English counties express interest in Lee

English counties express interest in Lee

Read that ^

The ECB really are bloody clueless sometimes. It’s The Ashes in 2005. One of the oldest sporting contests. The ECB are due to make ££ tens of millions ££ from the gates alone. And, although it’s a long shot, England have a better than usual chance of winning. What do they do? Invite the second fastest bowler to play for a county of course! Admittedly, Lee is of no concern to England due his rating of Super Crap (and being the most over-rated bowler in a generation). But he could provide important intelligence to his Australian generals, and it’s just bad form.

Fans deprived of cricket by new ruling

Cricket-Online: Fans deprived of cricket by new ruling

[via Cricket-Online]

“Essentially the ruling is that a days play ends at a dictated time, not when the overs have been bowled. Any overs that have not been bowled or lost to bad light will not be made up at either end of the day.”

I must admit this is news to me. I’ve been vaguely aware that play has been ending earlier than usual (especially in Britain due to Channel 4, the broadcaster, who are worried about their schedules) but I hadn’t realised it had started to affect so many matches. Can anyone else confirm they’ve seen it become a problem?

Sri Lanka abandon their tour to New Zealand

Thankfully for the Sri Lankans, they’ve been “allowed” to abandon their tour of NZ as we would hope. Yesterday, it seemed there could have been financial ramifications (for cutting the tour short) but, so far, it seems the ICC and NZC are being reasonably sensitive and compassionate. What a disasterous start to the new year, for all Sri Lankans – my thoughts are with them all.

England declare

Top knock from Thorpe again – 118 not out batting at number 5. Jones played a gem of 73 from 82, including 2 flat pulled sixes off Steyn. He really looks a fine fine player and ought to average over 40. England declare at 570-7 off 172 overs – South Africa need 378 to win.

Is there yet another twist to this game? (I think) South Africa have 12 overs to face – and another new ball tomorrow morning.

South Africa fight back

As if this Test couldn’t get more thrilling, South Africa took 3 cheap wickets this morning before lunch. They’re ahead, in terms of sessions won, by 6-4

Cricket on Google

Anyone reading this will be familiar with the Internet, Google and the like so I thought it was interesting to read that “cricket” was the 8th most common search phrase, for a sport, at Google News in 2004. [via Cricket 24×7]

It’d be interesting to get a country breakdown of the visitors – I bet half of those will be from India!

Who last beat Australia in a Test match?

If anyone stumbles across this post, can they help me discover who it was who last beat Australia and when? I see Pakistan are looking down the barrel, again – so come on Aussies; who last beat you?

‘We are good enough to handle the pressure’

‘We are good enough to handle the pressure’

Just what is Ray on about this time?

“There’s no such thing as a flat wicket, just as there’s no such thing as an easy catch.”

“It takes a lot more to get this South African side down”

“We see 250 runs in 80 overs for one wicket as a positive.”

“The way Kallis is playing, he can chase the target [150-400] himself.”

“I think Strauss’s youth adds value to the package”

Ray Jennings, ladies and gentlemen…

Sessions won Test 2 Eng v SA

By my reckoning, it stands at:

SA 5 – 4 Eng

SA won the whole of the first day (3 sessions), lunch and tea on the 2nd. England won the first of Day 2 and the whole of day 3 (3 sessions). So it would seem that on points, SA are ahead even though England has caught up quickly. England are only, effectively, about 85-1 – so if SA can bowl them out for an effective 200 or less, they ought to win. Similarly, England will need to bat and win sessions 2 and 3 to set SA a target of 300+. Fascinating 4th day in prospect!

England turn Test on its head

What a Test match this has been. I don’t think anyone, least of all the South Africans, could have imagined the Test panning out like after they bowled England out for 139

Back then, on the first day, there were utterings of complaint from Fletcher and armchair pundits that the pitch was poor. I too agreed, but only to an extent – it was a combination of rain juicing it up, and poor shot selection from England.

Day 2, and Kallis showed how to bat on a flat pitch. It was a masterful, boring and controlling innings – just what SA needed to dent England’s confidence. Indeed, South Africa were miles ahead of the game by close yesterday as Kallis remarked in an interview:

“It was hugely important to bounce back after Port Elizabeth,” added Kallis. “To go 2-0 down was not an option – it would have been the series over. Maybe we let ourselves down a bit this evening by not quite landing enough balls in the right area, but it could be the wake-up call we needed. If we get a few wickets tomorrow, we could make our lives easier.”

And Michael Vaughan looked like this:

After 3 sessions of crunching strokeplay, defiant batting and resiliance from Trescothick and Strauss, it was Smith’s turn to look glum:

They put on 273 for the first wicket – their 4th stand of 150+ opening together in just their 9th Test. Jonathan Agnew wrote:

But of all the teams currently in world cricket, one feels that only Australia could have produced a performance quite like this.

If they can add another 200 runs on the fourth day, they might well complete one of the most astonishing turn-rounds in test history.

England weren’t quite staring down the barrell – they’re a confident team, after all – but the odds were stacked against them, and the situation at start-of-play was tailor-made for a blocker. Such was the rate at which they scored against all but Pollock, that the game has been turned on its head. SA can win it. England can win it. But the force is with England, and they have 9 2nd innings wickets remaining. A truly brilliant Test match, ebbing and flowing – thank God for Cricket!