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England v New Zealand

A blow-by-blow analysis of England’s Test cricketers in Nottingham’s Mega Munch

Ben Gardner by Ben Gardner
@Ben_Wisden 3 minute read

Professional athletes are just like the rest of us. They hurt when they lose, and when they win, they drink and get kebabs.

Normally these are private moments, shared between teammates and the select few in their presence. But when Ben Stokes and co. made the fateful decision to decamp to Nottingham’s Mega Munch after their thrilling Trent Bridge win, they encountered a behind-the-counter camera phone, and the results are glorious.

Here is the definitive breakdown of 33 of the most wonderful seconds of cricket content we have ever been blessed with.

1-9 seconds: Root’s in charge, but also, Lees is really in charge

Joe Root is no longer the captain, but clearly, he’s still the big man. Ben Stokes, sensibly, is out of the way, visible only for a second watching the sudden headlock warily. Root is dominating, orchestrating, handing out food and taking orders. But also, is he?

In the aftermath of the Trent Bridge win, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow both paid tribute to Alex Lees’ quietly crucial dual contributions, and you sense something similar is going on here. Lees looks slightly more together, making sure the food is transferred from chef to Root without spillage, perhaps reminding him what everyone’s orders were as the former skipper tries to take charge. He won’t take the headlines, but this would all have gone a lot worse without him

5 seconds in: Anderson confirms that the prophecy is true

If you’re not familiar with the Maccies triangle, get familiar. It’s a work of genius, and undoubtedly capped off by Anderson on his own in the corner, described as the most likely England cricketer to respond to children in his car yelling “McDonalds! McDonalds! McDonalds!” by pulling into the drive-through as the kids cheer, before ordering a single black coffee and leaving.

This impression, which you already felt was pretty accurate, has somehow been confirmed beyond all doubt by his cameo here, a slight smirk appearing on his face as he tries in vain to take Pope’s food, reaching his hand up just as Root is about to grasp polystyrene. You fancy he doesn’t even want the meal, sustaining himself as he does purely on Wellman vitamins and top-order wickets. But some men just want to watch the world burn.

10 seconds in: The editing

It’s tempting to wish this video had come to us in a different, purer form, and the true details of what went down in Nottingham’s Mega Munch in the early hours of Wednesday morning may be lost to historians forever. But really, it’s the effects, everything shining, the countdown to nothing, the Haddaway soundtrack that make this what it is, the chaos and joy intensified as they are obscured. Without it, this would be a bunch of blokes ordering a takeaway. With it, it becomes art.

11 seconds and 30-33 seconds: Has Ben Foakes ever not looked 10/10?

Benjamin Foakes

This is absurd. No one has ever looked this good in Nottingham’s Mega Munch before. Ben Foakes has perfected the incredibly tricky art of the disheveled helmet-hair bat-raise. He’s conquered the heat of Colombo. And now he’s looking dead down the camera with that million-dollar smile, and then gazing off into the middle distance, biting his lip as his jawline takes centre-stage, all while the last days of Rome play out around him. Somebody get this man in the villa.

12-16 seconds: How did no kebab meat drop here?

Joe Root put down Daryl Mitchell on three, and he went on to make 190. From the looks of his incredible grip strength and dexterity in maneuvering over a ducking patron to seek out Pope, he’s learned his lesson: he’s not dropping anything again soon. At one point the meat starts tumbling, and Root adjusts at the very last moment, as if delicately dabbing down to third man with the ball basically past him. This is the coordination that gets you 10,000 Test runs.

17-19 seconds: Pope’s mixture of excitement and terror

The transition is almost imperceptible. At first, Pope looks so, so excited to get his hands on a well-earned box of meat and chips. Then it dawns on him what he’s about to do to himself, to his stomach, and to whoever he’s sharing a Nottingham hotel room with.

23 seconds in: Pope still desperately trying to keep hold of his meat

Disaster comes within a whisker of striking. A playful headlock almost sends Pope’s meat flying. Root, with the best intentions but also definitely unhelpfully, is trying to hand Pope a fork. This is nearly as thrilling as Bairstow and Stokes after tea.

24 seconds in: These two are not England cricketers, but they deserve a mention

Have you seen these men?

The totally unwarranted bedroom eyes in the back, and textbook ‘alright, boss man?’ eyebrow-raise upward-nod in the front. Lovely stuff.

27 seconds in: The Joe Root smile

Joe Root, 27 seconds in

You know when you go to the pub after work? And because people are leaving for the night there’s a succession of ‘one last round’s being bought so you’re getting through them quicker than you otherwise would? And you haven’t had food, because this was an impromptu thing and there’s stuff in the fridge at home? And then you head to the bathroom break the seal, and as you do so you close your eyes for a while, open them, smile vacantly and think ‘shit, I’m way more drunk than I realised? That’s exactly Joe Root’s expression here.

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