Cricket: More Than a Game

I hope they suspend him. It will force them to replace him at #3. They might even use Clarke there and he is going to be shown up even worse as both crap batsman and no a captain's arse.

Shame. As every captain knows, that is a desperation born out of frustration and competitive spirit. But the whole point is that you don't show it in that way on the field.

Just shows you how much pressure he's under for his own place, and how desperately he's clinging on internally to the belief that he's still up to the task. Must be difficult to acknowledge.

Great quotations of our time, courtesy of Siddall.

"I thought we contained England today, we didn't let them get away."

444-5. Good job you didn't let England go to town then, eh ?

Might watch it live tonite - doesn't start til 11.30pm or so, but at least I'll be in bed by midnight

Well done, England, the better team has deservedly won. This is by far the best England team I've seen since Gatting's side of the mid-to-late '80s, and if bowlers like Finn and Tremlett can continue to improve England's bowling attack might surpass South Africa's as the world's best (big call, I know). The batting, however, is not so impressive. Bell and Pietersen seem to be a cut above the others who I think have been made to look good by a series of abject displays by our pie throwers, though I really don't know what to make of Trott, apart from his being as good a time waster Chris Tavere. Overall they seem a very professional and well coached team.

As for the home side, it's been obvious that this result was coming for a while and the decline will continue for some time. Ponting is a truely great batsman but is a rubbish captain, always has been, always will be. Who the selectors replace him with though is anyone's guess. Clarke seems to have lost his head and should be sent to find himself again in state cricket. Haddin captained NSW well, just as Katich did, but wicketkeepers traditionally aren't made the national captain and the talk about the Kat is that his test career is over.

The batting is certainly a problem but on paper looks fine even if I think Watson is wasted as an opener. What is a greater concern is that Hughes and Smith are being set up as the next big things. The former's technique is dodgy but the latter's is almost certainly the worst I've ever seen. How these two got through the academy system simply boggles my mind.

The bowling has been, as I said above, abject. Johnson on his day is probably the best in the world, but one day in almost two years is simply crap and you have to wonder what the coaching staff have been doing with him. Bollinger was patently unfit, Siddle rarely turns up to play, Harris is fragile, Hilfenhaus is economical but lacks penetration and Hauritz is obviously our best spinner (which speaks volumes in itself). Sadly these guys are the best we have, and will have for some time.

If things don't improve the next tour of the Saffers will be a bloodbath. As if this wasn't!

Well done lads. That was comprehensive.

Now let's win it in Sydney.

SA India game is posed tightly at the moment. We are on the ropes with 182/7 chasing 303, but it's not impossible to pull something out here.

Some sketchy LBW calls by umpires, but India doesn't do the referral system so we need to accept those. We have been a little unlucky with a few calls. India has really been good though.

So India wins by 87 runs. A bit of a shame but our batting was really disappointing and India played well and deserved the win. I enjoyed attending the first day too, my first live game in a long time.

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I completely disagree Spanky - our batting has been terrible for years. We have regularly lost 5 or more wickets in session. Adelaide and Melbourne were lost in the first hour of the first innings as flat track bullies kept "playing their natural game" and swinging hard down the line when the bowling and conditions called for keeping it tight. Hussey showed the difference in Perth. Half hearted prods and flat footed wafts account for about 70% of the wickets to fall.

The bowlers have had nothing to defend so Ponting's mediocre captaincy is put under too much pressure to deal with containment and wickets. It's much easier to do one or the other.

The bowling has been OK or poor but hasn't fallen to the disastrous depths the batting has recently.

I like Trott's technique. Short backlift and seems to know how to leave the ball - a skill decidedly lacking while wearing green helmets.

Saw some of the Durban match. I think India have done some analysis and decided they will be in front without the UDRS, hence their blanket ban. Harbhajan has replaced Warnie in getting a lot of eyebrow raising LBW decisions and TLM will never cop the wrong end of a 50:50 decision as long as he lives now.

Now being reported that Punter will miss the last Test having re-injured his broken finger. Michael Clarke will lead the Aussies then. Not seen much in him to make him stand out as a V-C thus far, but let's see what he comes up with.

Well played, the Poms. Well played.

Message to Phil Hughes

Sir,

Not only are you a second rate opening batsman who would not make the first XI in most English county sides, but you are an abominable cheat. Moreover, you are fully aware of it. You are, therefore, not a gentleman.

End.

Ooo, and now they've 'forgotten' to applaud Cook's ton. Classy. Must be quite an achievement to be the world's worst winners and the worst losers.

Are you Peter Roebuck? Are they supposed to give him a standing ovation? Just because the camera didn't catch them all doesn't mean it didn't happen.

Hughes is not the first to ask the question on a half volley in an Ashes test. I remember another opening batsman claiming one that landed a foot in front of him and that one was called a catch.

How do you feel about Bell's referral?

davet010 wrote:

Must be quite an achievement to be the world's worst winners.

An Australian wouldn't sarcastically slag off the opposition after they'd won....

