The Ashes, Second Test, Day Four: Heart Attack Online

Although the image alone could cause a mass outbreak of coronaries, it's not the grinning mug of Piers Morgan that led to the headline. Nope, it's his big, fat, mouth...
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Although the image alone could cause a mass outbreak of coronaries, it's not the grinning mug of Piers Morgan that led to the headline. Nope, it's his big, fat, mouth...

I fucking knew it. I knew I should never have decided to follow Piers Morgan on Twitter. It’s one thing that he has to buy his friends. I mean, it’s up to him if he wants to keep creeping up the arses of a cabal of retired cricketers by guaranteeing them free booze for life at his new pub, The Hansom Cab. But it’s another thing entirely when he has the brass bollocks and temerity to accuse a team of international sportsmen of having no heart. "Wish I was there.” He tweeted. “Worst Aussie team I've ever seen. No heart at all. @warne888 & co must be tearing their hair implants out."

Everyone, me included, has had a pop at the Australian team during this test. But try telling me that Doug Bollinger, who ran in tirelessly for two days, has no heart. This Australian team may pale against the memory of its forebears, they may play without intelligence and skill and they may lose the Ashes on home soil, but to say they have no heart is a fucking disgrace. It shows Morgan up for what he is; a well-spoken lucky cunt that hasn’t got a clue what he is talking about.

Oh Australia have got heart alright. Look at Simon Katich, limping around like an octogenarian marathon runner, yet summoning up the strength to stick around for two hours in pursuit of a draw. Even Xavier Doherty, who admittedly looked broken as Pietersen took him to pieces, never refused the ball when it was tossed to him. It’s not his fault that he isn’t good enough.

After all the plaudits thrown at England, it would be easy to forget that the score is still 0-0. We’re now down to the brass tacks in this test match. Australia have six wickets remaining and have to bat all day. England have to bowl them out. We have to pray that it doesn’t rain. A huge breakthrough was made with the final ball of the day when KP dismissed Michael Clarke for 80 with his part-time off-spin. It was cruel on Clarke who had shown, you guessed it, guts and a heart the size of New South Wales in attempting to be aggressive rather than merely try and kill time.

Warne just giggled and started to eulogise about the quality of the legend burger. He really is the patron saint of spin bowlers.

When KP tweeted Warney yesterday that he’d ‘see him in the am’ I speculated that we'd all like to see Shane on the field of play. I didn't mean like this. Bollinger was about to enter his delivery stride to bowl the opening delivery of the third over of the day when the sightscreen turned into that huge poster of Warne advertising McDonalds. KP was so ruffled that not only did he walk away, he presented his wicket to Xavier Doherty in the very next over with a wild heave. Warne just giggled and started to eulogise about the quality of the legend burger. He really is the patron saint of spin bowlers and saturated fat.

The Australian innings was captivating. Katich and Watson started briskly, hitting everything they could and refusing to allow England even a sniff of dominance while the new ball was still proud of seam and red of hue. The gap between innings had been spent discussing the impact of Graeme Swann, and Warne stuck up for his fellow tweaker by stating that it was unfair to expect him to win the test on his own, and that the seamers would have to do their bit and give Swann new victims to bowl at. Thing is, Swann is a bit like Warne in that he writes his own scripts. Warne rarely failed Australia in the fourth innings of a test match, and Swann is the same. Just as it was starting to look like Katich and Watson would post a monster partnership, he did for Katich and followed up by sending Ponting packing before he reached double figures.

With Steve Finn bowling like Glenn McGrath to account for the brutish Watson, it is starting to look like England have a little bit more skill where it counts. Strauss has mixed his bowlers up well, the team have fielded like eleven Jonty Rhodes’ and the batsmen converted good scores into great ones. Australia have this problem with Watson. He has now reached 50 on 16 occasions and only managed to reach 100 twice. As a converted all-rounder, he is doing a game job as an opener, but it is no good scoring 50 every other innings.

If the clouds remain full and England continue to apply this level of pressure, they should leave Adelaide with a 1-0 series lead. But, as Piers Morgan has failed to recognise, this Australian side will not go down without a fight.

They may have been behind the England players in the queue when skill and nous were handed out, but they were stood shoulder-to-shoulder when hearts were tacked on to sleeves.

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