The Test match at Headingley was hailed by the likes of Geoffrey Boycott as an achievement on a par with the Battle of Britain but, for the average spectator, the painful accumulation of runs, mostly through prods, pokes and squirts to some point backward of square, was about as entertaining as root canal work. At The Oval, by contrast, we saw a side which came on to the front foot and took the game to the opposition with grace, flair and fluency; the only problem was, it wasn't England. The idea that sport, or life, might be intrinsically pleasurable is, quite literally, foreign to us. Our aim is not to lose, a depressingly negative attitude. It may seem simplistic to say so, but I'm sure much of the blame for this must lie with our dismal climate. Up here in "Boycott country" we have just endured three months of summer containing one-and-a-half days worthy of the description. Is it surprising so many of us feel embattled?
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