West Indies v South Africa: dullness personified

I don’t know who I’m more annoyed at or upset with, South Africa or the West Indies. Albeit on a flat track, the West Indies have embarassed themselves further in this Test Match. They’ve already conceded 4 hundreds – even allowing Ashwell Prince to make one. That said – and although South Africa’s run-rate is at 3.5/over – there were periods today where South Africa just stopped and did nothing.

All this talk that they’re (South Africa) “on track again,” and “on the rise,” is just bullshit. Most division 1 County sides in England could take the West Indies to a draw these days; most Australian states would beat them without too much bother. And yet South Africa, and Kallis in particular, spent parts of the afternoon session doodling along as though they were 200-5. West Indies posess not a single bowling threat [1]. Yes, South Africa are ahead of the game; Yes, they’ve scored over 500 runs but 3.5 runs/over against THAT bowling attack just says to the world: “We’ve won the series, we don’t want to lose this game.”

I was similarly annoyed throughout England’s tour earlier this year, where South Africa were often behind on points and constantly played the waiting game. They’re a very boring side to watch, these days.

[1] Incidentally, Dwight Washington, who was just about managing to get the ball down to the other end of the wicket at 78mph, is down as RF on Cricinfo. Oh, how they wish…

Denis Lillee bowling with 9 slips

Denis Lillee bowling with 9 slips

Photo taken by mailliw @ Flickr.com.

I found this photo here – borrowed it and put it onto Flickr for prosperity posterity. Denis Lillee bowling to 9 slips!

Video of Shahid Afridi’s 45 ball century

UPDATE November 20 2005 – He’s going beserk against England today.

Great video to download of Shahid Afridi’s 45 ball century: here

“Our behaviour is improving.” What?

I just don’t know what the hell to make of this piece. Ponting says Australia’s (cricket team’s) behaviour is improving and the “public perception” is changing. Well, call me naive, but who said otherwise? Is this all about the whole Warne/Adams sledging debate and, if so, is this an indication that sledging is going to become more and more of an issue in cricket?

I remember in 2001, or around that time, Rahul Dravid and Michael Slater having problems. And I remember Ambrose and Steve Waugh in a bit of a tussle a few years before that (although in fairness, Richie Richardson had to drag Ambrose away…well, he could hardly have dragged Waugh [batting] away). What else has caused the Australian cricket team to have this apparent perception that their behaviour isn’t up to scratch? Sledging has gone on for so long, it’s part of a cricket’s amoury.

How long before match referees monitor sledging and set guidelines for what’s proper or improper?

Flintoff stretches his legs (and arms)

Good news for all – Flintoff’s back. Well – if not 100% fully fit, he’s at least making excellent progress, and today hit an 83 in quick time. Stuart Law (now British) matched him run for run, but their stats make enjoyable reading:

83(r) 201(m) 152(b) 15(4s) 0(6s)

83(r) 121(m) 101(b) 10(4s) 4(6s)

Good job, too, that he found some form as Lancashire needed to combat Worcestershire’s decent score, on a difficult pitch. Theirs was only thanks to Graeme Hick who hit a Hick-like 176 (next highest score? 27), and who overtook W.G.Grace in making his 127th first class hundred. Graham Gooch is next on 128……………………

(Will shakes his head, mutters into the night, wondering just how the hell this guy never made more than 6 Test hundreds)

Ian Bell makes double hundred

Ian Bell has hit a double hundred against my team – couldn’t he have waited a week? Run Out for 231 – and, with Robert Key also making a hundred, and Pietersen looming ominously over both of them, some very, very tricky decisions have to be made. Key, Bell or Pietersen? Butcher is almost certainly out of the Bangladesh mini-series due to his injured wrist – and frankly, unless there’s a spate of injuries, this ought to be the end of his Test career. So there are potentially 2 positions available.

As much as I like Key, I feel Bell deserves the 2 Bangladesh Tests to just have a bat and aclimatise with the side. Pietersen, too, has to play…

Dean Jones on Warne’s sledging

The BBC jump off the fence to agree with Dean Jones’ comments about the Shane Warne / Chris Adams sledging debate – in essence, agreeing that Chris Adams is a soft cricketer. Perhaps we’ll finally see the end of this ridiculous debate.

“I captained Chris Adams at Derbyshire. We beat Australia on the Ashes tour of 1997 but he didn’t like being sledged by the Australians at the best of times.”

The article also remarks how quiet Prior – the “victim” in all this – has been, probably completely unaffected by it all.

County games review

Strauss failed against Warwickshire today, making just 13. Not quite “desperate times,” but he does need to show some form – even ahead of Bangladesh. Joyce though continued his merry way by hitting 92 (top scoring again). Some player that bloke. And Scott Styris, Middlesex’s new overseas player, made a quick 52 on debut. But Warwickshire hold first day honours.

Tomorrow’s back pages will be full of Flintoff failing – a 5th ball duck, too – but it sounds like Ali’s little wobblers were perfect on that pitch (and in those conditions) at Worcester. Lancs reached 196 only thanks to Hegg who made a counterpunching 69 off 64.

Surrey brightened their start to the season by taking 9 Glamorgan wickets. Mark Wallace – one of a clutch of hugely promising wicket-keepers in Britain at the moment – is not out 80 at the moment. Good to see some young players outdoing their senior team-mates this early in the season.

So – relative carnage around the country, apart from Derby where Northants have smashed nearly 300 in a day n’avec losing a wicket. Bilal Mustapha Shafayat hit 150 – another very talented young batsman.

Warne and Adams lock horns

Following Chris Adams’ announcement on Monday that Warne had “humilated” some of Sussex’s younger players, Warne has hit back:

It was a really good, hard game of cricket,” added Warne, “and I was surprised and disappointed that Adams has given a one-sided version of what happened. I do not like getting involved in tit for tat, but I am fed up with copping flak about sledging when there are two sides to the story. If Adams has lost respect for me, then I can certainly say that whatever respect I had for him has disappeared, too.

No surprises there, and no surprise that Warne feels a bit cornered. But what’s interesting is Hampshire’s reaction to the whole affair:

We are disappointed that a player of the stature of Chris Adams has made a number of one-sided comments to the media following an excellent, hard fought cricket match between two good sides

Adams has dug himself a rather large hole and it Hampshire’s press release made mention of his comments being one-sided. What a prat. I think the following statement concludes it nicely:

The match umpires [Merv Kitchen and Ian Gould] are regarded as two of the best in the business and, as far as we are aware, they have not seen fit to censure any player who participated in the fixture.

Question for Aussies

Bradman cricket ground

When I was in Australia, I stayed quite near the Fitzroy Falls – absolutely stunning – but have just found some photos on Flickr here which suggests there’s a Bradman ground nearby. Why didn’t I know this!? Please tell me I didn’t miss seeing it?