Ashes HQ ASHES HQ 2009

Australia Dominate but Honours Even

Australia were, by a country mile, the better team today. They put the ball in the right areas, bowled some excellent deliveries, fielded well- particularly Mike Hussey- and did particularly well with difficult conditions. England, meanwhile, got the rub of the green. They batted poorly, scrapping their way to starts before losing their wickets to horrible shots. KP’s dismissal was probably the worst shot I’ve ever seen him get out to.

None of this matters though, because Australia don’t hold the advantage at the moment. I’d say the game’s pretty evenly poised with two donkeys to come in for England, but a lot of onlookers are putting England on top from here. A pretty reasonable outcome from a day in which they were firmly second best.

Firstly, they got lucky. There’s no shame in getting lucky, of course. But they could have been out a few times each. Inside edges missed the stumps, outside edges fell short, the umpires made a couple of questionable decisions in their favour. Until the end of the final session, things were simply going England’s way.

Secondly, they won the toss, and it looks like an important one. The pitch seems set to deteriorate as the game goes on, and Australia will be acutely aware throughout that they’ll probably have to bat last one it.

Thirdly, they’ve picked two specialist spinners. When you go in with a two-spinner policy on a pitch like this, you’re banking on keeping the pace for the first few days then closing in hard towards the end when conditions favour you. England have done the first bit, now they need Swann and Panesar to step up and show what they can do.

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