It’s the end. We’re comfortably past the beginning and slap bang in the middle of it. My drinking partner Rex beckons me on. To the bar, with our heads on the bar. Meanwhile, England’s head is on the chopping block.

I’m stood in a crowd of boastful boorish Aussies, and no wonder. Against expectations their lot have pummeled my lot into the dust. In pursuit of an outlandish target to save the game and the series, we’ve lost our brave captain, our bright young thing and the bloke who’s style resembles best my youngest brother’s (stylish top order batsman, quality fielder, gets more starts than a set of second hand jump leads*). Our expansive, misunderstood best player will shortly be out, holing out.

Again.

My pals leave me momentarily to top up their tans and formulate the final plans for Operation Orange. At least some good can come from this morass of a performance unfolding before our eyes.

I am there alone with my thoughts.

The temperature’s down on the last few days and it’s a breathable 37 (I may even bring a jumper tomorrow), a warm breeze blows through the crowded Members bar. Sweat stained replica shirts take leave of their dappled bodies to billow temporarily in the breeze. Local lovelies ranging between the beautiful and the bawdy keep their drunken spouses company. A nation waits to celebrate and some have started early.

In ponderous mood, my mind wanders.

We’re getting hammered. Badly hammered. In the backyard of our oldest foes. I shouldn’t be enjoying this.

But oddly I am. Despite everything, there’s nowhere else in the world I’d rather be right now. Oh, cricket, English cricket. I don’t know why I love you but I do.

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*Just kidding brother, love ya. And thanks for the contribution to the war chest.

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