Lock in Eddie

Take a bow, Ed Cowan. You’ve answered beautifully and bought yourself extra time in the hot seat.

The stubbled Tassie Tiger’s breakout 136 against the South Africans was an uncharacteristic belter that stifled the pre-match questioning of those career-killing scribes with proclivities for bustling cricketers closer to the Aussie dole queue.

In the days approaching the first test, the unfashionable 30 year old was touted as the prime duck in an oft-rotated gallery on the verge of facing some scary African pistol action. As one-third of an inexperienced top 3 with a stodgy and frigid method, Cowan was the ugly sister in comparison to the face-melting David Warner, and the one you’ve already dated next to the fresh and untried Rob Quiney.

Ugly sister in unlikely encounter with royalty.

Cowan responded with the confidence of an oversexed prom king and unfurled the carefree YOLO approach towards building his innings which paid dividends from the get-go.

In the face of a star-studded opposition and a knife’s edge scoreboard, he blended his usual method of passively bunting the shine off the ball with an assertive bashing back to its undercoat, proving he wasn’t talking out of his proverbial when he quipped pre-match about his intentions to balance his watchful blocking with carefully-picked brutishness.

He calmly sorted through the basket and jumped on anything ripe, producing an opener’s innings of stylish toughness from the Justin Langer mould by showing superb levels of concentration over a yonks-length knock against the unrelenting force of a diamond-studded attack. His back-foot punching of swing king Dale Steyn early in his dig when the compression of a thin scoreboard was at it’s heaviest being a particular highlight.

It was a respect-earning display of big plums from the 8-test colt against a red ball serpent in tricky times.

In an odd way, it’s a shame that Cowan’s longed-for maiden century under the Australian coat of arms was somewhat unfairly overshadowed by the further rising to royalty of bullet-proof captain Michael Clarke and the frantic triple figures of the now grey-flecked Iron Mike Hussey.

But as a pre-match unkissable sister who may have been without a date for the whole summer, I’m sure he won’t mind.

Look up ‘breakthrough performance’ in your sporting guidebook and you will see this 257-ball beauty from the Paddington-born bookworm. Surely this will buy him some time away from the red pens of the selectors and that obligatory axe that seems to be suspended over at least one bloke in this Australian team every match.

The way the shackles were blown off would tell you that Cowan has found his mode and is ready to flourish. He’s made it to the next round and will now be part of the furniture for the upcoming Sri Lankan series, giving him a platform to build a case for making an opener’s spot his permanently.

Barring an absolutely stonking catastrophe, you can nearly lock Eddie in for the Ashes showdown next year in the Old Dart.

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Dane Eldridge Tries Hard

Contemporary rugby league surrealism and hot takes on Shane Warne

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