Evil v Good, day 4: Match skitters to a conclusion

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We’re pitting an England XI comprising the players we invested in the most against an Antagonists XI using International Cricket Captain’s ‘All Time Greats’ mode.

England made 202 runs and lost four wickets on day three. It was very boring and far and away their most successful day.

Australia still lead by six runs. Paul Collingwood and Andy Flintoff are at the crease.

Morning session

Don’t get ahead of yourselves. Darren Gough is batting at eight.

Flintoff batted quite zestily late on day three. This morning he is becalmed. Shortly after that he is bowled.

Matt Prior is the next man in. He made a three-ball duck in the first innings. He plays and misses at his first, then survives the next two deliveries. Signs of improvement there.

Giddy at having just made a ball hundred, Collingwood tries to on-drive Shane Warne across the line and is LBW for 26.

Darren Gough is the next man in. England lead by 20.

First ball, Gough plays the exact same shot as Collingwood to the exact same delivery with the exact same result.

Dire.

Steve Harmison is next man in.

Harmy takes a single off the hat trick ball, which allows Matt Prior to edge the one after straight to Steve Smith for a four-ball duck.

Fears that Prior could be left stranded by this tail have proven woefully unfounded. Two innings, seven deliveries, no runs.

James Anderson is next man in.

James Anderson is LBW for 1.

Monty Panesar is next man in.

Harmison hits four fours as Warne’s next over goes for 18.

That was something. They weren’t even slogs. Not really.

While we were trying to get a screengrab to prove it, we noticed that after the fourth four, one of the slip fielders started haring off in the exact opposite direction to the ball.

The ball’s gone down to fine leg. Where’s he off?

We’re marking this one down as a moral victory for England. And we ask you: is there truly any finer form of victory than that?

Don’t say, “an actual one by 10 wickets”.

Harmison eventually falls LBW to Warne for 32, propping forward when he should have been slogging.

Change of innings

Australia need 59 to win.

Stranger things haven’t happened.

Anderson opens the bowling with Harmison.

Matthew Hayden nicks Anderson to Flintoff for 3. We can feel the pride that is frankly all we’re playing for here positively welling up inside.

Afternoon session

Australia need 55 to win and a 10-wicket defeat has already been COMPREHENSIVELY AVOIDED.

Take that, Australia!

Stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it.

Justin Langer hits Harmison for two fours and we sink into the Slough of Despond. Ponting then hits him for six and honestly, what was the point of this? What were we ever hoping to achieve by playing this game?

It’s just fours everywhere.

With Australia needing just four to win, Flintoff comes on to bowl because he’s on a hat-trick and we might as well find out how that goes.

Everyone crowds round the bat. The crowd does the crescendo roar thing as he runs in.

And…

Justin Langer jabs down on a full one. No run.

Persisting with a ludicrous every-man-around-the-bat field, Flintoff delivers four more dot balls before pinning the left-hander LBW.

That’s something, we suppose.

Ponting cuts Anderson for four.

Now what?

The Aussie Antagonists beat The Realm’s England XI by eight wickets.

Mitchell pissing Johnson was man of the match.

Evil wins.

Here’s the match summary.

17 comments

  1. This would have been a lot more fun if you’d played as Australia and tried to sabotage them by messing with the batting order, making Gilchrist bowl 50 overs and setting fields with 9 men directly behind the wicketkeeper.

    I mean, they probably would still have won, but it would have been more fun.

  2. You CANNOT, just CANNOT, leave it like this. You have to prove that at Trent Bridge on an overcast Thursday this Aussie team would fold like a crisp fiver in Hansie Cronje’s fist. Because we know it is TRUE, and all this playing-at-home stuff does to these Aussies is reinforce the idea in their massive heads that they are superior.

    Picture it this way. At some point in the future, Matthew Hayden will be googling his own name again, and he will find this match. He will immediately walk to a mirror, puff his already massive chest out, squat, and start singing the team song. He won’t have had to put on his sickly green beret, BECAUSE HE WAS ALREADY WEARING IT. He will then add a link to this match on his Hayden Way narcisso-site. He will become EVEN MORE SMUG THAN HE IS, despite that being a logical impossibility.

    But oh, if he is also drawn to the second match in the series, in which he gets a pair? Not a king pair, he has to ineffectively face at least five overs of swing, in which he is made to look as competent as Chris Martin. Then he will be crushed. He will be forced to reconsider his place in the pantheon of great Aussie batsmen as being in fact a place outside the pantheon of great Aussie batsmen. He will scribble FLAT TRACK BULLY on his cloth cap. In desperation he will phone Justin Langer, who will confirm that he was just a ridiculous figure of fun to all competent bowlers.

    You can do this, KC. You MUST do this.

    1. I sense a paradox in “has to ineffectively face at least five overs of swing, in which he is made to look as competent as Chris Martin”. Would the great Chris Martin have survived five overs of swing? If not then anyone who accomplishes the feat looks, by definition, more competent than Chris Martin…

    2. Top arguments from Bert there. I think a return match is almost necessary. You can’t let Hayden win (no, I don’t care that he got out for 3 in the second innings here)

      1. So everyone’s agreed that our England side and its diplodocus tail will definitely win on a greentop against McGrath, Gillespie and Johnson?

      2. Yes. I just ran a quick simulation(*) based on Bert’s specific criteria (overcast, Thursday, Trent Bridge) and indeed he is right, Hayden ends up with a pair and England win handsomely. Even better, for both wickets, Hayden is bowled while confidently shouldering arms. So, yes, I think it is worth doing again.

        (*I say ‘ran a quick simulation’. Actually I just used my imagination, scribbled some figures on the back of an envelope, plugged them in to a spreadsheet and – lo and behold – there it was, the result we wanted all along.)

      3. So everyone’s agreed that our England side and its diplodocus tail will definitely win on a greentop against McGrath, Gillespie and Johnson?

        Yeh, actually, now you mention it.

        Oh to hell with it. What is being a 90s England fan all about if it isn’t wildly misplaced confidence? We will win, of course we will, like we won the Ashes in 1997.

      4. Well the good news is that with real cricket recommencing, this won’t be any time soon. Maybe we’ll come to our senses in the meantime.

        We’ll maybe drop Monty for Moeen if it’s a green seamer. Still want a spin option, obvs and don’t think Hick counts.

  3. An excellent argument, Bert.
    It will be like Broad vs Warner but Jimmy vs Hayden. And then Darren Gough will do what Simon Jones did to Micheal Clarke with his reverse swing.
    If we are doing a more modern spinner than why not Jack Leach?

  4. As with all crushing defeats, you have to “take the positives”. The big positive is that this match proved that Atherton is in fact a much better opener than Hayden & Langer and that their averages were vastly improved by smacking around crap seam attacks in the early 2000s from countries like India, West Indies and England, whereas Athers had to deal with Australia, and West Indies when they were good.

  5. Can we have a day five match report.

    What do cricketers do on day five when they lost on day four?

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