On the face of it, there should be plenty to say about the fifth one-day international, but shortly after watching it we didn’t feel moved to write anything. A day later, we’re left with one abiding truth: we should feel a little more strongly than ‘peeved’ when England throw away any match against Australia.
It’s over half a year since either team played anyone else. We were momentarily elated when James Tredwell edged to the keeper, giving Australia the win, because we thought it was all over. Then we remembered the Twenty20 internationals. There are three of them. They finish in February and at that point it will be 17 months until the Ashes.
We’re beginning to live through what we saw on the horizon back when we got rather irate about them scheduling 10 Ashes Tests in a row. It’s becoming a weird, philosophical exercise, more than a series of cricket matches. We’re starting to ask ourself questions like: if you replace all of the components of something, is it still the same thing? Is a team with Nathan Coulter-Nile and without Mitchell Johnson still ‘Australia’ if it wears the right clothes? What about a team with Danny Briggs, Alex Hales and Luke Wright in it? Is that still England? They call them specialists, but is this specialism or dilution?
And why is it that we find ourself asking such questions specifically now, in the aftermath of an ostensibly compelling match?