Sydney Test – Day 2 : The View from Shepparton

Well, here I am at Kensington Gardens Over Fifties Lifestyle Village, definitely not a “Retirement Village”. Here we are alive and alert or at least that is the theory.

Have a mate “Grumpy” who is usually at the gym when the Minister for Home Affairs and I make our attempts to keep fit. He hasn’t barracked for Australia for years he reckons, can’t stand the team’s attitude so he says. Well he hasn’t had much to cheer about this series! For me, well I reckon that they have had their moments but given the way that we have outplayed England, and given that I genuinely thought that we would go down five zip, this opinion being based on the recent past, I am, like most of the country, pretty “stoked”.  I do wonder though how often we can rely on Haddin & Co to keep rescuing us.

I know that my brother in Brisbane is looking at this, he used not to be very interested, but yesterday whilst speaking to him about a fabulous pipe organ DVD that I arranged for him to celebrate his eightieth birthday we spoke almost as much about the ball by ball play, (we both had the sound turned down), as we did the featured Dutch instrument on the DVD. This would have never happened in past years. Crikey, cricket, Test Cricket, is getting everyone in.

Meanwhile, in Toronto where our son and his family live it was -21c at 5 am their time this morning. I know that he moved to Canada back in 2007 to marry his lady but even allowing for that, he could be viewing the cricket with me, what an alternative that would be. Our daughter, son in law, and their 4 children moved to Auckland on Christmas Day. They didn’t even get the Boxing Day Test.

So there it is, I have been slaving away in our garden in attempt to be in situ in front of the TV by 10:30 am. Been putting in plants not withstanding that the Minister frets about the expense and just as importantly the positioning given that she argues there is no more room for a single addition. To her chagrin, when I remember to tell her before the event, I always find room.

So it is, England is one for eight, at the start of play, gees what’s this? Harris has got Cook LBW second ball for seven, not playing. You would have to be completely impervious to any sporting instincts not to sympathise for the bloke, the feeling of having let the side down in its hour of need. It was a great ball though, an inswinger which he let go.

And then Watto at first slip grasses the simplest of catches next ball, a life for Bell. As Jim Maxwell observes, “the social media will go nuts”. Well count me in! Geeze Watto, I could have caught that and I am half blind or so the Minister reckons. Still, he is out for two not too long after, caught behind off Siddle.

Meanwhile this reminds me of the Thomson & Lillee days and I feel a sense of satisfaction when Drew Morphett observes a couple of times shortly after that this Australian quick attack reminds him of the pressure that used to be applied when Thomson and Lillee were playing in that series in the mid seventies against England. I remind the Minister of the verification of my comments.

Anderson cops the devil of a ball from Johnson, has to have crushed his thumb if not his spirit. He is out shortly after caught by Clarke off Johnson for seven, Maxwell reckons that it was a soft dismissal, pretty tough observation I thought.

KP comes in, I have formed the view that he is Australia’s Watto, that is, given the way he plays he invites ridicule, bile and in general a sense that he tends to play for KP and any good for the team tends to be a bit incidental. He is out for three, caught in slip by Watson of Harris, I have always said what a brilliant field that bloke is. Poms four for seventeen.

Another of the recruited foreign legion, this time a bloke from Zimbabwe, Garry Ballance, a new starter comes in. He looks reasonably OK until  he nicks behind to Haddin off Lyon for eighteen. He showed real guts though, he took a fearful blow in the front of his helmet but after about twelve minutes recovering and fixing up his gear he recommenced. How important though Lyon has become to this team.   He is much much more than a part player in this team.

Meanwhile the Minister having shot through an hour or two ago,  has just returned from down the street, the excitement was too much for her!

Now Bairstow is out for eighteen having played straight to Bailey at short leg off Siddle. This WAS a soft dismissal. Henry is not impressed. England seven for 111.

