Sport on TV: Mitchell Johnson gives us nervous twitch as he invades our nightmares

England subsided so rapidly on the second morning of the Fourth Test that it made Australia’s T20 Big Bash look turgid

The penalty for encroaching on the field at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, according to David Lloyd, is a fine of Aus$8,661. If it sounds like a PIN number, that may not be far from the truth: some burly steward mugs you on the outfield, takes your bank card and helps himself from the nearest cashpoint. But there are plenty of England batsmen who would seemingly hand over any amount of money to avoid taking the field on this tour, they are so scared of Mitchell Johnson and all the other nasty Aussies.

Apparently the amount of the fine is so seemingly arbitrary because it is based on how much any hold-up in play has an impact on retail sales around the ground. In England’s case you might think that the entertainment value was pretty poor at the moment. But the current extreme act of vengeance by the Baggy Greens has been a long time coming and the public are relishing the prospect of English humiliation.

There was a world-record crowd for a Test match on the first day at the MCG (Sky Sports 2, Thursday) and they were hanging from the rafters like vultures ready to carve up the carcass. The only trouble was that sales of beer and hotdogs might have been adversely affected by the fact England wickets fall so rapidly that no one has time to leave their seats.

In the long years of domination in the Nineties and early Noughties the Australian public became bored by the ritual abuse of the Poms and were inclined to think that the Ashes might not be worth their billing any more. You could say this estimable XI does not contain world-beaters like Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath and England’s batsmen should not be disgracing themselves quite as much as they are.

This is a throwback to the Seventies instead, to ocker beasts like Ian Chappell growling in your ear as the pace of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson pounds leather into pale flesh. Even the big moustaches are back.

Mitchell Johnson has England hopping around and squealing like stuck pigs (McGrath loved nothing more than to hunt wild pig but he was more restrained on the field). They are fleeing for Blighty, retiring with immediate effect, and no doubt hiding in the dressing-room toilets.

As Jimmy Anderson got out of the way of another bumper aimed at his ribcage, Lloyd remarked: “He doesn’t know how lucky he is, being hit by Peter Siddle. Try Jeff Thompson.” The tone was wry, as ever, but he had a point. Johnson was so mercilessly taunted by the Barmy Army a few years ago that he couldn’t bowl a hoop downhill; he bowls short spells so just play the percentages and get up the other end. The only problem is that both batsmen can’t be at the non-striker’s end.

“I just want someone to go out there and show some ticker, man up. It just looks weak,” grumbled the old warrior Sir Ian Botham, who may or may not have once chased Chappell around a car park. Unfortunately, though, they are showing too much ticker – displaying a large target just about where their ticker is ticking so rapidly that it might be about to burst out of their chests.

England subsided so rapidly on the second morning of the Fourth Test that it made Australia’s T20 Big Bash look turgid. We watched Mark Nicholas interview Mitch the Destroyer as he left the field. “Go and have a shower, mate,” simpered Nicholas. The paceman might have been inclined to say that he hadn’t had time to work up a sweat.

By day three the tourists were running scared of Nathan Lyon’s spin and he is definitely not king of the jungle. If it’s a shower you want, look no further than this England team.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee