After 15 consecutive Test victories, Australia head into the Sydney Test just one win away from equalling the, well, from now on it shall be referred to as the Record That Must Not Be Named. That's right, it's the cricketing equivalent of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle which postulates that by observing the event, you influence the outcome. Similarly, by even mentioning Australia's impending and historic record, you run the risk of jinxing it.
This comes from the Australian captain himself. Ponting says the Record That Must Not Be Named is never discussed. Riiggghhhhht! I'm reminded of the Champion's Trophy where Ponting insisted Australia weren't thinking about reclaiming the Ashes, just on the (meaningless ODI) matches at hand. After they won the trophy, he came clean and confessed yes, the Ashes were ALL they were thinking about. Yes, we knew, Ricky, it was all we were thinking about too.
There's even talk Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is looking to pass legislation through parliament that makes mentioning the Record That Must Not Be Named a federal offense. During the 1st Test, Rudd was on ABC radio assuring listeners that he's just as much the cricket tragic as John Howard (and even cast aspersions at Howard's off spin technique). This rings true when you consider the best Howard could offer was some symbolic wording in the Constitution Preamble that inferred mentioning the Record That Must Not Be Named was un-Australian.
|Posted by JC on Mon 31 Dec||48 comments|
Typically, my predictions for the Boxing Day Test have been wildly astray. I predicted India would notch 250 on Day 2 without much loss - they were all out for 190. I then predicted Australia would bat through to Day 4 before declaring - they declared late Day 3 (a welcome surprise). Pity Australia couldn't take any wickets before stumps although Brad Hogg did have a plumb LBW shout turned down in the last over.
So how will Day 4 unfold? This could go two ways. More likely is India collapse under the pressure of relentless Australian bowling, delivering Australia's 15th consecutive Test victory. Less likely is their batting stars could hold us at bay, a la Dravid and Laxman who batted through an entire day in 2001 to break Steve Waugh's 16 match winning streak. While a target of 499 on a crumbling 4th day pitch seems impossible, so too was an Indian victory after following on in Eden Gardens. So I'll temporarily put aside my preference for Tests going the full five days and hope for quick wickets today!
Live score here
|Posted by JC on Sat 29 Dec||44 comments|
Day 2 saw Australia take charge of the 1st Test (Cricinfo have a nice summary of the Day 2 highlights). However, despite being rolled for 180, there were ominous signs from Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman. So while normally, Australia would probably declare half an hour before stumps on Day 3, my prediction is Australia will bat through to Day 4 (unless they're dismissed), declaring before lunch.
|Posted by JC on Fri 28 Dec||50 comments|
Day 1 of the Boxing Day Test was a cracker. Australia fought through the new ball and dominated before lunch. India fought back in the next two sessions and took the day's honours. Despite losing 9 wickets, Australia still rattled up 337 runs in a day. ABC Radio accused them of batting like cowboys (drawing the inevitable 'cowboys vs indians' pun).
How will Day 2 unfold? I hope the 10th wicket will rattle up more runs, taking us past the 350 mark. Then Brett Lee continue his devastating form, rolling the Indian top order. But more likely is India will finish off our 1st innings within a few overs then bat solidly through the day, knocking up 250 while losing 4 or 5 wickets. Brad Hogg's spell will be significant, both for the 2nd innings and his Test career.
|Posted by JC on Thu 27 Dec||46 comments|
I've been anticipating today's cricket more than any this season (apart from our Saturday afternoon club games, of course). Australia have won their last 8 Boxing Day Tests and are currently on a 14 match winning streak. Can they go past Steve Waugh's record of 16 consecutive Test wins?
The main question mark in my mind is whether the Australian bowling can knock over 20 Indian wickets in 5 days. The word is the MCG pitch is damp which will assist the bowlers - good news. India have a strong batting line-up with a lot of pride and experience - certainly no pushovers. Can Brett Lee maintain his current wicket taking form? Will Brad Hogg play and can he trouble the subcontinent spinmasters? Post your comments as the action unfolds...
Oh and its a day late but Merry Christmas to all cricket-bloggers!
