danieldwilliam: (machievelli)
To London last weekend for the second part of my four part birthday celebration, a trip to the Oval with my dad and his mate Dave to watch England play Australia.

The three of us often go to the cricket together. We have a well worn routine. This weekend was not much different.

Dad and Dave had tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday with me joining for Saturday and Sunday - days 3 and 4 of the Test.

I flew down on Friday night and met up with Dad and Dave for our traditional Friday night dinner in a Greek Cypriut restaurant. Dave has a mate who goes there every week and we've been going there with him, regularly, for twenty years. We're welcomed and the portions are significant. One meze and kleftico later we collapsed on the sofas at Dave's to watch the highlights of the days play from the Oval. In reply to Australia's 481 all out England were 100 and something for 8.

The plans for Saturday were to make our way to the Oval, watch the cricket then join one of Dad and Dave's old school chums and his wife for dinner.

In many ways the cricket went as expected. England's last batsmen put up a bit of spirited resistance, scoring 36 in a few overs from boundaries. Moheen Ali is fine stricker of the ball. I can see the arguement for him opening. I could see it all the more quickly a few moments later.

Johnson dismissed Wood and Ali in consequtive balls to dismiss England for 149.

Uniquely, Clark enforced the follow on. It's a great shame he's only really discovered himself as a Captain in his last test.

Just time for me to purchase myself an Australia Green and Gold polo shirt and cap.

So after a short break we sat down to watch England's second innings. It was better but not good. Cook looked tenacious and prudent yet aggressive and I could see him standing out there for two days like Atherton but late in the day a Captaincy Combo of Clarke and Smith undid him a little short of a well deserved hundred and a heafty Australian victory looked enevitable. Much consulting of weather forecasts. Rain on Sunday, but probably not until 2. That would give Australia a whole session to take 4 wickets.

We broke for dinner in a Sardinian restaurant. Lively chat, largely about Corbyn and holidays. Lovely food and wine. I had calamari stuffed with calamari, fillet of lamb and a creme catalana. Very lovely. Home, to watch the highlights of the cricket on the sofa.

Between the cricket I'd managed a good few hours of conversation with my dad. It was lovely to spend the day with him.

On Sunday Dave opted out of the cricket. I could see his point. He's likely to travel half way across London and watch 8 overs of cricket and his team badly beaten and then travel home in the rain. Dad manfully agreed to chum me down to watch Australia win.

As it happened the rain came early and heavier than forecast and caused a little bit of anxiety. Light showers at 2 became heavy shower at noon. Australia had only taken two of the necessary four wickets with Ali and Butler looking in decent nick. Advantage still with Australia but you'd always want to finish off the match rather than be sitting about in the damp wondering if it might rain for weeks.

By chance Widgetfox, her husband and father-in-law were at the Oval too. So, Dad and I met up with them and had a chat. Somehow I got myself in to a discussion about electoral systems with WidgetFox's father-in-law, the key motif of which seemed to be Me: the thing you thing FPTP does, it doesn't do. Him: But I like the thing that FPTP does. Dad opted out of the rest of the day, instead chosing to head back to Ealing to watch the Grand Prix and some football. I rebased myself from my seats to the spare seats next to WF.

After an hour and half of rain play resumed. As advertised it didn't take long for the final two wickets to fall.

Australia win the fifth test but lose the series 2-3 and the Ashes are placed in the temporary custodianship of England.

Widgetfox and I didn't stick around for the presentation but instead went for a walk in Green Park and St James park and talked hither and thither. It was lovely although neither of were really as cheerful as we usually are.

Home afterwards via the Docklands Light Railway (there's more of it than you think) and London City airport (there's less of it than you think).

Home fairly late. A lovely bottle of whisky from some friends as a birthday present. Still tired. Fell asleep on the sofa on Monday night after MLW went to bed, the wrong move as it wasn't great sleep and the Captain decided to wake up at 4.45.

My thoughts on the cricket.

It's been a funny old series. Both sides have looked brittle - in particular the batting, but the bowling has at times also failed to make an impact. All the matches have been very lopsided and increasingly so. It's not provided much entertainment. A 2-3 loss probably seems fair but the whole thing appears to have largely been a crapshoot rather than a test of cricketing ability. I look forward to better cricket and a better result in 2017 and 2018.
danieldwilliam: (Australia)
With two tests of the current Ashes series down and only one win or two draws required for Australia (1) to win back the Ashes it’s time to reflect on hubris and my understanding of the deep strategy of Australian Cricket.
Wherein I discuss cricket and Australianness as if they were two separate things. )
danieldwilliam: (Default)

I’m doing some fairly routine work, work that doesn’t require much in the way of thinking so I’m listening to the Test Match, on my PC over the internet.

Truly I live in the future that science fiction didn’t predict.

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danieldwilliam

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