BBC SPORT Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC Sport
 You are in: Cricket: The Ashes  
Sport Front Page
-------------------
Football
Cricket
Statistics
Counties
Scorecards
The Ashes
World Cup
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Tennis
Golf
Motorsport
Boxing
Athletics
Other Sports
-------------------
Special Events
-------------------
Sports Talk
-------------------
BBC Pundits
TV & Radio
Question of Sport
-------------------
Photo Galleries
Funny Old Game
-------------------
Around The UK: 
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales

BBC Sport Academy
BBC News
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS

  Wednesday, 6 November, 2002, 10:17 GMT
Reality bites early
Phil Long (far left) and friends watch Trescothick
The Barmy Army keeps a close eye on the nets

Never one to take the easy option, I arrived bleary-eyed for England's final tour game against Queensland less than two hours arriving at Brisbane Airport.

It might only have been a warm-up game but form me it meant, after six months hard graft and saving, that the 2002-03 Ashes tour was up and running.

Hopefully, what unfolded over the first two days won't turn out to be an early indication of the forthcoming series.

Queensland turned up the heat on the worryingly toothless England attack by posting almost 600.

The prospect of Australia posting over 500 under a blazing sun with no mercy from the barrack boys in the cheap seats is a really unpleasant scenario.

It may have been because of that Queensland score, or the fact that England have not been at the Ashes races for 16 years.


The game might stretch to four days, said the ticket office girls, if it rained for a couple
But, believe me, the whole of Brisbane (and presumably the rest of Oz) is very, very, very confident of success.

In fact, I doubt there can have been an Ashes series expected to be so one-sided as the one that begins to unfold at the Gabba on Thursday.

Ask any Aussie (never the most bashful people in the world) who will win and they will look you up and down very slowly, and then laugh in your face.

For them it is more a case of whether the weather or the Australian hunger for success will allow them to wallop us 5-0 with each Test completed in three days.

Their optimism is shared by the bookmakers, who have the 5-0 scoreline as the favourite outcome of the series.

Martin Love on his way to 250
England were made to toil by Queensland
More than one cheerful England supporter has claimed, "I'll be happy to beat the Aussies 4-0!"

Even down at the Gabba ticket office they were quick to point out that a five-day match pass, costing Aus$100 (35), was a waste of money.

The game might stretch to four days, the girls behind the counter reckoned, if it rained for a couple.

The optimism of the Australian public reached an all-time high when one fan told me Stevie Waugh's boys would be 2-0 up by the time we got to Adelaide.

Not a bad prediction until you remember that Adelaide Test is only the second in the series!

Even the majority of the Barmy Army have been quick to follow their confident prediction of England victory with a glum, "It'll probably be 5-0".

As for me, I'm going to sting these Aussie bookmakers with a prediction of a 2-1 England victory.

It's a simple theory: we surprise them in Brisbane, hold on in Adelaide and blast them away in Perth.

The weather saves us in Melbourne and we lose on a bunsen-burner in Sydney when it'll be too-little-too-late for the men in the baggy green caps.

But then again, it'll probably be 5-0.


You can contact Phil in Australia by emailing:
a_longwayfromhome@hotmail.com

All the news ahead of the 2002/03 Ashes tour

Tour in review

Test series

Clickable guides

Background

Play the game
See also:

01 Nov 02 | The Ashes
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more The Ashes stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more The Ashes stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

Sport Front Page | Football | Cricket | Rugby Union | Rugby League |
Tennis | Golf | Motorsport | Boxing | Athletics | Other Sports |
Special Events | Sports Talk | BBC Pundits | TV & Radio | Question of Sport |
Photo Galleries | Funny Old Game | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales