Prime audition time as Panesar's appeal knows no bounds

It is generally considered that England must make team changes to sustain a realistic challenge for the Ashes. Not that anybody in Australia believes much about the tourists' continued participation is realistic apart from the ability to turn up, but anything else except a different XI would be seen as reward for startling failure.

Thus, an insignificant two- day match - throwaway cricket for a throwaway society - against Western Australia has assumed the status of a full- blown trial for the Third Test, which begins at the Waca on Thursday. For the candidates, this was the last and the only audition.

Most of the attention, as usual, was on Monty Panesar (or at least the attention not on Michael Vaughan, who was playing although not a member of the touring party). Panesar's omission from the series so far has been contentious, and if his absence from the First Test in Brisbane had logic, the wisdom of overlooking him in Adelaide has hardly grown in hindsight.

His audition was a thing of desperation. Every over included at least one appeal, and the passion he imparted bordered on recklessness. His imploring was invariably prolonged - Bryn Terfel does not hold a note as well as Panesar holds an appeal - and at one point he waved his arms and then clapped in the direction of the umpire.

This delighted the large English contingent in the crowd, and if Panesar has not by now done enough to convince the selectors, there is not much point in his being here. There is a danger, however, in thinking that he is the answer to all the difficulties besetting England. He is not, though it was still rather jolly to see his only (deserved) wicket, as he turned the ball and found the edge of Luke Donchi's bat to have him caught at slip, a classic slow left-armer's dismissal.

This was not Panesar's brightest moment, which came when he threw down the stumps from short midwicket to run out Aaron Heal, a fellow left-arm spinner. Being run out by Panesar may seem like being bluffed at poker by Mr Bean, but the truth is that he is not yet quite as good a bowler as has been suggested, nor as bad a fielder.

The others vying for a leading role on Thursday performed with differing degrees of distinction. Ashley Giles, Panesar's chief rival, did not expect to play yesterday and can perhaps be excused his eight largely moderate overs. Then there were the seamers, from whom the bulk of the wickets must come if England are to beat Australia.

James Anderson, who had seemed certain to be dropped after two hapless displays that bespoke insufficient match bowling, confused the issue. His three spells each yielded a wicket, and the first, with the new ball, was positively incisive. There were shades of the Anderson it was hoped he would become. It was a wonderful audition in the circumstances, and although it may be felt that reprising it on the big stage is beyond him, he bowled like a man who craved the part.

Stephen Harmison did not. There was the occasional moment of inspiration that could not obscure fluffed lines. Harmison went for 99 in 21 overs and had to wait until his 14th for a wicket, having had a slip catch dropped by Giles early on. The unthinkable (Harmison being dropped) is possible.

Sajid Mahmood was presentable, taking two wickets, but Anderson was the best of the seamers. Chris Read, who was keeping wicket although Geraint Jones was in the side, took three catches, one of them especially notable, but missed a stumping. Three of the Western Australia side, whose official title is Retravision Warriors, made half-centuries.

When Panesar was not the focus of most binoculars it was Vaughan, playing his first game for England since February in Mumbai. He had little to do, although he took over the captaincy for an over when Andrew Strauss left the field. At one point when Andrew Flintoff, who has been given the match off, came on as substitute fielder, there was the unusual sight of the official England captain (Vaughan), the tour captain (Flintoff) and the captain of the team for the match (Strauss) all on the pitch.

Requests to speak to Vaughan to check his progress and why he was playing in the match were refused. The England and Wales Cricket Board said they were tired of the soap opera surrounding him, which was a bit rich, since they have been scripting, producing and promoting it.

Vaughan stayed in the field all day, did not put a foot wrong but looked as though he was limping by the end of it. Like England. They may have been no nearer naming a crucial Test XI but were quite possibly only nine days away from surrendering the Ashes.

David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments