Links of note from the past 24 hours:
He was an expert at bamboozling England’s batsmen, but now Shane Warne is set to leave viewers flummoxed in a new TV advert.
The spin legend spent hours in make-up to appear as a baby and also as his own mum and dad.
Warne said: “It was a hoot. I absolutely loved doing the ads.”
Do leave a comment if you’ve seen it or, better, have a link to it.
So much for my hopes of a good contest- Australia thrashed Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs. (scorecard) What went wrong?
Well, while there’s been a lot written about the Australian performance, I think the finger needs to be pointed at the Sri Lankans. They made every mistake in the book, and invented a few more.
Errors in team selection. Check.
Wrong call at the toss. Check.
Dropped catches. Check.
Players underperforming when they were needed. Check.
I must confess to some surprise though when Marvin Atapattu came out with an extraordinary attack on the Sri Lankan selectors, characterising them as ‘muppets’ in an interview after the third day’s play. That sort of mistake was one that was out of the book. It’s going to be interesting to see if he’s permitted to continue with the tour. One batsman has to make way for the return of Sangakkara, after all.
But questions have to be asked of the Sri Lankan bowling line up too. It was generally thought by Australian pundits in the prelude to this series that this was the best Sri Lankan attack that we’d ever seen in this country, but they conceded 551 for 4 at a rate of knots. Had Ponting not been in a hurry to get at the Sri Lankan batsmen, 700 might not have been out of the question. What might have happened if only Malinga had got a game? As it was, none of the Sri Lankan bowlers made much of an impression- of the four wickets to fall, only Ponting was actually beaten by the bowler- Jaques, Hayden and Hussey got out through poor shot selection.
And Muralithiran? Well 2 for 170 was a pretty fair reflection of how he bowled. He did bowl a good spell after tea on the first day but apart from that stint, he was pretty unthreatening, and he copped some hammer from Ponting and Clarke. It is worth pointing out that for all his success, he doesn’t have much of a record against Australia, and also worth noting that finger spinners rarely do well here. You have to go back to the days of Phil Edmonds and John Emburey to find finger spinners that have had success in Australia. Bearing that in mind, perhaps expectations should be lowered a bit.
The Sri Lankan batting was somewhat disappointing too. Only somewhat though, because they were under constant pressure, first from the scoreboard, and second by the Australian attack. It was easy for the Australian batsman as they were fed a steady diet of pies, but Sri Lanka’s batsmen had to take risks to score runs, and except during the Vandort/Jayawardene partnership in the second innings, no batsman looked secure. Of the Australian bowlers, Lee gave his best performance in a long time, Macgill was probing, Stuart Clark continued his McGrath impersonation, and Johnson showed enough to suggest he has what it takes at Test level.
Can Sri Lanka regroup in time to make things a bit more even for the Second Test? They have the players to do so, but it must be hard. The Hobart wicket isn’t the sort of wicket that bowlers who are low on confidence are likely to take wickets on.Â Australia’s bowlers on the other hand, will fancy their chances. But I still think that the margin in this Test isn’t a true reflection in the gap between the teams. Here’s hoping for a closer match starting on Friday.
Don’t worry. I haven’t turned into Cricket365 with their Addiction To Capitilaising Every Word In Headlines. I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue is my favourite show, on TV or radio, and returns for its fiftieth series on Monday at 6.30pm on BBC Radio 4. It is brilliantly stupid and gets better and better. If you’ve never heard it before, try to catch it tomorrow. You’ll thank me.
This from the Guardian’s Leader tomorrow:
Mrs Trellis of north Wales will no doubt be sitting by her wireless at 6.30pm this evening when the start of I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue’s 50th series is announced by the show’s bumbling brass theme (based on a tune by Haydn). What follows is guaranteed to be brilliant. It always is. Listening is like being welcomed back into a comfortable club on a wet winter’s night, a cheerful refuge from a dour, serious world outside. There may be people who are tired of its routines, its in-jokes and innuendo – but they are the sort of humourless listeners who write in to the BBC asking for the rules of Mornington Crescent to be explained (200 do every series), who wonder why Samantha hasn’t read out the score in years and probably question the need for the licence fee to fund Humph’s expensive laser display board, too. Everyone else appreciates the show’s relaxed brilliance. Many things contribute to this, starting with Humphrey Littleton, who has chaired the show since it began in 1972, getting funnier and bolder through the years. He does deadpan gags better than anybody else in broadcasting and gets more smut past the BBC, too. Without him the show would not have made it through 10 series, let alone 50, a magnificent score matched only by the even longer-lived Just A Minute. By rights Clue should have stopped being funny years ago. But there is nothing dusty or exhausted about a programme that still asks silly people to do silly things, and gets away with it every time.
And a very late arrival at pharmacists’ ball, would you please welcome Mr and Mrs Bollock-Steroids and their charming – if well-built – daughter Anna.
Weather permitting, at some stage on Monday Australia will beat Sri Lanka, probably by a large margin. It’s becoming an annual trend, re-discussing Australia’s dominance and why it is hurting the game so much. But I’m not going to bother mentioning India and Pakistan’s one-day series, which interests me not a lot, so let’s go round in circles and debate why you think (or not) Australia are killing the game.
The sadness of Australia continuing to raise the bar in Test cricket means the foundation of the game is becoming less and less relevant in more countries as the Twenty20 phenomenon multiplies the excitement in shorter forms of the game.
This is even so in Australia, which has the strongest tradition of Test cricket with England. If Australia was playing a one-day or Twenty20 match at the Gabba it would have sold out long ago.
But modest crowds of little more than 15,000 on the first three days, followed by just 7629 yesterday amid showers, left many empty seats among the 40,000 at the recently redeveloped, world-class Gabba.
This is despite one Queenslander, Mitchell Johnson, making his Test debut and another, Andrew Symonds, playing his first Test at the Gabba, not to mention Matthew Hayden, as Ponting and his men try to extend their winning streak to record levels.
Victory here will give Australia 13 in a row since South Africa hung on for a draw in Perth almost two years ago. It is the second-longest winning streak in history, behind the 16 in a row Steve Waugh’s side set from October 1999 to March 2001.
Australians in defence of their juggernaut will point to the all-conquering West Indians of the 70s and 80s, and they’d have a point. But was the void so great as it is now? And were they, as we are now, so flummoxed as to a solution?
I’m watching a brilliant programme by Jeremy Paxman on Wilfred Owen, the great poet of the First World War, and in it they’re looking back on the “Great War” and the weapons that were used, grenades chief among them. For maximum distance, the soldiers were taught to throw them as though bowling “with a straight arm”. No ICC officers back in the day, then.
I was surprised to see a young cadet (or maybe he was in the full army, who knows) sell not a single poppy at Hammersmith yesterday lunchtime. I was further disturbed when one unmitigated bastard shouted “No” to him out of frustration. I doubt he knows what they even signify.
War really is a bit of a bugger. My Grandfather, who I never met, somehow survived the first war by riding a horse in France. That’s all we were ever told. His son, my uncle, then fought in Malaya in the 1950s and was shot through the stomach, again somehow surviving (though he lost all his hair within months). And again that’s all we know of it. I suppose it’s common for ex-soldiers to not say anything of what they saw, but you can’t help wonder…
- What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
- Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
- Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
- Can patter out their hasty orisons.
- No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
- Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,
- The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
- And bugles calling for them from sad shires.
- What candles may be held to speed them all?
- Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
- Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
- The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
- Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
- And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.