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.