After Australia's win in Brisbane, a Lancashire County Cricket Club employee tries his best not to gloat...
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, following Australia's win in Brisbane, here’s his latest installment…
He bowls to the left, he bowls to the riiiiiight! That Mitchell Johnson, his bowling is … well, pretty good really.
Johnson is back to his best, and the Aussies finally look the goods. For now at least.
After not being selected at all during the Ashes, Johnson was the man of the match in the ‘Gabbatoir’. His fast bowling and aggressive batting saw him take nine wickets and score 113 runs.
Around Emirates Old Trafford, any talk from this Australian about cricket has been met with confused looks and responses.
“Which test? The one in the summer? There’s cricket on?”
Or “trust the Aussie to have non-stop highlights on in the reception.”
However, while on-set of a short indie-film on Sunday, the director candidly chatted away about the Ashes, until the producer snapped and reminded us there was a film to shoot.
It wasn’t a great weekend for English sport – after New Zealand snatched a berth in the Rugby League World Cup final from under England’s nose at Wembley on Saturday.
Australia had its turn of self-loathing and anger during last summer’s series, and now it seems to be England’s turn to point the finger and criticise.
Lawrence Booth of the Daily Mail suggested that the visitors “will head for Alice Springs wondering whether the best course of action may be to make the detour to Ayers Rock and quietly throw themselves off.”
Geoffrey Boycott – always a beacon of optimistic Yorkshire joy – was less-than-pleased with the tourists' performance in Brisbane.
“The [England] batting has been pathetic,” said the pundit and ex-England player.
"England have an 82-page booklet on what to eat but one guy comes in and bowls at 90mph and they can't handle it.”
Former captain Nasser Hussain described England’s collapse as a “shambles,” and believes the visitors “were bullied” into submission.
Maybe what England is really lacking is some solid facial hair?
Johnson and Warner – who battered the Poms all weekend –proudly sport luscious, bristly and overtly-masculine moustaches; yet there is hardly a speck of bum fluff in Alastair Cook’s squad.
Why not hark back to the days of Beefy Botham’s thick and rugged beard that single-handedly destroyed Australia in 1981?
While the Brisbane Test has been something of a disaster for England, there is still a long Australian summer to go. The flatter wickets of Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney will provide completely different Test matches, and work more in the tourists’ favour.
Australia has set the tone for the series; now let’s see England’s response. This will be a real test of Cook’s captaincy.
We’ve certainly had a fiery start to the Ashes at the Gabba, and if the rest of the series follows suit it could make for fascinating viewing.
England will surely bounce back.
The series has only just begun.
Photo: Mitchell Johnson captures the final wicket as Australia win the first Test in Brisbane (c) Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images