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Monday, August 26, 2013

Test comes alive as both sides chase victory - and England nearly achieve it before bad light stops play: T5 D5

Australia 9/492d & 6/111d (23ov, Broad 4/43) drew with England 377 (144.4ov, Root 68, Pietersen 50, Prior 47, Bell 45, Trott 40, Faulkner 4/51, 3/92)  & 5/206 (40ov, Pietersen 62/55b/10x4, Trott 59/87b/6x4): T5/5 D5/5 at Kennington Oval, London. England win series 3-0 and retain Ashes.
Player of the match: Shane Watson. Players of the series: Ian Bell and Ryan Harris.

On the last day of the series The Fifth Test roused itself from an overcautious player-induced and weather-assisted torpor. An extraordinary day's play, the like of which has rarely been seen in Test cricket, saw Australia hazard much to pursue a slender chance of victory, only to be trumped by England who were closing in on a win when the umpires called off play on what to English supporters seemed like a pedantic technicality, to Australian a fair decision.

When England were, after some breezy lower order batting, eventually dismissed 115 behind Australia's first innings score a draw seemed, as it had for some time, the only possible outcome.
But Michael Clarke thought (or hoped, or wished) otherwise. So the batting order was recast and instructions to hit out issued. After 23 overs Australia had lost 6 wickets and added 111. Clarke declared, setting England 227 from a maximum 44 overs. The England batters responded feistily, rattling several  Australia bowlers in the process, and were galloping towards victory when the umpires intervened.

This was an exciting, yet ultimately disappointing day of Test cricket. Its later stages were redolent of a T20 match, albeit one played without any of the field restrictions of that format. The circumstances under which it concluded will be long and maybe even fiercely debated. I don't want to dwell on what might have beens except to say that a draw in this match was a fair result, as was England's 3-0 margin a fair reflection of their class and gritty ability to come back from shaky positions.

Not long to wait for a rematch. Bring it on!

<a href="">Scorecard</a>

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Long day's journey with little delight: T5D3

England 4/247 (116ov, Root 68/184b/11x4, Pietersen 50/133b/4x4, Trott 40) trail Australia 9/492d by 245 runs with 6 1st inns wickets in hand; T5/5 D3/5 at Kennington Oval, London.

An attritional - many would say dull -  day's cricket in which England,without ever being in serious trouble, crawled to 4/247, still 45 away from saving the follow on which Australia will need to enforce to have a chance of forcing a consolation victory.

In the face of a huge total England's best hope, sitting on a 3-0 series lead and hoping that the forecast rain would eventuate, was to hang on for a draw.

2.12 runs an over so far pretty well says it all. Each of the top order batters followed Alistair Cook and Joe Root's example set the previous evening and dug in against an Australia attack which on a deadish wicket was steady rather than penetrative. Mitchell Starc 2/60 has the best figures to date but he was less accurate than the others, none of whom was exactly profligate. Nathan Lyon extracted some turn and, bowling around the wicket, kept Kevin Pietersen if not in check then at least more watchful than in their previous encounters.

There's not much more to say. Even the commentators, if not at a loss for words, found it hard to rise above the banal and trivial, eg asking for statistical assistance to ascertain whether Chris Woakes hitting the first ball he faced in Test cricket for 4 was a record  (I don't recall the answer, but I'd be surprised if others hadn't been there before him). End of my excursion into banality.

Woakes soon - the next  ball- reverted to instructions and added only 11 more from the 48 other balls he faced. He and Ian Bell stayed together until stumps, living to fight another day which, if the weather forecast is not too wide of the mark, may not be the scheduled D4.

Frustrating as it is for Australia, they would have done exactly the same, maybe with a little more positivity, if they'd have been in the same position. Not the best advertisement for Test cricket, but it's part of the whole package, especially in the English summer.

Come rain or shine, a draw looms.

<a href="">Scorecard</a>

Friday, August 23, 2013

Smith continues where Watson left off to put Australia on top and in race against weather: T5D3

England 0/32 (17.3 ov) trail Australia 9/492d (128.5 ov,Watson 176, Smith 138*/241b/2x6 16x4, Anderson 4/95) by 460 runs with 10 first inns wickets in hand:  T5/5 D2/5 at The Oval, London.

