Quotes and Thoughts
"It's not about how you look, it's about how many runs you score" - Saurav Ganguly about his perceived weakness against short bowling. And I totally agree. Now lets just get some runs going.
"I worked really hard but I thought I'd cocked it up at the end." Ricky Ponting on his dismissal and "It was a big game in the series and it was a big result for us after being out-played in the first few days." on being happy with getting the draw in third test. Surprisingly candid for an aussie captain. A Waugh veteran would have said 'we were in the hunt till about 10 overs to go, with me and Shane batting well..' ! He also said that a win was not likely (about his thoughts at the start of the day). Somehow, I'm not convinced :-)
"It's been very nerve-wracking - I'm not sure if I can keep going through this sort of thing." - Lee on the tense batting periods he had to undergo in the two tests. Totally agree with him. Too much for a tailender, and too well performed so far.
Lee and McGrath also said, in a BBC interview, that the instruction sent to them just before the last over (via water bearer Stuart McGill) was 'to bat two feet out of the crease to negate scope of LBW'. That was one very smart move. It shows how deep the Aussie thinking and planning goes. They must have tuned it further after last match where they fell just 3 runs short. And more importantly, this was an instruction sent to number 9 and 10 against one of the most fearsome bowlers in business today ! Lee did say that he batted just one feet outside, and tried to manage :-)
"But I've been working hard (on my batting) and I've been on at Ricky to move me up the order." - Lee on his batting. Also McGrath told BBC that he's telling Ricky that he's wasted at number 11, especially since he not been dismissed so far in this series ! Nice bit of fun there, by the tailenders. Surely trying to calm their own nerves. But well batted. These two matches, from Aus point of view, have been all about Shane Warne and the tail. And some Ricky Ponting toppings :-)
For England its been Freddie again. He's not yet a strike bowler, wont 'run through' good sides yet. But he's an aggressive support act. At Lords it was for Harmison, at Edgbaston it was shared, at Old Trafford it was Simon Jones. Time for Hoggard to stand up ?
Meanwhile, Aussies have a selection dilemma. Surely Gillespie would go out, but do they bring in Kasper or Tait. I think, having drawn this game, they would be in a position to take the more risky approach of blooding Tait than going safe with Kasper. Unless they think Trent Bridge surface is going to help reverse swing as much as Old Trafford. McGrath hinted that they need to tackle that issue (of getting the ball to reverse)
And Hayden ? I think they may not yet drop him, backing him to turn the corner like Ponting. The difference is, Ponting was in flow even at Edgbaston, and I'm not sure how fluent Hayden has been in any of his outings (not having seen any live action).
Thankfully there is an intermission in the drama. In the context of this series, 10 days is long time for dramatic changes. Maybe Flintoff will step of one of those balls one morning ;-)