As a rule, if people aren’t moaning about the thing you feared they’d moan about and are instead moaning about something completely different, you’ve succeeded. The elimination of moaning is of course not a possibility. It’s like a pocket of air under wallpaper. The best you can do is displace it.
Almost all the whingery following the inaugural day-night Test has centred on implementation of the DRS and the suitability of the Adelaide pitch for Test cricket. Being as those are the same kinds of things that people moan about following a daytime Test, we can only conclude that the pink ball experiment was largely successful.
Unless this is the ruse. Perhaps Nigel Llong was entrusted with delivering a rank decision as third umpire as some sort of distraction tactic. It’s a tried and tested technique. Who among us can honestly say that we haven’t got our sums wrong in a quarterly report and concealed this from our superiors by setting fire to a bin and putting our foot through a monitor?
Those watching the first day of the inaugural day-night Test between Australia and New Zealand will have been sorely disappointed. We were promised slapstick and catastrophe, but got neither. If you asked us to describe it, we’d say it looked very much like Test cricket, only with a pink ball.
The pink ball’s weird. An optical illusion makes it seem bigger than it really is – like a cheat mode of Sensible Soccer that we may well have imagined. But that’s no bad thing. Throw in a large crowd and a beautiful sunset and it was quite a successful day.
If there’s one problem, it’s the names of the intervals: tea and dinner. As Sam points out, this triggers the somewhat tiresome and impossible-to-resolve north-south debate about lunch/dinner, dinner/tea.
To bypass this, we propose night-day cricket. Beginning at 2am and finishing at 9am, the two breaks would be breakfast and tiffin. Playing so early would also allow people to attend the game before work. Don’t worry about the players either. They’re forever complaining about jetlag, so this is no different.
We mustn’t let the traditions of day-night Test cricket hold us back. The pink ball game is crying out for innovation.
Ah, the Waca. Fast bowlers love it because it gives them an opportunity to bowl plenty of overs. Batsmen are terrified of it because of the humiliating possibility that they might not make a ton. The pitch has been so challenging in the second Test between Australia and New Zealand that only two batsmen have managed double hundreds. New Zealand didn’t even get to declare in their first innings.
We’ll stop short of saying that this pitch is unfit for Test cricket, having only recently made the point that you can only truly judge such a thing after the match has concluded. We will however admit that after four days, we’re starting to form an opinion.
Setting that aside for a minute, it’s good to see Ross Taylor making some sort of a comeback. He looked to be the next Kane Williamson back when there wasn’t even a first Kane Williamson, but seemed to have ebbed away a bit in recent times. He lost the New Zealand captaincy, looked a bit sad and appeared to be developing moobs. Things weren’t looking good, but flat pitch or not, scoring 290 against Australia in Australia is a reasonable knock. Maybe he’s been relaxing more and pursuing his other interests.
And is ‘number of wicketkeepers in squad’ the key metric when predicting the likelihood of success nowadays? Sod net practice, let’s get everyone squatting down with Bruce French for hours at a time.
Who’s got a spare room? We’re starting to think we should invite New Zealand to move in. We don’t want to overcommit too soon or anything, but things have been going so well between us recently, it seems like a logical move.
We kept an eye on this one-day series between England and New Zealand while we were away, but we were rather too preoccupied eating squid to read as much about it as we normally would. It was therefore slightly odd to return to lots of articles of the oeuvre ‘is this the greatest one-day series EVER?’
Betteridge’s law of headlines applies of course, but it’s still interesting that some people feel it might be okay to ask such a question. Quite how you’d judge the bestness of something that spans several thousand separate deliveries is perhaps irrelevant. It’s been a good series, but more pertinently it’s been a welcome series – in particular for England fans.
One-day cricket has often been the standard bearer for English cricketing underperformance. Even when his Test and Twenty20 brothers have been strong, you could still rely on the middle sibling to disappoint you. However, over the last year or so, English cricket has been more far-reachingly sad and so the 50-over side has responded by dropping its game still further.
In the same way that a poky little office with failing equipment leaves employees tetchy and fractious, so this general all-round rubbishness provided ideal growing conditions for melodrama. In the absence of entertaining cricket, people who have played cricket for England became the entertainment. It was all very depressing and no-one who likes cricket really enjoyed it.
That was the backdrop to this series. Desperate England fans would have settled for a small portion of whitebait, but they have been treated to a fish platter for two, all on their own. Not all of the fish on there is necessarily of the highest quality, but it’s unfamiliar and exciting and it’s far more than was expected.
Is it the best one-day series ever? Of course not, but it didn’t require anything close to that for people to have been blown away. The important thing is that for once everyone’s full and enjoyed the meal.