Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

Glory, glory hallelujah!

Posted: November 6, 2010 in Australia, Sri Lanka

Well, I don’t think I have to tell you that Sri Lanka just took the ODI series against Australia with one match to play. Yes, you heard that right, with ONE FRIGGIN’ MATCH TO PLAY.

It’s still sinking in for me. Why?

Because, even though our batsmen have not struggled too much in Australia, it’s been our bowlers who have let us down. It’s largely due to the fact that our bowlers find it difficult to adjust to the bouncy pitches of South Africa and Australia. However, we never have this problem in England or New Zealand because the focus in these countries is more on good swing bowling, which our lads can do pretty well.

What’s been the reason for the turnaround?

In my honest opinion, perhaps this series win is the only real benefit we’ve got out of Trevor Bayliss as a coach. His record as coach has been pretty piss-poor during since he took over from Tom Moody after the 2007 World Cup. We’ve never been as bad as West Indies, neither have we been as consistent as we should be. However, I’m pretty sure that it was Trevor, along with the expertise of the batting coach Stuart Law, that helped us get this series win.

However, it would be criminal on my part if I didn’t mention Champaka Ramanayaka, the bowling coach. Initially spurned by our Board, he plied his trade with Bangladesh, the results of which have been showing for quite some time now. Finally, realizing their stupidity and shedding the thought that local coaches are not good, he’s been picked and what a find he has been.

He’s made Malinga much more fit and consistent, he’s turned Kulasekara from a subcontinent-only bowler to an all-pitches bowler, he’s even done a lot of good with Thisara Perera, whose bowling wasn’t really much to write home about when he came into the side.

Sanga should also be applauded for literally leading from the front with his aggressive batting. Sanga has, until recently, never really done justice to his batting talents, often getting starts and not converting them into something useful. However, I’ve seen a real change in him since he’s taken over the captaincy. He’s looking to take the attack to the opposition bowlers rather than just milking singles even when there are boundaries for the taking.

I’m sure people who watched the two matches closely enough would have noticed that Sangakkara always appealed when the ball was going wide. I presume this was to ensure that the umpire wouldn’t call a wide. I found this pretty daft, but funny! J

A really good tour ends tomorrow with the last ODI at the ‘Gabba. Ricky’s being sent to play a FC match with the Tassies, so poor Clarke will be captaining again. After having tried to smash Watson’s knee, he might try to smash Clarke’s face by hitting a six in the direction of the dressing room.

Cheers!

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Yes, the post title aptly describes my feelings after watching 90% of the match (I was called back to office just a couple of balls before Thisara Perera finished off the game).

It isn’t often that you see Sri Lanka beating Australia in any form of the game, anywhere, let alone in Australia.

Moreover, the fact that it was pretty comprehensive makes it all the more sweet.

For me, there were a number of deciding factors.

Many would agree with me if I said that these factors included Suraj Randiv’s bowling, Dilshan’s and Sanga’s batting.

However, the real deciding factor in the match was our fielding during the whole innings.

The boys were leaping around and saving a helluva lot of runs during teh first 10 overs. The pressure created by the lack of runs was the catalyst for the collapse of the top order, leaving the Aussies at a paltry 44/5 after 11 overs.

Yes, we could’ve bowled better. However, it was only because we had restricted them during the first half of the innings, we were able to restrict them to a very gettable total of 134/8.

This win also resulted in our first ever silver-ware from Australia.  I sincerely hope that we can bring home another trophy within the next week! 🙂

In other news, I’ve been purchasing some cricket literature in the last few months.

I got my copy of W.G. Grace Ate My Pedalo by the legendary Alan Tyers. It’s a really delightful read and deserves a separate post (though I haven’t read it fully yet), so await the mid-review later this week.

Ah, good thing I didn’t forget. Here’s a comic which I continue to find amusing, even a week after I first saw it. I don’t know how many of you would’ve seen it, so, enjoy!

Pierce Brosnan aka James Bond for ICC's undercover work?

OK, I’ll be really honest here.

There’s going to be nothing in this post about any fire or water in my belly.

The reason I put that as the title was only because that was the first phrase that came to my mind.

