Thursday, December 28, 2006

5-0... it's definitely on

On this forgettable Ashes trip, England have probably now achieved as many days off as David Gower's optional nets tour of the West Indies.

It was a limp effort to be beaten in three days, but at least England were consistent - defeat had already looked on the cards the previous day when Andrew Symonds and Matt Hayden were enjoying batting together.

And I have officially lost my England positives too. After years of thinking the unimaginable ("we'll come back on day 5", "2-0 down in the series isn't a problem", "someone will dig us out at 103-6") yesterday proved that England simply do not possess any of Freddie Flintoff's press conference "fight".

If an Ashes Down Under is the toughest tour, then why schedule just two short and meaningless warm-up games and not the usual four-day affair? From the first day in Brisbane to the inclusion of Kevin Pietersen at four mid-way through a Test, this tour has been doomed. And I'm fed up too of little wry smiles from England players on the brink of defeat.

England's decision to appoint three full-time security guards and still let the Aussies in on their bowling secrets only adds to the ribbing. You have to hand it to the Aussie media though. Although it was cricket fan Nick Guthry who emailed it to ABC, the Test Match Special equivalent, after it was found on the floor of the MCG members bar, this information wasn't revealed until after the English press had come to their own conclusions to further landslide the team's performance in Melbourne.

It's tourist mentality to enjoy yourself, especially if you are an English fan, but it must be a world away from back home where people are enduring torturous back pages. Many have berated the nationals over the years for their approach to English cricket when things go wrong; today's editions will be no different except I will be in agreement.

Everything has gone right for Australia in this increasingly emotional Ashes ending. The SCG should now see Shane Warne's 1000th international wicket on a turning pitch and home favourite Glenn McGrath see out his prediction wish of 5-0.
Warne's MCG Quote of the Week: "I feel like I've had 50 vodka red bulls every time I walk onto the field."