The Reuters global sports blog
England make second-tier Aussie attack look too good
Australia have no Shane Warne, no Glenn McGrath, no Brett Lee and no Stuart Clark, yet England still managed to lose three wickets on the opening morning of the first Ashes Test and failed to take the sort of grip on the match, and the series, that was there for the taking.
They lost four more wickets over the course of the day, to finish on 336 for seven, but it was a case of England playing themselves into trouble rather than any genuine menace on the part of the Aussie attack (the exception being the beautiful inducker from Peter Siddle that did for Matt Prior late on).
Don’t get me wrong, the bowlers all stayed honest and deserved a bit of luck but compared to the days of Warne and McGrath this is a second-tier attack.
Alastair Cook’s pointless waft at a wide one from Hilfenhaus brought Australia a first wicket they must have been worrying would not come in the opening session. Mitchell Johnson bowled a much better second spell but still Andrew Strauss should not have succumbed so meekly to the bouncer that got him. And Johnson was in the wickets again shortly before lunch when Ravi Bopara fell for his slower ball hook, line and sinker.
England played better in the other two sessions but they continued to lose wickets to mediocre balls, when they were barely under any pressure. Kevin Pietersen’s shocking shot was probably the low point from England’s point of view but he was not the only culprit.
Credit to Australia for hanging in there but England will be kicking themselves. 400 looks a long way away now.
A SWEEP TOO FAR: Kevin Pietersen hits out watched by Brad Haddin and Michael Clarke during the first Ashes cricket Test at Cardiff, Wales on July 8 2009. REUTERS/Philip Brown