The wreck of the good ship Oz
Alan has won the toss and is delighted to speak first, on the inevitable subject of the hilarity / horror that is the Australian cricket side.
Alan Tyers writes I am not normally one to kick a man when he is down, but let’s be reasonable, this is the Ashes. Having grown up watching my cricket team on the other end of the sort of punishment suffered by the Australians during day one of the Melbourne Test, I can sympathise with the Aussie fans. Well, “sympathise” is not quite the right word. “Laugh at” would be more accurate.
Little Stevie Smith, Test batsman / bowler (to be confirmed later). The Artist Formerly Known As Ricky Ponting. Shane “Dropped Twice On Zero” Watson. Phil “The Technician” Hughes. Michael Freaking Clarke. All came and went in the twinkling of an eye, hanging around just long enough to show us how terrible their techniques were against the moving ball. England were very good but no more. We have Australia to thank for this day of days.
For, truly, that was as brutally one-sided as Test cricket ever gets. If it was a boxing match, the ref would have stopped it hours before the end. If it was a boxing match, the baggy green palooka would never get a licence to fight again, and there would be questions asked in the House about barbarism in the name of entertainment. Now Australia have to drag their sorry ass off the canvas and somehow try to get back into it on day two. No, I don’t see how, either.
Jarrod Kimber writes Australian cricket is sick. I’m not going to waste my time getting involved in sardonic little games with Alan, making easy jokes about Steve Smith’s imitation technique or Ricky Ponting’s pinky problem. This is serious. Australian cricket is sicker than George Burns. Physically it’s falling apart, it’s coughing up blood, has brain juice running out of its ear, and is twitching like a cat that just got run over.
The selectors are working off the PCB handbook, the marketing department thinks 17 is its lucky number, the top order never showed up, the bowlers looked tired before they started, and the fielding coach is part-time. Australia are allowed to play bad - teams do that. They aren’t allowed to be behind on one day of cricket after winning the last Test. That is schizophrenic.
Someone struggling from schizophrenia needs professional help. Counsellors, drugs, electric paddles, fielding coaches, less Greg Chappell. Anything. There is a problem, and if the million mental-health ads I’ve seen over the years have told me anything, it’s that only through professional help do you get any better.
Alan replies The patient does certainly seem to be struggling, and it is pitiful to see this once mighty lion of sport brought so low, reduced to a shell of its former rude health. I’ve heard of this wonderful clinic, in Switzerland - apparently they are terribly good there, and they might have just the thing for the Ponting era. It’s called Dignitas. Do give them a call.
Jarrod replies It should also be pointed out that today Ryan Harris played his best innings in the Ashes so far. The media can be narrow-sighted on days like this. Sometimes they miss the human-interest story.