Is there anything better to watch? Alex Massie captures the sentiment:
All sports are on good terms with humiliation, of course, but there’s an extra-special comic quality to cricketing collapses that makes them much more galling, yet engrossing, than calamitous mishaps in rugby or football or other sports. It’s the sense one gets of a virus being passed from one batsman to his successor who proves equally susceptible.
While definitely mysterious, the batting collapse is also a sure sign of a team’s weakness and lack of confidence. You can’t really imagine Australia suffering the same fate, and until recently, you would have expected it of India (see “World Cup, 1996, semi-final,” or “Fourth innings, Fifth day, Any Test”). This sort of thing explains why I can’t see the English winning the Ashes; it’s not about averages or strike-rates (though it is) — it’s also about a certain team rigor, a calm presence in the ranks who can plop down and say, I’ll take it from here.