England’s players have been treated to an afternoon of Beefy rest day anecdotes, while Michael Clarke’s babbling on about ‘the line’ for the billionth time (“I think everyone knows where the line is,” he said this week – if not, we certainly know where we can hear about it). It’s pretty clear that no-one’s got anything left to say ahead of this Ashes series. We need some new source material. We need some cricket.
You get the impression that a few things need to go England’s way for them to win the series. Actually, that’s a mindless thing to say. Of course things need to go their way for them to win. That’s what winning involves. What we mean is that a few things need to go unexpectedly their way. If everyone on both sides performs roughly as you’d expect, Australia would win.
But this is the essence of sport. All that’s gone before is just history. Averages measure the past, they don’t predict the future. Shan Masood has just made his first Test hundred in the fourth innings to help Pakistan make 382 to win. That was far from a likely outcome.
The only people who truly have any idea how things are going to go are the experts.