THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #121 – The Ashes Are Here!

Who cares what else is happening? England and Australia are playing one another in the Ashes! That’s all that matters! Sitting in front of the TV, an eskie full of beer and a couple of meat pies. Come on Aussie!

Australia v England – 1st Ashes Test
England 1st innings 260; Australia 1st innings 481; England 2nd innings 1(dec)/517; Australia 2nd innings 1/107
            Match drawn.
Ten Thoughts on the First Ashes Test
1) Siddle’s hat-trick was a thing of beauty. He had them bewildered and was bowling brilliantly.
2) England came into the game with such promise and hope. Their preliminary matches were dominant. But that first innings was out of character. So why did they bat like they were scared? And why did they drop so many catches?
3) Hussey saved his career with his solid 195. And Haddin has shown with his 136 that he is a worthy heir to Adam Gilchrist’s batting wicket-keeper throne.
4) Clarke should not have played – his back was clearly troubling him. That’s the only reason I can see for his poor batting and ludicrously simple dropped catch. North’s career must be at a crossroads. And Ponting could also be worried. They underperformed, all of them.
5) Bowler Steven Finn was a revelation for the English team. He could prove to be a game breaker already, and he’s barely into his 20s.
6) The second innings was a completely different English team. Where were they on the first 3 days?!
7) Cook and Strauss batted with great poise and control. Nothing silly, nothing too fancy. They had a ship to steady and they did it well.
8) Australia bowled in the second innings like a different team. Wayward and not tight at all. What happened? Did the two teams do some sort of swap during the innings break?
9) So something has happened to the ‘Gabba ground. Three partnerships in a row broke the record for highest partnerships on the ground in Ashes tests. Good to see that changes are being made so the grounds are not predictable.
10) The last day was just England so clearly playing for a draw. A drawn series means England retain the Ashes. Is this final day an indication of the sort of cricket we could be faced with for the rest of this summer – dull?

A-League Round 15 (cont)
Wellington Phoenix 2 def Melbourne Heart 0
Central Coast Mariners 1 absolutely humiliated by Brisbane Roar 5
A-League Round 16
Newcastle Jets 1 drew with Central Coast Mariners 1
Adelaide United 2 def Gold Coast 1
Wellington Phoenix 2 drew with Melbourne Victory 2
Melbourne Heart 0 drew with Sydney 0
North Queensland Fury 1 drew with Perth Glory 1
W-League Round 4
Adelaide United 0 hammered by Melbourne Victory 4
Sydney 1 def by Newcastle Jets 2
Brisbane Roar 1 def Perth Glory 0
            A goal in the 93rd minute of 94 minutes! What an ending! (There – something positive.)

NBL – Round 7
New Zealand 100 def Gold Coast 79
Townsville 94 def Melbourne 66
Wollongong 89 def Sydney 72
Perth 64 def by Cairns 72
WNBL – Round 8
AIS 53 def by Canberra 76
Dandenong 74 def Sydney 59
West Coast 66 def Townsville 64
Bendigo 72 def AIS 57
Bulleen 69 def Sydney 62
Adelaide 82 def Townsville 60

Rugby Union
Spring Tour
England 11 def by South Africa 21
France 16 destroyed by Australia 59
Wales 25 def by New Zealand 37
Ireland 29 def Argentina 9
Scotland 19 def Samoa 16

Perth 9 def Adelaide 7
Brisbane 6 def Sydney 1
Perth 9 def Adelaide 3
Perth 2 def by Adelaide 4
Brisbane 1 def by Sydney 3
Brisbane 12 def Sydney 3
            A 9-run 11th inning did it for Brisbane.
Perth 4 def by Adelaide 11
Canberra 2 def by Melbourne 6
Brisbane 0 def by Sydney 1 (finished early)
Canberra 2 def by Melbourne 10

Just thought I’d put out there my top 10 favourite Australian cricketers. I’ve been watching cricket for a little over 30 years, and with the Ashes almost completely dominating my sporting mind, here’s my favourite players. They may not be the best cricketers ever, but that does not matter.
(10) John Dyson. This batsman is on my list for many reasons – unassuming, hard working, dependable. But there is one over-riding reason why he became a favourite – he took what I consider the best ever catch in all of test cricket ever.
(9) Michael Clarke. In my opinion, best of the current crop. If he can just keep his personal life separate from his cricketing life, and not get too injured, he’ll likely become recognised as one of the greats.
(8) David Boon. A hero to all of us who are slightly, shall we say, barrel-shaped. Strong and dependable. And insane enough to enjoy fielding at silly mid-on.
(7) Darren Lehmann. Career was too short, and stop-start, mainly because of eastern state politics. Still, one of the most exciting batsmen I have ever seen.
(6) Jason Gillespie. Underrated bowler, dropped stupidly from the team after he scored a double century! Always put in full effort, no matter what.
(5) Adam Gilchrist. The greatest ever wicket-keeper batsman. And his autobiography is actually entertaining. None could score like him before Twenty20 was developed.
(4) Dennis Lillee. Maybe not as fast as others, but he still looked like he could kill you with a ball if he wanted. And he had the best moustache ever in professional sport (sorry Newk, Boonie, Merv…).
(3) Rod Marsh. Still, in my mind, Australia’s best ever wicket keeper. Could hit the ball when at bat and I even remember watching him bowl once in a ODI! Seemed to always enjoy his cricket (underarm bowling incidents notwithstanding).
(2) David Hookes. As South Australian captain I watched him with Wayne Phillips score at the time a world record partnership at Adelaide Oval. Snubbed by the Australian selectors too often, killed by some thug in Melbourne. Bad things sometimes do happen to good people.
(1) Steve Waugh. My favourite Australian captain, the highest run scorer in Australian test cricket, an underrated bowler (especially by himself). And he came across as a genuinely nice guy away from the arena.
            Agree? Disagree? Want to rip me a new one? Remember, these are my favourites, not necessarily the best. Feel free to leave a comment.

And that’s the View through to November 29, 2010.

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