The Light Roller: DRS, bad light and James Anderson's need to take top-order wicketa
The diary of a cricket obsessive
What will potential
new fans make of the vagaries of cricketing technology?
Well hurrah! The Ashes will remain in English hands until next year at least, which is obviously marvellous. But even though the outcome of the match will be celebrated by all those who remember when rain-affected draws were the highlight of a home series, it cannot be said to have been a wholly satisfactory Test.
Rain in Manchester is hardly likely to pop up with Cilla Black on Surprise, Surprise but in this hot summer, it was still something of a shock to see the weather play such a key part at Old Trafford. With controversy over the Decision Review System reaching new peaks, it was hard not to feel that there were too many variables over which none of the players had any control.
Most importantly, seeing players troop off under bright floodlights or hold their breath as they await the vagaries of DRS isn't the way to encourage new fans.
Anderson may be the king of the swingers but he could do with knocking over Australia’s top six
Rain and result aside, it was a good Test for Australia. They are still too reliant on Michael Clarke but there were genuine contributions from more or less every member of the team. England, by contrast, were suddenly uncertain. The top order looked rattled and the bowling was at times innocuous.
Most of the discussion around England's attack centres on the identity of the third seamer but are the opening pair beyond debate? Stuart Broad looks tasty with the bat and stale with the ball - but he's bound to bag a big haul at some point; he always does.
Jimmy Anderson, meanwhile, now has the kind of career record that can't be faulted. But it's also notable that only a third of his 15 wickets in this series have been top-six batsmen. Just saying.
England’s Ashes heroes of 2005 are still getting stuck into the Aussies
One of England’s 2005 Ashes heroes, Matthew Hoggard, renewed rivalries with former Aussie stalwart Simon Katich as Leicestershire took on Lancashire in the Championship's second division last Friday. Hoggard won the personal battle by dismissing Katich in Lancashire's first innings - but only after he had scored 64, setting Lancs well on the road to victory.
Simon Jones also made a rare appearance last week - for Glamorgan in a T20 game against Gloucestershire. Sadly, he came up against two rather less-heralded Australians in Michael Klinger and Dan Christian, who tonked Jones and co round the park for a nine-wicket win. But at least he has made it back on the park. By contrast, Steve Harmison was awarded a benefit by Durham this year but hasn't played a first team game.
With Freddie Flintoff somewhere between the boxing ring and the commentary box, it appears that Ashley Giles - arguably the least naturally talented of England's 2005 bowling unit - could teach his compadres a thing or two about life after the Ashes.
The perversity of English amateur cricket
As England looked hopefully to the heavens for the shower that would, confusingly, signal an early bath, it brought to mind those strange individuals who inhabit every amateur team and who express utter delight at the prospect of a game being rained off.
They are normally the ones who get stroppy at an unjust umpiring decision. They are also the same players who are almost always playing with some minor pain or injury. And at the first sign of rain, they'll make it abundantly clear that an early cancellation would be vastly preferable - presumably so they can go and annoy the other people in their lives.
Does this happen in football? Rugby? I can't believe it does. Only amateur cricketers are perverse enough to volunteer to play, pay for the privilege, take the whole enterprise with excessive seriousness; then announce to the rest of the team that they'd rather be somewhere else.
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