If there has been a more important Test match in living memory than the one scheduled to start at Trent Bridge on Thursday, it can only be the Oval Test of 1953, when England regained the Ashes after 19 years, an even longer interlude than the current one of 16 years.
As if the pressure on both teams wasn’t already enough! There is some fabulous stuff in the press today:
Scyld’s article on why England can reverse the Ashes trend.
Mike Atherton, whose articles I always enjoy, writes a light-hearted but revealingly clever piece on Ponting and Vaughan:
Iâ€™m not looking forward to confirming the news tomorrow morning [Gillespie missing out on selection] – it could be the end of his Test career.
Maybe Iâ€™ll let Merv tell him – the fat b****** has to do something for his money. Who voted him in as a selector anyway?
Cricket v Football at The Observer.
A very long, not particularly revealing but ultimately enjoyable interview with Simon Jones in The Sunday Times.
Another excellent writer and commentator, Vic Marks, says in his Guardian column:
Brett Lee acknowledged: ‘We are happy to come away with a draw.’ When did we last hear Australia so relieved, so ecstatic to avoid defeat in an Ashes Test?
Mike Selvey, Marks’ TMS colleague, has been trying to escape from Ashes Central, but failed. In his article, he said he even tried listening to the White Stripes’ album Elephant – but even this thwarted his attempts to get away from the game:
To avoid the chatter [on the plane] I turned on my iPod – the White Stripes’ Elephant would be a good safe haven I thought – and what did I hear? “Waking up for breakfast, burning matches, talking cricket” on There’s No Home for You Here and “It’s quite possible that I’m your third man” on Ball and Biscuit
Funnily enough, I too thought once thought those were the lyrics (“burning matches, talking cricket”) but my mate corrected me, almost in disgust at my obsession with the game. Apparently it’s “Burning matches, talking quickly.” Still sounds like “cricket,” if you ask me.
There’s lots, lots more besides which I’ve no doubt missed, but that lot ought to keep you honest for the time being. This lull in the Tests has been strangely uncomfortable, almost like when you walk to the next ride and find it’s crap, after going on a 100mph rollercoaster. The tumbleweed has been, well, tumbling – but I’m getting that familiar, nervous excitement returning to the pit of my stomach. It’s 1-1, guys and girls – and it’s about to kick off again in just four days time!