Bread in the toaster, kettle on and OH DEAR LORD NO!

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You can run out of some foods without too much of a problem. You can always use a different kind of vinegar. You can make that marinade without oregano. Chilli con carne without kidney beans is perfectly acceptable. On the other hand, playing a Test match without James Anderon is like dropping a couple of slices of bread in the toaster and flicking on the kettle before discovering that you’re out of both milk and butter.

Oh sure, black tea’s drinkable, but the day’s already off to a bad start. Your mood’s never going to recover, even if you go to the shop and get some. It was the start of the day and you had to get dressed and go to the pissing shop before you’d even had a brew. As for dry toast, the less said the better. You could maybe try and salvage it with jam or houmous or something, but your body will know that something’s gone drastically wrong. The day is ruined.

Straightforward, obvious, normal things that work perfectly well as they are simply cannot be replaced. Anyone who’s tried to undo a fiddly bolt with pliers knows that nothing beats an appropriately sized spanner. Anyone who’s played football in wellies knows that you don’t try and play football in wellies.

This is not to demean Anderson’s replacement. Coffee is delicious, but if you want tea, coffee is not a substitute. For precisely the same reason, tea is no substitute for coffee. An awful lot hinges on these daily rituals and they must always play out just so. An England Test will begin and James Anderson will not be involved. It’s pretty bloody ordinary.


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  1. An England Test at Trent Bridge. It’s simply unthinkable.

    Worse, Finn is due a failure. Well due.

  2. I’m going tomorrow – back to back test match watching for me. A little concerned about burnout, but hopefully I should be OK. Buy-your-own-beer seats though, none of the corporate hospitality luxury of Edgbaston.

    Apropos of Anderson, these moments are often an opportunity for the supporting cast to step out of the shadows. This will happen, mark my words. Broad will mesmerise, Finn will pulverise, Wood will terrorise, and Ali will, er, pasteurise? Whatever, one of these will step up to the plate.

    Did you know that milk is the fastest liquid on earth – it’s past your eyes before you even see it …

    1. Afore ye go, Bert, are you going to tell us about your experiences in Newbury…

      ..I mean Edgbaston?

      If there is to be a match report, that’s good. We can all wait six months or so, not a problem.

    2. Bit disappointed that Stokes doesn’t even get a mention here, Bert. Like Wood, I feel he is good enough to take a clutch of wickets, it just hasn’t happened for him yet.

      May I have “tenderise” for Stokes, please? That way, if he either takes wickets or merely softens the batsmen up for others, he’s done his job.

    3. There is a match report, Ged. It will appear in February, as per the schedule.

  3. Cheer up, everyone.

    Mark Wood, yes he of the imaginary horse, is said to be fit and ready for action.

    This is clearly an omen for Nottingham, of all places. Just follow these simple instructions and you shall feel happy again.

    Step One: sit astride your imaginary horse.

    Step Two: envisage yourself are a-gallop. Feel the rhythm of that motion.

    Step Three: sing along now…

    Robbin’ Wood Robbin’ Wood riding through the glen,

    Robbin’ Wood Robbin’ Wood, downing Aussie men;

    Feared by the diggers, loved by the good;

    Robbin’ Wood, Robbin’ Wood, Robbin’ Wood.

  4. Mark Wood’s a nice lad, isn’t he? Imaginary horse? What a cad! Look, he’s got a cone on his head! Look, he’s pretending to shelter under a tarpaulin! I hope someone takes a picture. Whatever will he get up to next, the scamp.

    What, he doesn’t take many wickets? Never mind. Look, he’s pulling a funny face!

    1. Fair enough. I just think the media are seeing his on-field ability through rose-tinted spectacles because he’s not a media trained robot.

    2. He’s my favourite cricketer at the moment because he’s a massive child who somehow plays professional sport. How he actually plays his cricket is of secondary concern.

  5. We haven’t made any comments about Ian Bell’s age for a while. Must be at least four posts.

    He’s 33, in case anyone was wondering.

    1. Jimmy Anderson turned 33 and look where that got him.

      I’m 33 and I feel far too old to play test cricket.

      Shaun Marsh is 32, replacing his 23-year-old brother.

      The average age of this Australian side is 33.

  6. At boarding school there was never butter, but we got peanut butter and golden syrup and the combination was magic.

  7. This has been one of the most remarkable half hours of cricket in modern times.

    If you can, listen back to Aggers’ commentary of the Stokes catch to get Voges. At the risk of sounding like Mark Nicholas, one of the great pieces of commentary.

  8. England all out by stumps?

    What’s the record for most wickets to fall on the first day of a Test?

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