The monstrous outsourcing conglomerate g4s might be a villain in the English press mainly due to its incompetence supplying security at last years London Olympics, but the light touch approach applied by groundstaff at Old Trafford would be a great model to follow for the aggressive and needlessly imposing security guards who intimidate spectators at some Australian sports events. The smiling reaction to harmless beer cup snakes here at Old trafford was an example that Aussie train and ground cops will unfortunately never follow. Further props for the short beer and toilet lines at the ground.
Old Trafford cricket ground would remind many Australian sports fans of the charm of approaching a sports ground through the streets of suburbia. Ordinary people in their houses pay no bother to the thousands approaching the oval just metres from their home. The standardization and gentrification of sports grounds in Australia is something to be regretted. So the preservation of local grounds hidden away in an otherwise anonymous suburb is to be cherished by those who don’t often get to see it.
Peter Siddle might be the anti-Shane Watson. In the Australian consciousness Watson is quickly becoming enemy number one. Aussies hate unfulfilled potential more like they hate Marmite, or Stephen Milne, or Mark Neeld. Conceived as arrogant, complacent and under-achieving, Watson is very close to being labelled un-Australian. Only a five-for or a cracking ton can save him now. A smile on field may also help.
Siddle is a workhorse that does much more than a workhorse. On the pitch in Manchester he is Australia's highest wicket taker and the only quick that can consistently avoid long term injury. Yet here he was bowled fifth. In fact both Starc and Harris got a second spell before Siddle was given the ball. No complaints. No dropped head. If Clarke had waited 100 overs one gets the feeling Siddles reaction would have been the same. Steam in. Put it on a length. Rinse. Repeat. Get an edge. Quality player. Quality attitude. Quality Victorian.
The English media had pretty much knighted Joe Root for his big hundred in the last test. Only the royal baby is more important. Just. This golden boy was Ashton Agar on steroids. Dave Warner's sin wasn't trying to hit a Pom in a pub. It was trying to hit the wrong Pom in a pub. If he had had a crack at wannabe Englishman Trott (nice accent) he might have become a guilty pleasure for the English crowd. Now they hate him. Like all cricketers, Warner is one angry ton away from being popular again. Or he may need two. Root can now experience reality. After the string of shameless, fawning puff pieces of the last two weeks, one spectator has already suggested dropping him back down the order. The English cricket media can also be embarrassed about how quickly they dismissed Australia’s chances before this test.
The low down on Australian players: Mitchell Starc is the hardest hitter around. One big step. Back lift. Bang. Could have flailed the poms for another hour. Rogers is the least likely looking ‘international athlete’ you are likely to see. No back lift. No real follow through. Bang. Could be/Should be/Maybe is a polite well-spoken librarian in a primary school of a small country town. Nice 20,000 first class runs though. Steve Smith is no gun. In fact his career would be on the precipice if not for the umpires and their incompetence. Such is the life of a middle order Australian batsman. Ashton Agar worked nearly as hard as anyone, managing the Michael Clarke glove conveyor belt with diligence. Clarke must have changed gloves every 6-8 overs for his whole innings. Clarke is a legend, and as he and Ponting can attest, sometimes the Australian people have to hate you before they love you. Watson, on the other hand, is not a legend. Great tight bowling though at the end of the day, but he needs a redemption story that Aussies love, like Davie Warner might write in the next few years. Haddin top effort.
Note to Jonanthan Trott: engaging drunk supporters in banter is a no-win situation. Don’t bring yourself down to our level. Note to all fans at the ground: great days.