As Boxing Day traditions go, it’s a bit of an odd one. Since the installation of satellite telly in our house a few years ago, my Boxing Day begins earlier than most people’s. A four-in-the-morning start. Downstairs, light fire, brew tea, sneaky bit of pâté on toast (with maybe some blue cheese and cranberry sauce) from yesterday’s festive spread, put on telly.
The imported broadcast from Channel 9. Australia versus whoever. A time to savour one of the marquee days in world cricket, a world away, from my living room.

Why? Indefensibly, I’m a Test Cricket tragic. One of my objectives as part of my current world tour was to get to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 26th December for a day doing what I love doing most.

Sometimes my cricket fix works out really rather beautifully (2010- got downstairs just as our brave lads had skittled out the home team) and other times it doesn’t (2006- Bill Lawry nearly spontaneously combusting through paroxysms of high-pitched pleasure as Shane Warne took his 700th Test Wicket and our brave lads took a bit of a beating).

If I’d been back in Bedfordshire yesterday rather than in person at the ‘Greatest Sports Stadium Ever Built. In The World. Ever’ as a friendly local (Hello Rebecca!) keeps referring to it, I’d have probably gone back to bed.

Sri Lanka all out for 156. An inspired display by Australia’s pace bowlers and some horrid, horrid batting by the Sri Lankans meant The G was on a roll.

Yep, I’d have definitely put the half-done toast back in the bread bin, let the tea stew and trudged disconsolately and dozily back upstairs. As it was, I was there, so I had to endure all the Aussie grandstanding from close up. They bowled well, so they deserved it.

Tier 4, Bay Q18, Row D, Seat 10. An outstanding vantage point (Thank you again Gooders!) for an outstanding exhibition of pace bowling. Mitchell Johnson had one of his good days so we didn’t bother with the song. Jackson Bird showed great promise on debut and Peter Siddle loves playing in front of his home crowd as much they love him.
Sri Lanka were terrible though, Kumar Sangakkara excepted. The openers both got out stupidly. And early. Mahela Jayawardena had an off day. There was no tail to wag.

In reply, a rather dim-witted half hour from Australia almost made things interesting for the visitors, them being three wickets down but only six runs behind at the close. Michael Clarke and Shane Watson look in the mood against Sri Lanka’s pop gun attack. One of the travesties of our wonderful sport is that the preening, lazy but very talented Lasith Malinga isn’t out there giving his all for his country with his hooping, Yorking deliveries. Instead, he’s happy getting more money for less work playing in Australia’s Twenty20 competition. (I can understand it to a point, but it’s not right really is it?) The Melbourne crowd are being denied through Malinga’s greed, as are his rather forlorn looking Sri Lankan teammates.

This time next year, England are back at the MCG. My Boxing Day experience lived up to all expectations, a real highlight of what has been a rather wonderful year for me in one way or another.

Will I be sat beside the fire, remote control in hand, Richie Benaud’s unmistakable tones as mellifluous as any birdsong clearing away the sleepiness? Or, will I be among the Barmy Army, on to my sixth ‘Caaaaald One’ and halfway through the Doritos and Smoked Salmon & Avocado dip, roaring our brave lads on?

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