Australia still can’t play swing bowling. England can’t take wickets without it.

That is what you need to know from Edgbaston. When the ball was swinging Australia collapsed to lose 7 for 77 in one session. When it didn’t, Australia eased themselves to 5 for 375 without any real problems.

There were other things we learnt from this Test:

  • Phil Hughes doesn’t tweet, but his manager’s IT guy does.
  • Andrew Flintoff can take no wickets in a Test without the English press turning on him.
  • Graham Manou can keep better than Brad Haddin, but not bat as well.
  • Andrew Strauss has lost all faith in Stuart Broad, which makes him a slow learner.
  • And if a bomb threat is called into the Edgbaston pavillion the fans are evacuated but not the players.

The bomb threat was an interesting distraction during the day. George Dobell of Spin Magazine was sitting next to me when he got the call, and then broke the story. He kept making a lot of odd calls to worried Edgbaston and Warwickshire officials that often sounded like this, “That isn’t good … but did he email or phone … are we sure it is gone … no I have never really thought about how I would contact people I was planning to bomb”.

I should have figured something was wrong when I went to the press box toilet and there were four bobbies looking under a stack of paper.

So two days were lost to rain, and if they hadn’t been this could have been a classic Test match. Instead the series goes to Headingley with Australia still one nil down. Edgbaston is a great place to watch Test cricket, no where else have I seen such amazing crowd reactions. And even on the rained out day, the crowd remained in good spirits.

On the last day Australia never even pretended to think about going for the victory. Ricky’s conservatism was fairly justified, but it does show that Australia has come along way from the attacking team we all knew. Their plan was to play out the whole day and ensure the draw, and that is what they did. Even when Clarke and North were doing as they pleased Australia never considered upping the rate and having a cheeky few overs at England.

There were good signs for Australia in this Test. Flintoff’s knee is now in worse condition than my grandma’s, and she is on her third replacement knee. Mitchell Johnson bowled well enough to sledge and front the media, two things he wouldn’t have done at Lord’s or Cardiff. And the Australian selectors weird Sci Fi experiment of creating an opener out of Shane Watson has worked at least once (although his bowling was bad by park cricket standards).

This series could be decided by cloud coverage. If the ball swings at Headingley, or the Oval, Australia will probably not retain the Ashes. If not, Australia can still win. They haven’t found their best form in this series, and they are still only one Test down.

Australia may not win the Ashes, but retaining them is only a few sunny days away.

*Go to Crikey’s Ashes homepage for the latest coverage