Anyways, it’s been nearly 4 months since I’ve put up a proper post on this oft-neglected blog, the main reason being that I always had to carry my laptop outside my apartment to surf the net (off someone else’s Wi-Fi connection).

Well, the next para’s going to be a quick re-cap of the happening in the cricket world during the last 4 months:

India pWNed Australia once again, Dhoni lost a series in Sri Lanka for the first time, Pakistan cricket fucks themselves in the ass once again, Ijaz Butt can’t keep his mouth or his butt (sorry for the pun) in check, Bangladesh clean-sweep New Zealand in the ODI series (who would’ve thought that the Banglas would get their first ever ODI series win against a major test-playing nation by way of a cleansweep?), West Indies name the royally-named Darren Julius Garvey Sammy as captain, Suresh Raina breaks his Test Duck, BCC!‘s batsman Cheteshwar “Chѐ” Pujara impresses all in his Test Debut, Sachin Tendulkar continues to score runs as easily as me taking a shower, Lalit Modi is kicked out of IPL, Preity is kicked out of IPL, Shilpa is kicked out of IPL, Australia’s reserve bowler (James Pattinson) gets injured, lalalalalalalalaaaaaaaa…………..

Phew! That was quite an exhaustive paragraph! 🙂

Onto more serious things.

Sangakkara has started off the Australian tour in style with a really good 110 off 95 balls against a full-strength Queensland side. Thank goodness for that…at least we don’t have to rely solely on Dilshan for some aggressive innings. Chamara Silva also did well, playing at more than a run-a-ball.

Mahela impressed today with a good 58 off 35 in a T20 against a depleted NSW side. However, Angelo Mathews played the type of innings which makes you think, WTF? 24 off 33, especially against a second-string NSW side, isn’t really a very good performance, but, heck, I’m just hoping that the real Angelo Mathews turns up against Australia!

Moving onto Pakistan vs. Australia, it was a real shame that Pakistan had to lose yesterday. If only the damned Pakistani batsmen had showed some more balls (not literally, of course! 😛 ), they’d have stood a chance of winning, especially after a double-wicket maiden from the Grandpa of international fast bowlers, Shoaib Akthar. Hmmpphh!!

Well, other than that, Kochi have officially been terminated. WHOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

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Oops! I just read the fine print. Apparently, they have 30 days before they are actually terminated.

BOOHOO!!

I just hope that the BCCI is able to find some fault with 5 other franchises as well, so that we’d have just 2 franchises playing each other in 3 matches (one home, one away and the final) to decide the winner of the IPL. It’ll be done and dusted in 1 week, max! 😀

OK, I have an admission to make.

I am a bit scared that Sri Lanka might not make it to the next round.

It may be a strange proclamation to make, considering that, on paper, Sri Lanka are better than the Zimbos.

Moreover, we all know that New Zealand are as clueless against spin. They’re as clueless as virgin boys to sex.

However, the Zimbos have come up with 2 unexpected results in the warm-up matches.

They won by a run against Australia (14-a-side) and, more convincingly, by 12 runs against Pakistan (15-a-side).

The pessimistic in you may argue that, to lend these games more credibility, they should have been between 11 players.

However, just check out the scorecards and you will notice that both Australia and Pakistan fielded their best batsmen and bowlers for the matches.

To get an idea of how good their spin troika (Graeme Cremer, Ray Price and Prosper Utseya) is, check out the highlights of the T20 they played against West Indies in Trinidad earlier this year.

The fact that pitches have slowed down in the West Indies in the past decade or so has been well documented as the reason why there aren’t as many express pace bowlers coming out of the Caribbean than before.

In addition to putting the subcontinental teams as the favourites for the trophy, I’d throw Zimbabwe into the hat.

Therefore, my wish for today is that the bloody miser, Dan Vettori, has a bad day.

Ditto to Nathan McC.

And let’s also  hope that the parlimentarian scores something and gets some wickets!

Also, here’s something off-topic.

