I shall tune in and watch the start of the second Ashes Test on the merry morrow but, and I warn them publicly, the English team cannot bank on my unconditional support if they continue to play as inadequately as they did in last week’s first rubber. The draw was fortunate indeed. After all, the earnest yet unspectacular Australians managed to take nineteen English wickets while the home bowlers toiled mundanely to take a mere ‘alf dozen in return. Twenty wickets are required to vanquish in a five day Test and I’m unsure whether in Stuart Broad (although he possesses a fine haircut) or either of our spinners we possess the artillery to bundle out sufficient Antipodean batters. I’d like Stephen ‘Steve’ Harmison to return to the eleven. I am convinced the Aussies would prefer him not to be in the team; the lofty Durham fellow can bowl wi’ real pace and venom and we require his unpredictable sturm und drang at Lord’s. Most of my ire from Cardiff is reserved for the hugely talented but irresponsible Kevin Pieterson. Where the pragmatic and hard-nosed wearers-of-the-green-baggy batted with guts and drive and determination, Pieterson chose to put personal glory ahead of any team ethic. His attempted sweep (resulting in the simplest of catches) in the first innings was embarrassing, his decision to flamboyantly leave a delivery which then knocked his stump clean out in the second was simply foolish. The ruthless and indomitable Aussie skipper, Ponting, would have attempted neither stroke (or lack of one); for this fellow the team comes before the individual and I hope that this Pieterson chap soon grasps the importance of constructing a major innings not for himself but for the wider good. Despite these moans and groans, I’m right behind the team and excited by its upcoming challenges. As Michael Parkinson declared on the Today Programme earlier, this is The Ashes and it remains the greatest cricketing contest on the planet.