Baggy Green phoenix will rise from Ashes
REGULAR correspondents have claimed this column's glass is usually not so much half-empty as thrown against the office wall and smashed to pieces. And, I will acknowledge, Mr Brightside has never been considered as an alternative title to the accurate, if somewhat unflattering, Hindsight.
However, after the unfortunate events in India, I am taking it upon myself to raise spirits. Well, at least to a level that ensures, by the end of the back-to-back Ashes series, the queues at 40th floor windows are reasonably short.
So here is the good news ...
The current tour is providing a mine of quirky statistics for the game's brown cardigan-wearing stats nerds. My favourite from the second Test was that Australia became the first team to lose by an innings after making a declaration. You might have beaten us, India, but you didn't get Xavier Doherty out!
"Australia never play well in India." This is the soothing mantra of those upbeat souls eager to remind us that Australia's most recent triumph was the work of a band of once-in-a-lifetime cricketing freaks. Which not only absolves the current team of blame, but removes the necessity to implement trivial orthodoxies such as footwork and spin bowling. Why bother when we never play well in India anyway?
Hughes might not have done much with the bat in India, but he has set the standard with his catching. Admittedly, we are talking about Merv, not Phillip. The mustachioed one took a splendid catch at extremely long-on. Although that took less skill, you figure, than working out how to entertain the paying guests in his travel group on the vacant fifth day in Hyderabad. "Anyone want to hear the story about Boony's can-drinking record again?"
Matthew Wade has been a convenient scapegoat for those who worry about his sometimes porous gloves. But Wade's first innings 62 in Hyderabad had all the hallmarks of the scrappy, pugnacious knock you expect of a No. 7. Is it his fault he was actually batting at No. 6, where you might expect to find a specialist batsman? Wade's efforts are all the more worthy given he seems to be suffering the delusions he is playing in the IPL, not a fully fledged Test series. His rather troubling answer to Australia's problems is that they have not been sufficiently "attacking" with bat or ball. Yep. And the way to beat a drinking problem is a night out with the Epic Bender Crew.
There has been growing concern from collectors about the inflated prices of the sporting memorabilia market. With its bowling rotation policy, penchant for bits-and-pieces all-rounders and new You Be The Spinner reality show, Australia are attacking this problem aggressively. Soon, the market will be so flooded with baggy greens they will be thrown in as the set of steak knives with Channel Nine's instant collector's items.
Ed Cowan made a terrific century to cement – OK, paper clip – his place at the top of the order. Yes, we are talking about balls faced rather than runs scored. But by "digging in" and "tiring the bowlers", Cowan at least displays the hallmarks of the real opener.
Those who have not seen the movie Argo, please look away. The rest of you will know the amusing code name for the rescue mission was "Argo F--- Yourself".
Which brings us to businessman Don Argus, the author of a prescriptive report into Australian cricket. Argus this week told Fairfax Media he is confident the report's main goals – chiefly, to regain the No. 1 Test ranking by 2015 – can still be achieved. However, in the unlikely event the respected businessman is kidding himself, a new catchphrase might be born. Argus go . . . ummm?
We have marked Shane Warne's efforts as an author of Argus-style dossiers (fools around too much in class, grammar atrocious, must try harder!). Now we have witnessed the great spinner's motivational skills when he addressed the Australians after the first Test defeat. The conclusion? Don't topple the statues of Winston Churchill just yet.
Jackson Bird, George Bailey and a host of others have done nothing to damage their reputations before the Ashes tour. By doing nothing. That constitutes terrific form in the current context.
And, finally, to the lowest, nastiest, least-worthy form of consolation. South Engfrica all out 167 against New Zealand. The day after former England skipper Michael Vaughan had taunted Australians with his – dammit! – amusing tweet: "What do you call a great Australian cricketer? Retired."
Get your schadenfreude while it's red hot. And before tweaker Fawad Ahmed's visa is fast-tracked, and the English can call us Aussiestan.