You can tell Australia are toying with us. Cricket-wise that is. I am not saying they let us win the second test, that is not in their nature. Nevertheless the nature of that win has not got them running scared. How can I tell that the wind has not been put up the Australian camp? By how much they have been talking about this being an exciting and competitive tournament.
Just listening to Ricky Ponting saying how this kind of game is good for cricket, or Shane Warne talking about giving excitement to the crowd, you can tell they aren’t worried. The bottom line with Australia (and one hopes England too) is win at all costs. No-one has been playing that way though. Yep, there have been tremendous batting and bowling performances, but there have been some pretty fucking lousy ones too. The games have been won mainly on unforced errors (look how long it took England to finally get Australia out when the tail batted sensibly).
Perhaps too much one day cricket has forced England’s blistering pace, and the odds on us seeing a match go all five days are short. Even at the Oval. But frankly the Aussies are nowhere near the ropes. Unless we can injure them all (and that is not a bad game plan eh Jardine?) this will be a hard battle to win. And expect Australia to change tactics, and interview style if they feel riled. But no moans about the final Harmison wicket, even though it was a bit dubious, means that they aren’t fussed. Which is perhaps what we should worry about the most.