Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hiding under the Duvet Is Definitely an Option, but There's a Glimmer of Cheer

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Hiding under the Duvet Is Definitely an Option, but There's a Glimmer of Cheer

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Jones Read his column every Tuesday @dgjones

AT a particularly stressful point early one Ashes morning -- and for England fans, there have been one or two -- a certain taciturn Yorkshireman muttered a warning to his listeners back in the UK, huddled over their corn flakes and struggling to cope with the tension.

"Best thing's not to wake up," he said. And I suppose you know what he means.

There have been plenty of days already in this series where any sensible fan's reaction to another day of English nerve-jangling Down Under lies somewhere between the snooze button and the Big Sleep.

It hasn't all been bad news, which is half the point. Amid the toil there have lain some glimmers of hope. Of course, it's the hope that gets you in the end. Or to be more precise, the hope and Nathan Lyon bowling to a batting line-up full of left-handers.

Adelaide today was another of those peculiar days in which England did both very well and not very well at all, in equal measure. When they are good, they are very very good. But when they are bad, it is torrid.

Let us focus, for the sake of sanity, on the good. If nothing else, we can say after today that England still have a bit of fight in them.

Yes, there have been times during the first two Tests where the Ashes has felt like it could drift into a series of punishment beatings. Steve Smith's big hundred at the Gabba. England's batting collapses. Pat Cummins's entire existence.

Yes, England fans have become so needful of solace that a fourth-innings run-chase of 354 -- which no England side has ever achieved -- was being spun at breakfast time as a great chance to level the series.

Yet somewhere between Smith's decision to rest his bowlers under the lights yesterday, Jimmy Anderson and Chris Woakes's fiery performances with the ball in response, and England's decision to go after that mammoth run-chase like they had nothing to lose, the tourists at least gave an account of themselves.

Although superseded by the drama of the chase, the high point for England today was Anderson's performance. His five wickets in the second innings -- a maiden five-fer Down Under, albeit the 25th of his career -- rewarded bowling that befitted his otherworldly class. …

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