England and Australia fans astonished by unexpected outbreak of fairly normal Test match cricket

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Rory Burns (via BBC video)

England v Australia, first Test, day two

Absolutely everybody following the first Ashes Test has been left utterly astonished after the two teams played fairly normal Test cricket for most of day two.

Set against a backdrop of England’s recent history and a first day where wickets had fallen regularly and Steve Smith had played the greatest innings that people with fairly serious memory problems could remember, no-one knew quite what to expect from Friday’s play.

The one thing absolutely no-one had banked on was a sizeable volume of fairly normal Test cricket.

“Fairly normal Test cricket – when was the last time you saw that?” asked tubby England fan, Aaron Charcoal. “England were 10-0 overnight, so I put a five grand bet on them being bowled out for less than 18. I thought it was a dead cert.”

Sadly for Charcoal, the unthinkable happened: one of England’s openers – Rory Burns – hung around for a bit and scored quite a few runs.

As a consequence, England positively soared past his 18-run prediction.

“I did not see that coming,” commented self-proclaimed Australia “megafan” Mitch Threegonads. “I did not see that coming at all. You look at England’s batting line-up and you think, ‘no way these guys are gonna play fairly normal Test cricket for any length of time.’ But they did, didn’t they?

“Didn’t they? I haven’t got that wrong, have I? I had a few blue WKDs, so I might have got that wrong.”

Threegonads didn’t have it wrong. Unbelievably – unimaginably – the England team somehow managed to play fairly normal Test cricket for a sizeable proportion of the day.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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    1. Largely ignoring the post, I have a couple of observations. Firstly, Ian Botham has got immensely fat. Secondly they were talking about the test championship scoring system on TMS when I was stuck on the M25 today. It seems that the number of points per match are determined by dividing 120 by the number of tests in the series. This sounds a bit odd, but I suppose it has to be so teams who don’t play a lot don’t get penalised. But they have a flat rate over rate penalty of 2 points per over, regardless of the points at stake. So in a long series, you could have nearly all your points written off for a comparatively small over rate infringement, but in a 2 match series, you could probably shrug at it. Have I got this wrong, or has the ICC?

      1. That was’t meant to be a reply to Bert, although I did have similar thoughts on seeing England’s card.

  1. JB XI

    1. Joe Burns
    2. Jack Brown
    3. Jermaine Blackwood
    4. Jos Buttler
    5. Jonny Bairstow
    6. Jim Burke
    7. Jack Blackham
    8. John Bracewell
    9. Johan Botha
    10. Jake Ball
    11. Jasprit Bumrah

  2. I watched a few innings of a baseball game yesterday afternoon featuring a pitcher whose only visible tattoos covered his non-doing arm, and thought of you.

  3. I hope that Mitch Threegonads becomes a recurring character. We need more recurring characters. After Elderbrook disappeared the only one I seem to see regularly is Prince Prefab, and I have a sneaking suspicion that he might be a real person.

  4. What exactly has happened to Batting Ali! May as well just get Leach in the side, he seems better at both disciplines.

      1. Wrong, Daneel. Not purely or even primarily to improve the batting. At least 94% so we have Woakes, Stokes and Foakes (assuming the other two retain their places).

  5. Cricinfo headline – England limp to lunch eight down

    Real situation – England take first innings lead against team who won the toss.

  6. Off topic, can someone explain to me ‘Her name’s Egg Monroe, she’s older.’ ? I know Marilyn Monroe had a peculiar breakfast, but being Edwardian, I’m sure I’m way off the mark here.

    1. Err, it was a reference to a part of internet folk law that was associated with a long forgotten Sega fan site. That website (UK:R) was the reason I ended up here (via Blue and Brown’s film reviews).

      I never heard/read an explanation as to what the phrase actually meant, but it ended up getting spammed in the comment section of the site on a daily basis.

      In my alcoholic haze, after pledging a million internets to keep at least one website worth reading on the www, I thought it’d be..something. Dunno what really.

      Anyhow, the war was lost and even I own a Playstation (sorry Zorg).

