I suppose they are called test matches because they test the patience of the most loyal English supporter. It looks as though by tomorrow it will be all over bar the shouting and the Ashes will be back in Australia's hands. It is difficult to work out exactly what went wrong, although it has to be said that England's for since winning the Ashes has not been good.
Several of the better players are missing including the captain, and it seems that giving the capataincy to Flintoff was as big a mistake as giving it to Botham in 1981. They are similar sorts of players. Their cricket is instinctive rather than thought out, and captaincy requires a thinker. No doubt having to run the match threatens one's own form for a while, but a good captain is worth his place even if he averages 25 with the bat as long as he induces the other batsmen to average over 40 and the bowlers to take wickets. Captains who are tyros with either bat or bowl tend not to bring out the best in the rest of the team.
This England team is young and inexperienced, with too many not used to Australian wickets. Nowadays the tours are so short and the games so few that there is little time to bed into the pace of the ball of the wicket and, especially in Perth, to the bounce.
My son flies to Melbourne on Christmas day. It looks as though it will be a dead rubber byefore he arrives.