I popped out for a single pint last night. As you probably know, there is no such thing as a single pint. It exists, but I've never managed to stick to it. The lads I was with couldn't give a shit about cricket and they didn't even bother pretending. I was trying to engage them, in fact anybody I spoke to, in Ashes chat. No one, not even the barman, cared. So after seven pints, three jaegers (note to self, your 32 not 13) and a celebratory sambuca, I jumped in a cab with a pizza. My taxi driver was from Pakistan.
"Been watching the cricket, mate?" I asked
"Bloody England," he replied, "this is the worst Australian team in 25 years and you still bend over and take it in the arse."
Despite this assertion, and the several negative ones that followed, I returned home with a spring in my step. New ball. New Day. Come on England…
I swore a lot last night. I have rarely seen England bowl better in the first hour without taking a wicket. They pitched it up, Jimmy got the ball to swing, Finn used his height to great effect and what happened? Nothing, absolutely fuck all. How Haddin and Hussey - which I realise sounds like a very shit pair of detectives - survived I will never know. You could see the strength sapping out of England and I have to give the bowlers credit for keeping at it for 80 overs.
And I bet he lives in solitary confinement and shags his wife wearing a Ned Kelly iron mask while shouting 'you'll never take me alive.'
Haddin and Hussey were magnificent, I spoke about Mr. Cricket and his steely-eyed determination yesterday, but Haddin is, if anything, even more obdurate. He's not so flaky as Hussey and goes after everything, some of the drives he hit back over the bowlers heads were as good as you will see. He is so fucking Australian it hurts me to even type his name. I bet he has a tattoo of a boxing kangaroo on his arse. And I bet he lives in solitary confinement and shags his wife wearing a Ned Kelly iron mask while shouting 'you'll never take me alive'.
If I sound a bit deflated it's because I am. For one, I'm hanging out of my hoop as I type. It's freezing cold and I'm off to coach an under-9s football team. But I can cope with a hangover and I can cope with the cold. But I can't cope with test cricket. It chews me up. I spend so much time worrying about what will happen that I struggle to enjoy what is in front of me. With every biffing blow of the mighty Aussie clubs my drunken arithmetic was working overtime. And it was the same for the commentators.
Even Bumble, now shorn of the glasses, was low. Look back at his tweets last night and there is no Lancashire rhetoric, all he did was tell people off for swearing. Botham couldn't be arsed to be angry, Hussain ditto and only Gower, looking more and more like a naughty schoolboy who has just received a hand job off his Nanny, remained unflustered.
England now have to bat for a day and a half to save a draw. They have scored 19 runs off 15 overs, watching that was one of the worst hours of my life, even the cold pizza didn't perk me up.
If you, like me, will be strapping yourself into the sofa for a night of nail biting and punching the sofa, get on the tweets @owenblackhurst. I could do with the company.
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