SXSW 2007

This is my travel blog. It started as a way for people to keep up with my trip to Australia to watch the 2006/7 Ashes series, and continued with my trip to SXSW 2007 in Austin, Texas, and Las Vegas in March '07.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

I give up. I’m just not going to support England any more. Today at the MCG was wet, dark, overcast, windy and cold. The forecast was for no real improvement all day. Freddie Flintoff won the toss. So what did he decide to do? Bat. I couldn’t believe it. It was madness. The wicket was damp anyway from the rain we’ve had over the last few days anyway, and despite the steady drizzle as we arrived at the ground it was not covered either. They don’t have proper covers here just tarpaulins. They were eventually put on and play started 30 minutes late. McGrath somehow didn’t get a wicket in his first spell, one that spanned several breaks for drizzle and the early lunch break. How so I don’t know. His first delivery seamed about a foot away from Alistair Cook’s bat and the smile on McGrath’s face was as large as his tally of Test wickets. Lee made the early breakthrough dismissing Cook, and then Bell with a snorting lifter. Strauss managed to lift the score to 100-2 with Collingwood until both were dismissed with an over of each other. Strauss made himself immortal by becoming Shane Warne’s 700th test victim, having just reached his first 50 of the series. After that is was a procession of wickets, Pietersen getting himself out caught on the long on boundary in a forlorn hope of increasing the score when 8 wickets were down. England were 159 all out. Warne ended up with 5-39. The only glimmer of hope was Flintoff getting 2 wickets in two balls near the close, getting Langer (who word has it will announce his retirement soon as well) and Brett Lee (sent in as night watchman) both caught behind. Australia closed on 44-2.
I can put up with the problems on the pitch. It’s the poor decisions off of it that make me so mad. The initial decision to make Flintoff captain for one, the lack of preparation before the Brisbane test, the refusal to pick Panesar, if not at Brisbane, certainly at Adelaide, the playing of 5 bowlers at Perth and then only bowling one (Mahmood) for 17 overs in the match. Then to bat in such bowler friendly conditions, when the opposition have McGrath, Clark, Lee and the little matter of Shane Warne and his 699 wickets, well that takes the biscuit. I can only assume the stories that are circulating aboutt there being a split in the England camp being true. It would account for some of the eccentric decision making.
The MCG is looking very good. The entire northern half of the ground has been redeveloped since I was here last and the capacity is now 100,000. Despite day 1 being sell out the crowd was only 89,000, thereby not quite beating the record of about 91,000 set back in 1961. With sunnier weather forecast for tomorrow it could fall then though. The weather was more suited to Manchester then Melbourne. Fortunately I remembered the chill from last time & came suitably prepared, but even so it was a chilly day throughout and the sun never really shone. The sales of hot chips and pies will have out ranked those of cold drinks and icecreams by a long chalk.
With a bit of luck perhaps England can take 2-3 early wickets tomorrow, especially Ponting and Hussey, and put some pressure on the rest of the batting lineup. Flintoff’s brace has given them a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully it won’t turn out to be an express train thundering towards them at top speed……………………


Post a Comment

<< Home