Adelaide Test, Australia v India – Day Two: Mitch Johnson’s moustache releases album of Boney M covers

oval

It’s disappointing. I’ve looked closely. Not a single member of the Australian team is wearing Dunlop Volleys.

*

Rain at Adelaide Oval. December is Singapore’s wettest month. In 2012 there were fifteen deluging inches across the festive period. However with connotations of human and infrastructural failure the term flooding is not used here. So what is it called? Ponding. Sometimes Singapore presents with the exasperating naiveté of a Famous Five novel, but less ginger beer.

Clarke’s broke back remains as suspect as Watto’s twitter declaration he read and rather enjoyed Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. Nonetheless as the morning opens the captain resumes, and his appearance at the crease is stirring.

If, while running between the wickets a fit Clarke were to piggyback Clive Palmer, he’d be in less pain. We start brightly. Somehow, he’s batting with freedom and authority.

An early boundary, and Clarke moves past 63. Along with 99.94 it’s already a profound number, but forever laden with tragedy. The sky is gloomy and the lights are on. Thickening drizzle means we stop with Smith on the cusp of his century.

It’s annoying. In Singapore it rains properly, torrentially. Like Fev on the frothies; it’s not two stubbies of mid-strength and then home to do some knitting.

*

Steve Smith gets his fifth Test century. The poignant moments continue with the young Sydneysider moving across to the large 408 painted on the grass, where he raises his bat and gazes skyward.

His narrative is increasingly exciting, and like celebrated batsman such as Ponting, Hayden, and the Waughs, an unforgiving mixture of success and the ignominy of being dropped have challenged his cricketing character. All five hundreds have come in first innings.

The showers again come. Like the ancient German farmers of the Barossa used to muse, “It always rains at the end of a dry spell.”

I sometimes peek at the cricket on a subcontinental website. I know, I know. It’s a hybrid with Channel 9 vision and England’s Sky Sports commentary; reviving and less hyperbolic than Slats, Tubby and JB.

Punctuated by Indian TV advertising, which offers cultural insights into this mesmerizing country’s aspirations and mores. When you’re next in Hyderabad, and need to know about buying a Ford Fiesta, just message me.

*

And Clarke clips Aaron behind square for a single, and a record seventh ton in Adelaide. Surpassed by none for complexity and dreadful context. Rather than festivity it’s a moment of beauty and emotional respite. The batting has bristling purpose, while India’s bowling lacks creativity and poison.

With the milestones achieved, and dismal light descending, Australia gets a-galloping. Smith clubs them, agriculturally. On a December day when the weather is more Aberdeen than Adelaide, the rain again intervenes. The ground staff has enjoyed more exercise than the cricketers.

Last season I caught some cricket on Singapore’s pay television service, Starhub. Which of the following about it is true?

1) At every point, of every day, on at least one channel, there must be a shark documentary.

2) Such is the galaxy of programming I once discovered Everybody Loves Raymond was on two channels. Simultaneously.

3) During an exceptionally pornographic episode of Escape to the Country, the host’s cleavage was pixelated while she showed a Cumbrian cottage to yet another unrealistic couple from Shepherd’s Bush.

4) All of the above

*

You’re starting a band to do songs about cricket! What would it be named? There’s only one choice.

The Duckworth Lewis Method

An Irish pop group featuring Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy, they’ve recorded two albums of vaudevillian cricket tunes. The Duckworth Lewis Method channels Noel Coward on their foppish ode to the Gatting Ball, “Jiggery Pokery.” It includes the only known reference in cricketing culture, no, human history, to the contrabassoon

It was…
Jiggery pokery, trickery chokery, how did he open me up?
Robbery! Muggery! Aussie skull duggery, out for a buggering duck.
What a delivery, I might as well have been holding a contrabassoon,
Jiggery pokery, who was this nobody making me look a buffoon?
Like a blithering old baffoon…

*

Around midnight play recommences. Adelaide Oval is empty although plenty of folk are out the back, oblivious. Is this the cricket? Derby Day at Flemington? Happy hour at the Ramsgate? Wish I were there.

Smith gets to one fifty. Great knock. At slip, Kohli drops him. Shabby. Warnie’s commentating. Our smartest dumb bloke, but Australia’s best cricket brain since Ian Chappell. India finally claims Clarke’s wicket. With light quality similar to a Hindley Street nightclub, the players go off.

Can we campaign to bring back the Player Comfort Meter? More impenetrable than the Large Hadron Collider, and seemingly developed by a consortium of the CSIRO, NASA and the Ponds Institute, Tony Greig often concluded his Weather Wall segment in a distantly menacing way:

The Player Comfort Meter shows thirty so it should be good for batting this morning. However with a chance of thunderstorms across the afternoon here at the Gabba, it could quickly change. Beware the moors, lads. Stick to the roads.

*

Umpire Erasmus calls stumps. Was he a villain in Tintin in the Congo? Within the medieval manor of North Adelaide, the Queen’s Head on Kermode Street is surely roaring. I’ll stop typing now and head out for a beer.

tintin

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