English cricket media turn to humour in despair
With the vaunted England cricket team teetering on the brink of defeat against New Zealand, some British journalists have turned to humour to cope with their side's unexpectedly poor performance.
The Daily Mirror noted that England were in danger of their first series defeat by New Zealand since 1999, and the first in New Zealand since 1983-4.
"Batting coach Graham Gooch refused to admit England's goose was cooked last night - but the old bird is basted, in the middle shelf of the oven and the gravy boat is ready".
English batsman Jonathan Trott, who had looked in imperious form all tour, was untroubled for 87 minutes yesterday "until he wafted, airy-fairily, at left-armer Neil Wagner's first ball from round the wicket", the Mirror said.
"Sorry, Trotty, but most of us have seen more brains in a pork pie than in the thought process behind that shot. Somehow, it sums up England's absent-mindedness in this series."
Cricinfo went even further in its attempt to find solace in humour.
In an article bylined "By all UK newspapers" it said:
"Along with other commentators, we may have mistakenly given the impression that the England cricket team was among the very best in the world and merely had to turn up in New Zealand in order to secure a 3-0 series victory.
"Although this was not our intention, we now accept that articles such as "Why England's Enforcers Will Crush Kiwi Makeweights", "Two-Tier Test Cricket: Should Sorry New Zealand Be Relegated to Women's Cricket Division Two?" and "Shambolic Sheep Fanciers Will Bend the Knee to Cook's Heroes" may have suggested that the Test series was a forgone conclusion."
It was now accepted the New Zealand players were not "lucky just to be on the same field as the likes of England players Broady (Stuart Broad) and Ian Bell".
"With 11 wickets falling on day two and 11 wickets falling on day three of the Auckland Test, it must now be conceded that articles such as "Cowardly Kiwi Bottle Merchants Prepare Dead Pitch in Craven Attempt to Weasel Out With a Draw" might have been premature," Cricinfo said.
"This column has now been corrected to read "England's Pathetic Bowlers Don't Even Know How to Hold the Ball Properly Let Alone Bowl It", which we feel better reflects the balance of play. It now seems unlikely, as we had previously claimed, that "you could bowl at England's batsmen for a year on this pitch without taking a wicket" when in fact the correct interval between wickets would appear to be "about 20 balls or so"."
The Telegraph made one of the few attempts to provide the England players with any sort of excuse, suggesting "it looked like a series many of the players could not be bothered with".
England needed "something akin to divine intervention to salvage the match and the series," after being outplayed in every facet.
The Daily Mail said a great rearguard action would be needed by England's remaining batsmen " to avoid one of their most unlikely and embarrassing defeats in modern memory", in a series England had been expected to dominate.
The Guardian described the New Zealand team as "vibrant", saying it had "unravelled" England.