Good Cricket writing

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Good Cricket writing Empty Good Cricket writing

Post by Lee on Sun Aug 11, 2013 12:57 pm

A nice summary of yuesterday's play, by Vic Marks, via The Guardian AQuistralia (a good alternative if you're looking for something other than Murdoch or Fairfax).

http://www.theguardian.com/au




They trail by 2-0 but for the seventh day in succession in this series Australia were the dominant side. The Ashes are beyond recovery but the odds on Australia regaining them this winter are beginning to shorten. The tourists are improving by the day.

Thanks to the tenacity of Chris Rogers, who hit his maiden Test century, and the more obvious skills of Shane Watson Australia are 16 runs behind England's paltry first-innings score of 238. Rogers remains, 101 not out, with an opportunity to torment England some more.

It could have been worse for England fans returning from holiday and finding Rogers and Watson at the crease. They might have assumed that England were wicketless since these two opened the batting for Australia for the first half of the series. Watson has been dispatched to the middle order and it seemed to suit him. He posted his first half-century of the series with a composure that was seldom evident against the new ball.

Gradually, there is a discernible way forward for Australia, whose batting woes have meant that their quest for the Ashes was so short-lived. Watson, despite all the enthusiasm to open, which he expressed in July, looked content here at six, occasionally driving with awesome power – and rarely being hit on the front pad. He was eventually dismissed by Stuart Broad for 68, caught down the leg-side.

Even more importantly Rogers, substance outstripping style, must surely be inked as Australia's Test opener for the foreseeable future despite his 35 years. His innings was never going to be a thing of beauty but it was wonderfully gritty and skilful. Rogers is more nuggety than Nijinsky.

He needed some luck and a superbly clear head to reach that coveted century. He was beaten time and again by Broad, England's obvious threat. The ball kept passing his outside edge; Rogers kept shrugging and smiling. When the edge was found with Rogers on 49, Graeme Swann, diving to his right, spilled a chance at second slip that Alastair Cook, at first, might have had a better chance of accepting. The ball trickled away behind the slip cordon and Rogers calmly trotted the single that took him to his half-century.

Reaching a hundred was harder work for Rogers. Swann, with the field up and allowing no liberties, teased and taunted for 20 deliveries with his prey stuck on 96. Then Rogers swept crisply and the ball sped away to the leg-side boundary. A modest acknowledgement of his landmark was followed by a determination to see it through to the close, which came infuriatingly early because of "bad light".

For England Broad, who finished the day with four for 48, had been outstanding, but the support from Jimmy Anderson and Tim Bresnan was no more than steady. Bresnan managed the other wicket to fall but for Anderson it was an unproductive day with the ball – and the bat.

At the start Anderson faced six balls from Jackson Bird. He missed five of them and middled one with his helmet. To most people's mirth the ball trickled out to cover. Anderson was fine but his helmet had to be replaced, while his bat, whether taped or not, did not have a blemish. He missed his final delivery by about two inches, the end of a curious innings: on Friday night the comparisons were with Garry Sobers; on Saturday morning with Gary Keedy and even then they were not favourable ones.

Still, England made good progress throughout the rest of the morning session thanks to Broad, who was England's most dangerous bowler by a disturbingly large margin.

David Warner accompanied Rogers but not for long. The restored opener was soon castled by Broad, unsure whether to leave another searching delivery, which clipped his off-stump. Usman Khawaja was no more decisive against Broad. He also made a late decision to leave the ball, too late as it turned out. The ball clipped the toe of his bat as he sought to withdraw it and the possibility of England facing Khawaja this winter seemed to recede a little bit more.

There followed a chaotic DRS half-hour before lunch. This was once the traditional time for Radio 4 to air their beloved comedy programmes and there was an undoubted similarity to I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue about proceedings. Sometimes the machinations of the umpires in this series are as tough to unravel as the rules of Mornington Crescent, though not quite so amusing. First there was an England review against Rogers when Broad was bowling, a poor one since the ball was shown to be pitching outside leg-stump. Then it got more complicated. On 20 Rogers was given out caught behind to Broad by Tony Hill. Rogers quickly opted to review the decision.

After the usual hiatus it was established that he had not hit the ball. Then it transpired that there were lbw possibilities: the ball pitched in the right place, hit the batsman in line and was clipping the off-stump (an "umpire's call"). So England celebrated on the basis that Hill's finger had been raised. But Hill's decision was overturned and Rogers was not out.

Whereupon England's celebrations gave way to grievances and earnest conversations with the umpires. As ever this sequence of events could be interpreted in two ways. Sceptics of DRS highlighted the farcical elements of all this; supporters pointed out that the right decision had eventually been reached since Rogers had not hit the ball. As for the lbw possibilities, by definition Hill could not have thought Rogers was lbw because in the first instance he had given the batsman out caught behind. Aaaarggh.

Throughout all this Rogers retained his phlegm rather better than his captain, Michael Clarke, who soon departed, caught at slip playing a flat-footed drive against Broad. When Steve Smith was caught behind soon after lunch off Bresnan, Australia were wobbling on 76 for four. But now Rogers found his Hammerstein in Watson. They combined harmoniously. Rogers was no longer required to walk alone, while at the close the coach, Darren Lehmann, could whistle a happy tune.


Lee
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Good Cricket writing Empty Re: Good Cricket writing

Post by Chambo Off To Work We Go on Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:47 pm

English criecket writers certainly have a way with words.

...Rogers found his Hammerstein?
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Post by Lee on Sun Aug 11, 2013 8:00 pm

Very lyrical.

Apart from a few Australian writers, I much prefer several English cricket writers. Not the 'superior' ones, but those with a genuine love of the game.

Dare I say it, I always enjoyed Peter Roebuck's writing, even if I didn't always agree with him.

Bit like the commentators. The best are on radio and they're generally English. John Arlott the greatest, but loved Brian Johnson and several others.
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