Follow by Email

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Mike Hussey's grit keeps Australia competitive: T1D1

Australia 273 (86.4 ov, M Hussey 95) T1/3 D1 at Galle.

A fascinating day of sub continental Test cricket. That is, one where the ball turned and the visitors struggled. Each of the Australian top order reached double figures, Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting and Brad Haddin laying solid foundations, but only Mike Hussey's characteristically gritty, laced with some aggression, 95/177b (3x6, 7x4). really came to terms with the conditions.

The wicket is cracking [has cracked?] up; 300 would have been a good total but 273 will do for now. Having regard to the state of the wicket, and all things being equal, Australia has its nose in front but is its attack, which includes two debutants (Trent Copeland and Nathan Lyon) able to set up a victory? I doubt it.



Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Malinga hat trick helps Sri Lanka win ODI#5, though still lose series 2-3

Sri Lanka 6/213 ( M Jayawardene 71, C Silva 63) beat Australia 211 (46.1 ov, S Watson 56, L Malinga 3-35 inc hat trick) by 4 wickets with 18 balls remaining: ODI#5 at Premadasa Stadium Columbo. Australia win series 3-2.

Four of the top six Australian batters got a start but didn't notch large scores: the other seven combined added 17.

Lasith Malinga's hat trick turned a possible score of around 250 turned into a modest 211. Sri Lanka lost 3/33, two to James Pattinson who, with John Hastings replaced Brett Lee and Doug Bollinger (both rested) before Chamara Silva 63/71b (1x6, 8x4) and (once again) Mahela Jayawardene 71/119b (6x4) , set their team back on course. Australia had no Malinga equivalent so the Sri Lankans moved comfortably to a consolation win.

Now for the Tests. Australia will be pleased that Malinga will not be in the home eleven, as they will have enough issues of their own to deal with.

Fox Sports highlights:


4-0: England eventually win T4 comfortably

England 6/591 dec (I Bell 235, K Pietersen 175) def India 300 (R Dravid 146*) & 283 (S Tendulkar 91, A Mishra 84, G Swann 6/106) by an innings and 8 runs: T4D5 at The Oval. England win series 4-0.

The result was the same as the preceding Tests, but this time Rahul Dravid 146* /266b (20x4) carried his bat through India's first innings and showed his teammates what might be done to resist the powerful England bowling attack and bolster India's self- respect.

In the follow-on Sachin Tendulkar 91/172b (11x4) and Amit Mishra 84/141b (10x4) showed more fight, batting through a session (the first time India had done so in the series) without losing a wicket. But once they were out, Tendulkar courageously but correctly adjudged lbw by umpire Tucker within sight of his 100th international century, Graeme Swann snuffed out any wild hopes of a draw by running through the rest.

Once again England outplayed India in all departments, a result which I for one didn't expect. It has nevertheless whetted my appetite for the forthcoming India tour of Australia, even though neither of the teams are now at the top of the Test rankings. It's hard to imagine the Indian batting peforming this badly again and, if their best bowlers are fit, their attack lacking so much penetration. I'll wait and see how the Tests v Sri Lanka go before venturing an opinion about Australia's chances.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Australia regroup in ODI, India's Test woes continue.

Australia 5/133 (28 ov, S Marsh 70) def Sri Lanka 132 (38.4 ov, M Jayawardene 53, B Lee 4/15, X Doherty 4/28)by 5 wkts: ODI#4/5 at Colombo (Premadasa Stadium) . Australia lead series 3-1.

Sri Lanka fell apart with the bat, losing 8/37 in the face of some good Australian bowling by Brett Lee and Xavier Doherty.

132 didn't look enough, and Shaun Marsh, brought into the team in place of Steve Smith, made sure it wasn't with a vigorous 70/80b (1x6, 11x4) at the top of the order.

Good to see Doherty, whose place I thought might be in doubt, named player of the match for his 4/28 from 10 overs.

