England scrabble around for the ignition switch

That's a reference to 'coming to the boil'. Excuse our nerves, but we've been conditioned to panic at losses in warm-up games Down Under. Previously, they heralded outright humiliation. We're still quite confident as far as the Ashes goes, but you can't throw away all these years of experience.

It's Pavlovian conditioning. England concede 325-5, as they did last night and we are conditioned to run round yelping: "No. No. The wheels are coming off. Abandon tour. ABANDON TOUR."

As Patrick described past Ashes tour matches on the Times' cricket blog the other day:
"Go to bed as England start to play and wake up eight hours later to a radio announcer saying 'and in cricket, England suffered a humiliating defeat...'"
Of course it's not so bad these days. England still lose warm-up games with alarming regularity, but when the Tests come, they inevitably get their act together. It's still a trifle worrying though. Steve Harmison got carted, for one thing. We'd really like a bit of reassurance from him before long. If Faintly Underwhelming Steve Harmison is replaced by Destructive Steve Harmison for the first Test, that's fine, but we'd really prefer the swap a little earlier.

Also during this tour match, Duncan Fletcher revealed that James Anderson is currently ahead of Sajid Mahmood. James Anderson bowled whereas Sajid Mahmood didn't, so this is unlikely to change.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

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