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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Return to service: more on SA - Vic match

Beta Blogger, or my connection to it, has been down for several days. Despairing of it ever returning , I went back to the old Blogger format and started two "new" blogs (once you've moved to beta Blogger you can't switch back): Casting a Short Shadow 2 and Nudges and Deflections 2 .

The latter contains three postings about the SA - Victoria game, which I've edited, cut and pasted:

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Nick to Nick in nick of time earns Vics victory

Victoria deservedly defeated SA outright today after a rearguard action led by Mark Cosgrove seemed for much of the day likely to squeeze a draw from the jaws of victory.

After Victoria moved quickly from their overnight 4/201 to declare at 6/246 the rest of the day's batting moved at a funereal pace as the top part of the Redback innings came apart. Cosgrove played doggedly out of and Gillespie doggedly in character to offer their team some hope that they could hang on until stumps. The Victorian field placing, except for a period after tea, was generally attacking: towards the end we even saw a classic umbrella field (see photo). When Gillespie was lbw to Moss the last three followed in quick succession, with Cosgrove unable to keep the strike for the penultimate over, bowled by Gerard Denton, who had removed Bailey and Rofe (caught behind playing at a ball he could have left alone) in his previous one. Denton then administered the coup de grace with his sixth wicket of the innings as Tait nicked a ball to Jewell at leg slip.

Denton had by far the best figures but he was well supported, as the
scorecard attests, by all the other bowlers, especially Shane Warne who bowled extremely well for his 1/42.

Victoria deserved to win and after an indifferent performance against WA will be full of confidence for the rest of the season.

SA carried too many passengers and will need to regroup before meeting NSW later this week. The batting, apart from Lehmann, Cosgrove and to some degree Borgas, is thin, and the attack, which looks good on paper, in this game lacked the sharp edge required to gain and the retain the ascendancy.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Victoria consolidate

I wasn't able to get to the match today, but the Cricinfo bulletin (with link to scorecard) seems to be a good succinct summary, and much better than the Cricket Australia report, much of which just repeats the scores . I agree with Cricinfo that SA will find it hard to keep Shane Warne at bay in the fourth innings .

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Victoria surges ahead: SA v Victoria day 2

I've started this blog to let me post while I can't, for reasons I can't fathom, access my beta blogger one.

On day 2 of the game Victoria turned a fairly even position into a dominant one. In the first session they held off and later dominated the SA attack. Declaring at lunch at 6/385 (after being 5/244 at stumps) , they had the brittle SA batting lineup 4/70 at tea before Darren Lehmann energised Borgas and the pair put on a century partnership. This was still not enough to leave the Redbacks , 5/197 at stumps, with much of a chance. Shane Warne, after some rougher than usual handling by Brogas and Lehmann, by the end of the day was making the ball bounce and turn considerably and troubling Manou, who came in for the last few overs when the situation seemed right for Gillespie . The lower photo shows the last ball of the day (and the last ball before daylight saving - note shadow encroaching on pitch).

Lehmann, 75 no at stumps, is as usual SA's main hope. The Victorian quick bowlers were steady rather than menacing, but this brought them rewards. The fields were mostly defensive: the top photo shows that for Moss, who bowled military medium with the keeper standing up, no slip (Warne is at third man) and two on the leg side boundary.

It's hard to see SA getting back into the match from here. If they're to do so the lower order will need to support Lehmann's attempt to double his stumps score.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Retro cricket: SA v Victoria day 1

The first day of the 4 day SA - Victoria match was played out today in a manner redolent of the 1950s, with a slow run rate and, towards the close of play, pre-daylight saving shadows creeping over the ground (see photo). The weather also harked back to pre global warming times and the football season: no rain, but a cool, turning to cold later in the day, southwesterly wind blowing. August in October is quite a change from the January in October we've had recently.

Victoria finished on 5/244 off the prescribed 96 overs: better than 4/122 which they were at one stage, but hardly a match winning score at this stage. Of course if the lower order can contribute another 100 or so (and the scoreboard lists Warne at number nine, so this may not be out of the question) then SA may struggle to build the lead they'll need to offset batting last.

The SA attack was generally tight and disciplined: the pitch gave Tait, Gillespie and Rofe some help, while the wind provided legspinner Bailey with some assistance. He bowled a long spell in the middle and final sessions and eventually picked up a second wicket, when he went back to over the wicket after several productive (for the batsmen) overs round the wicket.

A legspinner bowling round the wicket on the first day is most un-1950s (though Richie Benaud once famously won a test in 1961 bowling into the rough on the last day.

I'll be there tomorrow and look forward to watching the next stages of the contest.

Media coverage

Nothing yet on Cricinfo about the match but a brief report from Alan Shiell on Cricket Australia's website.

Spectators aren't shown any video of the play, even though every ball is taped (see photo above). Why can't some footage (even if not slow motion etc) be put up on the big screen ?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Live scores?

Cricket Australia's claims to be providing "live" scores on its website are overstated. The NSW v SA Pura Cup match is at an interesting stage but the "live" score hasn't been updated for some time.

They took their time to post the final result - a 1 run win to Australia off the last ball - in the women's one day international v NZ.

Why not hand the scoring over to Cricinfo? They almost always do a much better job with their live commentaries.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Benaud in blue and other media moments

A couple of cricket related snippets from this morning's TV.

Sunday (but not mentioned on its website ) had Richie Benaud previewing (and in his low key way plugging the telecasts of) the Ashes series. As usual everything he said was measured and substantial. What struck me, though, was his attire: a blue jacket, not his customary cream, beige or thereabouts. What or who is behind this? Someone of his reputation doesn't need to reinvent himself at this stage of his career.

ABC TV's Offsiders, which should but doesn't have its own website, had a home video type clip of Barrie Cassidy, batting in spectacles but minus pads, being dismissed in a game. He was hitting across the line, which he doeesn't often do on either Offsiders or Insiders.

31 in 9 balls to grab victory

The SA Redbacks have defeated the NSW Blues (sponsors' names omitted) in a close one day game in Sydney: the scores are here.

Cameron Borgas biffed 31 from 9 balls to guide the visitors to a a win with two balls to spare after it had for some time looked as if NSW were cantering to victory.

The TV news (Channel 9 and ABC) both showed some highlights which confirmed Jim Maxwell and Kerry O'Keefe's opinion (on ABC Radio) that the match finished in near darkness.

Beer mismatches

Allan Border has denied that his resignation as an Australian cricket selector has anything to do with a conflict of interest between his personal sponsor and the Australian team's sponsor, which happen to be two competing breweries. Some people will believe him.

The fact is that alcohol and cricket are closely linked, though conflicts of interest at the sub-international level seem to be managed by sweeping them under the carpet. Of course it's also forbidden for rank and file spectators to take a sponsor's or competitor's product into a ground (but perfectly OK once inside to buy a plastic cup of the lightest strength beer the sponsor manufactures).

The irony of all this is reflected in the "official" names of several state teams . Two of them today completed a first class match (in a competition sponsored by a milk company): each team was sponsored by a competing brewer. These details only feature prominently on the Cricket Australia website, which, if the delays in posting its "live" scores are any indication, dissuade many people from lingering thereon.