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Cricket: A modern tragedy in five acts

For time immemorial, the game with the bat and the ball has served as an allegory for the fates that befall us all: birth and death, triumph and defeat, excitement and sitting for four days as it rains non stop. Now a new force has come, a new start for the greatest sport, and it is time for the hero to lead his forces to their destiny!

edit Cast of Characters

The self-professed 'greatest living Yorkshireman':

  • Boycs - Geoffrey Boycott, Yorkshireman, demagogue, know-it-all. Narrator.

The 'ers:

  • Aggers - Jonathan Agnew. Test Match Special Commentator and all-round good egg.
  • Johners - Brian Johnston (dec'd). TMS Commentator and all-round good egg.
  • Blowers - Henry Bloefeld. TMS Commentator, James Bond Villain, and all-round good egg.
  • Bearders - Bill Frindall. TMS statistician and all-round good egg.
  • CMJ - Christopher Martin-Jenkins. TMS Commentator and all-round good egg.

The pretty ones:

  • Mark Nicholas - Presenter. Once played cricket, though no-one remebers that.
  • Simon Hughes - The analyst. Feared by cricketers of all creeds, the analyst is chosen by fate to battle the evil forces of snicks and legbeforedecsisions, aided only by his two trusty tools: the Hawkeye, and the snickometer.
  • Mike Atherton - Commentator. Dull, minor character.

edit Prelude

edit Scene 1: The square, Headingley, August 2009

Boycs -- It were't best o' times, it were't worst o' times; it were't age of wisdom, it were't age of foolishness; it were't epoch o' belief, it were't...

Mark Nicholas -- Thanks Geoffrey. Welcome to Cricket on Channel 5, on the first morning of this third test from Headingley, where this Ashes series is finely poised at one-all. A win here and England are one step away from regaining the urn which they lost so comprehensively in Australia in 2007.

(TV cuts to a montage of England wickets tumbling)

Boycs -- Ah'm gunner, if ah may, tek thi on a strange journey... It were a pretty ordinry night when Kevin and his team o' young warriors (and Steve 'armison) took to the field that late August Morning...

Mark Nicholas -- Geoff, it's cut to a montage of us losing last time out.

edit Act 1: Headingley, day 1

edit Scene 1: TMS Commentary Box

(Aggers, Bearders and Gus are in the commentary box, wearing headphones and speaking into microphones. All are naked.)

Aggers -- Good morning, and welcome to Test Match Special. England have won the toss, Pietersen calling Smith's spin correctly, and so Australia will bat first here. England line up the same as at the Oval, so Cook and Strauss will open, Bell stays at number three, Pietersen captains at four with Collingwood at five. Flintoff is promoted to six and Broad up to seven; it's an interesting response by Pietersen to the poor form shown by Ambrose with the bat so far. Ambrose bats at eight, followed by Jimmy Anderson, Steve Harmison and Monty. Bill.

Bearders -- Well Jonathan. Twelve of the last fourteen tests at Headingley have been won by the team winning the toss - the last team to win the toss but not the match were... (mumbles incoherently).

Aggers -- Thanks Bill. So Freddie will take the first ball today, from the Rugby Stand End, Pietersen keeping faith with the opening partnership of the last match. Flintoff bowls a few looseners to Pietersen in the covers, while umpire Billy Bowden gives Phil Jaques his guard. Jaques does a little bit of gardening, carefully scratching his spike to identify his middle-and-off guard.

Flintoff will bowl to a field of three slips and a gully, cover, mid off, mid on, a sort of deepish backwards square, and Monty is down there at fine leg. Gus, what are you expecting from England today?

Gus -- Well Jonathan, England will be looking to pick up a quick couple of wickets this morning though Jaques will be the dangerman - he knows Headingley well from his time with Yorkshire, and he's still playing for for his place in thsi Australia team.

edit Act 2: Headingley, day 2

edit Act 3: Headingley, day 3

edit Act 4: Headingley, day 4

edit Scene 1: Headingley pitch, covered

(Rain. Boycs stands in the centre, shaded by an umbrella and ) Boycs -- I saw ten grand o't talkers whose tongues was all broked, an' guns 'n' sharp swords in't hands o't bairns. So ah'm tellin thee, an ard rain is gonna fall today.

edit Act 5: Headingley, day 5

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