Saved by taffy rain

crowd nutters and a bit of shenanigans.

That’s what saved England going into the Lord’s Test one nil down, what with England having beaten Australia just the once since 1896 at headquarters it’s a lot to be thankful for.

Forget Collingwood’s final day knock, though remember that he gave his wicket away again with a poor shot, he left Monty and Anderson facing those final 11 overs together and he was lucky they saw them out. It would have, should have, taken one decent delivery to finish it and make Collingwood’s innings meaningless, might as well have got out first ball and saved us all the bother and strain.

Forget all that if all those overs hadn’t been knocked off from the weather, 58 in total, would they have saved the day? Then it was down to time and that wasted by those muppets that ran on the park helped and then the skulduggery, sending on the 12th man and the physio. It’s a poor show when you are shown up by Australians for playing in the spirit of the game but on the other hand when you get the Aussie captain indulging in their national pastime of whingeing then it is almost acceptable.

So in the end Anderson and Monty though did see those overs away, couldn’t see them lasting another 58 though could you? Well the pair had to do something to make up for their bowling. People keep talking up Anderson but when the pressure is on he’s gone, short, wide and fodder, do even his fans think he instils any fear in the likes of Ponting? Monty, well after being screwed up by all and sundry he has to get his confidence back, something that will be a struggle if Strauss is going to captain as he did in this game.

It was one of the pluses England went into the game with, better attack, better spinners and better captain, well Ponting is still no Vaughan but then neither is Strauss. An area he seems to have gone backward in as he does it by numbers, 50 and 20Twenty as he set one day sides for the spinners. What do you want of them, to take wickets or restrict runs, neither is much of an option with a spread field, yeah you might save boundaries but runs are easy the scoreboard will keep ticking over and what wickets are you going to get with no slips or bat-pad men?

Only decent thing Strauss did as captain was not over celebrate getting out of the game without a defeat. They keep saying they’ll learn lessons from poor games and performances, it’s something they never actually seem to do but this time they might have actually learned a lesson from Australia. When England heard them going nuts after scraping a draw in 2005 it gave England all they needed to go on and win that series.

So now all eyes on the squad announcement for Lord’s, what changes will be made, will Harmison be back in, which of the spinners will be dropped?

Now should Harmison have been in the first XI for Cardiff? No, not on that pitch, slow bouncers wouldn’t have made much of a difference. Should he be in now? Well if he is it has to be made known to him that it’s for this test only. Why? Well because there is a huge difference between Harmison fighting for his place and Harmison guaranteed his spot. The former produces bent back, hostile spells and wickets the latter gets you that first delivery in the last Ashes series. Sloppy, workshy, homesick, crybaby, couldn’t give a stuff bowling.

Who would he replace, well neither Broad or Anderson did anything with the ball, new or old, to justify a place. You can’t keep Anderson in just because he batted sensibly yesterday cause if it doesn’t swing, useless half trackers. Broad needs to be asked what he wants to be as a bowler, if it’s a Harmison then get him to work on the batting he’s more future with that, if not then he has to be shifted towards a line and length, top of off stump, man. A McGrath a Gus Fraser, strangle ’em to death. He has the ability, has the height, has the brain. Either could easily be replaced with Onions.

Will they go with two spinners at HQ? If not which goes, Monty has a decent record at the ground, Swann did OK in his last test there, but that was against very poor opposition, Swann has the batting ability but I’ve always said Monty isn’t as bad as everyone seems to think, though he isn’t as good as his mate. And maybe this is the crux of the matter – the all rounder.

Fred, what to do with Flintoff. We don’t win with him in the side, one fairly noticeable series aside, but since that series England are statistically more likely to win without Fred in the side. Others play better, lift themselves, when the expectations aren’t on one man’s shoulders. With bat in hand he can destroy sides but doesn’t do it on a regular basis, with ball in hand he can bully sides, get them jumping and dodging. But he doesn’t run through sides, all the good work doesn’t equate to wickets, what’s he got only 3 five wicket hauls in the first class game one in tests. And if this game showed anything it’s he can only batter the opposition in his first spell of the day, after that it looks like time and injuries are having a greater say, when that’s the case he doesn’t intimidate and runs flow where once he kept it tight.

Tough choices and that hasn’t even taken into account the batting which was inept all round, ah but last time England actually lost the first game and came back to win the series. Yeah but in that game they roughed up and skittled out a side with far batters players and faced far better bowlers.

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