Cricket is a funny game.
The England fans were clutching at straws yesterday, as England dominated Day 2. They were trying to gain some comfort from the possibility of a “5-3” aggregate over the two series – as if that would mean anything now that Australia hold the Ashes. It doesn’t matter whether we keel over from boredom and only win this series 3-2, or, as seems possible [Ed. Likely!], we rev it up to 5-0. England have surrendered the Ashes to Australia – get over it!
Anything could still happen in this Test, but it does seem that the momentum is with us after Puff and Unlucky tapped the ball around this afternoon without losing a wicket. The bowlers spent the late afternoon alternating between the ice bath and the physio’s Torture Table – they’ve done their job and really shouldn’t be asked to put the pads on tomorrow – it’s the Top 6’s job to knock off these runs. I’ll got for 4 down and Trapper hitting the winning runs just after tea.
The desparation in the England camp is clear for all to see, and not just in their batting. When I got back to the hotel tonight there was a note under my door from Deep Third. There’s been complete radio silence from the England camp for days – since Swanny jumped ship. It was handwritten and on the familiar Yorkshire letter head.
“Any chance you chaps can let us have a consolation win tomorrow? PLEASE? Deep Third.” I guess it’s a joke, but can you imagine the team meeting tomorrow if I took it seriously? “Hey, Deep Third has asked us to keel over today so they can have a consolation win. How about it?” I say as my last ever act as an international cricketer with all limbs intact. I’m sure there will be nothing but ruthless planning of how we’re going to accumulate the remaining runs required to ensure victory – and a few more showings of the video of Binga badging Piers Morgan, just for the entertainment value.
As for the England camp, I’m guessing their meeting will be focussing on how to take 10 wickets, while leaving the analysis of today’s batting display until another time, lest despair overwhelm them. I’m sure they’ll show the Piers video a few times as well, just to cheer themselves up.
I’d love to be nervous going to sleep tonight, knowing the team was depending on me for a solid 40 tomorrow to secure the win and take us to a bone-crunching 4-0 lead. Instead, there’s only a mild uneasiness knowing that it’s others who are nervous as THEY have that expectation on them. All I have to do tomorrow is warm a seat in the dressing room and make sure I’m not picking my nose or rearranging the equipment when the TV camera’s focus in on the next batter up.
4-0 is within our grasp. Who’d o’ thunk it?
England 255 and 179, Australia 204 and 0/30.