The 2nd Test is developing an air of familiarity as that sense of inevitability creeps in. Australia are only a handful of runs from a 1st innings lead with 8 wickets in hand so expect them to step down on the throats of the New Zealanders today. Kudos to Pup for making it through stumps again - it seems whenever Australia make it to the last over of the day, he's at the wicket. A testament to his growth as a batsman, perhaps?
|Posted by JC on Sun 30 Nov||65 comments|
Adelaide Oval has witnessed some great shocks over the years. Australia's victory over England in 2006 amidst a Day 5 brain explosion was arguably the most dramatic day of the series. And yesterday was another shock occurance that will send ripples throughout the cricketing world. Australia got through their 90 overs with time to spare.
To make it even more amazing, Nathan Hauritz was injured halfway through the day so we achieved it without a spinner for much of the day. How can one explain it? I dunno, maybe it's something to do with the short Adelaide Oval boundaries.
New Zealand have to be disappointed with the day. Batting on a flat pitch, most of the top order threw away their wickets. Watching Redmond bat, I thought this guy was cruising to his maiden Test century. Scoring a century in Australia is oft described as "Mt Everest" by New Zealand batsmen. A minute later, he holed out to Andrew Symonds at deep mid-wicket. Watching Redmond nearly commit hari-kari with the stumps at the bowler's end, you had to feel for the guy.
|Posted by JC on Sat 29 Nov||78 comments|
Thanks to Moses who introduced me to Iain O'Brien's Cricket Blog, O'Brien being one of New Zealand's bowlers. His spelling's a bit dodgy but who cares? It's honest and passionate, a cut above the soulless prose from Ricky Ponting's diaries. Here's his reaction to New Zealand's impending defeat on Day 4:
It did really sink in though once I was out and had got back into the changing room. Like a truck it hit me, I felt angry again, I really wanted to throw my kit around (I'm not a gear thrower at all), I wanted to kick holes in walls (I'm really not like that at all), I wanted to punch holes in the shower doors (again, not me) and I really felt drained of energy and emotions. I spent some time, alone, wondering around the shower area, really trying to calm myself down, trying to not be so angry, getting myself back together to face the rest of my team, and then soon after, shake the hands of the Australians.
If there was one thing that bugged me about Australia's loss in 2005, it was that none of the players seemed that bothered. I'm sure they were hurting but their seeming indifference (and lack of accountability) irked me no end. That's probably unfair - maybe showing pain in a loss is the same as rubbing when you get struck by a cricket ball - it's just not done. Nevertheless, I like to see raw anguish in a player after losing a game. I'd never show such vulnerability myself but I like to see it in others!
O'Brien's account of facing the Aussie quicks reminded me of my own experiences at club level:
I had had a really good 'net' in the morning with our batting coach, he fed the bowling machine and helped me with (quite) a few things. All simple stuff that would help out in the middle. I asked for the bowling machine to be 'cranked' up, in order to try to get used to the pace that will be coming at me in the middle. Shit it was quick. To go with the not so good viewing in the indoor nets, it was quite hard work, and I was honestly worried for my health and well being. Not as worried as I was going to be out in the middle though.
So, I'm in, Mitchell Johnson with the ball in hand. I lasted one quick ball from him in the first innings. First ball, quick, full, and I defend it. Next ball, bouncer, oh shit, I hate bouncers, I duck it, and get under it well. I stood straight back up and stared straight back at Johnson. I wasn't go to show him nothing. "Whatever pal, you can bowl quick, but I'm not taking a backward step." That was a thought of course, I wasn't going to start to get into verbals with them. Next ball, I just didn't pick it up till quite late, I start to get out of the way of it, it hits me, takes a little of the numerous pieces of protection I've got on, my chest guard, and takes quite a bit of chest. My left tit to be precise. That hurt, and not how I wanted to play it. But I turned around, stared at him again, I really wasn't going to show him anything. I was in this for the fight.
