Ball One – Cricket’s series of repetitions (ball after ball after ball) and the time it takes to play, allows little things to get under your skin and, before you know it, you can get obsessed about, well, the UDRS, uncovered wickets, the front foot rule… For the Trumpet, it’s the unnecessary sliding stop that riles me beyond reason. Umar Gul jumps on to his knee to slide in the second over and has the physio out in the third, but is able to carry on… but why take the risk? There are times when the slide is required, but it should not be the default method of fielding – knees can be capricious and need more respect than today’s cricketers give them.
Ball Two – Pakistan look one of the best outfits in the tournament, but how much better would they be with Mohammed Amir and Mohammed Asif to open the bowling? No point crying over spilt milk, but cricket’s pool of talent is not so deep that it can shrug off the loss of skills like theirs. Hurry back Mr Amir.
Ball Three – Umar Gul is quite sharp, but well short of the pace of Ricky Ponting’s three speedsters. Even at Gul’s fast-medium, there’s plenty of bounce early on in the pitch, so has Ricky missed a trick in not gambling by having a bowl? Punter belies his nickname these days in his predictability, batting whenever he gets the chance – to be fair, it works more often than not.
Ball Four – Australia build innings as they did a generation ago. Gone are the Gilchristian pyrotechnics at the top of the order and in comes Mark Waughesque strokeplay and timing. As other sides have gone become more and more innovative, Australia have become more and more orthodox. For all the doosras, dilscoops and reverse sweeps in vogue, the team with the best record in ODIs play proper cricket from first ball to last. And the Trumpet admires them for it.
Ball Five – It’s a testament to his loss of form and injured finger that it’s almost a surprise to see Ricky middle one, but, after 21 balls, he connects with a picture-book cover drive. He still looks like he is playing from memory, but that shot was a reminder of the past and (just possibly) a portent of things to come. But it wasn’t.
Ball Six – Not for the first time, Michael Clarke plays an injudicious stroke and departs leaving Michael Hussey, not for the first time, to salvage a score with the late order. The world was a different place 15 and a half years ago, but some things don’t change all that much… or maybe they do.
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999