If you look at it, the two-hour bus ride from the airport was more tiring and difficult for us than the last few weeks of the IPL

MS Dhoni, India’s captain, is enjoying the travel in St Lucia

The quote and the sentence in italics are taken from Cricinfo. How dumb could they get? MSD is enjoying? Really? :S


Firstly, a heartfelt apology for disappearing once again! I was planning to write a post about 2 days ago but I suddenly re-discovered the wonders of tweeting (I say re-discovered because, about 6 months ago, I was tweeting) and found it easier to do rather than having to write posts every day or so. However, seeing as they only allow 140 characters (that’s not even 30 words!), I’ve come up with a post! 🙂

Yesterday was a special day. As far as i can remember, since the 2007 T20 World Cup, yesterday was the first day that 3 test matches were being played. This meant that I’d have a full day of test cricket. This is how it worked out:

5:00 AM – 12:00 PM : Pakistan vs Australia @ Hobart
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM : India vs Bangladesh @ Chittagong
1:30 AM – 9:30 PM : England vs South Africa @ Johannesburg.

Since I sleep at around 11:00 in the night, I’ll be deprived of just 2 hours of test cricket!

Pakistan vs Australia was plain frustrating. It’s one thing to see the team you support surrender meekly. When West Indies lost to Australia in the first test, I wasn’t too depressed, just disappointed a bit because West Indies didn’t put up a semblance of a fight.

However, when Pakistan had a good chance to make a fairly decent score (considering at least 4 out of those 6 batsmen were quite good) and didn’t do so, it was just outright disappointing. Moreover, it is quite befuddling to hear MoYo say that he wanted help on captaincy! It seemed more like he was asking for a ‘Captaincy Coach’!

I don’t think that any captain has ever said that they want help openly. Going and asking successful captains for tips is one thing, asking them how to captain is just plain tomfoolery! All this is made worse when you remember how MoYo openly craved for the captaincy!

Moving on to the England South Africa match, it was quite dejecting. The writing was on the wall once England got shot out for under 200 in the first innings. Smith, once again, played an ugly but magnificent knock (now, how many times do you hear ugly & magnificent in the same line?). Boucher continued his rich form in the series to prove that there’s still some fuel left in the old man’s tank.

I was personally gunning for South Africa to lose all 3 series so that Mickey Mouse could shut his mouth once and for all. After the T20 series, I was hoping for at least 2 series losses to SA but that didn’t materialize as well! Pity!

Daryl Harper has copped enough stick from everyone, so I don’t think I need to say any more. All I have to say is, ‘RETIRE DARYL‘!

The presentation of a fridge to Ashwell Prince was strange, to say the least. He didn’t do much of note in the series, but he wasn’t to be blamed. What can you expect when you put a player, who is very successful at No.5, in the opening slot? It’s disaster in the making. Perhaps it was a “We’re really sorry about all this” gift from CSA to Prince.

Last, but not the least, is the Bangladesh India match.

Sehwag, with typical candour, said that Bangladesh was an ordinary side and couldn’t take 20 wickets. The ‘quotable quotes’ have been summarised by someone from BCC!

Shakib (the Superman of Bangladesh Cricket) and Shahadat Hossain picked up 5 each to get halfway to the target. Though they’ve lost 3 wickets, they’re still in the hunt, IMO, and it has the makings of a fascinating competition, light permitting.

We really should encourage candour from more players like Sehwag. England is set to tour Bangladesh later this year without Andy Strauss and so this is what we can expect from the stand-in skipper, Mascaraman:

“Yea, Bangladesh are an improving team. We’ve seen how they played against West Indies last year and how they took the fight to India. They have a very good bunch of players, especially Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan. Mashrafe Mortaza’s coming back from an injury and so he’d be raring to play. It would be dangerous to take them lightly as they are a <i>very</i> good side.”

Now, I’m not trying to say that Bangladesh are a bad team. In fact, they really <i>have</i> improved in recent times, shown clearly by the fact that they crossed 250 in 3 out of the 4 matches in the tri series.

What I’m coming to say is that captains and players should be honest. They should be taught to speak their mind rather than vomit some diplomatic garb.

Of course, this should be done in moderation. You don’t want to have situations like what was seen with MoYo, where he publicly castigated Salman Butt for his poor running. Though he did score a century the next day, I’m sure Salman would’ve appreciated it if MoYo hadn’t done that. It’s akin to your parents scolding you in front of your guests when you were young!

That’s it for now, hang on to my tweets to hear more from me!

http://twitter.com/crickettragic