Punter’s punt…

At the close of play on Saturday the UK’s Guardian referred to the Brisbane Cricket Ground at Woolloongabba as the ‘Gabbattoir’. A lacklustre England were on the ropes and being played with by a dominant Australia. What a difference a day makes. Spirited play by the English batsmen, especially Collingwood and Pietersen, has changed everything. While talk of an outside chance of them saving the game seems very unlikely, the fact that it exists at all is significant. No matter how the game ends now, England will have positives to take away. Yes, they fell apart. But they fought back. They showed that they (at least some of them) could handle the Australian bowlers (at least some of them). They showed that they weren’t a bunch of surrender monkeys. So now, rather than limping to Adelaide for Friday’s second test, they go there with some hope. And why? Well, from where I sit, it comes down to a bad decision by Ricky ‘Punter’ Ponting, Australia’s captain. By not enforcing the follow-on on Saturday, he lengthened the game (increasing the ACB’s revenues), made the competition look more viable (increasing the ACB’s revenues), and let England off the hook. Even if Australia win this game, it was a terrible decision.