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.
Before the Sprinkler: six hours of torture at the hands of Brad the Impaler
Nakul Pande 23rd November 2017
There must be somewhere more comfortable to watch an Ashes than a freezing student shithole above an Indian restaurant in Euston. But that fate befell Nakul Pande who shivers at the memory, one made worse by the interminable company of a grizzled Australian wicketkeeper – and a reminder that 2010-11 wasn't all plain sailing. It is often said that the English have no national myths to speak of – no Aeneid, no Mahabharata, no Washington and the cherry tree. Even King Arthur is a Norman import. The English, they say, have no myths.
The great outpouring of breath: the Ashes, anticipation and a man called Harmy
Hendo 22nd November 2017
The walk to the ground, the murmur at the toss, the delivery of the first ball, it's all about the expectation in an Ashes series. But in 2006-07, it was even more dramatic than usual, as Nigel Henderson, who was there, recalls.
Help me make it through the night: the twilight world of an Ashes Guerilla
Gary Naylor 22nd November 2017
The classic way to get off to sleep is to count sheep – so that's imagining white objects moving in repeating patterns on grass with a little gate in the distance, to the accompaniment of numbers ticking over. Which might explain why so many doze at the cricket too – well, that and the lunchtime gin and tonics.
Rude awakenings: the indispensable guide to surviving an away Ashes
The Guerillas 22nd November 2017
Academic Josh Robinson, an old hand at sleep deprivation, guides you through the best options to survive the wee hours with Guerilla Cricket and recommends the best commentators for successful slumber. This method involves falling asleep to the coverage, and getting up early to listen to part of the final session. For the games in the eastern third of Australia, this means going to sleep around 1am, and waking around 6am. It's different for Adelaide (the day/night game) and Perth (because of the time difference). Play continues until about 11.30am and 10am respectively, meaning you can get up early to listen to a big chunk – along with getting a virtuously early night.
Disasters in the drop zone: men who lost England the Ashes (maybe)
Hendo 21st November 2017
Catches have always won matches – and, indeed, spilled ones have regularly lost them. And they don't come any bigger or important than in an Ashes series. Nigel Henderson looks back on three of the most crucial that went to ground for England against Australia.