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Writing4th December 2010

Management are far from pleased with Andrew Strauss. Not only was he clean bowled shouldering arms to Doug the Rug’s third ball of the day, but once again he failed to make correct use of the referral system for a delivery that Hawkeye clearly showed to be going over the stumps by several inches. It’s that kind of failure to utilise the intricacies of cricket’s brave new technological world that can leave a modern Test captain at a distinct disadvantage. He really should still be out there, steadily playing himself towards another century and pushing Ricky Ponting towards a rage induced cardiac arrest.

What was Strauss saving our two referrals up for anyway? Broady’s only going to waste them again. He’s another one who never gets it right. Although we’re not entirely convinced he’s really trying; the suspicion being he’s using the big screen close up of himself anxiously waiting, as an opportunity to check his hair looks good before he’s subjected to the ‘walking off the pitch with a sad face’ shots that gets used in all the following morning’s papers. They don’t teach you skills like that in the indoor nets at Headingley, I can tell you. Just a load of advice about bat and pad together; pitch the ball up, that sort of thing. Nowt that’s relevant to a star like Stuart.

Strauss was the first of two wickets that fell today. An embarrassing collapse by recent standards and one that almost left us shorthanded, as Colly and Matt Prior were amongst a group of players given the afternoon off to do some Christmas shopping, “whilst you’re not needed at the ground”. Might seem a risky decision, but to be fair to management, how were they to know Australia would hold on to a catch today? Test sides can’t plan for every eventuality, just the realistically plausible. Why do you think Ponting posts so many fielders on the boundary for Xavier Doherty? He’s not an idiot; he knows where the balls are going. Into a drawer that’ll be slammed shut by the Australia selectors if he doesn’t agree to bring Haurtiz back for the next Test, that’s where…