Thursday, November 26, 2009
Big day for long form cricket
Today three Tests are being played around the globe: Australia v West Indies T1 D1 at the Gabba, New Zealand v Pakistan T1 D3 at Dunedin and India v Sri Lanka T2 D3 at Kanpur.
Not bad for a format that's frequently written down, if not out. Or are the time and scheduling demands (think 7 match ODI series) of the shorter forms such that much of the Test schedule has to be shoehorned into an ultratight time frame?
At Kanpur, India (642, inc centuries to Gambhir, Sehwag and Dravid, 60s to Laxman and Yuvraj ) have enforced the follow on against Sri Lanka (229) so a win is possible there. As I post play on D3 is still in progress.
At a cool and sporadically wet Dunedin New Zealand have, after losing a wicket to the first ball of the match, held the initiative though whether the two days remaining are enough to force a result is questionable.
Foxtel is showing the Dunedin game live, though there's no coverage as far as I can tell (even on Fox Sports News) from Kanpur.
On Australian free to air TV the Channel 9 coverage (both HD and SD picture quality far superior to Foxtel's SD), Richie Benaud and co plus some new features, eg live feeds of players' heart rates, has held my attention apart from a few shifts to bucolic Dunedin.
As it's turned out the widely predicted Australian walkover hasn't yet manifested itself. 5/322 (Katich 92, Hussey 66, Ponting 55) isn't a bad total, yet every time Australia seemed to be getting on top a wicket fell to the persistent West Indies attack.
Of course with Ramnaresh Sarwan out of the Windies batting lineup this may turn out to be a winning score.
PS Another long form game, the 4 day Tasmania v South Australia Sheffield Shield match at Hobart is also being played (though pretty much ignored by the mainstream media). The home team gained first innings points: 389 (thanks to Ed Cowan's 225) to 363, but is wobbling at 3/39 in its second innings. Peter George's 10 wickets to date have kept the Redbacks in with a sniff of outright victory but with only a day to play on the Bellerive wicket this may be hard to achieve.