Sunday, August 28, 2005


At the risk of sounding cliched, who IS writing the scripts for these test matches????

First, the good news. I no longer need to crib about not being able to watch the cricket. Brilliant coverage, with Benaud et al, is now available, and it's fantastic to say the least.

On to the match, then. I'm impressed with Shaun Tait, I really am. Frankly, I can't, in all my years of watching cricket, remember another tearaway with a sling-arm action. (Unfortunately, Thmmo was before my time.) He set up day one nicely with the wickets of Trescothick (looks increasingly unlikely the poor bloke will ever get an hundred against the Aussies) and Bell. This was always going to be Freddie's series and his exquisite butchery (only in this great game do these words go together) of the Australian attack on Day 2 meant that Australia who had looked competitive at the end of Day 1, would now have to bat out of their skins. Well, they didn't and with some brilliant bowling by Simon Jones and Hoggy, were left licking their wounds. Another first innings failure, something that's becoming far too common with this side. For the first time since 1988, this proud team had been asked to follow on. Vaughny must have had a couple of things to weigh:
1) These damn Aussies control the weather, I'd better not risk the time element.
2) That damn Warney
Well, anyway, he thought that Warney was kinder than the weather and enforced the follow on (and almost regretted it, in hindsight).
The second innings effort was infinitely better, Langer, Clarke, Warney and Katich playing quite well to give some sort of respectability to the total England needed to chase. At this point, I must also be really critical of the umpiring, and frankly, Bucknor should go. He has been slipping steadily for the past few years, and now is probably no better than S.K. Bansal, he of the LBW-when-ball-pitched-outside-leg fame.
Finally the fightback. Everytime the Aussies find themselves with their backs to the wall, the true champions in the side rise to the occasion. Like I said in my last post, I dare anyone to find a cricketer with as much charisma and game-influencing-ability as Warney, not just from the post-modern era, but from the golden age of cricket as well. Sir Gary and the late great Sir Don can chew on this, but it won't stop it from being true. Champion, this man, absolute champion. Two wickets from the opening deliveries of his first 2 overs, and yet, nothing surprising, considering everything we've come to expect of this man. The fizz, the dip, the drift and finally the rip snorting turn and bounce. Orgasmic delight, really, watching him bowl. The one that got Vaughny was particularly special, I thought. As for the other big hearted Aus cricketer, Binga Lee, my respect for him grows with each passing game. He must be absolutely gutted, 3 tests in a row, he's had to pull out something extraordinary out of his bag of ammunition, and each time, he's manfully done his bit. Unfortunately the scoreline reads 2-1 against his efforts. Anyone who was lucky to see him bowl Freddie, the great Freddie Flintoff, neck and crop, would carry that image with them to their senility and beyond. Just bloody fantastic that!
Either way, what the result has done is keep the Ashes alive, and we should have a real cracker at the Oval. My prediction? A draw, and Aus losing the Ashes. A change of guard.

The kings are dead, long live the kings.

Oh, and by the way, I have won my 12 pack of Heineken already:-)


Anonymous Mangesh said...

Have u taken cable? Its great ur getting to watch the games! :-) Good luck for the last one!

7:03 AM  
Blogger Minal said...

A draw is on my mind too, but I'm hoping England don't go in with that mindset. They should continue to play and attack, that's the only way to drive the Aussies away from their own den.

Ponting is clearly disturbed. How are they going to cope with this?

Btw hope you are fine, I wonder what would be your condition if it were Steve Waugh instead of Ponting:-)

11:48 AM  
Blogger Tugga said...

Mangesh, no cable mate, just

Minal, If Tugga were captain, they wouldn't be in this position, Punter's dense:-)
Anyway just reminds me, when the last change of guard took place, Richie Richardson was the WI captain, and he was very peevish about it as well. I clearly remember him saying that the Ausssies had won just cos the WI team had underperformed. I hope Punter doesn't fall into the trap.

And btw, I am not saying England would go play for a draw, I am saying that's what they would get

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Truman said...

Could not help but agree with Minal- the "make-a-draw" mindset could be dangerous for the English. You know, one good session is all what a desperate Australia would need to turn the tide in their direction.

I think the Englishmen would need the final test go their way to showcase their dominion. That really should happen. Fight would be intense since the Australians have everything to play for.

Your impression of the last test is nice and liked by this reader :)

3:01 PM  
Blogger Minal said...

Honestly, what could Steve Waugh have done with Hayden, Martyn, Gilchrist completely out-of-sorts.
No McGrath and Gillespie at the peak of his worst form ever.

I'm not debating his captaincy skills with you or the way he inspired his team-mates with his performances.I'm no authority on him when I'm talking to you:-)

I'm not defending Ponting either, if you know me I'm no fan of his.

Point is the team is also growing a bit old. It's not easy for any human to maintain that kind of authority and consistency at such a level for more than a certain period of time. That's why champions come and go.

Aussies though have maintained that high level of performance many more times than any average person would.

I'm not too sure at this stage even Steve could've done much, a year or two before surely!

There is an old saying right, every dog has it's day! There are reasons why these age old adages make some sense:-)


Btw: Excellent post as usual;-)

5:33 AM  
Blogger Tugga said...

@truman: thank you for the favorable comments

@minal: I am just being jingoistic! Don't worry about it:-)

10:23 AM  
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