The Steve Rixon Ashes Diary 2013 – Chapter 13


Chapter 13

Fourth Test, Melbourne Cricket Ground

The Toss, No Swann & Who is Piers Morgan?

Me: Steve, another win in Melbourne. It’s all going pretty well.

Steve Rixon: Yeah well we smashed England didn’t we. Gee they were shit, incredibly shit in fact.

The toss. Well Boof had a meeting with Patsy Howard and Cricket Australia’s Director of Stragtegic Thinking and Game Awareness Implementation just before the Boxing Day Test. Boof looked a shattered man when he came out of the meeting as he’d been directed that he had to bowl first no matter what. The Strategic Thinking bloke had noticed a trend with tosses and batting first – In England we lost the toss in the first four tests and bowled first each time and ended up 3-0 down. Then we won the toss for the first three tests and batted first and won. The Strategy guy said with the series over the team needed to try to win bowling first, as we might lose the toss in South Africa or in any subsequent Test series in the future between now and the next Ashes in England in 2015. Boof was adamant we should keep the boot on the English throats and not give them a let up, he still has nightmares about losing the 1998 Ashes Test at the G and losing after Mark Taylor chose to bowl first. Anyway Patsy and the Strategic Thinking guru guy got in Pup’s ear and threatened to not let him go out on James Packer yacht in Sydney if he didn’t bowl first. That was enough for Pup to make sure he did the right thing.

Swann retired yeah well plenty of stories that he was going to be dropped so jumped before he was pushed but that’s not the real story. The real story was that after he lead the ‘sprinkler’ dance celebrating England’s victory at the MCG 3 years ago, members thought is was an absolute disgrace and successfully lobbied the MCC to ban Graeme Swann from ever being  allowed back onto the hallowed turf of the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The England team and Swann knew he couldn’t play in Melbourne and chose to handle it the way they did. I know it sounds implausible but it’s true.

Celebratory sprinkler dance lead by Graeme Swann
Celebratory sprinkler dance lead by Graeme Swann

One bloke who probably should retire is Monty Panesar, he’s main strength at the moment seems to be stonewall batting at number 11 then shouldering arms to full tosses. His bowling was left arm medium pace and his fielding is as comical as ever – he must have the weakest throwing arm in world cricket and I’m including wicket keepers in that. Speaking of keepers England dropped Prior to replace him with another bloke who couldn’t bat or catch – it was like shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. England’s fourth day fielding display was village. In fact that’s probably being unkind to some village cricket teams.

We had a few players do well in this test, Chris Rogers scored a 60 and guided us home in the last innings with a fine century at his adopted home ground the MCG. Nathan Lyon took a five-fer and his 100th test wicket. He’s been bowling well but I think his greatest strength at the moment is the English blokes lack of awareness that Lyon is not Shane Warne. They lack awareness that he is a run of the mill off spinner not the greatest leg spinner in the history of cricket. Anyway it’s working well for us, so no complaints. But you can’t keep Mitchell Johnson down, he took a few wickets blowing away the tail as per usual plus he ran out Joe Root and caught Ian Bell  – that was enough for him to win his third man of the match. Hmmm I wonder who will be man of the series?

Chris Rogers celebrates his second Test century
Chris Rogers celebrates his second Test century

A fair old crowd rolled into the MCG: 270,000 across 4 days. Given some of the ground capacities in England they would have been lucky to get that across the 25 days of the Ashes. It got a bit windy on Day 3 at the G which did lead to some interesting sights, Mitch Johnson telling KP to f off and stop pulling away, Peter Siddle doing his strongman impersonation and Asad Rauf removing his hat to reveal a magnificent bouffont.

Interesting sights on a windy Day 3
Interesting sights on a windy Day 3

The Barmy Army were in fine voice in Melbourne with their numbers swelled, by Christmas and New Year holiday makers spending up thousands of pounds to come and see a couple of dead rubbers. Couldn’t have worked out better as far as I’m concerned. I’m still not sure why they sing a hymn at the start of the days play – it’s got me beat how it has any relevance to cricket.

I think one of the Barmy Army who was pretty shitty about spending heaps of coin to watch a couple of dead rubbers is Piers Morgan – what the hell is with this bloke? He’s 40 odd years old and apparently fairly well known and a self proclaimed cricket nut. Yet I’ve never heard of him or heard him speak about cricket ever before. Anyway Boof got a request from Peirs Morgan that he wanted to face Mitchell Johnson. Boof said there was no effing way that was going to happen, we’ve got a Test match to play. It reminded me when Bono wanted to meet with John Howard when he was PM, Howard shot him down saying he was too busy governing the country to meet with rock stars. So Boof said Mitchell was too busy decimating English batsmen to meet some chat show host/X Factor judge. Brilliant!

Peirs Morgan falls over due to a gentle half volley from Brett Lee
Piers Morgan falls over due to a gentle half volley from Brett Lee

Anyway I was disappointed Channel 9 indulged this wanker and his self flagellation/promotion tour of Australia, but I suppose what do you expect from a network that employs James Brayshaw, Michael Slater and Shane Warne.Instead Chanel 9 stepped in to let Brett Lee loose on him, Lee is still a fine bowler but he hasn’t played in the Ashes since 2006/07. What did the whole incident prove? Not much, perhaps that old, fat, loudmouth Poms are shit at cricket – no wonder they draft in players from other Commonwealth countries. Maybe if Morgan was from South Africa he would have laid bat on ball. At least one of the Channel 9 commentators had the right take on Peirs Morgan – I’m with Chappelli on this one.

Chappelli gold
Chappelli gold

Anyway I have to go mate, I’ve got a fishing trip to squeeze in before the Sydney test. Can you put a motza on 5-0?

Me: Can do mate.


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Ross Slater

Blogging about the important things - AFL and cricket

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