Why winning at Lords meant the world to us Poms
The monkey is not just off the back – he’s on the floor, break-dancing.
If we didn’t win this time, we would never win at Lords ever again.
For 75 years that Aussies have dominated us at the home of cricket, but by Sunday we dared to dream. A lead of more than 500, two days to bowl the Aussies out – and a bowling line-up that consisted of four seamers, one spinner and two umpires.
Rudi Koertzen and Billy Doctrove had shockers, no argument there.
They committed the crime players in any sport despise – inconsistency.
They couldn’t refer Nathan Hauritz’s disputed catch but not Andrew Strauss’s. It was the wrong call.
But their level of inconsistency has been matched only by the criticism of the England skipper.
He genuinely believed he took the catch cleanly. You could tell that from his celebrations and those off the players around him.
There was none of the half-appeals and sideways-looks that usually accompany a dodgy catch.
Hauritz was the same, and certainly feels he took the catch fairly and squarely.
But now all and sundry are calling Strauss a cheat, while claiming Hauritz has been shafted.
The video evidence was also shaky for Hauritz, but I haven’t seen any condemnation of him – and nor would I like to.
There is every chance both men took fair catches – the camera does truly lie on those matters by foreshortening the image – so attacks on their integrity are off the mark.
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s undeniable that Australia didn’t have the rub of the green.
Hussey and Katich were also the victims of bad decisions on Sunday, and Ricky Ponting was given out caught at slip in the first dig when he clearly missed the ball.
(He was plumb LBW though, so that was probably the right outcome by the wrong means.)
But ultimately, 520 is a massive target and it is highly unlikely the Australians could have chased it down even without the howlers.
England were the better team and hopefully when all the furore dies down, most people will be able to acknowledge that.
On that note, I’d like to make one final point about Ponting.
I like bagging him as much as the next man, particularly if the next man is Duncan Fletcher.
But his post-match interview last night was pure class and would have won over many people.
He didn’t blame the umpiring; he blames his side’s poor performance, while praising England for theirs.
By letting everyone else talk about the issue, he can move on with his side and get ready for the next Test.
And what a Test it promises to be.
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