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Too Easy!

In the TVS Cup last night, Australia brushed aside India in a display reminiscent of the World Cup final earlier this year. Aussies made 2/347 with Gilchrist 111 from 104 balls (14 x 4, 1 x 6) and Ponting 108 not out from 103 balls, doing most of the damage. Ponting’s effort of just one four and seven sixes left the umpires with heavy arms and the Indians with nightmares of his World Cup performance.

India made 8/286 from the 50 overs with Tendulkar top scoring with a fine 89.

Around the traps, West Indies are 3/282 after the first day’s play. Only 63 overs were possible and the West Indies are well placed with Lara on 77 and Sarwan 46.

The Blues are playing Tasmania at Bellerive, Hobart. NSW made a hefty 5/453 with Waugh, 157 (16 x 4, 5 x 6) and Katich, 171 (22 x 4, 2 x 6) doing the big scoring. When Katich was run out, it halted a run of 424 runs without dismissal. And even then, the bowlers couldn’t take any credit. Tassie are 3/235 in reply at tea. Note that SCG MacGill is in the NSW eleven.

Queensland are taking on the Vics in Melbourne. Victoria 9 dec 381 (Elliot 106). Queensland in reply have the first innings points and are 4/406. Love is making some timely runs, given Katich’s recent achievements and is 209 not out.

So it seems that it is bat triumphing over ball pretty much around the world at present. Too easy!

News in brief

ING Cup – SA 7/262 lost to WA 3/265 (47.1) but not before Andy Flower collected $50,000 for hitting the ING sign over the square leg boundary. It was nice to see a smile on the face of Zimbabwe’s former captain. Welcome to Australia! Of course, he won’t receive all the cash as it will be divided amongst the team (and possibly selected charities) using a pre-agreed “hair by a freckle” method but we should remember that $50,000 is at least double the GDP of Flower’s estranged homeland.

Pura Cup – NSW defeated WA in Perth in a thrilling final day. WA set the Blues a target of 303 in not many overs (thanks to a welcome 165* from Langer). The Blues overhauled this in 47.2 overs (RR 6.40) with five wickets in hand. Steve Waugh posted 117* (141 balls) and Katich followed his match winning first innings score of 182* with 71* (from just 45 balls). Good to see the Test players in form.

TVS Cup – Aust 7/225 def NZ 181 (45.3). Australia rested Gillie, Hayden and Williams and once again it was Bevan to the rescue with 84*. Kiwi bats couldn’t match up to the Aussies for the third time in the series. Bracken again in the wickets (3-34).

Test match – Zimbabwe (507 & 7/200) drew with West Indies (335 & 9/207). Zimbabwe failed by one miserable wicket to win its first Test since Steve Waugh was a young man. They had 12 overs at the final pairing but couldn’t make the break through. Star with the ball was Ray Price (following his excellent showing in the Sydney Test) with 6/73 & 4/88.

World cricket round-up

It’s a smorgasbord of cricket around the world, with seven international teams in action at present and the Pura Cup is under way.

Over at the TVS Cup in India, Australia has consolidated well after loosing the first match against India in style, with old favourites, Tendulkar and Laxman putting us to the sword. We prevailed in the next three encounters, twice overcoming the Kiwis and getting one back against India.

It must be said that we have enjoyed favourable bowling conditions against the Kiwis on both occasions. The Kiwis recovered very well in the second encounter to post 258 which Australia overhauled with one ball and two wickets to spare. A real rarity in one day cricket these days – a thriller!

A few interesting points on individual performances:

Brad Williams has made a big impact after an inglorious start with 1-67 as India slaughtered the Aussies in the first match. Since then he has taken 4-22 (9.4), 0-20 (5.0) and 5-53 (10.0), showing a particular liking for the Kiwi top order and a swinging ball.

Nathan Bracken has been just as impressive and took a wicket in his (and Australia’s) first over of the first three matches. In fact, showing steady improvement, he took a wicket with his third ball of the first match, the second ball of the second match and the first ball of the third match. And with nowhere but down to go from there, he managed no wickets in the fourth match.

His overall figures have been 3-53 (10), 3-25 (10), 4-29 (10) and 0-39 (10).

Shewag notched up gozzas in his first two outings against Australia.

Michael Clarke continues to look the goods – with both bat and ball. In Australia’s win against India he took 4-42 from his 10 overs. And in the second win against NZ, he steadied the ship with Bevan, scoring a stylish 70 runs. I am still puzzled at Katich’s selection ahead of Clarke for the 2nd Test in Sydney. Clarke seemed to have the inside running and is a useful bowler. At any rate, the selectors were proved to be geniuses and Katich enjoyed his time in the sun!

Damien Martyn scored some long awaited runs, making a brilliant even 100 against
India in game 4.

Further abroad, in Harare, Zimbabwe has made 9 dec for 507 against the West Indies. And that was after slumping to 5-154. Numbers 7 (Taibu), 8 (Streak) and 9 (Blignaut) made 83, 127* and 91 respectively. The West Indies are 0-11 in reply. Maybe Zimbabwe isn’t so bad after all! And remember they are without four world-class players for one reason or another: Goodwin (who just scored 201 against the Blues in Perth), the Flowers and Campbell.

I don’t think it is surprising that Zimbabwe has performed well against the West Indies, immediately following a sound beating at the hands of Australia. As long as it doesn’t break your spirit, competition against the very best opposition lifts your own game. Playing against the others doesn’t seem so hard! It went largely unnoticed that Bangladesh played two Tests against Pakistan immediately after their tour of Australia and were very competitive. They were in the game for three days in the first Test and lost the second Test by one lousy wicket. They then went on to push England in the first Test of the next series before totally capitulating in the second.

Nonetheless, their performances represent progress and is the reason why the top
teams must see fit to play the lowly ranked teams.

And getting back off the soap box, a quick progress score on the Pura Cup:

SA 236 & 1/191 v Tas 420. First innings points to Tasmania. Good to see one of the forgotten, Shane Watson making 103 coming in at number 3.

WA 376 v NSW 5/273. Goodwin 201*, Langer 4. NSW sixth wicket partnership of 146 is unbroken between Katich (101) and Pilon (70). Slater 45, S Waugh 0, M Waugh 10.

Qld 277 & 256 lost to Vic 374 & 5/160 by five wickets AT THE GABBA for the first time in 20 years. Love 11 & 24. Elliot 6 & 23.