This question will never be answered since cricket has been and always will be played in some of the most beautiful places across the world – from back gardens, village greens, the maidans of India to ice in Antarctica but one of the most iconic has to be the ‘hill’ under the fig trees at the Adelaide Oval which is where I have plonked myself today among the Aussie faithful and fans (on the opposite hill to the Barmies in case anyone should worry about my sanity). Today is day 5 of an absorbing test – mistakes made on both sides looking back with hindsight but we can expect a result one way or the other.
England start at 4/176 needing another 178 for an historic win or Australia need 6 wickets to have a substantial lead and their first grip on the urn. Root played well for his 67no but he will need to be magnificent today to seal a win. Bairstow and Ali also need to come to the party but then also turning up are the Aussie attack and a new ball in 18 overs.
Forecast for the drinks break 6/230
Well not quite – seven down at drinks and barely a run added in the hour. Woakes and Root went so quickly they didn’t really settle or had their ‘game heads’ on. Ali is completely mesmerised by Lyon and has become his rabbit – out to him on all four occasions this series. If the spinner can’t pick the spinner then there’s trouble ahead! Bairstow and Overton are digging in and trying to dig for victory but I fear it’s a lost cause.
Forecast for tea/short break 8/240
England didn’t even make it to tea/short break – all out 233 and losing by 120 runs: if the wheels on the tour bus aren’t off by now they’re certainly very loose. From 3/169 to 233 all out is not good. The batting is not working and the bowling is not full enough, the spin option is not there and whilst Overton and Woakes looked better as second string than Woakes/Ball did in Brisbane they need to improve still further!
The Adelaide Oval whilst iconic is also spectator friendly in the extreme – whilst the top of the Riverbank Stand is almost in another state you’re so far away, the other facilities are splendid. All transactions are by card and the Oval even has its own card system, you exchange cash for card on arrival and can cash it back in when you leave or if you’re a local or regular then just keep the card and top it up next time.
Where we can also learn is how to treat the paying customer – at Brisbane at the end of each day and at the end of the game here, the Aussie side went round the boundary signing autographs and having selfies taken- the crowd loved it and a few minutes effort from some exhausted players who had not gone back to the pavilion yet, and you have fans and paying public for life! English cricket has a lot to learn: ok the great god football is our national game but just give it a try! What is there to lose?
All in all just got under 200,000 people passed through the turnstiles over the five days – and over 20,000 today! It would take Lords two full test matches to come close!
Do where do we go from here? I fear the urn will be lost well before Christmas. The class Australian attack puts ours to shame, Lyon seems to have most batsmen caught like rabbits in headlights and the batting is just not firing – Vince 83 is the best score so far!
So the best place to watch cricket? To misquote Shakespeare “all English men now abed will wish themselves that they don’t turn the alarm on early to listen to the cricket” – leave it to the poor suckers who’ve spent a fortune to follow an Ashes tour but enjoying every minute and don’t begrudge a penny! It’s like every Christmas you’ve ever had squashed into one and then some! Wouldn’t miss it for the world but the Lord’s pavilion still takes some beating for the best cricket place in the world!
At least the England team is not the only thing running around like a headless emu!