Book II: End of Act II

Cricket is addictive.

That is of course obvious to all of you reading this blog – because otherwise why would you be here? – but it is a fact nonetheless.

It is addictive for many reasons – the characters, the history, the tradition – but it is also because of how the game itself is built.

Each match reinvents itself every six deliveries. No other sport ticks over play at that pace. And so while the matches last for days, you still find it hard to look away, because each over brings a new promise of hope for the attack, and another new wave of fear and trepidation for the defense.

Every new over brings the dawning of a new era. That’s 15 new eras an hour. 90 new eras a day. And as the matches go on and the pressure builds, it becomes impossible to look away. And you find yourself praying for a drinks break so you can let the dog out – because you dare not turn leave the room, not even for a second, for who knows what you might miss.

They say fielding in cricket is mentally and physically exhausting, because you spend hours and hours with nothing to do, but always there is the prospect that a catch might present itself, and you pray you don’t put it down.

The same is true for watching the game. Sure the ball gets soft and the part time bowlers can you lull the match to sleep a bit, but still, every six deliveries: a new chance for magic.

And it reinvents itself again with each new bowler brought into the attack. And again with each wicket that falls. And again as the morning’s dew becomes the afternoon’s clouds becomes the evening’s long shadows. And again with a new ball. And again with a new innings. And again with a new match, in a new ground, hundreds of miles away.

The play never stops ticking over.

Until it does.

But for now, for England, it is still ticking.

And that is why we will keep watching, that is why we won’t look away, even as neutrals, despite the fact that Australia are two-nil up and cruising, because there is always room for a new dawn in cricket. Every new match. Every new morning. Every six deliveries.

There are three matches left in this Ashes series. That’s potentially 1,350 overs.

1,350 reinventions to anticipate. 1,350 new dawns to savor.

I can’t wait.

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