Steve Waugh's EXCLUSIVE Ashes Blog: "This could be Shane Watson's Test"
Australia’s most successful cricket captain and Laureus Academy Member STEVE WAUGH will be giving Laureus.com followers his exclusive views on the Ashes Series. Here he looks back at the First Test and forward to the match at Lord’s which starts today.
By Steve Waugh
The First Test was exciting, with a thrilling finish and great for the watching public. But I think the most important thing was that Australia played well enough to show that this series is going to be close.
I have been saying for three months that England are not as good as many people have been saying and the Australians are certainly not as bad. Trent Bridge proved that.
The match was a close win for England, but it could just as easily have been a win for Australia. It oscillated for five days and has really set up the series. It certainly showed why cricket is such a great game.
The performance of Ashton Agar was fantastic. Not too many people knew much about him, but he showed a great temperament. But to get 98 batting No.11 in an Ashes series is something else.
As I said, I think we are going to be in for a close series. We have two talented bowling line-ups and batsmen who are keen to score. England have more experience, but I don’t think that showed in the First Test and it remains to be seen if that is an important factor in future matches.
The Trent Bridge Test was played with nerves, apprehension and excitement. Not just on the pitch. The crowd played a big part in the match.
I watched Brad Haddin’s great knock in the second innings with Formula One driver Mark Webber, who is from the same town as Brad. We both thought it was great. He showed amazing fight. They are friends and Mark was as gutted as Brad when they ended 15 runs short.
There has been a lot written about the Decision Review System (DRS) after the match, but I think Brad knew he was out straight away. The fact England weren’t that confident added to the unforgettable nature of the finish.
I think DRS is a really good system in conjunction with really good umpires. On this occasion they made some basic errors and it wasn’t used very well by Australia. But I think the more good decisions in a game we get the better and I think it does that.
As well as Haddin, I thought Steve Smith did well. He continued his good form from India and is a vital player as he good against the spinners, like Graeme Swann. And I thought Peter Siddle was the best bowler. He is highly underrated.
For England, Ian Bell was fantastic and Jimmy Anderson is just the best bowler in world, incredibly talented, he can swing it both ways. He is at the height of his powers and England are lucky to have him.
I expect to see more or less the same from the Lord’s Test starting today (Thursday). It will be close. England will play it the same, I think. But they will be looking for more from their batsmen.
I also expect to see a solid performance from Australia at Lord’s and I just have a sneaky feeling this might be Shane Watson’s Test. If he gets 100, I fancy him top get 200.
The result? We’ll see. It could be as close as Trent Bridge.