Fox Sports highlights


Meanwhile in London at The Oval yet another onesided Test match is unfolding or, from an Indian perspective, unravelling:

India 5/103 (33ov, R Dravid 57*) trail England 6/591 dec (I Bell 235, K Pietersen 175) by 488 runs with 5 1st inns wickets in hand: T#4D3 at The Oval.

Ian Bell 235/364b (2x6, 23x4) and Kevin Pietersen 175/232b (27x4) have batted India out of the match.

Foxtel only showed an hour of the rain-shortened D3 highlights, but they included Virender Sehwag's
8/6b (2x4), his first runs of the series, and Graeme Swann's three wickets, one a well executed though very close -IMO too close to give out - stumping. With Swann extracting some turn and bounce,a fourth English win is looking more likely. Only Rahul Dravid has knuckled down to the batting job.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Sri Lanka find form at last

Sri Lanka 9/286 (50ov, U Tharanga 111, T Dilshan 55,D Bollinger 4-42) def Australia 208 (44.2
ov,M Hussey 63, L Malinga 5-28) by 78 runs
: ODI#3/5 at Hambantota. Australia lead series 2-1.

Sri Lanka at last performed as everyone knows they can. An opening stand of 139/151b between Upul Tharanga 111/139b (12x4) and Tillekeratne Dilshan 55/59b (4x4) provided a launching pad for a total which looked, as the total passed 200 without further loss, to be heading for 300+ .

It didn't work out that way as the pace bowlers, led for the second game on the trot by Doug Bollinger, this time 10-0-42-4, clawed back enough ground to give Australia a sniff of a chance.

Openers Watson and Haddin fell cheaply to Lasith Malinga and promising looking debutant Shaminda Eraga, then Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke kept Australia in the chase briefly until Ponting hit a soft return catch to Eranga. 3/52.

Clarke and Mike Hussey added a handy (but not handy enough as it turned out) 81/95b before Malinga snared Clarke for 46/67b (3x4). David Hussey didn't last long, and Australia's candle was snuffed out when two wickets fell on 183: first Steve Smith tipped the ball straight to bowler Nuwan Kulasekara who ran him out (a good throw but a silly call); then Mike Hussey to Malinga for a characteristic 63/76b (5x4). Malinga (who has reverted to his former multicoloured hairstyle) swept the rest before him, finishing with 8.2-2-28-5 as Sri Lanka strode to victory.

Australia are now the team with problems, especially in the opening batting and spin bowling (combined figures for the three used:12-0-91-0).


Fox Sports highlights:


Monday, August 15, 2011

Impressive Australia win another ODI, lead series 2-0

Australia 2/ 211 ( 38.2 ov, R Ponting 90*,M Clarke 58*) beat Sri Lanka 208 (49.3ov,K Sangakkara 52, ) by 8 wickets: ODI#2/5 at Hambantota. Australia lead series 2-0.

Another good, verging on very good, performance by Australia. Sri Lanka crumbled against a tightly drilled attack, with all 6 bowlers used (Steven Smith wasn't) doing their bit. Doug Bollinger's 3/35 from 10 overs was an eyeopener for me, as , overlooking the differences between Tests and ODIs, I'd written him off after his performances in the Ashes.

In the batting department things went well too, with a vintage Ricky Ponting 90*/106b (9x6, 8x4) combining with Shane Watson and then a refeshingly aggressive Michael Clarke 58*/67b (2x6, 4x4) seeing their side home easily.

Clarke's captaincy looked good too, though I'm not enamoured of his habit of whistling to attract players' attention.

I'd expected Sri Lanka to win this series, but so far they've disappointed.
Are they really that bad or are Australia better than I've given them credit for?


Fox Sports video:

Sunday, August 14, 2011

As expected, England confirm top Test ranking with crushing win over India

England 7/701 dec def India 224 & 244 (55.3 ov, MS Dhoni 74*, J Anderson 4/85 ) by an innings and 242 runs;lead series 3-0 with one match to playL T#3 D4 at Edgbaston. England lead series 3-0 with one match to play.

