Whinging Aussies Main Banner

Ponting urges players to be more sporting...but only the England players.

Monday, 20th July 2009

So currently we're two-fifths of the way through another Ashes series and things are not quite going according to the Aussie script. Now, being English (well half English), I've been brought up with a very different perspective on sport to our Aussie "cousins”, namely not counting our chickens until the final whistle has blown or the last ball bowled. So like every other Englishman (and cricket supporting Welshman) I'm going to enjoy being up in the series, but not dare suggest that it's in the bag. The rest of the world will naturally misinterpret this over exuberance and call us arrogant, but these moments are rare and are not going to be ruined because other nations don’t understanding our need to celebrate just being in the lead!

Most people will remember Ponting moaning about the English use of substitutes in the 2005 series and after the First Test, he was back at it again, this time criticising the English time-wasting tactics. Unlike Strauss who clearly had to be a bit more diplomatic, I’m happy to admit that’s what it was. And why not. The batsman, heroes that they were, weren’t doing enough to kill a few valuable seconds between overs, which Ponting was miraculously now getting through at a substantial rate. In fact, my only criticism of Strauss’ time-wasting technique would be that he should have sent the twelfth man out much sooner to tell Panesar and Anderson to do just that.

But the amusing part for me was Ponting’s suggestion that the Aussies were here to play within the spirit of the game. That must have compounded the disappointment of the Aussie fans who were used to seeing Australia win at all costs. And perhaps that’s why we could forgive Strauss too, who before that moment probably expected the Australia of old to turn up. The Australia that claimed a wicket against New Zealand earlier this year even though Haddin had knocked the bails off with his hand (Bloom was given out bowled) and then laid into Kiwi Captain Daniel Vettori for suggesting Haddin might have said something at the time, knowing what he had done.

Although England stuttered for a while in the Second Test, I have no doubt we would have heard more whinging from Ponting had the result been a bit closer. There’s no doubt England benefitted from the bulk of the bad umpiring calls – and no, I have no idea why Strauss’ catch wasn’t referred, they couldn’t have been any more convinced than for Hauritz’s catch – but over the course of test match England were the far better team and deserved the win. If only Australia had the fight England showed in the First Test, maybe they would have deserved and got something from the game.

And so England are ahead in the series (something we couldn’t have dreamt of a week ago) as we head for the third test in Birmingham. Bret Lee could be returning to add some much needed firepower to the Australian attack, whilst England could be losing two of their big guns in KP and Flintoff. Time to practice that rain dance, just in case...

About the Whinging Aussies

This site is just going through a slight revamp (would love to say "major revamp" but it's one man in his spare room rather than a team of journos and IT geeks - should all be up and running in the next day or so). Generally speaking it's just one man's take on the international sporting rivalry between England and Australia, but I might just waffle about other things from time to time too.

Previous ramblings

Third Test affected by too much rain, and too little aura.