Brisbane Day 2 Didn't quite make it
But Harmie's started
With another wide
Not me but Paul Herrick - all will be explained. Just let’s say for now, Harmison again put his first ball on a sixpence, the one he left off the cut square yesterday. In relation to the mud of Flanders mentioned previously, he remains consistent, and consistency is all, especially with regards custard.
Entry into the ground was much easier this time. So easy I did it twice in search of Section 49 where I was due to meet Ian Payne and Paul Herrick to do something for ITV viewers. The guy who took my ticket pointed me in the wrong direction which meant going out of the ground again to get it right. We decided to film at lunch, and missed nothing significant as Australia made England toil
Up Against It Australia 4-407 Hussey bowled Flintoff
Each wicket a point on an English chart
Of hopes on a voyage round Australia.
No reefs, storms, rip-tides, sand-bars and currents,
Just a long lonely barren ocean of sweat
In the sun before the next wicket’s fall.
Cool, below decks, thieves plot their destiny
Come lunch England are without a prayer. Ian and Paul gathered a multitude to film while I lead them in worship....
The Lords’ Prayer
Our Freddie, the heart of our eleven,
willowed be thy name.
Thy Century come, thy will be done,
from Perth unto the Gabba.
Bowl each day your daily jaffas
and smite Warne mightily all your slog-swept sixes
as Warnie smites those who trespass against him.
But heed us when close to temptation
and shield the Ashes from evil:
for thine is the century, the fivefor and the glory
for ever and ever.
It sort of works. In the next session four wickets go down including the avaricious mephistopheles Ponting, 196, lbw Hoggard, when it looked to all intents and purposes that we’d need the frigate, Diamantina shored up on the Brisbane river, to fire out the blighter, but England eventually face six hundred, each four umpire Bowden signals like a farmer attempting to scythe the final daisy which is not quite within reach. The Grim Reaper.
I can imagine Christopher Martin-Jenkins in the Test Match Special Radio commentary box saying ‘England have a real mountain to climb.’
The Ascent of Mount Gabba
Six hundred and two is far more than a stiff climb.
Inside the poms’ dressing room it’s squidgy bum time;
Advance party leave base-camp, equipment checked
Against endless fury they’ll face beyond tent flaps;
Those inside hope against hope they will be some time.
Just out of sight, twenty eight steps taken well in hand,
One falls, hooked off a precipice overhung with risk.
Rescue party sent, immediate slip to slip
Second to second, rescuers can but observe.
Elements ancient magnificent accuracy
Of dispatch. Furies howl and yell, scenting more blood
Not much further on, base camp abandoned, useless
They hold onto each other, forced alone, a fall.
In the coldness of heat they find purchase enough
To sleep the night amid dreams of their dead.
To be continued on the second day of the Ascent if not beyond.
Chastened we wend our way home back across the Brisbane River, the frigate Diamantina at the Queensland Maritime Museum surrounded by smugly grinning Australians, including the funnels and ventilators of the HMAS Diamantina, in anticipation of unexpected English visitors on the last two days of the test match, having failed to get half-way up Mount Gabba.
But I strike gold on my way home. Never mind Flintoff blowing Jaffas, none of the cafes and convenience stores sell fruit. Woolworths does, by the bucket load. I stock up for my lunches. And if England were to reach the summit of Mount Gabba, these fine Australian products will taste especially sweet.