England wrapped up the match and the series more or less as expected, ie emphatically. They are now officially, and deservedly, the no1 ranking Test playing nation.

Congratulations to them.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

More of the same as England keep moving towards crushing Test and series victory

India 224 & 1/35 (12 ov) trail England 7/710 dec (188.1 ov, A Cook 294, E Morgan 104, A Sfrauss 87, K Pietersen 63, T Bresnan 53*) by 451 runs with 9 2nd inns wkts in hand: T#3 D3 at Edgbaston.

To be honest I didn't watch all that much of the day's play: there was more appealing fare on other channels, notably a telecast of a live performance of Don Giovanni. I did see the only quarter decent passage of play for India when England lost three quick middle order wickets between 596 and 613, which put paid to whatever thoughts England may have had, and some commentators (but not me),did have of aiming for 1000 .

I also saw, just as I had the day before, many excellent strokes from Alistair Cook who continued to 294/545b (33x4). Eoin Morgan's 104/199b (11x4) was a worthy innings even if he, like but to a greater degree than Cook, benefited from some slack Indian fielding.

I saw several replays of Virender Sehwag completing a king pair: not that there was any doubt about the decision, it just summed up India's day, match and, quite possibly, series.


Friday, August 12, 2011

Yes, England are good, but who'd have thought India were are this bad at Test cricket?

England 3/456 (115 ov, A Cook 182*, A Strauss 87, K Pietersen 63) lead India 224 by 232 runs on 1st innings with 7 wickets in hand: T#3 D2 at Edgbaston

Have there been many more one-sided Test matches? The scorecard says a lot , especially about the high quality of England's batting, with Alistair Cook's 182*/339b (26x4) poohpoohing those who thought his Australian Test summer was a five Test wonder, but it doesn't reveal how feebly India have played. The bowling, Praveen Kumar from time to time excepted, has lacked bite and the fielding has been sub-optimal: often below parkland cricket standard.

The match has already been, unless the weather intervenes, decided.India...though once upon a time there was a Test, when three of the current Indian team were shorter in the tooth, when what looked inevitable didn't turn out that way .


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Double vision: good day for both England (in Test) and Australia (in ODI)

Overnight, courtesy of the Foxtel/ Fox sports red button (a well kept secret which deserves to be more widely promoted), I was able to keep an eye on two intriguing international fixtures at the same time. If you didn't opt via the button to watch one match on full screen, you could watch two parallel, albeit smaller, pictures showing vision from England v India T#3 at Edgbaston and Sri Lanka v Australia ODI #1 at Kandy.

I didn't last the night or, for that matter, far into it, but I did watch the highlights earlier today which confirmed my early opinions of English and Australian dominance in the respective fixtures.

England 0/84 are bearing down on India's paltry 224 while Australia regrouped after Sri Lanka got out of the blocks and, with the mercurial Mitchell Johnson in top form, won comfortably.

England still have a way to go, but it's hard to see them losing the match from here. Australia will be hoping that (and wondering whether) Johnson can reproduce his form in the remaining matches. I'd prefer to see him do so in one or two (three is asking too much) of the Tests but will take whatever he can produce to paper over the cracks in the current Australian ODI and Test teams.

England 0/84 (25 ov, A Strauss 52*) trail India 224 (62.2 ov, MS Dhoni 77, S Broad 4/53, T Bresnan 4/62) by 140 runs with 10 1st inns wickets in hand: T#3/4, D1/5 at Edgbaston [England leading series 2-0].

Australia 3/192 (38.1ov, S Watson 69/, M Clarke 53*, R Ponting 53) def Sri Lanka 191 (41.1 ov, M Johnson 6/31) by 7 wkts with 71 balls remaining: ODI#1/5 at Pallekele Stadium, Kandy. Australia lead series 1-0.