A nice night out at Adelaide Oval

So I wandered along to the Adelaide Oval yesterday after all, and took up my seat in the Chappell Stands with New Zealand struggling at 3 for 60 after about 20 overs. England were right on top, and as I’d found myself next to a rather chatty fellow, we discussed the match, and also the possibility that we’d be going home early. As it was, we DID end up going home early, but that was because New Zealand had won the game.

How did they escape? Well, Jacob Oram batted well. England made it easy though for him, because he came out to bat and was facing the fire and brimstone of Paul Collingwood. My own view that Flintoff should have brought Anderson back into the attack eventually filtered through to the England captain four overs after I had said it, by which time Oram had settled in.

He’s a big lad, is Oram. After a spell from the game, his footwork was understandably rusty but once he found his range, he was able to power the New Zealand innings onwards. He found an ally in Brendon McCullum, who looked totally out of form, but was still able to contribute by running like a whippet.

A late flurry by Franklin took New Zealand to 210. I wandered off for chips, a hot-dog, and a chocolate ice-cream, all the ingredients needed for a balanced diet. I think the Black Caps might have had something a little more healthy because they came out on all cylinders.

Franklin took the first over from the Cathederal End because of the considerable breeze coming from the south. He took three wickets in his opening spell, though he was helped by a withering blast from the River End by Shane Bond.

Bond bowls with the pace of a Brett Lee and the accuracy of.. well he’s not quite in the McGrath mould, but he’s certainly pretty accurate. He pinned down the English upper order, and Mal Loye was in no mood to try his sweep shot this time around.

Franklin and Bond bowled the first fourteen overs, before being relieved. It was the introduction of Daniel Vettori that proved England’s undoing. He bowled a lovely spell; with the breeze to bowl into, he obtained drift and flight, and England’s batsmen did not have the footwork to cope with him. What particularly struck me was the way that England’s batsmen were stuck in two minds about whether or not to come forward, or to play back. Quite often they were caught in no-man’s land.

This certainly didn’t help England’s scoring rate. Ed Joyce was the only batsman to get past twenty. New Zealand fielded much better then they did in Sydney with Gillespie’s catch the highlight. Bond came back to finish the game, taking his 100th wicket in just his 55th match, and New Zealand’s large contingent of fans in the outer celebrated in style.

Speaking as a spectator, it was a nice evening out. I rather enjoy going to these ‘neutral’ games because since my team is not playing, I’m not that emotionally invested in the outcome, and therefore I can enjoy the cricket as it happens. But I have to say it- England were indeed woeful.

Stephen Fleming Double Century Tribute Post and Open thread

The difficult-to-please types at Cricinfo clearly don’t care much for the artistry of Stephen Fleming, but I was well pleased to wake up to find that he had smited the South Africans. And if James Franklin can finish off his century this morning, that will be even better.

Rejoice in the suffering of South African cricket here, or South African fans are free to remonstrate. However, any complaints about the wrong-headedness of this post will be thoroughly ignored.

Australia v New Zealand

One of my favourite series starts in just under 7 hours (00:00 GMT); Australia v New Zealand. On paper, it always seems NZ are going to be crushed by the mighty Aussies. But NZ are a tough unit, and often perform better than their critics expect. Unfortunately, James Franklin is injured, which leaves a bit of a gap in their “attack.” It’s also unclear whether Fleming will play. Shrewd captain is Fleming….the cynic in me ponders whether this “mystery” illness might be his first pyschological warfare attempt!

Meanwhile, things are a lot brighter for Australia, so much so that Ponting insisted on rubbing handfuls of salt into NZ’s early wounds: [via SMH]

I think we’ll be very well-prepared for whatever New Zealand throw at us in this game

On second thoughts, that’s not nearly as Australian as I first thought. Had S.Waugh still been captain, something along the lines of “Ah, listen mate, they’re alright New Zealand, but we’re Australian and will crush ‘em” is what we’re used to. Aussies going soft?

And here’s fat-boy-slim and his kid [sighs of "Oh no, not another Warne"]. Warne junior needs to get that front leg forward and in-line; hasn’t his Dad taught him anything?

Fat boy Warney