Melbourne Test – Day 4: Are England St Kilda or North Melbourne?

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.



About Sean Curtain

"He was born with a gift of laughter, and a sense that the world was mad". First line of 'Scaramouche' by Sabatini, always liked that.


  1. The West Coast Eagles are Matt Prior. Enough said.

  2. Sean – any Watto analogies? You owe him one. I reckon he’s just like the Tigers. Whenever you think he/they are destined to finish ninth forever, and you are ready to give up on him/them for good………………….
    I reckon that is why you are so hard on Watto. Its just unconscious misdirected feelings from the footy season. He does have Hardwick’s lantern jaw????

  3. matt watson says

    The Poms have played like North with one exception.
    As you said, they couldn’t be fagged, with dropped catches, poor bowling, dispirited batting and overall ineptitude.
    My mate be $16 on the Poms to win 9-0 over the two Ashes series.
    When Australia was favourite to win in Brisbane, a mate and I discussed putting $20 on England.
    We didn’t do it.
    When Rogers and Warner went out to bat on the third day, it was clear Australia could not lose.
    My heart beat didn’t race at all on the fourth day. There was no tension.
    I am disappointed with England, but I love winning the Ashes and offer them no sympathy. I couldn’t be fagged, so stuff them.

  4. Peter Fuller says

    I’ve been trying analogies with past cricket tours as a way of understanding the surprising turn of events this summer, although your comparison with football clubs is particularly instructive.
    I think the Australian tour of England in 1977 had that car crash element. My recollection is that we went over as favorites, but the Packer World Series issue blew up while the tour was on. The Australian players were distracted (to a much greater extent than the Poms) and this was compounded by the division between those with WSC contracts and those without. Unsurprisingly we were beaten comprehensively, 3-0 or 3-1 from memory. The 1956 tour had marked divisions in the ranks, but of course that was a period of English dominance, so little was expected of Ian Johnson’s side.
    When this summer’s first test saw a surprisingly easy win for the home side, I wondered whether the model was 1954-55 or 1958-59. On both occasions, England arrived as Ashes’ holders, and Australia won easily in Brisbane – by an innings in ’54-55. That summer England proceeded to dominate winning the next three and drawing the final test. However in ’58-59, under Richie Benaud’s captaincy a rejuvenated Australia followed the Brisbane win with victories in the three other tests which saw a result. In retrospect it’s easy to see that the Brisbane win a few weeks ago defined an end of a brief period of English dominance.

  5. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Sean enjoyable read and amusing comparison to me , England were , Richmond finally in a final and in front lunch after , 2.5 days is half time they were well in front and capitulated in the , 2nd half gee there is a similarity there , Lyon was , Duigan asking the question demanding discipline and concentration and guts the pomms were just like , Deledio massive failures . Bell did a , Chaplin disappearing in a key moment .
    Stokes was like , Morris just panicked . Cooks captaincy and advice from others was
    Shit house just like , Hardwick and the , Richmond coaching box

  6. England are the new Washington Generals

  7. Phil Dimitriadis says

    Good stuff Sean.
    Definitely a touch of St Kilda in the 80s about England yesterday. Watching Bresnan bowl reminded me of Malcolm Blight’s attack on David Pittman in early 97′. He would have to be the most pathetic medium pacer I’ve seen in a long time.

  8. Glen Potter says

    Love the St. Kilda, Richmond and North analogies. I’d throw in a West Coast Eagles analogy about the Poms if you condense the last 35 years of cricket and parallel it with the last 20 years of footy. There’s a kind roller-coaster effect with peaks and thoughs. Botham et al had the Poms strutting (late 70s/early 80s) like the early-mid 90s Eagles. Then both teams fell away poorly for quite a period before bouncing back strong (Poms late noughties/Eagles mid noughties). Both have capitaluted in the recent times. Albeit the Eagles had a lull (turn of the decade) and a high and then back to a lull again. I don’t particular care, as long as the Aussies are not Essendon. That would be unfortunate.

  9. Glen Potter says

    Is there a footy team we could compare with a flat track bully that can’t win away from home like India?

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