Rain prevented play for the first session and beyond, and bad light truncated a day in which Steve
Smith followed Shane Watson's example and led Australia to an imposing first innings total.

Smith's century was well deserved. His imperious driving of Jonathan Trott (a modest bowler maybe, but he took a rare Test wicket - Brad Haddin's - today) for 6 to move from 94 to 100 was the stroke of the match so far, and confirmed the young man's transition from leg spinning allrounder to frontline batsman (who, like Trott, can still bowl a bit).

His temperament is, as he showed earlier this year in India, good and ,while he fidgets at lot at the crease, he seems to have the ability to get into position to defend or leave the good and hit the bad, and sometimes not- so-bad, ball. 

Jimmy Anderson was the pick of the almost exclusively pace England attack, which took its time bowling to increasingly defensive fields. Chris Woakes took his first Test wicket - James Faulkner - amid the pre- declaration buffing, but Simon Kerrigan wasn't trusted with the ball. Will he get another chance?

Alistair Cook and Joe Root held out for 17.3 overs before the umpires, despite the floodlights, called time for bad light. England's resolution (ie determination to draw) and the weather, in whatever proportion, may well combine to force a draw: a victory for them is out of the question, and will be hard  for Australia to achieve in what the weather forecast suggests will be the limited time available.

<a href="">Scorecard </a>

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Watson's 176 gives Australia honours against England attack of uneven quality: T5, D1

Australia 4/307 (90ov, Watson 176/247b/1x6,25x4, Smith 66*/133b/1x6, 9x4) v England; T5/5 D1/5 at The Oval, London. Australia won toss and chose to bat.

But for Shane Watson answering his critics in the best possible way ( and from no 3 at that) Australia would be in a much less comfortable position than they are.

I was sceptical about the changes to the Australian team.  Mitchell Starc for Jackson Bird was fine, though James Faulkner, described by several  commentators as a bowling allrounder, for Usman Khawaja, the formervno3 was not easy to fathom. 

Yet Watson, after being tried as an opener and no6 in this series, stepped back to no3 and has made it his own with an innings of characteristic positive stroke play. The difference this time was that he batted on and on, struggling a little in the 90s, but eventually crossing the century threshold, and continuing from there. (In.another reversal of previous form the DRS reprieved him from another appallingly wrong lbw decision from Umpire Dharmasena).

England were two (or at best one and a half) bowlers short. Neither of their debutants, Chris Woakes  Simon Kerrigan, looked Test class, especially alongside the old stagers Jimmy Anderson, Stuart Broad and especially Graeme Swann who had to bowl more than they'd have wished. Anderson returned to something near his best form though Swann, after Kerrigan's embarrassing Bryce McGain-like Test debut 8-0-58-0 (I reckon I'd have done better than him and I never bowled my left arm spin higher than Adelaide Turf and English village cricket) had to bowl more defensively.

So it was definitely Australia's day, but if Watson had been caught at slip off a hard but catchable chance, they would have been 4/151 and clearly frittering away the opportunity to build a score on a good wicket against bowling of widely varying quality.

For most of the day England kept themselves if not in, then not far out of the game. They did so by, Watson's let off excepted, taking a wicket just as it looked as if they were fading. Steve Smith has batted well in his fidgety-aggressive style, and he will need to shepherd the others to take even fuller advantage of batting first and England's shortcomings.

<a href="">Scorecard</a>

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Australia select curate's egg team for Fifth Test (or is it Hobson's choice?)

The fifth and final Test is about to begin at The Oval. Australia have announced that Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner will replace Jackson Bird and Usman Khawaja in the XI. To accommodate the beefing up of the bowling a deemed fit (at least to bat) Shane Watson will move up ( back?)to no3, Brad Haddin will bat at no6, leaving Faulkner to follow at no 7 and, presumably, Starc thereafter.

This is a curate's egg of a team: but the good parts are those are already in place, having been developed by a sometimes rudimentary looking trial and error process over the course of the series - the opening partnership, Ryan Harris rising above his physical frailties (fingers crossed that he survives this match), Nathan Lyon reconfirmed (for how long, I wonder?) as no 1 spinner.

