With opinions on chucking all over the place like a mad woman's, and despite great heaps of leather-flinging, willow-wielding, flipperty-jibbet guano, Spanky Roebuck is still a pretty sensible cricket writer:
STEADY on, chaps! Australia has played one Test match and already the summer has been written off as a waste of time. Australia's new team has won one match and already opponents are advised to approach Brad Hodge and Cameron White.
The truth is, Straya aren't as far ahead of the pack as the chaff-heads would have us believe. Bowlers win matches, and we've just lost two of the best, so we better get used to a few more draws and losses. Does anyone honestly think well sweep India four-nil? Nor do I think that because we flogged the Shrees last week, we're automatically set to repeat the dose this week.
Still, Ponting just won the toss and will bat first, so there's a good start. For us.
That leaves the one key question: How many times will Channel Nine show boats going past Bellerive?
Bat first, tick; Hayden slap-nut, tick; Ponting doosra'd, tick; Hungry ton, tick; Hungry slap-nut, tick; Hussey ton, tick; Hussey compared to Bradman, tick; 3 down, tick; Giles named spin coach for England juniors, ti... what?
Possibly the most pointless write-up in the history of sports reporting, now we're past Day Three, but...
Marginally less pointless...
Shrees all out, tick; 'Dos doosra'd, tick; Hungry runs, tick.
Mind you, Hussey's non-catch of Sangakkara was gold. Sure, Porky didn't give it, but it was a nice grab nevertheless. (I would have paid it.) The hardest catch in cricket is the one where a slip fieldsman has to come forward to take a ball that would otherwise land in front of him. The only person I've seen do it as well as Hussey did today was Tony Grieg, a wickedly under-rated cricketer despite being a nob commentator.
The rest of our non-catching was dreadful stuff. Surely a misguided sense of hospitality hasn't driven us to put down a few so as not to embarrass the Shrees for their dreadful fielding. Bing overcooked a straightforward C&B; Stuey Clark made a casual attempt at a high one; and now that Gilly has taken to dropping sitters, Darren Berry must be choking on his recent article: "Gilchrist's recent work behind the stumps has been outstanding." Who knows, maybe Gilly has a squash ball in his keeping gloves.
Did anyone sea Mark Nicholas and Murali at the tea break? Appalling flim-flammery that was introduced as something "you just have to see if you are interested in the magic of spin bowling" or some such rubbish. I dunno, maybe Nine are trying to set him up, because all it did was confirm what I already knew: Murali chucks it yo-yo style.
A declaration earlier than I advised. A target lower than I advised. A depleted bowling attack (no Roy, virtually no Minefield Bully). A road. A juicy record target just waiting to be achieved. Suckers given a break. I won't say I told you so... but get stuffed.
Never in doubt.