SO England have blown another Test match - this time within three days - and I can't hide my disappointment at the way we failed to compete. We didn't do much right in this match, choosing to bat under leaden skies with drizzle in the air and then being skittled out for 159. When we then had Australia in trouble at 88 for 5 we let them off the hook with that bully Hayden scoring 150 and Andrew Simmonds (who is an Englishman, by most accounts) hitting his first Test ton. By the end of the Aussie innings they were 260 ahead - no thanks to some diabolical umpiring by South African Rudi Kurtzen, who seemed to have rigor mortis in his dismissal finger until the Aussies bowled. When England had their chance to bat again they just fell apart. Well, it's been a long tour, I guess, for the players as much as their long-suffering supporters.
We five Testers are finding it hard to put a brave face on it. The new arrivals are quite happy to sing and celebrate in adversity, but they haven't had to suffer the capitulation at Brisbane, that awful fifth day in Adelaide, and the surrender of the Ashes at the WACA. They're just on a winter holiday.
Because of the defeat we have now got an extra two days in Melbourne, which is ok but I'm now just keen to move on to Sydney.
Still, the memory of Yoda on Boxing Day will live with me forever and I must admit that my support was missing from the ground on the second morning of the Test, on the basis I woke at about 10 in the morning still lying on the sofa and decided to get to bed rather than watch what was inevitably going to be another good day for Australia.
That night involved just a few beers in the hotel bar and an early night, but last night was another heavy session, what with the Turf Bar putting on a karaoke which the Barmy Army took over - Billy the trumpeter arrived on stage to huge cheers and there is a really weird public school type chap who keeps singing Living Doll in the style of the pub singer. It involves talking jibberish like "Snurdy gurd snur gurda snurdy gurda... Pietersen" Every line finishing with an England players name rather than the words Living Doll. The rest is incomprehensible.
A lot of the guys who have been present at the other Tests seem to have materialised here, particularly Chardonay, the 50-odd GP who has dyed his hair red and seems to say that every Test match will be his last and that he must head home to England. I'm sure he will be here until the death.
The Designer has met up with his friend Tim and presented him with a signed Barmy Army shirt for his birthday. During the previous Tests we had managed to get hold of Darren Gough, Gladstone Small, Mike Gatting and Phil Tufnell just wandering around outside the grounds. They were all happy to sign the prezzie and Tim is suitably delighted with it.
I said goodbye to my new friends Scott and Holly yesterday. They now live in Melbourne with their three kids but Holly had bought Scott three days of Test match tickets for his birthday. They loved the whole Barmy Army situation and were very complimentary to me for making them feel part of the group. I feel another holiday in Australia coming on soon.
Holly was pretty much in her element last night after a few vodka and red bulls, trying to put off the Aussie pool players with moves that would make a lap dancer blush. She's certainly not shy, possibly down to her upbringing with a Geordie dad and a Scouser mum. Scott, for his part, is a huge Arsenal supporter and they both watched every game in the Gunners unbeaten season a couple of years back. Poor things.
We also let Bedford Malc and his girlfriend Sian use our washing machine in the apartment. Poor Malc was very envious of the luxurious surroundings, particularly as he was hoping for a similar all-singing, all-dancing apartment once Sian joined him out here.
Today has just been a quiet one, sunbathing on the roof terrace, but I did spend a short time at the Melbourne Bar and Bistro where you get an All You Can Eat buffet with a mouthwatering selection of Asian foods. Yum!