Never feel sorry for Australia

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There are some English people who have had sympathy for Australia during the first half of this Ashes series. We won’t hesitate to call these people idiots.

Imagine being hunted by a carcharodontosaurus and then when you’ve somehow managed to trap it after spending 20 years digging an absolutely enormous hole, you go and stroke it. Why would you do that?

No. This is not the way to act. The correct approach is to mercilessly mock its selection policy by making reference to doors and hats. The analogy falls down a bit there, but you get the idea.


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. I feel a desperate need to explain things.

    Mitchell Johnson, a dangerous fast bowler prone to extended spells of mediocrity, has had a good day. He took 6 for 30-odd. Old-style James Anderson was also a dangerous fast bowler prone to extended spells of mediocrity. Whenever he took 6 for 30-odd, we all assumed that those were his six wickets for the series. There is nothing whatsoever that suggests it is different with Johnson.

    Australia are effectively 200 for 3. That sounds like a good score, but let me say it again. Australia are EFFECTIVELY 200 for 3. What they are NOT is 200 for 3. They are 119 for 3, which is rather mediocre. In other words, Australia’s batting has continued to be crap. There is no Mitchell Johnson return-to-form here. They batted mostly badly in the first test (300 for the sixth wicket aside), badly in two innings in the second test, badly in the first innings here, and they are currently batting badly AGAIN. The 200 for 3 bit is what will (probably) win them this test match, but it is a bowler-created position, and as explained above it is a solitary-bowler-created position.

    All of us who were present for Englishcricketinthenineties assume that England wins are statistical anomalies and that all it takes is a single bad day to make them revert to the norm (the norm being a succession of depressing defeats). THINGS ARE DIFFERENT NOW. This is an England team who can shrug off a bad day and just get on with playing better cricket. That is what Strauss-Flower has done for this team. If you don’t believe me, just go and read the 1st test scorecard. Who after Day 1 could have suggested that England would save the match by batting out two whole days for the loss of one wicket? That would have been impossible to imagine for even the most panglossian among us (thank you, Ceci), but that’s what they did. Strauss, Cook and Trott just said “Meh” to all the analysis and went and battered the Aussie bowlers into a Slough of Despond. Day 1 hero Peter Siddle (six-for, to complete the comparison) became crap as a result and has maintained his form ever since.

    In other words, for Bob’s sake cheer up everyone.

    (Except Australians – things are still bad for you, so you can’t cheer up.)

  2. None of which changes the fact that you should NEVER feel sorry for Australia.

    We’re trying to educate the youth of today here, Bert. Come on. Lend a hand.

  3. Bert –

    Your point is valid and well made, but I feel that England have let Australia off the hook.

    It’s all very well saying ‘It’s just one match’, but a test match is a test match and we’re going to lose this one.

    If you are clearly the better side you should win. That is what Australia did in 06/07. They were clearly the better side and they won every match.

    All this talk about England aiming to be the best side in the world has been put into perspective today. The best side in the world doesn’t lose. The best side in the world wins and wins and wins.

  4. Dear KC

    Thank you for educating me. I am not going to deny that I had a brief flirtation with a sultry temptress named “feeling sorry for the Australians”, but I am glad to report that my ill judged liaison is now behind me.

    I deeply regret my actions and hope that one day we will all be able to laugh about it in much the same way as when I got bitten by a Rhea at Whipsnade Zoo. I was young and they seemed likeable enough, but three bloodied tissues later we had all learned a little something about not stroking vicious, evil birds.

    Yours as ever


  5. No problem Tight. If you ever feel yourself slipping off the wagon again, we suggest you take a long hard look at Shane Watson’s face.

    Or Brad Haddin’s. That works in an entirely different way, but with the same end result.

  6. I too had a bout of sympathy for australia for which I am truly sorry. I now know that next time Punter either raises his eyes to the heavens or sinks his head into his hands, I should point and laugh and encourage others to do the same.

    Thank you for bringing me back to my senses

  7. The lesson to learn here is that its perfectly alright for non-English people to feel sorry for the Australians.

  8. My wife saw Brad Haddin’s name on the highlights last night and started giggling.

    She said she wanted a T-shirt made saying: “I’ve had Haddin.”

    And then laughed some more.

  9. D. Charlton. You’re a lucky man.

    I don’t think I ever felt sorry for Australia. I think I may have felt sorry for cricket as Australia were being a bit shit. Given the sparsity of test playing nations, I think I got a bit carried away that one of the more competitive ones was being a bit shit.

    Is that as bad?

  10. Meh.

    Johnson got 6 wickets. Big deal. What are the chances he will follow up in the second innings ?

  11. I had a bad episode today, when I found myself feeling a bit sorry for Michael Clarke. I hate myself. But I am feeling so conflicted right now. I want this match to finish early so that my husband will be in Melbourne when I arrive ( it’s a long story) , and I also want the Melbourne test to be decisive. I think all these confusing feelings swirling around were what made me feel a bit sorry for Michael Clarke, but I’m confident that with the right support and a careful programme of rehabilitation I’ll get over it.

  12. I woke up with the alarm clock at 5am, heard the score and went back to sleep.
    I’ll try harder tonight.

  13. I’m confused. Seeing Haddin’s face always make me feel sorry for the Australians. How could it not? Look at his face for fuck’s sake! I would want every sympathy if my face was a cross between the Easter Island Statues and a leper.

