Thursday 16 July 2009

England refuse to learn

Day 1 - Close

It appears England are unwilling to learn from their mistakes. Following their careless first-innings in Cardiff they were subjected to lesson in flint-eyed desire from Ricky Ponting.

Today it was Andrew Strauss, every bit as determined, who showed them the way. Again, they refused to follow. Gifted a platform by their openers and some indifferent Aussie bowling, England reverted after tea to charity cricket, donating their wickets with carefree abandon. Australians don’t need help to win games and if England fail to get past 450, they will consider themselves on top.

England can take heart from another under-whelming performance by Australia’s strike bowler, Mitchell Johnson. He arrived on these shores touted as the worlds best quick and potentially the difference between the sides. Much like Dale Steyn last summer and Brett Lee in 2001, he's failed to match the billing. It was left to the impressive Hilfenhaus, fast becoming the best bowler on either side, to carry the attack.

Steeped in history and grandeur Lord’s is, in some sense the true ‘home of cricket’: it epitomises the smug and snooty atmosphere that once defined the sport. Much of the crowd were disinterested in anything beyond sunglasses and champagne. The reception offered to Kevin Pietersen, as he arrived at the wicket, was as icy as it was ignorant. Perhaps it’s this most ugly side of Englishness here that inspired Australians over the years to hammer the poms.

Tomorrow much will depend on how Australia use the new ball. With Strauss and a strong lower order, England can yet command the game, but an early strike and Australia will feel confident of emulating Cardiff.

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