I thought I would get back from the triathlon (good fun but horrible wind), clamber onto the sofa and fall asleep in front of Australia’s cruise towards victory in the first Test. Sleep? Not a chance.
One of the cliche complaints trotted out by people who don’t get cricket is that a match can last as long as five days and sometimes you don’t even get a result. How can one feel anything but pity for such people, unable to appreciate and enjoy the drama that has just unfolded in Cardiff?
One of the sporting highlights of last season (football) was Burnley’s victorious penalty shoot-out at Chelsea. What we have just witnessed was like the longest penalty shoot out ever. Each and every ball survived by Jimmy Anderson (of Burnley btw) and Monty Panesar cheered with the same passion as greets a goal. And even though Paul Collingwood will have cursed the shot that got him out, what a performance to stay there for six hours just grinding out a draw for his country.
We could probably have done without the seeming sportsmanship of physio and messenger wandering onto the pitch as the clock ticked on. Oh what am I saying? … that was so Aussie, so ruthless, it was impossible not to admire it just a little.
The Aussies will have woken up this morning, opened the curtains in their hotel, seen what a lovely day it was going to be, and felt the Test was in the bag. They will have felt it even more strongly as the wickets started to fall. But they did not bank on Collie, Monty and Jimmy. Brilliant.
A word for the TV coverage too. As we were watching, one of my sons asked if there was a media equivalent of ‘Sports Personality of the Year.’ He said Sky’s cricket team were far and away the best commentary team of any sport going. Given the knowledge and expertise in the commentary box, maybe that is to be expected, but not all past great players of any sport make for great commentators. Botham, Gower, Hussain, Atherton, David Lloyd – these guys do, and they certainly helped make today even more special.
It is hardly possible to imagine that this Ashes series could be as exciting as the last one on home soil. But with one Test gone, and Lord’s approaching, it is looking like it might be.