Some scorecards are just too good to not share.
Sorry to the
masses of readers reader who wanted an open thread about the South Africa vs New Zealand Test in Cape Town, which started last night. I’m not as overworked as Will is, although I am quite frankly appallingly underpaid. I’m considering holding out posting until Will doubles my salary to be honest. The writers united will never be defeated, we’ll just hold out for the draw.
Â Anyway, Stephen Fleming got a century last night, which is a rare or special moment for him. I can’t think of a finer batsman in world cricket who is SO bad at converting good starts into centuries. So I really hope he goes on with it. His innings held together New Zealand’s innings on the opening day after South Africa won the toss and sent them in. New Zealand are 265 for 6, and if Fleming and the tail can nurdle out another 100 runs, they will be well set for this Test match.
Â Neil Manthrope discusses the schedule. I want you, dear readers, to discuss New Zealand’s chances of getting to 400, and what a fair salary for me is. Should I hold out for groupies?
Bit busy at the moment, no time to blog. Just got back from Lord’s covering my first live game. It was fucking good fun and a great thing to have done. I’m knackered. I’m sure Scott will keep you amused. Normal service resuming shortly.
Andrew Symondsâ€™ big night out on the day before an ODI against Bangladesh in 2005 will go down in infamy in Australian cricket lore, and probably will be celebrated in Bangladesh for a while to come as well. But he did redeem himself somewhat with a match-winning century in Dhaka to win the 2nd ODI for Australia yesterday.
It must be said, in all honesty, that at the moment he looks like heâ€™s been on an even bigger bender then his 2005 effort. The dreadlocks look scruffy and the beard makes him look like a vagabond. At the moment, if any Australian cricketer is crying out for a makeover by the folks from â€˜queer eye for the straight guyâ€™, it is Symonds.
He may look like a drunken derelict, but his 5th ODI century for Australia was a most sober and abstemious effort. He came in with a bit of a crisis happening and Australia struggling after losing 3 for 10 after Adam Gilchrist got interrupted just as he was really warming up. That brought to mind his innings in Sydney against Sri Lanka, where Chaminda Vaas roughed up the Australian top order. Starting this time at 3 for 65, he combined with Michael Clarke to compose a brilliant but ungainly knock.
Itâ€™s one thing to score a glittering century on an easy paced but reliable SCG wicket; this wicket at Dhaka was simply diabolical. It was slower then a Madagascar sloth and deader then WG Grace. He came out wearing a helmet but there was no way Mashrafe Mortaza was going to get a bouncer to get beyond rib high at best. Pitch preparation is a black art at the best of times, but whoever was in charge of this one should hang his head in shame. Bangladesh may be poor, but if they can afford to put on a gloriously manicured outfield, thereâ€™s no excuse for a pitch like this.
So once the fast men finished their spells with the new ball, we had the rather dreary sight of spinners bowling and the batsmen working them over for singles. It is this sort of cricket that drove the ICC in frustration to introduce monstrosities like power-plays and supersubs. It is hardly the batsmen at fault in situations like this; in Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds, Australia had two of its most positive minded batsmen at the crease. But Clarke only scored 2 boundaries in his 54.
Credit must go to the bowlers, especially the redoubtable Mohammed Rafique. The veteran spinner has clearly been the pick of Bangladeshâ€™s bowlers right through this Australian tour. Of course, it does help his cause that as a slow left arm spinner, he is a member of the spin caste that has troubled Australians the most over recent years. Daniel Vettori is another that springs to mind.
So Symonds played Rafique with respect, picking him off, working him over for the singles, and waiting for the loose ball from the other end. These were not in short supply once Bashar had to face the chore of juggling to find ten overs from his â€˜fifthâ€™ bowler, but again the conditions conspired, and the lack of bounce clearly frustrated Symonds. However, instead of losing his head and his innings, he managed to keep his composure, and his wicket, and in the end his century came off 122 balls; slow by his standards but fast in the conditions.
Bashar perhaps missed a trick; he seemed content to allow Australia to pick off singles, and I wonder when a captain is going to be bold enough to try keeping his inner fielders close enough to the batsmen to make singles hard work. It could have paid dividends.
But it was never tried, so they tied Australia down for a while but they could not get them out though, and a late burst saw Australia through to 250. And once the Australian fast men knocked off the top order of Bangladeshâ€™s batting, that was it as a game. Habibul Bashar played a good captainâ€™s knock to ensure Bangladesh had some respectability with their reply of 183, but Symonds was the man who made the difference. And a good thing too, because against this opponent, Symonds owed his country a match-winning innings or three.
Steve Waugh’s in London today, and he was doing a book signing down Canary Wharf ( I think you might have missed it now though.) With all that, he’s been in demand with the press over there wanting his views on the various cricket issues of the day, and also with an eye ahead towards the Ashes.
He’s always worth a read, and he hasn’t lost his trademark aggression. Sometimes it is almost too much, as in this BBC story.
In their 2-1 defeat in England last year, Waugh said: “I thought from the sidelines perhaps they were a little bit too friendly.
“They were using England players’ nicknames in the press and that was something that hadn’t been done before.
“They may have become too familiar to England and lost a bit of mystique.”
“When I first played West Indies we didn’t know much about them, they kept pretty much to themselves and that gave you self doubts on the field,” he explained.
“As you get to know players more you become less intimidated by them.”
Waugh, who is currently in England promoting his autobiography, admitted England had followed the lead set by his teams in being aggressive on and off the field.
“There’s no doubt they followed the blueprint of what we were about. They were very positive in their media talk and pretty aggressive on the field,” he continued.
I actually liked that the two teams liked each other. Crusty old diehards like Waugh might fire up at the thought of bloodied combat unto death, etc, but I rather like the notion of two teams fighting hard and then having a beer together at the end of the day. As to the notion that doing so removes the mystique, the most sociable of Australians is The Great Man, Shane Warne, who drank pots of pints, and took pots of English wickets.
Just because you know and like the guy doesn’t mean you can play him any better.
This is a man who clearly knows a lot about cricket.
BANGLADESH may have pushed a weary Australia in the first Test but their coach, Dav Whatmore, believes Ricky Ponting’s team is certain to reclaim the Ashes this summer. Whatmore, whose side has played Australia and England in Tests in the past year, said Australia’s persistence made them favourites.
“I think they will do very well,” he said on Tuesday. “I think they will win it. The measurement of a good team is over time, it’s not just over one series, as is presently the case with England beating Australia last year. They’re going to have to repeat it to be considered a good team like Australia.”
Course, he used to play for Australia, but I’m sure he’s being impartial. His Bangladesh side is proving to be harder then anyone expected them to be.
Open thread for today’s game (well, it’s the 26th in MY time zone!)
Bangladesh have dropped Mohammad Ashraful and recalled Alok Kapali. It’s a shame for Ashraful, but he has not really kicked on from his great 2005 form. But he’s a classy batsman and I am sure he will be back.
Meanwhile, Brad Hogg has some positive things to say about Dan Cullen, who he thinks is the future of Australian spin bowling. I’m a big fan of both, Hogg because he’s such an energetic player and makes the most of his talent, and Cullen because he’s got the potential to be a great player. The new Shane Warne he isn’t, but he could play a vital role in Australian cricket for the next decade if he continues to improve.