Somehow the idea of playing a test match in Cardiff just because they are skint seems to devalue the whole history of this epic battle and we don’t like it. I think its pretty sad that we kick off what should be a series full of excitement, fear and tension on a pitch that will be lifeless and dull in front of a crowd who really don’t care that much about cricket, as is shown by the parlous nature of the finances associated with Welsh cricket. They don’t get it so why keep forcing it on them and paying for it. Especially with an ashes series and especially with the first game.
Moaning aside there is a match on and our job is to work out how to make a few bob out of the contest. I am not going to predict the series (Australia win) result because any bookmaker hanging on to your money for that long should be ashamed of themselves, so we will simply take it match by match and see if we can find an in.
The first one is this test. Australia are almost even money to win and that seems to be a good starting point. Bowlers win matches and if England don’t play both Wood and Rashid, they will lose comfortably as Australia’s bowlers are simply better. England’s only hope is that atmospheric conditions favour swing bowling, in which case Anderson will be a handful – if fit. Trouble is it might just swing a bit for Starc and Johnson as well, who bowl quicker and bounce it more and if you are a batsman that isn’t a pleasant thought.
I am really impressed with Wood – he is bouncy quick and will develop if he stays fit, I so hope he plays as he is the new breed. It was also apparent that New Zealand didn’t know which way the bowl was going when Rashid bowled and he is, on his day, a much better spinner than Moen but it appears he wont play either, more is the pity, perhaps he isn’t ready yet. No doubt the Aussies would target Rashid but so what, leggies get hit but they get wickets.
So which England will turn out – the new aggressive style, confident England or the one that struggled against the West Indies, who Australia simply tore apart. I think they will opt for the latter and for that reason you cant be with England in this match. Maybe later but not this one.
I don’t really think it matters too much which England turn up, its just the spectacle that will be different. Either way Australia win.