Wednesday 27 December 2006

Leaked plans in a lacklustre series

Third Test Melbourne
Day 2 Comment

Before this tour began it would have been impossible to predict just how one-sided the series would be. At every stage England have plummeted to lows they could never have imagined. Yesterday, in the midst of a Symonds inspired riot, England found a new way to illustrate their scrambled minds and find greater depths to sink into – their game plans were leaked.

The significance can and will be played down by both sides, but for Australia to have hard copy of England’s carefully-planned strategies for each batsmen is a blow that will tear away at the few fibres of morale the team may still have. The fact that such a document was left around and misplaced is shocking, and illustrates the lacklustre and muddled approach England have had all series.

That England does not have the depth in their attack to maintain their plans was perfectly demonstrated yesterday, but full credit must go to Hayden and particularly Symonds, who came in at a tricky time and played a scintillating innings. He managed to defend well initially before launching into all the shots we know he has. For all cricket lovers we hope that this turns out to be his "breakthrough" innings because he brings a panache and flair that is exciting to the game.

However he, and many of the batsmen this test match, will be thanking Rudi Koertzen for his dreadful umpiring.

England are staring four nil in the face, and will soon be staring into the abyss. I would say that Australia are finishing on a high they never dreamed of, but remembering McGrath’s 5-0 prediction ritual, I guess I’d be wrong.

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