The Ashes, Third Test, Day Four: Drowned and Out

The fourth test starts at midnight tonight, I'll be up with a bottle of port and a turkey leg for company, here's a reminder of how the third test finished.
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A couple of days ago I mentioned that I was keen to see how England reacted to being up diarrhoea drive without a saddle. They drowned. Collectively, individually and pathetically they collapsed into a mental sewer and choked on the fetid stench and greasy slurry of their own batting. They ate pieces of shit for breakfast. Their own shit.

Luckily one skittling does not make a summer. England aren't suddenly the worst team in the world no more than Mitchell Johnson is the bastard lovechild of Lillee and Thomson. I said yesterday that this England team struggles when a pitch offers either pace, movement, bounce or a combination of the three. In all honesty both sides, with the exception of Mr Cricket who hasn't scored lower than 50 yet, have looked dicey here. The difference in this test is that Harris and Johnson bowled better as a pair and had more in the tank as the workload was shared around five seamers rather than England's three. Steve Finn, for one, looks knackered.

Whereas these sorts of pitches used to be the norm in test cricket, they have been replaced by tracks that will last five days and, therefore, guarantee maximum revenue. This pitch wasn’t dangerous, just a bit quick, but England don’t possess the only batting line-up spooked by a bit of devil in the dirt, look at what Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel have just done to the lauded Indian top order on the Cape.

I think if I ever heard an American, or anyone for that matter, actually say, in the flesh, that “who wants to watch a sport where you can draw after five days,” I’d stove their heads in.

With the players families now in Australia, I’d be interested to know what the practice schedule looks like between now and Boxing Day. The pitch at MCG will undoubtedly be the fastest that can be hurriedly prepared and England shouldn’t fear this, but they should practice for it. Replicate Johnson’s booming left-arm inswing and Harris rattling zingers for days. Net with purpose. And give Steve Finn a rest and bring in Shahzad. Tremlett was the pick of the bowlers here and variation is required.

I could do with a bit of variation. It’s a lonely old game this Ashes lark. There’s no-one in my press box save for the dog, and the wife and boy look at me with horror as they see me and the detritus of another night emerge from the lounge in the morning. I’ve taken to not letting them in until I’ve finished writing. I got into an argument with my missus yesterday about England collapsing and only marginally won by showing her the South Africa score and loudly commentating on the 200 scored by Jacques Kallis against her beloved India.

Chances are you’re reading these articles for a variety of reasons; profanity, can’t be arsed to stay up, you’re mental or you just fucking love Test cricket. I think if I ever heard an American, or anyone for that matter, actually say, in the flesh, that “who wants to watch a sport where you can draw after five days,” I’d stove their heads in. As the McDonaldsisation of society motors forward – bigger, faster, more, now - test cricket is under threat from 20/20. Like five days in a hotel with the Eva Mendes, a tub of lard and a Sybian machine being traded for a grubby hand job and a bag of chips with Mel B. I’d prefer to watch England lose a test than win a 20/20, and in the realms of this sexual scenario I’m not sure what that means. Eva Mendes shoves chips up Mel B’s arse perhaps. Or they triple cook the chips in the lard and eat them as they ridicule my flaccid member and ever-expanding paunch.

Unless you actually beg me, you won’t hear a cunting peep out of me regarding cricket after the test series has been decided. But I will be back on Boxing Day morning, full of piss, wind and turkey with a gallon of Bloody Mary mix to keep me going.

1-1, two to play. This is going to down to the wire.

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