Monday, November 30, 2009

Sreesanth the Bloody

Another belated post-weekend post, about another follow-on-inducing massacre.

Sreesanth came out with accumulated figures of 33 Ov, 8 M, 122 R, 6 W, 2nb.  But more importantly, he tore the Sri Lankan top-order to pieces in the first innings, getting a five-for, four of them against notable danger-men, including Sangakkara.  Not as present in the second innings, but that was largely because the second innings belonged to the spinners (and surprisingly, Sehwag).

I have to admit, I was really surprised to see the Sri Lankans come apart at the seams like this.  They seemed to have everything together at Motera, their only problem was hyper-cautiousness, especially in their captain, and a penchant for preferring batting records to victory.  To go from Motera to this is quite a puzzler.

And remind me not to doubt Kanpur groundsmen.

India 642
Sri Lanka 229 & 269

Sunday, November 29, 2009

West Indies: Where to start...

Sorry I'm late to get on the topic but, busy weekend.

Well, that was rather cruel and unusual.  The pitch was lively enough for both sides, and on the third day you could see these terrifying longitudinal cracks in the pitch, like giant San Andreas fault lines.  The lack of Jerome Taylor beyond a nine-over contribution no doubt hurt as well.  But even those factors can't excuse a three-day slaughter. 

From what I could tell, the West Indies were simply in a ODI mindset.  As thrilling as the opening overs of the West Indies innings were, it wasn't test cricket and it wasn't being mindful of the pitch or the opposition.  With fifteen wickets falling on one day, they were certainly dismissed in an ODI fashion, and in doing so deprived me of my sunday afternoon viewing.

Chanderpaul probably stands out as the biggest disappointment.  Effectively the anchorman of the West Indies order, the calypso reply to Dravid, in the last outing with the Australians he batted an average of like five hours per innings.  A score of 2 & 2 makes it nearly impossible for the WI batting order to make the necessary chase.  Add into that the fact that Gayle and Chanderpaul racked up 3 of 4 referrals, all on exceptionally plumb decisions...

All in all, the Windies had two shining points, Adrian Barath's century performance, and Kemar Roach's bowling.  Both of these look like players who will go places if given the chance.

On the downside, the rest of their bowling was ho-hum, their star bowler couldn't bowl, their top order was brittle, their middle order was brittle, their lower order was brittle, their discipline with the referrals was lax and they simply couldn't perform on a lively pitch. 

Australia 480/8d
West Indies 228 & 187 (f/o)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Well don't I look like a twit?

Here I was saying wilderness and draw draw draw when Sreesanth was cavorting about the pitch claiming wicket after wicket.

Guess that proves how much of a pessimist I am.  Of course, I don't imagine that there were too many people, after that greek-tragedy-we-know-as-Motera who were expecting a follow-on after seeing the Indians amass over 600 runs.  But still.

Either way, impressive as hell!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

West Indies Bowling

Well, good start for the West Indies bowlers, Roach's outswingers and Taylor's inswingers confounding and picking up the wicket of Watson for a duck.

Had a nice run spurt but it's looking like they've just pinned us down again... last three overs for one run.

Update 1:
Oh bloody hell, Punter.

And this is why Australia has to bat all the way down to 10th man.

Monday, November 23, 2009

2nd Test at Kanpur

Okay, a disclaimer first: I'm short on sleep and between coffees!

So, what will we have today, a pitch that could double as the taxiway of Kanpur International Terminal that looks like they picked it up from the salt-flats and sprinkled yellow food dye on it, or a pitch that might even have a little green, a bit of a root system, maybe some cracks on the fourth and fifth day.  Something that won't inspire the bowler's to take the cherry and instead of bowling it, try and use its seams to slit their wrists.

India will be taking to the 2nd Test the knowledge that their batters CAN all fire together, that their pace attack is decent and their spin attack is toothless.  I know, I'm as bewildered as the rest of you.

Sri Lanka, on the other hand, will know that they by rights should have had that match, but essentially they hyper-cautioned themselves out of the match.  Poor reading of the pitch, hyper-defensiveness and slow batting did them in.  All the double and triple-centuries in the world can't win a match for you if you take too long.  At least they can console themselves with another half-dozen milestones and records.

