God is my Director

Youth ministry, movies, no drugs and a variable amount of Rock ‘n Roll

crAshes

Posted by Martin on November 25, 2006

General CusterOh dear. With apologies to my American friends, it’s time to talk about cricket. And if you are American, and always wanted to know what a really terrible cricket team looks like, this is definitely the time to watch.

It’s hard to find a word which adequately describes what Australia are currently doing to my beloved England in the First Ashes Test. ‘Putting to the sword’ doesn’t cover it; ‘crushing’ and ‘pulverising’ don’t go far enough. I’m struggling for an appropriate metaphor. It’s not even men against boys – more men vs. foetuses.

The foetuses are putting up the barest of resistances. Ian Bell (pictured) is the only guy who can hold his head up today, after scoring a dogged 50 (although none of the Australian batsmen seemed to have any trouble getting one of those). 18 months ago, we won the Ashes – now almost the same team are being made to look like the world’s worst. They bat and score 600, we bat and struggle to make a quarter of that score. Then they go out again, and beat our score with only a single wicket lost. It’s the most demoralising thing.

Australia could and should under normal circumstances have enforced the follow-on (US readers switch off here) – but that wasn’t enough for them. They had to underline their dominance in triplicate with a big black marker pen. Just so we know. So they’re batting again, in what appears to be an attempt to achieve the biggest winning margin in cricketing history (US readers come back).

We’re only one game in to five. But what Australia’s captain Ricky Ponting is trying to do is win the entire Ashes series in a single match. If he can achieve a winning marging of 6-700 runs, he knows that the fragile English confidence will be shredded like tissue paper. Sadly, I wouldn’t back against him.

If, somehow, England dig deep and manage to save the game, which will surely mean batting out five sessions, then Ponting’s bullying tactic will have backfired, and England have a shred of hope that the series will stay alive. If it goes to plan however, we might as well get on the plane home right now.

And I’m a sporting optimist.

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