I've been eagerly following the cricket since England arrived in Australia, and having been very pleased with our form in the three warm-up games, I was rather dismayed by Australia's first innings at the Gabba and extremely relieved that England managed to pull it back with some absolutely brilliant cricket from Strauss, Cook and Trott seeing us through.
Following the cricket in Adelaide was much more brilliant. Following a day's play in which we claimed ten wickets on a batting pitch, we promptly sent our batsmen out to show the Australians how it's done. Although Strauss was out uncharacteristically early, Cook, Trott and KP steadied the boat, with Colly, Bell and Prior providing valuable support towards the end of the innings after Cook and KP were finally claimed. We declared before lunch, and had four wickets by the end of the fourth day, with the final six wickets falling in short order in the morning of the fifth.
So let's look at the bowling so far in the series. Our best bowler is the new boy, Finn, who has figures of 9-281 at an average of 31.2 (although Boycott on the TMS podcast is worried that he's not looking as good in the matches' second innings). Swann did much better in the second innings of the Adelaide Test, and has figures of 9-322 at 35.8. Anderson has figures of 8-257 at an average of 32.1.
Stuart Broad, who has bowled as many overs as Anderson or Finn (Swann has been bowling more than the other three members of our attack, as far as I can see) has only managed to bag two wickets, but he has conceded almost a hundred fewer runs than Anderson and 120 fewer than Finn. Broad's strength lies, in my uninformed opinion, more in his ability to bowl with incredible discipline than to take a lot of wickets.
In the game against Australia A, we played our backup bowlers instead of our frontline attack. 7-121 for Tremlett, 6-151 for Bresnan, 3-111 for Panesar, 3-126 for Shahzad. Panesar bowled the least and also conceded the fewest runs, with Tremlett bowling more than Bresnan/Shahzad and also conceding a low number of runs. Panesar is a spinner (and has also been confirmed not to be in the running by Flower) so Tremlett, on the face of it, is the obvious choice.
However, we hit upon a snag. Broad's also our number seven batsman, and has scored a century for England in Tests in the past (although his duck in the first innings at the Gabba is the only datum for this series, and it's hardly a signal of a fearsome batsman!). Tremlett's batting average in Tests is 12.5 runs compared to Bresnan's average of 41.7 (a less defined discrepancy between the two is visible from their first-class figures – Bresnan's first-class average of 27.5 is only ten more than Tremlett's) and Tremlett was in as the 11th man in the match against Australia A.
Although Flower has said that Bresnan, Tremlett and Shahzad are in the running for Broad's position in the forthcoming Tests against Australia, I can't see Shahzad being the choice because he's not as good a batsman as Bresnan and his figures don't match Tremlett's. Bresnan and Tremlett are both capable of playing a similar role in the team, but Bresnan conceded the most runs out of the four bowlers played during the game against Australia A. Bresnan's batting is much better than Tremlett's but certainly in the first game played in Australia, Tremlett's bowling outclassed him. Given the fine form of our high-order batsmen (all four top batsmen have made centuries, two have made double centuries), is the batting important? Certainly, given the high scores we've been making without getting into the bowlers, I'd be tempted to say it isn't and play Tremlett in place of Broad.
One thing is sure, Flower is not going to announce the replacement before the start of the next Test against Australia, meaning that the backup bowlers will play against Victoria on Friday. This is a good decision, as it means the primary bowling attack can rest (Boycott commented on Finn's tiredness on the TMS podcast after the first day at Adelaide, so it's probably a good idea), and it also means more data with which to make an educated decision on the replacement. However, it also means that whoever does replace Broad will play their first game with the rest of the primary unit against Australia in an actual Ashes Test, which could be slightly intimidating. I'm sure that all the bowlers can work well in the team, but whether they'll work as well as Broad will be something only time can tell.