Sunday, July 03, 2005

Aus v/s Eng

Well what a thrilling finale it was between Australia and England....Australia raced off to their usual final start, blasting Simon Jones and Gough.....but this England team hasn't become the second best team in the world by chance...they have two players in Harmison and Flintoff who can really take the game with the scruff of the neck, and that's what they did. Both Harmison and Flintoff bowled exceptionally well taking full advantage of a helping wicket to take Australia from 50/0 to 93/5. Harmison has been all over Ponting this series, though this time it was a soft dismissal down the leg-side, but this doesnt augur well for Ponting in the upcoming ODI series and the big thing ASHES. It was again down to 2 inform Aussie batsmen Symonds and Hussey, Symonds was scratchy throughout but did well to keep his end and score few valuable runs..Hussey was really fluent. He is one of the few positives Australia will take away frm the series, he batted with authority and composure rare for a newcomer and scored few crucial runs with the tail to take Australia to a fighting 196. Vaughan actually let Australia off the hook by bowling Giles and Collingwood where he could have brought in Harmison or Flintoff to close off the Australian innings...They were economical but didn't took wickets and Australia reached a decent score of 196. He might have thought that 196 is too low a total, but i guess he forgot the Aussie duo of Mcgrath and Lee.

The start of England innings was a bit surprising with Trescothick who has looked totally out of sorts against Mcgrath in this series trying to hit out at Mcgrath inspite of a low total. That was followed by a beamer from Lee to Trescothick and things were hotting up in this already heated series..Trescothick poor run against Mcgrath continued and he gave a relatively easy catch to skipper Ponting. In next over Lee bowled Strauss on a full ball [a clear weakness of Strauss which Aussies have took advantage of in this series]. It was followed by dismissal of Vaughan of an over-ambitious pull off Mcgrath. Then came the danger man Pieterson, he started off with a fluent drive off Mcgrath, but the Lee got him with a real good delivery, Mcgrath soon accounted for Flintoff, another danger man and soon England were reeling at 33/5. But England's newly found self-belief and Australia's weakness of having just 2 wicket taking bowlers in Lee and Mcgrath [with Gillespie out of form] paved the way for an English fightback. Symonds bowled a miserly spell of 0/23 in 10 overs but England kept up with the asking rate through some good hitting by Jones of Gillespie and Hogg. And as they extended their partnership to dangerous proportions Ponting was forced to bring on Lee and Mcgrath but to no avail. It looked ominous signs for Australia with just 9 overs remaining and just over 6 an over required with 5 overs to be bowled by part-time bowlers. At this crucial time Ponting turned to Hussey who showed a great temperament in bowling too after a gritty batting display....A couple of dot balls of his bowling led to a pressure on Collingwood and Jones which led to a risky run, resulting into runout of Collingwood and Aussies were right back into it. Then Hogg accounted for Jones, while Hussey bowled Simon Jones out and Aussies were in control. But Giles and Gough the two experienced campaigners had other ideas. A streaky boundary over the Gilchrist's head brought them closer. In last Mcgrath's over they needed 9 runs. It was going to be tough against the meanest of bowlers, but Mcgrath bowled a no-ball on first ball which gave England crucial 2 runs with 6 balls to spare. A couple of Gough drives brought them to 3 runs of 2 balls. On penultimate ball Gough was runout with a cool headed throw from Mcgrath. Last ball 3 runs were needed with Giles on strike. Mcgrath bowled an in-cutter which might just have hit outside the line of off-stump and there was a huge appeal for lbw, between this appeal the ball went to third-man and Giles and Harmison scampered across for a couple to TIE this ever exciting match.

If this match is any indication then the remaining 3 ODI's are going to be pretty
interesting as well, and so is the BIG thing ASHES. Though i believe in Ashes Aussies will have an upper hand 'coz they will have 1 more wicket-taking bowler in SHANE KEITH WARNE, the magician. I believe now Brett Lee must have ensured his place in the team. English top-order has been completely shaky against Mcgrath and Lee. While Aussie top order has been the same against Harmison and Flintoff !! Both have to come good.

So with new ODI rules, the Natwest challenge is going to start. I guess Australia will have an advantage in it because of substitution rule they will be able to play one more bowler.

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