Recent Comments

  • Andy CCouldn’t agree more Lawrence. I can’t honestly remember an ICC decision that angered me as much as...
  • MikeIt is a great personal pleasure to let you know that the several million visitors to Mattters over the last year...
  • MilindThe performance of Indian team has improved in both Test and ODIs reflected by their #1 & #2 rankings but...
  • MilindBalaji Rao is the candidate for the Dwayne Leverock moment - a bulky man from an associate team claims a...
  • RifatHa, ha….What you’ll say about Sidhu? ;)
August 2009
« Jul   Sep »

Peter Siddle: "It left us empty inside"

August 28th, 2009 by peter siddle in The Ashes


I’m in Paris at the moment as the coaching staff have given me time off between the Test matches and the one-dayers next week. I’m not in the squad for the two Twenty20 matches, so I’ve come over here with my girlfriend to relax. We’ve had a couple of days in Disneyland and a few days in Paris before it’s back to London.

What happened at The Oval was very disappointing for Australian cricket – the consistency with bat and ball from Headingley was sadly lacking. The wicket performed differently to how we anticipated and changed dramatically on the first day and that has hurt us in the end. People say we should have picked a spinner but if the wicket hadn’t broken up so much on that first day things could have been totally different.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in The Ashes | 2 Comments »

King Cricket: When 50-overs became 40-overs

August 28th, 2009 by Alex Bowden in England, One-day cricket

Who says you can’t have the main course and then the starter? Who says you can’t have the main course and then seven starters? The England v Australia one-day series is about to start. Pick up the smaller of your two forks and tuck in so that the chef doesn’t get offended.

Yet county cricket is abandoning 50-over matches at the end of the season. 40-over cricket was supposed to go but the counties are so far behind fashion, things have gone full circle. While the Pro40 ends, the ECB has made sure 50-over cricket becomes 40-overs.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in England, One-day cricket | 3 Comments »

Sam Collins: Five Ashes Tests shows more can be more

August 27th, 2009 by Sam Collins in England, Test cricket, The Ashes

Over the last five weeks we have watched five episodes of fluctuating fortune, five Tests full of debacles, despair and destruction, with the odd personal triumph and victory thrown in to cheer us up and keep us interested.

To most British fans, the long Test series is as part of cricket as Test cricket itself. It gives the narrative space to unfold, pressure the chance to exert itself, class the time to come good and character the opportunity to out. Ricky Ponting’s explosion on being run out at Trent Bridge in 2005 is a perfect example, a reaction that would not have taken place in a shorter series.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in England, Test cricket, The Ashes | 1 Comment »

Benj Moorehead: Defending the boo boys

August 27th, 2009 by Benj Moorehead in England, Test cricket, The Ashes

Up came Ricky Ponting to not-collect the Ashes, and once again we saw the affectionate smile that has had us in danger of liking him all summer. The Oval responded with equal affection. Then Ricky made a reasonable passing remark about the statistics of the series not adding up to the end result. A tremor of boos rippled through the crowd, the last of the series. But when the interview was over it rose to give their pantomime villain a rousing Oval ovation. Ricky was their friend. It was a revealing end to an issue that has left established critics calling the crowd’s treatment of Australia’s captain “nasty”. Was it really ever so?

The Australian squad that came to these shores this year was full of names unknown to much of the British public. Yes, there was Katich, there was Clarke, both of whom were here in 2005. But Ricky was the only personality imprinted on the minds of everyone who was taken by 2005. He was the name with which the public could tap into this unfamiliar group of Aussies.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in England, Test cricket, The Ashes | No Comments »

Alan Tyers: How England’s Heroes Partied After Oval Victory

August 27th, 2009 by Alan Tyers in England, The Ashes


Those Ashes Celebrations In Full

ANDREW STRAUSS: Busy night for the young dad skipper: doing up shoelaces, wiping noses, checking everyone had been for a wee. Surely it’s now time that other batsmen took some responsibility with their preparations for a night out?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in England, The Ashes | 4 Comments »

Lawrence Booth: Let's not kill English cricket's golden goose

August 26th, 2009 by Lawrence Booth in England, Test cricket


You’re probably sick and tired by now of so-called farewells to Fred, the man who says he wants to play international cricket until 2015. But a funny thing happened this morning when I was indulging my inner anorak by compiling the end-of-series stats page for this blog’s big-brother magazine. I hope John Stern, TWC’s editor, will not think his publication is being scooped from within when I reveal that England’s second-best player – according to the marks out of 10 handed out after each Test for the mag by the designated reporter – is, yes, Andrew Flintoff.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in England, Test cricket | 2 Comments »

John Stern: Under-rated Prior deserves praise

August 25th, 2009 by John Stern in England, Test cricket, The Ashes


In a series of fluctuating form and fortune, let’s hear it for Mr Consistent, the unloved under-rated England gloveman.

