I knew instinctively that I had woken early. I give myself until 7am on workdays; it was four o’clock in the morning.
“Oh well”, I thought, “Might as well see how much Australia lost by”. When I had gone off to sleep, they had just lost their eighth wicket and still had less than 200 runs on the board. David Willey and Moeen Ali wouldn’t have to face a ball.
When I checked the Cricinfo scorecard that was still the case. The situation, however, would have to change very soon as they were both at the wicket. England were 6/163, still 52 runs from victory. I sat bolt upright and charged out of bed.
I don’t live alone, so I muted the television as soon as I could. There was an initial burst of noise and then nothing. No sound from anywhere. Just visuals.
Almost as soon as I started watching I realised that England were still favourites to win the match. When there’s no-one telling you how to think, you start to do some thinking of your own.
I realised something: Australia may have been losing, but they had got me out of bed. They had a team wort getting out of bed for. They should aspire for higher than an honourable loss, but it’s a good start.
(Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
It’s also not ruinous for Australia to lose. One problem in cricket, as Bertus de Jong adroitly noted after England’s loss to Scotland, is that there are teams in the world for whom it is not the end of the world if they lose and teams for whom it is. Australia can afford to underperform.
The individual players might not be able to afford to do so – players just into the team, like Michael Neser, or irregulars, like Shaun Marsh and Kane Richardson – but their team won’t be joining them on the sidelines if they are not picked to play. That wouldn’t be the case if they were playing for a team like Scotland.
As it was, Neser, Richardson, Billy Stanlake and Andrew Tye gave their team the genuine chance that the batsmen couldn’t, even if they’re not Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins or Josh Hazlewood.
So there you have it, folks. Welcome to the new era of Australian cricket, where Australia play England in one-day matches on Channel Nine.
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