Stairwells rang with abuse, doors were shattered in celebration, David Warner was repeatedly restrained by team-mates, and eventually, a ballistically eventful March got the finish it deserved when frenzied displays of machismo culminated in a lavish, cross-continental shedding of tears.
Vital to understanding the many behavioural embarrassments last month was the concept of the "line" of acceptable player conduct. Where exactly is the line, asked many. Who drew it? Who owns it? What does it look like? Where did it come from? Does the line even exist or was it sandpaper all along, and has anybody seen it since it disappeared into the front of Cameron Bancroft's undershorts? The Briefing noses around.
An avalanche of ineptitude
Just how did Australia wind up in this black hole of ignominy? It took a series of worsening decisions, each more stupid than the last. First there was the lower middle-order collapse, when they lost five wickets for 25 to give South Africa a sizeable lead. Then the resolution to cheat, along with entrusting the cheating to a junior member of the side. This was followed by the stunning failure to cheat successfully, despite being armed with sandpaper - a material specifically designed to change the texture of a hard surface, such as the outside of a cricket ball. Then being caught on camera, pretending at first that only a black cloth was used, then claiming it was sticky tape, before finally the truth was revealed, and sackings, bans and resignations ensued.
Australia were like a man who gambled away his savings, tried to rob a bank, forgot to cover his face, got spooked by the surveillance cameras, made a dash for the exit and knocked himself out on the glass door.
The heroic appeals to righteousness
In the wake of the sandpaper incident, a surfeit of morally upright columns were produced, especially by portions of the English media, about the dire need for the transformation of an Australian team culture that had become rotten and deplorable and has been given to cheating since at least November, or whenever it was that that 4-0 series began. This is only to be expected. Only months ago, it was parts of the Australian press that righteously petitioned for a change in the wretched and reprehensible England team culture that had seen Ben Stokes cut loose in Bristol. This, in turn, was perhaps a response to the noble entreaties from the British press to Australia to overhaul their team culture after Warner took a swing at Joe Root. And let us not forget the sermons about the putrid cultural waters that overturned Andrew Flintoff's pedalo, the lectures from dizzying moral heights about the team culture that fuelled Shane Warne's sexcapades, or the debased collective values that filled Micheal Atherton's pocket full of soil, and on and on through history all the way to 1881 or until you want to shoot yourself.
Mind the windows . and the door
Sixes and broken glass were a theme in March. In the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, both Rovman Powell and Marlon Samuels struck blows of such great length and ferocity that they each broke a window at the Harare Sports Club - Powell while reaching triple figures for the first time in international cricket. In Colombo, a sublime Mahmudullah six to seal a thrilling virtual semi-final against Sri Lanka prompted a celebration so frenzied that the Bangladesh dressing room door was left shattered. In the final, with 34 required off the last two overs, India perhaps felt they needed some glass-shattering emergency big hits of their own.
The surprise success
The Nidahas Trophy, of course, turned out to be much more engrossing than expected, thanks to chasing heroics from Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah and Dinesh Karthik, in addition to the histrionics in the penultimate match. That the collapsing Bangladesh top order's frequent comings and goings in the final were made easier by the absence of that dressing-room door is really just the kind of serendipitous closing gag that this tournament deserved.
Dave Cameron's Women's Day
Last month, CWI head honcho Dave Cameron blamed Jamaican cricket's decline partly on the recent proliferation of female PE teachers. He has weighed in on women's issues again this month, tweeting on March 8: "Happy International Women's Day and while we celebrate lets not forget the men who are fathers and brothers as we need them to have a properly functioning society."
With World Wildlife Day also having been in March, the Briefing would like to take cues from Mr Cameron and pay tribute not only to the rangers who protect parks across the world, but also the poachers who keep the rangers in their jobs.
The humdrum hacking
Our sympathies are with Vernon Philander, who was the victim of perhaps the most boring and visionless hack in history this month. Having apparently gone through all the trouble of gaining illicit access to Philander's Twitter handle, the hacker only proceeded to post a mildly accusatory tweet directed at Steven Smith. He or she had not even the gall to post a picture of Philander's genitals, as the "hackers" who had "hacked" Ian Botham's and Kumar Sangakkara's accounts had once done.
Next month on The Briefing:
- Unable to agree on the name of which great cricketer from which country should go first on the trophy, CSA and CA just decide to name it the "Stairwell-Sandpaper Cup".
- Kagiso Rabada takes to offering back rubs and homemade cookies to batsmen he has just dismissed, in order to avoid further ICC censure.
- The BCB orders hundreds of standby glass doors for Mirpur Stadium in anticipation of Bangladesh victories in the coming season. "That is the level of belief we have in the boys," says board chief.