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.

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  1. Not if you’re the ACB or the Nine network, then it was a bloody brilliant decision. Ricky may well have secured his post-cricket career by this act. Then there’s the “cat playing with the mouse” scenario…

    I’m feeling much happier that we might now see a decent series, on Saturday morning I was thinking “oh bugger, here we go again”.

  2. Kind of depends whose perspective you are looking at it from, doesn’t it. I’m sure that Duncan Fletcher would be happy to hail Punter’s brilliant captaincy.

  3. I was pretty amazed that they didn’t enforce the follow on and just finish it. Some commentators here in the UK have suggested that it was due to McGrath feeling tired. But I reckon that’s just wishful thinking.

    No one here is very optimistic about the series, in fact the news reports almost gleefully reported the result and then went on to talk at much greater length about the football.

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