Thursday, December 14, 2006

Monty Parmesan and the Grapes of Perth

And yeh, they said, no English spinner hath taken a decent haul at the Wacker. Eftsoons, the young Montgomery of Parmesan did come on, a-bounding and a-leaping and a-grinning like a daft apeth, with a dash of the old twiddly stuff, thereunto taking 5-93 amid many hosannas and 'ee, bah gum's.

[Boycott, 12:4]

That Monty is a wizard should have been more than readily apparent (the beard and silly hat are a dead giveaway). His powers of prestidigitation were such that before conceding an Ashes run he managed to bewitch Justin Langer into missing a straight one on off stump (no small feat), thus cementing his place in cricketing folklore.

Cheese and grapes have a well-known after-dinner rapport, and on Perth's once rock-hard board, young Parmesan sent down enough deep red, juicy spheres to knock over five battle-hardened Aussies, and claim only the third 5-for by a spinner at the WACA. Like a gleeful schoolboy, Monty's pinwheeling celebrations evoked a more innocent era of international competition. No matter that each and every high-five missed its mark; his controlled left arm spin was spot on.

Like Rip Van Winkle, England have woken up post-Giles to a spinning landscape that is remarkably different (okay, they'd had a glimpse over the summer - but obviously Fletcher wasn't looking that hard, despite calling Monty the best finger spinner in the world). Ashley has been a doughty campaigner, and it's unfortunate that the record books will probably now mark him as a bowler who averaged forty (low-tide, even in the modern game). But the ascent of the remarkable young Sikh, a magician of rare aspect, must surely see the King of Spain dethroned. We can only hope that Fletcher's resistance of the coup for the first two Tests doesn't ultimately render our sourcerer's skills redundant in retaining the Ashes...


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