Monday, November 29, 2010


How quickly fortune can change! Three days into the first Ashes Test, Australia was right on top... leading England by more than 200 runs, having gotten 10 first-innings English wickets without even letting the second new ball become due, centuries for batsmen who had had question marks over their places in the squad and there seemed to exist a tremendous amount of optimism in the media all over the island nation.

Two days later, the tables have as upside down as upside down can be! Whereas less than 77 overs were needed to take the first 10 English wickets, Australia couldn't prise out more than 1 over almost double the number of overs in the second innings. The captain led from the front, then the vice-captain overtook him and went further ahead... and meanwhile, the South African born No. 3 continued his dream run against the Aussies.

Since England won the final 2 days of the drawn Gabba Test, there is naturally a lot of optimism now in the English media and there are talks about momentum and psychological advantage... But putting all this aside, what else can be deduced from this match?

England batted for a total of 228.5 overs and scored 777 runs for the loss of 11 wickets at 3.40 runs per over. Australia, on the other hand, batted for a total of 184.4 overs and scored 588 runs for the loss of 11 wickets at 3.18 runs per over. Given that 302 of England's runs were scored by Alastair Cook (that's 38.88%) and 136 of Australia's runs were scored by Brad Haddin (that's 23.13%), it is surprising to see England scoring a good 0.22 runs per over more than Australia over the duration of the match.

So the numbers too, prima facie, showcase England as the better side over the Test match. But the catch is, they were just slightly better. 'Slightly better' will not be good enough to win the urn, maybe just good enough to retain it.

Australia's problems are being talked of loudly and clearly all over the cricketing world at the moment. But England should realise that they have problems of their own. Australia, even at their worst, can put up a huge fight. England's worst fear right now would be a scenario where Ben Hilfenhaus finds his rhythm (which he is soon bound to), Mitchell Johnson producing one of his once-in-10-Tests brilliant efforts, Doug Bollinger returning to the squad with decent match practice (sorry Peter Siddle, but you are not going to be getting hat-tricks everyday... everyday's not your birthday), Marcus North finding grip and turn with his off breaks and the English batting having its once-in-10-Tests batting collapse... all in the same Test.

But then, England will also be cheered up by the fact that the above scenario is unlikely to occur in the 2nd Test... since it is at Adelaide. So what I am left wondering about now is that if Brisbane has produced only 22 wickets over 5 days (10 of which fell under a cloudy Day 1), what is going to happen at Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne? The flip side is that these venues might just provide the impetus needed to spur a certain Graeme Swann back into the thick of things.

Frankly, the first Test was a let down from what I expected. I hope Adelaide delivers a better show...

Thursday, November 25, 2010


I am free at last... and it's good to be back at the blogosphere a few hours before the start of what promises to be a very close tussle for the Ashes. I have been looking forward to the Test cricket on offer this December for quite a few months now...

Two BIG tours in the southern hemisphere (England in Australia and India in South Africa) sounds a heartily enthralling prospect... especially for someone like me who had to sacrifice almost all cricket played in November for examinations. Now that they are over, it's just going to be cricket, cricket and more cricket till the results are out in January.

I did catch bits and pieces of the Indo-NZ series (a bit of Harbhajan's batting, Martin's devastating spell, a part of Dravid's 191 and finally saw an able spinner bowling in India after a long time in the form of Daniel Vettori). Then there were also a few overs that I caught up with during Chris Gayle's triple... and I thought he was once bored of Test cricket!

But all that's done and over now. In just a little over 3 hours, Ponting and Strauss will be watched by millions as they walk out for the toss... and will thereby mark the start of 2010-11 Ashes. Can't wait!

Monday, November 1, 2010


Regular visitors to this blog may have noticed that the number of posts on this blog has come down quite a bit over the last 2 months (September and October) as compared to the earlier ones. The reason is that I have a very important examination coming up just after Diwali (which is on 5th) and it will stretch for a fortnight.

So, this is my last blog for the next 3 weeks... I will not be watching the rest of the Pakistan - South Africa ODIs (I have to say though that after Razzaq's knock today, this feels like a greater loss than I had earlier imagined), the Australia - Sri Lanka ODIs and the India - New Zealand Tests (though I'll keep track of the scores and results of all these fixtures).

I intend to return to the blogosphere by 24th or 25th November... in time for the start of the Ashes (this has been my silver lining on a rather dark cloud). There is no way that I will be missing the first ball to be bowled at Gabba on 25th November.

I know I'll have a lot of catching up to do when I return... especially with 3 Tests scheduled in India, and Sachin Tendulkar in such a roaring form. Just hoping that this form continues...

So then, till the Ashes... ciao!