Much as I'd hope for an Australian victory, the composition of this team doesn't fill me with hope. And I've not given much thought to England, who are not without difficulties of their own.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

1/120 at tea, all out 224 at stumps: Broad bowls England to series win in a bleak session for Australia; T4D4

England 238 & 330 (95.1ov, Bell 113/210b/11x4, Bresnan 45, Pietersen 44, Swann 30*, Harris 28.2-2-117-7, Lyon 3/55) def Australia 270 & 224 (68.3ov, Warner 71/113b/1x6,10x4, Rogers 49, Broad 18.3- 3- 50-6, Bresnan 2/36, Swann 2/53) by 74 runs: T4/5, D4 at Chester-Le-Street, Durham. England lead series  3-0 with one Test to play.player of the match: Stuart Broad.

For England this would be, as Paul Keating said when his party won the 1993 election, the sweetest victory of them all. At least of this series, though it will probably be remembered and mythologised as one of the sweetest of the Ashes contests.

That the Test was hard fought until almost the last session will be overlooked as the tale of how Stuart Broad pulled England's socks up in the face of David Warner's judicious aggression will be embellished. There's no denying that Broad bowled very well on a wearing wicket (as at times did Tim Bresnan and Graeme Swann), but so did Ryan Harris the supposed crock who with a little help from 
Nathan  Lyon kept Australia in with a chance despite some English lower order resistance

Bear this in mind: at tea Australia were 1/120 , needing another 179. Warner 57* was on song and Geoffrey Boycott in the Test Match Special commentary box was praising him and excoriating England. 

How then did the wheels fall off? Broad and bad batting are the obvious answers, but other questions about the Australians' mental approach need to be posed, and some answers proposed. I have none to suggest at the moment, but hope that the team leadership can come up with some in time to avoid another loss of a match, and face, at the Oval next week.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Another Bell ton puts England in box seat: T4D3

England 238 & 5/234 (74ov, Bell 105*/189b/10x4, Pietersen 44/84b/6x4, Harris 20-1-74-3, Lyon 2/46). Lead Australia 270 (89.3ov, Rogers 110/250b/14x4, Watson 68, Broad 24.3-71-5, Swann 2/48, Anderson 2/66) by 202 runs with 5 2nd inns wits in hand: T4/5 D3/5 at Chester-Le-Street Durham.

in the second half of the day Ian Bell scored his third century of the series, and with support from Kevin 
Pietersen and Jonny  Bairstow, stroked England ahead of Australia and well on the way to an impregnable position.

At the end of the previous day's play Australia's situation looked potentially good. But while the worst case scenario didn't come to pass the fact that the last 5 wickets, including Chris Rogers, who made only 5 of them. added a less than expected 48 must have given England some heart. But Australia had a first innings lead, which should have done likewise for them.

And the English top order crumbled yet again, this time in the face of some superb bowling by Ryan Harris (watch a replay of him bowling Joe Root if you can). At 3/49 - effectively 3/17 -  it seemed that the match was pivoting back towards Australia.

Enter Ian Bell. Over the ensuing hours he once again imposed his skills and determination on the match, and in doing so has probably saved his team from defeat and possibly, depending on what happens in the first part of D4, set up a win. Masterful (again).

As if Bell's performance isn't enough Australia look like being a player down for the rest of the Match, as Shane Watson has apparently succumbed yet again to (unspecified) injury/injuries. His bowling will be missed but his batting will be required if Australia is to have much of a chance of chasing down a target of 250+ which the pundits, eg Shane Warne & Andrew Strauss, have suggested will be  sufficient, and which the scorecard suggests is more than likely. 

<ahref="">Scorecard </a>

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Rogers and Watson claw Australia back in face of Broad onslaught: T4D2

Australia 5/222 (74.4ov, Rogers 101*/233b/13x4, Watson 68/134b/7x4, Broad 20-6-48-4) trail England 238 (92ov, Cook 51, Trott 49, Lyon 20-7-42-4) by 16 runs with 5 1st inns wkts in hand: T4/5 D2/5 at Chester-Le-Street, Durham.

On a tightly contested and shortened (by the umpires' call of bad light) day Chris Rogers and Shane Watson clawed Australia back into the Test in the face of some penetrating bowling by Stuart Broad. 

Neither side delivered anything like a knockout blow but Australia's recovery from 4/76 without a contribution of note by Michael Clarke (6/18b) gave them the day on points. They are still to overtake England's first innings score and the lower order with no Mitchell Starc may not be able to bat on to the substantial lead that having last innings on an apparently deteriorating pitch suggests would be required.

