Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Cricket, Lovely Cricket

The Ashes started again yesterday, you might've noticed. Very good first day, I thought. Australia's opening session, England's second and then, probably honours just about even in the third (although losing those two late wickets after Matty Prior and Freddie Flintoff had just looked to be getting England towards a formidable total was unfortunate). Looks like a four hundred pitch so, 337 for 7 seems just about right, I guess. This lot of Australians look lean and hungry and have some real quality about them (Mitch Johnson looks a handful, the ball he got Bopara out with was a beaut) but they don't seem quite as terrifying as they have in some recent tours (no Shaney, for a kick-off). I think this is going to be a mad-close series. But, anyway, it's great to have it back and to stop me from doing any work in the afternoons - the smack of leather on willow, Test Match Special and 'Soul Limbo', Bumble and Mikey on Sky, the men in the baggy green caps, Pietersen playing like a God and then getting out to the stupidest shot you've seen since the last time he got carried away. It was, dear blog reader, watching Dennis Lillie bowl to Tony Greig in 1972 at Old Trafford as a thrilled eight year old that first awakened the cricket-lover in me. There's something about The Ashes that sets it apart from just about every other sporting event in the world. A game of patience and skill; of individial technique verses individual technique within the framework of a team contest; a sports where you have to have an attention span of longer than seven seconds and one where you can play for five days and still not end up with a positive result! No wonder the Americans just don't get it! Therefore, this summer, I shall be mostly watching cricket.

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