IT'S ROUND TWO of the Ashes Down Under and after Day Two the hosts hold the upper hand. And again an LCCC employee is trying not to rub our noses in it...
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 Day Two of the Second Test, here are his thoughts...
Battered. Deep fried. With chips and gravy. Usually an English delicacy – but last night summed up Australia’s devastating performance at the Adelaide Oval. 570 for nine. An Ashes record of 12 sixes in the innings.
You just can’t let some people off the hook. Give players like Brad Haddin a sniff – and he’ll usually punish you with a sneer!
Michael Clarke on the other-hand is a superstar. He scores runs (over 1000 in 2013), leads his team well on the field, wears long-sleeves to keep the grumbling purist-traditionalists happy.
A good score on a flat-deck aside; Australia’s middle order is still a long way from being world class. Clarke is so, so essential to the line-up, and has led with the bat for the last 12 months. Watson, Smith and Rogers really need to stake a claim to their place.
That being said, who would replace them? Shaun Marsh? Usman Khawaja? Philip Hughes? All three have been given numerous opportunities and failed to make the cut.
Maybe Mike Hussey should have been frozen in 2008 at the peak of his [Austin] Powers, to be thawed-out when his country needed him most…
Speaking of freezing – Manchester is growing very cold for an Aussie used to the sun and blue skies. Winter is coming to England!
People keep telling me “You look pale Shane!” I like to tell them that it’s a side-effect of the severe amounts of Lancashire sunshine I’ve endured.
Adelaide can have its warm weather, bring on the the doom and gloom of British December! (And some snow would be nice)
Ben Stokes – technically a Kiwi – made his debut, would be rapt with a big innings against the Aussies at Adelaide, and bowled a semi-respectable of 2/70 off 18 overs.
I was lucky enough to witness the brilliant Blackburn Rovers defeat Leeds 1-0 at Ewood Park last weekend, and got my first proper taste of travelling Leeds fans. They reminded me a lot of Collingwood fans from back home – except slightly wittier!
Chatting to a few Leeds fans, they asked me why I’m living in Manchester and not Leeds. I just smiled and walked away.
To their credit, the sheer number of travelling fans made for an incredible atmosphere in Blackburn – even while watching an ordinary performance from Leeds – and probably made up half of the entire crowd. The travelling Barmy Army are probably in for a similar situation – especially if England keep dropping sitters!
There’s been a lot of noise about the standard and general legitimacy of the ‘Drop-in Pitch’. I always thought it was literally dropped in by helicopters on large strings. Apparently they just grow it nearby, dig it out, roll it up and put it down. An underwhelming image. So I’m going to keep pretending that it’s air-lifted (air-dropped?) in.
I presume it gets rolled up and stored away after the summer!
Here's to tomorrow!
Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images