Three down, two to go

just one needed.

So it’s down to Headingley and the Oval, get one win from either of them and the little urn is back where it should be.

If the grounds end up as Edgbaston did, in this glorious barbecue summer we’re having a great chance, then the urn should stay here as you can’t see either team producing something that outstanding on a dead pitch to win another game. A thankless task for the groundsman.

Two reasonably matched sides need though England again pretty much dominated this third test as they did the second but couldn’t finish it off on what was pretty much a third day pitch. What a surprise Anderson couldn’t match his first innings bowling. Much criticism of Strauss for not putting the first innings wicket taker much earlier yesterday. Well the conditions had changed, cooler breeze straight down the track, and maybe the captain isn’t as in awe of Anderson as his cheerleaders in the media, so knew ball not swinging means it’s just rubbish coming down. Yes wickets were needed but the Aussies couldn’t be given too much of a lead, making a chase too much of a gamble. Anderson, much like Harmison and Andrew Caddick, only performs in one innings – 7 five-fors no ten-fors – and when a game is there to be won the mental lightweight bowler shows up. In the end unusually he actually didn’t go round the park but it’s a gamble, even when he’s swinging it, getting wickets pitching it up there’s still those four balls and the crap down leg, long hops and various other dross.

So maybe it was one thing Strauss got right as captain, it certainly hasn’t had any adverse effect on his batting. Again both teams seem well matched in this area, both not great fielding captains. Swann didn’t bowl well after getting Ponting out in the second innings but in the first as soon as he got the wicket that brought Ponting in the spinner was taken straight out of the attack. An error Ponting made in England’s innings, Mitchell Johnson finally looking half decent, causing Flintoff problems but removed to bring on Watson so he could be carved around the park for knocking on 8 an over, thanks Ricky you don’t deserve boos for that 😆

Though did Strauss drop the best chance to capture the Ashes?

There top order batting still stronger than ours, don’t get Clarke early you’re in trouble versus always likely to get Bell out at some point before he’s got a big score. One of them takes the game away from the opposition, one gifts it back. Our lower order is better with the bat in hand and showed up the top lot again. Fit Fred and England’s attack far better, though needs Swann to be far more accurate than he has so far, how many full tosses have there been? Broad still needs more guidance on what type of bowler he should be, not what they want him to be.

Rain expected for Leeds on Friday, is Fred’s knee finally done? Which Harmison will turn up, will Broad’s runs be sacrificed for Sidebottom’s bowling, will Trott get a bat?

On another note it was a shame that Ian Chappell headed back home and wasn’t in the commentary booth for this last test and won’t be for the final two, he is one of the best colour guys in the game. His excellence behind the mic, in all situations both game on and game off, was extremely highlighted by the uselessness of his replacement. Yeah look gee Matthew Hayden is a big dullard, mate – a god botherer of convenience. Thankfully that buffoon Blofeld was absent, maybe chastened by Chappell telling him to shut up…

Mate, I’m here to talk about the cricket, not that other stuff. It’s high time you did the same Ian Chappell

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