The morning session took on a carnival atmosphere, with Hollywood and then Mr G dining out on the tired, fed-up and Broadless bowling attack. The poor crowd, cowering as they were without any shade structures under the relentless sun, were peppered with incoming Kookaburras as our lead didn’t so much edge towards 500 as hurtle past it. Hollywood rescued a quick fire TON full of fours and sixes from our waning interest in this Test. He thinks he has reproved to all but his harshest doubters sister’s critics that he can still deliver a TON, and a run out farce for his doubting sister, when the game is beyond losing.
The Captain was able to send a smoke signal from the balcony when his bats had reached the usual unreachable lead well before lunch. This was a relief as the dressing room had been a noisy place all morning. It wasn’t just the cheering for each boundary and the incredulous reactions to Hollywood’s dismissal [Ed. We knew the runout was on – it was so bleeding hot – but had not witnessed anything like it since U12s] that kept our spirits on an edge; the ooh-ing and ahh-ing as the players poored over the MRI scans of Broad’s foot that Sarah had managed to download from the hospital’s IT systemalso added a floating layer of laughter. A lack of medical expertise didn’t stop anyone passing comment on the perceived likelihood of a break. It’s just a technicality after all.
The Prof said he saw Broad walking towards the nets with his injured foot in his hand and the other in a moon-boot. He tried to bat, but couldn’t swing it with one hand – the other was still holding his injured foot. Another glare and moon-boot crusher from Tatt’s and it would all be over anyway.
An undercurrent of bad feeling about the state of the facilities circulated around the stands in the heat of the day like a plastic beach ball. The vultures were here as well following the St John’s ambulance crew as they tendered to the hatless and heatstroked. For all the wheeling and dealing that goes on in this town, the WACA has not been able to pull off a deal to finance the redevelopment of the ground. They can’t be trying too hard, the whole city is crawling with CUBs (cashed-up bogans) and their mineralised lucre. The Freak, who dabbles in penny dreadful gold miners, said all they need to do is to sign up the Patron Saint of CUBs (S Warne, Esq.) as sponsor or First Citizen or something, and they’d be off.
The facilities here are certainly not up to the standard of other grounds in Australia. One hatted local we talked to at lunch said that later in the afternoon, when the beer is working it’s way through the system, partons are forced to stand in two rows in a ‘one in one out’ formation at the line of hand basins to, how shall we say, find some timely relief. “After tea, no one emerges from the men’s toilet unscathed,” she said. I shared this piece of advice with the social media team quick smart. They adore me.
No matter what happens with the ground, there is certainly a general desire to have somewhere to play Test cricket in Australia where the pitch allows bowlers like Tatts to terrorize batsmen from around the world on a fast wicket. Other countries are adept at ‘tailoring’ their pitches to suit their sides. Doctoring our pitches for a 4-0 or 5-0 result is at worst little more than an eye-for-an-eye. [Ed. The last tour of England is a prime example. The less said about India the better – although mainly for legal reasons. Hollywood says he was never there, but The Prof said he was.]
It is hard to criticize the curator for a wicket that has been a real corker, but the cracks that have opened up in this heat are a worry. Mark Nicholas’ iPhone has not been seen since it disappeared into the “Prindiville Faultine” before play. It rang every few overs, apparently, until the battery gave up just after tea. The players were amused rather than annoyed each time his rather interesting ringtone, “I’m Not Pretty Enough”, sounded from the deep.
The umpires were treading carefully for most of the day. Billy Bowden was wandering around doing one of his elaborate signals for one of Hollywood’s Sixes and nearly fell into one of them. It’s so huge, Erasmus might even be able to put his hand into it, and if you’ve even seen those plates of meat, you know that that’s saying something.
But things aren’t so bad, judging from the way Bell and Stokes batted in the last session, delaying the inevitable. The Urn, surely, is nearly ours.
Australia 385 & 6/369, England 251 and 5/251. Australia Lead by 253 and an allegedly bruised foot
Song of the Day: These Boots are Made for Walking . . .
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