Amazingly, England have beaten Pakistan with a match to spare.
I say amazingly not because we shouldn’t have won or because I am astounded by the result, but because it has been an amazing three matches to watch.
Going into a series against a team who already had our scalp, and coming out of one in which they looked very second class indeed, there seemed little room for optimism. Add to this the lack of Flintoff, Vaughan, Jones and company and I wasn’t feeling over tempted to bring the radio into work.
But I was wrong. So very wrong.
I could go on and on about Monty’s legendary wickets, Harmison’s return, KP’s batty the long awaited return of Read and the rest, but I am not here to tell you things you could pay to read in the paper.
Instead I will eat some crow. Lots of crow.
Strauss was a great captain; measured, assured, good fields, good bowling rotation, great faith in the bowlers no one thought would deliver, composed centuries, everything. During the Lord’s test, an email I sent in to the OBO on stickcricket was quoted. In it I made a few uncharitable remarks about Strauss’ courage, killer instinct and anatomy. I was very, very wrong. Here’s hoping he stays in until Vaughan returns, allowing Flintoff to be carefree with bat and ball.
I howled with despair when Ian “the Muppet Show” Bell was named in the squad. Oops. But in my defence, how was I to know? His past form was hardly stellar and he hadn’t really gone nuts back on the country circut. However, he played brilliantly. Knowing he was under no pressure to try and keep Flintoff’s spot, he could bat with total freedom. Out of spite I put a tenner on him not scoring 100 over the whole series. Like I said, oops.
Now that England once more look like a side who not only enjoy winning, but punishing the opposition, the Ashes might be worth staying up for after all.
That said, I am a realist; there is simply no way I am watching more ODI slaughter. After the Oval I shall content myself with watching Surrey hammer all comers until October.