Following the ashes through the internets should, be rights, be a fairly crappy experience. No atmosphere. No beer. Not even the sublime aural pleasure of having Geoff Boycott remonstrating with the batsman in your ear. The BBC’s live text coverage is, however, superb. I’ve no idea who Tom Fordyce is, but his elegant, understated and wryly amusing purple prose is making the whole thing very followable. This stuff is unimprovable – and the ‘live text’ feature, which updates inline in real time is pretty sweet:
Kerouac Siddle barrels in as hazy sunlight warms the midday air. Cook waits for one, and that’s more like the accumulator we know – an angled dropper behind gully for his 11th four and the half-century. There’s a modest wave to the England balcony before he takes guard again with beetled-brow resolve, and then – gaaghh – leaves one outside off that kisses the varnish on his off-stump before bending away for four byes past a yelping Haddin.
Only a fool would ever write off an Australian bowler, so here goes: Johnson is having an absolute stinker out there. A plump juicy one is served up on leg stump to be cracked away wristily by Cook for four, and when another is dropped short, it gets the same treatment – dismissed to roars of approval from the warmed-up spectators. 0-47 off seven. Ouch.
You could almost be there to hear the thwack of leather on willow in person. Just great.
If you’re more literal than that, or would like something more visual to titillate your eyeballs, The Times’ desktop scorecard is the shizzle. And with England clipping along at 4 runs an over and pegging at 109-0 already, it looks like the horror of Cardiff is behind us and there could be a real tustle for the urn this year.