Aussie bash­ing leaves sour taste...

The Cricket Paper - - COMMENT & VIEWS - Alex Narey @anarey_NLP

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...

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