So, I hear you ask in your relentless quest for knowledge, what have we learned from that little lot?
The first thing we’ve learned, at least as far as The Little House of Concrete is concerned, is that Hughesy needs to hunker himself down in The Office’s comfortable chair before the first ball is bowled, with the radio tuned to the ABC commentary and the dressing gown handy in case we need a little added warmth in the wee hours. We’ve got fortifieds from Baileys of Glenrowan to warm things up on the inside, and the dressing gown will do for the exterior, particularly the legs on nights that tend, with the wind chill factor and all, to be crisp.
Expecting a time lapse between the radio call and the on screen action I was sitting at the computer last night when Madam appeared, announced she was watching the first bit and settled into the comfy chair. At one for a few more than I would have preferred and the bowling leaving a bit to be desired, I thought it was time to try Hughesy’s almost foolproof method of ensuring something happens by wandering off to bed.
This quite often produces results, but I don’t recall too many instances where the stratagem has proved quite as successful, delivering no less than thirteen wickets, but we’re getting ahead of the narrative here.
So, what did we learn?
Let’s start with the Australian team selection, particularly the decision to hand Ashton Agar his baggy green, the 434th player selected for Australia, and the twelfth youngest to get the honour. If you need to catch up on the Agar story you can do so here, but the selection suggests a degree of horses for courses in the selection stakes.
The thinking appears to involve Kevin Pietersen’s perceived weakness against left arm orthodox bowling, and comments from Lehmann (here) suggest the spinner’s spot isn’t completely cut and dried.
More particularly, with Lyon bowling offies, Agar’s left arm tweakers and Fawad Ahmed’s leggies it looks like we’ve got three reasonable cards covering the standard spin options. That could make the next tour to India rather interesting.
The other interesting selection issue is, of course, Warner. Rocketing him off to play for Australia A in Zimbabwe (there’s a four game there starting the same day as the Lords Test with the first of two unofficial Tests against South Africa A kicking off a week later) means he might be back on board later in The Ashes series, with Old Trafford starting on August 1, the Test at Riverside (Durham) kicking off on August 9 and The Oval on August 22.
There are three day tour games against Sussex (between Lords and Old Trafford) and Northamptonshire (leading in to The Oval) so, while Warner would have been able to get some time in the middle there, with Zimbabwe and South Africa A probably guaranteeing a more competitive opposition you’d have to guess he’s still on the periphery of the picture and a chance of figuring in calculations if the existing order fails to deliver.