Posted by: jkirkby8712 | December 29, 2010

Wednesday, 29th December 2010 – we lose the Ashes Cricket Trophy again!

One should begin today’s comments by reference to the cricket.  I was thinking back to my feelings as I watched the start of the match last Saturday morning – my thoughts ‘trying to imagine what the atmosphere must have been like at the beginning of the game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the anticipation and the tension –  just sitting at home in front of the television was tension enough – but then, I didn’t have to imagine, because I’d been there on that very, on many previous occasions, and quickly realised that morning, that nothing really can compare with actually been at an event!  My problem these days, is that I find it much more tiring than I used to, and more disturbed or uncomfortable in the big crowds.  I’d actually planned to go today, on Day 4, but when the game looked as though it was likely to be over quite quickly in the morning, decided not to bother. Mind you, if I lived around the corner from the MCG,  my visits to the ground would be a lot more frequent, because the journey involved is now a bit more off-putting than it used to be in past years

Anyway, as anticipated, the match was over and completed before 12 Noon,  within 90 minutes of the beginning of play on Day 4 of the 4th Ashes cricket test – despite a bit of a tail end defence by a couple of middle order batsmen and the bowlers, Australia were eventually defeated, and as a consequence, England retained the Ashes Trophy  –  the first time England had won an Ashes series in Australia since 1986. Now while I can’t lay my hands on the precise details, I was present at one of the days at that match, it may well have been the shortened final day [as in today’s case]  – another Boxing Day Test in Melbourne with very similar outcomes to this week’s match, that time, on the 28th December.

In 1986, the scores were England: 349 defeated Australia 141 and 194.  Today, the final scores were England: 513 defeated Australia:  98 and  258  – won by an Innings and  157 runs [bit of a thrashing really]. England have now won three of the last four Ashes series [two in England], and Ricky Ponting becomes the first Australian cricket captain to lead three Ashes losses  –  I somehow don’t think he will be in charge when Australia next visits England for the next series in a couple of years!  The game ended at 11.55 am, and I immediately sent a ‘reluctant’ Facebook message of congratulations to friend Maureen over in England – as well as a brief text message to Adam, who at that moment was probably somewhere over Europe. I would discover later that I was getting messages from him, but not sure if Adam was receiving my responses.  Meanwhile, in the post match speeches and presentations, Ricky Ponting gave a fair and honest appraisal of the game just completed –  and lots of credit to the England team for a superior effort. As for his own form – ‘my Series has been horrible – I take full responsibility for that – one more game to turn it around  – still feel I have a lot to offer to the team as a batsman and a leader’.  Andrew Strauss, the England captain had a typical English comment –  ‘a top quality performance from the lads’!!

Meanwhile, over in England no doubt, the media there are going to have a field day – in fact already, the British press have relished England’s Ashes success, pointing to the tourists’ superior planning as the reason for their breakthrough performance in Australia.  And this report from ‘The Guardian’ – England legend Sir Ian Botham couldn’t contain himself after 23 years of Ashes heartbreak on Australian soil [not an Englishman you would expect to display much sympathy for the Australians].  “If you’re an England cricketer nothing beats the feeling of travelling halfway around the world just to point out to the Aussies that they are not quite up to scratch. That really hurts,” Botham wrote in the Mirror. “(England) have outplayed this Australian team in Melbourne from start to finish so comprehensively that some people might even feel sorry for the home team. “But this is international sport and there is no room for sentiment. This is where the strong survive and the weak move aside to lick their wounds and work out a way to come back from their beating. “And Australia have got plenty of wounds to lick.” Botham also urged England to deny Australia the consolation of drawing the series by winning the Sydney Test. “I said it before I came out to Australia and I’ll say it again. England will win these Ashes by two clear Tests and all things being equal that is exactly what they’ll do. “The gap between the teams is growing wider by the over and it is nothing less than England deserve because they have played the better cricket over the course of the series so far. “Australia have only shown a flash of brilliance – that is not enough.”  Certainly, it was only a few years that Australia was the top nation in most forms of the game, and especially in the Test cricket format. In the past couple of seasons, we have slid down the rankings severely, and it appears time for some kind of generational change. It will be interesting to see how the team changes, both for the 5th and final test in Sydney this weekend, and for the immediate future tours in test cricket. In some ways, one could feel this could be the start of a new exciting era in Australian cricket!!

Of course, should Australia happen to win the Test Match in Sydney next week, this actual series will have been drawn [2 wins each, and a draw]. But to actually retain the Ashes, which England won two years ago over in he UK, all they needed to do was draw the Series, so the result in Sydney won’t change that fact, but it will add a little bit of credibility to the Australian team, if they can pull off a win up there in the Harbour City.

As for Adam, it was late in the afternoon, when I received his brief text message  ‘Made it 2 London’ [sent at 4.39 pm our time].   Just before 5.36 pm, another message came through – ‘On the underground on our way 2 russell square J, been up for over 30 hours but were safe’

Generally speaking, it was a bit of a lazy day this Wednesday – I did manage to have another  mid-morning walk [three days in a row now, after a bit of a ‘break’ from my walking routine ], and later in the afternoon, headed into town for a coffee with friend Ruth –  ostensibly to return to her the Leonard Cohen cds that we had both featured a couple of weeks ago on the radio. She was heading over to Indonesia for 6 weeks on New Year’s Day – part of a study course she was currently undertaking, which included living for that period with an Indonesian family. Forgot to ask her exactly where she was going, but no doubt there will be some kind of communication from her during that period. The remainder of my time in the town centre was spent at places like the chemist, post office, and of course, the local book shop – I mean, I do gift vouchers from that venue sitting in my pocket waiting to be used!!  So I did!  Weather wise, it is getting hotter –  tomorrow, heat wave conditions are predicted to extend into New Year’s Eve.

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