Well, if I was surprised by Australia’s team announcement on Wednesday, it’s fair to say I was absolutely stunned by England’s yesterday, as I did not see that coming in any shape or form.
It totally wrecked the betting yesterday as it was impossible to back England with any confidence, and it showed just why England had been drifting most of the morning.
If anyone doesn’t believe that some people are in the know about these things long before us mere mortals, then just look at England’s odds yesterday – prior to the team announcement.
Anyway, the cricket betting odds at the start of day 2 sees The Draw at Evens, Australia at 6/4 and England at 9/2.
It’s really all stacked up against England now, unless they can bowl Australia out in around a session today, the game is gone. Not only have England got to bat fourth on this wicket, they are effectively down to 3 bowlers – they have been since before lunch on Day 1.
Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann bowled England right back into the match after lunch yesterday. The session of cricket was proper Test cricket, and at one stage Australia were really straining under the pressure built.
Fair play to Shane Watson, he held firm and he held the Aussie batting together. I’m not convinced he is a long term number 3, but if he carries on like that, there will be no argument.
I had to laugh when I listened to Watson’s interview after the end of play. When he was asked about getting his (DRS) review right for once, he rather foolishly (in my view) declared that he thought it was an umpires call, so his ‘out’ decision would have been upheld.
So Watson effectively said that he thought the review wouldn’t be overturned, and that the Aussie team would have lost a review, showing that some things don’t really – or probably never will – change!
With England, and although it’s easy to hammer them for their team selection, at least they were prepared to experiment. I wish they hadn’t, but we can’t have it both ways. I suppose the best way to look at it from now on is, I won’t criticise them in future for being too rigid.
Despite the criticism Chris Woakes has received, I think he was picked more for his batting than his bowling, so he has a second chance to put things right – although he certainly didn’t do himself any favours with his bowling yesterday.
While the only real consolation for Simon Kerrigan is that today surely can’t be any worse than yesterday. I think Monty can safely piss on the heads of as many nightclub doormen as he wants from now until the announcement of the Ashes squad, and still be a safe pick.
On a serious note, others haven’t always been dropped when they have got into trouble. So if Monty gets his head down from now until the end of the season, I see no reason why he shouldn’t be recalled for the Ashes tour.