Aussies urn it the hard way

The events of Day Five must have been pretty hard to swallow for English cricket fans who still have visions of that bus ride through Trafalgar Square by their Ashes conquering heroes. As an Aussie cricket fan, I could hardly believe what was unfolding before me. The Rolling Stones of the cricket world still had a few hits left in them.

Not since the 1982 Boxing Day Test at the MCG when the loss of the ninth wicket saw Jeff Thomson partner Allan Border with Australia still requiring 74 runs to win had I been on the edge of my seat for every agonising ball. The pair got to within four runs of an incredible victory, but that time it was not to be.

On a tour of Lord’s last year I purchased a jersey with a boxing kangaroo clutching the famous urn and an English lion endeavouring to grab it. Soon after my purchase Australia lost the Ashes, and I’d have looked pretty silly walking the streets of Sydney wearing that jersey. So it was packed away for brighter times.

Yesterday evening at about 7:30pm Sydney time I peaked at that jersey for the first time in 14 months. The unthinkable had happened, and Australia had won the unwinable Test. Perhaps I would be wearing that jersey again before Christmas.

By stumps on Day Four, the Second Test was heading to an inevitable draw. Resuming at 59 for 1 on the morning of the firth day, and with Geoff Boycott-like batting required from both ends the Test would be drawn. In fact at the end of Day Two, I confidently predicted on this web site that England were in an unlosable position.

As the afternoon progressed, I kept in touch with the Test through the internet and watched the unthinkable unfold. My English colleague on the other side of the partition couldn’t believe the disintegration of her team, and I gave up updating the score for her for fear of rubbing it in.

I couldn’t believe the scoreboard, and raced home early to see for myself. With the close defeats of the last Ashes tour, and the sneer on Duncan Fletcher’s face still fresh in my mind, I kept telling myself that the result couldn’t be anything but a draw. When the scoreboard at the Adelaide Oval flashed up ’10 runs to win’ I finally started to believe that this was reality.

When it finally happened and Australia won the 2nd Test it felt like the moment when Juan Antonio Samaranch announced that Sydney was to host the 2000 Olympics. I’m sure the pride all cricket loving Australians felt yesterday was nothing compared to the obvious joy in the Australian team camp.

With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I savoured the edited highlights on Foxsports last night, and marvelled at Warne’s magic and watched disbelieving at England’s train crash of an innings.

The events of 14 months ago are finally starting to fade.

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