The Ashes, Fifth Test, Day Two: Bat Country

The painkillers are sending me doolally, Hasselhoff makes an appearance and Athers seems to have something to say about Bumble...
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The painkillers are sending me doolally, Hasselhoff makes an appearance and Athers seems to have something to say about Bumble...

I've never taken mescaline. Nor ether. Neither have I driven at full pelt in a red shark from LA to Las Vegas with a 400lb Samoan Attorney. All good reasons why, when I considered writing day two of this test as a tribute to Hunter S Thompson, I decided I would be a terrible knobhead to even try. And anyway, as much as I like Fear and Loathing, I prefer his journalism. If I had typed, with any seriousness, that I couldn't stop here (my lounge) because we were in (cricket) bat country, then you'd have been well within your rights to demand the removal of my fingertips.

But things were a bit surreal on the sofa last night. Regular readers will know that last week I smashed my right hand up walking the bloody dog (a 40 kilo German Shepherd with, as far as I know, no discernible skills as a lawyer). The cold hasn't helped the injury, so I've been bollocking some heavy painkillers down. Taken solo they're fine, I grind my teeth a bit and can't sleep, but why change the habits of a lifetime? However when mixed with booze - red wine, champagne, cider and lager to be precise - they result in slight delirium.

Cricket is probably the safest thing you can watch when in a semi-psychotropic state, but no one has told the commentators. Warne and Bumble, I'm pretty certain, had a five minute discussion about Budgie Smugglers, The Hoff and how to look good naked. Warne just kept repeating, "The Hoff," and I'm sure he called him King Budgie Smuggler. Imagine that, Hoff on a throne with a full afro mullet and an army of subjects armed with nothing more than rapidly shrinking cocks clad in lycra. Can someone please tell me if this happened?

They were all at it, Athers was on about an 'angry four year old checker cock' and at one point I swear I heard Bumble say that Anderson had a problem with his bumhole. But I could be wrong, someone has decided to put auto correct into text edit without telling me and my notes make less sense than ever. It is more likely that he said foot hole. But why would something automatically change foot hole to bumhole?

To fuck with my head, that's why. Gates, you bastard, you'll be hearing from my lawyer. Goes by the name of Rocky. Likes cheese, chasing the postman and, increasingly, cricket.

I'm right in saying that everyone just wants this test to be over aren't I? Botham and Boycott are clearly itching for the golf course, Athers probably has a maritime museum to look around, Gower a few days of budgie smuggling (a rare, grey, thin bird called dicky two-hats) and Warne some pressing business with a formaldehyde-dipped, un-aging, model/actress organic farmer. And Bumble will be looking to visit these 'bohemian' areas that Atherton keeps accusing him of frequenting. I know Bumble batted left-handed but does this mean what I think it means? Is that why his eyebrows stand up at such a ridiculous angle? Is he a a card-carrying Vegan?

Exciting as it is, you get the impression they'd preferJohnson just stopped acting like such a fucking pussy and bowled the ball in the same areas for more than one ball at a time like some heavily-tattooed, permanently-surprised, cricketing goldfish.

Against this backdrop of accusation, intonation and shrunken-cock talk, a very good day of test cricket kicked off. The England attack ripped into Australia with well-formed plans and disciplined bowling. At six down it seemed foregone. For some reason though all of this went out of the window when Howling Mad Mitch walked in. He's a strong looking bloke Johnson, but he also seems to have the mental stability of a room full of Stockholm syndrome sufferers. He may also be the only bowler in the history of cricket to gee himself up for bowling by batting like a hybrid of Brian Lara and The Terminator. To get him firing Australia have to bat first, collapse, and then send him in to make dashing 50s. Exciting as it is, you get the impression they'd prefer he just stopped acting like such a fucking pussy and bowled the ball in the same areas for more than one ball at a time like some heavily-tattooed, permanently-surprised, cricketing goldfish.

It took him a while to get going. With Strauss and Cook again gorging on some piss-poor new ball bowling from ‘The Hilf’ (seemingly only a vowel and a consonant away from being the Hoff but they wouldn’t even allow him to bowl balls at the Berlin wall, what would be the point, they’d make Hoff's singing seem sharp by comparison). But, as sure as eggs is eggs, England played some stupid shots with my old mate KP as guilty as Bumble in a bath house.

Well, not actually an old mate. Last night on Twitter, people were hash-tagging #lametofame. Incidents such as being kept out of the pisser by gak shoveling T4 presenters, or having a leak next to the Chuckle Brothers. I once played golf with KP. It was at Andrew Flintoff’s benefit day at the Belfry some years ago.

“Hi Owen my name is KP (it’s Kevin), just remember, golf is shit.”

Apart from spending most of the time on his phone texting, KP was alright. Stood on the 12th tee waiting for a group to finish, we had a bit of bat and bowl with two seven irons and a golf ball. I bowled him through the gate with a vicious off-spinner. I don’t care if you don’t believe me, it happened. And I blocked one of his deliveries with a technically-correct forward-defensive. Which surely means I’m only two stone away from a call-up.

I also met Flintoff in the bar afterwards.

“Hello, my name is Fred (its Andrew). Ow were KAY-PEEE?"

“Yeah he was fine, texted a bit but he was alright.”

“Bloody South African Tosser, don’t know why I invited him.” (ALLEGEDLY, APPEARENLTLY, CALL OFF THE LAWYERS).

Before a pint was even pulled, KP fucked off to Battersea in a helicopter. Fitting, I suppose, for a man who takes to the skies when nothing more than a nudge through the V is required.

Although I sensibly stopped with the Fear and Loathing shtick before it got out of hand, a quote from the good doctor more-or-less sums up what England need to do over the following three days…

"No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride...and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well...maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, (AND DON’T) get beaten."

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