ok so i dont really have the time to read any of the posts on here at the moment, so forgive me if i repeat stuff thats already been said, but heres my take on what happened yesterday:
England couldnt have started off any worse. They lost the toss and Harmison bowled an appalling first over. and the worst part is that his bowling only got worse from there. Really one has to ask questions when someone bowls poorer than a school boy. Ive never seen a test bowler bowl at least 2 balls down the leg side every over, i think he bowled on average one ball an over on target and the rest were so wide that the batsmen couldnt even be arsed to hit them. His ER got better as the game progressed but thats only because both Martyn and Ponting couldnt hit the ball even if they had 2 bats attached together. On the odd occasion that he bowled a bouncer it was 5 feet above the batsmen and contrary to his name, wouldnt harm anyone. Another thing i want to point out about Harmison is that, how in the bloody hell is he still nervous when he bowls at the Ashes? I mean commone, hes played more Ashes tests than anyone else in the England side, yet he cant even bowl the first ball to the wicket keeper? You'd think after 3 Ashes series, he should be the calmest member of the side.
Hoggard i thought started off well, but there just was never enough in the wicket or in the air to assist him and after a while he couldnt sustain his accuracy and kept pitching the ball up even when there wasnt any swing.
Anderson had his moments, when Martyn came in he bowled 2 solid overs and then bowled one absolute tosh over where he got pasted. Story of his day really, he got more out of the wicket than everyone including Flintoff and was the fastest bowler on show, but he didnt have the accuracy and couldnt sustain any pressure for long enough periods.
Flintoff was the only one who bowled somewhat competently and his figures reflect it although even he was hardly brilliant.
To be honest, if Giles had been match fit with enough practice under his belt, i would have had him over Panesar anyways, cause Panesar has bowled rubbish all tour, and even yesterday Giles actually used flight and varied his pace far better than Panesar has ever done. However the problem is he just doesnt give the ball enough rip, and i dont think he got even a single ball to turn enough to cause batters problems.
For the Aussies, i thought Hayden and Langer were complete crap. Langer getting 80 odd was an absolute joke and the fact that he got it in less than 100 balls speaks volumes about how poor England bowled not to mention Flintoff's captaincy. i thought Ponting and Hussey played quite well, Ponting in particular was excellent.
Now on Flintoff's captaincy, i have to say it was absolutely disgraceful. Okay so hes a great leader and inspires people, but as a tactician i think hes absolutely inept and it was on show during the summer and last winter. I mean really any clown who watched the last Ashes would have realised that you need to block Langers runs square of the wicket. I think Langer got half of his runs by scoring between the slips and Gully or square on the off side yesterday. I mean Vaughan specifically blocked all his boundaries in that area by putting a man on the boundary there. Yet Langer was given the freedom to score at nearly 5.5 runs an over, most of which came by mistimed shots and ridiculous airborne square drives. Furthermore, you'd think that at 79/1, with Ponting new to the crease and knowing that the best time to get him out is to get him early, he would actually bring on his best bowlers? Yet of all the bowlers it was Steve Harmison going at 6 an over from end. okay so i know hes your best mate and everything, but its incredibly obvious to anyone who watched him bowl yesterday that he served some absolute thrash. Why would you ever bowl him to a new batsman? Especially when Hoggard had bowled a much more impressive first spell.
Flintoff isnt going to be able to do this on his own. Last time England won because Jones was the strike bowler and Flintoff was merely his sidekick. The rest merely fed off their success and when the conditions suited them they took wickets. Now things arent quite so bright.