The Ashes 2013
If the Shane Warne experiment ever runs out of steam, the World Series Poker tour could do worse than recruiting Stuart Broad. Bluffing, clearly, seems to be his thing. The card sharks would quake surrounded by his defiant, steely resolve.
I’m yet to see a better poker face stare down blatant guilt. In the aftermath of his appeal, Michael Clarke was picking a splinter out of his left hand. A remnant of the Broad blade.
Yes it was out. Correction. It should have been. But so what. Since when was cricket dependent on the goodwill of opponents. “Jolly good show old chap” was fazed out with the introduction of colour television. It doesn’t rate a mention in the Facebook age.
Some will argue Broad should have walked. He edged the ball to slip after all. But the Australian team, despite their angst, would do well to ask themselves if they too would have tucked the bat under the armpit in the same circumstances. Not even Kevin Rudd would rustle up a caucus majority to that leading question.
This is the Ashes. Sheep stations are worth less. It wasn’t a good look. The spirit of cricket was tarnished. One wonders what his father Chris would think, especially given his role as an ICC match referee and a traffic cop to that mythical edict.
Batsmen get few opportunities to dodge the bowler bullet. Broad was under no obligation to walk. As a paceman himself, he would have lost count how many times he’s been a victim of batsman good fortune.
Australia’s fury was amplified by several close shaves in its pursuit of victory. The worst came when Ian Bell was given out, lbw to Shane Watson. It looked out. Somehow, Hawkeye found a way to give him a reprieve. It hasn’t been Hawkeye’s finest moment in the sun at Trent Bridge. Despite the long-lasting memories of performance, this test match has been an officiating calamity.
Australia though has a bigger problem than Broad’s amazing escape act. That is Ian Bell. England’s most circumspect and technically correct batsman has put the hosts in a commanding position to win this test. Australia has had their chances. They haven’t taken them. The lead may already be big enough.
Every day so far has begun with a crucial opening session. Day 4 is no different. Australia is four wickets away from a 4th innings chase. The longer that takes to commence inflates the target and further deteriorates the condition of the pitch they’ll have to bat on. Four quick wickets will keep Australia in the hunt. But a chase of anything more than 300 may be a Trent Bridge too far.