See Adelaide and retire

I’m not sure what to make of this. But first it was Damien Martyn and now it is Nathan Astle who have responded to a great win by their teams in Adelaide by announcing it is time to retire.

It’s better then seeing Naples, I guess. But I am still offended.

The anguish of Adelaide

I often enjoy Simon Barnes’s pieces at The Times and he’s produced a really crisp and imaginative recollection of the nightmare of the 2nd Test at Adelaide.

It was cricket as it might have been written by Kafka: a hideous punishment, as unjust as it was incomprehensible, inflicted on people who had earned the right to expect better things from life. It was like playing cricket against the Gestapo: cricket as a form of atrocity in which resistance is useless. It was cricket as torture, in which pain and hatred become distorted into a loving and grateful submission to the torturer.

I shall never forget the streets of Adelaide afterwards, the numb shock of the England supporters. These things don’t happen. We couldn’t have seen that. Brains simply refused to process the information they had received. The England press corps, a more resilient bunch on the whole, were to be found the next day at the airport, each with the thousand-yard stare of the Vietnam vet.

That the torture only lasted an hour was something of a reprieve for us, for England. It was quick – still painful – and violent, and will never be forgotten. Like someone slitting a capillary on their wrist, England bled fatally. Barnes even goes as far to say that “it was the most extraordinary passage of cricket I have seen and one of the most shocking things I have witnessed in any sport”. I’m not sure I can quite agree, but nevertheless it was a period of play which must go down as one of the most captivating (or unwatchable, depending on which side of the fence you sit) in modern times.

Should Duncan Fletcher resign?

Batten down the hatches, we’re in the eye of a storm here! It’s all going very wrong for England so, in the spirit of scapegoattery, let’s start picking them off. And what better way to start than with a poll? Leave a comment on whether you think Duncan Fletcher should stay or go, and cast your vote below

(If you’re reading by RSS, click here to vote at the site)


All very 1990s

We arrived at work fully expecting a pleasantly dull late-night’s work, the blinkered bastards that we are. In a few hours, the game would be drawn and we could all go home and sleep until the next Test. But in a few hours, England jumped in their time machine and rewound to the early 1990s.

Apparently before the final day’s play, England’s bowlers didn’t even have a proper net. It was all about the batting, all about saving the game and, in that respect, they lost it spectacularly before a ball was bowled. This was England diluted. A very good team were made to look absolutely ridiculous – or rather they made themselves look like that. There seemed to be a clear plan not to score any runs in the morning session. None. Block it. Block it or get out but for God’s sake, don’t score any runs. It was classic 1990s and brought a reminiscant tear to our eyes.

England are back!

No, it’s not all that bad. One bad session does not a bad team make, as that old expression doesn’t go. But we have just lost the Ashes. Rather, Ashley Giles has lost the Ashes. We were quite cruel to him on commentary at Cricinfo – honest might be more accurate – but it was always deservedly earned. England selected him purely for his apparent multi-dimensional skills but he failed in every department. He bowled like a drain, batted like a rabbit and fielded like a pensioner.

After a blushing defeat, Duncan Fletcher still insisted he needed a No.8 who could hold an end up – “just look at what Shane Warne did with the bat” he cried, hopelessly. Nasser Hussain often says Fletcher very rarely makes a mistake, however blinkered his decisions might be. Picking Giles for this series is the worst, most short-sighted decision he will ever make and has cost England the series.

Only miracles from Monty, Harmison and Pietersen can save England now.

Ricky Ponting on the Adelaide Test

Quite an interesting podcast interview with Ricky Ponting can be heard here.

Live: Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 4th day

The fourth day from Adelaide. It’s drifting towards a draw…unless Harmison can somehow find some venom. Leave your comments if you’re still awake…

Live: Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 3rd day

The third day from Adelaide. England are in a terrific position, but the pitch remains flat and they only have the one spinner. No pressure, Ashley Giles…or Steve Harmison for that matter. It’s up to those two to produce something special.

Live: Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 2nd day

A fighting, gritty performance by England yesterday. It was tough-going at times, even turgid, but just what England needed. Paul Collingwood batted superbly and there’ll be a massive cheer if he makes his hundred later this morning. England need to press on though and aim big…

Chat away

Hoggard’s 4th video diary from Australia

Matthew Hoggard’s fourth Ashes video diary. Usual nonsense but he does it better than most cricketers could and it’s good to see behind the scenes at Adelaide. It ends with him in an ice bath…click here if you can’t see the video below.

Aim below

My editor told me about this sign appearing in the Adelaide dunnies yesterday, which is now doing the rounds. This photo courtesy of the BBC Test Match Special team out there, and Gideon Haigh mentioned it yesterday in his blog.

If you do miss

Test Match Special.