Another one at the body, fuller this time, I should have got some bat on it down to fine leg, it hits my thigh pad and drops to the man in close. The full ball follows, I'm all over this one. Beats mid off and I'm running like the wind. I'm sure there's four there, and maybe four overthrows there too if we do it right!!?? I turn for the fourth, the throw is already in the air. Just can't risk it. That was the last ball of the over, I'm going to have to face Clark.
I leave the first one, maybe a little dangerous as he's claimed two wickets to leaves in this innings already. It sails past off stump. Next ball, fullish, and I'm through my shot, spoon it weakly out to point. How damn weak was that. I thought I got myself into a good position to hit it for at least one. It's not till I see the replays on the news later that I realise it was a slower ball. Maybe I need to get my eyes checked.
Here's his summation of Stuart Clark (aka miniMcGrath):
Clark is the bowler that I would most love to bowl like in world cricket. He's is just so naggingly boring. I wish I could bowl his lines and lengths, all day long.
I'll definitely be checking in throughout the 2nd Test for the inside scoop from the New Zealand dressing room.
|Posted by JC on Thu 27 Nov||43 comments|
This happened over a week ago but I just found out that Matthew Hayden labelled India a third world country. Specifically, he blamed Australia's slow over rates on having to play in a third world country:
"Often we find ourselves with hands on hips waiting for someone to either face up or someone in the sightboard to move away; all the little frustrations that happen in Third World countries and the heat as well."
Understandably, Indians are furious. Even Pakistan ex-captain Wasim Akram struck back on behalf of his rival, labelling Australia "a village". People, get some perspective! This is not about Australia versus India. It's not a culture war. There is only one factor to be considered in all this... Matthew Hayden is a tool.
This is a guy who blamed our 2005 Ashes loss on God. Who expressed disappointment after getting bitten by a dog. While a devout Christian, he's also a form atheist. He threw Roy under the bus just yesterday. And let's not forget his arrogant sledging the English after they took the Ashes from us.
So to Cricket-Blog readers outside of Australia, let me stress that Matt Hayden is not a good indicator of how Australians think. On the contrary, we all think he's a bit of a nutter.
|Posted by JC on Wed 26 Nov||92 comments|
The humiliation of the 1st test is over - but there is a scandal breaking in New Zealand, where the Otago cricket marketing team have come up with the term 'It's All White here' as their marketing slogan for NZ's test against the West Indies. Clever or really dumb?
'It's All White here'....
You may not have come across the news item - but Dunedin (a town in the deep south of the South Island) has secured the rights to a test match against the West Indies. It's a pretty big deal in NZ as test cricket is being played in what NZ calls the ‘outer regions', to promote the game. It's also because the big centre venues just don't attract the large crowds. The exception is Wellington's Basin Reserve, which always has good crowds (that's because I live here and we have a degree of sophistication as a city beyond the norm).
Dunedin is one of our major cities - but has struggled to get support for tests over the years, so they are obviously pleased with themselves.
As part of their marketing campaign they introduced the catch phrase ‘It's All White here'.
The West Indies have reacted, saying the term has racist overtones and should be banned. In an age of Obama-mania, and some of the tensions in world cricket - the marketers of the Dunedin test have been just a little too cute for their own good. Apart from a rather lame play on words (All Black = All White, white the colour of test match cricket), it does raise an interesting issue of why white became the preferred colour for test match cricket, (another issue) but why the issue of race is still very sensitive. Those involved in Otago cricket unfortunately need this simple history lesson.
As we know cricket evolved out of Victorian England where the names of Grace became synonymous with the great expanding British Empire. Along with strong class divisions (e.g. the gentleman vs players), cricket also reflected racial divides. Throughout the Empire (as with other conquering European powers) racial displays of power and subjugation, from slavery to other charming forms of colonial imposition, happened with impunity.
Please excuse my very quick and crude historiography.
Racial intolerance is a blight on human civilisation, and perhaps the election of Obama is a turning point. Cricket power is now centred in India and represents another power shift away from the bow-tied gin and tonic brigade at the MCC.
