AT LONG last England have shown their mettle and are in a good position at close on Day Two. What does this mean from an Australian's perspective?
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.
In the true Christmas spirit of giving, us Aussies have outdone the English generosity and shown the world what a true batting collapse looks like. It was all-Australia on the morning of day 2 of the Boxing Day test. Mitchell Johnson was on fire, and claimed another fiver-fer, and Australia looked all set to cruise on past England’s paltry 255 and onto a 4-0 series lead.
Until Clarke and his boys thought: “No, this isn’t in the spirit of the festive season! Let’s be a little nicer to our travelling opponents.” And fall into a screaming heap to lose 9 wickets for 164 runs. Dreadful. But some deserved Christmas joy for the English, who have all endured a tough time recently.
But over here in Lancashire, I’ve enjoyed my first wintry Christmas. Sadly there was not even a speck of snow, but the roast turkey, Yorkshire puddings (they’d definitely taste better if named ‘Lancashire puddings’), four-hour games of Pictionary and endless pints have made an unforgettable festive season. Just before the holiday break at Emirates Old Trafford, we engaged in the annual staff indoor cricket tournament.
Being the token Aussie at the club, the responsibility of a nation’s hopes rested upon my shoulders. But like the Baggy Greens last night, I just felt it wasn’t right to batter the Poms even more than they’ve endured, and decided to allow a few of my colleagues some easy wickets. As it transpired, my charity wasn’t required, as a few members of the Lancashire CCC Foundation are really, really good. And fast. And a little terrifying.
I gave a massive boost to my future career prospects at the club by losing my grip on the bat, and seeing it sail through the air in the direction of the Chief Exec Daniel Gidney. Luckily it avoided a nasty collision with his head; however I did see a large stack of cardboard packing boxes appear near my desk the next day...
It was a shame to see England’s Greame Swann retire from test cricket; the game has lost a true character and very decent cricketer. However judging by his Ashes tour diaries, it won’t be long before he ends up a regular on 8 out of 10 Cats.
So the balance of the fourth test is firmly in England’s favour, and we’ll see if they can press home the advantage tonight.
Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire/Press Association Images