Big news of course it that Dhoni will be able to play and Prasad will not.  Prasad may not have been the spitfire Welegedara was, but he was still a very big part of their attack and I suspect his absence will be sorely felt.

I'm not going to hazard a guess at a result to this mathc until I see how the pitch starts to play.

Update 1:
India will bat first.  Pitch is said to be more bowler friendly (as if anything could be less friendly than Motera).  Anyway, this is good news to be starting the day with.

Update 2:
Freesanth and Ojha???

Update 3:
This is starting to look ugly, with a sky-high run rate no less.

Update 4:
So will Dhoni be aiming for a score of 761?

Update 5:
Good lord, they're all out, where did that come from??

Sunday, November 22, 2009

And we're back

After a busy weekend, a little worse for wear from the company Christmas Party, and we're back again.

India and Sri Lanka batted themselves out to a dull and lifeless draw.
Sri Lanka proved they are too hyper-cautious to eke out wins.
Queensland vs West Indies, batted themselves out to a lifeless draw (curse that 4-day format!).

Seems the only actual victories allowed to take place these days are the Victorians over my Western Warriors!  Sad times...

Well, 2nd Test at Kanpur starts tomorrow, and the 1st Test between Australia and West Indies in three days time.  The first of these promises to be another close and hard fought match (to be inevitably be decided by if the pitch will allow a victory) and the second promises to be a rather one-sided and unpleasant (and don't just ask me; when Saint Lara the I say's they're in for a shellacking, that's a bad sign).  Ah, Test Cricket, what we live for.

Of course, Chris Gayle is back, which is great for the Windies (and many well wishes to Gayle's mother Heazlyn Gilroy!) and should make them a more competitive side.  Their baptism by fire in Australian conditions at Allan Border oval in Brisbane will have given them a heads up on how the pitches play here so playing the national team shouldn't throw up many shocks.  But it will still be an uphill battle; let's make no mistake, they were trending very badly for a loss if there had been a fifth day's play.  If I were to be a fool, I'd say 2-nil, Australia's way, in the series.  And if I were to bet on the India v Sri Lanka series, I'd say 1-nil, India's way.

Also, Glenn McGrath took 3/18.  I don't care what people say, to me the Human Metronome is the most terrifying bowler I can think of.  :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

India vs Sri Lanka, Day 5 at Motera

Sri Lanka seems to have understimated how easy this pitch is to play on, allowing India to build up 190/2, giving India a very good chance of holding on for the draw.  Barring no irregular deterioration, the match seems relatively safe and Sri Lanka may have thrown away their best chance to date of a win on Indian soil.

Neither team has racked up 8 wickets in a day so far on this pitch and with a 45-over old ball, I'm not expecting any big surprises. India should over-take the lead by early afternoon and even if Sri Lanka gets to bat again, there would be very little opportunity to chase it down.

Here's hoping the next pitch is a little more lively.

So far the big standouts of the match would have to be:
a) Dravid's new groove
b) Welegedara, great potential, will need to see what he does in the next two matches
c) the frustrating and inexplicable failure of Team India's spinners
d) Dhoni seeming to lose his nerve with field placement and bowling choices.

Mishra just got a life courtesy of Dilshaan, dropped catch in slip.  Forgot to dry his hands before heading out?

Update 2:
Mishra getting the better of Murali's bowling, fifth sign of the apocalypse or sixth sign?

Why in the name of little green apples is Sangakkara setting defensive fields?  You're not defending a total, you're trying to win a match!  Can someone go over and poke him in the shoulder, see if he's awake?

Update 3:
Dilshaan get's an opportunity to put things right and holds the catch from Mishra.  We should all be so lucky in getting second chances ):

Update 4:
A century for Gambhir!  See, thats how you do it, Viru, by not playing it like a drunken sailor going after everything in your path.

Update 5:
Why would he charge a spinner when they're trying to bat out the match???  Gambhir, what were you thinking?  Oh well, on comes Very Very Special Laxman and the innings continues.

Update 6:
Just saw the bet365  odds:
Draw 1.00
Sri Lanka 51.00
India 501.00

I sense a get rich quick scheme coming on!

