Spotted in Olympic Stand on leaving the ground a lady’s bag bearing the legend ‘Keep Calm And Listen To Radiohead.’ Even their most staunch of fans would admit that some of the band’s more, err, funereal of songs would leave some of England’s fans really close to the edge following another disastrous day watching their team implode. Day Four of the Forth Test at The MCG will be like attending a wake.

Among other things, Melbourne is famed for its unpredictable climate. Yesterday afternoon after a warm, sometimes muggy day, a turbulent typhoon hit The G. In the face of this tempest, England were a shower.
Four & Twenty pie wrappers, beer trays and member’s trilbies whipped around the outfield. Spectators were treated to one of the finest sights in world sport as umpire Aleem Dar lost his hat, exposing his magnificent bouffant hair for all to see. This was the only thing to smile about. England’s batsmen were wretched.

Alastair Cook was let down by his mates once again. On this blog earlier in the year I stated I would never publicly berate Ian Bell again, so I won’t. But he knows what he’s done. Enough said. Part of England’s tail, our famed lower order biffers, looked moronic, losing their wickets in quick succession as part of another collapse to Nathan Lyon, who England made look like Shane Warne. Michael Carberry’s days as a Test cricketer look numbered now and Joe Root, a man expected to shine Down Under has also experienced a torrid tour.

Once England lost Cook after a well-made fifty and to a good ball from Mitchell Johnson, the top order folded in a madcap second session. Not for the first time in the match or, indeed, the series, Johnson was to the fore for Australia. Simply irrepressible. His fast bowling, though still trademark erratic at times, put the frighteners on England again. Then his power arm threw down the stumps to dismiss Root, attempting a quick single that really wasn’t there. Bell’s aimless shot into the air found the waiting hands of the cover fielder.
Johnson.
Him again. Like the tacky green n’ gold replica gear so beloved of the locals here, he was everywhere.

So too was Lyon. His role in winning back the urn for the Aussies shouldn’t be underestimated. Time after time England have given their wickets away to him, seeing him as an easy way out, a relief in contrast to the thorough working over they’ve experienced at the hands of Australia’s quicks.
His five wickets here took him to 100 wickets in 29 tests, a fine achievement for any cricketer. By the looks of his rather pedestrian off-spin bowling, much of these dismissals have come about as a result of the batsman giving their wicket away rather than through massive turn or flight and guile, and England certainly helped this theory yesterday.

Australia need 201 runs. England need 10 wickets. They also need help from above, although a lot more than the tempest yesterday.
In this great city’s crazy climate, where seemingly any weather condition is possible at any time, England’s fans will be praying for snow today.

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A Four & Twenty pie wrapper, shortly before it’s probable involvement in yesterday’s cyclone.

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