Just not cricket: Aussie is charged AS$99,983 for ale

Australia

An Australian cricket journalist in England for the Ashes series is claiming to have drunk “the most expensive beer in history” after being charged nearly A$100,000 (US$68,362) for the tipple.

Peter Lalor, chief cricket writer for the Australian, said he stopped for a drink at a bar in Manchester, England, on Sunday ahead of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford.

Relaying the tale on his Twitter account, Lalor said that he was not wearing his glasses, so he did not check the bill for the bottle of Deuchars IPA he ordered before handing over his bank card.

The rude shock came a few hours later when Lalor’s wife, at home in Australia, alerted him to the fact that A$99,983.64 had been stripped from their joint account.

Adding to the pain, he had been slugged another A$2,500 as a transaction fee.

Some sleuthing revealed that instead of entering £5.50 (US$6.76), bar staff charged him £55,000 for a single beer.

The operator of the bar, the Malmaison Hotel, was not immediately available for comment, but a spokeswoman told the Guardian it was investigating.

Lalor said the funds were drained from his mortgage offset account and he was surprised not to have received any notification from his bank, which he did not name.

The transaction fee has already been refunded, but Lalor will have a “massive hole” in his finances for the nine working days it will take the larger amount to be returned.

As for the quality of the ale itself, which has won a number of awards, Lalor was ambivalent.

“It was good, but not that good,” he said.

RAIN DELAYS PLAY

AFP, MANCHESTER, England

Rain meant there was no play before lunch on the third day of the fourth Ashes Test between England and Australia at Old Trafford yesterday.

Although a heavier downpour had given way to light drizzle in Manchester, both the pitch and square at Lancashire’s headquarters remained fully covered as the clock ticked round to the scheduled start time of 11am.

Although the skies started to brighten, the rain fell steadily enough to delay the resumption.

The umpires decided to bring lunch forward by 30 minutes to 12:30pm, with a view to holding a pitch inspection at 1pm in the event there was no further rain.

England were to resume on 23-1, 474 runs behind Australia’s first-innings total of 497-8 declared, with left-handed opener Rory Burns 15 not out and nightwatchman Craig Overton unbeaten on 3.

Australia are well-placed thanks to Steve Smith’s 211, his third Test century in four innings.

Smith, the world’s top-ranked Test batsman, missed England’s dramatic one-wicket win in the third Test at Headingley in Leeds with concussion suffered when he was felled by a Jofra Archer bouncer during the second Test at Lord’s in London.

The 30-year-old has so far scored 589 runs in the series at a colossal average of 147.25, having marked his return to the format with scores of 144 and 142 that were key to Australia’s 251-run win in the first Test at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

The five-match contest is all square at 1-1.

Australia last won an Ashes series in England in 2001.

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