Cow Corner

England’s batting comedy roadshow

Cow Corner

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England's batting was "no laughing matter" according to their
grim-faced captain Andrew Strauss, but the sheer ineptitude of some of the
dismissals in his side's third successive ODI defeat to the Old Enemy would suggest otherwise.

Strauss was immediately undermined as early as
the coin-toss as his increasingly chirpy opposite number Michael Clarke
declared that he was "delighted England are playing just one
spinner, that's for sure!"

It was a snide remark from a batsman who
averaged just 21.44 in the Ashes series and has been roundly jeered by his own
supporters for his slow, ineffectual batting in pyjama cricket, but it was a sign of things to come.

England's innings began in pretty inauspicious fashion as Matty Prior
marked the second match of his return to the side with his second first-over
duck as Brett Lee almost disdainfully sent him back to the hutch third ball.

Prior absurdly had the below-the-knee-roll
dismissal in front of middle stump reviewed, but TV umpire Tony Hill did not
need to bother putting down his Earl Grey to study the replay.

But then the real comic turns began to enter the
fray as Jonathan Trott gave it the "No. Yes? Waiting! Yes! No? Ahh' with
his inept calling between the wickets and subsequent dash into his crease
sending a furious Strauss on his way.

The opener has not been left so
apoplectic with rage since Timmy Bresnan was seen eating mince pies off his
'Captain's Ashes Diaries' manuscripts.

Ian Bell gambled, rather complacently, on Shane
Watson not being able to bend his dodgy back to claim a return catch as he was
promptly caught-and-bowled, and England's
resistance was non-existent barring the unflappable Trott.

Eoin Morgan appeared to be batting with a flimsy
stick as he flailed his willow at the ball in desperately poor nick before
falling for 30, before Paul Collingwood showed him what 'biblically out of
form' meant minutes later.

Colly was fortunate to survive his first
delivery, before succumbing to a ridiculously-innocuous straight ball from
Xavier 'X Factor' Doherty, inexplicably playing the line of middle stump. It
was a quite catastrophic misjudgement.

Michael Yardy also appeared to be on commission
in helping to belatedly launch X Factor's dismal international career as he
provided the left-arm non-spinner with a simple return catch shortly

John Wayne Hastings came in for the porcelain
doll Shaun Tait, whose customary mid-series injury kept him out, and the
horse-riding paceman saw off Luke-ozade Wright, who celebrated not carrying the
drinks for once with a brisk 32.

Ajmal Shahzad thought for one fleeting moment
that he was in fact Viv Richards-reincarnate as he wellied a short ball from Lee
into the Sydney
sky and was promptly snaffled, before Tremlett did his best schoolboy cricketer

In fact, it would have been an insult to any
young player to have been compared to Tremors, who dallied mid-pitch over a
comfortable and regulation single, then failed to ground his bat and was
run-out with his blade over the line.

Oh, and before the comedy of England's innings
is concluded, credit must be extended to Trott's diligence in compiling his
considered 84, despite the fact that the number three shouldered arms
extravagantly to a 'free hit' from Hastings. It summed up his side's effort

Brad Haddin and Mr Cricket's brother David
Hussey contributed heavily to give their side the win and a 3-0 series lead,
but it was England's
inability to bat which was responsible for X Factor's celebratory jig on the
SCG turf.

Haddin, when he wasn't exchanging
pleasantries or hurling abuse at the England bowlers and close fielders,
played some quite exquisite strokes, non better than the casual flick over deep
midwicket for six off Shahzad. Needless to say, words followed.

11 - the number of wides racked up by England's bowlers, who cannot be entirely exempt
from criticism (this stat provided
by Stuart Broad's sister and England
analyst Gemma).

Why can't England learn to play one-day
cricket? It's becoming a ridiculous psychological blockage. It requires genius
to lose as they do! (Henry Blofeld
attempts to get to the bottom of the tourists' travails in pyjama cricket, but
to no avail.)

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