The big screen at Old Trafford reveals that England have retained the #Ashes pic.twitter.com/Am6lAiZkjw
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) August 5, 2013
And that about sums it up: empty ground, gloom, umbrellas. The ultimate anti-climax. Game called on account of rain. England retain the Ashes. Nothing left to play for save pride in the final two Tests.
Really, though, we all saw it coming. The Pollyannas of world cricket, myself included, wagged our fingers at the naysayers, those saying that it was just a slightly above average England against a slightly below average Australia and it was just not going to be that interesting of a series – and we looked those naysayers in the eye and said that the occasion and the spectacle and the history would be enough to lift the games of both squads, thereby producing another classic. Well the naysayers were right, and the Pollyannas were wrong. And, really, deep down we knew we were merely kidding ourselves all along anyway.
Except for the first Test of course. That was fun. Remember that?
But now it is all over. After all of the build-up, all of the hype, all of the brouhaha, all of the sledging, all of the controversy, all of the really terrible hashtags (hoping Cricket Australia retires #returntheurn forever and the ECB’s Marketing Intern needs to be fired post-haste for #rise), after all of the press conferences, pre-match interviews, warm-up matches, predictions, and back page after page of punditry and statistical analyses and team selection dust ups and injuries…after months of anticipating…after everything…it’s over. Just like that. On a gloomy Monday afternoon in Manchester. With the covers on the pitch and the players in the clubhouse.
Only in cricket.
See everyone in Durham.