England prayed for rain, but it never came yesterday. Instead they had to rely on Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson to bat for 40 minutes at the end of Day Five to cling on for a draw in the first Ashes Test.
The game had its dull moments as the pitch offered little to both sets of bowlers, but the climax on Sunday was reminiscent of the scenes of 2005, with a full house raising the roof for every dot ball, and then celebrating the draw as if it were a victory.
To Andrew Strauss’ side, this result will feel like a victory, and to Ricky Ponting’s Australia, it will feel like a defeat. Did they deserve to be 1-0 behind? Probably, given the lack of bite in the attack, and the lack of runs by the top order.
But did they deserve a draw? Absolutely, after Paul Collingwood survived for most of the day as the likes of Strauss, Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff fell around him, and then when Monty arrived nervously at the crease and guided his team home, it seemed like a well-deserved, heroic draw.
It’s a rather sad irony then that Panesar is likely to be dropped for the second Test which starts at Lord’s on Thursday. The two-spinner tactic hardly paid off with England managing to take just 6 wickets in the game, and Graeme Swann is likely to be retained for his batting ability.
In my view, that should be the only change. Some are calling for further alterations following a mostly disappointing performance, and there is no doubt that improvement is required, but include Graham Onions and give this side another chance – consistency of selection seemed to work in 2005 even when we lost the first Test.