Why Devereux, why? Why do you hurt us so?
This was Australia’s day again, no doubt, albeit on a pitch that looks as flat as the atmosphere in the 51allout office by the close of play. Having failed to make 300 in their first four innings, the tourists cruised past 500 for the first time since they utterly failed to beat South Africa in Adelaide, all the way back in November. However you look at it, that’s a long time ago – we’ve been through at least three work experience boys since then, for a start.
With umpire Dharmasena denied the opportunity to once again combine gin and DRS to hilarious effect, this was a rather more straightforward day of Test cricket, with no batsman (bar moustache-twirling pantomime villain Dave Warner) having any problems with conditions. There’s no shame in conceding lots of runs to Michael Clarke – he’s a very fine batsman – or Steven Peter Devereux Smith – he’s a god amongst men, walking the Earth to show each and every one of us what we could be, if we could only get rid of all those pesky sins – but when Mitchell Starc and Brad Haddin are piling on the runs it’s clear that something has gone wrong. It’s not that England bowled badly – they actually bowled pretty well throughout the day – it just seems to be the world’s flattest pitch. Quite what this means for the next three days remains to be seen, but with the weather forecast being typically Mancunian it seems the bore draw might be worth sticking whatever money you can rob from the local corner shop’s till on.
Of course the draw would probably suit both sides quite nicely – the Ashes would be retained for England, a run of crushing defeats ended for Australia. Plus Ian Botham would be proved wrong, which always makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
England’s innings was particularly watchful and circumspect, especially Joe Root, who seemed to be trapped on 1* for the best part of the day before eventually getting himself out so that he could go and watch Hollyoaks. There was turn and bounce for the Lion but little else. Honestly, we weren’t joking about that pitch. Quite what Tim Bresnan was doing when he missed one and walked off is anyone’s guess.We’ll gloss over the latest umpiring shocker, because we’re getting bored of pointing out how shit they’ve been.
Presumably England’s plan will just be to bat and bat and bat, like all Jonathan Trott’s Christmases coming at once. If they can achieve something near parity, which is still a long way off, then not only will Australia be left with no fit bowlers, they’ll also be faced with the difficult third innings and having to decide whether to stick or twist. Essentially, whether to collapse in a comedy heap once again.
Swann bowls, Warner gets a huge nick and is caught by Trott at slip, via Matt Prior’s leg. Michael Clarke is stood just a few metres away and manages to convince Warner to review it, knowing full well that he (Warner) will become even more ridiculed and reviled than he already is. And thus Clarke’s grip on power grows ever stronger.
Or it might have been that he was busy thinking about his hot wife and wasn’t really paying attention. We don’t exactly blame him.