Is the Oval Test the most maudlin of all the Tests?

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Marcus Harris plays a textbook forward defensive (via YouTube)

People often talk about the 2005 Oval Test match as being the climax of the series, but really emotions peaked earlier when the action was wedded to the promise of more to come. We enjoyed the drama of that final match, but it was drama tainted with sadness. All good things come to an end and this was the end. The end of the series. The end of summer. The end of cricket as a properly televised summer sport.

The fifth Test of 2019 brought a similar feel. But that’s okay. What is life about if not making a wild headlong rush through the fun stuff, completely and utterly failing to take it all in properly?

There’s a gap now for England fans and gaps are good and important and necessary. Do all your DIY and shopping and house moves in the next few weeks. Try to make sure you’ve not got too much on in late November when the Test team yawns and stretches in New Zealand.

There are still fragments of 2019 Ashes to come too. Our report on the Fifth Ridiculous Ashes Test (which we’ve just realised somehow doesn’t mention Joe Denly) should be up on Cricket 365 later today or tomorrow and then the second issue of King Cricket’s Edge, our fortnightly email, will go out on Wednesday with a heavy Ashes flavour. You can sign up to get that here.


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. And now the football scores. Arsenal 2, Tottenham Hotspur 2. Tottenham retain the three points because they beat Arsenal last time.

    I have been spending the last few weeks explaining to some Australians that there is no such thing as a retain, and that the word they’re looking for is “draw”. A retain is the same as a draw, except you have to continue shelling out for trophy polish. This expense is apparently worth an explosion of glitter and some champagne.

    But I know what you’re all asking. “What happens with The Bet, Bert?”, you’re all saying. “In such circumstances as this, a draw, what do the Laws of The Bet say about the distribution of red wine?” Well, thanks for asking. I can tell you that despite this being the first draw in the entire history of The Bet (est. 2002), the Laws have been clear throughout:

    Law 17 – The Draw
    17.1 In the case of a drawn series, both parties shall cough up. That is, a dozen bottles of wine shall go from the Australian to the Englishman, and vice versa.
    17.2 Think about it. The alternative is nobody having any wine, and what’s the point of that, eh?
    17.3 And what the hell is a retain in any case? That’s not a thing.

    1. Top match reporting, Bert.

      Reciprocal wine cases IS the only possible answer.

      I vaguely recall the last time this happened Ashes-wise. 1972.

      Raymond Illingworth…uncovered pitches…Gentlemen v Players…Basil D’Olivera…stick of rhubarb….

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