All in all, a superb test match. I was seated for the last 3 days near a gentleman who has been watching Test matches for 50 years around the world, right back from when Len Hutton was given out obstructing the field (he showed me his own scorebook with that and other games in it). In his opinion, this was the finest Test match ever played.
It's difficult to come to conclusions like that. A lot of people confuse an exciting finish for a great Test match. Just look at Adelaide a fortnight ago for example. To my mind, what set this Perth Test apart from others I have seen was the all round quality that was on display. Put that together with a fabulous crowd, and a pitch that had something in it for everyone, and perfect weather, and I don't know that I'll ever see a better Test in my lifetime.
We had consistent top class pace bowling from start to finish by Stuart Clark, and some shows of real quality from McGrath, Harmison and Hoggard at various times. Monty Panesar provided an object lesson in finger spin, and Shane Warne went on to one-up him with one of his best spells in years. Michael Hussey played a classic test match knock in the first innings, Michael Clarke made a century that oozed class, and Adam Gilchrist was just one ball short of the fastest century in history. Add to that the simply sensational fielding of Andy Symonds, and some tremendous work by Hussey and Clarke as well, and Ponting's run-out of Jones on the final day, and there's really not a lot left to say. And remember, all of this was in the context of Australia wanting to reclaim the Ashes, and England trying desperately to keep a grip on them.
I loved every minute of it, and I was privileged to be there, and proud to say that I didn't miss a second of the action.