When play began Jackson Bird troubled Jimmy Anderson, ending the England innings without troubling the scorers further. Then Australia wobbled against Broad, who lifted a notch or two above what I thought him capable of, to 3/75 at lunch and 4/76 immediately after. 

Even Rogers was not immune from trouble but he survived plays andmisses, close calls and even the dreaded DRS. But he, as the WW2 slogan advises, kept calm and carried on, at least until he approached his century, when Graeme Swann held him in check for a while. 

But he got there, to general relief (including mine and that of many commentators and England supporters who recognised the grit and determination which enabled him to pull Australia's socks up) he got there...and is still there. Apart from the proximity  to the century he was considerably swifter than Cook : compare their strike rates - his 43.34 v Cook 31.09. Who's the stonewaller? 

Watson fell but not before he'd shown everyone else (if not himself) that no6 plus some tight overs is a good fit for Australia (and, if he can see it, him). There still be a few pieces of the batting jigsaw to identify and fit together. This applies to both sides, though as an interesting analytical piece in today's London Sunday Times shows, only Ian Bell of the 2010-11 winning side had been punching above his weight for England.

Another intriguing day in prospect. Pity the Australian surge has come after England has held the Ashes. But wait for the return series...

<ahref=""> Scorecard </a>

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Another good day for Australia: pity they're coming so far into the series: T4 D1

England 9/238 (90ov, Cook 51/164b/5x4, Trott 49/60/7x4, Lyon 20-7-42-4) v Australia: T4/5 D1/5 at Chester-Le-Street, Durham. England won toss and batted.

Hard to believe that Australia, 0-2 down, have won 5 (perhaps all 6) of the last 6 days in this Test series. I didn't expect them to do so, but a collective resilience has risen from the ashes of the Lord's drubbing and the loss of the Ashes which has put an often sluggish and slapdash England on the back  foot both literally and metaphorically. 

I thought that Mitchell Starc deserved to play instead of Jackson Bird, but, once satisfied that Ryan Harris was fit to take the field so soon after T3, the selectors preferred the line and length man to the mercurial one. It seems to have been the right decision for the slow opening day wicket, but whether Starc's batting will be missed remains to be seen.

Nathan Lyon, another who hasn't enjoyed the selectors' favour this year, was the surprise packet. He'd bowled reasonably well at Old Trafford, where his 1/100+ for the match didn't reflect the quality of his bowling. Here the statistical balance was redressed: he was subtler, yet didn't spin the ball that much, but took the wickets of numbers 2-6 after the four quick bowlers had held England to 1/57 at lunch, Alistair Cook's acquiescent 21*/90b setting the pace (if that's the right term). 

In the afternoon session Lyon, assisted by some shrewd bowling changes by Michael Clarke,  winkled out a seemingly well set Jonathan Trott, then took the wind out of Kevin Pietersen's full blown sails, before snaffling  Ian Bell to a lazy shot and baffling an out of sorts and tortoise like Jonny Bairstow, while Cook droned on to a torpid 51 before Bird had him lbw and his team 4/155.

The Australian quick bowlers kept things tight and wickets at regular intervals. 9/238, which looked below par to me, prompted some England supporters who know, or claimed to know, the vagaries of the Durham wicket, to state that 250 is a good total. Sounds like whistling in the dark to me, but Australia will have to reprise much of their Old Trafford first innings form to prove me wrong.

<ahref=""> Scorecard</a>

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

England retain Ashes after rain washes out Australia's victory thrust: T3 D5

Australia 7/527d & 7/172d drew with England 368 & 3/37 (20.3ov, Harris 2/13): T3/5 D5/5 at  Old Trafford Manchester. England lead series 2-0 with 2 Tests to play.
Player of the Match: Michael Clarke.

Had rain not intervened Australia would almost certainly have won. As it is England by virtue of wins in the first two Tests have retained the Ashes. But the series is still alive and Australia are on the up, despite continuing uncertainty about the batting order and, perhaps, with the fourth Test four days away, the fitness of some key bowlers eg Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle, both of whom went off the ground during the short period of play on D5.

England too are not problem-free. Alistair Cook's failure in the England second innings  confirms him as a passenger in his own team. Will he survive tip lead England in Australia or will he be tolerated as a latter day Mike Brearley?

