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Jan 3 – Day 1 – Fifth Test

Have you ever been in one of those pseudo-team building things where the first exercise is to build the tallest structure you can using spaghetti rods and marshmallows? Or using paper and sticky tape? Have you ever wondered why some teams always make a mutant alien rather than an Eiffel Tower [Ed. Or a pyramid.], or why they just jump in when the Umpire says GO as if no other teams exist? And why they never wait and copy what other teams are doing? And why the mutant alien appears again even when everyone says they learned something from the exercise?

Day 1 was like this. England had the game in their grasp, again, and let it slip through their fingers again. Again, in little more than a morning session England cremated the top 5 for 100 or so. Again, Hollywood was out before lunch [Ed. Why doesn’t he eat at drinks? ]. Again, Mr G nicked one to slips. And again, The Captain received ‘a brute of a ball’.

Andy F. sent Coach2.0 a text just after lunch: “Ahead again. Top order as brittle as a ladies tea cup, old chap. Again.” Coach 2.0 sat on it brooding. Maybe the number 5 and 7 are special. He opened his portable Ouija board and rolled the dice. Red or black, black or red?

He didn’t have to worry. Again, Trapper (no 5) and Wicky (no 7) combined to save the day. Wicky could have scored another 100, but scored 75 instead. Trapper continued  on late into the innings to score his THIRD CENTURY late in eight consecutive tests without being dropped [Ed. Dropped not grassed]. BRILLIANT.

Coach2.0 replied to Andy F. when the score was 260. “I’m feeling much better. This is enough to win.” He looked towards the England balcony. Andy F looked terrible for the fifth time this series. His left eye twitched uncontrollably. He smiled back, knowing Coach2.0 was watching him, and hoisted a 10 inch missile launcher to his shoulder. Coach2.0 would have dived to the floor, but there was no room. He watched as Andy pressed GO and the missile splintered the English press box. Andy grinned.

Tatts scared the bowlers into a few runs. Andy was in the care of medical staff when The Natural, who admits he cannot bat, carelessly lifted Jimmy’s fast bouncer over the ropes.

When the English finally grabbed the tail and shook it out the score was 326, more than the top order hoped for in their wildest dreams before lunch, but no less than the lower order committed to after lunch. In Australia, the bowlers bat and bowl.

Coach2.0 sent a text to Andy at the change of innings. “Is Bresnan still with you? I hear he is fit. It seems you cannot take a trick with a Root on a troopship. Love. C2.0.”  Soft.
Again, Coach2.0 looked towards the England balcony. Andy was awake. He didn’t look well. Catherine, the Saatchi & Saatchi media specialist, was reading to him. Coach2.0 thought it was Anne of Green Gables, but he wasn’t sure.
RPGAndy read the text from Coach2.0. Andy turned red and issued some instructions to Catherine who helped him load the grenade launcher he bought from Afghanistan in the post-Christmas sales. Andy kept pointing it towards Coach2.0. He couldn’t steady his aim. Eventually Catherine took it from him, pointed it towards the Sky Commentary box and blew it to smithereens. Coach2.0 hoisted a fat thumb above the windowsill.
Just before Carberry was dismissed, Andy sent a return text saying he felt much better. Again. He always feels better towards stumps. Doesn’t he know that the stain and pain of a whitewash never goes away? Dad says the nightmares are always there.
At the fall of wicket, the night watchman Jimmy came in. He pushed the next over into 2015, farming the pitch like a curate tends a churchyard grave, and taunting Mr G at short leg. He said later that he only had two more chances to sledge seven close-in fielders and he wanted to make the most of it for as long as possible.

“Does Tatts scare you?,” a journalist asked.
“Who. No. Why? I fear no bowler.”
“Did you offer to bat at no 3?”
“Yes. And no 4 and 5. I felt I would be needed. I am due for a double figure score. I have learned not to trust the lower order.”
“What do you think of the pitch?”
“It’s like all the others. It’s a great batting pitch that does a bit when we bat.”

Chef said his team have been in the same position 5 times this series, one down and a few hundred to get again. “We have learned how to deal with disappointment.”
Australia 326. England 1/8.

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