It uncovers another issue - which I'm sure was never the intention of the term ‘All White'. One could argue that we're all too PC and need to lighten up and not take ourselves too seriously. Tell that to those who suffered apartheid, experienced the gross treatment of Aborigines in Australia, lived through India's struggle for independence or has Afro-American ancestors who were slaves - the PC argument looks a little thin.
|Posted by Perky @ cricketmystery.com on Tue 25 Nov||34 comments|
With Shane Warne retired, the Australian media were on the lookout for someone else to provide regular scandal headlines. They didn't have to look very far as Andrew Symonds has slipped into the role with aplomb. With the 1st Test ending a day early, it gave Roy the opportunity to get into trouble quicker than usual, getting into a altercation while drinking in a bar.
In all fairness, this does sound like a storm in a teacup - just a case of some fan getting in his face. If it happened to anyone else, it would hardly be worth mentioning. What caught my attention was Matt Hayden on TV pledging his support as a lifelong friend, then in the same breath getting sanctimonious about Roy's alcohol problem. With friends like Haydos, who needs enemies?
What really disturbs me is not Roy's behaviour but the news that Ricky Ponting once again got pinged for slow over rates. I thought the Australian team were doing something about it? Turns out they never discussed dealing with over rates but did make the genius innovation of leaving hats at fine-leg. Here's a tip, Ricky. Quit yapping interminably to the umpires, bowlers and teammates in between overs and deliveries and get on with the game!
|Posted by JC on Tue 25 Nov||40 comments|
I'm not comfortable with the way the 1st Test is sitting at the moment. Not just because of Australia's dismal batting. Not just because Hayden and Ponting have showed distressingly poor form of late. Not even due to Michael Clarke's unforgiveable sin when we sorely needed him to stick around.
No, what bothers me is a bet I made with my Dad. He predicted the game would end late on the 3rd day. I predicted the track would flatten, both teams would settle down in the 2nd innings and it'd end early on Day 5. As it is, my father looks to be exactly correct. I hate it when he's right and I'm wrong. I can just see the smug look on his face!
If Australia collapse early today, New Zealand will either win or be all out by the end of day 3. The result could go either way. On the other hand, if Katich can put on another 100 runs with Haddin and the tail, New Zealand will find it tough going and at least I should see a Day 4 finish. Eg - we're both wrong - I'll take that result at this point.
P.S. - if you're reading this, Dad, hi, hope you're well, looking forward to getting together at Christmas! :-)
|Posted by JC on Sat 22 Nov||99 comments|
Day 1 was a bit of a disaster for Australia. The worst moment for me was towards the end. I'd been listening to the coverage on the radio while working but took a break when Pup got into the 90's - seeing him score a century would've been the one bright moment in the day. When Tubbie Ryder bowled a clever off-cutter that slipped through the gate to upset Clarke's furniture, I exclaimed in dismay. Out on the last over of the innings, Pup!
However, the true context won't be clear until we see how New Zealand fare on Day 2. Were our Aussie batsmen a victim of the seaming Brisbane pitch? Or are we just a crap team nowadays? We'll know a few sessions in today...
|Posted by JC on Fri 21 Nov||76 comments|
You know when there's a Test match coming to Brisbane - our drought breaks and the heavens open. It's been raining pretty much non-stop for the past week although miraculously, the sun came out this morning and we should get some cricket. If only we had more Test matches in Brisbane, we might nudge our dam levels up over 50%
This should be an intriguing Test series. While most Tests against New Zealand have an air of inevitability, for once Australia look vulnerable. After the loss in India, New Zealand (and particularly South Africa) will be smelling blood in the water. Whether the Kiwis possess the shark qualities to take advantage is another matter. New Zealand are in a state of transition too with a lot of newbies in the side.
Stephen Fleming once likened McGrath, Gillespie and Kasprowicz to "facing three Richard Hadlees" with Shane Warne to round things off. While I'm skeptical of comparing Dizzy and Kasper to Hadlee, certainly our bowling stocks are hugely diminished. Fortunately, New Zealand's batting is as inexperienced (or more so) than our bowling so hopefully things will cancel out. At the very least, we still have Brett Lee whose pace seems to strike fear into the New Zealanders. A few "accidental" beamers should put the fear of God into them :-)
|Posted by JC on Thu 20 Nov||65 comments|
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