With the eyes of the world watching the first day of the Ashes 2009 unfolded by stealth. The backdrop of 05 loomed throughout the build up and continued into today. Beyond its marketing prowess its constant presence does little to help the game.
Sky’s coverage is a bit like an ageing parent trying to be in with your mates. Despite the stream of video montages to Oasis and other household forgettables, they failed to capture the anticipation or magnitude of the moment. And for a series defined by its history, Cardiff, which has seen no part of it, was the wrong place to start. The cricket, it seemed, would need to write its own story.
The day ebbed, flowed and meandered like only Test cricket can. Australia’s attack, impressive but charmless characterised the new Australia. This era is patient and conservative, rather than brave. Ponting’s defensive fields will be criticised but he will feel justified by the fact England never got away. England’s approach had a shades of the do-or-die Vaughan era, but this Aussie attack didn’t warrant it.
Much will be said about KP’s shot. Despite his protests, limp paddles are not ‘the way he plays’. I would much rather he slogged to long-off.
Batting first England should want 400 and would feel unsatisfied. Anything below 360 tomorrow and its advantage Australia.