One can simply say that it was an amazing test match that just concluded between England and Australia at Cardiff. There could not have been a more perfect beginning to the Ashes series as Australia pushed hard for victory in the first test match and England managed to hold on to salvage a draw in spite of some very ordinary bowling performance in the test match by its bowlers. The Englishmen were totally outplayed in all the departments whether it be bowling, batting, or fielding. England narrowly managed to get a draw out of this test match due to some determined and courageous batting by Paul Collingwood, James Anderson, and the English spinning wizard Monty Panesar. With this result England managed to head for the second test of the Ashes series with everything to play for in the upcoming matches.
If one looks at the closing stages of the test match then it was a huge task for both Monty Panesar and James Anderson to save the game for England. However, both these English knights showed enough courage and determination to hold fort in the final overs of the day and help England escape with a draw. Both these players played solid cricket to stop the Aussie bowlers from getting the last wicket, thereby denying Australia victory in the first test match. Panesar saw off 35 balls and Anderson saw off 53 balls in the closing stages of the match to make sure that England could snatch a draw from the jaws of defeat staring right into their face. In this course of time England tried out various tactics by calling the 12th man and Physio on several occasions to make sure that the game slowed down. However, it was grit and determination of the last pair that saw England sail through to salvage this draw.
England started the first innings of the match by handing over the advantage to the Australian bowlers as they were reduced to 97 for 3 at lunch on the first day. However, some solid batting performances from thereon by Kevin Pietersen (52 runs) and Paul Collingwood (50 runs) ensured that England were going smoothly till the final session of the day. Australia struck back in the final session of day one to reduce England to 336 for 7 with just the tail left in the England first innings. The second day started off well as Graham Swann and James Anderson played with a positive frame of mind to ensure that the English tail wagged a little longer so that England could put a decent first innings score of 435 runs on board.
However, the best part of the match had ended for the Englishmen as the Australians took control. The match from Day 2 afternoon session onwards till Day 5 afternoon session belonged to the Aussies as they outplayed the Englishmen in all departments of the game. The Australian batsman butchered the English bowler as they hit them to all parts of the ground. There was arrogance in the way the Aussies played and scored runs freely as the English bowlers toiled hard to get them out. Without any major contributions from the spinning duo of Panesar and Swann, the English pace attack looked toothless on an excellent batting strip laid out in Cardiff.
The Australian batsman dictated terms to the English bowlers and showed their batsman the way to get big scores in test matches as they pilled up a huge total. The major contributions came from Katich, Pointing, North, Clarke, and Haddin as the Aussie run machine feasted on the lackluster English bowling attack. The Aussie captain was simply outstanding in the match as he scored 150 runs to ensure that the Australians did not need to bat again. Notable contributions from Katich (122 runs), Clarke (83 runs), North (125 runs) and Haddin (121 runs) ensured that the Australians put up a mammoth 674 runs in the first innings before declaring on Day 4 with an overall lead of 239 runs. The Australian bowlers were warmed up to hit form in the second innings as the English batsman faltered on Day 5 of the test match. Had it not been for Collingwood, Panesar and Anderson, it would have been a sure shot victory for the Australians. However, the end result is that both the teams are tied at 0-0 for the series and would hope to turn the tables in the next test match.
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