Leading article: Ashes to Ashes

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The Independent Online

Something is happening in the watches of the night. Non-cricket enthusiasts, who might more properly be termed cricket unenthusiasts, are aware that there are those around them who lead a double life, watching television while sensible people sleep. What happens in this parallel universe is, apparently, a not entirely joyous experience. It would be wrong, we gather, to describe it as an exuberant carnival of English sporting excellence.

Now, The Independent on Sunday has a strong editorial policy on optimism. As a young, forward-looking newspaper, we are in favour of it. Normally, we reject the alleged security and comfort afforded by tradition. In the matter of cricket, however, we make an exception. This newspaper did not subscribe to the jejune pre-match build-up to the Ashes that proclaimed high hopes for England's chances. Thus the world continues to turn on its axis. The cosmic order is undisturbed. From the other side of the world, in the middle of the night, those familiar phrases can be heard. Collapse of the England batting order. Following on. You do not even need to know what they mean to find them somehow reassuring.

If you are awake at night watching the cricket from Australia, you know that day will follow night. If you are asleep at night, you can rest safely in your bed. There will be no interruption to normal service.