Day 1 - Close
Opening the batting was once the hardest position in Test Cricket. In heady days when pitches were prepared for cricket and not chief executives, the position demanded patience, technique and stubbornness. Gavaskar and Boycott.
These days Shane Watson will do. With a Test average of 19 and a first class record of 9 opening the batting, he looked a curious option. Yet England dished up a buffet of long-hops and half volleys and Watson tucked in. Adopting, like Trescothick four years ago, the gung-ho approach that a one-nil deficient affords, he powered Australia to a strong position.
For a team as mediocre as England have been in recent years, they are inexplicably complacent. Time and again they get ahead and promptly lose interest. It is a relief they didn’t bat first today.
Strauss retreated to his conservative worst as he reproduced captaincy clichés. When Graeme Swann’s effervescence brought a wicket, the spinner should have bowled for the rest of the day. Instead Strauss returned to Anderson, who suggested again that he is primarily a grey-weather bowler.
Ponting looks imperious and on a flat pitch if England are still napping tomorrow he could punish their carelessness.