Australia Tour 2013/14
Sydney. The Fifth Test.
Rankin, Borthwick and Ballance in. Bresnan, Root and Monty out.
Yet another piece of flawed selection by the England staff.
Rankin pulled up (or should it be classed as a refusal?) after just eight overs, placing immediate pressure on Broad, Anderson and Stokes.
Poor captaincy delayed the introduction of Borthwick until Haddin and Smith were set.
Poor Borthwick was hammered to all parts, finally taking a wicket only when he was skied from yet another six hit effort.
Thus placing even more pressure on Broad, Anderson and Stokes.
By three o' clock, I was feeling decidedly sorry for the bedraggled Broad, Anderson and Stokes, although Pietersen helped them immensely I'm sure, by fielding at long leg for most of the day and having his photo taken with most of the 40,000 crowd.
Even so, even with all these handicaps, once again, early doors we had Australia in our clutches at 97-5.
They not only wriggled off the hook, they jumped out of the water and slapped England in the face with their tail.
Stokes ended up with six wickets, three in the last over of the Aussie innings in fact, which was a double edged sword in that England then had to bat for twenty five minutes at the end of the day in failing light. Sounds like a recipe for losing wickets to me.
Sure enough, Carberry fulfilled everyone's expectations, staring at bogeyman Johnson like a rabbit in the headlights for a couple of overs then getting out for a duck to a leg side strangle.
Carberry must be the best selection Shane Warne has ever made for Australia, oops, sorry, England!
Lofty and I left the ground shortly after Carberry's dismissal to catch the early bus back to Randwick.
When we got off the bus, Lofty forgot his cricket bag, left on the bus seat and now presumably in the hands of some German backpackers that were sat behind us.
Just as well he had nothing important in there.
Only his room key, glasses, binoculars, camera, and remaining match tickets for Sydney.
It is by now Friday night, and the bus depot lost property office in Sydney's Liverpool suburb does not open until 9am on Monday.
F*cking wonderful. Lofty, for you, ze Test Match may be over.
Imagine no possessions, its easy if you try...I think thats how the song goes, anyway.
Whilst as a Facebook unbeliever I am now thankfully out of reach of Herbie's Facebook talons, unfortunately The Dark Lord of Addis can still reach me by text using his Nokia Palantir.
Thus during dinner that evening I get:
"Time to stop punishing yourself. Walk away from the SCG and start your trip to the Blue Mountains early. This is going only one way."
I tell Herbie about Lofty's lost tickets.
His reply - "Blessing in disguise. Seize it!"
After a great meal at Pinocchio's in Randwick I retire early at 11pm and start watching 'Lord of the Rings - Two Towers' on TV in my room. I don't see the end though. With the frequency of the commercials, I estimate the film will last for six hours.
Day two started with breakfast at 'Ambrosia' in Randwick, and I also ordered two rolls to take to the cricket - one tuna, one beef - is this exciting enough yet - and then we had the problem of getting Lofty into the SCG without his ticket.
Actually, the stewards were pretty good, and Lofty got in after a few minutes patient explanation.
After half an hour, he wished he had been refused admission, with England standing at 23-5.
Although I have thrown my earlier match tickets away, I will keep this one, in case in future anyone ever asks me "what is the worst England display you have ever seen?"
I wish Herbie would start having a few early nights. He seems as addicted to pain as we are, and soon the text messages started to arrive.
On Cook's dismissal:
"That was the worst shot Cook has ever played. F*cking useless. Surrender monkeys. Psychologically shot."
"He needs to write a resignation letter followed by an apology to every poor f*cker who has wasted their hard earned cash following this f*cking diabolical shambles."
I agree with Herbie, but I am beyond the need for anger management now, and actually I found this morning so bad, that it was funny - maybe hysteria is setting in!
There was a whole block of 300 singing Aussie lads dressed up as Ritchie Benaud, complete with silver haired wigs, cream suits and fake polystyrene Channel nine microphones - and they were hilarious - great effort, unlike the Barmy Army, who watched the grim proceedings in sullen silence.
At one point, several of these guys stood up together with cardboard placards, which read: " MARVELLOUS".
Rather more inventive, I thought, than certain placards wielded by certain individuals normally on display in the Barmy Army ranks.
As you can imagine, after a morning like that I was really looking forward to my lunch, and at 12.30 I eagerly unpacked my two rolls, purchased earlier from 'Ambrosia'.
The Chinese sandwich making girl had played a blinder.
Two sub rolls, each unbuttered, and each filled with spicy tuna AND warm roast beef.
Lovely, I'm sure that a dose of salmonella will quickly erase my memories of this catastrophic tour.
On taking these rolls back to the shop later (they had cost $20) the Chinese shop owner had a perfectly rational explanation for trying to poison me.
"Oh, she not know. She tlaining."
He must have thought I was sum dum guy!
After lunch Stokes, Broad and Bairstow put up a bit of a fight, although the latter got out to a one-handed shot, which had me wondering just what skills Graham Gooch is imparting to our young batsmen. Not for the first time, I might add.
A few lusty blows from Broad took us past the follow on point accompanied by frenzied chanting from the Barmy Army, who had now woken up.
Boyd Rankin seems to be able to hold a bat much better than our top order, and supported Broad admirably, but when he was finally bowled by the bogeyman, I left Lofty to it and returned to Randwick to get ready for the Saturday night session on the Rocks.
We are all convening in the Lord Nelson to select a new team.