“You know you shouldn’t eat GM food, it don’t agree with you.”
Third Man should have listened.
Some will have noticed that the Type III has been grounded of late, gathering dust in an unseasonably fine spring.
TM picks over the probable causes to find a mixture of parental demands, political frustration – the Squire insisting on putting himself forward in the hustings – and poisoning.
It is no coincidence that the last posting here was of an early match in IPL4.
At the time Third Man thought he might have taken a little too much. “You know you shouldn’t watch that stuff, it don’t agree with you.”
But its surface sparkles like a plate cooked in monosodium glutamate which, despite its toxicity, arouses the appetite and with it admiration and wonder … if only you avoid the unripe commentary; “that’s massive”, “that’s huge”, “he’s really smashed that”.
And true enough, soon after, Third Man found himself laid low in his feather bed by the inanity of it, consuming a sexless hybrid with an empty husk, genetically modified to appeal yet devoid of the staff of life. “Never again, never again.”
Or is Third Man like some player of Royal Tennis who, having tried the new craze played on the Palace lawn, goes back inside to enjoy the fine dining of the real game’s perfectly balanced complex of the natural and the contrived?
Like Third Man on the day after, cricket may one day conclude that it should have left well alone.
‘Leave well alone’ is of course the difference between T20 and Real Cricket.
Real Cricket is a game of time. Playing time is remembering to leave.
Consequently, would the first day of the new season in England, with its expectation of Sri Lankan batting excess, put Third Man back on his feet or leave him feeling under the weather?
A low pressure system coming in from the Atlantic tried its best to postpone the cure, but at around 4 pm the dangerous Tillakaratne Dilshan and the hazardous Tharanga Paranavitana took the emerald field at Cardiff to face James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett in conditions that surely favoured the English attack.
Third Man does feel slightly better this morning. Not his old self, but perhaps able to take some thin broth.
The ball swung and carried on off the pitch. Dilshan raised his bat to let it by. The ball spat up off the drying surface. Tharanga took it on the chest. The ball deviated and rose sharply. Dilshan dropped his wrists like a seasoned English pro opening the batting in May. Both openers felt the ball on chilled and unprotected skin. Dilshan took blows to the abdomen leaving him prostrate and the bottom hand leaving him disengaged.
On occasion Tharanga sliced square reminding us of his World Cup innings, but England had the advantage of replete protection there. Twice or thrice, Dilshan reached for the kitchen sink and tainted the off-side field.
Despite the departure of Dilshan and a deaf and insensitive Sangakkara, Sri Lanka ended the day having endured the fare on offer, consuming the attack until the drying turf began to resemble Third Man’s beloved feather bed.
As a rule, they left well alone.
SL 133/2 (48 overs)