517-1? Really? That is one of the more absurd England cricket scorecards I've had the fortune to wake up to. A truly herculean performance from Trott and Cook, Strauss should be ashamed of himself, managing 25 runs fewer than the next highest scorer in the second innings...
So what to make of it? I won't be getting carried away, there's still some issues that warrant worrying about, but we have on our hands one of the most resillient batting orders I can recall. The steel and grit the top seven has in Strauss, Cook, Trott and Collingwood is extraordinary. Add to that the flair of Pietersen, Bell and Prior and you have a wonderfully balanced top order - and a tail with plenty of runs in it beyond that.
Yes, we were seen off for 260 in the first innings and yes we did let Haddin and Hussey take the match beyond the point where England could win it, but the team who will take the most heart from this game is unquestionably England.
There is talk that awaiting the teams in Adelaide is a pitch even flatter than this. I'm not sure that's technically possible, but I doubt it'll be fizzing around batsmen's ears or turning square at any point. Its going to be another hard slog, Broad, Anderson and Finn bowled 120 overs between them in this game and unlike their Aussie counterparts they can all count on playing on Thursday night. Hopefully Graeme Swann can find his mojo sooner rather than later.
However the most encouraging thing from an England perspective to come out of the Brisbane test is the Australian team. Good on Mike Hussey for proving the doubters wrong, and Haddin is under-rated no more, but there are issues abound for the Aussie selectors if they cast their eye around.
Shane Watson continues to flatter to deceive at the top, I think he must tire himself out holding the pose when he hits those admittedly gorgeous straight drives, they don't seem to be able to bank on him to score big. Katich is a fighter but past his best, North is all over the place and the bowling looked toothless in a way that an Australian attack has not done for a very, very long time yesterday. That they appear to be prepared to select North as the frontline spinner for Adelaide says a great deal.
England will rightly be wary of dismissing this Australian side out of hand. Bollinger and Harris are two quality performers who will boost Australia if they come in, but the suggestion that England are the better side will persist even then and Australia have it all to do.
Pakistan Cup Ramblings...
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