Shane Watson’s front leg

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2 minute read
Photo by Sarah Ansell
Photo by Sarah Ansell

You’re surely already aware of this, but Shane Watson’s front leg has many magical powers. It emits a peculiar kind of leather-specific magnetism that draws cricket balls towards it and it also clouds the mind of its owner, persuading him that nothing that collides with it could ever have gone on to hit the stumps.

Twice in this Test Watson was hit on the pad and given out LBW; twice he asked for a review; twice the decision was upheld. On both occasions everyone other than him knew it was out.

Watson has been given out LBW four billion times before and he’s asked for a review on each and every occasion. It’s a mindless reflex, like a plant turning towards the light. He probably makes the ‘third umpire’ gesture every time he feels his trousers gently brush against his shin.

Watson was one part of a rather wonderful afternoon collapse from the Australians which was seemingly precipitated by David Warner’s departure on the stroke of lunch. To be fair to Warner, it was a shit innings. It wasn’t like he threw his wicket away. His dismissal was merely a successful example of what he’d been attempting to do all morning.

That was when things got a bit easier for England. That’s when nearly-getting-batsmen-out turned into actually-getting-batsmen-out and once that process was underway, it never really seemed like Watson would be the man to arrest the slide.

Over the four days, it all went disconcertingly smoothly for England. Before Shane Warne arrives brandishing his broken record, it’s even worth noting that Alastair Cook had a perfectly acceptable game as captain. Whatever next?


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  1. Well, Ballance scored 60-something, Bell scored 60-something (the something being zero), and Moe got 77+five wickets. So presumably people will suggest dropping Adam Lyth for Adil Rashid now.

    1. Peter something?

      Whatever happened to Graham Manou?

      On second thoughts, who cares?


    2. Peter Nevill. He’s really not a lot better with the gloves. In fact none of our first class keepers are much good with the gloves, Adam Gilchrist saw to that.
      Graham Manou retired from first class cricket the season after he played his single test. It’s a shame because he was a proper keeper.

  2. I’ve got to do a brief defence of Johnson here. In the first case, the LBW was a very marginal call. In the second, even he seemed to know that it was blatantly out – it was a tactical appeal in the extreme.

    What I’m saying is that we should have had another article about how B*** H*****’s a great big fat sledgy failure instead.

  3. The most shocking thing of all about this match was how totally fine Ricky Ponting was on commentary. Certainly better than Warne.

  4. This isn’t the Ashes I signed up for this year. I signed up for cynicism in defeat, not comfortable first test wins. I had mentally prepared for losing, to the point of pre-selecting the dozen bottles of red wine that are sent down under on every English Ashes loss.

    I am confused now. I don’t know what to do. Every fibre of my being says we will lose this series 1-4, except for all the bits that experienced England wiping the floor with Australia. These bits include my brain, my knees, my spleen and my left big toe. All these bits think England will win, putting them in conflict with my heart, kidneys, hair and sense of reality. My elbows have always been neutral where cricket is concerned. I mostly ignore them.

    Anyway, confusion. Who will win, please let us know KC.

  5. I think we should agree that all the Aussies played brilliantly. There is no need to replace Starc, Haddin, Watson or Voges. Starc is no wimp like Harris, he will play on with a broken ankle.

  6. Did you watch the same Cricinfo/ESPN/TMS coverage as I did Dan?
    They played that black eagle advert 13 times an hour!!! Sometimes even 14 times if the spinners were on. Over the 4 days that is literally many thousands of times. I’m not sure i could have taken a 5th day.

    1. Only adverts I got were “Hardys sponsors England cricket” and those are short, well-made, and only aired every half-hour or so, so they were hardly intrusive. It was pretty nice, actually. Especially compared to Willow who somehow feel the need to play the same five ads at every single commercial break even though I’m paying for the subscription already.

  7. I watch it free on Cricinfo and i get all 9 of the previous English captains who mainly messed it up. I suppose the black eagle isn’t so bad, I go play my war game as soon as he gets on.

  8. The Hardy ads are quite fun, I get those too. Nice reactions from an Aussie wine company sponsoring England for some reason.

    1. In 4 years or so he’ll be ready to play for us. Us being AUS. We like experience in our teams.

    2. It means he’s done. If it was 2-0 down going into the 3rd test they may have rolled the dice, now they will stick with the same squad for the entire series.

  9. Look out for one Alex Adrian Anthony Amsterdam, batting at #3 for the USA against Ireland. You’d have a name like that and not be a great.

    1. His parents have presumably heard of using initial letters from later in the alphabet but thought ‘why risk it?’

    2. Perhaps both parents were members of Alcoholics Anonymous and wanted, characteristically, to make that fact known.

  10. Death, Taxes and Shane Watson out LBW.

    Also that uncomfortable feeling you get with England 1 up in the ashes is hope. It’s that disgusting feeling that no English(wo)man should ever experience, we’re just not built for it unless of course that ‘hope’ is swiftly followed by ‘lessness’

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