“It’s not the despair, I can deal with the despair. It’s the hope.”
There was hope, for a couple of sessions, as England lost just a wicket in each, though helped by the rain in the second. But England have lost, and the end came quickly. The tails look mismatched, strong on the Aussie side, a mild annoyance on England’s. Australia even had room to screw up a basic skill, failing to run out the last wicket thanks to Lyon forgetting the rules of the game. Overall, it hasn’t been quite the masochistic experience I thought it might be. The atmosphere has been fantastic, particularly during the afternoon session on day 2, when I had the word “febrile” in my head the whole time. The way Clarke came out on day 3 was something to see, he immediately looked to be on to something good. As soon as he was in, Broad was brought back on, bounced him and saw the ball pulled to the boundary – superb. Even with half the upper tier empty on the Sunday it was noisy. I could have picked up tickets on the day, which bodes well for future tests where I’ve only one ticket booked so far. I turned a corner on Saturday to find Gladstone Small in front of me, being grabbed by fans as he made his way back to his seat – in amongst the general population, I think. It seemed strange that he’s not so small at all, taller than I am.
Some Aussies got particularly loud in the afternoon today, but if they were very drunk they couldn’t quite hold back and got themselves thrown out. We had a thunderstorm, but despite hail and gusting rain that made the crowd squeal and head up the stadium in search of cover, it only lasted half an hour or so and they were playing within an hour or so. Last night was a much bigger storm, but it wouldn’t have saved England. The worst thing was their retreat into their shell in both innings-runs were irrelevant in the second, but at least turning the strike over keeps the opposition busy, and only Pietersen seemed to want to get busy. Carberry, ultimately in the side as a corrective to Compton’s tendency to score slowly, doesn’t yet look like an answer to that problem.
It was also slightly sad in the house. Saturday night we’d had a few beers, to celebrate Fabien and the racist braggart Eddie leaving. We’ll miss Fabien. I have a room to myself, and just the three of us there for the week, unless we have any surprise bookings. We had one this week, turning up just as I was about to leave, recognising that he needed to get into the house before I escaped and being a little surprised to have arrived unexpected.
I made it to South Bank parkrun on Saturday after another early start. Being out at 6am doesn’t feel natural to me, but it is to the locals, the paths and pavements are full of people out running and cycling, it’s wonderful. I was expected at parkrun, as my new friends Steve and Anne from Intraining are normally event directors and had briefed he crew. I met Scottish (well, of course) event director Moray on my 2 mile jog in and was introduced on the start line.
“He has run 176 parkruns”
“That’s more than the score in the cricket, isn’t it?”
It’s a pretty flat course, with two bridge crossings, the second of which takes you up some steps and then a climb to the middle of the bridge. I picked off the first lady before the bridge and a couple of people on it. Coming off the bridge, several people were using the wheelchair ramp, but luckily the triathlete ahead of me went straight down the steps. I followed, more quickly, overtaking soon afterwards. It was hard work, and slower than last week, but a bit better paced than that so I was pleased despite a last minute loss of position to younger legs on the sprint. Mission accomplished, in that I made it into the top ten, and that despite counting at least 15 ahead of me after a mile. Lots of Ashes tourists there – I feel a little guilty to have picked up a personal mention, but that’s what you get for putting in the hard work with a local running club.
Outside the cricket I was intrigued to hear that “American director David Frankel was looking for authenticity with his inspirational new film about Britain’s Got Talent winner Paul Potts…” I have advice; when looking for authenticity, not making a film about a ‘reality’ TV show would be a huge step along on the way.
Results from South Bank parkrun, event 54, 23/11/13.