Settee: The Search for Extratesttrivial Irreverence: Part 5 The Oval


The 5th Test was the story of brooding, maverick batsman Kevin Pietarzan: A man torn between the ape family who raised him and the super powers  he was forced to use to foil the evil plans of Aussie Crime Kingpin Michael Clarke and Millionaire Playboy Darren Lehmann.

In fact, the Oval Test was the story of two K.P.’s: The first of which you’ve probably already forgotten about due to  its’ resemblance to Nick Compton defending with all 40 of his bats at the same time.

England had mislaid both openers when Kevin took 1st Innings guard with the usual slightly quizzical look on his face. You know, the one that’s a cross between Buddhist serenity and a dog who can’t quite recall where he buried his bone, but is certain he’ll soon find lots more.

At  118-2, the contest was as finely balanced as an Anti-Matter Geoff Boycott. [118-4, if like myself, you subscribe to the King Of Wakefield’s Cricket Theorem.] With 300 needed to avoid the cricketing equivalent of a Michael McIntyre Boxset, a degree of circumspection from Pietersen was only to be expected. But what followed was an utterly despondent nine runs off 43 balls. The Barmy Army searched their Book Of Revelations Songbooks to divine meaning in his otherworldly plod. Bookies halved odds on an impending Ice Age.

Why was Blighty’s biggest Run Hound suddenly worrying at the ball like a dog who doesn’t like his dinner? And then the penny dropped:  Kev hadn’t just been watching Chris Tavare Videos to get a good night’s kip. I’m surprised the Australians did not flee the field of play. There was a time in the ‘80’s when possession of Tav’s One Run An Hour Tape, afforded one more privacy than a Nuclear Blast Site.

Kevin Pietersen went on to complete the second slowest Test half-century of his career as part of a day’s play that did not impress watching Pundits. “Attritional,” said Sky’s Mike Atherton. “Work to rule,” said Sky’s Michael Holding. “It’s on bloody ‘pause’,” said Sky, my six year old niece. Still, I must confess rather enjoyed the Spin Chess  between Lyon/Smith and Trott/Pietersen. Although, I am also held spellbound for days on end by the tiniest sliver of silver paper.

All this in response to an Australian 492 that was as big as it was inconsequential. With Infallible Weather Prognoseticator  Nasser Hussain crying “rain”, a  Dead Rubber Draw was the only genuinely uncontrived result possible: An outcome as predictable as the efforts of the Aussie batsmen. By which I mean: I found it quite enlightening  to view just who clocked up the runs when the chips were not only no longer down, but had long left the building in the bellies of Singing Fat Ladies.

Shane Watson and Steve Smith scored their centuries in a Bouncy Castle. Clarke, Warner, Rogers and Haddin scored their runs in the War Zone of the first four Tests and were a bit doms in the pub for the 5th. And by the way: I will howl like a wolf who’s just won a lifetime subscription to Which? Pig on  the  day Watson and Smith really make it, and carve their faces on the Mount Rushmore  of Australian Cricket.

At least Steven Peter Devereux Smith now has a claim to fame that does not involve him being the only Aussie in the British Empire allowed two middle names. I rather think a third heart-breaking Near Century would have left the young man with a bit of a complex.

Well done to Baggy Captain Michael Clarke for trying to make a game of it with his brave and sporting double declaration. I can think of no-one who more deserves the placement of a bust of themselves atop Nelson’s Column. Except Dolly Parton, perhaps. Though when he knocked on the England dressing-room door to announce the second one, I half expected Green Cross Cookie to shout: “Bugger off! We don’t want any!” As Sky’s Shane Warne put it: “Are you prepared to lose to win?”

Once again it was Kevin Pietersen who defined the home innings. And you know he never gets tired of being the only man who can plug the dyke and bat at the same time. 40% of England’s boundaries came from his bat .You just can’t ignore him. I know. I’ve tried. But each time I tap out this World Class Horseshit, I’ll be damned if he doesn’t do something. This time out, that something was a quite remarkable 62 off 55 balls.

There was no getting rid of him: KP was as permanent as a biro stain; As fixed as a plunger-nosed woodpecker. By the time Kevin had finished artfully thrusting the last of his ten fours to the ropes, Michael Clarke was twitching like a giant antipodean flea.

Shame then that the Jobsworth Umpires halted play due to bad light, simultaneously managing  to metaphorically moon  the capacity crowd, with England just four overs and 21 runs away from a first time ever 4-0 Ashes win.

It has always seemed to me the greatness of any sport is measured by its’ ability to transcend it’s own rules. Cricket has usually operated with more simple common sense than most. So coax your Grandads out of the coal bunker and see what they think of this latest pointless nonsense.

At least Australia won something: New Bug James Faulkner won the award for Best Barbara Cartland Look-Alike; Just managing to hold off the spirited challenges of David Warner, Nathan Lyon and Chris Rogers. They all wear nearly as much face-covering as the legendary writer of romance novels: A woman whose books would only possess more value if they were made of tissue paper.

Yes I know it’s Sun Block. And yes  I am well aware of the dangers of over-exposure to the sun’s rays. But…my own research indicates Faulkner, Warner and Lyon et al, could safely run around The Oval, naked, for 40 years without suffering anything more serious than slight rusting.

Thanks for listening.

paul grin hopi is a Freelance Public Nuisance with a trough of other stuff you really ought to google if your pants are still just a bit too snazzy.


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