Excited about something I can't even watch - the best I can do is follow video scorecards online and the splendid Test Match Special. Yes, folks, later on today The Ashes 2009 gets underway. The last time the contest was staged over here, well, it wasn't too shabby:
So many incredible memories come flooding back watching that video. The catch by Strauss. Freddie's magical over. The ending to "the greatest Test". Harmy's slow ball to Clarke. Ponting being run out by sub-fielder Gary Pratt. That picture of Freddie and Brett Lee. Warne "dropping the Ashes" at the Oval.
But my main memory from that series isn't in that video, and I can't find it elsewhere either. The great Richie Benaud had already announced that the 5th and final test at The Oval would be his last commentating stint in England, and as his final session of the day came to a close, he began his last goodbyes. I remember sitting on my sofa and turning up the TV volume, knowing I was watching/listening to a small bit of sporting history. And then just as Richie had effectively said his farewell, Glenn McGrath clean bowled Kevin Pietersen. With a score of 158, KP had taken the game well and truly away from the Aussies, and The Ashes were sealed. It was such a poetic moment - here was a great broadcaster leaving us for the final time, and the man who had guided us to the victory was leaving the field and the series at exactly the same moment. A memorable and awesome moment, to highlight a memorable and awesome sporting contest.
And so, to The Ashes 2009. Can England win? Sure. To be honest, I'm finding it very, very difficult to call a winner. England are at home, the Australians are not what they were. They have Brett Lee injured for the first Test. Yet you look at the way England played in the Caribbean...they play like that again, they don't stand a chance. But this is England, this is now, and I'm plumping for The Ashes to return to these shores, once again a scoreline of 2-1.
And now I need to sleep, otherwise I'll miss all of the play tomorrow morning.