Sydney Day Three – life goes on
The Branson pickle Ashes farrago continues. In this morning's SMH is a story about a couple who flew Virgin to watch the cricket only for Virgin to mislay their luggage ("If you poms keep losing the Ashes, not surprising your airlines lose luggage." Aussie Bloke) It happens, Virgin paid for couple to buy some clothes to cover the hiatus, but couldn't find cricket tickets which the couple put in their stowed baggage - until the SMH published ("More fool them," says Aussie Bloke, "best sewn into your undies if they're not in the Bank of England soap-dish deposit box.")
Now it gets interesting. An unattributable source your intrepid Ashes poet in residence met this morning said Sir Richard Pickle wanted to make the announcement at tea on the centre of the hallowed turf. Apart from clashing with the Boonie/Beefie drag races, it's just not cricket - where Australia are 236 for 5, after fortyfive minutes, Gilchrist already 29 in the mood to Waca Waca. Panesar pegs back progress beating Symonds in the flight, clean bowled 48, 260 for six.
Warne sweeps the next ball for four, then six, not out off a glove when he was, and .....Australia cruise past England's 291 with 14 off a Harmison over, two overs to go before the new ball. Throughout this series England have sought to defend rather than attack with the old ball, a reversal of their approach in 2005. Australia have scored at about two runs a minute during the last half-hour.
I try to defend the MCC retaining the Ashes Urn with the Aussies behind me. 'Awe, we should have them, just to piss off you guys.' I imagine something of the same attitude exists at Lords.
Billy The Finger Bowden saws off Gilchrist's legs caught behind when the noise was the bat hitting the ground, not the ball 318 for 7
Pulls the crowd in
With extravagent gesture
And the crook of his index finger
Another keeper's victim, the Frindaliser whirrs - straight through after lunch Flintoff gets Lee ct Read, 10 dismissals out of 18. Warnie reaches his fifty, still to get a test match century. The Barmy Army make as much noise as they can but 'Warnie, Warnie' reverberates around the SCG when he gets to his fifty, a lacing off-drive off Anderson.
Panesar goes round the wicket, Warne hits to point, practices the shot, and then places again just fine of point for four. Couldn't England guess what was going to happen?
Clark skies Mamood for 38. 398 for 9
Enter the Gatorade truck to a standing ovation. McGrath joins Warne in a last stand effort of legends to get Warnie his maiden century. Warnie flip-flops down the pitch to Panesar, stumped the length of Bondi Beach by Read top score 71. Australia 398, another stumper victim. Eleven in the match to date. The Frindaliser, having frindled, Frindles on.
England start at -102 for none. Clarke top-edges Bing Lee for a skier -97 for none. Strauss ducks his head into a Bing bouncer and falls to deck. He seeems okay, readers, thank God they wear helmets.
Strauss lbw Clark 24, England -47 for 2
Bell ct Gilchrist b Lee 28, England -38 for 3. A needless flash, the Frindaliser whirrs.
Pietersen and Collingwood try to steady the ship without becoming becalmed. McGrath bowls eight overs, six maidens, none for six. Pietersen changes bats, has he ever been out to Stuart Clark, who induces Collingwood to edge to Hayden in the Gulley for 17, England -4 for 4. Pietersen and Flintoff at the crease, shades of the end at the Waca. The Frindaliser is unmoved.
Flintoff is stumped millimetres out of his ground off Warne for 7. England +11 for 5 in real money. Superb piece of work by Gilchrist, the Frindaliser goes into orbit.
Panesar comes in as a nightwatchman. In many ways the best day’s cricket of the series.
An Old Scorebox Operator Laments
The game isn’t what it used to be,
nor the creaking knees for climbing creaking stairs
to ring the changes, today they score too damn quickly
for me. Joints need regular lubrication and maintenance,
mine, not just the machinery.
O how I yearn my Slasher MacKay
and Bill Lawry. You could open, pour and drink a long cool one
before they dreamt of hitting off the square. Put your feet up.
O my MacKay and Lawry,
Maybe fifty between lunch and tea, maybe.
Time enough to find the papers, makings,
roll a gasper to inhale each ball
safe in the surity it’d die on my lips
before they turned the old scoreboard over.
Last week they pinned a sign above my head.
‘Living legends don’t smoke’ without mention
to Boof or Warnie - two of the worst.
Gilchrist, Symonds. Hayden and Langer
started it all under the gimlet eyes of Waugh.
They score too damn quickly. Rickety
old me ricketing up those rickety stairs,
reels, numbers and boards. And sometimes
I forget to move on the score
staring at the beauty of it all.