England have had little to smile about in the 2017-18 Ashes, but James Anderson was able to see the funny side as he fielded a painful question following day one of the fourth Test.
Already 3-0 down in the series and seeking to avoid a whitewash at the hands of Australia, England found wickets tough to come by at the MCG on Boxing Day, with the hosts closing on 244-3.
In an end-of-day news conference, one reporter asked Anderson: "You've lost eight Test matches in a row here [Australia], you spent a long time in the field in Perth, another day in the field today. How easy is it to keep enjoying it?"
After rolling his eyes, Anderson initially replied in deadpan fashion, his comment of "thanks for bringing that up" sparking laughter among the assembled media.
England's record wicket-taker then laughed as he added: "Full of the joys of spring, aren't you? Merry Christmas to you!"
Anderson went on to offer a serious reply, stating: "Yeah - it's hard, but days like today, I actually in a slightly strange way get satisfaction out of knowing I've put in a good shift. I've given absolutely everything I could, I know I couldn't have given any more.
"That's Test cricket, you've got to put a stint in from time to time. Unfortunately we've had to put a fair few in on this trip already, but that's the nature of the game and I enjoy putting that stint in, knowing you've done a good day's work."
David Warner (103) and Steve Smith (65 not out) were the main contributors for Australia, after the latter had chosen to make first use of a flat surface in Melbourne.
A Boxing Day century from @davidwarner31 and 65* from Steve Smith guide Australia to 244/3 at the end of Day 1 of the 4th #Ashes Test at the @MCG. #AUSvENG Scorecard: https://t.co/b0aqBoGaxNpic.twitter.com/DfWrD9xiiT-- ICC (@ICC) December 26, 2017
Anderson was unimpressed with the pitch and said: "You'd think that the 90,000 who turned up today don't want to see 244-3. I think people want to see entertaining cricket, especially in an iconic match like the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.
"We did our best. We didn't bowl great [in the] first session, we didn't add to that excitement unless you're a David Warner fan, but [in the] second session we did what we could on that pitch.
"I know it wasn't exciting to watch; it wasn't exciting to play on, to be honest, when it's that attritional, but there's not a lot we can do about it. That's the pitch we've got for the next five days and we've just got to put up with it."