After sitting back and enjoying the demolition then finally getting some sleep, I got up this morning and started to go through the interviews and highlights.
Scrolling through cricket.com.au for the interviews I noticed Ben Stokes’ interview from the end of day 3 headed ‘We are ready to bat for 150 overs’ I obviously had to have a laugh. Then I remembered Nathan Lyon saying something pretty similar at the end of day 3 in Cardiff.
While our victory was more comprehensive in every way possible, we need to remember the score sheet still only says 1-1.
We saw at Lords what Australia took from the Cardiff test. They described it as the kick up the bum we needed, similar to the New Zealand game in the World Cup, and responded in the best possible fashion.
I have been the first to throw my hand up and say that after Johnson was dropped from the test team all those years ago, I didn’t give him a chance to come back. I counted him out. Too old to make a comeback. Too crap to get his mojo back. He’s done. Was very vocal in my support to not support him.
Needless to say that he made me and probably a million others eat their words big time with his return in the Ashes series of 2013/14.
Once again I started to question whether he had just had a flash of brilliance riding a wave since he hadn’t showed that form for probably around 14 months. He had said in previous interviews that he felt good, but a tough summer, which kicked off with the passing of Phil Hughes, followed by being reduced to a bowling machine on some of the flattest wickets we have seen produced in Australia for the India series. Then came World Cup and IPL before heading to the West Indies which saw him fall short of his devastating best. Until yesterday.
On a flat wicket like that, to produce a spell of bowling like he did, it’s fair to say that MJ has found his rhythm. After the first innings where he bowled with control and pace, to see him extract some bounce to find the mark with Ali was blood pumping just as a spectator, I can’t imagine the English batsmen fancied the look of it, at all.
To cap it off, to do it at lords, the now well documented location of his break down as a bowler, has surely vanquished those demons for good. I dare say that moving forward, if he continues this form for the next 3 tests, it would be hard to place money on an English series win. With Mitchell Starc contributing early in both innings and Josh Hazelwood slipping into test cricket like a member of the Chinese diving team hits the water, I’d start looking at your spare change and putting it all on Australia from here.