Peter Siddle, on alert to play at HQ should Mitchell Starc fail to recover from his ankle injury, is still struggling to make sense of England’s hopes for a convivial beer before the series is done.
Tradition holds that the bottles and cans get an airing once the urn is safely in keeping, one way or another.
Siddle was especially taken aback to hear England’s linchpin pace bowler James Anderson going public that Australia were not interested in a drink after the hosts won by 169 runs in Cardiff. “It’s my fifth Ashes series and it’s the first time anyone’s ever gone to have a drink after one Test match,” he said.
“So it’s a little bit of an interesting story – especially from Jimmy, considering at the Oval last time (in 2013) we had a drink he goes: ‘I don’t know why we do this, I can’t stand it’.
“I think through the series, as we know, there’s a lot of tough battles that go on, between bat and ball, player versus player. There’s no doubt at the end of the series we can have that drink.”
Australia have more pressing concerns, not just with Starc – who was able to bowl off his full run in the nets two days before the Test – but more so Brad Haddin.
The veteran wicketkeeper is expected to miss Lord’s, for personal reasons.
He was barely involved at all in practice on Tuesday, and confirmation of his absence from the Test was anticipated from Cricket Australia – with Haddin’s fellow New South Wales wicketkeeper Peter Nevill therefore in line for a high-profile debut.
Siddle was giving nothing away, however, about Haddin’s readiness for what would be his 67th Test.
“He’s fine, just had an easy day today,” he said.
“It’s been a long few months already that we’ve been away.
“He seemed all right to me.
“When I went up to the rooms when I finished bowling we had a bit of a chat, a joke and a laugh.
“He spends a lot of time out in the middle – he’s just taking it easy.”
Starc is a much more likely participant at this stage.
Siddle said: “Starcy got through well today, bowled out in the middle off the long run – both ends. He’s feeling good.
“I guess it’s just a waiting game at the moment for me. Everyone’s fit at the moment, which is nice.”
Lyth on England role: Page 25.