After England’s sparkling, series-sealing victory in Sri Lanka, we didn’t think there was a lot to moan about. Until we found The Moaner.

This is a man who seems physically incapable of being happy. He’s miserable. He’s cynical. He’s the first person to complain when England are collapsing like the walls of Jericho. And he can still find fault when England are 517-1.

He’s the type of curmudgeon who will say: “good luck on the upcoming divorce” as he meets the bride and groom on their wedding day. And readily snipe “I’ve already booked in the rehab” to the baby’s auntie at a christening.

The Moaner claims that he loves cricket. But his friends suspect that he hates it. He thought the roller-coaster series against India was “simply an example of two bad sides”. He argues vociferously that David Warner and Steve Smith should’ve been banned for life (“because knowing our luck they’ll hit hundred upon hundred in next summer’s Ashes”).

In fact, he can barely raise a smile on a sunny day at The Oval. Why? Because the beer’s too warm and the weather’s still too cold.

So what has our cantankerous old fuddy duddy been saying about England’s win in Sri Lanka? Obviously he’s not impressed. And here’s why …

1. ENGLAND STILL CAN’T FIND A DECENT OPENING COMBINATION. The Rory Burns-Keaton Jennings thing simply isn’t working. England were hoping and praying for a steady opening partnership, yet one of them is forever ‘breaking the partnership’. If it’s not the Jennings reverse sweep, it’s Rory Burns’s luck. The opening partnerships have been 10, 60, and 12. And that’s plain crap. It so bad they’ve even tried Leach at the top of the order. And fat lot of good that did. The Moaner thinks we should get rid of them both and start again. Sod Jennings’s century. And Burns looking good be damned!

2. SAM CURRAN IS INJURED England’s modern day Ian Botham is injured. And he was out for 0 in the second innings of the 2nd Test. Why do all these new Bothams threaten to be something special but then let everyone down? Let’s just face the fact that England are doomed. We’ll never see a cricketer like Beefy again. Why do we bother getting our hopes up?

3. WE STILL NEED A NUMBER 3: That Moeen Ali at 3 experiment went more wrong than the test tube experiment that created Giles Clarke. The Stokes experiment at 3 wasn’t good, either. Why isn’t Root batting there? The first two wickets are falling so quickly that he’s a de facto No.3 anyway. 

4. THAT’S IT, JIMMY ANDERSON IS FINISHED! They say that Jimmy Anderson can get swing from anywhere and wickets from anywhere? He hardly did that over in Sri Lanka, did he? They are claiming he’s “getting a rest”, but really they are dropping him. And for good reason too. Just one wicket in two tests! He’s washed up and his career is over. Thanks for the memories, Jimmy.

5. THE TOP ORDER, THE TOP ORDER, THE TOP ORDER Generally we need the bottom 6 batsmen to pull us out of the gloom. You jest, but if it hadn’t been for Jimmy Anderson and those sterling 10th-wicket partnerships in the 2nd Test, we might be 1-1 going into a decider and hating ourselves for various missed opportunities.

6. WHY PICK THREE WICKETKEEPERS? Do we really need Buttler, Foakes and Bairstow? Is it simply because he’s been ‘such a service’ to England that Johnny is back in the side? It sure can’t be for his performances against India I tell you. He’s a fantastic one-day batsman is Bairstow, but he’s a poor Test bat nowadays. If we want a white ball biffer why don’t we just go the whole hog and haul in Jason Roy from the UAE?

7. THIS WAS A WEAKENED SRI LANKA TEAM We would’ve been 2-0 down by now if the hosts were any good. And our fans would’ve preferred drinking their £3 beers on the beach. We missed out on seeing the REAL Herath, the REAL Chandimal. England should thank their lucky stars that Sanga and the other legends have retired. They’d have eaten our miserable lot for breakfast.

8. THE AUSSIES ARE BACK: The Aussies beat India on a rainy day down under so we’re doomed. This win will give them the momentum to destroy us in 2019. And they’ll probably win the World Cup too. All this talk of England reaching No.1 in the rankings has tempted fate. And fate is going to kick us in the googlies. Again.

Now you probably think all the above has taken pessimism and bellyaching to a whole new level. However, when it comes to TalkSport’s coverage of the test series – it’s just not TMS is it? – the Moaner is spot on.

His main gripes are (in no particular order): 

  • “Was Darren Gough drunk?”
  • Can Mark Nicholas actually describe anything other than what’s happening on the square?
  • Are the commentators trying to make everything a lot tenser than it actually is?

The answers are ‘probably’, ‘probably not’, and ‘most definitely’.

Alex Ferguson