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25th November 2010

Andy Flower is ecstatic. And why not? It’s hard to imagine how the day’s play could have gone any better for us. We are in a position of relative strength. Relative that is to the shitfest England normally serves up on the first day of an Ashes series.

But today we weren’t skittled out in double figures. None of the bowler’s trousers fell round their ankles during the delivery stride. Matt Prior didn’t drop the microphone whilst being interviewed. None of the embarrassments from the past were revisited.

The clown car is still firmly in the driveway, handbrake on. That’s progress. Real, measurable, progress.

The team statistician has fed our first innings score into a mathematical formula based on previous Ashes first day performances and the extrapolated result is clear. We will win the series 7-0. Fact. You can’t argue with algebra. Not even abstract algebra, which just looks like someone’s fallen asleep face down on a keyboard.

Not everyone’s as happy with our efforts, of course. After his third ball slash to gully, Straussy loped back to the dressing room with the kind of downbeat expression normally found on the dolls used in courtrooms for children to indicate where they’ve been molested.

Trott’s effort wasn’t much better. You dream of meeting a girl as dirty as his innings. Although you’d hope she was tighter than his technique against the ball that bowled him.

The dressing room mood wasn’t at its most buoyant during Siddle’s hat-trick either. I like Siddle, although the world would be a happier, more joyful place if he were called Simon Piddle.

Siddle’s the kind of bowler who’d run through a brick wall for you. Even if you’re holding the door open for him at the time. And standing next to a sign reading “Don’t run into the wall”. You can’t buy dedication like that. Although you can train it with Pavlovian techniques.

Tomorrow we need Anderson to replicate his efforts with the ball. So far Jimmy’s managed to swing the Kookaburra both ways at once resulting in his famous, and almost unplayable, arm ball. You can see why Australia are trying to shield Usman Khawaja or Callum Ferguson from him.

Looking forward to tomorrow, now. Wonder who’ll get the first wicket for us? Will they celebrate with the sprinkler? Or the usual mixture of relief and curiosity as to whether the opposition will send out a night watchman…