Brett Lee hits Marvin Atapattu in the head with a bounce.

For those who don’t pay to watch TV, and think cricket and the ABC Grandstand radio coverage go hand in hand, it has been a long wait to revel in the glories of Test Cricket; ten months, in fact, since the The Great Rectification of last summer. The usual signs of success are there for the Australian team: the captain pontificated, the opposition cautiously predicted to exploit the Australian middle-order and an inexperienced bowling line-up. After Australia dawdled to 4/560 by the final session of Day 2 you could almost say the moral victory was won — three days or less and Ponting’s smile would look smug as well as satisfied when he gave his press conference.

Day Three rolled ’round and Brett Lee hit Marvin “muppets headed by a joker” Atapattu on the helmet with a bouncer (see above). Any coincidence then that the ageing Marvin was forthcoming with comments about the flawed selection process of Sri Lankan cricket. Atapattu was looking forward to a sponge-bath and afternoon naps before he was selected to tour Australia; not by the Sri Lankan coach (Australian Trevor Bayliss), who doesn’t get a vote when it comes to selection, but by the Sri Lankan Minister for Sport. Can you imagine honourable Minister for Arts and Sports, Senator Rod Kemp, overriding the judgement of John Buchanan, Ricky Ponting and the Australian selectors? After a win the flag-toting, face-paint wearing fans might be inclined to give the senate to Boony MBE* and Merv, and the keys of Kirribilli to Stuart MacGill. When was the last time someone in parliament spun one out of the rough and bowled us between bat and pad?

David BoonWould you trust this man with our national cricket team?Merv Hughes
Spot the difference: the elected and the selectors

* Only in Australia could a man spend his career as a short leg specialist, hold the record for the most cans of beer consumed by an Australian cricketer on the flight from Sydney to London (52), be the face of a beer company (VB) and receive an Order of the British Empire.

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