Brisbane Test, 2010-11 November 30, 2010

The most shambolic Oz performance? Hardly

And will they be as rubbish in Adelaide

Alan has won the toss and will write first. His chosen subject is: “Australia. Ha, ha, ha”

Alan Tyers says Well, that was fun. There can’t be an English fan alive who didn’t enjoy the sight of Michael Clarke spilling his slip-catching practice, or Mitchell Johnson’s five-wides bouncer. Finally Steve Harmison can relax: at least his Brisbane nightmare ball went to second slip, not through second leg-slip.

After all we’ve put up with for the last couple of decades, watching Australia stumble through a second innings of 150 overs for one wicket (and that from danger man M North) was like watching the final 20 minutes of I Spit On Your Grave.

Was it the most shambolic Ashes performance by Australia in living memory? Yes. Is there reason to hope that they might be similarly rubbish at Adelaide? Well, cautious optimism: any side with Mitchell Johnson anywhere near it can always produce that little bit of magic. The sort of magic you might get from a children’s entertainer bursting his balloon animals and crying about his divorce to a room of stunned six-year-olds.

Jarrod Kimber says I can understand Alan’s excitement. England drew a Test match. There is no other culture on earth that can take gratification out of a draw like the English. For the average English sports fan a draw is like winning the lottery on the day Cheryl Cole has promised to shout you an ale or two. I’ve always suspected the games of football and cricket were designed for this very reason.

To say this is the most shambolic Australian performance in living memory is a tad harsh - neither Cameron White nor Scott Muller bowled in this match. What I saw was two ordinary sides bumping up against each other like awkward drunken teens trying to chest-bump. Both sides took 11 wickets, both sides looked like it might take them three lifetimes to get another wicket, and both sides ended up with a draw.

Actually Australia have been quite smart. England’s preparation was flawless, and Australia’s was a bit muddled, so someone must have called Kevin Mitchell and asked for the Gabba pitch to get a bit of draw in it. A practice pitch. Now they're ready to start the Ashes.

Alan replies And now the media are revolting, the selectors are looking for a sacrificial lamb and the bowlers are knackered and wondering where their next wicket is coming from. It’s a pre-Christmas miracle: the England mid-nineties outfit is alive and well, and they’re playing in Baggy Green.

Jarrod replies I've always assumed the Australian media was revolting, I'm not sure this Test had much to do with it. All this madness will be ended when Marcus North takes 12 wickets at the Adelaide Oval and restores regular programming.

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