Having watched today's cricket in almost its entirety (I missed an over or two right at the close of play) I have a few points that I would like to make:
1) I have not experienced such a disappointing day of test match cricket ever before. It was certainly not dull or uninteresting or even painful to watch, but it was very disappointing.
2) The most positive thing I can say about today's performance was that Siddle bowled a few tight overs towards the end of the day's play.
3) England bowled really, really well and capitalised on the conditions with tight, disciplined fast bowling that really was a joy to watch.
4) It was good seeing Australian wickets fall to good balls rather than loose shots. With the exception of Hughes every single batsman got out to a very good ball after having faced a number of very good balls beforehand. Each wicket was the result of very good bowling, not bad batting.
5) Australia's bowling was woeful at best. I would have thought that the bowlers would have been inspired to bowl tight lines outside and at off stump. Instead they bowled utter dross. What could have been a tricky period for England with the bat became a period of free runs. It was like the Australian bowlers forgot the basics - line and length.
6) No matter the situation, seeing your opponents openers batting late in the second session on the first day means that you are having a very, very bad day.
7) The sun seemed to come out the moment that England came out to bat, which really leads me to believe that Australia are failing at the one percenters and are really missing having Buchanan as coach.
I would like to clarify point six a little more. If Hughes had not played that loose shot and gotten caught in the gully, but instead had have made a few more runs it would have meant that it was longer until Hussey was in. It probably would have meant that Ponting would have felt less pressure and may have survived longer also. By extending the time that they were at the crease, Hughes may have kept Clarke and Hussey in the shed for longer. The longer that Hussey and Clarke did not have to bat, the better the pitch became from batting. Hussey may have survived until past the rain break. All of a sudden, the Australian batting order is able to survive with a few wickets in tact until the sun came out. When the sun comes out the batting gets a little easier and we may have been able to form a reasonable partnership between a couple of middle order batsman. All of these events snowball and Australia is dismissed half way through the final session of the first day for 245. The bowlers have something to bowl at and know that they only have 20 overs to bowl in the afternoon so they let rip. The Australian bowlers subsequently feel less pressure to take a wicket with every ball and instead build pressure with tighter bowling. Because he spent longer in the field and the Australian bowlers feel less restricted in what they can do we get Cook just before the close of play. All of a sudden the scorecard goes from 98ao + 0/137 to 245 ao + 1/35 at the end of the day. Just because the opening batsmen survived an extra twenty minutes of play.
It is almost like Australia's top order have gotten themselves so concerned with "setting the tone" or "sending a message" that they have forgotten the fundamentals of cricket - you cannot set the tone or send a message to the opposition if you are not at the crease. A maiden over is much better than losing a wicket and scoring four runs in an over.
Just some tiny adjustments to the Australian players' thinking could have gone a long way to preventing today from ever occurring. All you have to do is look to Hussey vs Anderson in the first test for an example of what to do in testing conditions. The number one thing is not to get out.