Unless he's old he probably can't remember what it was like to win an away series in Australia - he can have his day.

Let's go through the incidents, one by one.

1. The ball quite clearly bounced before Hughes caught it...it wasn't even close to a half volley. Hughes also clearly knew that he hadn't caught it, how else is the ball going up before he catches it. But he appealed for it anyway.

2. Clapping an opponent's century is not mandatory, true, but it is sporting behaviour, particularly in the Ashes. I would also expect an England team to have applauded someone who had scored 180-odd from the field...none of the Aussies did.

3. Bell's referral. It's a known property of 'hotspot' that it can at times be wrong. If you look at the ball in question, I think that the nick was so fine that it isn't caught by the camera, and hence Bell would be within his rights to ask for confirmation that it was out - which the referral technology in place could not give. Nice of the few Aussie fans to boo him, still at least it shows they were still in attendance on day 3.

Bruce wrote:

Unless he's old he probably can't remember what it was like to win an away series in Australia - he can have his day.

Gloating's fine by me. They deserve a good gloat.

At least we actually turn up to the games in England, regardless of whether we are winning or losing....which is a pretty good job, really.

SA India is a rough one at the moment.

Jacques Kallis has been batting with a side strain since day 2. He still managed to get 161 despite needing frequent ministrations from the medical team. This meant he couldn't bowl, so we only bowled with 4 guys and one batsman lending a hand for the odd over.

And Kallis is still the only batsman doing his job, just scored 50 while still struggling physically. We're on 188/6 and fighting to survive. It's day 4 and the best we can hope for is to strangle India and try salvage a draw.

The series is 1-1 and India has never won a series here, nobody wants it to start now.

There was nearly violence on the field yesterday. When Steyn was bowling to Harbhajan there was what was definitely a wood sound, a deviation and the ball flew into the gloves. Umpire didn't give it out though. On the replay it could be seen that the ball hit off stump but didn't dislodge the bails. Our coach had to hang off the edge of the team pavilion and gesture to the players to calm down.

Our bowlers did have some rotten luck, especially poor Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

I was watching that Dale Steyn spell MrDevil. It was some of the best bowling I've ever seen - absolutely unplayable.

Unbelievable batting by Kallis and TLM too in that match.

Well set up for the last day - 340 requires some chasing which might help bring the 10 wickets.

Saw the highlights of that one, too.
Steyn's delivery that flicked the stump was crazy. There's a reason he's the best bowler in the world at the moment. Looks like a really interesting Test series, and I wonder how this one would turn out if Kallis was 100%.

Clarke's point was a good one. The review system is there for a reason, and it applies equally to both teams. I wonder why it takes so long to build a Snicko clip, and if they're working on speeding that process up. Until then, Hotspot will have to do and we've gotta live with the decisions.

As for the Hughes claim, I tell my boys that if they aren't sure, then they haven't caught it. Maybe that's naive.

I don't think Snicko is part of the current reviewing regime, and even that has its faults - many times have seen false positives which then need to be analysed (bat ? trousers ? glove ?)

Paul Collingwood announces his retirement from Test Cricket, effective from the end of this Test. An excellent decision, go under your own terms rather than wait until get dropped. Not a bad average (40) for a middle order player, but it's the nature of some of the innings that really meant something.

Still captain for the T20 and a member of the one day team, but as he said, it's time for Morgan now.

Bruce wrote:

I was watching that Dale Steyn spell MrDevil. It was some of the best bowling I've ever seen - absolutely unplayable.

Unbelievable batting by Kallis and TLM too in that match.

Well set up for the last day - 340 requires some chasing which might help bring the 10 wickets.

I think India may tend towards being conservative, it's a big total and they won't want to lose. Our bowlers are going to make it tough for them though. Thanks to Haircules Kallis' efforts we are in a win or draw situation right now, if we can take the wickets. At least we don't really need to protect our frontline guys too much so only having four bowlers won't bee too much of a handicap.

Our team sometimes lacks killer instinct, let's see if they can go for the throat today.

Haakon7 wrote:

Saw the highlights of that one, too.
Steyn's delivery that flicked the stump was crazy. There's a reason he's the best bowler in the world at the moment. Looks like a really interesting Test series, and I wonder how this one would turn out if Kallis was 100%.

If Kallis was able to bowl I don't think India would have scored as many runs or stayed in as long.

Newlands ended up a bit of a damp squib. India totally bottled it and refused to chase.

I went to bed when Smith brought himself on to try and buy a wicket but there was nothing happening.

Yeah, a shame that. The series has been intriguing right until the last day of the last game. Not surprising, but a pity.

I think we should have declared as soon as Kallis got his century and forced India to bat in the evening, our brains trust is just a little too conservative.

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Maybe next time we could also have an Ashes presentation ceremony that didn't look as though it would be more at home in the 7th division of the Cheshire Counties Minor League, and actually have the trophy presented by the opposition captain, not Michael Vaughan. Or would Punter have dropped it ?

If you can't take the trophy without moaning you shan't be allowed to have it again.