South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Durban, 2nd day

Second day at Durban. Rock on.

South Africa v Australia, 2nd Test, Durban, 1st day

29 hundreds for Ricky Ponting. Sachin’s record is under serious threat; the bloke’s an utter run machine (and not in the criminally-dull Kallis-mode – he’s great to watch, too). Even stevens…perhaps Australia just about edge the first day.

Bath Dodgers to continue to taunt convicts

Big-mouthed banter between English and Australian supporters is set to continue despite hyper-sensitive ICC officials worried about racism.

The Fanatics and the Barmy Army yesterday both vowed to ignore “political correctness gone mad” and continue peppering opposing teams and fans with good-natured banter this summer.

Their comments come in response to suggestions the old barb “Pommy bastard” may fall foul of cricket’s crackdown on crowd racism.

The issue came to a head this week when an ICC report found “premeditated racist abuse occurred toward South Africa and Sri Lanka during the past Australian summer.

But Cricket Australia’s stance on Australia and England’s friendly feud is over-cautious, according to the Barmy Army representative in Australia Craig Gill.

“Where will it ever stop?” Gill asked. “‘Pommy Bastard’ has been used for years and years and it’s going to be used over and over again.

“As long as it’s said in the name of good humour and good banter no one is going to get upset.”

“Bring it on I say … we’ll definitely be singing about Aussie convicts coming here in chains.”

Last night an England cricket spokesman agreed, saying from London: “It would be more of a surprise if we didn’t hear it (Pommy bastard). Some of the lads probably see it as a term of endearment.

“One of the great attractions of an Ashes series is the fierce competition and good spirit.

“But everyone in world cricket is aware there’s a fine line between fierce rivalry and racism that should never be crossed.”

Which gives me the notion that I should distribute bars of soap to the Barmy Army when they come to Adelaide this summer!

Blast from the past

A blast from the past just now. Or, as Tony Greig would say, “a blorst from the porst, nice and hord and forst”. November 2004 I wroteth the following:

Richie Benaud commented during New Zealand’s first innings against Australia that no Australian bowler exceeded 140kph “which is pretty worrying.” It was a brief comment, but very interesting. The pitch and conditions suited extreme-pace, so it’s odd that Gillespie in particular didn’t make it to 140.

I don’t want to make this blog entirely biased towards England (but!) England’s bowlers averaged around 140 in most innings this summer. Steve Harmison in particular reached 96mph (154kph) (and averaged 94mph in his 10 overs) in an ODI. The Aussies are getting old…

Did whatshisname, erm…Stuart Clark reach 140 the other day? Don’t think so. Not that speed is the be-all and end-all, of course, but a four-pronged pace attack is such a luxury. And Australia’s bowlers are all, well…they need this bloke Mitchell Johnson to have an immediate impact. Left-armer too.

Funny names

I’m a bit of a fan of funny names and general wordplayage, so it was with great and splendid delight that I finally got round to buying 12th Man (mentioned the other day, actually). In it, Tony Greig, Bill Lawry, Richie Benaud and friends commentate on various games…with some ridiculous, always hilarious and often massively rude names. It’s utter bloody brilliance, and I’d urge you to buy it immediately. I haven’t laughed so much in ages! Then again, I do love purile humour (“And he’s gone for a slash just outside off stump…you really can’t be allowed to do that, the puddle…” etc)

The less rude ones include Kartis Arminhalf, Ramatunga DownaThroata, Wayne King, Hugh Jarse, Brendan Kangaroopoo and Cock Sarker. Not to mention the Sri Lankan spinner, SmellabitofaRatna, and the Indian opener Sunil Haveascar. Oh and IwannaUse Yadunny and Mekarsa Bitrusty, those two splendid middle-order Australians. Who can forget Ilarva Cornishpasty and Snake Sharma too?

Anyway, time for some fun. Let’s draw up a list of alternative names, the ruder and funnier the better. I’ll start it off with two very fine England prospects; Piston Broke and Mebats Snappedinalf.

Steve Harmison. Erm, who?

Was sent this link today, which had me achucklin’

Steve Harmison – Looking back with clear-eyed retrospect, England winning The Ashes last year wasn’t really that big a deal. Some cricketers from one country beat some cricketers from another country – so it was always only a 50-50 deal in any case – and won a tiny tub of cinders. You get more than that for throwing a hoop over a box of Maltesers at a travelling funfair. Anyway, England’s Ashes-winning cricket team made a few heroes – the captain, the drunk one, the one with shit hair – but Steve Harmison wasn’t really one of them. Most people couldn’t even pick Harmison out of a line-up even if Steve burnt the words I AM STEVE HARMISON into his pubes. What chance does Steve Harmison have of winning Sports Personality Of The Year? Hardly any, and that’s not even taking his shonky shin into consideration. Current Sports Personality Of The Year betting odds – 66/1

England shock India

Immense victory. Can’t really underestimate it – it’s massive. Thoughts later. Leave yours below.

Update: thoughts at The Googly

India v England, 3rd Test, Mumbai, Day Five

Day five at Mumbai. India need another 295 runs to win; England need nine wickets. Anyone’s game, really…

India v England, 3rd Test, Mumbai, Day Four

(Posted in advance) – chat away, night owls

Beginners’ luck

My article on debutants, and beginners’ luck – which I began to muse on the other daywent up on Cricinfo today.