In all the good action films there comes a scene where our hero is being thrashed, usually in fisty-cuffs, and looks beyond redemption. Then his gloating foe crosses some unseen line – utters a taunt to close to home – and our hero narrows his bruised eyes, grits his teeth and the audience mutter to a man “He shouldn’t of said that.”
During the last series after the Lord’s test, Glen McGrath foresaw a whitewash and the rest is history.
After the first test this time round the baggies were rather more circumspect. Then came a gritty display by England followed by the most abject one day collapse I have ever seen. And then up pops Glen again talking about 5-0.
What followed was a glittering vindication of just about every critic Duncan and Freddie have amassed in the past month.
England went for broke, finally dropped the wheelybin and the hapless Anderson and picked their best team. A five wicket haul by an English spinner against Australia, in Australia is something few of us ever thought we would see.
Monty confused, intimidated and faced down successive Australian challengers. Better than that; his attitude swept the ground and, at last, saw Steve Harmison return to form.
Coming into this series, much had been made of the friendship between Flintoff and Harmison, but in the end it is Monty who has dragged the Geordie back from the dead. It was the sweetest of sights to see him charging in and bullying Glen McGrath out of his wicket, bouncing him out in short order.
England have a massive mountain to climb but when you saw the look in Harmison’s eye as he faced McGrath you could not help but think; “He really shouldn’t have said that.”