10th January 2011

Canberra. What a party city. If you’re a town planner that is. The place has more squares than Charles Colville’s childhood social circle. It must be the only capital city modelled on a Piet Mondrian painting.

With the change of scenery we’ve also had a change to one-day mode. That involves altering the pace of our batting, as using the Duckworth–Lewis target as a guide to keep us ahead of the game means we’ve had to rein ourselves back since the test series. I guess that’s what happens when the Johnson and Hilfenhaus pie stall is temporarily closed for business.

Having said that, RoboTrott2000 scored at almost a run a ball today, whilst still making his innings seem like treacle dripping down sandpaper. Therein lays his genius. He takes the game away from the opposition without running the risk of entertaining their supporters in the process. That’s something someone like Botham could only dream of.

Despite that, the innings of the day was Ian Bell’s unbeaten century. Ian’s come such a long way since Shane Warne haunted his dreams with images of fast spinning leg-breaks and that terrifying hidden camera footage of him in playboy undercrackers. You don’t get that facing Xavier Doherty. His test careers’ unlikely to get him a knee trembler behind the overflow bins at his local kebab shop, let alone a crack at Liz Hurley. How can you be ‘mentally disintegrated’ by the thought of a hand job from a woman who smells of hummus?

If this really is the new face of Australian cricket, then we’re all the poorer for it. The excitement of Ashes contests won’t return until English batsmen look on as Australian bowlers shine the ball vigorously on their trouser whites, their minds clouded by the thought, “I hope he’s cleaned himself downstairs since last night”.

Which reminds me, we’re back in Adelaide tomorrow…