The Third Leader: Down, but not out

So: the Little Urn is once more closely associated with Eric Morecambe's famous assertion about the show so far being rubbish. I refer to the premature result in the sporting contest involving England, Australia, leather, willow and the bitter taste of humble pie with a side order of hubris. And to those who would have me stop beating about the bush, I say that there have been few better times to beat about the bush, particularly as we seem to have little chance of hitting it.

But let's not stoop to spite and spat. This is the moment in the movie when someone says, "You fools! Don't you see that's exactly what they want you to do?!"

Stifle complaints about our atrocious luck, and that sneaky run out of our wicket keeper by the Australian captain, no less. No, now is the hour to borrow a leading motto from another sport, and one which has had its own character-forming experiences against Australia: "Never let them see you're hurt," is what they say in rugby league, and when I say it's not a bad approach to life in general, I write as someone who is not being offered as a prize in The Independent Christmas auction.

I suggest, then, that we carry on as if absolutely nothing has happened, taking solace from the imminent appearance of that great, stubborn comeback artiste, Sir Cliff Richard, at Christmas No 1.

And if you do come across an Australian, please pass on my condolences, as I see they could manage only second place in the horizontal bar at the Gymnastics World Cup Final in Sao Paolo.

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