Ah, an England defeat at Lord's! The world of cricket offers funnier spectacles, but few that produce quite the same warm glow. I'm not sure why this should be. Maybe it's something to do with the sight of massed ranks of disgruntled elderly gentlemen in stripy pyjamas harrumphing into the sunset, or perhaps the whiff of treason that lingers about an England captain who fails to a secure a victory in front of Her Majesty.

Whatever the reason, such a capitulation at the Museum of Cricket is usually fun, and when the defeat in question is a bottom-pummelling epic worthy of the full Homeric treatment, the fun increases exponentially.

England's exciting new era lasted as long as the previous exciting new era. Indeed England now go through exciting new eras with such indecent haste that it is difficult for cricket hacks to keep up, and like the Grand Old Duke Of York's chaps, they are forever marching up Hype Hill or charging down into the Valley of Vitriol.

Now usually at a time like this, a dull person butts in to spoil things by complaining that instead of dwelling on the losers, we should celebrate the winners. But what kind of weirdo goes around celebrating winners? Winners don't need celebrating. They've already won, that's their reward. If you start celebrating them as well, it invariably goes to their heads and the next thing you know, they're crossing the Rubicon or invading Russia.

The Romans didn't queue up at the Coliseum because they wanted to see some beefy Parthian execute a successful stabbing; they wanted to see some other beefy Parthian get stabbed. It's a subtle but significant difference.

And cricket watchers can enjoy the failures of our centrally contracted gladiators without guilt, not just because cricketers are at limited risk of being eaten by lions, but because their lifestyle insulates them against a little mockery.

They're no longer ordinary folk temporarily elevated into stardom before being returned to earth to eke out an existence selling sports equipment. Your modern cricketer is a cross between Fred Trueman and Kanye West: a hotel-dwelling, tracksuit-wearing superstar nurtured on granola smoothies and isotonic prune squeezings, ferried around the world to perform in front of millions before retiring to a Yorkshire mansion with an urn-shaped pool.

To paraphrase Oscar Wilde's verdict on the death of little Nell, you'd need a heart of stone to watch England's penultimate-day cavalcade of calamity without laughing. In the rush to analyse why and how and what the hell was that, many pundits and spectators have overlooked the simple pleasure inherent in watching professionals fail utterly to do the thing they have trained their whole lives to do.

Can the same pleasure be derived from watching other professionals screw it up? Would it be as much fun watching a mechanic drop a spanner on his foot while struggling to dismantle an engine or chortling through highlights of a plumber fitting the wrong pipe to a new sink? Probably not, if it's your sink, but in this case it's someone else's sink, so I thoroughly enjoyed the mayhem and I can't wait to watch the rerun in Birmingham.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. @hughandrews73