But can Australia maintain their improvement? That is the question

<ahref="">Scorecard </a>

Monday, August 05, 2013

Australia lose edge as England regroup with help from weather & umpire pedantry: T3 D4

Australia 7/527dec & 7/172 (36ov, Warner 41/57b/5x4) lead England 368 (139.3ov, Pietersen 113, Cook 62, Bell 60, Siddle 4/63, Starc 3/79) by 331runs with 3 2nd inns wickets in hand: T3/5 D4/5 at Manchester.

England avoided the follow on more comfortably than the Australians would have wished (why did Ryan Harris bowl for so long?). They then batted on in the knowledge that time and the weather would minimise Australia's chances of winning. Australia batted in a kind of limited overs mode until the umpires decided in the final session that, floodlights notwithstanding, in their opinion it was unsafe for play to continue everyone trooped off the ground half an hour before the rain came down.

On paper England clawed back a bit but their cockiness, exemplified by Stuart Broad & Graeme Swann walking before the umpire gave them out, was underpinned by their meteorological foreknowledge.

Of the Australian batters David Warner, promoted to open, looked more at home than in the first innings until one of his biffs (this time willow on leather) was intercepted by Joe Root. Despite the celebrations this prompted among England supporters, it didn't IMO remove Broad  and Swann's walking from joint winners of the play of the day award. 

If this doesn't sound like Test cricket, you're probably right.  But as the day progressed and the weather moved in England became more secure from defeat. The umpires' decision to stop play in the floodlit gloom (oxymoron anyone?) was the last act of a ragged day's play and probably, if the forecast of 60% chance of "precipitation" is anywhere near the mark, the prelude to a dull and interrupted day, a face saving draw for England and disappointment for Australia.

So the Ashes will remain in England, but the series is still open. And if Australia is savvy enough to play the long game, in the remaining two Tests it will have chances to remind England that the gap between the teams may not be as great as many believed until very recently.

<ahref="">Scorecard </a>

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Australia still on top despite Pietersen ton but need England follow on to maximise chances T3 D3

England 7/294 (120ov, Pietersen 113/216b/3x6 12x4, Cook 62/177b/7x4, Bell 60/112b/1x6 10x4, Starc 3/75) trail Australia by 233 runs with 3 1st inns wickets in hand: T3/5 D3/5 at Old Trafford Manchester.

Almost every media report of Day 3's play that I've read suggests that Australia are still on top in the match, despite a defensive fight back by several England batters coupled with an aggressive innings by Kevin Pietersen.

 While this view is supported by the facts of the scorecard, the fact that there are only two days of play  (subject to fine weather) left for Australia to secure a victory in a must win - for the Ashes and to a lesser degree the series - match.

Its chances will be much increased if  England follow on. That is, if the Australlian attack can take 3 wickets for no more than 33 runs. 

While this is by no means out of the question, I think it unlikely given that Matt Prior and Stuart Broad are still at the crease and Graeme Swann next in, not exactly a duffer with the bat (no comment about Jimmy Anderson's ability). The Australian quick bowlers have been consistently steady and occasionally, eg Ryan Harris bowling  a well set Ian Bell  with a corker, excellent. A mention too of Brad Haddiin, who I'd thought had been below his best in the series so far: his diving leg side catch of captain Cook was top notch. 

If Australia will has to bat again this will take up more time and leave Michael Clarke to decide how large (or small) a target to set England. While the pitch seems to be holding up reasonably well there is no need for England to go hell for leather for a win. 

A draw looks the likeliest result from here, but this is subject to change by what happens in the first hour or so of play on D4.


Saturday, August 03, 2013

Clarke's emphatic 187 leads Australia to second consecutive day on top: T3D2

England 2/52 (30ov) trail Australia 7/527 dec (146ov, Clarke 187/314b/23x4), Smith 89/199b/8x4, Rogers 84/114b/14x4, Starc 66*/71b/ 9x4, Haddin 65*/99b/6x4, Swann 43-2-159-5) by 475 runs with 8 1st inns wkts in hand: T3/5 D2/5 at Old Trafford,Manchester.

Another good day for Australia, making it two on the trot for the Test (and series). We shall see whether Is this an aberration or a return to the halcyon days of the 1990s and 2000s, or something else. 

