The Ashes, Third Test, Day Two: Guess Who's Back?

MItch returns from the wilderness, Ponting is now officially finished as a batsman and the sledging has gone into overdrive. Game on...
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Last night, deep into the witching hour, a Test series spluttered into life. Don't get me wrong, I've been happy watching England grind Australia into the dust, but hyperbolic prose about startling dominance and 300 run partnerships can get a little tired.

Steve Waugh called it 'mental disintegration', footballers annoyingly call it 'banter' but everyone else knows it as sledging. Even allowing for Andrew Flintoff, cricketers just seem more intelligent than footballers. Or rather they did, because there was nothing clever about last night's verbal exchanges. This was just naked hatred.

Australia have had it off everyone, especially Jimmy Anderson and Matt Prior, and Mitchell Johnson has copped more than most. The man who looks like he's chucking rocks at a dingo bowled beautifully last night and gave each departing batsman a terrific volley of abuse. In fact they all did, even Peter Siddle, who has done fuck all with the ball for three weeks, grunted with his disgusting rotting pig face as Prior walked back to the dressing room.

You can't begrudge Johnson. He's obviously a twat, he's got aboriginal tattoos, but he is a much better bowler than the one we saw in the first test. When everything clicks, he is the only match winner in the Australian ranks. I'm normally pretty good at lip-reading, and no doubt it will all be deciphered later on the highlights, but not only did he sledge them, he built a fucking snowman on their heads and poked them in the eye with brandy butter smothered fingers.

It makes me laugh when I hear Ponting and Aussie commentators banging on about the spirit of cricket and moaning about sledging. They invented it for fuck’s sake.

The word cunt appeared to be used liberally and there was definitely a couple of ‘faggots’ in there. Even with Sky Plus I couldn’t quite work out the exact construction of his sentences. Maybe because I was pissed out of my face from the Sabotage Times Christmas bash, or maybe because he’s a bit backward and punctuates his sentences with a silly amount of ‘erms’, ‘yeahs’, and ‘look mates’.

Obviously I would love for England to wrap up The Ashes here, but the day’s play pretty much guarantees that I’ll be with you for the Boxing Day Test. I’ve decided not to write when the series has been won or lost, what’s the point? England have had plaudit after plaudit heaped upon them in the gap between the second and third tests, and one of the main reasons I’m easy about the Aussies having their day in the sun is because I want to see how England now react.

The bowling this morning was pretty average, even if they did manage to pick up three wickets. Steve Finn might, according to Brad Haddin, be a pie-chucker and he definitely gets a bit of tap, but he takes wickets at important times. If he doesn’t get obsessed with his average and sticks well clear of bowling dot balls he could, with age on his side, go on to break the 300-wicket mark.

It was this comment from Haddin that sparked the swearing war; the England bowlers are a chummy (yes, I said chummy, blame Bumble) unit and reacted in a distinctly Australian fashion. It makes me laugh when I hear Ponting and Aussie commentators banging on about the spirit of cricket and moaning about sledging. They invented it for fuck’s sake, Shane Warne sent Daryl Cullinan to the shrink. Sledge them and sledge them hard would be my message, they don’t like it up em’.

The highlight of the day? Ponting failing again. His goose has been basted, the carrots have been chopped and the Aussie media are heating the oven.

I’m off to bed to dream up some more shit metaphors.


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