Live score here
|Posted by JC on Wed 26 Dec||156 comments|
It's the series everyone has been waiting for, India v Australia, me in particular as I'm desperate to see the Aussies challenged for a change. A world no.3 vs no.1 ('Tis a pity that the English, who need the weather gods to save them are at no 2) looks mouthwatering and its definitely India's best chance of pulling off something special. But after looking through the crystal ball I can see only one team winning this. Here's why...
Why Australia will win
2)Aussie agressiveness - The Aussies are ruthless, possess tenacity in spades and are at your face all the time. The opposing team's partnership maybe 100+ but there still appers to be some pressure on them. This killer instinct is sorely lacking in India.
3)Ricky Ponting - The batting of the 2 teams is fairly matched but there is one gem which sparkles above all the rest. Ponting has been prolific this season and back to back tons vs the Kiwis looks ominous for India. The only weakness with Ponting is that early on in his innings he still falls over and is prone to LBW's. India's best chance is with the left-arm inswing of RP Singh.
But with Punter in this kind of form and his success against India last time, you'd do well to put your money behind him. For the Indians the message is clear- Get him early, or get tonked.
4)Theyre Australia! - Isn't that reason enough? :)
Why India will struggle
1)Poor fielding, running between the wickets - When India have a bad day at the field, they rank as one of the most pathetic fielding sides in the world. The series in England being a case in point. If I remember right they could hardly catch a single ball cleanly at Lord's. Its apparent that the appointment of a fielding coach hasn't helped much with only youngsters like Dinesh Kaarthick and Yuvraj ready to put their body on the line. The softer grounds in Australia should get them to dive and be athletic in the field, if it doesn't, India are roasted.
You drop a Hussey or Ponting once, dont worry, youll have the whole innings to regret! So I agree on this with Ian Chappel when he said that "Australia are gonna run them ragged!"
I still maintain that India have a long way to go in improving their running between the wickets. Apart from a few 20 20 games theres still a lot left desired. The seniors esp. have to pull up their socks and run fast as Australia's long boundaries and excellent fielders will sorely expose any weakness, which I think they will.
2)The famous Indian droop - You may argue that any side when being smashed all over the place droop, but from what I've observed this is most evident in the case of India. All it takes for them to go into their shell is a partnership of just 35-50 runs. After that the intensity is gone, bowlers just put the ball on the pitch without thinking, in short they're waiting for things to happen. But they may as well wait all day if this happens this summer.
If the symptoms of this disease persist when Australia are 120 for no loss on day 1 at the MCG, rest assured, India have a long tour ahead.
3)Lack of acclimatization - Despite what Tendulkar says India are way short of match practise in Australia. Playing on dead pitches in India just before coming here certainly wasnt a bright spark. They're lucky that the MCG will be a bit slow and give them time because if they aren't confident heading to Perth, they'll be facing a lot of chin music.
4)Poor selection - I've trashed India's chances of winning but they can still give a fight or maybe even spring a surprise or 2 ONLY if they play both Yuvraj and Sehwag. What India need to topple Australia is some unpredictability and a few moments of genius. Catching Australia off guard appears to be India's best chance. And who more capable than Sehwag or Yuvraj to do that?
And Anil Kumble's bounce will also be key. He troubled Australia last time and has to do it again. His captaincy will definitely be tested when the Aussies are going hammer and tongs at India esp. early on against the new ball.
Why are Australia the worlds best cricket team? They do the simple things the best. Undoubtedly they have the best balance in batting bowling and fielding, also they do their homework and play the mind games the best. It appears that this will be too much for the Indians.
The weather might play a role in one of the tests and I suppose India can draw another. Adelaide seems their best bet but unfortunately for them, it would be too late. Add to India's poor bowling lineup their moody fielding and running between the wickets, the odds are stacked against them and hence I don't think they can win a test match.
So all things said and done, its verdict time. I've looked through the crystal ball and tried to give India the best chance, but the result is overwhelming.
My prediction 2-0 Australia...Yours?
|Posted by Ajesh Nag on Sun 23 Dec||59 comments|
While he was playing, Shane Warne was renowned for his outspokenness, inappropriate behaviour and ability to make headlines. You'd think now he's given up the game, he'd settle down for a quiet life. You'd think wrong. Just in the last few weeks, he's accused Murali of chucking, taking a sideswipe at Adam Gilchrist (aka Richie Cunningham) by endorsing Michael Clarke as vice captain and now is having a tilt at John Buchanan:
"I disagree with John Buchanan all the time. I don't think he has made one good point in a long time, actually. Everything that I have read that he says, he is living in pixieland.He also accuses the Australians of arrogance (how ironic is that?!) and hints that Adam Gilchrist and Matt Hayden should retire but after the Buchanan blast, that's an anti-climax. Some guys just don't know how to retire gracefully.
