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Ashes: Where does arrogance end and stupidity begin?

Stuart Broad doesn't mind a spot of village cricket. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
Editor
7th August, 2015
133
5079 Reads

Hey Michael Clarke, is it really wise to admit you were trying to hit the skin off the ball when your team (remember you’re the captain and all that) is 5/21 after 36 deliveries on the first day of a Test match?

Oh, you want to admit that in your press conference anyway? Okay, go right ahead, but be prepared for the shitstorm that follows.

FULL FOURTH ASHES TEST SCORECARD

On the topic of shitstorms, can we get sweary in columns about the Aussies’ performance yet? When your team gets rolled for 60 on the first morning of a Test, surely it’s time supporters can throw the toys out of the cot?

It was a juicy wicket? 4/274 begs to differ.

After three Tests of talking it up; first the Aussies, then England, then Australia again, it’s become clear that the second Test match was more anomaly than normality.

I was convinced the Aussies would respond in solid fashion after a drubbing at Egdbaston, just like they did at Lord’s.

Knuckle down lads. The ball’s swinging, so it’s probably not the time to try to heave your third rock over cover for six. We’re not in St Kitts anymore.

I was wrong.

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Time to throw those toys, Aussie fans.

The alternative is rally behind our lads, and watch the second morning of this Test match dutifully, as if we’re still a chance.

We might have done that, you know, if Michael Clarke hadn’t uttered the following words to the press after the first day’s play at Trent Bridge:

“I was thinking ‘If he pitches it up I’m going to hit it as far as I can’. I watched guys around me get out trying to defend and I thought, like I’ve always said, the better the bowling the more aggressive you’ve got to be. You live by the sword, you die by the sword.”

Choice quotation.

Also intensely arrogant. Or stupid. You know, I can’t really tell which.

Geoff Lemon on White Line Wireless likened Australia’s first innings to a Foie Gras factory, and suggested the authorities be called in, such was the number of malnourished ducks waddling back to the pavilion in creams.

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Note that England wear white, and no ducks were harmed by them.

Australia’s performance was braindead and arrogant. Every dismissal reeked of bad attitude and shocking decision making.

The 11th stupidest thing to happen was Michael Clarke telling the collected press that he tried to belt Stuart Broad, who had four for bugger all at the time, over extra cover to practically giftwrap the beanpole his five-fa.

You live by the sword, you die by the sword – it’s the grossest of false dichotomies.

What about living by the shield, and not dying at all?

Clarke was on a hiding to nothing by fronting the media after a capitulation of that magnitude. He did it with good grace; probably too much good grace, and too much honesty.

What he actually said mightn’t measure up with our expectations of what he should have said, or compare with what Steve Waugh or Allan Border might have said. I won’t get stuck into a guy for speaking his mind, which is all too rare in modern sport.

As supporters, though, we have the right to expect a fight. What we got was one free-punching pugilist, and another with his gloves by his side.

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All the stuff about staying positive and still being in the Test match… Well there’s something to be said about playing a straight bat to the media, I just wish our players hadn’t played a straight bat to so many balls outside off stump.

It’s called a leave.