The wicket looks green but it will probably be a road; Chris Tremlett will play but then again so might Tim Bresnan; Australia are looking to the future through Beer goggles, and Andrew Strauss is warning that this Perth Test is going to be no pushover.
Meanwhile, Kevin Pietersen has been caught doing 21kph over the speed limit in Shane Warne’s Lamborghini, and Shane Warne’s been caught doing Liz Hurley.
And if it’s a free piece of official Australia cricket kit you’re after, then Nathan Hauritz is your man, and he might perhaps even throw in a book about Viv Richards if you’re lucky.
IT’S ALL HAPPENING, as Bill Lawry would no doubt scream in his more excitable moments – of which there have been many – but the truth is no one seems quite sure how this 3rd Test will go, with “caution” seeming to be the most favoured approach, if you’re Andrew Strauss anyway.
“If Australia were wounded in Adelaide and have a point to prove, they will be much harder to beat and we have to be ready.”
History would suggest Strauss is right not to be over-confident. England’s last victory at the WACA was in 1978-9 against a team weakened by the lure of Kerry Packer’s World Series. Their last 5 Tests here against Australia have resulted in defeat, they have failed to score 300 nine times out of ten, and have never bowled Australia out twice.
Against the Australia of four years ago, at this ground you wouldn’t give England a hope in hell.
The Australia of 2010 is a wounded animal, but wounded animals are unpredictable and have the tendency to rip your face off.
Nevertheless, Australian selection for this Test has been confusing, and not even Ponting seems to know what his final eleven will be, stating that he will want to take one final look at the wicket before he decides.
Michael Beer, a grade cricketer until two months ago, looks unlikely to play, which makes his inclusion rather puzzling. One can only assume the fact he is a left arm spinner who took Kevin Pietersen’s wicket in the tour game against Western Australia has something to do with it, as KP’s then-perceived weakness against left-armers seemed the sole reason for the selection of the now discarded Xavier Doherty. Doherty did succeed in his mission, albeit not until Pietersen had wracked up an imperious 227 runs.
Beer is now the tenth spinner called up since Shane Warne’s retirement, and even Beer’s predecessor Doherty has admitted, “I am sure the selectors are not quite sure who the next person is”. They certainly seem unable to offer any convincing rationale for this latest selection.
It all leaves one feeling rather sorry for Nathan Hauritz, spotted the other day giving away his Australia kit in front of his house with the explanation, “I don’t play for them anymore.” (Note: may not be exactly what happened.)
While this may be cricket’s equivalent of throwing one’s toys out of the pram, Hauritz, known to be an emotional sort, has a point in feeling aggrieved. He recently took 5 wickets at the WACA and scored a maiden first-class hundred at Sydney, yet the message being sent to him by the selectors seems very much to be one of complete and final rejection.
As far as Australia’s other likely men go, recalled pace enigma Mitchell Johnson could be a handful if the Fremantle Doctor gets up a head of steam, and Phillip Hughes has vowed to go all Sehwag on England if they attack him with any short stuff. Good luck with that.
For England, press reports seem to have been swinging back and forth between proclaiming Tremlett, Bresnan, and then back to Tremlett as Stuart Broad’s likely replacement.
While this pitch might not offer the bounce and carry of WACA decks of old, England would be crazy to decide on the safe option of Bresnan.
Chris Tremlett last played Test cricket for England in the India series of 2007. I saw him take 3 wickets in a losing cause on the last day at Trent Bridge when India had only 73 runs to make and he was magnificent. The notion of him being “timid” or “not aggressive enough” has always seemed to me spurious bullshit. The fact he took the wickets of Laxman, Tendulkar and Dravid during that series should suggest that his talent is beyond question, and his appetite for a fight as well.
If he shares the new ball with Jimmy Anderson in a Test that could retain the Ashes for England, he will get another chance to silence the doubters.