... and the view from Australia: 'This isn't right. This is scary'

A: A bowler.

Now the answer must include the batsmen Andrew Strauss, Michael Vaughan, and Andrew Flintoff. Australian centuries were few (singular, in fact) before the final Test, but at home, watching on television, we've scored a record number of 100-plus pulse rates as Aussie batsmen faced a shock-and-awe bowling campaign.

It began with the second ball of the first Test, with a vicious blow to Australian opener Justin Langer's right arm from Steve Harmison. Excuse me, Englanders, but this isn't cricket as we in Australia know it. Where were the lame long-hops? Where were the tradesman-like medium pacers who wouldn't earn a new-ball role with a decent Sydney grade team? Where were the county hacks serving up five-per-over average-boosters to an alert Aussie top order?

During yesterday's lunch break, with Australia sinking, local television announced that beating up British backpackers was now permitted. Australians regard cricket far more seriously than do the English; almost as seriously as New Zealanders regard rugby union.

Should England reclaim the Ashes, know this: it will hurt us much more than it will please you.

Oh, how it hurts. Andrew Denton, a television presenter, watched in terror during England's wild second Test assault. "This isn't right," he said, turning pale as yet another Australian delivery was slammed to the boundary. "This is scary."

Denton's mood wasn't elevated at all by the fact that his wife had won two major national writing awards earlier that night. The man has Australian priorities.

Some Australians almost of voting age have never known England to hold the Ashes. Theirs is now an alienating era. Thank you, England, for contributing to the destruction of our young, many of whom previously dreamt of easy careers coaching English county sides. I'm speaking here of the blind and the lame.

That heartbreaking end to the second Test? When England won by two runs after Michael Kasprowicz was given out caught behind off Harmison? I was at a red light when the fatal wicket fell, and not a car moved when the lights changed. On my left, a driver's head rested miserably on the steering wheel. On my right, a full-scale domestic argument raged. Sure, it may have been over trifling issues of household finances or infidelity, but the intensity convinced me it was entirely about the injustice of Kasprowicz's dismissal. I bet the wife was English.

Well, good luck to that marriage. And good luck to England, who have played this series in a manner which at once appals Australians (you're playing like Australians, after all) and is admired by them. Let's hope a last-day miracle rips the Ashes from your grasp.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'