    I have no sympathy for Rhea’s though, so if one ever played for Australia I would be happy to gun it dow and serve it to the cat. With a sprig of parsley..

    JF: I am right now going to make an online commitment to joining you at 5, but luckily the internet is a breeding ground for liars and Aussie sympathisers…

  14. Morning Tight.
    If ever we needed your “apple vodka drinking, match winning” abilities, it is now.
    Drink, man, drink.
    It’s a Saturday. Granted it’s the Saturday before Christmas and your wife may have other plans than you having a hangover….

  15. Hmm, this is not the score I wanted to wake up to. Mind you I’ve seen 2 wickets in 10 minutes…

  16. Make that 3 in some more minutes. Hussey really is a bastard isn’t he. Rubbish for what 2 years now, couldn’t he have stayed rubbish for one more series?

  17. Right, I think I heard the sky team say that Ponting wants a lead of 400 before declaring.

    If we can get this last wicket before then, then surely we’ll have the momentum?

  18. As sky might say, we are LITERALLY knee deep in momentum right now.

    Better hit the ground running mind you Dan.

  19. Shit. A maiden first over with the ball doing a bit.

    Has the momentum swung back to Australis now? I’m confused.

  20. Im concerned that this coffee will go straight through me…

    Strauss has decided to go at the ball hard it would seem. In fairness if there is any pitch in the world you can do that and get away with it then it is here (not here on my couch, but here as in there).

    In fairness to him there though he hit that four along the ground

  21. Please. Just dull cricket from now on. I’ll happily watch the rest of the session with England scoring 10 runs.

    As long as we don’t lose any more wickets of course.

    Trott is there so my dream has a minor chance.

  22. Morning Tight. Think it might be time to get on the sauce. Concern is underplaying it slightly I fear.

  23. Something to take your mind off the cricket:
    A stunnung photo on page 32 of today’s Independent of about a dozen meerkats chasing an eagle.
    I’ll try to find a link to the Indie website.

  24. Im concerned that it is swinging a little bit. I am also concerned that Trott is refusing to take his guard after each shot like he used to. It is the most frustrating thing ever to watch but it’s just what we need now…

    I’ve just put cooking brandy in my coffee – they can’t say I’m not doing my part

  25. That’s the determination and spirit we need. Might have a special coffee myself when we get to drinks. You’re a shining example.

  26. This is not the time for cheap drinks Tight – desperate times call for desperate measures – bring forth the Courvoisier.

  27. Tight – that just makes it all thr more inspirational.

    Jo – that Eagle is going to be embarrassed if his mates are telegraph readers.

  28. Dawg you are totally correct! I’m having another one!

    JF – I don’t do brandy so alas anything above £7 a bottle is out of my league.

    And in fairness to that eagle one of the little buggers has got very very sharp looking teeth.

    Drinks! Don’t let me down gentleman – drink em of you’ve got em

  29. Gone for a Calypso coffee with bog standard rum. It was that or Becherovka which doesn’t bear thinking about.

    It might have teeth but the Eagle has the dual advantages of talons and movement on an additional plane. It should be ashamed of itself.

  30. Tight – your typing is getting erratic so you must be achieving critical plasma levels of cheap brandy.
    Well done!

  31. I feel ashamed. I’m not joining in the drinking. Not through lack of alcohol you must understand.

    Got my works do tonight and I don’t think starting 9 hours before everyone else is a great idea.

  32. This actually feels quite Christmassy – Summer weight duvet, warming alcoholic beverage made from the finest coffee and the cheapest brandy.

    Well either Christmassy or trampesque. Take your pick

  33. If you took yourself into the hallway you could recreate the tableau of me trying to find a wifi signal in that hotel in Galway during the first test.

  34. re the eagle – a tad pedantic perhaps, but the claws at the front are called pounces. The one at the back is the talon.

  35. You’re a witch! It is 4.5!

    So I can predict when a team will declare and you can tell what tog duvet a person has!

    I fear you may not make it to your works drinks as you will be burned at the stake this afternoon

  36. My wife takes the laptop for a bit and I come back to find evidence of another witch in the TTNT ranks. Shocking stuff.

    Not as shocking as KPs shot. Dear lord that was bad.

  37. Any of you witches out there any good at the turning princes into frogs thing? Not that I would necessarily call and of the Australian team princes, but desperate times and desperate measures &c…

  38. Anderson needs to face a delivery if he is to get a century. Probably…

    ON the bright side it is unlikely I am going to need to get up early tomorrow unless we have a Bell-Anderson triple century partnership

  39. Definitely doesn’t call for an all nighter. I can wake up to the surprising and delightful scoreline with Bell on a majestic unbeaten 150.

  40. Despair has stolen my duvet.

    Now I don’t want any more witch accusations tomorrow, but I don’t think we’re going to win this.

  41. Despair has cut the ‘nose’ off the brie instead of taking his fair share of the rind.

    Fine by us. We prefer the rind, but he’s not to know that.

  42. Dan is a sexual deviant who takes pleasure from newsreaders’ inscrutable facial expressions and he killed a man last week simply because he loves killing. But he knows his togs.

    Or was that rhetoric rather than an invitation, Tight?

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