The Ashes 2013: Old Trafford
And so to Old Trafford.
After the mauling Australia took at Lords, which was genuinely one of the most abject performances that I’ve ever seen from them, I’m feeling strangely confident.
Of course, the curse of the England follower is that even at 2-0 up I am convinced that we’ll find a way to lose the next three.
This is, naturally, daft. During my life, England have been OK to good far more than they’ve been shit, and Australia have never been as bad as they are now.
T.S. Eliot wrote in the Wasteland that April is the cruelest month, because it breeds hope, and hope is the most sadistic of emotions. Thus is life for the England fan, you swear you’re never going back to the filthy whore Hope, yet she turns up at your door full of beauty with great promise. You go off to the pub together, and things are fantastic, before she eventually disappears leaving you to drown your sorrows with her fat and offensively ugly, yet strangely comforting, sister Misery.
Still, It always rains at Old Trafford, and England only need a draw to secure the Ashes. I’d like to win, and win well, but I’ll take it.
All I really hope is that there are no more umpiring cock ups, as it’s been a fucking blight on the series, and both sides have room to complain.
Day 1: Christ on a bike. What did I ask for? One day without an umpiring fuck up. And they managed about 4 to my count. First Khawaja was given out when he quite clearly wasn’t, then Smith got 3 fucking reprieves from crap umpiring 2 of which were clearly out. Anyway, the day was Michael Clarke’s who capitalised on a magnificent start by Chris Rogers. For the first time, Australia put some value on their wickets and have finished on a quite commanding 303-3. Only a terrible collapse can get England back in the game.
Australia grind England into dust, eventually declaring for 527.
Then the curse of the shit umpire struck again, with Tim Bresnan given out when nowhere near the ball. Inexplicably he didn’t review.
Cook grizzled away, while the desperately out of form Trott scored feck all. KP hit a magnificent ton, before being sawn off by another terrible call from the DRS. Still, England hung on, and the follow on looks like it should be avoided with Broad and Prior at the crease.
Follow on safely dodged due to some fine hitting from Broad. Australia had a mammoth lead, and the question was how fast could they accelerate it.
Making for a hattrick of shocking hotspot decisions, Warner gets a life when he edges one, although it wasn’t too costly. From thereon in it devolved into farce with England frantically stalling, knowing a draw retains the Ashes, some hideously negative bowling and some shite batting from the Aussies. Eventually compounded by another piece of rancid umpiring, this time regarding light (They were having trouble picking the ball up from square leg, which is no surprise, as they couldn’t pick it up from behind the stumps) when they asked Cook if, knowing he needed a draw, he would kindly bowl spin. The totally unsurprising “no” resulted in them taking the players off when the light was actually fine.
Great job morons. Then down came the rain.
Australia are 330ish ahead, with one day to go and a horrible weather forecast. I think Clarke has actually delayed the declaration too long here, but the proof will be today.
Day Drawn, Umpires fail.
Shit umpiring, again, with this time KP getting his second duff decision of the test. Not that it mattered, as it pissed it down all day and thus England drew.
Job done. Ashes retained, but I find myself less than whelmed by this. Interesting to see what happens in the next test. Except I’m in Spain, so hopefully it absolutely hammers it down for 5 days.