Today was the sort of day that made us glad to be alive. Close enough to the action to feel we’ve contributed to regaining The Ashes [Ed. Now a dead cert], while not so close that we had to actually do anything about it – like go out onto the field in this heat.
But it could be worse. We could have to go out onto the field in this heat and be losing The Ashes. [Ed. Small amount of sympathy bubbling up for Chef and the lads.]
The English team wilted fast today under the mining-boom fueled sun, first batting, then bowling. The wickets were shared around, with The Natural and The Freak taking 3 each. Tatts may have not been the dominant player he has been in earlier tests, but he was fast and hostile, and with one seering yorker not only took Broad’s wicket, but might well have broken his foot.
Twitter was alight with “Broad still can’t walk” jokes, which I’m far too sophisticated to repeat here. The fake photo of his xray showing his foot in a stiletto is likewise well below the standard of humour you’ve come to expect in this diary.
The impact of the injury was plain for all to see in the afternoon session. Without Broad, clearly England’s best bowler this tour, the attack was toothless. Puff (112) responded with a master class in clean hitting and verbal “rubbing slat in the wound” that even the great Sir Vivian would have been proud of. The fielders were left to jog to the boundary to retrive the ball while dreaming of an English summer. And four inches of rain. This won’t be arriving anytime soon here – we’ve all forgotten what clouds even look like.
The general chat around the ground was that if Broad’s foot is broken and he can’t play the last two tests, a 5-0 whitewash is on the cards. [Ed. And of course, no players have any financial interest in this outcome as far as having bet on it, at generous odds, at the start of November.] The Prof was very keen to get the inside info on the issue, and made sure he knew where Broad was off to to get his X-ray. This wasn’t hard, because like everything else, there isn’t much of anything open in Perth on a Sunday afternoon.
Not knowing anyone at the hospital [Ed. That’s a first], The Prof was straight onto our friend the paperboy in Chennai, and he got one of his IT-guru cousins to hack into the computer system. He’s pretty good – in fifteen minutes we had a live feed onto an iPad in the dressing room, so were able to watch as the x-rays were taken (inconclusive), and then an MRI performed [Ed. Too complicated for us to interpret. We’ll leave the doctors and the ECB Press Officer to make sense of it all.] We’ll all just have to see what tomorrow brings.
No one spent more time in the middle today that the Umps, and they were feeling to pinch late in the day. Billy looked like he was fading away to a shadow, looking gaunter every time the camera focussed in on him. There were several times during the afternoon when it looked like he was trying to crouch down in Erasmus’ shadow to get some relief from the heat, but even that generous area was contracting over the course of the afternoon. By tomorrow, he might be able to slip into one of the cracks in the pitch for a bit of respite.
I pity them when the heat is really on tomorrow afternoon as we press for what is now an inevitable victory. The appeals will be flying think and fast, and they will need to be concentrating hard. Perhaps the Match Referee can grant the Umps a few free DRS Reviews for them to use, just to relieve the pressure.
Australia 385 & 235/3, England 251. Australia Lead by 369 and an allegedly broken foot
Thanks to @TheCricketGeek for this Song of the Day for England fans.