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Aug 6 – Fourth Test – Day 1

The worst Ashes collapse we, Australia, have suffered since 1936, and the fewest balls bowled to dismiss an innings, ever. Worse than in South Africa, worse than any New Zealand innings, ever, ever.

All out 60. A day’s cricket doesn’t get any worse than this. [Ed. lets wait until tomorrow]

My Dad phoned saying he was moving house again for the second time since India 2013 after his neighbour threw a brick through his shed window and threatened to torch the house. Dad said he and mum were joining the other Sydney-based test families in a new gated community The Captain has established in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs. It’s got its own beach and oval, a 50 metre wide moat and a drawbridge. Nice.

Thea sent me a lovely note hoping that I was enjoying myself. “Hell, you might even get a game (surely you see the funny side;). Your Dad would be less violent if you did. His cat is living on the neighbours roof, again. Love????”

Australia is in turmoil. There were more kitchen fires reported in West Australia, as dinners burned in the oven, than calls received by the Channel 9 switchboard calling for The Captain’s head, or his balls, or both. And a cattle dog phoned in from Karratha to ask when the &@%# he was going to be fed.

Mothers all over Australia sent their kids to bed early complaining that violence and sexual references in sport had gone too far. They want the Ashes to be re-rated and aired only after 10pm. Geoffrey Robertson has joined with Julian Burnside QC (both noted lefties) to launch an action in the International Court of Sports Justice (alternately, the ICC and FIFA) alleging multiple human rights violations. The Freak found a Facebook add from Slater & Gordon seeking victims of Australian cricket to join in a class action against Stuart Broad. Apparently, there were a flood of applications from Nottingham including one from Jimmy Anderson who was sad he had missed a legal badger cull.

And there were the usual prank callers to the CA switchboards in Sydney and Trent Bridge. Someone called Ricky phoned up asking why Michael Vaughan always had a smile on his face. What supplements was he taking? The CA call operator from Bangalore told him real cricket was played only by Virat in India. This test would be cremated in three days. In 100 years no one would remember it, or plant a lone pine outside Trent Bridge to remember the fallen XI. Then a twosome called Jimmy & Graeme phoned in asking if we had heard from Kevin? Kevin who?

Channel 9’s Karl Stefanovic said before play began today that he would do a nudie run on the breakfast show if The Captain didn’t score 100. What a duck head. For the record, The Captain got to 10, then got a beauty 3 feet outside the off stump that he had to play at. Captain Cook at slip could not have been more delighted. For the record, Stefanovic did a nudie run. Mothers complained, again.

Tony Abbott has announced a cricket restructuring fund of $500m to help displaced Australian cricketers and coaches find new jobs. Apparently there are some jobs going as pitch curators on suburban ovals west of the Black Stump or on play school painting yellow submarines. The batting coach said he didn’t plan to retire, but Tony said everyone was on probation until the Productivity Commission into cricket reports in the spring. They are targeting removal of penalty rates for test matches.

At tea, Coach2.0 circulated a letter the Chairman of Selectors received from the PM after lunch:

“The Lodge
Canberra
8 August 2015

Dear Rod,

I had a few friends over to watch the Grand Final. They left when I threw the Parliamentary Expenses Rule Book through the TV when the score was 6/15.

I expect more than a two hour drubbing from the premier sporting team in Australia on the 100th Anniversary of Lone Pine. Who is Extras? That Man deserves a medal.

I can’t understand why you did it. Don’t you know the Opposition will have a field day (although I’m making Tony Burke pay for his own transgression)? Are you on my team?

Tony”

I ran into Hollywood before dinner. He looks very fit [Ed I’d say undaunted]. Like Junior Junior Marsh, he is striking the ball in the nets so, so beautifully. He said he had more to give and thought the Oval might be a good place to start. “30 is a decent score after all.” I laughed. Everyone looked at me, then I realised I had wound black tape around my arm sometime between the fall of the first and third wicket in the morning to keep faith with the XI.

The Prof is a wise head on these occasions. He told me a story. A cow and a chicken were in a paddock. It was cold. So the cow turned around, apologised, and shat on the chicken. The chicken raised his head in a jovial mood announcing that there was nothing better than to be warm on a cold day. A fox in a nearby wood heard the commotion. He saw the chicken clucking away, introduced himself, and ate the chicken. The cow felt sad but said nothing. The moral of the story is that if you are happy it’s best not to announce it. And sometimes it’s best to stay off the paddock.

I sent this to Dad who, with a few alterations, forwarded it to his neighbour who promptly threw another brick through his window.

Alastair has apparently invited us to drinks after the game tomorrow. He thinks he can wrap it up inside two days. There is no accounting for taste.

Australia 60. England 4/274 (way ahead and the Boy Root screwing us again fore another 100+ not out.)

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