Not conclusively, and it wasn’t a charming funeral at all, but it looks like England — and Paul Collingwood, in particular — have finally put aside their dramatic Adelaide loss in 2006 by sealing the Cardiff draw.
Sure, it wasn’t convincing, but these odds were still worse than in that Test match: here, they had a three-figure deficit to overcome (at Adelaide, they were ahead by roughly 40 runs); there, they had nine wickets in hand on the last day, here they had only eight; there, they had to face down Warne, here only Nathan Hauritz (a tough challenge, no doubt, but not as bad).
This time, however, there was no dramatic batting collapse or rank stupidity. In fact, far from the timidity we saw from England in the Adelaide Test, at least here we saw some backbone. I’m not a fan of silly shoulder barges, but I did like Andrew Flintoff’s waiting a bit to check whether Ricky Ponting had caught him legally (Ponting’s been quick to jump to a claim before, as we know) or Graeme Swann taking hit after hit from Peter Siddle.
And, of course, I love the theme of the fourth innings “great escape,” wherein thousands of people gather and cheer for a non-result. So many of cricket’s dectractors say they can’t understand a game where 22 men play against each other for five days and still not produce a winning side. Strange, because that’s why I like it so much.