Australian Squad for First Test announced

Ricky Ponting (capt)
Simon Katich
Michael Hussey
Michael Clarke
Marcus North
Brad Haddin (wk)

Mitchell Johnson
Nathan Hauritz
Peter Siddle
Ben Hilfenhaus
Shane Watson
Doug Bollinger

Only one change, Stuart Clark is out, Bollinger is in.  Which is a bit of a shame for Clark, who has been putting respectable performances but let’s be honest, after what Bollinger turned in on the 6th ODI they were obligated to give him his second Test Cap.  Alas, Brett Lee is still out for the count with that elbow spur, but still having two proper quicks in the attack will be a treat. 

Hopefully Haddin can get his head around batting again, because his last few performances that I can see have been uniformly uninspiring.  The rest of the batting line-up should hold up though, with Ponting and Hussey back in form.

Dunno yet who is 12th man but if I were to make stupid bets, I’d opt for Hilfenhaus or Siddle.

Sri Lanka 760/7d


Something really needs to be done about this predilection for flat lifeless decks.  Really, 760/7d?  Bring back some life in the pitches, groundsmen!

Mahela Jayawardene's innings were extraordinary and he couldn't have asked for better support than Prasanna provided him with.

India can bat their way to safety on this, depending on what condition it is in tomorrow.  But if there was any pitch you were going to try and bat your way to safety for a day and a half on, well, this is it.  A win is impossible at this stage I think, but India can still try and rescue a draw.

Either way, there will be some hard and long discussions about the bowling before the next test.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A lot of Pluck, but not much behind it

The West Indies are, yet again, staring up at a big hill to overcome if they are to make any progress in this series.  Their warm-up match against Queensland is looking very dicey at the moment, as Nick Kruger rather methodically grinds through the weakened West Indies attack.  (Edit: Although it looks like Roach is having a very good time with the ball and is keeping the run rate down low!)  The loss of Chris Gayle is going to hurt them further, unfortunately.

Would should all feel a pang of sympathy, though, for the young Trinidadian batsman Adrian Barath who had the terrible misfortune of having been near a sports journalist before his first real crack at the radically different Australian pitch conditions, who got him to speak about his confidence and eagerness to take on Australia.  A confidence which ended in 20 balls faced, 0 runs scored and being caught behind.  Experience is the key though, and if he can adapt to Indian pitch conditions when he played for T&T in the Champions League, he can adapt to Australian conditions no doubt.

My earliest cricketing memories are of watching a test match between Australia and the West Indies during a big family reunion, and I've always had a soft spot for that island and palm-trees shield on crimson. Tumult and crisis tend to bring opportunity so hopefully this series will bind and blood this inexperienced outfit and form the start of a new West Indian resurgence.

Also, I'm going to be able to get along to the Third Test at the WACA, and it would be great to see some competitive cricket there!


Queensland 113 runs up with six wickets in hand at stump.  This is going to be a tough tour for the Windies.

India vs Sri Lanka at Motera, Day 3 Review

Jayawardene vs Dravid
Dilshaan vs Dhoni
Welegedara vs ... who? 

Who in the Indian bowling attack was able to apply pressure, take wickets, restrict scoring?

Z Khan 30 - 4 - 93 - 2 - 3.10 (8nb, 2w)
I Sharma 28 - 0 - 108 - 2 - 3.85 (3nb, 1w)
Harbhajan Singh 39 - 3 - 151 - 1 - 3.87
A Mishra 43 - 6 - 152 - 0 - 3.53 (6nb)
Yuvraj Singh 13 - 1 - 49 - 0 - 3.76
SR Tendulkar 7 - 0 - 20 - 0 - 2.85

Very flat performances, and the number of no balls is sure to be causing lots of red faces in the Pavillion.  India has caught its jumper on the thorn of the last batting partnership of Sri Lanka's line-up which is truly frustrating to see.  The Sri Lankan's, by contrast have looked determined, dangerous and competent, a team on a mission.  The Sri Lankan team have been consistent in the field and consistent with the bat.
So first test will go down as either a draw or a win for Sri Lanka, then spend the next four days finding out what happened to the bowling attack.

The Prindiville End

Woo, starting on this whole blogging shtick, five years late, but better than never.

I plan to cover Australian cricket, a bit of Indian cricket (since they're a very interesting team, and some of the best showmen and entertainers in modern cricket) and the Western Warriors.

I hope people enjoy!