The MCG: a modern tradition, but England can poop the party set
Jeremy Henderson reveals that the Boxing Day Test is not such an ingrained custom and gives the beleaguered tourists hope with the sorry tale of Ross Duncan. Grounds for optimism: England don't always lose at the G. Tradition is a concept which seems to vary, depending upon the age of the culture in which it is discussed. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as "The transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation". And so it is in those civilisations with a long history spanning many generations. Less so, however, in a very young "civilisation".
Turn up the volume: stump mics could stamp out sledging when it goes too far
Martin White wonders whether we've reached an all-time low when it comes to in-play verbals. There are very few situations that cannot be improved by wit. Cricket is no exception, and humorous comment has been a part of cricket since before any of us can remember. In a workplace environment, or amongst friends, it might these days be referred to as "banter". In cricket, it has taken on the term "sledging". The origins of that are a little vague, including a reference to a sledgehammer or a well known American singer, but however it came about, it has been used in cricket – especially at Test level – since the late Sixties.
Duckett the issue: bingeing Poms the victims of (social) media's fake morality
Hendo 13th December 2017
Nigel Henderson suggests that cricketers in a losing team are the first to come under attack in a post-truth world.
Heard but not seen: why this series is the Invisible Ashes
David Brook, Guerilla Cricket's latest recruit and the man who took Test cricket to Channel 4, argues that BT Sport's acquisition of the away Ashes TV rights are having knock-on effects for the promotion of the game. With the second Test poised tantalisingly on the final day in Adelaide – England needing 178 with six wickets in hand – and expelled from a speeding awareness course for sneaking a peak at the Ashes score on my poorly concealed mobile phone – I popped into a nearby Corals to find out the odds on England and perhaps place a cheeky bet. I pulled up the cricket screen and scrolled down the options.
The ground that made Perth proud: a fond obituary for the WACA
In the first of two articles about the WACA as it prepares to stage its final Test, Jeremy Henderson, a Perth resident since arriving there as a 19-year-old in 1970, looks back on the good and bad about the ground. The Waca: never cut out to be a real stadium – and that was its charm. I've been lucky, really lucky. I have seen some fantastic cricket at the WACA. I saw Greg Chappell, in his first Test, and Perth's first Test, score a scintillating century against an England attack that included one of my boyhood idols, John Snow.
Bring on the Chocolate Doughnut - England wave farewell to 47 years of Perth pain
Jeremy Henderson, in the second of two articles about the WACA as it stages its final Test, crunches the numbers to show that it has rarely been a happy hunting ground for the Ashes tourists. The new Perth Stadium: needs a few more ingredients. Almost exactly 47 years ago, Geoffrey Boycott, partnered by Brian Luckhurst, faced the first ball of the first Test match ever played in Perth. He went on to make 70 in an opening partnership of 171. Luckhurst made 131, and England managed a total of 397. While the match ended in a fairly tame draw, it was just about the zenith of England's performances at the WACA. With one minor aberration in 1978, when England beat the players that Kerry Packer didn't want, it has been pretty much all downhill since then.
Being at Home: Aaaaagh-delaide and the nightmare before Christmas (part two)
Paul Howarth 1st December 2017
Sofa-dwelling Paul Howarth was forced to watch the debacle unfolding at Adelaide 2006-07 from under his duvet 10,000 miles from the action. Not that that made it any easier to bear. When was the last time you loosed off a genuine primal scream at the iniquities of the world? Perhaps a bruising day at work was followed by a nose-to-armpit commute home before, wearily, you inserted your front door key into the lock, turned and ... it snapped off. Maybe you fetched up at Dover just as the last ferry was pulling out ... and then a seagull shat on your windscreen.
Being There: Aaaaagh-delaide and the nightmare before Christmas (part one)
Hendo 1st December 2017
As England were screwing up on a grand scale on the final day of Adelaide 2006-07, Nigel Henderson found himself drawn into an awkward and unwanted conversation with an Australian fan. As I stood on the Southern Concourse at the Adelaide Oval, shaking with almost visible rage as Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey picked off an England that had completely lost the plot on the final day of the second Test, an Australian turned to me and said: "How good is this?".
The real problem with Joe Root: he's mesmerized by his own talent
Hendo 1st December 2017
Nigel Henderson argues that the England captain's poor conversion rate of fifties to hundreds has an unexpected cause. When Joe Root stumbled towards the offside in trying to play Josh Hazlewood round his pad and through mid-wicket in the second innings of England's defeat in Brisbane – the resulting leg-before was obvious to most watching if not, immediately, the batsman himself – a rare moment of possible insight was offered by Kevin Pietersen. He suggested that Root's slight over-balancing act was a small technical deficiency arising from his response to the short-pitched bowling threat the Australian attack carried, positing that the England captain was primed – perhaps to too great a degree – to take avoiding action.
'The blood drained from my face': Waugh, Warne and the changing of the guard
Gary Naylor 24th November 2017
England had won most of the Ashes series in Gary Naylor's young life and he had no reason to think it wouldn't always be that way. Oh but it would, it would, as he recalls here. England, with a little help from the Packer rebels' absence, had won the Ashes five times out of six, with the 1975 defeat overshadowed in my 12-year-old mind by the new fangled World Cup and the 1982-83 loss in Australia not covered by television and, therefore, it possibly didn't actually happen. I was 26 and I hadn't really seen a half decent Australian side.