It was windy at Old Trafford. Here are the wind’s three finest cameos from day one of the fourth Ashes Test

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No bails (via Sky Sports)

England v Australia, fourth Test, day one

Most people performed exactly as predicted on day one of the fourth Test. Steve Smith fell over a bit and got most of the way to his hundred. Marnus Labuschagne made his customary fifty. Stuart Broad got David Warner out for a duck. David Warner got out for a duck to Stuart Broad.

The one person who had a great deal more influence than expected was the wind. (And yes, the wind is a person. Have you never seen an old map? The wind sits in the corner of all old maps, puffing out his cheeks. He looks a bit like Norman Lamont.)

These are the wind’s three biggest moments from day one.

3. The beach ball

Steve Smith hit the beach ball for four because he mistook it for a cricket ball because he sees the cricket ball like a beach ball. DO YOU GET IT? DO YOU GET THE ‘SEEING IT LIKE A BEACH BALL’ JOKE THAT ABSOLUTELY EVERYBODY HAS MADE.

This was the least exciting cameo from the wind. It only earns a mention because the crowd did a very good job of feigning excitement about whether or not it was going to reach the boundary and then mock cheering when it did. Exemplary work from the crowd.

2. The bails

The wind kept blowing the bails off, so they hit upon this solution where they’d just play with no bails.

That’s mental, isn’t it? It’s like if they played with no crossbar in football and just agreed that it would be easy to tell whether the ball had gone over or not. No chance that would result in any kind of controversy.

1. Stuart Broad v litter

This was far and away the wind’s greatest cameo – largely because it involved Stuart Broad.

Broad had to stop his run-up because a crisp packet or something blew across the pitch. Steve Smith pinned it with his bat and handed it to the umpire, but then more litter blew across and Broad had to stop again.

At this point, a third item of litter blew towards Broad, right past his feet. Broad stood and stared at it with the purest and most visceral hatred. If that item of litter had so much as brushed a toe, we have no doubt whatsoever that Broad would have had a full Michael-Douglas-in-Falling-Down breakdown and tried to punch its lights out.


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  1. I was going to bitch about how it’s “seeing it like a football” and how that’s not a chips packet because it’s transparent, but that movie link made me laugh out loud. (Though not that much that I forgot about the beachball and the packet, you see).

    1. Firstly, that isn’t the initial crisp packet; it’s the third item of litter.

      Secondly, yes it is “seeing it like a football” but then rhetoric being rhetoric, people want to go further, so it is in fact quite common to say “seeing it like a beach ball” too.

      Thirdly, we have to admit we didn’t scrutinise the first item of litter enough and on reflection it probably wasn’t a crisp packet, BUT, that isn’t the litter seen in the image above (see point one).

  2. Firstly, oh, my bad.

    Secondly, oh, my bad.


    1. Genuinely feel bad about this, which probably says something about this website and maybe also explains why we’ve never once been invited on Cricket Writers On TV. (Does that still exist?)

  3. I was really hoping the fielder made a mock despairing dive to stop the beach ball going for a boundary.

  4. I was once the cause of a “litter stopped play” incident. Reading this KC piece today encouraged me to write up that historic day from 2006 on Ogblog:

    Strewn with coincidences with this very week, is the above piece. It does also occur to me that Big Papa Zambesi Jeff looks like the sort of fella who might very easily do a “Falling Down Off On One”…and in some ways…but those are other stories about other days.

    1. Can you still buy Smiths’s Crisps, with the little sachet of salt in the packet? I thought that brand would stay around forever until everyone wonders why it’s still there, impervious to all changes.

  5. “The wind sits in the corner of all old maps, puffing out his cheeks. He looks a bit like Norman Lamont.”

    For this observation alone, you should get the Nobel Prize for literature.

    1. We rather suspect we won’t, but we’ll hone our hoping skills by watching England bat this afternoon.

    1. One of our favourite things in The Wire was that everyone had a crazy name and then there was this one guy who was just called Chris.

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