There was still some work to do when we showed up to bat, but it got done. Trapper was back to his old self, bagging a lovely ton, while Mr Darcy let his long levers do the talking with some lusty hitting for a well made 50 odd. Two hundred stacked onto the total in short order – a good achievement.
In the change over, the Coach lined the players up and told them what was at stake – they could rewrite history and make this series look much closer than it actually was with a win here at The Oval. Last time, he said was actually close in our 1-3 loss, but if we made it to 2-3, it wouldn’t look so bad. “Lyth getting an MBE is going to look bad, but look what happened to Paul Collingwood.” We just shrugged.
He then went down the line, one by one. He eyeballed each one [Ed. He stands on a chair when addressing Mr Darcy and Mantis (when he’s in the team)] and gave them a personalized piece of advice to help them be a prime contributor to the team’s march to victory:
- “Bowl straight”
- “Keep those knees bent”
- “Drop another bloody catch and you’ll be twelfth man in Chittagong”
- “Get a haircut”
- “Keep that awful mo’ off, would you?”
- “You’re proof that veganism is a joke”
- “Tell that sprog of yours that if he tries to knick another one of my packets of chips, I’ll tie him to the outside of one of the London Eye pods for a day or so”
- “If you’re considering using a DRS review, think what Hollywood Watson would do, then do the opposite.”
He had everything covered.
England started well, but Plopper Lyon bowled an absolute peach to Chef and knocked over his off peg. 1/30, then the flood gates opened. The Freak, back in the side for some banana-powered rear-guard action, was at his best, knocking over Lyth and then Bell after some sustained pressure.
Tight bowling. Searching bowling. Not bleeding runs. Just what has been on walkabout for the last two disastrous tests. Junior Junior Marsh (back in the team, playing tag-team with his underachieving brother) bagged three in an impressive display all round.
So there it is. Looks like our ruse to get first use of the pitch has worked, and we’re in the box seat. The big question for tomorrow is whether of not to enforce the follow on, if things go to plan. It all depends if Sir Captain wants to try his hand at batting on last time, I guess.
Aust 481, England 8/107 and in deep caca.