England’s utterly disastrous tour of Australia continued with another shattering defeat to go 4-0 down in the series.
At this stage, it wouldn’t be surprising to wake up New Years Day and discover Broad and KP have published photos of themselves at 3am setting fire to a dwarf.
England’s tour has been a mess, and it’s hard to even imagine Australian tours when we have been flogged that have gone as bad. As awful as the Indian tour was earlier this year with suspensions, dissension, walk outs and many changes in personnel, you’d have to say that this one takes the cake in shocking. A tour that started with incredible planning and catering organisation with military precision, has been a mess.
So, England has had a St Kilda of a tour; what could have gone wrong has, and it is only the semblance of hope through Jack Stevens for the Saints and Ben Stokes for the Poms that has left them any light of the end of the tunnel. They may end the tour in further St Kilda fashion, with Flower and Gooch departing the scene. The only thing that could be worse would be if Stokes reverts to the country of his birth to continue his career, in New Zealand.
I thought that England’s tour could be likened to the Dees. However, little was hoped for the Dees in 2013, as opposed to the Poms, who were riding a wave of positivity after their mid year win. Maybe the only Dees comparison is with the Aussies, who changed coaches and with free spirit and momentum, have ended the year brilliantly. Will Roos emulate Boof?
In this game, the Poms have been North. With 2 and a half days to go, they were over 100 ahead, KP and Bell yet to bat, captain in form and Australia finally vincible. 2 hours later, Australia set off on a chase that could go either way, and with a day and a half to go, it was a crushing win to the home side. Like North, England, possibly nervous or surprised to find themselves so far ahead, imploded with silly mistakes that begat sillier mistakes, and it was clear by the time that Bresnan and Broad batted, two men with a pedigree of lower order batting success, they simply couldn’t be fagged. After three tests of being behind, England found themselves in unfamiliar territory, and like North, when faced with an opponent who threatened to come back, simply went to water and threw away a win, as the Kangaroos did so heartbreakingly this year.
Has Australia been Port Adelaide? No expectations coming in, but with a fresh approach, a coach with new ideas and lots of experience, who encouraged the players to be positive and it would come? Port players have commented that they have never been so motivated by someone who speaks so softly, in Ken Hinkley. Has Boof’s plain speaking style, having a laugh and rejecting rotations, been the key?
Twelve months ago, the idea of Rogers playing in the Boxing Day test, let alone dominating it with the bat, was fanciful. Lyon takes 5, Bell goes first ball, Poms collapse twice in a day. Christmas miracles abound.
Like St Kilda, England relied too much on too few ageing players, and couldn’t work out if they were rebuilding or had fuel left in the tank for one last crack at glory. Infighting, confused retirements and players clinging to the past have marked both mobs this year. For both, 2013 can’t end quick enough.
Sydney dwarves, watch your backs.