Ashes December 20, 2010

Rah rah England

Andy Zaltzman watches the Perth Test with eyes wide shut

The Confectionery Stall Perth Test Diary. Written in London, from in front of a television

Day 1 England rampaged to within a millimetre of Ashes victory today, obliterating the Australians for a paltry 268 and then blasting their magnificent, golden-tinged way to an imposing 29 for 0 at close of play. If the Australian cricket team were the Labrador they have always dreamed of being, they would have been taken to a vet and humanely destroyed.

As England progress serenely to their inevitable triumph, there is an unusual feeling amongst England fans. This Ashes has been like watching a lion toying with a zebra-print balloon. Yes, you can still admire the majesty of the great beast, but it would be more interesting to see him decimate a worthier foe than the zebralloon.

Their imminent crushing victory will be so conclusive, routine and majestic as to become rather boring, and not a little awkwardly embarrassing. And the dark, dark Ashes years of 1989-2003 and 2006-07 are receding into the murky swamp of history, as if being tugged underneath by an unusually peckish shark.

Day 2 Morning session: A characteristically brilliant start by Cook and Strauss, surely now England’s greatest-ever pair of men, has put England in total, unremitting command of this game. Australia’s bowlers seem more likely to find the Pope hiding in Ricky Ponting’s kitbag than they do to take a wicket. In fact, it is all so one-sided, predictable and uninteresting that I think I’ll pop off for a quick snooze. I’ll just think of Geoff Marsh batting, that should do the zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Afternoon session: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzz zzzzzzzzzzz. Zzzz zzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Evening session: That was a good snooze. Hilfenhaus still has not taken a wicket since the first over of the series. Would you believe that? Phil Hughes looks all over the place. Ricky Ponting couldn’t hit an egg in a chicken enclosure at the moment. Finn should pitch it up a bit more. I can’t believe India played so poorly in South Africa – are these supposedly top-class batsman completely devoid of skill against the moving ball? England must be at least No. 2 in the world rankings now.

Day 3 I wonder what happens if you try to eat a sandwich whilst having a shower?

Day 4 It’s nearly Christmas. Yippee. Sounds like Ricky Ponting will have to play on with a broken finger. Ouch. Nothing is going right for him this series.

I’m taking the family to Rome tomorrow. I wonder if we’ll be able to catch the end of day five at the airport on the way out? Let’s hope so.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

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