Monday, August 24, 2009


What a Victory But However Did We Manage it?

I fear this is not a post for cricket haters. But I have travelled too far too often (and expensively) in support of England's practitioners of our summer game, not to indulge a little of our triumph of yesterday. To come back after the humiliation of Headingley's innings and 80 run defeat to deliver a sharp lesson to the all powerful Aussies was astonishing and evidence of how wonderful this ridiculous game is. To win by 197 runs was a crushing defeat and a delight to those of us who love to hate our most bitter rivals for cricket supremacy. Andrew Flintoff's scorching throw to run out the scampering Ponting was one of the most thrilling moments I can remember in any recent sporting event.

But here's the odd thing: Ponting was quite right to say the stats showed the Aussies had been the better team and it's almost a problem to work out how we won:

1. Of the top seven scorers, we got one- they six.
2. They scored 8 centuries- we managed only 2.
3. The had 3 scores above 400 -we had 2.
4. They had three bowlers who took 20 wickets- we had none(Broad managed only 18).
5. They had two 5-fors- we managed 4.

It's in the last stat that part of the mystery is solved. We managed two 5-fors at crucial stages in matches we went on to win. Even allowing for the achiecvment this time, it doesn't seem quite like the roaring triumph of 2005- nor was the cricket quite as outstanding either. In 2005 England had a formidable, rapidly improving side: the Aussies were No1 in the world. This time they were still No I but they had recently been beaten by South Africa and they had lost their superstars: Warne, McGrath, Hayden and Gilchrist.

Meanwhile our bowlers were reckoned to be handy and possibly a match for their relatively new line up. So it proved. But I'm still not entirely sure how we did it- not that I'm worrying.

"This time they were still No I but they had recently been beaten by South Africa..."

Not as recently as the Aussies had won in South Africa, though Bill. Ponting's boys beat South Africa on their own turf in March... and suddenly we find everyone rubbishing the Aussies and proclaiming South Africa as the new world no.1.

Crazy world.
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