It’s been taking place in the middle of the night so I’ve been pretending that the state of England’s performance in the Ashes isn’t important. The hell it isn’t. It’s been gnawing away at me ever since the match started.
When I woke up Thursday morning I was hopeful, but worried. We weren’t looking like we were bowling at anywhere near the strength we need to and their batting looked as dominating as ever.
When I woke up Friday morning to hear that they’d declared with over 600 and that we were 50 for 3 I all but gave up.
When I woke up yesterday morning to hear that they hadn’t enforced the follow on I wondered what on earth Ponting was up to. Surely the emphatic victory was what they wanted? Batting again might tire and demoralise England some more, but it also gave Steve Harmison chance to get his radar sorted (I said chance, he didn’t, but he could have) and the possibility of the batsmen getting themselves in order.
This morning then, I found myself with something to cheer about. And this might be Ponting’s mistake. We’d all but given up on this match. We were demoralised. We were beaten. Batting again, particularly with the risk of bad weather on day 5, he suddenly gave the opportunity for any sort of performance to feel like a positive. If they’d enforced the follow on the game would like as not have been over yesterday and we would be feeling that a series defeat was inevitable. Instead we’ve got 43 from Cook, 96 from Collingwod and 92no so far from Big Kev. It’s still unlikely that we’ll hold on for a draw, but we’re sure going to feel a hell of a lot better at the end of this match than we probably should have.
The Australians have already blamed Ponting for losing the Ashes once. Let’s hope that this is another early misstep that leads to him failing to regain them. It’s certainly nice to see him being so sporting and giving us a chance to get ourselves sorted out.