Like so much in life, cricket is a mind game. In this 2010/11 Ashes series, England’s minds are stronger than those of the Australians. QED.
They exploit the immediate past and its effect on the present better than their opponents.
Losing the toss in the fourth Test at Melbourne ten hours ago will have drained any hope built on the momentum from Perth. Yes, there is such a thing as momentum but it is short hand for the influence of what has occurred on what is occurring – to borrow from the Welsh philosopher Ruth Jones.
Despite thrashing England in Perth, the Australians never truly believed that they could succeed – or more accurately they stubbornly believed they would fail. And so, therefore they did. Action follows thought. Time past too easily dominates and therefore determines the present.
[Time future – the wanting – is even more mercurial and, although useful to those with strong wills, can be disabling to the average Joe or Joanna.]
Sport is also territorial. It is about the seizing and securing of ground and of making that ground familiar. Possession is ten tenths.
In producing at the MCG a playing surface more familiar to a Yorkshire man and a side that plays at Headingley at least once a year – even down to the effect of cloud coverage on conditions – Australia surrendered home advantage.
Then, in leaving in their droves, the Australian spectators abandoned their field and left the spoils to a barmy army with, at its core, The Barmy Army who have never shouldered belief and have always been there offering unconditional support for their team.
The sun came out and Cook, especially, batted with an almost hypnotic rhythm as if he was making hay in the Squire’s meadow – homely and familiar stuff.