No, I'm not talking about a single stuff up based on something simple - I am talking about the whole English innings in the first match of the CB series. The ridiculous bias and preoccupation with bagging the English and praising the Australians from Ian Healy, Bill Lawry and whoever else popped in (except Mark Nicholas who was usually praise-everything self) was horrible and it really made me want to turn the TV down the mute. It has happened before, but never on such a large scale.
Now don't get me wrong, England have been very poor this summer. They have been atrocious in fact - almost as bad as the commentary so far in this match. But the fact that they lost the Ashes 5-0 seems to have given the commentators the idea that they must continually look for faults in the English team and perfections in the Australian team. The English one day batting effort in this match was, IMO, quite good. They won the toss, batted and kept the scoreboard going at between 3 and 4 per over before a blast at the end - they always had intentions of scoring between 240 and 260 and they did so - a target which they should be able to defend if they bowl well. But the middle overs partnership between Collingwood and Pietersen, which really set up the total for England, received much criticism from the "expert" commentary team. The fact that England got towled up in the Ashes 5-0 doesn't give them licence to just bag the team every time they let a maiden over slide by. England did not bat brilliantly but they did the job - they did what they set out to do and the criticism of Collingwood and Bell in particular throughout the innings was highly unjustified.
Other examples of such include the comment "Nixon has to rotate the strike more here" after he had faced just two balls, a masterclass of about 10 replays filled with comments of appraisal at what was the simplest of catches by Matthew Hayden in the slips, repeated complaints about Pietersen not taking enough singles which ironically were followed by complaints about Collingwood not hitting enough boundries, and a failure to mention that the decision to bring on the spinners when Collingwood and Pietersen were still getting set really let them both off the hook. Now as I type this, England are bowling absolute rubbish are will, in all probability, go on to lose this match. But the batting innings, which IMO was a very classical and well-paced one for a side batting first, cannot be blamed.
The batting order received much criticism - the commentators still seem insistant on getting Pietersen (and now Flintoff as well) up the order. But really, the batting order in one day internationals is fine for England. Pietersen may be their best one day batsman but he is not the best option for #3 - powerplays or not. Flintoff may be an explosive hitter, but he is clearly more suited to the slog overs than Paul Collingwood who is a middle-overs-specialist. The suggestion of Pietersen-Bell-Flintoff-Collingwood in the middle order may produce the odd score of 280 but they will be few and far between and scores of about 190 will be frequent. England's current batting lineup looks the best possible one they can muster for mine - and the innings they played today was a very good one which set up the game for their bowlers.
The commentators need to wake up to themselves and realise that while Australia are a very good outfit and that England are struggling at the moment, not everything England do - particularly today - is absolutely rubbish, and that their plan for victory in matches is going to be significantly different to that of Australia's, based on their personnel. The 5-0 Ashes victory seems to have resulted in them looking for the magic answer to why England aren't performing this summer - something that will fix everything like moving Pietersen up to three (where he will be less effective as far as I'm concerned.)