Gideon Haigh, courtesy of The Australian, 26 December 2013, where the title is “Behind the Boxing Day facade, Test cricket is in decay”
BOXING Day: in cricket there is nothing quite like it, a day of national sporting thanksgiving held where Test matches all began, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, almost 137 years ago. You can be guaranteed the biggest crowd of summer. You can expect a vast recumbent audience of home viewers, still in a postprandial stupor, looking forward this year to further lashings of roast pom. No, nothing much wrong with this scene. It’s elsewhere that’s not so rosy.
Because Boxing Day in Australia, and the Ashes more generally, has become Test cricket’s Potemkin village, hiding the decay of the format behind the veneer of its own continuity. This summer, Boxing Day forms part of a tradition significantly overextended: the ninth Ashes Test of the year, in a series already decided, with a final leg of this money-minting decathalomarathon to go in Sydney. Read the rest of this entry ?