The Ashes Down Under 2013/14: The WACA

Yes, after the Gabba, the WACA. Because just like the cricket itself, this gets curioser and curioser.

What can I say? As an Aussie supporter, I feel pretty damn good about this series. Australia have dominated this thing from the start, and with two tests left, the Ashes are back where they belong. Yes. It’s my column, and I can say that. After something resembling a good start in Perth (expectations have clearly been lowered over the last few weeks), England once again collapsed into themselves. They never got ahead of the Australians, and in the end, they were 150 runs short. It’s the same old story, and funnily enough, exactly what happened to Australia earlier in the summer: The batting is just not good enough. While Australia seem to give each player a chance to score a century, England are in trouble after the first three wickets.

Things have come full circle. All that’s left for England to do is to wake up from this nightmare and try to leave with at least a few memorable days. The discussion about the team’s future started weeks ago, but now that most of the old guard have played some pretty bad cricket, the metaphorical heads will roll, and the search for new talent will continue frantically. I really feel for the English; they’ve had a horrible time down under, and any fall from grace is hard to take. But the changes will do them good, and the next Ashes are a few years in the future, so who knows who’ll turn up in English cricket. Ben Stokes has looked good, and not only in comparison to his teammates — he will undoubtably be part of a new English squad.

But most of all, I’m happy for the Australians. After years of failure, and the loss of the great players of days gone, they have come up with another set of incredibly talented cricketers. Perhaps most importantly, the fun is back. I may be identifying a bit too much with my favourite team here, but finally, the typical Aussie happy-go-luckiness is back, and you can tell just by the grins on their faces. All the players work incredibly hard, of course, but they make it look easy. And that’s what makes the whole thing worthwhile. Here’s an article about the Aussies and their favourite sport, and I agree. I’ve lost some serious sleep for this test, but I don’t regret a thing. Every inning has had its own batting hero, from my special pal Steve Smith on day one to Shane Watson’s epic ton on day four. Even the way Watson eventually got out was fun. Things just keep happening for this team.

Well, this series will go on until early January, hopefully in the same way. I won’t be able to catch much more of it live, and what a shame it is. Nothing beats sitting in a cold, wintry kitchen at 7 a.m. with your first of many cups of coffee, watching people swelter in the near 40 degree heat of Western Australia. The breeze brings seagulls onto the outfield and the shadows get longer. And please don’t take this the wrong way, but everybody’s upper arms look so much better in the evening light. (Want proof? Here you are. We will not mention it again.) Anyway, seeing all this makes me want to go to Australia badly. One day, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, I’ll join those sweating people sitting on the lawn, and I won’t mind the heat, because I’ll have all I need right there in front of me.

Here’s some feelgood, for people who love highlights set to music.

And I’ll leave you with a new world record and proof that things happen in cricket: George Bailey scoring 28 runs off a single over:

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Karo

Schnazzy East German translator and cricket obsessive residing in England. I have other qualities, too.

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