I have been watching this series from the start in Brisbane. During today’s performance I started to get angry!
The day started with Australia on 30 without loss requiring 231 runs to win the match. Although Australia were firm favourites this would have been the highest fourth innings score to win a test match at the MCG for many years. I was just about to take up my seat shortly after start of play when I saw a chance dropped in the slips. It looked to me as if Alastair Cook had dropped a difficult chance at first slip off Stuart Broad’s bowling. On the radio commentary, they blamed Jonny Bairstow for not diving across from wicket keeper to take the catch. Broad was surprisingly taken out of the attack after bowling just 2 overs. Soon after this Cook drops a total sitter off Ben Stokes’ bowling. Catches win matches!!
After only half an hour of the day part time off spinner Joe Root came onto bowl. What’s going on? Aren’t we trying to win this match? We need our front line bowlers not part timers?
A wicket falls. Warner is caught behind from Bairstow. A wicket for Stokes. 64-1.
in the Aussie first innings England bowled really well. They bowled really tightly and made it difficult for the Aussies to score. In this innings England are really sloppy. Runs flow easily at 4 an over and the fielding is sloppy. Cook takes an age to make fielding changes and some of the crowd, including me, get annoyed.
Australia reach 100 for the loss of one wicket. Rogers gets his fifty.
Our front line spinner, Monty Panesar, hasn’t bowled yet. What’s going on? Cook finally turns to Panesar when the score is 118-1. But it’s far too late. Monty bowls badly and is hit for 10 off one over.
Runs continue to flow. A century partnership between Watson and Rogers. Then Chris Rogers gets his 100 off just 135 balls. Soon after Shane Watson gets his 50 off just 70 balls. Interestingly, 39% of Chris Rogers runs were through 3rd man but Cook refuses to place a fielder in that position.
This is getting embarrassing. Bresnan goes for 14 in one over. It’s a shambles.
Rogers finally departs for 116 and gets a standing ovation as he leaves the field. A wicket for Monty. However scoring continues to be very quick. Monty goes for 14 off an over.
Before long, at 2.26pm, Australia reach their target. I decide not to linger for the presentations.
I am now beginning to seriously question our captain. Some of the decisions today were, to me, inexplicable. Is the pressure of the job getting to him? Would it be better if he reverted to batting?
Over the four days of the test match the total attendance was 221,865. That’s a staggering number of people. I have enjoyed the spectacle of watching a match at the MCG but not the England performance.
I had an excellent seat to watch the action. It was two seats away from a seat which marks the point where the biggest ever 6 hit at the MCG landed. In 1993, during a Sheffield Shield match, a shot by Simon O’Donnell from the bowling of Greg Matthews landed there. It’s denoted by a plaque and the seat is a different colour to the others in the section. All I can say is it must have been one helluva strike!
So with the match finishing a day early this gives me more time to explore Melbourne. Stay tuned for blog updates on this.