England deserves credit where it's due.
Jimmy Anderson celebrates England's draw like a victory. (Getty Images)
With the sun still shining on Sunday afternoon, England batsman James Anderson breathed out with relief, raised his arms in the air to acknowledge triumph, and unleashed a victory roar at his celebrating teammates watching his achievement from the Sophia Gardens pavilion.
Anderson The Conquerer had accomplished something worth celebrating.
So, too, had his teammates.
According to former England captain Mike Atherton, gushing in The Times, "English batsmanship - classic nose-to-the-grindstone, down-in-the-trenches, over-my-dead-body English batsmanship - finally showed its face on the fifth day in Cardiff. And what a welcome sight, in the ruddy features of Paul Collingwood, it was.
"Collingwood, unshaven, sunburnt and mired in sweat and dust, batted for 17 minutes shy of six hours, 245 balls of sheer bloody-mindedness and self-restraint, to take England to the brink of safety."
Well done, England. Jolly good show.
For four of five days of this First Test, your brave boys dug in with a stiff upper lip to ensure, steady on, chaps, that nothing much happened.
"Only cowards pray for rain," was one witty banner waved, presumably, by an Australia fan in the crowd on day four.
The premise was that the only thing that would/could save England from defeat in this Test was poor Welsh weather. Even English meteorology can't be relied upon these days, it seems.
The sadder thing was that from day two, England was slowing down the game and even received boos from the crowd for it. Let me note that again: day two.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting, smartly, said he wouldn't file an official complaint about Englandâ€™s time-wasting tactics. As the Test wound down, with Australia desperately searching for one ball and one wicket to give them deserved victory, the brakes locked up.
In frankly comic scenes, England sent on their 12th man twice in the space of five minutes. The second occasion required the assistance of the team physio to perform the medically urgent task of nothing much.
"Our intentions were good," claimed England captain Andrew Strauss. "I don't think we were deliberately trying to waste a huge amount of time, that wasn't our tactic. The reality of the situation is that Australia didn't take that final wicket," Strauss said.
"There was a lot of confusion, to be fair. We first of all sent the 12th man out just to let Jimmy and Monty know about the fact there was time left rather than just the overs. Then there was drink spilt on his glove and Jimmy called up to the dressing room - we weren't sure whether he needed the 12th man or the physio. There was a lot of confusion, to be honest."
Strauss, though, is right. Australia failed in not taking the final wicket and so it will be written the series remains 0-0.
But the damage has been done to England, even if the scorecard remains untroubled.
Ponting may be frustrated at the outcome but will quietly know England raised a white flag very early in this series.
In a sport where the mental battle is a significant part of the duel, triumphantly celebrating mere survival is a sure path to be later eaten alive.