So we lost the first Ashes test to England. They’re ahead 1-0 in the series, and it’ll be hard to claw things back from here.
More importantly, how weird does it feel to be a cricketing underdog again? In my 27-ish years of life, I have never truly experienced this type of feeling.
As a child of the McGrath, Warne, Waugh(s) era, I had been conditioned to 350+ first innings totals, obscene innings victories and imagery of Shane Warne popping corks on the balcony of Lords. This was my reality.
So it is therefore hard for me – and those of us who have experienced some 20 consecutive years of world cricket domination – to see Australia languish in this veritable quagmire. But languish we must, as we are in what has been described for the past four years as a “transition period.”
Some quick thoughts from the first test include:
- Ashton Agar: where the actual fuck has this guy sprung from? He must certainly be invested in heavily by Cricket Australia over the next 10 years and potentially groomed as an Australian captain down the track. The biggest issue for CA will be to keep him “grounded” given his new-found success and fame, but this shouldn’t be a factor because I’m led to believe he comes from a “good family.”
- Darren Lehmann: YES! Australia’s new coach is not risk-averse and appears to have the backing of his team. While Mickey Arthur’s sacking and the subsequent installation of Lehmann as coach reeked of xenophobia, there is something to be said for having a respected Australian cricketer in charge of the national team, as opposed to a South African (despite how much of a “nice guy” he may be).
- Australia’s bowling attack is better, on the whole, than England’s: While Swann and Anderson are match-winners in their own right, Australia’s attack seems slightly more balanced. Steven Finn copped a pasting from Agar(!) and Haddin, while Broad seems to lack the penetration and swing of Pattinson and Starc.
- Australia’s top-order needs to man the fuck up: This is abundantly obvious. Cowan, while he may bring a rare intelligence to the Australia team, is clearly out of form and must be replaced, post-haste, with Khawaja at no. 3.
- Stuart Broad is a cunt: No elaboration required.
- The Decision Review System (DRS) is a fucking joke, but the technology was vindicated at the end: While it was unsettling to see the test match decided upon a DRS referral, there is no denying that Brad Haddin did edge the ball that sealed Australia’s fate. But Australia need to figure out how to properly utilise their referrals. Objective consultation – between bowler,’keeper and captain – is key; emotion cannot override objectivity. Australian cricket has always thrived on emotion and impulsiveness, but the DRS system does not allow for rash decision-making. Cook kept a cool head and utilised his referrals effectively; Clarke – and his team-mates – did not.
The series is well and truly alive; however, England are certainly still favourites for the Ashes. But fuck it hurts losing to England at anything.
By Dave Edwards