Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Fletch, Monty's waiting in the wings

'BORE DRAW' screamed the Adelaide Advertiser this morning. Yeah right I thought. With England one wicket down, however, and a full day to play, there was still the uncertainty that Shane Warne could do the damage and add another chapter to the one already filed under England's Ashes: Misery and Failures. Today, it took a bad umpire's decision and a run-out, but that's all a team needs - especially England in recent years - to somehow wilt under last day pressure.
If England had held out for a draw with Australia, say, seven or eight down, there might have been reason to keep Ashley Giles. As it is, Duncan Fletcher has to play Monty Panesar in Perth after this disaster. He will be cradled by the cheering Barmy Army support there, whatever the Aussie crowd does to put him off - but at least he'll be match fit.
Will this be the change to at least put England back to winning ways? Victory in Perth would still keep the Ashes alive. However, after the tourists defeat today, let's not think about the (flat, run-fest, draw kind of a) WACA pitch just yet. Extraordinary game though, albeit one that has probably damaged the exciting undertones this series was first viewed.