England v Australia. Fifth Test at The Oval, Day 4.
Australia: 9(dec)/492. England 4/247.
“Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun,
If the sun don’t come you get your tan from standing in the English rain.”
The Beatles “I Am The Walrus”.
“If the rain comes, they run and hide their heads,
They might as well be dead.
If the rain comes, if the rain comes.”
The Beatles “Rain”.
The incessant rain on day 4 was depressing. There is no other word for it. At 9-30pm, when I switched channels to watch the Fulham v Arsenal match and saw that it was absolutely teeming down at Craven Cottage, I knew that it would be an early night for me. For some reason, the rain infuriated me, just like it did on the last day at Old Trafford when Australia was all over England. I could not help myself – I began to think negative thoughts – and came up with ten things about the English team which annoy the hell out of me (and without even mentioning KP!).
1. Alastair Cook’s negative captaincy. From negative field settings to unimaginative bowling changes, Cook is England’s most uninspired skipper in ages. He is fortunate that he leads such a strong team.
2. Time wasting tactics. Stuart Broad having trouble with his boot. Reserve players running out onto the field with drinks after every over. Taking ages to decide whether to review a decision. Dawdling between overs. Complaining about the shape of the ball after ten overs. All, I suspect, straight from the Andy Flower Playbook.
3. Graham Gooch’s 10-day growth. Seriously, dude, 5-o’clock shadows went out when “Miami Vice” was cancelled.
4. Phil Tufnell’s voice. There are plenty of things about Tuffers that annoy me. None more so than that Middlesex baritone.
5. Matt Prior’s appeals. He is getting to the stage where he thinks every ball bowled by Graeme Swann should be a wicket, and appeals or “oohs and ahhs” like he thinks it was. I know the Australian batsmen have struggled against Swann, but every single ball?
6. The Barmy Army Trumpeter. Your bugle has lost its novelty, mate. Once it was slightly amusing, but now it’s just painful to listen to.
7. Floodlights. The irony of these is just laughable. Don’t bother spending millions of pounds installing huge light towers at your grounds, when you continually go off for bad light anyway. With said lights blazing away in the back-ground. At least they help the punters to find the exit.
8. Jerusalem. I understand it being sung at the rugby. But how and why has English cricket been allowed to hijack it? And it gets sung before play every single morning! What’s it all about, Alfie?
9. Graeme Swann’s collar. Sally Field called. She wants her “Flying Nun” outfit back.
10. The rain. Being from Liverpool, the Beatles sure knew plenty about the English weather. The consolation is that Arsenal won 3-1.