Dar 11 times out of 10.

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