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All hail Monty, Jimmy and Collie!

Posted on 12 July 2009 | 8:07pm

I thought I would get back from the triathlon (good fun but horrible wind), clamber onto the sofa and fall asleep in front of Australia’s cruise towards victory in the first Test. Sleep? Not a chance.

One of the cliche complaints trotted out by people who don’t get cricket is that a match can last as long as five days and sometimes you don’t even get a result. How can one feel anything but pity for such people, unable to appreciate and enjoy the drama that has just unfolded in Cardiff?

One of the sporting highlights of last season (football) was Burnley’s victorious penalty shoot-out at Chelsea. What we have just witnessed was like the longest penalty shoot out ever. Each and every ball survived by Jimmy Anderson (of Burnley btw) and Monty Panesar cheered with the same passion as greets a goal. And even though Paul Collingwood will have cursed the shot that got him out, what a performance to stay there for six hours just grinding out a draw for his country.

We could probably have done without the seeming sportsmanship of physio and messenger wandering onto the pitch as the clock ticked on. Oh what am I saying? … that was so Aussie, so ruthless, it was impossible not to admire it just a little.

The Aussies will have woken up this morning, opened the curtains in their hotel, seen what a lovely day it was going to be, and felt the Test was in the bag. They will have felt it even more strongly as the wickets started to fall. But they did not bank on Collie, Monty and Jimmy. Brilliant.

A word for the TV coverage too. As we were watching, one of my sons asked if there was a media equivalent of ‘Sports Personality of the Year.’ He said Sky’s cricket team were far and away the best commentary team of any sport going. Given the knowledge and expertise in the commentary box, maybe that is to be expected, but  not all past great players of any sport make for great commentators. Botham, Gower, Hussain, Atherton, David Lloyd – these guys do, and they certainly helped make today even more special.

It is hardly possible to imagine that this Ashes series could be as exciting as the last one on home soil. But with one Test gone, and Lord’s approaching, it is looking like it might be.

  • Ann

    Just saw you’d tweeted this, and I’m not a great cricket fan, but I can see the sportsmanship and well done England for the draw, look forward to the next Test!

    Ann
    @annie52

  • Martin D Dean

    My tweet I have no doubt will confuse those who do not get cricket.
    MartinDDean#ashes – its a draw!- its a draw!- its a draw!- its a draw!- its a draw!- its a draw!- its a draw!- its a draw!- Cricket. Boring -PAH

    But come off it about $ky – the camera work is first rate – but they need to either sack Bumble or bring in a no commentary option. Thank god for Aggers and Blowers.
    Of course even if we win it won’t be 2005 – cos its not on C4

  • Harry Ward

    Not too tired to watch cricket? Not too tired to blog on it? You can’t have put enough into the tri. I agree about the wind. Horrible going out from the clubhouse, but better coming back. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasms

  • Luther V

    Agree about the old lags in the commentary box. My God when you think of the combined experience of those guys. I still like Boycott though, and think he is a bit wasted on radio five. What I like best about him is that he so obviously gets under the skin of everyone else.

  • Ben

    what a fantstic match, very tense at the finish

  • Graham Hoyland

    The cricket authorities get a lot of stick so they deserve credit for taking the test to Cardiff. I know they struck lucky with the weather and the quality of the match but sometimes you make your own luck, and they really deserve to be recognised for the role they played in this spectacle. I thought the atmosphere at the end was brilliant, more like football or rugby than cricket. Superb.

  • John Moss

    Bloody Hell! I agree with AC on something.

  • Pam Nash

    Absolutely breathtaking final hour – wonderful. Re the commentary team, yes, Sky fine, Bumble a legend – but Aggers, CMJ, Blowers, Boycott and Vic Marks ARE cricket to me, so Sky on TV with 5 Live Extra on radio. They’re totally in sync, so perfect. Just wish Bumble would go back to TMS – life would be complete!

  • Gareth

    Monty! Monty! Monty! Amazing finish. Loved every ball.

    It’s turned what would have been a confidence boost for the Aussies into a massive confidence boost for us. Brilliant.

    Nice to meet you at the triathlon today. Going to target one for next summer. Need to get the swimming sorted first.

  • Steve Cartman

    “It is hardly possible to imagine that this Ashes series could be as exciting as the last one. But with one Test gone, and Lord’s approaching, it is looking like it might be.”

    The last one wasn’t very exciting, England lost five nil.

    And here’s to Lord’s, where England haven’t won an Ashes test since 1934, let’s hope they can change that statistic!

  • Wyrdtimes

    Out of interest who are you rooting for Mr C? Are you the Englishman by birth supporting England? Or are you the faux Scot and supporting anyone but England?

  • Alex Manchester

    I woke up this morning in Sydney and was thrilled to see we’d managed a draw. When I left it last night, Flintoff was looking very ordinary and the outlook wasn’t good.

    Whether it will live up to 2005…. England really haven’t displayed any series-winning qualities as yet, they were outplayed in every area. They need a big improvement for Lords, even just to offer the Aussies some decent competition, but it’s undoubtedly a relief not to be heading there 1-0 down.

  • Katharine T.

    Erm… I watched a documentary a couple of weeks ago about how Cricket is gaining popularity in Canada because of all the immigrants we are getting. I sat through two hours of ranting and raving about how great cricket is, watched some of what they showed of the game and still haven’t the vaguest clue of what the point it..apart from maybe points. I was totally lost; it just looked like a bunch of blokes in really nice looking sweaters playing what looked to be a really complicated game that appeared to be a cross between baseball and croquet…..

    I’ll stick to hockey, English Premiership and F1 racing thanks…. it’s hard enough to date a guy in Canada who likes soccer and F1 never mind adding bloody cricket to the mix.

  • gary Enefer

    Cricket on Sky – I agree – the very best viewing one could wish for – well done Paul Collingwood and the tale.Let’s hope the top order can step up.

  • Mike

    My friend GM, a life long supporter of cricket will enjoy this. It proves his point, there is at least one other cricket supporter out there. You have made an old friend very happy.

  • Ken Coker

    Well, it’s all very well AC, but some of us don’t have Sky and won’t have it for politcal reasons – oh, forgot, Murdoch is our friend.
    The point is: I play for two cricket clubs and both of them have trouble recruiting young players. For all the millions the ECB get fron Sky, the biggest recruiter for getting young people into the game is to put it back on terrestial TV.(I acknowledge the money the ECB has put back into the game). One of my clubs I’ve just started, and we get kids who have never even seen a game of cricket wanting to play; how can this be good for the game? And no, we don’t get Channel 5 here either….
    Anycase, Tideswell won, England drew..a great cricketing day.

  • Wyrdtimes

    Who are you supporting Mr Campbell?

  • Em

    Feel pity for me? Great, well, let’s start with all those cricket people who won’t tell you how cricket works. No one will explain it to me. Terry from FB is one of them, file him under exhibit 1276. I’m beginning to think everybody’s winging it.