Stayed up late to watch the 30mins of Ashes highlights on BBC2 – started at 11:20. Hence I overslept this morning. God I need cable TV! *sigh*
Well, with the final Ashes test on day 3 and England in bat again, we see what’s become a very familiar sight over the series. The England team crumbling woefully with the bat. In response to Australia’s first innings score of 393, England were really struggling to achieve their 5/114. Yes, Aussie bowlers were in top form and yes, it was turning into a bowler’s wicket, but it doesn’t change the fact that all through this series England just haven’t been anywhere near on form with the bat.
And their fielding has also let them down as well. Only a few times have I seen the English players throw themselves after the ball with determination. More often than not they are missing easy catches, letting the boundary go past, and not really putting the effort in to beating the ball to the boundary. Where an Aussie fielder would dive, the English seem to just slow down and let it by. Then there’s the fielding positions. Poor Freddy just can’t seem to get it right. His fielding decisions are all over the shop. His bowling selection and his moves to shake up the Aussie batsmen fail almost every time.
He’s also being identified as a cause of the generally lacklustre attitude of the English team. They’ve seemed depressed from day one of the first test, and that’s not how you want to be for an Ashes series. There’ve been reports of barneys in the dressing room. There’ve been questions about side selection.
All of which begs the question – does Flintoff have enough experience to be captain?
Yes, Flintoff (when he’s on form!) is a good player. Yes, he’s one of the best known faces in English cricket. But that doesn’t mean that he’s in any way ready to lead an Ashes side on an Australian tour.
I was reading a commentary this morning (BBC) that said that England should consider keeping Flintoff as captain, instead of the intended plan to hand over to Vaughn when he heals. *scoff* Not unless he gets another 5 years experience in the next few months, mate. Not worth it. Not by a long way.
England players ponder their capitulation, unrecognisable from the men who won the Ashes 15 months ago.