... 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.

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence