Onions strikes changed everything

I’ve decided that I won’t be making any more predictions during this Ashes series. At the start of the second day I was interviewed by Fox Sports in Australia and I told them that I thought Ricky Ponting and his team would score at least 400 and probably 500.

At 126 for 1 overnight, and with the way England had bowled in the 30 overs possible on day one, I just thought it was a matter of how many Australia would get on what is a good surface at Edgbaston.

But the first two balls from Graham Onions changed everything, with the wickets of Shane Watson and Mike Hussey. They were only line and length deliveries, really, but suddenly the complexion of the game had changed.

England drew so much from those two wickets right at the start of the day, and you could see how their body language had changed from the evening before. Seven wickets in that first session – it was amazing.

I don’t think Australia batted well enough, even though a couple of the umpiring decisions went against them, and Australians don’t like the swinging ball.

Jimmy Anderson looks a world-beater when the ball swings, and quite pedestrian otherwise, while Andrew Strauss should take a lot of credit for giving the ball to Onions first up.

I think most people expected Flintoff and Anderson to start, but Strauss clearly had a gut feeling about Onions. From my own playing experience, I know that you can draw a lot of confidence from when the captain throws you the ball at the start of the day when you have not done much in the previous session of play. I remember Mark Taylor doing something similar with me against England in Perth.

Yes, Australia can also count themselves unlucky when Mitchell Johnson did not win an lbw shout against Ian Bell during England’s reply towards the end of day two, but I think that the umpiring decisions seeming to go against Australia is very much a case of ‘Murphy’s Law’.

When a team is right on top, as England were, it is remarkable how often things tend to go your way. But the bottom line is that Australia didn’t play well enough and England now have a great chance to take control of the match. Who knows what will happen next, though!

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