I woke up this morning with the completely unoriginal idea of discussing England’s 4 losses on the trot (excuse the pun). I was going to talk about the garbage that was heaped on India when last English summer, as the number one test team in the world, lost 4 matches in a row in England. There was rampant triumphantism and a hell of a lot talk about the fact that they were an undeserving number one team. It was unfortunate behaviour by the press and supporters alike, and unfair. India have since continued the losing streak and fallen down the table. It happens when your best players are mid-to-late 30-somethings.
In the meantime, this English team, the current number one ranked test cricket side have lost 4 matches in a row overseas. And not to the next best thing, but to Pakistan. Pakistan always have the ability to pull the mercurial effort out of the bag, but 3-0 over England, on a neutral territory it must be added, was a very long way from an possibility before the first test, let alone expected.
Then they lost to a rebuilding young Sri Lanka.
Was anyone piling on the pressure to anywhere near the same degree as India suffered last year? Are they ****! This is the best team on the planet, playing on unfriendly sub-continental pitches. It’s really not their fault, they are pretty dam good, the conditions were against them, the umpires, the pitches, did I mention the conditions?
I was really hoping that they would be on the way to a fifth straight loss, and Strauss would be facing some of the criticisms thrown at Ponting. Unfortunately they played pretty well today. And if they get through the match and steal a win (which is highly likely), all will be forgiven.
I realise that my test watching memory only goes back to the late 80’s … 1988/89 to be exact. I do remember being interested in the odd match before that, but that series against the Windies was when a young boy’s love affair with the national game really too root.
That said, in all that time, I really don’t recall Australia ever losing 4 test matches in a row. 3 once, I think, definitely 2, but never 4. When they were the number one team in the world a single victory – even on the subcontinent – was usually greeted with surprise, or a least bitter disappointment. When Ponting was leading a bunch of under performing blokes in a team rapidly descending to the depths of the abysmal, they still didn’t capitulate as often and as embarrassingly (the 52 against South Africa and loss to New Zealand notwithstanding). But hey, what are you going to say?
Looking forward to a weekend of the “retribution” Masters tournament, test cricket, a bit of AFL and even some English Premier League, plus some chocolate.
Who could ask for more?
All I need now is for some kind of political scandal and the week would be perfect!