After a period of perhaps 3 months where it has rained for large periods of almost every day, it was scarcely believable that spectators at the Oval would be treated to a rare outbreak of good weather during the first Test. Although a flash-storm briefly interrupted play on the second day, large swathes of the 3rd, 4th and 5th days were embroiled by the sort of sunshine which turns an Englishman’s skin a flamingo pink and see batsmen’s lips moisten across the world.
There is a theory going round, particularly from our Antipodean cousins Down Under, that England don’t play too well in hot weather. This hopeful Helios-based hypothesising declares that, should the sky remain cloudless and the temperature were to be high, there isn’t a whole lot of point in England turning up during next year’s Ashes series as it would be something of a foregone conclusion in ths favour of the Baggy Green.
I’m not sure I agree with this entirely, mainly because a) I’m not sure that England have a problem in the heat specifically – and b) even if they do, Australia are pretty poor at cricket these days.
Looking more closely at a) though; well, perhaps there is something there. Defeats in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (x2) to Pakistan were obviously played in hot weather, as was the gall of losing to Sri Lanka in, erm, Galle. The last Test England lost in England was again at the Oval to Pakistan, when on a sunny(!) first morning they crumbled to 97-7. The only Test in the 2010-11 Ashes Down Under which Australia managed to win was at a very sunny WACA in Perth. Before that the last England loss was during the 1-1 series in South Africa, which I can’t remember particularly vividly, but one can only imagine that the sun was beating down hard on our poor lads.
Quite why this is, or if it is just a coincidence, I don’t really know.
What I do think, however, is that we really ought to make cricket a winter sport.