After Michael Clarke, in his classic and Steven Smith in his less orthodox style had added 214 for the 4th wicket Australia were comfortably placed.  The loss of David Warner (and the wasting of a DRS review) without, despite Warnie's urging this from the commentary box in his forthright way - "I fancy a root", the involvement of his recent adversary slowed things down a tad but Clarke continued to forge ahead until he chopped a ball onto his stumps, giving  Stuart Broad his 200th Test wicket.

This made three England bowlers in the team in the 200 Test wickets club. By the end of the innings, after some acceleration by Mitchell Starc and Brad Haddin, all three, and Tim Bresnan, had conceded more than 100 runs apiece. Graeme Swann laboured diligently for another 5 wickets, though for many runs,while Jimmy Anderson, Australia's nemesis hitherto in the series, failed to take a wicket. While the pitch didn't give much assistance to the quick bowlers, Swann spun a few, suggesting that there will be further deterioration over the coming days,

And when England batted Nathan Lyon showed that he too was capable of extracting some turn. While Peter Siddle took the two wickets which fell, if Australian are to take 18 more and win, all the frontline bowlers will need to chip in, the fielding to be sharp ( even sharper than Warner's near miss runout attempt on Alistair Cook), the rub of the green to go their way and, it being Manchester, the weather to hold fair.

A tall order- maybe too tall - but Australia have these past two days shown that they are nowhere near as bad as they've been depicted by both supporters (including me), opponents and less
 partisan observers. Of course Clarke, with his masterly innings, has resumed his rightful place at the apex of the batting ( not sure who if anyone was there before) and laid to rest the bogey that he's a dud batting at no 4 .

A draw will see England retain the Ashes but, with the return series here following hard on the heels of this one, and if Australia can continue to improve,  England's recent hubristic tendencies will be muted.
Gideon Haigh, writing in The Australian & The Times, has put, much more pithily than I can, the consolations of a moral victory. But a real one is not yet out of the question.

<a href=""> Scorecard </a> 

Friday, August 02, 2013

At last, a top order Australian batting fight (in the face of an appalling umpiring blunder) T3 D1

Australia 3/303 (90ov, Clarke 125*/208b/17x4, Rogers 84/114b/14x4, Smith 70*/150b/7x4) v England: T3/5 D1/5 at Old Trafford, Manchester. Australia won toss and chose to bat.

I turned in just after tea, expecting Australia, 3/180 at the interval with Michael Clarke and Steven Smith rebuilding a fragile 3/129, to wobble a bit more and leave the first day more or less evenly poised. Had this happened I'd still have been satisfied 

As it was they batted through the session, adding 123 from 37 tightly contested overs. I was pleasantly surprised, and a little relieved.

Smith toughed it out, as he did at times in India earlier this year. Clarke played himself into form, at first cautiously, tentatively, then reminding watchers how stylish he is, especially against spin. I only watched the second part of his innings via the highlights, but these included a wonderful slow motion replay of him dancing down the pitch to Graeme Swann which was reminiscent of the famous 
photo of Victor Trumper.

Earlier in the day Chris Rogers had played an innings which I thought was beyond him - confidently aggressive, in a manner which vindicated the selectors' choice.

And then there was the Usman Khawaja dismissal, an initial error by onfield umpire Hill confirmed by TV umpire  Dharmasena. As Warnie said from the commentary box "a shocker..a ridiculous decision". Australia may subsequently have had some good fortune in the matter of umpiring decisions, but nothing as  Palpably bad as Khawaja's. Is Dharmasena a Test (or international) standard umpire?

Well as England bowled at times the scorecard reflects a strong Australian fight back which lasted, unlike 
many recent Tests, a full day. David Warner, not Phil Hughes - along with Ashton Agar, dropped - is next in in a 
situation which should allow him to play his natural game even if no6 isn't his customary position.

Runs, but not enough, on the board. The Test is nicely poised. I hope this opinion doesn't come back to bite me.
<a href="">Scorecard </a>.

Point of interest

Old Trafford Cricket Ground has undergone a  90 degree reorientation, with the wicket now on a north- south axis. 
From above it looks odd, but it helps to bear in mind that the straight boundaries are now short and the square 
ones long: the reverse of what the Adelaide Oval used to look like.