When the battle’s lost and won

Michael Clarke tosses coin.
Michael Clarke wrote in his Ashes Diary: “I’m preparing to play. I’ve been sitting on the couch or lying on the bed with my eyes closed, picturing the bowlers – Anderson, Broad, Finn, Swann, Bresnan…I see them in sunshine and under cloud, I feel whether it’s warm or cool.”

In Brisbane, 1974, on the night before one of the more savage assaults launched on a cricket field, Jeff Thomson got drunk in a bar. “I want a hangover from hell,” he said.

Both men followed the fashion of their time. Neither man could go into battle without an atavistic attempt to find god. Thommo donned the hag mask and spilled blood on the pitch. Clarke is still up in the air.