Pre 4th Test, the big shock for me was not the selection of Tickly Tummy Jackson Bird over Scattergun Roadrunner Mitchell Starc.
No, I was more surprised when Ten-Nil Botham’s pitch-side blah blah was notpunctuated by showers of lead-shot, wrapped in tear-sodden betting slips.
Sky Ashes lead-ups also include Master Class insights which are invaluable to dozy barstanders like myself. The contribution from recently house-trained Kevin Pietersen was a lot more thoughtful and hygienic than you might expect from one with such cat-like instinct. Make no mistake: It was a Master Class in the intricacies of cricket. Though it didn’t do much to advance the science of physiology.
The most weighty area of any mammal, is by definition, wherever the highest concentration of bone is. So you probably made up your own jokes when Dr. Pietersen informed: “The head is the heaviest part of the body.”
Into the match itself, England were gifted the more favourable batting conditions, so the Regency Fop efforts of most of the crew did look incandescently lacklustre. To see something more unconvincing , I think you’d have to go watch Mick Jagger and The Strolling Bones perform Street Fighting Man.
Even Sky Cricket’s Fine Arts Correspondent, David Gower, seemed nonplussed by the 1st Innings batting of Her Majesty’s Willow Wafters. Though just like Richie Benaud, he is too nice to say anything that would exclude him from a round in the players bar. But…I detect a Benaudesque Code in his speech. Observe Mr.Gower carefully, mes braves. It’s all in the facial expression, the tone of his voice, the inflection. If you’ve studied DG as closely as I have- and are still not in possession of a Stalking Order -you’ll agree: When The Angelic One said; “I’ll reserve judgement,” he really meant; “Well, that was a load of old shit, wasn’t it?”
And yet England won. Am I the only one left with the feeling I’ve just eaten a dairy-free, vegetarian pizza, washed down with seven pints of non-alcohol beer? After the celebrations that will rightly follow A Series Victory, I rather think Coach Flower is going to remove the fragrant blossoms from his hippie outfit and boot a few arses.
Australia have already reached their nadir and are on the move. If England continue with their ho hum, hullo clouds, hullo sky, mindset, you can bet The Ozmonds will pass them on their way back up the charts.
Brilliant Bell is of course excused from any time in the Town Square Stocks. For once again he’s playing like The International Gentleman Jewel Thief of old. The only other batsman who could conceivably be allowed to breathe the same air as Ian is fellow centurion, Chris Rogers. His three figures were a patchwork of gut-busting skill and casino-busting luck. He probably got as many nicks as fours. The Edge Of The Century,though, was the acrobatic, aerobatic effort off Broad. I couldn’t decide whether I’d just a witnessed a beautiful, balletic entrechat, or an impression of a tramp leaping out of a skip.
Talking of which: What’s with the arm-guard Christopher? That tatty, Filthy-Grey, dog’s arse of an excuse for kit, merely proves Evil Despot, Darren Lehmann is still withholding your pocket-money. I half expected Short Leg, Bell to signal the dressing-room for a nose-peg.
The main reason for England’s victory, of course, was Stuart Broad. Sometimes pid but presently pendous, Stu continues to be troubled by his footwear. The toehole cut into all his left boots is either an integral part of a Hamster Adventure Playground, or it is an indication of a significant source of pain. At which point: His eleven wickets elevate him way beyond common man. I’m serious. Imagine: Most of us couldn’t face putting an itty bitty musical sock on the offending foot, let alone thunder up the pitch and deliberately land 170lbs on it in one sudden, violent movement.
There has been some talk of an Australian collapse. Well, if being completely outclassed constitutes a collapse, so does the mess left on a pavement by a suicide jumper. “What happened?” “Oh, he collapsed.” Broadie was too damn quick, accurate and subtle for The Groan And Olds.
And lest we forget, compadres, Tim Bresnan is still doing Exactly What It Says On The Tin. And what it says on the tin is Polyfilla. That’s what he does. He fills the holes. Desperate for runs? He digs out 45 of them. Need a wicket because you’ve only got one fully functioning bowler? He removes the most dangerous opponent. [ Warner on 71.]
Broad, Bell and Bresnan aside, England’s win was like watching Picasso paint your shed. [I.e. : A waste of talent, Belgian Viewers.] Which is precisely how television commentary felt without David Lloyd.
Sky’s numero uno Propagator Of The Faith was resting in Sale Royal Infirmary, following a minor operation: His youthful trysts with Lillian Thomson having finally caught up with him. I am reliably informed [by the voices in my head] that Bumble undertook knee re-arrangement as part of his quest to become the Only Man In History, to hold both Gurning and Knobbly Knees World Titles at the same time.
The Accydemic’s cross-pollination of gentle humour and expert analysis illustrates a simple truth: Whilst Cricket is indeed Civilised Man’s perfect substitute for the Barbarities Of War. [And Countdown.] It is, after all, only a game. Get well soon, squire.And if you get the feeling you’re missing something, you might ask your employer to replay that crowd shot of the chap waving a prosthetic leg around. Not the most subtle way of extorting a ransom, I’ll grant you.
David Lloyd is one of two things I’d most like to see at the 5th Test. The other is for Australia to keep showing the grit for which their sportsmen and cuisine are justifiably famous.
paul grin hopi is a Freelance Public Nuisance with a trough of other stuff you really ought to google if your toes don’t curl like they used to.