Day 5 – Fifth Test
My eyes adored you
Though I never laid a hand on you
My eyes adored you
Like a million miles away
From me you couldn’t see
How I adored you
So close, so close
And yet so far away
(‘My Eyes Adored You’, Frankie Valli)
The Captain was at his generous and combative best at the end of the final day of The Ashes Test Series in England. “England outplayed us when it mattered”, he said. “Our batting let us down.” He paid tribute to the Umpires in a magnanimous way and thanked them for using the light meter while it was still possible to register natural light before the stadium globes reached full power and shut down half of Lambeth. Why the lights were on in the first place was beyond me. I couldn’t see the crossword sitting on the balcony to finish off 49 across without the light from The Prof’s ipad. He supplied the answer “Fairness” to the 6 letter word starting with U and ending in e, third letter p. I penned it in.
“Fairness” leaked from our lips as we congratulated the English as often as we could on a fine drawn. They expected us to be disheartened by their blistering run chase during the afternoon at 5.15 an over, KP crashing 62 from 55 balls faced and Trotty 59 from 87. The Freak made it clear to KP that he was not impressed. “What were you doing on Day 3, mate…playing for a draw at 2.0 runs an over. By the way, your backside looks inflamed. You should really see a Doctor.”
KP remembered his exchanges with The Captain on Day 3 and smiled. “3-0 matey, 3-0.”
“We knew that after the rain at Manchester. Were you going to say something else?”
“We were robbed here. 4-0 whitewash really.”
“Robbed? We declared twice to make a game of it when your lot were boring everyone stupid with slow play and slow over rates not just in this game but the whole series whenever we were in front.” The Freak left KP chasing his tail looking for a mirror. I watched him until Swann talked sense to him and the Boy Root used a wooden ruler to take the right measurements.
Our boys used the same script in conversation with each of their English counterparts just to make the message clear. Hollywood had a long dance card given he had batted at 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 during this Series. The Natural and Jimmy quietly traded notes on swinging technique and bunny-making. At the end of the evening, I doubt if the English took much offence. Pride perhaps but not offence. They seem to take everything the wrong way. Some of them [Ed. The usual suspects] were photographed later partying with the groundsman, and the local weather forecasters, taking turns to piddle on the pitch alternately christening it [Ed. Surely not?] in some bizarre private school ritual, watering on our chance of a test victory [Ed. Possibly, in reference to the role rain has twice played to thwart likely victories, but this is a little too subtle], or piddling in sympathy with Monty’s exploits at Brighton [Ed. Maybe, but that would be silly, right?].
As Chef said, “All credit to The Captain for making a game of it.”
Yet victory has proved so elusive.
That about sums it up.
COMING SOON – The 17th Man: The Ashes Diary – Part 1 – England 2013
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