I think they’re a little pleased!
I think they’re a little pleased!
A county side have beaten a team vying to match the great “Invincibles” of 1948. Captained by someone by the name of Don Bradman, they returned to Australia unbeaten. There were frequent calls by Australian (and English) media, before flying out to England, that Ponting’s side had the quality and desire to match The Invincibles. This I assume is now a lost hope – firstly with the loss of their 20/20 encounter, and today another defeat…this time at the hands of the mighty Somerset. (did The Invicibles’ record include tour-games?)
“Mighty” may not be too far off, for they (Somerset) possess some seriously good players – and the best pitch in the country, by some distance. It must have been like batting on a road today, as 687 runs were scored in just under 100 overs for the loss of just 11 wickets. And this great, heralded batting lineup of Australia were matched by Somerset, Sri Lanka’s (Jayasuria) and South African’s (Smith) finest.
After the shock of losing to England – something they will be hoping won’t be repeated again this summer! – the prospect of a one-day county game would have had them licking their lips, as opposed to their recently-opened wounds. They were so dominant that both Ponting and Hayden felt like giving their team-mates a bat – and retired early.
How Ponting must wish he or Hayden went on to an even bigger score, for they fell to Somerset with over 3 overs to spare. The significance of this defeat should not be underestimated: Australian Test sides do not lose (m)any matches, and they very rarely lose two games on the trot. (If anyone has stats on this particular aspect, I’d love to know…) Have they arrived too scratchy? Are they still jet-lagged? Has Vaughan spiked their drinks?
When I commented on the 20/20 defeat, I was at pains to ensure I (and others) didn’t get too carried away. Whilst the same feeling applies to this match (the “not to read to much into it” bit), alarm bells will be ringing in Ponting and Buchanan’s heads. First, their batsmen let them down; and now their bowlers. The words “rocket” and “arse” might be heard quite a lot in an Australian changing room over the next few days – and, for cricket’s sake, I think everyone will be very grateful. Vaughan, though no doubt grateful to Somerset for this defeat, will be hoping the monster isn’t awoken just yet.
I think Somerset’s pitch at Taunton might just be a belter. Australia compiled (for compiled, read “Smashed”) 342 from their 50 overs. 2 of their players, Ponting and Hayden, clearly felt they were in such good nick that they retired.
Somerset, in reply, are fast approaching 200 without loss: 197-0. Have a read of these:
Bowling O M R W Lee 4 0 26 0 McGrath 6 0 38 0 (1nb, 1w) Kasprowicz 6 0 61 0 (2nb) Watson 3 0 41 0 (1w) Clarke 2 0 16 0 Hussey 1 0 9 0
The destroyers are Graeme Smith (Captain) and someone called Jayasuriya – Smith, in particular, batted brilliantly yesterday. Looks like he’s in seriously good form, and if Somerset win this game, he might just receive a thank-you from Michael Vaughan…
UPDATE: the curse of the blogger. Smith now out for a magnificent 108 from just 74 balls
Oh dear. Durham UCCE played Somerset today, in the first batch of opening county matches, and suffered. Somerset smashed 580-6 from just 105 overs. Ian Blackwell, once thought about as a possible partner to Andrew Flintoff in England’s middle order, thundered 190 from 138 balls! Crazy stuff. Blackwell tends to do this – “a bull in a china shop” is generally the term used to describe him – but the attack he was facing was hardly more competant than a local club game. Ridiculously, this game does have first-class status.
There’s still a chance Blackwell might play for England – but he needs to lose some weight, and learn a forward defence first. Probably more destructive than Flintoff when he gets going, but has about quarter the cricket brain of Freddie.
Update: (Sun 10th) Durham 244-0 in reply. A flat track, then…