      1. Can’t believe you remember your route here if it was that long ago.

        Don’t think there ever was an explanation. It was just a weird comment that was left which people then latched onto because it was so weird and mysterious (and because it kept reappearing).

      2. Much along the same lines as ‘I play snooker with my dick. Dick snooker. By the way I’m baldy.’

      3. Assume you’re meaning a comparison with the egg monroe thing rather than the Mark Twain thing?

      4. I get all this Spam thing now, “Molasses tomorrow will bring forth cognac”, “John has a long mustache”. Oh, hang on, that was D-Day.

  7. Surely Mitch Threegonads is a real person? Or at least largely based on a real person?

    There’s so much natural-seeming colour and veracity to the character described, he couldn’t possibly be a mere stereotype…could he?

      1. Good point. He’s a litigious bastard, that Mitch Threegonads. Let’s face it, M3G (as he is known) didn’t get to that level of wealth by dint of hard work, did he?

      1. I really hope one of those is Boycott making 101* from 1,900 balls in a Test England needed to win

      2. According to what I half-heard on TMS earlier, GB batted on five days of a six day game.

  8. There’s an old colonial expression, ‘Head out before lunch, ennui until the Boeing flys over.’

  9. Why did Woakes bowl only seven overs yesterday while Root persisted with copious amounts of purest filth from Mo, Joe and himself?

    Is Root’s brain scrambled?

    What’s the King Cricket Joe Root Burnout Index up to now? I would hazard a guess that there’s been a significant increase, going by some of the nonsense that went on yesterday. Does it only get updated between test matches?

    1. Clearly he was slightly injured.

      Woakes did a finger on the third evening; went off for some while and came back with some strapping on’t.

      Hopefully nothing niggling more than that, but I suspect that, for whatever reason, the England Brains Trust was hoping to avoid Woakes having to bowl much, if at all, to avoid the risk of exacerbating an injury or injuries ahead of Lord’s.

      There was nothing in that pitch by Day 4 for Woakes.

      We’re all counting on Joe Root to bat all day today, but what impact might today’s performance have on the Burnout Index? Does the burnout factor increase by dint of batting long or decrease by dint of proving that he can still bat long.

      We urgently need to see the formulae that sit behind the Joe Root Burnout Index algorithm and we need Bert to explain the fiendishly complex maths that must surely sit behind those formulae.

      I do hope integrals are involved. It really isn’t scientific enough for me without integrals…whatever they might be.

  10. Quick poll- who would keep Ali in for the next game? Not blaming him for all England’s woes but interested to see peoples thoughts in what has always been a very pro Ali forum…

    Yer Maj, any thoughts?

    1. Time for him to have a break I reckon. Get Leach in. He can open the batting, go at number three, open the bowling, come on first change and keep wicket.

      1. On the plus side, all of this takes us one step closer to Stokes-Woakes-Foakes. Which is surely the ultimate goal.

    2. He’s batting with a toothpick at present. No form, no confidence. He’s meant to be an all-rounder. Yet his strongest suit, bowling, was so poor in this game that Root preferred 26 overs of himself and Denly at about 120 to Mo. Time for a break. Remains an integral part of the ODI side.

    3. He’s magic but looks shot. Probably just needs to play a bit of first class cricket (not Test cricket) and then he’ll be right.

    4. Indian friend of mine suggested Ali should open the batting instead of Roy next test! File that under “things unlikely to happen”…

  11. Well I’m sorry, but that is utter dross. To lose in that manner and by that margin after being +90 and 27/2 is truly pathetic. Will this be the long-awaited wake-up call? Or will they continue to gloss over this dismal shower?

  12. Are Australia likely to drop Siddle for the next Test to make room for Starc?

    That’s a harsh old dropping if so, given his first innings batting contribution, very decent first innings bowling, and really quite unfortunate not to have any scalps from that second innings…

    1. They have said they want to have some sort of rotation policy, so it won’t be so much dropping Siddle as just resting him to give Starc a game.

      1. Pretty sure Siddle’s in the same basket as Hazlewood. Similarly, Pattinson and Starc are the two who could swap.

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