Captain's knocks, you've gotta love 'em. Andrew Strauss was so deep in concentration, watching intently as the swinging ball from Mitchell Johnson took his off stump, no addition to his overnight 161.
Is The World's Second-Best Test All-Rounder (And Third Best Bowler) all washed up? Is his mum a mole (spelling correct) for the England and Wales Cricket Board? Is his karate-ka WAG up for the chop? How else can we explain the worst Australian performance at the Home of Archery since the days of Great Hedley Verity Sticky? Or are Ricky Ponting's captaincy skills to blame for everything?
There are few things more exciting in sport than the cliff-hanger of a Test match cricketing team hanging on for grim death in the final session of the fifth day to grab a draw. (Are you listening, IPL franchisees?)
It's one thing for us armchair nincompoops to take the piss whenever a bowler concedes his hundred runs for the innings. For the bowlers themselves to make light of the occasion with the full complicity of the captain, as we saw at the Gerddi Soffia on Saturday, was ridiculous.
Two days left, Australia will not lose at the Gerddi Soffia. They might win. I'm backing the Welsh weather gods (if they have any).
It was a day that saw Simon Katich become the first player to score a Test hundred in Cymru. Ricky Ponting notched his 38th Test hundred, and inflatable kangaroos were held aloft everywhere when he passed 11,000 Test career runs. (Except, of course, that exactly 100 of those runs were scored against the ICC World XI in that ghastly Super Series aberration of October 2005.)
Your team is 241 for 4, twenty overs till stumps on the first day. You are one of the senior players in your team. You are 69 not out. The opposition bowler pitches a slow ball short and about two metres wide of off stump. Do you:
- Leave it alone?
- Take two steps down to the pitch of the ball and smash it to the cover fence for four?
- Keep your feet still, stretch as far as you can to pull the ball off the cue-end of the bat lofting it to the on-side?
The rickeyre.com Ashes BoG (Best on Ground) award returns for 2009, as I give votes on a 3-2-1 basis to the best players in each day's play of the England v Australia Test series.
As I said on Friday, Shane Warne has wrapped up the 2006-07 Midwinter-Midwinter, the rickeyre.com BoG award for this summer's Ashes series.
(BoG stands for Best on Ground, a more appropriate term I believe than MVP)
The Midwinter-Midwinter is not an Award, Trophy, Prize or such, it is simply the Midwinter-Midwinter. Named after one of the few cricketers to have played for both sides in Australia v England Test competition.
Not since the Harlem Globetrotters last beat the Washington Generals has a foregone sporting conclusion been so rapturously and emotionally received by a sell-out crowd.
All over by lunchtime. Australia 5, England 0. Warne 708, McGrath 563, Langer 7698, Buchanan 68-11-10. Lots to reflect upon and digest, but that will have to wait for this evening.