After the third day’s play of the Lord’s Test, Matt Prior faced the press. He was asked about Brad Haddin’s iron-gloved display in in England’s first innings.

He smiled wryly, as if to say: “Are you blokes for real?” Prior remembers, even if the journalists chose not to, of the relentless character and technique assassination during phase one of his Test career.

He was hardly going to climb into a fellow keeper, even an Aussie one. Prior dutifully made excuses for Haddin about the wobbling around more at Lord’s than elsewhere and other such dressing room platitudes.

Despite making a century on Test debut in 2007, Prior soon became an emblem of England’s post-2005 malaise: charmless, over-rated, all mouth and no trousers. He was at the heart of the jelly-bean fiasco against India, guilty by overheard word rather than deed. He reached a nadir in Sri Lanka that winter when he lost the ability to catch.

Since his return the following summer, he has improved beyond measure. His batting was on the right side of useful, sound in technique and ticker. He scores first-innings runs (averaging 53 to 31 in the second innings), which is a useful barometer of a batsman who can handle pressure.

But his glovework in the Ashes was unobtrusively excellent, the zenith perhaps his first-innings catch at The Oval to catch Mitchell Johnson, whose edge off a full-blooded drive found the palms of Prior’s gloves, standing up to Graeme Swann. He’s not Alan Knott but he’s at last presentable.

He is no longer the gobby South African-born stumper, he is part of the determined, modest ambition of the embryonic Strauss/Flower era. No open-top bus parade for these boys, the fifth best Test team out of nine.

And that, without wanting to get too 1950s about it, is the way it should be. Sunday was a great day, never to be forgotten but let’s try to build on it this time rather than piss it away in the Prime Minister’s garden.

Who knows what state we’ll be in the next time Australia come here but with the two Andrews in charge, I feel we’re in good hands.

John Stern is editor of The Wisden Cricketer

Posted in England, Test cricket, The Ashes | No Comments »

Jrod: An experience I will never forget

August 25th, 2009 by Jrod in England, Test cricket, The Ashes


I am racking my brain thinking of something more torturous for an Aussie cricket fan than sitting at The Oval on Sunday. Watching Paul Harris bowl? Maybe.

Little else could compare to being an Australian with 22,500 screaming English fans as they bayed for your team’s blood.

On the first day at The Oval the atmosphere was something you would expect at the first speech of an accountancy seminar.

By day two the crowd had found their voice because of Stuart Broad.

Then it was non-stop noise, save some nervous silences. Shagging Matilda was sung. Aussies were made fun of. Singles were given 30 second cheers. Streaky 29s had standing ovations. And each wicket was celebrated like the birth of an extremely attractive baby.

When there was no hope left all Australians took it differently.

My mate left. My mum threw her hat. My dad swore. And I tried to work out the meaning of life.

Then we all drank.

About 12 minutes after Michael Hussey’s dismissal I was in the pub, where the TV was blaring with the game anyway, and I drank three pints in record time.

I needed to drink out the loss, not the crowd. They were great.

I have never been to an Ashes deciding Test – in Australia they are usually decided at the Gabba toss.

So to be in the ground when the Ashes was about to be won was amazing.

The anticipation of the crowd, nervous silences during partnerships, their inability to accept they couldn’t lose, the false starts, the Harmy hat-trick attempt, and the frenzied noise was intoxicating.

All the Aussies with me agreed. We were at something special, even if it was our own crucifixion.

It was an experience I will never forget, and one I never want to relive.

Jrod is an Australian blogger, and now author. His book The Year Of The Balls 2008: A Disrespective is available now

Posted in England, Test cricket, The Ashes | No Comments »

Paul Coupar: Aussies react to Oval debacle

August 24th, 2009 by TWC in England, Test cricket, The Ashes, The media


As Australia slipped, like a determined but doomed rock-climber, to a slow demise at The Oval, debate in SBS’s Sydney TV studio turned (not for the first time) to the crumbling pitch. The verdict of David Lloyd (Nine Tests for England)? “Interesting”. That of Greg Matthews (33 Tests for Australia)? “A disgrace”.

In just four days The Oval’s head groundsman, Bill Gordon went from being barely a household name in his own household to Australia’s more talked-about men, as the visitors’ first innings disappeared in a puff of south London dust and “Ricky Ponting experienced the hopelessness that for so many years overcame opposing captains” (Peter Roebuck, Sydney Morning Herald).

Indeed, after day two, The Times reported that an Australian journalist had asked for an interview from a harassed Gordon, who simply claimed his name was John and offered to pass on a message.

“Hardly a soul in England will complain if their brave lads can dismiss Australia bowling last on a dusty, dodgy deck to regain the Ashes,” wrote Malcolm Conn in The Australian on day four. “Heck, Bill Gordon might even receive an MBE.”

