Ashes Diary of the 17th Man – Jul 10

Day 1 – First Test

Breakfast today was organised in a private function room, with no hotel staff present.  Coach2.0 obviously thought that they would be too interested in observing the players and their breakfasts, hoping to get the inside mail on who was in and out of the team, and sell the information to persons unspecified.

And it would have been easy money.  Mr Bean was his usual self, going through his match-day routine of playing Office Jerk on his iPad while eating mountains of fruit. In the team. Plopper had red eyes and ate three bowls of Coco Pops.  Out of the team.  Puff was wearing a pith helmet and bermuda shorts and ate all the biltong – obviously off to Africa with Aust A.  The thought did cross my mind that the idea of him having any influence on Citizen Kane on his first tour for Australia was perhaps based on flawed logic.

17th Man The Kid Websize

The biggest shock was The Kid. He’d been wheeling away in the nets since the Aust A game against Ireland, and I hadn’t even noticed that he’d been officially added to the Ashes squad at some stage during Coach2.0’s first week at the helm. He had the “I’m getting my Baggy Green today” smile as he tried to get something, anything, past his winning grin. Later on, it was Pigeon who handed him the sacred hat, and Slats who told to him to make sure he got his test player number right (434) at the tattoo parlour later on.

As for the pre-match hoo-ha, all I can say is that I’ll be glad when they talk Adele or Baby Spice into singing the National Anthems. I can’t say either jingle sparkled under the operatic and vibrato ladened renditions we had to endure today – it’s not what you need when your 14th nervous pee of the morning is calling you.

The match got underway under unexpectedly cloudy skies, after Cook won the toss and batted. It had looked like a “Win the toss, score 500 and take control” kind of pitch.  The first session was a bit hit and miss from our bowlers, with some dangerous balls mixed in with some juicy four balls – Trott was happy to oblige. Certainly at 2 for nearly 100 at lunch, England were looking good.

After lunch, it turned into a glorious Freak Show, with the main man ending up with a 5-for.  Rocket Man and Mr Darcy did OK taking the other 5 between them, while The Kid didn’t get another chance after his first tidy-looking spell.

There was a fair bit of tension as we settled in to watch the Top 6 respond after tea.  It started out OK, but once Mr Bean was sent back for a golden, followed by the Captain for a 6-ball globe, the mood descended into a gloomy haze, similar to what happens when you realise that there’s nothing on the telly apart from Celebrity MasterRenovator’s Got Talent and repeats of The Big Bang Theory.

It looks like the lower order will have to save the day tomorrow, so The Kid may still play an important part in the first half of the match. “Knuckle down tomorrow,” were Coach2.0’s parting words at the end of the day.

Talk is cheap, but not as cheap as Day 4 tickets on the scalping market.

England 215, Aust 4/75.

Meet the Squad here

OUT NOW – The Ashes Files 2013. The secret applications file that Cricket Australia assembled when they threw applications open to all comers. Ebook available at amazon now.

OUT NOWCoach2Coach – The story of Australia’s chequered prepartion for the 2013 Ashes, as told by The 17th Man. (US/UK)

© 2013 Dave Cornford, Jeremy Pooley & Jock Macneish

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