There is an excellent Nick Newman cartoon in the latest issue of The Wisden Cricketer titled "Ashes Nightmare" that first shows someone going to sleep while a voice from the radio announces "and Strauss moves on to nine". Then, below, the next picture shows the same person waking with the sun shining through the window and the radio saying "and Strauss moves on to four".
That is the problem with an overseas Ashes tour: it is always on at the wrong time of day and all sorts of horridness can happen to England while you sleep.
I tried to stay up late to watch the start of most days in the first two Tests, but the third match in Perth starts far too late at 2.30am. By the time I wake, there have been two sessions of play and for a few seconds before I can switch on the radio, I play "guess the score". This morning I was way off.
At the end of Day 1, England were going to win the Ashes. Having walloped Australia in Adelaide, they bowled them out for 268 in Perth and were 29 for nought when Day 2 started. As I reached for the radio, I thought: "Best case scenario, Cook or Strauss are still in; worst case, Swann and Prior are building a small lead."
And then the announcer said: "And Hughes moves on to three." Bugger. Australia batting again after bowling England out for 181.
It is very easy for people to get carried away with Ashes hyperbole. Victory in this Perth Test is no more beyond England after two days than the Ashes was done and dusted after one day. The thing that keeps drawing us cricket fans to the sport is the wonderful unpredictability.
I have tried to keep perspective. The gloating can wait until when (if) England win the series. Until then, let's enjoy the battle. Knowing cricket history helps: Australia may have been dismissed for a sub-par 268 on Thursday, but in 2006 they made 244 batting first against England and still won heavily.
Furthermore, Mitchell Johnson, their erratic bowler, loves Perth and had 22 wickets from his previous three Tests there. Now he has 28 from three and a half.
But if that should have been a warning for England not to assume the match was won after one day, here is a lesson for why Australia, who now lead by 200 at the start of the third day, should not assume their job is done.
Two years ago, Australia took a first-innings lead of 94 on South Africa, with Johnson taking eight wickets. Australia then made 319, setting South Africa 414 to win. The touring side achieved it for the loss of four wickets.
There is a lot of cricket still to be played and I envy those in Australia (or those with insomnia) who are able to watch all of it. For my part, I'll be waking around tea-time, hoping to hear the announcer say "and Strauss moves on to 57" rather than "and Watson moves on to 139".
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