England expects…

so, Australia have declared, leaving England with a target of 648 to win in a little under 2 days. That’s quite a tall order, especially considering they were all out for 157 in the first innings.
Perhaps we might be saved the old-fashioned way – there’s reports of a big rain storm moving in tomorrow. Frankly, if we could bat through till then a draw would be gutting for the Australians…

in the meantime…

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English wickets.
In county matches there’s nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of the Ashes blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour’d rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o’erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O’erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill’d with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Boycotts,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their bats for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call’d fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to bat. And you, good openers,
Whose limbs were made in England (and, possibly, South Africa), show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry ‘God for Freddie, England, and Saint George!’

Exeunt. As little Alarum as possible. Pavilion

Henry V, III.1

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