On a “manufactured” pitch, Conn claimed it was astounding to see England’s “inconsistent” offspinner Graeme Swann bowling at first-change. “The first ball of Swann’s second over turned and bounced so much that it is unlikely a batsman playing at the Oval has missed a ball by as much as Katich waved hopefully at it.”

Meanwhile, a colleague in Sydney noted wryly of the pitch that it was “the first time I’ve ever seen a drought 22 yards long and three yards wide”.

Roebuck in the Herald was less sceptical. The wicket, he wrote, had “started scruffy and, like the monarchy, held together longer than expected”. And even Conn admitted that “it is [un]likely to have made any decisive difference, given another poor Australian first innings batting performance”. And on the whole, the Australian press laid off Gordon, if only to show that they leave the whingeing to the Englishmen.

Or non-Englishmen as the case may be, with several papers conspicuously noting the team’s strong South African contingent, including Jonathan Trott, several of whose quotes were prefaced by something along the lines of, “Jonathan Trott, speaking in a strong South African accent, claimed …”

“Is it England or South Africa tormenting Australia in this Ashes series?” wondered Ben Dorries in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. “After England’s latest batting hero Jonathan Trott made 119 on debut in the fifth Test it seems the Rainbow Nation is more of a factor than the Mother Country … Between them, the four South Africans have scored 1048 runs this series – over 40 per cent of England’s runs.”

Nor did English nerves go un-noticed. “Only an Englishman, on the verge of such a comprehensive victory, could be so fearful of losing,” wrote the Herald’s Jamie Pandaram. “It says much of the psychology in this land that when all others would have celebrations well under way after setting the opposition 546 for victory, many England fans can only see ways for their side to lose”.

Closer to home, in the search for scapegoats the selectors rather than the captain emerged as early favourites. The omission of Nathan Hauritz at The Oval was, according to Roebuck, “a culpable blunder”, and both Michael Slater (“we have gone to England with the wrong squad”) and Ian Chappell (“they handcuffed Ponting with four seamers”) agreed.

Hardly anyone thought Ponting would go. “Forget all that nonsense about criticising Ponting’s captaincy”, wrote Conn. “He remains by far the best player to lead the team. Ponting is not a bad captain and his record says as much. Few have had more success in the history of the game. And that is not just on the back of the final stages of the great Shane Warne-Glenn McGrath era.”

Roebuck felt the same. “Ponting will not be evicted. Nor is he likely to step aside. Although the inside edges are a worry, he confirmed his batting skills in Cardiff and Headingley. And it is rare for an Australian captain to be allowed to keep playing once he has stood down. Other countries may field several former captains in their line-ups but that is not the antipodean way. Ponting knows that resignation and retirement are closely intertwined.”

By Paul Coupar in Sydney. Paul Coupar is a former features editor of The Wisden Cricketer.

Posted in England, Test cricket, The Ashes, The media | 2 Comments »

King Cricket: Sunday night finish please Swanny

August 21st, 2009 by Alex Bowden in England, Test cricket, The Ashes


Marcus North took the ball and began his over. Someone, somewhere punched the air. The number of times this had happened previously could be counted on the fingers of one head.

Who punched the air and why? It was us and there were three reasons.

  1. It was the 81st over and ol‘ gob-hands had opted to continue with Marcus North rather than take the new ball. There’s some spin in that pitch.
  2. England have picked the only spinner in the match.
  3. Fast knackering pitch: There might be a result before the end of the weekend.

More chance of a result is better for England. There might be more chance that Australia will win, but that doesn’t matter. There’s also more chance England will win and that does matter. Hopefully it ends early as well. Here’s why.

Monday finishes are part and parcel of Test cricket, but the simple fact is that most of us are at work. Four years ago, we gambled and booked the last day of the fifth Test off work about six months in advance. This year we’ve booked today off, so on Monday, if the match is still going, we’ll be doing the modern equivalent of watching Ceefax - staring at a scorecard on the internet and waiting for the numbers to change.

It’s all wrong, Even if England win, you can’t celebrate victory with a bonus cup of tea on a Monday afternoon. That’s how you celebrate getting one column of figures to add up to the same as another column of figures. The Ashes is bigger than that. You celebrate victory by taking a few unsteady steps towards cirrhosis of the liver.

The Ashes deserves better than a Monday finish. The folk memory of 2005 is of a riotous last day and a week long party. As we remember it, bad light intervened and when we jumped up to celebrate, we realised it was Monday night, no-one was around and we had to go to work the next day.

Graeme Swann, you owe us a Sunday night finish. Not sure why, but you do.

King Cricket blogs at He is a cult figure in the world of cricket blogs and was TWC’s first Best-of-blogs winner in April 2008.

Posted in England, Test cricket, The Ashes | 4 Comments »

« Previous Entries

Site by Anson Robson Marketing © 2011 The Wisden Cricketer All Rights Reserved