As a player, Sir Ian Botham was your classic confidence cricketer, unstoppable on a roll.
As a punter, well… not so much.
Before Australia travelled to England back in July for the first of a marathon 10-match twin series, Botham confidently announced a 10-0 whitewash for the home side was on.
“Given that we’ve got back-to-back Ashes series between now and January, if we get a good summer – and you rarely lose too many days to rain in Australia – make that 10-0. I’m serious. Why not? I think we’re that much better.”
That was a big call. The most either team has won consecutively in more than 130 years of cricket is eight – England, between 1882 and 1890, when the two sides first played each other; and Australia, in its most dominant era between 1989 and 2003.
Two matches in and Botham was riding high with England 2-0 up, but not everything was going the Poms’ way. Australia fell agonisingly short in the First Test, and England were looking shaky in the Third Test when rain washed out most of the final day’s play.
That draw ended Beefy’s 10-0 prediction, but admirably, he’s kept finding ways to stay in the game and bait his followers.
Here – as Australia wraps up the Ashes with the kind of drubbing England has only ever dreamed of, is Beefy’s sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always entertaining Twitter trail of destruction.
As the 10-match series got under way, Beefy put his money where his mouth was:
The haters came out in force after England was knocked over cheaply, but only until Australia batted:
Two Tests in, 2-0 to England:
And Beefy was on an early roll:
“Which we will…”
Until rain “saved” Aussies. (England were 3-37 needing 331):
Bugger, there goes the 10-0. Oh well, how about KP to make a 50?
Nope, KP bundled out for 26. How about the Fifth Test? “I can see it being wrapped up before lunchtime on day four“:
Nope, not 4-0. It went well into the fifth day until bad light stopped play. Only the most sporting of declarations by Australian captain Michael Clarke gave England any chance of a win. So 3-0’s not quite 5-0 on the way to 10-0. But you can’t fault his enthusiasm.
Time for a rethink before the return series gets under way in Australia:
Has Beefy learnt any lessons? No. In fact, he’s promised to cook Merv Hughes a barbie if Australia wins the series.
A great start! Egg on there (sic) faces!
We’re going to bat for two days!
Bundled out for 136 in 52.4 overs.
1-0 down and off to Adelaide, where no doubt the convicts will struggle against England’s superior spin attack:
Somewhere towards the end of the second day, Australia gets sick of batting and declares on 570. Before Mitchell Johnson (not a spinner) flattens England for 172:
Dash and blast. England 2-0. Still…
Here’s Beefy’s Third Test preview, where he seems to be coming around to the fact England is a bit rubbish:
“I was actually embarrassed by that display, it was unacceptable.”
But apart from a desperate gee-up midway through the first day:
The tweets have all but dried up. Again, the Third Test has gone – as they say in Engerland – “pear-shaped”.
And that’s all Sir Ian has had to say on the matter to date. From the not-unlikely chance of a 10-0 whitewash to 3-3 with two matches remaining and Australia living up to its #ReturnTheUrn promise.
No doubt Merv is looking forward to a good grilling, but in Beefy’s defence, there is a whitewash on the cards. But you’d better get on quick, because the odds are shortening by the day…
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