Take a cocky Australian team. Send them to Cardiff and teach them a lesson. Ensure their highest ranked bowler retires before the series begins. Place their other strike bowler under an injury cloud.
Have the whole of the world hate their all rounder. Change him out for a bloke with 1 career Test wicket.
Prepare a dead track for Lord’s. Well, at least label it dead and have the media sing along. Have their wicketkeeper swapped out due to off field issues. Australia have never won the next Test when their wicketkeeper has been swapped out mid series.
Let them win the toss and bat. Have their old age number 5 injure himself and spend more time with the physio than on the pitch. Replace him with Shaun Marsh in the slips. We all know that he can’t catch.
If you are Australia, declare twice during the match, because you know, the pitch is dead or something. It’s not suited to having a team take 20 wickets. Well, not an English team. Prove that theory wrong by bowling out your opposition in 37 overs. That’s 5 more overs than they lasted in Sydney. That was only three Ashes Tests ago.
Level the series.
Except, it isn’t level. England cannot win from here.
Fancy dress is banned at Lord’s. Unless of course you are a member of the MCC. Alternatively, you are permitted to come looking like an English cricketer. That one is always good for a laugh.
Lyth looks like a child lost in a large shopping centre. Beady eyes searching tensely for his mother. He now attracts the same loathing from English fans after four Tests that Watson cultivated over 10 years. Quite an effort.
To the English selectors, Lyth represents the opener that Compton, Carberry, Robson, Root and Trott weren’t. I’m not sure what they think an English opener represents.
He forms part of the English top order tail that includes Ballance and Bell.
The much maligned Cook is now England’s most important player. Back to the Future. This is not what progress looks like.
Moeen Ali bats at 8. England see it as a luxury. Australia see it as a necessity. Many see it as a wasted position.
Not quite a batsman. Not quite a bowler. He looks pretty doing both, but is largely ineffectual unless the opposition is being blasé. His wickets are not earned. He looks capable, almost willing, to be dismissed nearly every ball.
Is Wood really the 3rd best bowler that England and Wales have got? England need to look harder.
At least Anderson took a hat trick. Three innings in a row without a wicket. Again, he looks pretty. But has there ever been a bowler with his ability less capable of taking wickets when needed? The 3rd new ball is becoming his specialty.
At least Broad has a crack. Aussies secretly love him.
Rogers is more bankable than US Treasury bonds. Warner is just there for company.
Smith is cricket’s Chuck Norris. He doesn’t get out. He just chooses to no longer be in.
Clarke can be carried. This should be his last Test series. He will return home with an urn.
Nevill can catch and can bat.
Mitchell Johnson is Thor’s hammer. He cares not for your flat pitch labels. All he needs is a ball and a guy holding willow at the other end. There are no other conditions precedent. He doesn’t need swinging conditions or a Duke or cloud cover or grass on the wicket or humidity. Nup. He just needs someone to intimidate.
Australia are literally flat track bullies.
It’s hard now to explain England’s triumph in Cardiff. Perhaps England don’t play well away from Wales?
While Australian surfer Mick Fanning was busy fighting off a shark, the English were merrily jumping one.
In three Test series in a row, the English have led 1-0. In three Test series in a row, the score quickly became 1-1.
At a racetrack, they would be known as a front runner.
On a cricket pitch, they are beautifully pathetic. Follow @denniscricket_