You couldn’t make it up. Mitchell Johnson LITERALLY doesn’t know what a straight delivery is.
James Anderson pointed one towards the stumps and Johnson, alarmed, thought: ‘What the hell is that?’ and padded up. The umpire’s finger rose.
Johnson is probably still pondering this exotic trickery now; planning how he’ll expose James Anderson as a warlock.
You’ve got to feel for England’s bowlers. How were they supposed to react to Shane Watson?
They prepare themselves for bowling at stubbly-faced munchkin, Phil Hughes, but against all expectation are suddenly confronted with a creepy-looking, gym-bodied albino instead.
It must be like bowling at a fearful ghost. Not the kind that uses its telekinesis to wreak havoc, but one who instead tidies up and puts you on edge by making you wonder what the hell it’s got to look frightened about.
It’s entirely in keeping with Graham Manou’s unremarkable tour that it should take us until 6pm to realise he was actually playing.
Considering the Australian players with most column inches have been Phil Hughes and Mitchell Johnson, low-key Manou might be a cause for concern.
We know that he’s a wicketkeeper, but Ricky Ponting might want to think about giving him a bowl on the grounds that the batsman is unlikely to notice him running in.
What is fate there for, if not to be tempted?
‘Hey Fate, come out and play. We’ve got a Bagpuss box-set and a bumper pack of Ryvitas for you. Come on. You know you want to.’
Our point was something about Matt Prior not dropping the ball very often and looking beefily competent with a bat in his hand to boot, but that’s probably going to get lost amid much discussion about Fate’s somewhat irregular tastes.
Please retain your erratic kack-hander. His ingenious bowling tactic of surprising the batsman with a delivery that isn’t a full-pitched, legside wide really lends itself to our unsophisticated ‘repeat until funny’ approach to writing a website.
We have upwards of 200 “jokes” wherein Johnson grasps at the air three feet to the left of the item he was aiming for – be it a toothbrush, a door handle, a sandwich or whatever.
It would be a crime to waste these works as we fear we have not carried out sufficient repetition to cause mirth thus far.
AP Webster from Spun Out writes:
I think your bold Ian Bell campaign needs a touch of Obama magic. Here is a poster that is bound to get the message across ahead of the third Test:
While Lawrence Booth’s posts sometimes nestle next to ours on the Wisden Cricketer blog, we’ve never actually spoken to him, so you can be assured of our impartiality.
Cricket, Lovely Cricket? An Addict’s Guide To The World’s Most Exasperating Game is officially recommended.It’s kind of an overview of the game as it currently stands; a primer to tell you everything you really need to know. Not the rules or the records, but the culture of the game.
As we read it, we continually thought it was the kind of book we’d try and foist onto a friend who didn’t like the sport to trick them into entering our world. ‘See, it’s not shit,’ would be our implicit message. But if you’re worried it’s a book for those new to cricket, it’s not.
We probably read more cricket writing than most, but there were plenty of good stories in here that we’d never heard before and Booth’s also a writer who’s not averse to sneaking out the kinds of stories that cricketers and cricket writers usually keep to themselves.
A man who writes a chapter on the language of cricket has to know the clichés well enough to steer clear of them and Booth is a writer who seems like he thinks about each of his sentences. We’re not sure he could write a duff cricket book. Buy it from Amazon, if you haven’t got a copy already.
After driving down to Bristol on the Friday night, drinking a skin-full of Guinness, getting four hours sleep and suffering a packed train to Cardiff, we took our seats high up in the grandstand.
The raging hangover subsided (through the means of hair of the dog) and we sat enjoying the much cheaper beer than Lord’s or the Oval, the brand new Test venue and the Barmy Army trumpeter belting out some of Australia’s finest ditties (Neighbours, Home & Away, Tie me Kangaroo Down Sport etc.)
At lunchtime, Dan of ‘a cricket hat on an unusual head’ fame gave me my birthday present. It was an actual laminated set of Bat for the Draw Top Trumps he had spent hours making. I was absolutely beside myself with excitement:
As the day drew on, the dark clouds moved in and the rain came down. We sat huddled under our umbrellas trying to pass the time waiting (in vain) for a break in the clouds. Dan suggested we play the Chocolate Bar – Movie title game (e.g. “The Horse Whisper”, “City Snickers 2: The Legend of Curly Wurly’s Gold”) and when we ran out of ideas, the Politicians – Fruit game (e.g. “Che Guava”, “Barrack Banana”).
When we realised the rain was not going to stop, we hightailed it back to Bristol where we went and drank the infamous Exhibition Cider from the Coronation Tap. I remember nothing past 8pm. Dan tells me we had an amazing curry.
Thankfully we got a lift to Cardiff on Sunday, as in my ever worsening state I doubt I would have survived a train journey. Most of the day was somewhat downcast as although we were sat in the sunshine, there were lots of annoying Australians nearby gloating. (Not that there are any other kinds of Australians of course). However, come 6.40pm, their mood seemed to dampen, which was nice.
Send your match reports to email@example.com – but on no account mention the cricket.
As a commentator, Shane Warne‘s all that’s good about Australians: he’s straightforward, honest and not afraid to say what he’s thinking.
Warne’s at his best describing spin bowling, but it’s also fascinating to hear about life in the Australia team. Without actually saying that he thought any particular player was a bit of a dick, he lets you know those he didn’t get on with and the fairly simple reasons why. You generally agree with him.
Mike Atherton asked him about the occasion when the Aussies went to watch Lleyton Hewitt at Wimbledon and wore their Australian baggy green caps. “I wanted to puke at that point,” said Atherton.
Warne was at pains to underline that not everybody had been so attired.
“Justin Langer and Gilchrist and Steve Waugh wore their green baggy cap, but not all of us did, Athers. We were asked to and some of us drew the line and said: Mate, we’re at the tennis. We don’t need to wear our baggy green cap at the tennis to say we like Australia.”
Sky Sports’ coverage needs him as well, because it’s a bit relentlessly English and needs some breadth of opinion.
We were supposed to tell you about this competition a few weeks ago, but basically forgot about it.
Philosophy Football have launched a philosophy cricket range starting with the words of CB Fry.
CB Fry captained Sussex and England; played football for Southampton, Portsmouth and England; equalled the world record for the long jump; was one of the great cricket writers; stood for Parliament; and could jump backwards onto a mantlepiece from a standing start. He was also offerered the throne of Albania. Quite a man.
The T-shirt is available from www.philosophyfootball.com but there are five to win in what Philosophy Football had branded their ‘Lord’s Test competition’ thinking that we might have put this up sooner. It’s open until the 31st of July though, so you can still enter.
Name the bowler who took 8 for 43 at the 1981 Headingley Ashes Test
Email your answer with name, address and preferred T-shirt size to firstname.lastname@example.org