A reasonable nights’ sleep and it was time to head back into Cardiff for what I hoped would be the final day of the 1st Ashes Test.  England had set Australia a target of 412 to win the game.  Theoretically they had 2 days to get that total, although rain was promised for Day 5.

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With the weather in mind, either team really had to get the job done on Day 4.  My seat for the day was slightly further away from the wicket – I d like to be as close to behind the bowlers arm as possible, you can see far more of what’s happening I believe.

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I heard my name called as I was settling myself and there were Gary and Richard a few rows above me – still no sun tan lotion!  A tip, make sure you take some with you, if you’re lucky enough to get a sunny day – you WILL burn!

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Saturday tends to be fancy dress day and the crowd didn’t disappoint – how some of them survived what turned into a hot day in their outfits of choice I do not know!

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The morning saw clouds in the sky and brought a much colder start, coats were donned by most – I tired to tough it out but gave up in the end!

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Australia aren’t without top class batsmen it wasn’t beyond imagination to think that they of all teams could chase down the 412 total.  Chris Rogers and David Warner game to the crease in pursuit of the win.

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Rogers made an agonising 95 in the 1st innings falling short of his first test century – he was to face only 28 in balls in the 2nd.  Ian Bell on form in the slips catching him from the bowling of Stuart Broad.  A mere 10 for Rogers and Australia were a key man down with 19 on the board.

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Seeing both openers in action it struck me how small they both are, Rogers in particular is a very slight man – it goes to show that technique is a key factor rather than strength or size when it comes to scoring big.

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Steve Smith, started the Test as the Number 1 batsman in the world, for those who predicted a 5 nil series win to the visitors he was expected to be a key player.  Warner and Clark put on 78 runs for the 2nd wicket, patience was needed and shown.

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The pair ran well between the wickets, making 3 where it looked impossible on more than one occasion. Neither innings was a masterclass but Warner ran up a decent 52 before he fell victim to the bowling of Moeen Ali.

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Broad and Jimmy Anderson had frustrated the openers and again the Australians went for Ali – again to their ultimate cost – Warner was out LBW – on the stroke of lunchtime!  The 2 men had looked set for the day, the timing was hugely important!

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Lunch was taken -a not so healthy sausage in a roll for me – with a cuppa it was £7.00 – not bad for food in the ground.  There was a wide choice of food on offer form baked potatoes to Thai to fish & chips – an impressive array – I just fancied what was a decent and easy lunch.

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The teams returned with captain Michael Clarke joining Smith, they wren’t together long.  Bell with the catch and Broad bowling combined again to despatch Smith – he’d scored 33 from 49 balls.

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Clarke wasn’t to have much joy at the wicket – he faced only 13 balls before Broad added another scalp to his list – Ben Stokes taking the catch this time.

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Adam Voges had joined Clarke – as he departed Shane Watson, a man under a lot of pressure came to the crease.  Voges followed his captain with no change to the score – he’d scored a single run before Mark Wood got his man – caught by Jos Buttler.

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Australia had gone from 97 for 2 to 106 for 5 – the runs required looked a very long way away!

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Brad Haddin replaced Voges making 7 runs, facing 20 balls – he again faced Ali – and again Ali came up trumps.  Well, his captain Alastair Cook certainly did – he made a wonder catch – it was athletic to say the least!  He knocked the ball further into the air, catching it in his ‘wrong’ hand as it came down.  Australia were now 122 for 6!  Something of a collapse!

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Mitch Johnson arrived to boo’s like some sort of panto villain – I can only see that driving him on!  And sure enough in batting terms it did!

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Watson had been batting very patiently – someone had to! But he only ran up 19 runs in the 82 minutes he spend in the middle – you’ll never guess how he was out?  I think we all know the answer – LBW naturally – this time to Wood.

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It was going to be down to the men included for their bowling to give Australia any chance of a decent score.  And Johnson was certainly up to the task.  He’d been joined by the other Mitch included for the test – Starc.

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Johnson was a pleasure to watch he hit nine 4’s and two mighty sixes.  He made sure he got as much of the strike as possible, however Starc faced enough to be the next out.

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Joe Root had suffered a horror over with Johnson hitting two of his 4’s and a 6 – a total of 17 in all.  However he was kept on, Starc had been a great foil for Johnson as he ran up a decent score.  He was at the crease for 58 minutes before heeded a ball to the slips, Cook parried the ball again, this time it went into Adam Lyth’s hands.  Australia were running out of batsmen!

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One tall man left another arrived in the form of Josh Hazlewood.  Root for his revenge on Johnson 4 overs later – combing with Lyth again – Johnson was caught having scored a very admirable 77 from 94 balls.  He’d spent over 2 hours in the middle, and shown his batting team mates how to go about the job of scoring runs!

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The end was very near and who other than Joe Root should be under a huge hit from Hazlewood – the ball carried far enough to fall into the hands of the Man of The Match to polish of what was a great Test for the Yorkshire man.

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I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever shouted out loud as many times at a cricket match!  And the loudest of all was when that catch was taken!  England, against all expectations had won the 1st Ashes Test!  It was a great team performance and although Cook is yet to fire with the bat his captaincy was transformed.  England played to the conditions in front of them, he was very much the better captain.

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And so the teams move to The Home of Cricket – Lords – Australia aren’t a team to count out of a competition – they’ll go away and lick their wounds and no doubt come back stronger.  But, there will be no 5 nil on their part – well, not on the winning side anyway!  🙂

A few facts

  • Cost of Ticket              £85.00
  • Beer                              £  4.00
  • Pimms & Lemonade –
  • Jug    (£5 refund)       £20.00
  • Pint                               £10.00
  • Soft Drinks                  £ 2.00
  • Tea                                £2.00
  • Ice Cream ’99             £2.50
  • Ladies loos – the biggest comment as always at cricket – barely any queue!

I’ll no doubt be a little weary at work in the week after England amazed the cricketing world – but my goodness I’m glad I went!

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As with Day 3 – I’ve included a good number of photos but more will appear on the 365 Sporting Days Facebook page.

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