The 2021 Festivus holding page: The Boxing Day Tests and ancient Ashes

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A few years ago we hit on a suitably half-arsed approach to covering the Boxing Day Tests. We flag what matches are taking place in advance, wish everyone a happy Festivus and then leave you all to cobble together a kind of fragmentary, disjointed log of any major developments in the comments section.

We find this works quite well.

You may disagree, but it’s our website.

The 2021 Boxing Day Tests

  • Australia v England from 11.30pm Christmas Day (UK time)
  • South Africa v India from 8am Boxing Day

Assuming you’ve successfully killed most of your recent memories by the time the first one begins, that’s a pretty appealing line-up.

Here are our predictions:

  • Drama!
  • Emotions!
  • Glory!
  • Turmoil!
  • Otherwise dry turkey sandwiches that are hugely elevated by the simple addition of melted cheese!

Probably mostly just the turmoil though.

More Ashes. Different Ashes. Old Ashes.

If you find yourself at a loose end at all, here’s the fifth and final episode of the latest series of The Ridiculous Ashes, which looks at the 2009 Oval Test that featured Jonathan Trott’s first Test hundred, Jimmy Anderson’s first Test duck and some elite commentary nonsense from Shane Warne.

If you’re at an even looser end, you can find the rest of the series (as well as links to Series 1 and 2) here.

Happy Festivus.

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  1. Are turkey sandwiches your go to with the left overs? I have always favored a turkey curry myself and the gallons of turkey soup from the stock…

    1. We’ve gone vegetarian and the leftovers are rubbish. Before we had a ham from the 13th until the 31st. Ham for every meal!

    2. Oh God yeah. Turkey and the rest. Plus melted cheese (Stilton is best). Our absolute number one favourite Christmas thing.

    3. I think I might have mentioned this before, but a few years ago my wife decided to use the turkey leftovers to make soup. Several hours of boiling the bones in a pot, adding some spices, carefully adjusting the flavour, then finally draining the whole thing through a sieve over the sink.

      Mmm… bones.

  2. A question for the KC fraternity from the King William’s College quiz:
    Who contrived to bowl two overs in succession in an abbreviated match at Old Trafford in 1921?
    Happy festivus
    Kingcricket’s mum

  3. Very sorry to learn just now that Ray Illingworth has died. He’ll forever be the England Captain in my eyes, having been the first England skipper to enter my junior consciousness.

    I did have the honour of meeting him and his good lady, Shirley, at a Yorkshire v Middlesex cricket match a few years ago. Both good company at cricket; both now recently departed.

    England won the 70/71 Ashes down under, during and, to a great extent, due to his leadership. Ray Illingworth.

    1. We’ve often found ourself thinking about cricketers of yesteryear who’d be disproportionately useful to the current side. Mike Atherton, say, would be a great gift for the middle order.

      Illingworth would solve a whole host of problems.

    2. In a somewhat less glib response, I’m sorry that I missed out on his playing career, where it sounds like he was a remarkable captain for Leics (especially given how poor they were) and England (and, I guess, Yorkshire), and really only remember his commentary and then his fighting with Athers as England supremo.

      1. We’re struggling to think of a time we’ve heard the word “supremo” except in reference to Illingworth. Is he the only supremo the world’s ever seen?

      2. Good point. Is Silverwood a ‘supremo’?

        And is everybody else increasingly irritated by the nickname ‘Spoons’?

        And if the next Test is disrupted by rain, will anyone use the headline ‘Weather Spoons’?

      3. The word’s never used, so we can only presume that Chris Silverwood is a few responsibilities short of a supremo.

  4. In previous years we’ve had significantly more Boxing Day detail than this. Deflation already seems to have set in.

  5. Sounds like someone’s got the ‘rona now.

    “The England team and management are currently at the team hotel awaiting results of RFT COVID tests following a positive test in the team’s family group.

    We will provide more information in due course.”

    Guess we’ll just have to call the series off, mark it as a draw.

  6. Marveling at the Australian commentators getting through an entire day without ever explaining why the England players were wearing black armbands. Marvelous effort that. Not.

    As a Kiwi I’m used to hearing Aussie commentators blow smoke up their own arseholes but it was especially tedious yesterday. The one bright spot was when Isa Guha asked a perfectly sensible question which neither of her co-commentators could answer.

    1. From what I’ve heard, their other commentary team – not available internationally – is leagues ahead of the matey mates, but said matey mates won the rights to be the main telecast.

  7. Time for a glorious, backs to the wall fight back. Root and Stokes 100’s, Root breaking the record for the most runs in a year, finishing up with a 10-for in the match for Anderson.

    Too much?

    1. It’s good to have something to aim for when you’re trying to muster mindless optimism.

  8. My Aussie mates are currently discussing how the England team are so bad they can’t even catch Covid.

    I have nothing to add, except that the phrase “root and branch reform” is not as vague as it usually is.

    1. You have Aussie mates, Bert? Well that explains a lot. Some of us abstain from Aussie wine and most certainly from Aussie mates for the duration of the Ashes.

      Daisy and I haven’t even spoken to the nice Aussie pharmacist who helps with lots of the community projects in our neighbourhood. OK, he’s away for the festive season, but that’s not the point; we’re not speaking to him, that’s the point.

      WE have done our bit to put the kybosh on the Aussies. But not you, Bert. You are in dialogue with your Aussie mates.

  9. Andrew Strauss is currently on the radio absolutely laying into Alastair Cook. It’s vicious. He said, and I quote, “The key skill in captaincy is embracing difference.”

  10. A while ago I had some coaching in shooting. In the middle of proceedings Old Sam asked me to put my shotgun down. He grabbed me by the shoulders and said, “Stop thinking, fucking relax.” Worked for me. England need Sam.

  11. Woke up yesterday morning to hear Glenn implying that it was a shame England hadn’t scored more. And then this morning was somehow even worse.

    I have a good feeling about tomorrow.

  12. Ah well!

    Here’s a fun fact:

    By February 6, Joe Root had already scored over 100 more Test runs than any other England player would manage in the whole of 2021.

    1. Test runs for England this year :

      1708 – Root
      1204 – Root in team’s 1st inns
      1047 – Root outside home
      932 – Root vs India
      876 – Root when won toss
      832 – Root when lost toss
      805 – Root in wins
      794 – Root in Asia
      661 – Root at home
      648 – Root in losses
      530 – Burns
      412 – Extras

  13. England lost a wicket with the first ball of this series, and yet they have still managed to go downhill from there.

    I mentioned Strauss yesterday, who was being his usual diplomatic self. But in reality, that was the turning point. Nasser Hussein started a run of England captains (with a couple of short term exceptions) that had grit, drive, and the ability to get the best out of their team. Vaughan and Strauss continued this work, and we ended up thrashing the Aussies at their place and being #1 in the world. There was unity of purpose, built on diversity, created by strong, flexible leadership.

    Since then, we have had dressing room cliques, selection chaos, and what seems like a complete lack of leadership. It has been a systematic undoing of fifteen years of work.

    And here we are, inevitably, back where we were in 1995. A team chock full of players who we know can play, and 68 all out. We’re back with Gough and Caddick, Butcher and Thorpe – hardly possible to think they are necessarily the problem. And I suspect we are back with Atherton. We certainly were with Cook in charge, and it is becoming increasingly clear that we are again.

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