The problem with running a blog like this is that you can’t simply ignore the cricket when things go spectacularly wrong. As an Aston Villa and Worcester Warriors fan, I’m used to dispiriting and humiliating defeats. My coping mechanism is to simply turn the bloody television off. Easy. Job done.
But when it comes to the England cricket team this is no longer an option: why oh why did I decide to start a blog? You’ve got to update the thing daily and then write, sometimes in great detail, about embarrassing performances. Sigh.
In the circumstances, I hope you’ll indulge me. Rather than analysing every pathetic wicket thrown away (it’s just too painful), I’m going for a new approach: false optimism. Call it denial if you like. Any way, here is my rose tinted analysis of the day two at a soulless multi-purpose sports stadium in the heart of the most humid – and boring (KP was right) – place in the southern hemisphere …
Don’t worry everyone. Yes, our batting performance today was on a par with the previous government’s management of the economy, but all is not lost. Look at the history books: they clearly show that England always bat like complete pelicans in the first innings of away test series. It’s just something we need to get out of our system – after which we usually go on to win the series.
Let’s quickly recap: we were crap in the first test in Sri Lanka, even worse against India last winter, and if it wasn’t for Cook and Trott’s heroics in 2010, we would’ve been pulverised on the last Ashes tour opener too. However, all these tours turned out pretty well in the end.
Our capitulation to ‘a thirty something Australian smug convict cheat’ – you see, we too can sink to the depths of Brisbane’s favourite local toilet paper, The Courier Mail – is therefore nothing more than an attempt by England to make the series more interesting. Who wanted to win 5-0 anyway, eh.
Consequently, in my state of delirious optimism, I’m quite happy to state categorically that England will win the Ashes 4-1. I’ll even put my money where my mouth is. In fact, I’m going to claim my Ladbrokes free bet right now because, let’s face it, I won’t find better odds than I will today.
Obviously the above is all total dross, but hey ho. If I was to analyse things properly I’d probably draw this conclusion: England have been playing on slow low pitches for the last two years so, if you think about it, it’s no surprise we’ve come unstuck against genuine pace on a bouncy track. That’s why we always lose in Perth.
The bottom line is therefore this: after losing this test match, and losing in Perth (which we all know is going to happen), England will have to win two of the Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney tests to retain the Ashes. Can we do it? I suppose we can, but it won’t be easy. My prediction before this series was 2-2.
Written in collaboration with Ladbrokes