Australia came into the last day with a chance win the game. Andrew Flintoff picked up the chance, shook it, choked it, and then kicked it out of Lord’s. It was a sustained spell of powerful bowling. From his first over of the day it was obvious he was going to be Australia’s hurdle. The next over he took out Haddin.
That was that.
Australia’s fight back all but died there, but Freddie was having none of it. He was in this to the end. At least two times Strauss asked if he wanted a rest, and he shook him off. He said in the press conference that he wanted to bowl until the match was won. And I think he could have.
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He was the difference between the two sides in this Test. Even with Australia’s farcical first day, their suicidal second day, and the fourth day when the umpires were unsure of what constituted a correct decision they were a chance to win this match. But Freddie stood up.
This is his last Test in England, and he was way more emotional than usual. After his fifth wicket he actually hugged his teammates. This means a lot to him, and he isn’t going out quietly. The English crowd almost ignore the other players around him, and for years he hasn’t earned this status, but now with his career in its last weeks he is becoming the Freddie of 2005 and that is scary for Australia.
The Australians now have one warm up game before the next test, and hopefully they only have one thing on their mind, fixing Mitchell Johnson. No more talk of the in-swinger he may never master, he needs to be wound up and let go. Brett Lee and Nathan Hauritz will be out to prove their fitness.
Australia are one nil down, and they were thoroughly outplayed in this game, but before anyone panics there are a lot of good signs. England completely dominated this game and only won by just over 100 runs with Australia making over 400 in the last innings. Australia dominated the first Test much more savagely than England did this one. And Mitchell Johnson cannot possibly bowl this bad again.
The series is now alive. The English fans are up and roaring. The Australian team want revenge. And Freddie is determined to go out an Ashes winner.
The next three Tests could be one hell of a ride.
*Listen to or download the latest Crikey Sports Ashes Podcast, where Leigh Josey and Jarrod Kimber discuss the latest happenings from Lord’s.
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