Great Expectations

Of course, if anyone English had asked me about the cricket this morning, I’d have said “there’s a game on at the moment? I didn’t know”; but the truth is, I spent the morning bouncing nervously on the red swiss-ball I use for an office chair, completely unable to type anything of value as I listened to the commentary slowly eek itself, ball-by-agonising-ball over the radio.

We lost of course, and it was hugely disappointing, not because it looked like we would win (it never did), but because it looked like we could win, which is even worse.
A win when you “should have”, is no fun; in fact, it’s been the problem with Australian cricket for the last 15 years.

There’s no point celebrating when your world class-team absolutely thrashes some third world squad where the wicket-keeper can’t even afford gloves (I’m looking at you New Zealand), and why should there be? If there’s no contest, there’s no fun.

I don’t want to see Mike Tyson punch his opponent’s head clean-off the body in the first round because the best person they could find to fight him was a blind, four-year-old kid in a wheel chair (although if televised, that would rate well), I want to see a fight between two, evenly matched, equally reprehensible, human killing-machines.

Thankfully the departure of “Fingers” Warne, “Angry” McGrath and the big-hitting human-wingnut that is Adam Gilchrist, allowed the Australian cricket team to atrophy (it/s easier to accept than the fact that England may have improved). That, and a disastrous first-innings, resulted in an almighty second-innings run chase that looked impossible from the outset, and didn’t look any better after the English bowlers went through our top order like dysentery.

Our only hope for avoiding embarrassment and disgrace came in the form of the valiant, Clarke (and his squire Haddin) who not only showed that we weren’t going down without a fight, but at one stage looked like he might win he game, slay the dragon, save the princess and bang her in the car home, all at the same afternoon.

Unfortunately, a little bit of hope is a dangerous thing, and once Clarkey let Graeme Swann rip out his off stump, it was all-over, red-rover.

I’m sure Australians the world over are feeling not only disappointed, but also anxious at the verbal drubbing they’re going to get at the hands of every Englishmen they know (I’m in London and shitting myself). I think however, that we Aussies should all take heart: we may not win every single game that we play from now on, but at least we can actually celebrate a win when it comes, with all the sledging and bragging it deserves. We can shout and drink and swear and sing, content that the match was won fair and square, not in some one-sided, smash-fest against an opponent too incompetent to even realise they were playing (I’m still looking at you New Zealand).

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