As Pat Cummins crouches down, bottle green helmet with the Australian crest emblazoned upon his head, waiting for Steve Smith to bowl the final delivery of the Sydney Test he is staring at James Anderson.
Anderson the veteran, Anderson the greatest of English bowling, Anderson the private school boy.
As we watch the slow depletion of Australian rugby since the world cup-winning side of 1999 – a triumph brought about with a sides filled with students of the green fields of private schools – we can easily draw the link with English cricket and private schooling.
From the Australian XI who took the field in Sydney the vast majority are state educated. The only major exception is Cameron Green who the UK media have reported previously that he attended the ‘elite’ Scotch College, Perth, which requires a non-boarding annual fee for secondary school students of $29,280.
In comparison to the English XI who all bar Ben Stokes and Mark Wood were independently educated.
Continuing to draw the link between the Australian rugby experience and English cricket’s continuing trauma there is much deeper social and class pressures which have incubated and grown a bacterium on the sports.
Both have suffered the short-term sugar hits of television pay deals with Fox and Sky. This had the effect of minimising the viewership and pushing rugby in Australia and cricket in the UK to screens that are owned by families that can afford the experience.
Both have suffered an evaporating pool of talent. In the UK the selling off of cricket ovals by the Thatcher, Cameron, May and Johnson Governments have given local cricket clubs no option but to fold with dwindling registration, ensuring cricket becomes a purely exclusive sport.
Meanwhile in Australia, rugby programs in public schools have long been confined to the bottom of the draw. With school rugby in Sydney concentrated into GPS and CHS school competitions.
The answer seems quite simple but both Rugby Australia and the ECB may not enjoy the answer – if you want to survive cut your ties.
The sooner both sports are widely visible with free-to-air channels ensuring the largest opportunity for the public to view the sport and fall in love with the sports the sooner you will reap the rewards in the trophy cabinet and in revenue.