England survive for memorable draw

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.

Monty and Andserson

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.

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One comment on “England survive for memorable draw

  1. Jonny Herbert-Smythe July 13, 2009 at 3:54 pm -

    Fantastic game and what an awe-inspiring climax. I’ve read some strange reviews in the press today suggesting that England were lucky to draw. How can you say that – England dominated the convicts for most of the 5 days. Decisions went against us (do the umpires have a sponsorship deal with Quantas?) and the ball didn’t quite run our way.

    Ponting is the least appealing and most appalling cricketer to stain our ‘mountains green’. His foul-mouthed tirade that was captured when Sir Jimmy rightly called for his second change of gloves was disgraceful. I vote he be disciplined and shipped back down under before another ball is bowled – we’d all be better off without him, and wouldn’t have to be subjected to him edging his way to another lucky hundred.

    Sir Stuart Broad was supreme and held the myre completely over the convict batsmen, beating them all ends up time and time again. How he didn’t end up with at least a five-for I’ll never know.

    Hip Hip for Lords. Good show.