At the time of writing, England were 20 for none after seven overs, with a crooked Glenn McGrath having been bashed for 20 off four. As you read this, those figures will either represent the herald of another famous victory or the false dawn before the inevitable Aussie power regains its dominance.
For one reader, though, the best Ashes home series for 20 years is much more than an edge-of-the-seat TV and office internet extravaganza. “I had the good fortune to attend the first day of the Ashes Test Match at Edgbaston,” recalls the lawyer, who prefers not to be named. The reason is as follows: “It seemed that we were caught up in a ticket scam that had resulted from a block of 24 tickets being intercepted in the post, reissued with duplicates, but with the originals then being sold on by touts and the proverbial ‘man in the pub’ to unsuspecting recipients.
“As our seats were near to this block, it seemed some of the double-booked people were in our seats. On asking the stewards and police who had been called to sort it out, it seemed that the cause of the problem was a group of clients and solicitors from Shoosmiths.
“Needless to say, it all took quite a while to resolve, with the poor unfortunates who had bought the ‘original’ Shoosmiths tickets being taken out of the ground to make way for the Shoosmiths crowd holding the ‘duplicate’ tickets.
A slightly bumpy start to a corporate hospitality day I’d say.”
A Shoosmiths spokesperson acknowledged the ticketing foul-up but said that most of the poor unfortunates left ‘their’ seats without complaint. “Apart from one man,” she added, “who said he’d been sitting in that seat for 15 years and refused to move. After an hour and a quarter it turned out he was in the wrong stand and there was a bigger cheer for the policeman who led him away than for Andy Flintoff.”
After 15 years in the seat, Tulkinghorn is not surprised.