It’s been a few weeks since it seemed realistic to wake up on Day 3 of a Test and think we can win it and get on with the team song,. then finally accept Chef’s invitation for a beer. I guess someone will have to have a shandy with The Boy Root – surely he’s still underage?
I’m not sure where Coach2.0 has sent The Prof, and what his mission is, but a text arrived from him just as we were sitting down to breakfast. It revealed nothing but a deep interest in the state of the game and a keen readership of this diary. [Ed If only he wasn’t so lonely in that endeavour.]
“To enforce the follow-on, or not to enforce the follow-on,” was all he wrote after I dared to speculate in the diary yesterday that Sir Captain might be tempted to use this last Test as his only exercise of the right to enforce the follow on. I said it was on the cards and asked him where he was and got . . nothing in reply. I guess he’ll be back soon.
It irked me to see Parker in the foyer again this morning. We’ve ended up not using his services since putting him up in a decent room at the hotel for the week in a contra deal with a concierge that secured us the Presidential Suite. I walked up beside him, but pretended not to be talking to him.
“Fancy a drive later?”
“After play. Say 6 pm?”
“Will Mr The Prof be there?”
“I don’t know, Parker, I just don’t know. The weather is fine and warm, maybe a balmy evening drive around town in the twilight. Have you got a convertible?”
“It can be arranged.”
“Excellent. 6 pm a the ground, then?”
At the ground, the boys set about their work getting the last two wickets in a reasonable fashion, getting us to the point of decision for Sir Captain. He’s known as someone who likes to win, and is not concerned with personal milestones, but maybe the risk of his average dropping a little more was just too much for him in his current form. So follow-on England did, poking their heads up above the parapet every now and again but wickets fell steadily through the afternoon, powered mostly by bananas.
The afternoon was dragging a bit until Chef again fell to spin, this time on the last ball of the day, to the irrepressible Trapper Smith and his manic leggies – a good ball and a good catch.
If only the weather holds. The beer with Chef and the boys will have to wait one more day.
Aust 481, England 149 and 6/203
PS Now, where’s Parker and that Rolls? I need to get out of here!