Thursday means working from home. I had plenty to do and the first thing on the list was to take my elderly Toyota for its MOT. It has been a bit of a standing joke for the last couple of years, MOT or off to Africa. Today I genuinely felt that it was ‘off to Africa’. We have had some close shaves, the ET and I, but this time I was sure the work needed to get her through would be excessive, assuming that it was even possible of course.
I was a little annoyed with myself. After all I had known the MOT was due and rather than look at getting another car, I had left it almost until the last minute.
So it was with a heavy heart that I loaded Lilly the Collie into the car and in a steady drizzle set off for the garage. Stuart assured me that he would give me a call to let me know the outcome as soon as he knew. Lilly and I set off to the park for a run about and then a walk back via the woods and the golf course.
We arrived home, wet. Lilly let me dry her off before going to seeking shelter under my bed. I went up to the ‘office’ and looked at my list. It was almost time for Test Match Special, for my day working at home coincided with the start of the 4th Test at Trent Bridge. Good to have some background noise and gentle conversation to work to.
By the time I had worked through my emails, the toss had been made and England had invited Australia to have first crack at batting. Henry Blofeld was commentating first. He spotted a cabbage white, and there was talk of a seven spotted lady bird that had landed on Michael Clark’s arm during the toss. Some one joked that they,the Aussies, would be seven down by lunchtime. What happened next was really quite remarkable. Terrific stuff. In the first over Broad got his 300th and his 301st wicket. Wood get a wicket with the first ball of the second and so it continued. I feared for Henry Blofeld’s heath as he struggled and then failed to contain his excitement and joy.
You can’t really call it a collapse. It was more a capitulation. Australia were blown away for 60. Extra’s contributed the highest to the total with 14. Of course being English, even at 15-4 there was a large part of me that expected Australia to recover and mount some sort of fight back. But the wickets kept tumbling, the superlatives were running out, and Henry who commentated on the fall of the first five wickets, was probably resting in the back of the commentary box with a cold towel over his head.
Sixty all out. The quickest dismissal of any test side on a first innings, Stuart Broad 8 for 19, the third best set of bowling figures by an Englishman, the first and second belong to Jim Laker (achieved in the famous Old Trafford test, when Laker got 19 of the 20 wickets. I think it was Locke who selfishly got the other one.)
But England still had to bat. Surely it was the wicket. England would be bound to collapse. After all Australia could not be that bad. Could they? In the warm evening sunshine, England closed the day on 277-4, a lead of 217. The morning seemed like it was a different test on a different wicket.
Dare one tempt fate and say the ashes are coming home? It is going to take a major turnaround unprecedented in test cricket, or perhaps the ever reliably unreliable English weather, for Australia to get out of this one. I think the ashes might be on their way back. But goodness me, it was terrific stuff.
I still have my list of things to do. Somehow I could not quite concentrate for long enough to finish any of the tasks I had to get through, so it might be a late night.
My car? Oh it passed. A spot of welding, a long list of advisories but the ET is staying put for another year.