The Punch @ the SCG, Day 3: A tale of two dressing rooms
Tea at the cricket, and your selfless Punch correspondent once again forgoes the petite fours and fresh fruit in the media room to check out the vibe in the dressing rooms.
Talk about a contrast. You simply can’t believe how different the mood is in the England and Australian rooms, both of which you can perve straight into from the back of the Members’ stand.
In a word, the England room is relaxed. The Australian room: flustered.
In the England dressing room, Alastair Cook reclines against a chair, wearing the same big goofy smile he’s worn for much of the series.
Never mind that he’ll be dismissed shortly after the resumption for just 189, taking his series tally to a measly 766 at an average of 127.66.
Cook’s easy demeanour reflects the ease with which he has dominated the Australian attack this series. And it’s contagious. Beside him, burly paceman Tim Bresnan stands watching replays, also grinning.
Meanwhile, Kevin Pietersen, much larger in the flesh than you imagine, hovers on the front balcony as though he can’t wait to get out there and inflict more pain when Australia finally, at long last, bats again.
But the real giveaway is captain Andrew Strauss. He eats a sandwich. He doesn’t fret. He doesn’t waste energy geeing up his team-mates. He just munches silently, content in the knowledge his well-drilled team will take care of themselves, as they have done all series bar Perth.
Now to the Aussie rooms. There’s Shane Watson, looking kind of washed out. Brad Haddin looks sunburnt and stressed. Captain Michael Clarke is nowhere to be seen, presumably sitting out the back somewhere with his head in his hands.
But there, front and centre, is Ricky Ponting, the man Clarke has replaced. Or kind of hasn’t. Who can tell?
For reasons known only to the Australian cricket brains trust, Ponting has been hanging around this test. If you ask me, it’s a bit like inviting K Rudd as Advisor to J Gillard’s first briefing as PM.
Just why Ponting is here at all is as mysterious as what he’s actually doing. He seems to be poring over a computer, as though crunching some meaningless cricket stats will somehow set Australia on the path to a slightly less crushing defeat.
Ponting should be crunching celery, not stats. Yet here he is fretting away, while Strauss is eating sarnies. Pretty much all you need to know about this whole series right there.
By the way, Ponting’s finger injury happened before the Melbourne test. Yet he played Melbourne and missed Sydney.
Anyone willing to speculate he might have been “told” his finger was really, really sore before Sydney?
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