What is wrong with these two UK headlines, one from The Daily Mail and the other from The Independent?
Australia are drinking in the atmosphere of Ashes triumph after years of crying into their beer... but despite a dire defeat Down Under we can't call time on this England side
If you scratched your head and pondered "after years of crying into their beer" or "Australia regain the Ashes for the first time in seven years" you would be trudging down the same track as me.
Technically both are right. Four years are years plural, while we have regained with a "g" the Ashes for the first time in seven years.
But the emphasis is wrong as both articles attenpt to add weight to four years.
The first headline implies that it has been an absolute eternity since Australia lost the Ashes, not a mere pissant 4 years. The second deploys a seven when it could just as easily have said that Australia have the Ashes again after the same pissant 4 years.
Not that this informance enhancement is restricted to the UK media. Here in Australia there has been bulk talk of Australia having "finally" or "eventually" or "at last after years of heartache" regained the Ashes.
Is there an expectation in cricket circles that Australia should own the Ashes most of the time, while England gets to borrow them every few years? Are Australian Ashes the natural order of things? Have the Ashes been distorted by the 16 year Australian domination from 1989 to 2005? (Or England regaining with a "g" the Ashes for the first time in 20 years.) Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think if England had won this series it would have been the first time they had won four Ashes in a row. So it would have been a big deal for them, not so for us here in the sunburnt anty-podes where the Ashes have often taken up residence.
Maybe the joy of an upset regain with a "g" has been blended into the length of time narrative.