OK, so Australia's Ashes tour got off to a bad start with the 100 run loss to England in the inaugural Twenty20 match. But has the British press been so starved of memorable cricket wins in recent years that it needs go absolutely bananas over what is in reality little more than a bit of hit and giggle?
"England rout old enemy to ignite Ashes summer" was the headline on Simon Barnes's report in the usually circumspect Times: "Let us make Test matches a thing of the past," he wrote. "Let us consign the one-day international to the landfill site of history and let us embrace Twenty20 as the best — no, the only form of the game. Never mind beauty and let subtlety go hang, for last night England wiped the floor with Australia in a cricket match."
"First Blood to England" crowed the Daily Mail. And "Thrashes" was the crowing headline in The Sun, where Mike Walters wrote that "seven wickets fell for eight runs in 19 minutes of madness in the Rose Bowl sunset yesterday – and they weren't English. Jon Lewis, the medium-pacer who sounds like a department store, sent Australia crashing to a sensational 100-run defeat in the Twenty20 Ashes appetiser."
It was left to spinner Shane Warne, a bloke not usually noted for his commonsense, to pour some cold water on the hysteria. In a piece in The Times under the headline "Enjoy the moment, England" Warne wrote:
Sorry, but I spent yesterday morning thinking that I'd missed something. Had England won the Ashes? That's the way it seemed with all the headlines in the papers and the gibes I was getting from cricket fans. I've hardly been able to stop at a traffic light without somebody winding down a window and shouting: “79 all out.”
Well, I have a message for all you England supporters. Enjoy it while you can. You've been waiting a long time to give Australia the kind of beating we copped in the Twenty20 international match on Monday night. England batted well, bowled well and fielded well, so fair play. A deserved victory. But Australia will be disappointed. And we'll be back.