Twenty-Nine!

South Australia have been bowled out for 29 by New South Wales today at the SCG. Nathan Bracken took 7/4. I haven’t looked it up yet, but I suspect it is South Australia’s lowest Shield score ever. Continue reading “Twenty-Nine!”

Taking NSW cricket to the people

There were 26,190 people at Telstra Stadium at Sydney’s Olympic Park for a Saturday night interstate cricket match. In an arena of 80,000 capacity, this was the biggest crowd to see a day’s play of a New South Wales home game in more than forty years. Continue reading “Taking NSW cricket to the people”

Steve Waugh’s last day at the office

Kumble bowls. Waugh sweeps. He lofts it high in the air. Tendulkar waits just inside the square leg rope and takes the catch. And it’s all over. Continue reading “Steve Waugh’s last day at the office”

A Test on steroids

With one day remaining in the Sydney Test, Australia needs 433 runs to win with ten wickets in hand. It shouldn’t be possible. Shouldn’t.

But this Test – and indeed many Test matches lately – have been so unusual that it can’t be absolutely ruled out.

We’ve seen an exhilirating four days of batting at the SCG. Australia made 474 in their first innings, yet it wasn’t enough to avoid giving Indian captain Ganguly the option of enforcing the follow-on (which, as it happened, he elected not to do).

Alongside a dazzling innings by VVS Laxman, we’ve seen Sachin Tendulkar produce the highest score of his adult career, before going on to surpass 300 runs for the match. Quickfire centuries by Justin Langer and Simon Katich have been dwarfed by comparison, and lost in the media hype alongside the departing Steve Waugh’s tradesmanlike 40.

And in the midst of all this batting hyperactivity, we have had Anil Kumble taking 8/141 in the Australian first innings – the first eight-fer at the Sydney Cricket Ground since the 19th century! (Tom Richardson took 8/94 for England in March 1898 in the last Test of his career.)

A target of 433 in 90 overs on a fifth day wicket should be ludicrous, but we have seen so many powerful performances by this Australian battery over the past couple of years. The sentimentalists would have Steve Waugh playing a rearguard knock to win the game, or slightly more realistically, to draw it. It would be a shame, however, if Australia turned the match into a tame finish rather than go down in a kaleidoscopic heap.

If we’re looking for history on day five of this Sydney Test, we should keep an eye on Anil Kumble. No one else in this Indian side looks quite the match-winner in this situation, although nineteen year-old Irfan Pathan is clearly a player of the future. No one has taken thirteen wickets in a Test at the SCG. So far.

One passing point as we await the start of the final day of this quite breathtaking Test series. Has Sachin Tendulkar played his last Test innings on Australian soil? Amidst all the wildly excessive hysteria over Steve Waugh, is there another farewell that Sydney cricket fans are overlooking?

On the Adelaide Test

Adelaide has seen some remarkable finishes to Australia-India Test matches, but this year’s was a beauty. It’s not often a team can give away 556 runs in the first innings of the match and come back to win. Congratulations Sourav and the gang. Continue reading “On the Adelaide Test”

On the Gabba Test

The honours finished fairly even in the Brisbane Test between Australia and India. If anything, Australia had slightly the upper hand.. but much less so than most people were predicting. Continue reading “On the Gabba Test”

Brilliant batting but brittle bowling

Australia is the outstanding Test team of our time, there can be no doubt. They have a batting lineup whose depth and talent is of historic proportions. Matthew Hayden demonstrated amazing staying power with his world record 380 against Zimbabwe at the WACA, while Adam Gilchrist is an extraordinary player to be coming in to bat at seven. The bowling, however, does not have the same immense depth to draw upon. Continue reading “Brilliant batting but brittle bowling”

Hayden 380

Bravo to Matthew Hayden for a brilliant innings and a new world Test record of 380. And for grabbing some of the media spotlight away from the Rugby World Cup on its opening night. Continue reading “Hayden 380”

Australia v Zimbabwe Test series preview

It’s going to be a struggle to take an interest in the two Test “3 Test Series” between Australia and Zimbabwe. Coming so soon after the Bangladesh series, it is hard to see this being anything other than a 2-0 cakewalk for the Australians. Continue reading “Australia v Zimbabwe Test series preview”

Was this the greatest World Cup final ever?

“Today’s game – won by New Zealand by four runs with five balls remaining – was filled to the brim with drama and tension. For me, it surpasses the encounter at Lord’s in 1975 between the West Indies and Australia as the greatest World Cup Final, men’s or women’s, of all time.”

More of my account of the 2000 Women’s Cricket World Cup Final at Cricinfo.