England’s mercurially stubborn display of batting at the end of the first Ashes Test was one of the most nerve-wracking displays of guts, fortune and gamesmanship... ever. Fortunately, it bloody well worked. England go into the second Test having done more than just not lose a game of cricket.
They’ve discovered new depths of reslience in the tail-end of the batting order. Dressing room morale has sky-rocketed. And, most entertainingly of all, Australian captain Ricky Ponting is not happy. FHM asked 2005 Ashes hero Matthew Hoggard for this thoughts going into the second Test…
What does your mate Glenn McGrath reckon the score’s going to be in the Ashes now?
He reckons it’s going to be 4-0. And if the next one’s a draw it’ll be 3-0. And 2-0 and so on. So it’s just the same old shit.
Is it good news for England to have Steve Harmison back in the squad?
He showed at Worcester that he’s a force to be reckoned with against the Australians. I played him last week at Durham and he’s bowling well. He’s raring to go.
What’s England’s game plan for the next Test?
England know exactly what they want to do, but pulling it off is the tricky part. But we’re not going to be carrying any baggage from Cardiff. It’s a new game and whoever plays better in the next five days will win.
What’s your take on Andrew Strauss trying to defend the time-delaying tactics at the end of the last Test?
I think the Australians are disappointed that they couldn’t quite grab the victory, so they’re clutching at reasons for why not. But it’s part and parcel of international sport. A bit of gamesmanship never hurt anybody. To be honest, I was thinking about stripping and running across the pitch at Cardiff just to help us win...
Are the Australians as good as they were two years ago?
They played well in Cardiff and they’ll take a lot of confidence into the next Test but they are beatable. They’re only eleven people, they’re not a machine and we’ve had experience of beating them before. They lost against South Africa so there’s still all to play for.
Do you think the draw has ruffled Ricky Ponting?
We have a reputation of being whingeing Poms. I think Ricky Ponting’s turning out to be a whingeing captain. He did it in 2005 when he lost and he started whingeing a little bit with South Africa. He’s just getting old. isn’t he? He’s getting cantankerous.
FHM.com recently posted our greatest moments in Ashes history. What's yours?
David Gower in the Tiger Moth was fantastic. But the other really good one was me calling Tony Blair a knob. I liked that.
Mathew Hoggard was speaking at the launch of the Sony Ericsson W995, with three months free Sky Mobile TV, exclusively on 3