Monday, January 8

England down under - the Test aftermath.

Well, apart from "Oh dear", what to say?

It wasn't *quite* as bad as I'd feared - England did at least manage to bowl out the Aussies once in the 5th Test, but a combination of better batting, better bowling, and just actually wanting to be on the field meant the Australians cruised to a fifth win - and a final one for McGrath, Warne and Langer.

So, what are the pluses? Well, apart from a load of England's past tormentors now having retired, Read did very well with the gloves, becoming the first ever Test player to take six dismissals in consecutive innings. He isn't quite as bad with the bat as Jones was. Just. But I'm not that sure that Read will have much of a Test career ahead of him either now - I wouldn't be completely surprised if the ageing Paul Nixon is given the chance to take the position in the short term (after all, having people on the wrong side of 35 in the team didn't harm the Aussies that much) and in the long term - well, if Worcestershire's Steve Davis carries on doing well in the county championship, they may turn to him sooner rather than later.

Also Vaughan is now back. Albeit probably rusty, so I'm not expecting much from him with the bat (and possibly the field), but in terms of motivation and giving Flintoff less to worry about, his presence should be a plus. I hope.

It's now Twenty-20 time - can England relax and enjoy it (knowing half of them weren't in the Test team anyway)? Or should I just console myself that at least we can't lose this one by more than 10 wickets?

One other positive note - as a 30 something bloke, I should at least take some heart that the 30-somethings drubbed the 20-somethings...

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