With a crazy workload leading up to annual leave, it has been hard for a part-time blogger to watch much cricket, let alone publish anything. It’s been so long since I used my account that I’ve been logged out. Thank goodness for Cricinfo, laptops and trains.
There has been plenty going on in cricket, some worth noting.
Bangladesh has made the final of the Asia Cup. So did Pakistan, continuing their resurgence. To me, the Asia Cup is a shining example of what One Day Cricket should be. It takes just two weeks to decide the champion of the whole of Asia. Contrast that with the never ending Tri Series in Australia (actually five weeks) and I think it is refreshing. Perhaps you could say that a comp that is decided with each team playing each other just once in a round robin, and then a final is to shallow. Perhaps you are right. But that is what ODI cricket should be. Short and sweet. We just don’t have time to be playing it endlessly.
Also on the Asia Cup, note that neither of the two visitors for the Tri Series made the final. And Sri Lanka, who were unlucky not to win the Tri Series lost all of their Asia Cup matches. Perhaps they had acclimatised too well to bouncy Australian pitches. They certainly had long enough to so.
We all should know that the Little Master finally got his hundredth international century. Some were saying it was a shame it was only against Bangladesh. But that was before India lost the match. And before Bangladesh made the final. I don’t know but I think there would have been something Bradmanesque about Tendulkar remaining on 99.
Queensland (the Bulls) have won the Sheffield Shield. In a low scoring affair (especially by the ex-Australian captain), the Bulls won, but not before a few wobbles. Chasing just 133 for victory, they were doing it easily until they lost 4 for none. They held on by three wickets.
South Africa is prevailing over New Zealand in New Zealand but not without some interesting cricket. In Test cricket’s new world, where ball dominates bat, this has been a low scoring series. New Zealand managed to outdo The Bulls and lost five wickets in their first innings, while the score remained on 133. As seems typical with NZ v SA Test series in Aeotaroa, the matches are very competitive up until the half way point. And then New Zealand falls away…
It is worth noting the continuing progress of Vernon Philander. He started with a bang in South Africa, against Australia and continued his home form against Sri Lanka. This is his first away Test series and he continues to excel. In the two Tests against New Zealand, he has 15 wickets at 14.33. And for his six Tests in total, he already has 45 wickets at stunning average of 13.60. Still, I don’t think he has played on a flat track as yet.
Oh, I nearly forgot the tie! Australia and the West Indies played out ODI cricket’s 27th tie. And it was a good tie – both teams were dismissed in their 50th over and the final ball of the match resulted in a silly run out. Terrific stuff. And any tie that reminds me of Australia v South Africa in the 1999 World Cup semi final is a good thing.
I expect I’ll be back for the 1st Test between Australia and New Zealand, which starts on 7 April. Hopefully Michael Clarke will be, too, to boost the brittle Australian batting.