I now get where the Ashes came from. In 1882, England only needed to chase down 85 runs in the second innings to win the Test. They fell 8 runs short. The next day, an obituary was printed in the newspaper:
In Affectionate Remembrance of English Cricket Which Died At The Oval on 29th August 1882
Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances
NB: The body will be cremated, and the ashes taken to Australia.
Having gorged on a few decades of Australian dominance, I'd forgotten what sustained defeat felt like. Losing a home Test series was bad. Getting thrashed in a home ODI series was tough. But the manner in which we lost the last two games was the straw that broke the camel's back. Where was the pride? The passion? The fight to the death? On Australian day, our conduct was, well, unAustralian. You might even say we played like... New Zealanders. There, I said it!
Now I feel that same pain that created the Ashes legend. Our golden age is well and truly over. We knew it would happen sooner or later. No empire lasts forever. Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, Nazism... they all ended up on the scrap heap. We just hoped Australia's reign at the top would end later. Much later.
Someone call me when the next Shane Warne turns up.
|Posted by JC on Sat 31 Jan||71 comments|
As a Test cricket purist, I've always considered nothing more meaningless than a 50 over game. Except maybe a dead rubber 50 over game. Okay, a dead rubber 50 over game where teams rest their best players. You can't get more meaningless than that.
Well, in an effort to extract some meaning, if South Africa do win, they'll overtake Australia in the ODI rankings. So I guess I may be turning on the TV when the cricket comes on (who am I kidding, of course I will). Conveniently, the TV is positioned directly behind where I work at the computer all day. If something interesting happens, I might even turn around and have a look.
|Posted by JC on Fri 30 Jan||69 comments|
Australia are on the verge of losing another home-series to South Africa. And on Australia Day of all days! So defeat is not an option today! There are many interesting sub-plots to unfold also:
- Will Ricky Ponting has the stones to bowl first if he wins the toss. South Africa are obviously capable of chasing down any total (even 400+) so can Punter change his tactics? Does Australia have the mental fortitude to chase down a total?
- Can the Australian middle-order avoid scuttling our entire innings after solid starts from the top-order? Twice now, we were on a trajectory towards a 300+ total, only to go pear shaped in the middle of the innings. Mr Cricket, find some form already!
- Shaun Tait has sent Mark Boucher home with a crushed toe and knocked AB de Villiers out for several games. Mitchell Johnson sent Graeme Smith home with a ruined hand. I'd like to see some more 150+kph deliveries crushing South African fingers and toes. In order of preference, Morne Morkel, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs.
|Posted by JC on Mon 26 Jan||62 comments|
It's always difficult replacing great cricketers. We were lucky to find a mini-McGrath in Stuart Clark. However, we're no way near close to replacing Shane Warne. But at least Australia can rest assured that the role of loud-mouthed buffoon is still alive and well. That's right, Matthew Hayden has retired but Andrew Symonds has valiantly stepped into the breach. Here's Roy's words on Brendan McCullum:
“They're trying to use him [McCullum] as the out because he's a Kiwi. Yep, we love to hate them, but he's the lump of s**t, sorry, lump of cow dirt, that people are thinking of."
At least Haydos had some degree of eloquency in his psychobabble. But what I love is the lame attempt at back-pedalling afterwards:
"I understand how this has been received differently to the way in which I intended to express myself and for that I am extremely sorry."
You see, it's a cultural thing. Here in Australia, calling someone a lump of bovine excrement is an expression of affection and respect!
|Posted by JC on Mon 26 Jan||116 comments|
The series is 1-all with both of the first two games going into the final over. Common sense has prevailed and a new rule letting the batting side decide when to play the powerplay has added a new level of intrigue to the game. 50 over cricket interesting? Whodda thunk it?!
South Africa have adopted a novel new sledging approach against David Warner - they feel sorry for him. I think the hype over Warner is overblown but I hope he tonks the Saffers today just to stick their patronising condescension down their throats.
Feel free to comment as the game unfolds.
|Posted by JC on Fri 23 Jan||207 comments|
South Africa have, to borrow a Bond villain phrase, an annoying habit of not dying. They're like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction who was for all practical purposes dead and drowned in the bath. A few moments later, she's shrieking and trying to impale Michael Douglas with a large kitchen knife.
Tonight, South Africa were dead in the water. 4 quick wickets had just fallen, they still had a heap of runs to get in not so many balls. Then a shrieking Glenn Close arrived in the form of Albie Morkel (whose name always reminds me of that 80's TV explorer Alby Mangels). His kitchen knife was a meaty bat which hit the ball to all corners of the MCG.
Normally when Australians put their foot on an opponent's neck, they never release the pressure. Two Test defeats and one ODI defeat later, South Africa are building a reputation as comeback kings. Hmm, how did Michael Douglas finish off Glenn Close in the end?
|Posted by JC on Fri 16 Jan||54 comments|
Shouldn't be too hard on the fellah. He was the difference between the two sides in the Test series (note South Africa only lost when he failed). Even in the two Twenty20 games, his batting was the only thing that kept them competitive. And he took a catch tonight that was so spectacular, Channel 9 forgot to go to an ad break. Since when does a TV channel opt for a dozen different replays over advertising revenue? Everything Duminy touches turns to gold.
Until he made a complete hash of an outfield catch. Instead of a wicket, exposing Australia's lower order, Cameron White went on to hit 4 consecutive boundaries. It was the game breaking moment when Australia won. Good to know the guy is human after all.
|Posted by JC on Tue 13 Jan||49 comments|
A new blogger DH has joined cricket-blog.com. He hails from England, living "within an 8-iron of Headingley":
I used to play a lot of cricket at a local level, however losing my entire weekend was not compatible to having a girlfriend so ended up semi-retiring. I still appear when they are short and very desperate.
I unfortunately suffer from a disease known as Selective Anglo-Cricket-Amnesia. This basically means that my cricket memory is somewhat sketchy, like a block of Swiss cheese with large gaps such as Nov 2006 - Jan 2007, anything from the 1990's and any time we try to play ODI cricket. The doctors are baffled and I have seeked comfort from a herbal remedy of brewed Barley, Hops, Yeast and Water.
Aussie bloggers, make him feel welcome... at least until the Ashes begins (then the kid gloves come off :-)
|Posted by JC on Mon 12 Jan||60 comments|
The commentators were gushing over David Warner and rightly so (although we get it, he hasn't played a first class game yet, you don't have to repeat it every couple of minutes). But for me, the most breathtaking moment (literally for one unlucky Protea) was in Shaun Tait's first over.
Tait nearly took Jacques Kallis' head off with his first 152kph delivery. His second ball was 155kph. Then his third ball thwacked into AB de Villier's midriff. Doubled over in pain, de Villiers' bat crashed into the stumps. As he crumpled to the ground in agony, the Australians clustered next to his quivering body, high fiving and celebrating. I think I may have seen Cameron White kick de Villiers in the ribs a few times while noone was looking.
It was a moment that would've brought a tear to Jeff Thomson's eye.
|Posted by JC on Sun 11 Jan||182 comments|
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