It just shows what us players had to put up with John Buchanan. We had to listen to his verbal diarrhoea all the time.
He is just a goose and has no idea and lacks common sense, and you can put all that in there (the interview).
|Posted by JC on Fri 21 Dec||37 comments|
Game 3 begins in half an hour with a series decider thanks to a Game 2 wash-out. By rights, Australia should already have the trophy, comfortably winning Game 1 and having New Zealand in a tight spot in just 6 overs of Game 2. Nevertheless, every match starts anew and the Kiwis do have a habit of intermittently playing out of their skins against Australia. Will McCullum or Oram (or both) fire? Post your comments as the game progresses...
|Posted by JC on Thu 20 Dec||119 comments|
The latest noises from Cricket Australia are the possibility of staging night Test matches. Mike Coward speaks against the concept:
Test cricket is sacred because it has stood apart from all its mutations and from all other sport for 130 years. This makes it unique. The moment it does not stand apart is the moment it will be despoiled and doomed.
And, of course, playing under lights is only the start. The colour of the ball will need to change. The colour of the sightscreens will need to change. In all probability the colour of clothing will need to change. And all for the sake of unnatural light and, perhaps, a few more quid and television rating points a beautiful sporting culture will be lost. Once it is defiled there can be no turning back. The governors need to remember that.
On the other hand, Peter Roebuck is all for the idea:
CRICKET cannot turn up its lip at the prospect of night Test matches. To the contrary, it is exactly the sort of radical proposal the game needs. Movies, plays and concerts all take place long after the sun has set, and, inevitably, the same applies to most sporting events, including cricket. And the reason is simple: after a day at work or school, people transport themselves into whichever world they choose in the evening. And the customer is always right.
Objectors will point out that dew arrives in the evening, upsetting the balance of the game. Tough. Players must take it into account. Already, openers often find themselves batting on fresh morning surfaces. Critics may complain that white balls fall apart easily, forgetting that red balls have never been entirely reliable. In any case, a game cannot be held back by trifles of this sort. The trouble with conservatives is that they love not wisely but too well.
Statisticians will observe that past figures will be rendered redundant whereupon their lives will become meaningless. Statisticians, taxi drivers and Paris Hilton have altogether too much to say. Anyhow, figures have always reflected their period. Batsmen used to encounter wet pitches; modern players encounter dry surfaces and weak attacks.
My first reaction was "noooooooo"! Twenty20 is already prostituting the game to the point where it has practically no dignity left. Juggling clowns and water dunking? Do what you want with the limited overs stuff but leave the 5 day game pure and unmolested.
However, upon reflection, I'm reconsidering. Test cricket can change so long as the important stuff is left the same. The colour of the ball isn't the be all and end all. Who cares about the sight screen. But the clothing should always be white to distinguish itself from limited overs. And one of the most annoying elements of Test cricket will be eliminated - stopping for bad light.
|Posted by JC on Tue 18 Dec||47 comments|
The Kiwi's have gained the perfect result in the second ODI with the match being rained out.
Consider the alternatives:
The third outcome of the match being rained out is by far the best option for enzed. That they looked hapless with the bat and crumbled to 3/not much is even better.
They now go into the final game with the trophy still alive. To retain the trophy they had to win in Hobart regardless, now Australia will have their guard down, and despite talk of how much this series means to us we've gone and rested Gilly for the final.
The game is in Hobart which will probably suit the choice bro's style, small boundaries and decent pitch for their 8 medium pacers. Vettori will be a handfull, and if Flemming or McCullum choose this day to fire they'll be saying "sweet as" for another 12 months leaving our cabinet is 1 from full.
Sure they're down on momentum, but really what is that in a 50 over game anyway? For me it's just a buzzword that Buchanan used to make the opposition feel inferior, and one he often used cause Australia always seem to have it!
|Posted by Moses on Mon 17 Dec||64 comments|
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