Lillian slept from 5.00pm yesterday until about 3.00am this morning and wanted a feed. Since I am now a househusband (Anna has got work with Centrelink) I got up to feed her. Knowing the Test was on, I fed her while watching the last 18 overs of the Third Test.
Naturally, I was urging Australia to draw the match - yet the part of me that loves Cricket beyond national borders was urging England on. It was wonderful to see the faces of English men, women and children as they "oooohed!" and "ahhhed!" with every play-and-miss, every nick, every near-miss. English cricket has been walloped by Australia since 1989, and it was a refreshing change to see Australia on the ropes.
My greatest memory from that Test will be Ponting's reaction after getting out. The guy had almost single-handedly saved Australia and had batted since the 2nd over that morning. He was batting for his country, for his team and for himself. Then he attempted a hook that feathered his glove and went through to keeper Jones. Umpire Bowden nodded his head to the appeals, then raised his trademark crooked forefinger.
When I watched the replay of the event, they focused upon Ponting's reaction. He knew he had hit the ball and he stood there waiting for the verdict. When Bowden gave him out, Ponting took a mighty gulp - he was trying desperately to hold down the tears. All that work he had put in, all that effort, and he had failed to see it through.
As it turned out, McGrath was not the bunny he was reputed to be, and managed to play quite well and didn't give a chance. He and Lee managed to keep out Harmison and Flintoff for the final three overs.
Most things that I have prophesied about this series has so far been untrue. Lee is actually performing well, although his series bowling figures of 104.1-16-458-15 are nothing to write home about. His batting is averaging a shade below 20. Gillespie's career looks like it might be over, although I think he should probably make himself unavailable for Test selection throughout the Australian Summer in order to return to form playing for South Australia, and extend that unavailability to the English Summer so he can play a season of county cricket and keep his form up at first class level. He might return a better bowler as a result.
The biggest surprise for me is that the Australian batsmen are struggling against the English bowling. Despite my using of the Force, unforeseen such a situation was. Harmison is probably the best English bowler since Bob Willis, and Flintoff appears to be enjoying his comparisons with Ian Botham.
Nevertheless, I still contend that Australia's bowling attack is looking increasingly fragile. Without Warne and McGrath operating together, Australia will have to wait for some time before they return to dominance.
From the This Salient Sportinglife Department