AS AUSTRALIA go two-nil up in the Ashes, a certain Lancashire employee is starting to feel some sympathy. Will it last?
Shane Palmer, a member of the Guest Services team here at Emirates Old Trafford, was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. He came to Manchester this summer and is loving life in the UK. However, after watching his beloved Australia struggle in England during the recent Investec Ashes series, will he still be smiling after the series Down Under?
Shane will be writing a blog during the course of the current Ashes series on what it’s like to be an Aussie In Lancashire.
So, after Australia increase their advantage, here are his thoughts...
After a massive weekend of playing Robin Hood in a Christmas Pantomime, I was all geared up to watch the Aussies take just four English scalps and go two-nil up in the series.
It took Australia less than an hour's play (11 overs and four balls) of the final morning to skittle England's tail, and I fell asleep moments before the start of play.
International Time Zones suck. Or maybe it’s just old age.
I have to feel a little sorry for the travelling English side. After being terrorised by Mitchell Johnson in Brisbane, the tourists had been hoping for a nice, flat batting surface in Adelaide, and some respite from Johnson et al’s incessant chin-music.
Apparently Johnson didn’t get that memo. Taking 7/40 in the first innings, ‘Notch’ has been simply unplayable for England.
I wonder when the Barmy Army will figure out that their songs seem to spur him on….
Thankfully for the series’ sake, England is showing glimpses of competitiveness.
312 in the second dig is not a bad score when chasing an absurd 500–plus fourth inning target.
Joe Root, Pietersen and Prior all made encouraging scores, and will hopefully improve as the series continues.
Ian Bell on the other hand needs to pick up his form.
A decent 72 not out in the first innings aside, the ‘Shermanator’ has been no-where near the levels he hit during the summer – where he scored three centuries.
However England’s major concern is still the blistering pace of Australia’s seam bowlers. Johnson has been destructive, Siddle has nagged and toiled away, and Harris has stayed fit.
And sadly things are unlikely to get any easier on a fast and bouncy WACA wicket in Perth.
If England is to stand a chance, then it needs to bring in the pace of Tim Bresnan, see Broad bowl like in Brisbane, and hope that James Anderson can generate some swing from the Fremantle-doctor breeze that blows through the WACA.
Graeme Swann has not been his usual self this series – yet not bad enough to warrant dropping, while Monty Panesar could do a little more to stake a claim as England’s sole spinner. Picking two slow bowlers at Adelaide is always a risky choice, and on that occasion didn’t pay off for the tourists, as Monty and Swanny could only muster 4 wickets between them in both innings.
“The Ashes are not gone,” said Alastair Cook.
“We have to dust ourselves off, work really hard and believe it can be turned around,” he declared.
“It's hurting like hell, but the only ones who can do anything about it is us.”
They’ll certainly need to dig deep, because retaining the Ashes is looking as likely as Man United retaining the Premier League.
I had my first taste of performing in a proper-British pantomime, playing as Robin Hood in “Babes in the Wood” at the Salford Arts Theatre.
Strangely enough the good thespian folks treading the boards seemed to disappear at the very mention of ‘cricket’ – although I was affectionately referred-to as ‘that convict’ more than once.
Defeating the Sherriff of Nottingham was almost as much fun as watching Australia taking another step toward regaining the Ashes.