England v Australia: First Test, Edgbaston
Australia beat England by an innings and 118 runs
Oh the agony of defeat!
What a weekend... Tim defeated, the Lions giving a bruising down under
and to cap it all England defeated in four days by Australia. The scorecard of losing by an innings and 118 runs tells the whole
story. All of a sudden the true enormity of the mountain that faces the
England Test team is brutally clear.
Australia won the toss and elected to field first. It proved to be a
fine decision. Whilst batting last on a wicket can always be a gamble, it is
easier to chase a target. It was to prove very easy to chase and even
easier to set England a fresh target. England's first innings was at best
disappointing and at some points heartbreaking. At lunch they were 106 for
1, but in the face of a world class bowling attack, the next eight wickets
fell for just 85 runs. This brought together Alec Stewart and the last man
in, Andy Caddick, whose 49 not out was heart-warming. 294 all out is not a
sufficient target for a team with the batting talent of Australia.
So it proved. Given a solid start by the opening partnership of Hayden
and Slater, Australia set about amassing the sort of total we are used to
seeing from them. In the midst of the order came Steve Waugh with a stylish
105, another 105 from Damien Martin and a stunning 152 from Adam Gilchrist
that came off 143 balls. To have an attacking batsman of Gilchrist's
stature batting at number 7 shows the quality of the Australia team and also
gives any innings a stability that is invaluable. A total of 576 was to
prove to be a match winning team innings.
England's second innings resembled skittles going down in the face of
tight and accurate bowling. Mark Waugh's three catches were also crucial.
Both Waugh brothers have hands and an eye for the ball that can turn matches
and the claiming of Atherton and Trescothick set the tone for the rest of
the match. The latter with a score of 76 looked to be building a solid
century. Poor England, a batting collapse and a captain forced to retire
hurt with a broken finger, courtesy of a speedy delivery from Jason
England found out to their cost that Australia really are streaks ahead
of the pack in terms of International cricket. Edgbaston, however, was not
only about being faced with world class opposition. England dropped catches
and missed stumpings and were punished for these mistakes. Australia on the
other hand were brilliant and the worrying thing is that Steve Waugh thinks
there is room for improvement.
Abi... Post Ashes Correspondant.