England has won the first Test at Trent Bridge in Nottingham by the narrowest of margins. 14 runs isn’t a big victory in anyone’s book and the game ended up being far closer than many predicted before a ball was bowled. Australia’s laughable preparation to the series came to a head when they sacked their coach and replaced him with ex-player Darren Lehmann. Getting humped 4 0 in India, ‘homework gate’, and one of their batsmen attempting to assault an England player on a night out all pointed to a comfortable England win but it didn’t turn put that way in the first test.
Talking points from the first test are numerous. The first thing I need to make clear is that the Ashes (and especially Ashes series where England are any good) bring out your cricket fans who only really get involved once every 2 or 4 years – which is fine; I’m the same with international rugby (which I’ll come onto later) and it’s great to see Cricket on everyone’s lips. The downside of this is that certain media people or celebrities all of a sudden become experts and desperate to give their opinion at any possible point.
The main ‘controversy’ from the First Test was England’s Stuart Broad’s decision not to admit he was out when he edged the ball to an Australian fielder. I’ll not go over the fable of ‘The Spirit of Cricket’ as it’s a total myth – Stuart Broad is paid a fortune to help England win cricket matches, not to hold up a principle. In what other sport do you see players overturning referring decisions in the opposition teams favour? Australian players and team had no problem with Broad and the whole thing should have blown over but the likes of Piers Morgan and some bloke who wrote a book on Evolution have pronounced their disgust and shock at the whole thing – which the media jumped on. Cricket is a sport superbly analysed by the written and spoken media. It is miles ahead of football but often during an Ashes summer chief or senior sports writers will switch from covering pre-season to the cricket and they bring their football sensationalism with them. Bore off.
The umpiring across the test was poor, with both teams getting some shockers and Australia managing to make the DRS as effective well as corner to Newcastle United. Overall England played some really poor cricket and won, whereas Australia played some really turgid stuff, sprinkled with genius from 19 year old debutant Ashton Agar who pulled his senior colleagues out of the mire with a world record high score of 98. He clearly isn’t a number 11 batsman but England’s inability to stay calm and bowl out the opposition tail isn’t new and it’s becoming a concern.
Jimmy Anderson was sensational for his 10-158 in the match and he really is the world’s best bowler in my opinion. Ian Bell’s match winning Hundred was seamless. Bell’s a class act and he could become world class with some consistency but I’ll not dwell on that. A crucial innings. KP and cook all weighed in with runs and only Bairstow and Root struggled for runs. Runs will come for them both and I hope we stick with the same team for Lords on Thursday even if Steven Finn was Australia’s best bowler. I like Finn and he can bowl well over 90mph with genuine pace and bounce. Lords is his home track and he’s had hardly any cricket all summer – he’ll come good. England won the game after being skittled for 215 on the first day on a flat deck. This bodes well for the rest of the summer in my opinion. I’m going 3 – 1 England.
The early part of this glorious sporting Summer was dominated by the British and Irish Lions tour to Australia which ended up in a famous 2 Test to 1 victory. I don’t follow Rugby at domestic level but take a keen interest in the international game. I’m no expert but know what’s what and I know this series victory is one of the great accomplishments in sport. To win any Test match in the Southern Hemisphere is incredibly difficult and to win a series with the best players of the British Isles and Ireland, with little over 6 weeks to try and forge a team is sensational. Around 40,000 Englishman, Scots, Welshman and Irishmen flocked to Australia and they saw the Lions, whose existence was questioned after humiliation in New Zealand in 2005.
They regained pride in South Africa in 2009 going down 2 1 and have now cemented the Lions place in the Ruby calendar with their first series win in 16 years and it was great to witness while they achieved it.
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