Every glowing path that goes astray, Shows you how to find a better way.
So every time you stumble never grumble. Next time you'll bumble even less!
For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!
Grow the roses! Grow the roses! Grow the roses of success!
Oh yes! Grow the roses! Those rosy roses!
From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success!
I suppose that there were a few people who wrote off England in 1981 and ended up with egg on their faces. Not this time. Oh, my Botham and my Willis, long ago!
This was abject. Possibly our worst defeat, ever. Heavy defeats are inflicted upon you when the opposition is twice as good as you; this defeat suggests that in this match the opposition was four times as good. I fear it defines the captaincy of Strauss, the dearth of middle-order batting talent (beyond Pietersen) and the indulgent, feckless selection panel. Poor Strauss leads by example with the bat, but he looks a shrinking violet in the field, and I doubt that he tears strips off guilty parties in the privacy of the dressing room. He wears his wedding ring on a necklace, for heaven's sake, and wears a sun hat instead of a proper England cap. He gives interviews wearing a baseball hat covered in the sponsor's logo. This is simply not good enough. He is a very good batsman and a nice man, but he obviously has not got what it takes to get the best out of his men. If he gives an interview after this game and mentions "taking the positives out of this match", I will drive to Leeds and push a custard pie into his face.
What Strauss and his fellow selectors thought they were doing adding Harmison for Flintoff, I just don't know. England, 1-0 up in the series, ignored the first priority of any test team - runs on the board - and picked a bowler who has not bowled well for England in four years, whilst giving up the Flintoff runs (average 40 against Oz). They will say they played a positive card, intent on bowling the other side out twice. But they picked the wrong sort of bowler, one who lands it halfway down the pitch instead of one who pitches it up, which is how almost all the wickets have fallen in this test match. Ryan Sidebottom, a Yorkshireman not chosen for this test, will wonder what point there was to his learning to bowl at Headingley from the age of 13 onwards; he will have a point.
A bounce back at the Oval? From this group of overpaid and overrated powderpuffs? No chance. It is time to identify those with granite in their character and pick them. This ain't no party; this ain't no disco; this ain't no fooling around!
The Idle XI to face Australia at the Oval in just under a fortnight:
Strauss; Cook; Key (Capt); Ramprakash; Collingwood; Trott (Flintoff if fit); Prior; Broad; Swann;
Sidebottom; Anderson; Onions