I’ve been in India long enough now that it almost feels normal to rise early on a cool Delhi morning to watch Australia play in Australia – and not much different to the Ashes series that I watched as a kid, when I used to get up in winter during the middle of the night to see Australia play in England. But it feels bizarre to see Australia perform now as England used to. Like losers. There is something deeply wrong about it, as if some natural law is being broken.
By the time I stumbled out and switched on the TV for the opening session at the Gabba, Chris Rogers had already departed. It seemed fitting, considering his age. I have an aversion to investing any goodwill into someone recently arrived who’ll be with us for such a short period. Goodbye Chris. Now let’s see how long Watto and Warner can fight their real selves.
While appearing to possess a good technique, there is something of the hopeless junkie about Watson, especially in the resigned way he walks off after being dismissed cheaply in a tight situation. Like he knows, deep down, that he is just no good. He wants to believe what his supporters say, and tries to realise the potential they see in him each time he is granted one more chance by the tribunal, but when the finger goes up, and the slaps of the opposition high-fives ring out, his look tells us that he knew it all along. It was preordained, and he was stupid to think otherwise – a self-fulfilling prophecy that the selectors would not have put up with in a previous era.
But they aren’t spoilt for choice. Apparently Australia reaching two for 71 meant that the teams were even after the morning’s play, when to the naked eye it looked like we had lost two important wickets and scored not many runs quite slowly.
In the lunch break on Star Sports, they played ‘Ashes Heroes’. Here we go, I thought, as I breakfasted on my tea and Nutella toast. Now we’ll see some real cricket. But this particular episode started in 2005. Another joke, programmed by an Englishman. Thanks, but I saw that one in real time.
When I reached the office and refreshed the cricinfo tab on my browser, we were five down, and six after I’d bought my morning coffee. That’s when I thought it wasn’t such a flash time to start a cricket blog. The destroyer for the Poms was Stuart Broad. Though the idiots at the Courier Mail want us to refer to him as a 27-year-old English medium pace bowler, I prefer to call him Little Lord Fauntleroy, and can highly recommend watching reruns of when Yuvraj Singh hit him for six sixes in one over during the 2007 twenty20 World Cup.
Eight for 273 will no doubt be spun as a respectable score for the current Australian side, which reminds me of the story Ian Chappell used to tell about his old captain at South Australia, Les Favell. Apparently Les would be pissed off if SA were two for 280 at the close of play, but be quite happy if they were seven for 300. His reason? You should always go for the runs. Chappelli didn’t say what his mood was if the team didn’t score the runs, and still lost all the wickets. But you can’t imagine that it was respectable.