Posted by: tootingtrumpet | April 10, 2012

West Indies vs Australia First Test Day Three – The Final Over of the Day

One of Ricky's previous 14 run outs - and the funniest of them all!

Ball One – Ed Cowan has been picked as much for his willingness not to score runs as his ability to score them. After far too long watching Philip Hughes being mesmerised into following every ball outside off-stump, the Australian selectors found his opposite in Cowan – a man whose patience matches Hughes’ impatience. Possibly a mite complacent faced with Darren Sammy’s innocuous medium pace, Cowan did the Hughes thing, pushed at one he could have left and nicked it to the keeper. With an average of less than 30 after 22 Tests, Sammy is a smarter bowler than he looks – something Ed Cowan, a thinker on the game, will be reflecting on today. As will David Warner, who had done the hard work, but was drawn forward to edge a carbon copy delivery from the impressive West Indian captain.

Ball Two – There’s a well-founded view that the West Indies are an ill-disciplined group of individuals unwilling or unable to deal with the challenge of Test cricket. Their upcoming tour of England is very much seen as an hors d’oeuvres  before the South Africans turn up in July. But things are changing for this young team. All eleven scored double figures in the first innings and they were unperturbed by the 46 maidens bowled by Australia, happy to declare after a fine display of forebearance in reaching 449-9dec. The men in the maroon caps are not yet back to the standards of the 90s (never mind the 80s) but they are going in the right direction and there’s just a hint of pride in Michael Holding’s voice after years of disdain.

Ball Three – Run outs are always funny because, in Test cricket at least, there’s always culpability on the part of the batsmen and that leads to recriminations. Despite having more Test appearances than all the West Indians bar Chanderpaul put together, Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson ended up standing next to each other five yards up the wicket as the throw came in. Watson was at fault, but maybe he would not have been charging back for the second run had Punter still been captain. Ricky Ponting extends his world record to 15 run outs in Test cricket and might have a few more coming if Watson is to stay at Three.

Ball Four – Fidel Edwards has the same kind of round-arm action as Lasith Malinga and, like the Sri Lankan toe-crusher, he gets the ball to tail into the batsman. As I understand, this swing is neither conventional nor reverse swing but a function of the ball’s rotation with the seam horizontal as the ball travels – like a flying saucer. One wonders whether some pace bowlers might not try to develop the Edwards / Malinga delivery as an option with the old ball. It would certainly surprise a few batsmen and might become the quicks’ doosra.

Ball Five – Michael Clarke and Shane Watson offer a contrast in styles, perfectly exemplified by two sixes struck in the morning session. Watson stood back and bludgeoned the ball over cow corner with such muscular force that even the mishit carried. Clarke took a couple of steps down the wicket and sweetly lifted the ball straight back over Bishoo’s head, even breaking the wrists like a golfer. Clarke may not yet be in Damien Martyn and Mark Waugh’s class in terms of being easy on the eye, but he’s getting there.

Ball Six – Henry Lawson and Nathan Bracken were pleasing on the ear in the commentary box. Informed, fair and lacking the hysterical jingoism of Ian Healy and the over-excitement of Michael Slater, they showed that Mark Taylor and Richie Benaud are not the only two Aussies worth listening to. Tony Cozier and Mikey Holding were excellent – but they always are – and a gentleman called Faz was new to me, but also very good. What a joy to hear commentators talk about the game without trying to sell it.

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Responses

  1. Once the dust settles, it is always amusing how players feel the need to be rushed into doing something foolish a game that lasts for 5 days. I wonder if Watson’s dismissal had anything to do with being in a room with Ponting for 40 minutes.

  2. A lot of talk doing the rounds that the Australian declaration was bold and inivative. Not so sure it was bold or inivative, more a no brainer for any team looking to get something out of the game.
    The bookmakers had already written off West Indies chances of a win and the draw was down to 1/10 with some. Clarke has played in enough cricket now to know that with 4 and a bit sessions left, these games are there for the team batting third to lose or save only, as time should rescue any team batting 4th who gets into trouble.

    • I don’t think Strauss would have done it. It shows trust in a team with a debutant 7 and a tail (for all its run scoring yesterday) starting at 8. It’s trust like that wins matches in the long run.

      • Neither would Dhoni. Or Smith. What appears like a no-brainer decision once made, really isn’t. Someone wrote that it’s only the second time in test cricket history that a team has won when declaring behind on the first innings. If true, that tells the real story of what he did. Bravo Clarke.

  3. Nathan Bracken was an unexpected pleasure to the ear.

    • I agree. He’s very relaxed and has interesting things to say.

  4. I refuse to have the sound up with the Channel 9 crew for obvious reasons and it was really good to hear an Aussie commentator who was not cringeworthy and occasionally said very sensible things about the state of play.

    The declaration was pretty good. Most skippers don’t want to lose a first test match of a series more than win it. It’s one of test cricket’s biggest curses.

    • Lawson and Bracken have been excellent. Henry is a good talker – not interested in talking down to his audience.

      • The only problem with Bracken is to my untrained ear I cannot distinguish between him and Greg Blewett

  5. Hmm, you have a very good sense in cricket. nice.

  6. It’s not everyday that common sense prevails in test cricket, but it was great to see the umpires didn’t even seem to bother with their light meters as the match moved to a conclusion. I’m sure the light in the final 15 minutes was worse than earlier days and I’m sure it was more than dark enough to go off when Wade fell, let alone Hussey. So well done Tony Hill and Ian Gould.

    • Umpiring has improved a lot in the last couple of years and that showed the confidence they have.


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