Well, we did. We fucking did it. When Australia’s lead increased to 120, I started to worry. But Birmingham master Ian Bell sent us home. I am really happy.

I’m especially happy about that because our heroes today are two and three players who have been struggling lately. It warms the cockles.

Steve Finn did a great job yesterday afternoon, proving all the doubters, including my good self, completely wrong. Glad to have you back, Fanny.

Today, of course, is about Ian Bell. Everyone is working on their case lately. I found myself defending his record in numerous Twitter controversies and predicting that he would do well. Thankfully, he proved once again that form is temporary and class is permanent. Today is a victory for purists everywhere.

Bale has often been accused of being mentally fragile. I agree that he can seem scaly at times, but “weak” is too harsh. He was under a lot of pressure in that game, whether it was his own poor form or the situation of the game, but he did it. I’m obsessed with this guy.

With Bale back to form, England’s batting suddenly became stronger. With Cook in front, Bale in three, Root in four, Stokes in six, we have a very strong backbone. Australia’s mid-order, on the other hand, looks like a deer in the crosshairs. Well, this is for you, Maxi.

Losing Jimmy Anderson is obviously a huge blow to the future, but somehow I think we’ll be fine. Don’t ask me when I’m optimistic – it didn’t take much to shake my fragile faith in English cricket – but I do believe other bowlers can make the cut. I’m curious to know who you would choose as your replacement? For me, wood was the obvious choice.

As for Australia, they suddenly looked stressed. The game was supposed to be bookmaker’s Stark and Hazelwood underperformed. Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon are playing well, but they need more support.

Australia’s big problem is their batting formation. Surely it made sense to bring in smooth Sean Marsh at three and then push Smith and Clark to four and five? Voges doesn’t seem like a test of quality to me. We have long argued on this blog that there is relatively little point in running against the wind. I call it Popala’s Law. Maybe Shane Watson will be welcomed with open arms (wink, wink) again?

Anyway, I’ll leave the analysis there for now. Today is a day to celebrate. Our team fought back hard and sent the Australian home. Let’s ignore what usually happens in the next game after we win.

By x59ok

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