Aussies are back in town
IN some quarters there have been murmurs of discontent about the number of times England will face the Australians over the next few years.
But there won’t be too many complaints at the Swalec Stadium this evening about battles with the old enemy being devalued.
Nearly 12 months after Wales hosted the first Test of a series that saw Andrew Strauss’ men win back the Ashes the Aussies are back in town.
Tonight’s one-day international simply can’t match the drama of last July when five days of cricket boiled down to last pair Jimmy Anderson and Monty Panesar seeing off the last 69 balls to save the game in front of a passionate sell-out crowd.
It is unlikely that any of the games that the burgeoning international venue hosts over the coming decades will, after all that was an opening Ashes Test that went right to the death.
However, England’s four-wicket win on Tuesday served to whet the appetite and set up tonight’s encounter perfectly.
The World Cup and Wimbledon may be grabbing the headlines this summer but a dashing century by young Irishman Eoin Morgan deservedly earned plenty of plaudits.
While Greece were serving up the football equivalent of a Geoff Boycott forward defensive against Argentina, the Middlesex left-hander was reverse-sweeping his way to his third international ton.
It led skipper Strauss to compare the Dubliner, who stuck an unbeaten 103 from 85 balls, to famed Aussie finisher Michael Bevan.
His efforts helped England to an excellent start in their countdown to the World Cup in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in February and March.
It was also a knock that Morgan rates as his best.
“Playing against such a big side like Australia, and given the circumstances, I was quite proud of myself,” he said.
“I’ve had a small run of form recently and that’s what happens, you hit it into the places you want to.
“When everybody goes through a run of form, they seem to hit the gaps rather than the fielders.”
England’s victory was only their second in ten ODI matches against Australia, and it was the team’s success which made it a special night for Morgan.
Asked what pleased him most about his innings, he said: “Winning, being there at the end and winning.
“That’s a great feeling of satisfaction.
“The guys around me complement me and I thoroughly enjoy it. With Kevin Pietersen and Colly Paul Collingwood in the sort of nick they’ve been in, it’s fantastic.
“Then there’s Luke Wright coming in behind me and once we got in, we knew we could clear the ropes at the end so we weren’t particularly worried about run rates.
“We have a fantastic group of players at the moment and a great atmosphere in the changing room, and confidence is very high.We should cash in a bit more.”
Australia captain Ricky Ponting accepts his bowlers must cut out “easy boundary options” for England’s batsmen.
England plundered 33 fours and two sixes as Australia wilted at The Rose Bowl.
“We’ve got some work to do, we were a long way below our best,” Ponting admitted.
“We saw when Nathan Hauritz first came on, the way Morgan reverse sweeps is difficult to set fields for.
“But the way our quicks and medium-pacers bowled to him, we gave him too many easy boundary options.”
Glamorgan silenced a lot of doubters with the way that they hosted last year’s opening Test.
They will be keen to maintain their reputation by putting on another good show.
It is the exploits of Anderson, Panesar, Collingwood and the four Aussie centurions that is remembered from 2009.
Glamorgan will hope for a smooth operation that ensures it is once again the on-field action that is talked about.