England’s best bet of an Ashes win in Adelaide didn’t eventuate. At the start of the final day with Root still at the crease the result was still in the balance but two early wickets put paid to that. And, as has been the case on the tour so far, the lower order offered very little resistance. So we now have the English side battling a 2-0 deficit and still all the headlines seem to be coming about sledging and more bar incidents in Perth. It seems to me that some players just can’t seem to work out how good they have it. They tour the world, get paid well and yet seem unable to have a quiet night in a bar without causing some unwanted trouble. I’m sure the problem might be minor but as happened to the England side in the 1980’s with Botham and friends creating many off field headlines, once the press get their teeth into issues they rarely let go easily. Now is a time to batten the hatches, keep a very low profile and let the huff and puff fade away but some seem unable to latch onto this thinking and until this happens the unwanted headlines will continue to take up rich newspaper space. It must be driving the English coach, Trevor Bayliss, nuts at the moment. The thought of curfews has already brought ridicule but unless you can trust your players what other options are available other that putting GPS on all the players!! The Aussies are laughing all the way to Ashes victory.
The England teams needs to stick tight and gain motivation by some of the negative talk that surrounds them, some of which comes from ex players such as Kevin Pieterson. This is the same player who copped a lot of ridicule with his performances in the last Ashes series and was subsequently sacked after that tour. It seems that his angst against certain people just won’t disappear.
The Perth test will be the final Ashes one at the WACA before moving to the new stadium. It will be a nostalgic week reminiscing about all the great Ashes moment. My early recollections were of Doug Walters hooking Bob Willis for 6 of the last ball of the day to complete a fantastic hundred. It’s been an iconic venue with many an opposition batter struggling with the pace and bounce of the wicket. Lillee, Thomson, Johnson and now the 3 amigos currently sending thunderbolts down have all given the batters many sleepless nights.
It seems the England team aren’t the only team creating headlines with off field antics. Both Manchester sides swapped blows after the recent Derby with Mourinho hit on the head by a flying object thrown in the inner confines of Old Trafford. Mind you there’s a bit of history at Manchester with flying objects. Brings back memories of Beckham copping a flying boot from Sir Alex Ferguson in one of his notorious tantrums. Too much testosterone some of these athletes!!
A final thought on the WACA Test. Amidst all the bad press coming out of the England camp Alastair Cook will be making his 150th Test appearance. A few players have achieved this but to do it as an opening bat is a hell of an effort. He has missed one game in all that time which shows his incredible durability. He received unwelcome criticism whilst England captain but stoically carried on doing what he thought was best for his country and rarely, if ever, bit back at the critics. There have been no bar incidents that have disrupted his career and yet he seems to be one of the boys. His form hasn’t quite been at it’s best of late but he possesses fight and character in abundance so don’t be surprised if he chooses this game to bring a smile back onto the face of all the England supporters currently encamped in Perth. There will be none more popular or deserving of a big effort than Cooky.