The Over: The Ashes, Second Test

Faster than a royal labour, England are 2-0 up in the series. One of us was there to view the denouement. Here’s our view on the whole shebang:

1. Compare, if you will, Joe Root and Steve Smith. Both are batsmen with pretensions on being batting all-rounders and both look younger than HRH Prince Baby of Cambridge. One has been integrated into a winning team and given ample time to adjust to the game and develop, while the other is tasked with shoring up a middle order that might have a club second eleven captain wondering where the runs are coming from. Australia need to realise that things are going to get worse (or at least remain as bad – they’re already gouging quite deeply into a barrel-bottom) before they get better. They need to stick with this lot, allow them exposure to top class bowling, and hopefully let them develop. A couple will make it (Usman Khawaja looked the part for an hour on Sunday), a couple probably won’t (here’s a clue, Philip Hughes won’t – the man’s got more technical flaws than a Sunday number eleven), but the ones that do will be all the better for it. Just ask Ian ‘Sherminator’ Bell.
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Decisions, decisions…

It seems that somebody does actually read our blog after all, because we’ve had a request. Lee Zhuo Zhao (who blogs at http://leftarmunorthodoxspin.wordpress.com) even goes so far as to care what we have to say. He writes:

‘Given the central role DRS played in this Test’s drama, would be interesting to hear your views on it.’

Well, we’ll happily oblige.

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The Over: The Ashes, First Test, Part 2

Now that we’ve had a lie-down, we feel ready to write up the last couple of days:

1. Sunday’s action proved eerily reminiscent of Edgbaston 2005, not least the fact that we spent most of the morning absolutely bricking ourselves. Let’s not beat about the bush, this will go down as one of the great Test matches. It swung to-and-fro, featured mind-blowing performances with bat and ball, and, ultimately left fans with no clue who was going to win right up until the moment it finished. ODI and T20 cricket are, in part, designed to replicate the tension that Test matches like this produce. However, they never quite cut it. Both sides spent five days carefully crafting a chance to win. Both sides had so much to lose. Both sides nearly did. Test cricket once again demonstrated why it reigns supreme.
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The Over: The Ashes, First Test, Part 1

It’s here, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here! We’ve been so enthralled by the first three days that this is actually the first chance we’ve had to write a post. So here goes:

1. For all the hullabaloo around Ashton Agar (well done, by the way – a fine effort), if you look beyond it, without his 98, Australia couldn’t be further out of the game if they were still on the boat going around the Cape of Good Hope. England batted poorly in the first innings of a series for about the four-hundredth time this millennium (when will they learn?), but Australia calypso-collapsoed their way to 117-9 before Agar and Hughes (and Marais Erasmus – more on him later) got them out of that particular Mariana Trench.
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5 recent cricket stories you might have missed

We seem to spend half our time apologising, but sorry for the lack of recent posts. With the Ashes coming up, we will be posting more regularly. Anyway, you can read all the mainstream stuff about proper cricket on popular websites, but here’s a few things you might just have overlooked:

1. Sri Lankan cricketer in flight farce – This is fantastic. What is it about cricketers and booze and flying? Ramith Rambukwella, son of a government minister (entirely coincidentally, of course!) got pissed on a flight (as one does) from St Lucia to Gatwick and had to answer the call of nature (as one does). Trouble is that he tried to get a little too close to nature, specifically the birds, at 35,000 feet. Mistaking the plane door for a toilet door (as one does), he spent two minutes trying, and failing, to open it. This raises three questions: 1) How pissed do you have to be to spend two minutes trying to open a door that won’t open? 2) How pissed do you have to be to mistake a plane door, with lots of levers and buttons, for a toilet door, which is about 1 millimetre thick and featuring precisely no levers and no buttons? and 3) How pissed does everyone else on the flight have to be to not try and stop a man depressurising the cabin for TWO MINUTES?
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