Monday, 20 July 2009

And did those feet...

When Ivo goes back with the urn, the urn;
Studds, Steel, Read and Tylecote return, return;
The welkin will ring loud,
The great crowd will feel proud,
Seeing Barlow and Bates with the urn, the urn;
And the rest coming home with the urn.

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I'm not the most patriotic person. There's plenty about the modern Englishman that I hate - the 'little ingerlunder' syndrome and the distinct lack of respect for other cultures that pervades many these days. I don't follow the English football team and I only mildly follow the England/Great Britain RL side. I don't follow the Union team, either, but that's mainly because I can't stand the sport anyway. However, there is one team and one event inparticular that brings out the Englishman in me.

And here we are, two games into the biggest sporting event of the summer, year, century, millenium and so on. Well, since the last Ashes series and until the next one, that is. The hype before this series has been phenomenal. The "Spirit of 2005" and so on. Funny how nobody's mentioned the last series in Australia though, isn't it? And there was people hyping England up beyond imagination, whereas most of us weren't giving us a chance in hell.

So we moved onto Cardiff. And thought we had a reasonable first innings score. Until the Aussies looked like they could bat on to a 1000 runs. Heroics from Collingwood, Panesar and Anderson saved the day and pushed Ponting into a hell of a wobbly at the end of the game. Now if there's anyone out there who's the last person to babble on about the "Spirit of Cricket" then it's that tosser. And I'm privileged to be able to say I was there for the last day. Although, those of you who actually read this thing regularly will already know that from the last photo entry. A marvellous day's entertainment.

And so we moved onto Lord's. The ground where we hadn't beaten Australia since 1934. Again, we got a good total in the first innings, but was it going to be enough? One fantastic spell of bowling later and another decent knock to put the game seemingly beyond Australia (I never doubted the follow-on decision, honest...) and everyone said yes, it was. Until the fourth day finished with them 313-5 and everyone getting a wee bit twitchy. Thank God Flintoff and Swann did the business this morning, then. The hoodoo broken and a stranglehold on the series. Marvellous.

So, where does that leave us? Well, who knows. Brett Lee threatens to come back at some point, which will turn the Aussies into a different animal. But, if we can keep a fit side together and keep the momentum going, then... Well, we've got a good chance. I'd quite happily have it piss down for the next few weeks instead, mind.

Come on the England.

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