Stokes, who has been a real find though he looks aged about seventeen, but  has attitude and guts as well, inexplicably lets one through to Siddle, he was expecting the ball to move but it didn’t and he has been bowled neck and crop for forty seven.  England eight for 112. Wiil Clarke enforce the follow on if this option is available?  Hope not. Broad has just hit Lyon for a six then a four. The option is fast disappearing.

New starter Borthwick has been caught at third slip by Smith for one off Harris. England nine for 125.

The Irishman Boyd Rankin, another new starter has come in last drop, and has hit Lyon for four. England nine for 130 – there are massive cheers from the assembled masses as England avoids the follow on.

What sort of morons would be playing with a beach ball, if that’s what they want to do why don’t they go to Bondi, or better still the Gold Coast indeed anywhere but the SCG if they want to ply this nonsense.

Boyd Rankin hung around for a while but was bowled for thirteen. England all out for 155. Broad was not out thirty, fair enough effort. Harris , Johnson and Siddle all got three wickets. How good is that?

Australia has to not stuff it up in their second innings. They have a lead of 171.

Not really a great start, indeed not a great shot by Warner, looked OK but beaten for pace,  caught on the crease or so said Jim Maxwell and out for sixteen, good ball from Anderson from around the wicket, Australia one for 27 . The Minister is having a nanna nap. Rankin is having a bowl, the Barmy Army had a go at Johnson bowling to the left and then to the right, what about this bloke?

Like the Richie Benauds, wish though that they could have some sort of chant right now, say, “England two for 222, watch you bat, rather be at the zoo.” Well that’s pretty awful, any suggestions welcome.

Watson out yet again for a low score, nine, caught behind by Bairstow off Anderson. Our opening and middle order is nearly hopeless. Leaves Clarke to pick up the pieces yet again.

Leg byes are bullshit.

Clarke was not the rescuer, out for six caught Bairstow bowled Broad he was wafting outside of the off stump, gees the Proteas are going to clean us up I reckon. Australia three for 75 but they do have a lead of 246.

Why is Ed Cowan providing the expert’s comments? The guy is obviously embarrassed when asked to provide comment of the possible composition of future teams given his own aspirations and yet Jim Maxwell keeps boring in.

Smith out for seven caught Bairstow bowled Stokes. Australia four for 91. Didn’t want to go, don’t know why.

Rogers has got his fifty, well played.

Stumps has rolled on, Bailey has looked OK for his twenty and Rogers 73, fantastic. So Australia is now 311 ahead being four for 140 in the second innings.

Meanwhile heatwave conditions are now being experienced in Toronto it is -7c.  Don’t know what’s happening in Auckland, does anything ever happen in Auckland?

About Peter Schumacher

Wannabe footy commentator and writer, used to be a wannabe footballer


  1. Continuing a biblical theme, I reckon the Test eleven + Boof = 12 Apostles. Poor old George Bailey gets stuck as Doubting Thomas, while the rest make a contribution. He is certainly ‘the hole in our side’.
    I was as grumpy as you until the reincarnation of St Mitch and St Brad, but I have been all sunshine and forgiveness this past month. Even Watto is the prodigal son for me.
    But like you I fear I will be revisiting the Old Testament (or Revelations) in South Africa.
    Thanks Shep.

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Loved the , Minister references and family happenings around the world . Spot on re , Lyon he is vital to our cause . Likewise re , KP and , Watto . Our batting is our weakness how we go in , SA will be interesting . It was cringeworthy re , Cowan yest and understandably he had splinters in his bum you can not have a current player asking him re , Bailey stupidity
    Thanks Peter

  3. John Butler says

    Pete, leg byes are proof that cricket is a batsman’s game.


  4. Luke Reynolds says

    Well written Peter. Definitely felt for Cook this series, a wonderful player who has had absolutely nothing go right. This series has been a huge boost for cricket in this country.
    Don’t like current players in the comm box calling/commenting on their current or former teammates. Cowan no doubt has a future in the role but it was just so awkward listening to him being questioned about the Australian team.

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