That’s exactly what the Poms must have felt after they snatched a two run victory over the Aussies yesterday.
There was a House-Warming ceremony at my best friend’s place. She had flown down after a year and since both sisters would be flying back again, her parents decided to have the pooja to invite all friends and family for the occasion. There was complete chaos when there were 80-odd people in the house and we “kids” (As we are still referred to, despite post-graduations, jobs, and marriages!) still managed to watch the last half hour of the match.
When we switched on the television set we were in for a few shocks:
- First that Australia were still batting
- Second that they were just 30–odd runs from the target (How in the world could that have happened? They required 107 at end of third day’s play and no recognized batsman left to get anywhere close to the victory target! But then with Aus anything is possible!)
- Third that Warne had taken the attack to the Poms and Brett Lee and Kasprowicz (I feel a sense of pride everytime I get his name right:-)) were still doing the same!
- Fourth that England were on the defensive to no.10 & no.11
- Fifth that the England fans were emotional and involved! Boy, they’ve been so cold in the past, this was a pleasant change.
- Sixth being the shock I would’ve got had Aussies won! ( England saved me the agony and thank god for that!)
My first immediate reaction was, "Guys, if England lose this, there is no way they will come back from this defeat in the Ashes!" Only to read today in the papers that someone else echoed similar thoughts. I'm again mighty pleased at myself, after all, a lot of the game is also played in the mind!
The England defeat would have been heart wrenching. The game so badly needs a change, and a challenge to the Aussie dominance. I’ve never rooted against Australia, they have always been my top favourites. But I was also bored seeing the same script echo day in and out, match after match, series after series (India- Aus series over the years being a fine exception, not the 2004 one, but we still managed a win, even though it was thanks to the devilish pitch at Mumbai).
There was no serious rivalry in the offing, the Ashes were dead and then this England team brought a ray of hope. I was not rooting against the Aussies, I was rooting for the game. The Aussie dominance though fascinating, could kill the game if it lasts longer. No sport has charm if there is no rivalry. Take any sport, a champion way ahead of others, simply destroys the charm of the game and the sport loses its audience. What’s the big deal about Sampras winning at Wimbledon, Schumaker winning the World Championship, Australia winning matches?
And then we, the humble sports lovers,look for those small events that are big deals! Kolkatta 2001, Adelaide 2003 was a big deal and so is this test win by England. For me it’s a huge deal:-)
Australia is struggling, how often have we heard this from their side? England is fighting back, Ashes are not going to be won that easily.The England team finally believes that its opponents are not invincible.
The Aussies are mortals after all! We had almost forgotten that fact hadn’t we?
P.S:Sorry, the last few posts have been about the Ashes, but it’s been exciting. It’s cricket, it’s one of my loves, it’s "The Ashes", how can I not talk about it???
Saurabh has spun a nice story around it, God's prophecies, Harry Potter, LOTR , and a few more tales and ya cricket too thrown in:-) Read it here.