In just a few hours, the time for talking will have come to an end and the time for action will have begun. Until then, boy has there been a lot of talking.
The primary aggressor has been the unlikely figure of Australia’s offspinner Nathan Lyon. He looks like a cross between the least effective person at the office and a weasel, and he is the slowest bowler in the Australian team. Nevertheless, on Monday he declared his hope that Australia would “end the careers” of English batsmen. He also suggested that Australia were trying to get Root out of the side, that Australia’s fast bowlers were the best in the world, and that England have no chance of winning.
This follows Josh Hazlewood talking about Australia trying to “open up a few scars” for the England players who toured in 2013/14. Before that, David Warner said that England should expect “war”, and that he would make himself “hate” them during the series. In all honesty, the build up has been less like a cricket match and more like Wrestlemania.
I suppose that I should be annoyed by this kind of behaviour, but in truth I can understand why they feel the need to do it. This Ashes series is not a clash of the giants. It’s not even a clash of two particularly good teams. Divorced from the historical significance of a small urn and centuries of colonial rivalry, this matchup has very little going for it. Both batting lineups have gaping holes in them and both bowling lineups are good but lacking in depth should anything happen to the starters. And in England’s case, things have already started happening to their starters.
With this in mind, I don’t begrudge the Australians trying to drum up a little interest in the game. Are they using outdated and quite frankly offensive language when doing it? Yes, of course they are. They’re Australian. But the series does need promoting and people are talking about all these ridiculous statements, so mission accomplished I guess?
Looking forward to the actual cricket match tonight, the big question seemed to be about England’s fourth fast bowler. In the warmups, the position was Craig Overton’s to lose. After having managed three consecutive ducks with the bat, and good but not great figures with the ball, he has indeed lost out to Jake Ball. Ball claims to have fully recovered from his ankle injury, although England are certainly not without form when it comes to bringing injured players back prematurely.
On the Australian side of things, Warner and Marsh both have minor injury worries, causing CA to draft Glenn Maxwell in as late cover. I’m sure I speak for all England fans when I wish Shaun Marsh a very speedy recovery.
Which brings me to our big announcement: We at Being Outside Cricket will be running a live blog through the first day’s play. The post will begin around 9.30pm and go through the night as we take turns talking about the game and whatever else comes up. It’s a whole new experience for us, so please join us if you can.