Aussie bashing leaves sour taste...
Growing up as first a cricket-mad kid in the late Eighties, and later in the Nineties and early Noughties (I hate that last word) the sight of those gum-chewing Australians with their trusted Baggy Greens celebrating another Ashes win was a cause for constant frustration. From Merv Hughes to Glenn McGrath and Dean Jones to Matthew Hayden, our Antipodean friends loved nothing more than to rub our noses in the dirt of defeat.
It’s what made the Ashes success of 2005 so sweet, and the overseas victory in 2010-11 – the first on Aussie soil since 1986 – even sweeter. The fact that you could revel in beating them on the cricket field where they had roamed so dominantly was as good as it got for me.
When they were in their pomp, I used to marvel at their togetherness; while England stumbled and stuttered and the various chairmen of selectors and captains clashed, the Aussie bubble seemed impregnable. Following Allan Border’s ‘It’s us versus them’ attitude as they fought to arrest a slide of Ashes results before the 1989 series – the Aussie skipper choosing to turn a cold shoulder on his friends within the England camp – it became a unit that grew stronger with every series.
There would have undoubtedly been clashes during Border’s, and later Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh’s respective reigns, but the recent revelations in the books of Michael Clarke and Mitchell Johnson deliver rather more poisonous messages about life inside the dressing room and even for the most ardent of cricket lovers in this country, they offer nothing but a poor reflection on the game.
Clarke’s team, while suffering a few lows, enjoyed numerous highs. They also pulled together during the tragic passing of their team-mate Phillip Hughes. But when there is a book to sell, it’s time to bring out the vitriol. All those Test match wins and all those songs sung in victory replaced with a
England’s first Test victory was one of the most satisfying I have witnessed.With Bangladesh the opponents, you would have laughed at someone saying that a few years ago, but it was a superb test of bat versus ball; an even contest between the two skill sets and England fought remarkably hard to edge clear and grab the win. Credit has to litany of spiteful, and pretty average, comments. Are those moments now to be forever tarnished?
Forget the spirit of the Baggy Green; this periodic low in Australian cricket, even for an England fan, is pretty sad to see. go to the groundstaff at Chittagong, who, while delivering a deck that offered sharp turn from the first ball, brought a level of consistency for both sides with the toss never really being a factor.
I’ve seen too many Tests decided, or dictated rather, due to the toss of the coin where huge first-innings totals force the game to be played at a negative pace. That both sides could have won on the fifth morning, and with the wicket staying true, was a huge fillip for the game at Test level.
Just one thing, anyone else nearly miss the action as England claimed victory after Sky switched channels due to overtime in an American Football game? No, just me then...