- Australia getting thrashed, in tests, one-dayers, thumb wars, air-guitar competitions, by any team disembarking down under. Not just any, even the ones who jumped puddles and came over from New Zealand.
- The Sri Lankans celebrating a solitary win at the Premadasa in Colombo, against India in the 5th ODI of the series
- An IPL bidding frenzy over a player based on talent and not just “star” quality. (Mashrafe Mortaza isn’t quite a household name in target demographic for most advertisers…yet)
Up was down. Tit was tat. Cricket was tekcirC. Until the final day of the 2nd test match between England and the West Indies.
Sanity returned to the cricketing world when the highly expected happened at the Antigua Recreation Ground in St. John’s, Antigua. Experts say that England’s failure to press home from almost complete domination over four days in a five-day test match against an opponent now in the “Most dramatic sporting collapses” hall-of-fame, has numerous precedents.
England captain Andrew Strauss was visibly relieved at the post-match interview “It was close, wasn’t it. With Freddie out of commission, I figured it’d be a breeze to not take the 7 wickets. I’d be lying if I didn’t sweat a little near the end wondering whether one of the bowlers might land one straight, but they
Our sources spoke to several bookies who said that in contests like these involving two teams who have made “squandering the advantage” an art form, the smart money is invariably on the team in front to self-destruct. With Flintoff hobbled with a hip injury, even punters predicted a wicketless first session followed by a flurry late in the day as the West Indies would assert themselves to try and snatch defeat from the jaws of a draw.
A dejected West Indies captain Chris Gayle blamed the draw on the retirement of a certain Brian Lara. “His retirement certainly unsettled our lineup. For nearly a decade, his dismissal was the cue for the rest of the lineup to do the most promising impersonation of a pack of cards when someone opens a window”
Local spectators were subdued as they went about trying to look busy after their side couldn’t come away with the loss. A local resident dejectedly said “A bit of tradition has been lost today” On the other hand; the Barmy Army was in good cheer and continued to party long after time was called by the umpires in the final session. “Yet another forgettable day of cricket, to add to our enviable record over a couple of centuries.” He raised a toast as he congratulated the English team for “never failing to un-deliver”
Another “army-man” said how he never lost faith, even when that 9th wicket went down with the better part of an hour remaining. “I’d hold the bowlers responsible if that 10th wicket had fallen. Straussy did his bit by delaying the declaration in the face of a slow wicket and predictions of rain. All they had to do was to keep the ball away from Freddie”
For now the world of cricket is back to normal with the underachieving ways of the English. The West Indies will however will need to take a long hard look in the mirror to regain the spark that made them the biggest under-performers in over a decade.