Andrew Starkie’s Ashes Diary (2)



Entry 2

Thursday November 25, 2010

How many North Melbourne supporters claim an Ashes hat-trick on their birthday?

None. Before today.                                                                                                       

Sidds will dine out on this for the rest of his life.  When long retired and trawling the country sportsman’s night circuit, he’ll be introduced as the quick who got a Pommie hat-trick the day he turned 26.  When broken down and busted, the door bouncer at a dodgy nightclub will ask, ‘Mate, aren’t you the bloke who….?’  Like playwright Arthur Miller – remembered for marrying Marilyn Munroe rather than ‘Death of a Salesman’ or ‘The Crucible’.


I was watching the clock in a meeting in the school library when I received a text from an English  mate: ‘F-K!’  I knew the first day at Brisbane had turned in our favour.  A few minutes later, I’m was in the carpark trying to find reception for the Walkman, when Cozzer – or The Contradiction, as I consider him – walked to the car grinning like a cat in a fish shop.  Sidds had a hat-trick. 

I call Cozzer The Contradiction because he’s a beer drinking, hard living Magpie supporter, with a beautiful Japanese wife, three young boys and an erudite, Atticus Finch disposition.  He intrigues me.

Ten minutes later we’re in my Reservoir lounge listening to the radio, watching the TV on mute, and enjoying a few Bellarine Brewing Company Blondes for Cornerstone ThursdayCT represents the end of the working week for Cozzer and I.  On Fridays we’re at school in body, but not spirit.  As the teacher in ‘The Hangover’ sort of said, ‘It’s Friday, you don’t exist to me’.

A replay of the hat-trick came on the TV.  Cook, on 67 after nearly five laborious hours, edged to Watto at slip, who fixed his hair before claiming the catch.  Only Watto’s golden locks look good under a baggy green.  Cook reminds me of an English gentleman: stalker hat; wellington boots; patches on the elbows; picking off pheasants while strolling through the manor.  Prior, an entertaining and free batsman, probably more partial to a game of pool and a few pints at the local boozer, played across the line like a gardener sweeping the leaves off the path, and was bowled.  Sidds and the capacity crowd went beserk.  Broad was hit on the toe by a yorker and was given out.  While pandemonium reigned around him he challenged the decision like the flog he is. TV umpire Hill, a Kiwi, joined in the party and sent him on his way.  I wrote during the Lords Test in ’99 that Broad reminded me of an extra in a Harry Potter film.  Expect me to give him a hiding this series if the opportunity presents.

Sidds and debutant Doherty cleaned up the tail.  Anderson reverse swept like a helicopter crashing to Earth to the Tasmanian and was bowled.  If he keeps pulling those tricks, I’ll give him an earful as well.  England were rolled for 260 after Cook, KP and Bell all got starts.  Sidds claimed a career best 6-54.  The Aussies are 0-25 at the close. 

The Ashes have started perfectly.  Australian cricket needs a new hero and maybe Sidds is the man. Go you Rooboy!!

PS: I’m pleased to see the fly on the wall camera in the Australian rooms for the telecast.  Australian cricket needs a PR boost and little initiatives like this will break down the iron curtain many in the public feel stands between them and our first eleven.  Well done CA.

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