Saturday, August 27, 2005

Rampant England

The photo shows a catch for England against Australia.

This morning (it's now 8:30 where I am, but 1:30 where the match is being played), the two cricket teams are in their third day of the fourth "test" (game) in The Ashes.

What is The Ashes? Says the Wikipedia article to which I've linked above: "The Ashes is a biennial Test cricket contest played between England and Australia. The series is named after the trophy, which is a small terracotta urn said to contain the burnt bails from a game played in 1882 at The Oval. An Ashes series typically consists of five Test matches, and the host of the series alternates between the two countries."

What's important about The Ashes this year?

When England has a chance of winning and that's news. In this year's event, they were bludgeoned in the first test, won the second, and tied the third. They lead by a nice margin so far in day three of the fourth. Here's the up-to-the-minute summary from BBC Sport:
FOURTH TEST - MATCH SUMMARY (Trent Bridge, Day 3) -

Australia 218 & 32-0 v England 477. Pace bowler Simon Jones took 5-44 as England dismissed Australia for 218 on the third morning of the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge. It left the tourists 259 runs in arrears and England skipper Michael Vaughan enforced the follow-on. Jones had Simon Katich (45) and Shane Warne caught off successive deliveries and finished things when Brett Lee was caught at deep third man for 47. Australia survived four overs to reach 14-0 in their second innings at lunch.
The Beeb provides a guide to cricket for those of us who find this lingo impenetrable.

I was going to call this post "Plucky Little England" after the following finding (located via Google Print).
God Breathed and They Were Scattered
Motto on the Armada medal, 1588

The defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588 immediately became an emblem of plucky little Protestant England resisting the insolent might of the great Catholic powers of Continental Europe.

However I changed my mind when I saw the phrase: Rampant England in a headline of on an article covering today's action.

The reason for the euphoria is easy to grasp: England and Australia were pretty evenly matched over most of the series, but in the past decade and a half Australia has won every time. This little graphic tells all:

Full-size version of the graphic

Here are some photos from previous Tests in this year's Ashes:

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