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Jan 2 – Fifth Test Eve

I saw the last Ashes Test match at the SCG in January 2011 with Dad. He loves cricket but hates paying the mint for tickets. So we went on Day 5 with the other 6 parsimonious Aussie supporters [Ed. I’m sure there was a quiet flock at the beer outlets.] and 49,433 Barmies singing ‘Rule Britannia’ set to watch Jimmy, Tremlett, Bres and Swann finish off Trapper and the tail. 

Trotty who was riding the boundary signed my nephew’s first Kookaburra bat. My nephew remembers him saying to Dad “You’re a bit late, mate” and Dad saying, with a smile for once, “No one else is around. You’ll do.” 

I remember seeing Trapper jag 50. There were a few desultory claps from two blue rinse supporters in the Ladies stand and a tinny sound from an automatic clapping machine on the player’s balcony. Someone in the central missionary position spliced a few seconds of canned laughter into the Channel 9 broadcast from an old Seinfeld episode [Ed. Bubble Boy?]. Then the last wicket fell. I don’t know who it was. I just remember two green helmets wearily jogging off the field before the interviewers arrived. 

It was all over. We couldn’t see an Aussie player for dust. The place erupted in victory song; the English jumped around in jubilation like a preppy Glastonbury teen party.

At this point Dad said it was ok for my nephew to stop waving his banner “Poetry is for English students in the front row. Hit the pill for a change.”

It was stinking hot in the sun.

Dad was fuming. “Where are Punter’s Losers? You would think they’d acknowledge their support, not slink into the shadows like a bunch of colonial backwoods men. I’ve flattened cockroaches with more nerve. That’s just rude.” 

Dad went to get a beer; he came back with a megaphone, leaned over the fence and started yelling into it. No one could hear anything until I flicked the ON switch. “… LOSERS to the presentation area. Stop lolling around. That means you PUP…  Bring Ponting’s broken pinky as well. You’re all LOSERS…” If you listen hard to the actual presentation footage [Ed. The Zapruder frames Channel 9 did not destroy in the Warren Commission-like autopsy which followed], you can hear Dad going off like a two bit punter in the background just before my nephew pointed him out twice to security. There was a short discussion. We left voluntarily.

That was in 2011. Trotty is gone now. Swanny is gone. Prior is resting. Jimmy is as listless as the Marie Celeste. Bresnan has lost his venom. Losing 4-0 sucks. Winning 4-0 is much better. [Ed. A failed attempt at understatement.]

Dad called to remind me of that test in 2011. It was as short a conversation as the one he had with security. He just said 5-0 is better than 4-1. 

And that is exactly what Coach2.0 said in our final pre-match briefing as he replayed the English sprinkler head victory dance at the SCG for the 20th time, once for each of the 20 wickets on offer. It had the same effect as watching frame 313 of the Zapruder film 20 times. Nasty.

Chef had been using the same reruns to revitalise his XI. There is nothing wrong with us he told the English journalists this morning. The journalists were confused. There has to be something wrong when the senior players have leprosy. Some extremists in the press corps say they have seen players wearing yellow arm bands. But this is beyond sense. Chef is confident that the pitch will seam and go reverse quickly. He wants to bowl first.

Coach2.0 is keen for Tatts to get another 11 wickets to break Terry Alderman’s 1981 record for most English wickets in an Ashes series (42). No one else is. The Freak reckons Tatts owes him 6 wickets, Plopper owes him 4 wickets and he owes The Natural 2 wickets. The Natural says Tatts owes him 3, he owes Tatts 6 and Plopper’s owes Tatts another 3. Plopper says everyone owes him a case of beer for every wicket he has taken. That’s 100 cases, enough for the tour of South Africa. [Ed. Hint, hint]  Trapper says Tatts owes him 7. This left Tatts at 25 wickets until he added back the 7 wickets he broke in the nets yesterday. He was so disaffected with the lack of support that he smashed Trapper’s bat to pieces in the nets in the afternoon.

I cannot comment on team selections. No one knows. The Captain is a self-styled ‘romantic’ and wants no change to his winning formula. If we bat, this will mean a first innings collapse 5/100 and a score of 250 sometime on Saturday morning. Wicky dipped his head in prayer for another innings save.

Hollywood spoke to his Hammy last night. He says its fine “Just don’t over bowl me.” The English team will be announced tomorrow.

The Prof received the latest Travel Advisory issued by The Hon Julie Bishop MP, Monster [Ed. spelling?] for Foreign Affairs warning English Test Cricketers to avoid the following cities until further notice: Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Sydney (until January 6 [Ed. The Prof has bet big on a 4th day finish]. I guess this is as close to humour as a diplomat gets and as usefully timely as the average DFAT TA’s. The ECB has lodged an official protest.

Coach2.0 has reminded Andy F. that pissing on a Sydney wicket is an offence under the NSW Criminal Code. Andy has not replied.

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