After day-night Tests, the latest innovation in the ongoing Australia v New Zealand Test series has been additional opponents. Sri Lanka and the West Indies have been drafted in to keep things fresh, but they couldn’t tip the balance. Australia still had marginally the better day.
New Zealand would have felt confident of finishing the first day in the ascendancy after making 409-8. That is a lot of runs to make on any day of a Test match, let alone the first. However, Australia struck back with 438-3 and it’s hard to see how the Kiwis can haul things back from there.
AB de Villiers’ new hobby
Cricinfo reports that vehement letter-C denier, AB de Villiers, will ‘keep wickets’ for the first two Tests against England – although they do not specify how many. It is a little-known fact, but keeping and raising wickets is de Villiers’ new pastime. He says it helps him get away from the game and relax and he’s looking to become a professional breeder when he retires. De Villiers was of course a schoolboy wicket-breeding champion.
There are also rumours that as well as becoming a wicketskeeper, he might fill-in as wicketkeeper. This may seem a strange decision, but it could be a quota thing. Clearly, you always want at least one AB de Villiers in your side – that’s not the issue. It’s more that de Villiers’ selection as keeper may be a means of allowing other players to be picked.
It strikes us that Imran Tahir has been dropped and if Tahir is out, maybe someone else has to come in. Assuming the first-choice seam attack for the first two Tests will comprise Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel and Kyle Abbott, South Africa presumably need to bring in a batsman to ‘balance the side’.
Vernon Philander’s due to return for the third Test, incidentally.
We could write about Mitchell Johnson’s Test retirement. We could write about some actual cricket. Or we could publish some tweets in which Sourav Ganguly looks frighteningly sickly.
Hey Sourav, do an impression of a zombie.
Now do an impression of a ghost.
Note Murali’s T-shirt as well. Murali loves cricket so bloody much, he’s actually gone and got the T-shirt.
Murali’s the best.
(We’ll do something on Johnson tomorrow.)
Pics taken from Virender Sehwag’s Twitter account.
You’ve got to hand it to us, we can call matches incorrectly with the worst of them. Almost as if they were goaded into it, Sri Lanka have done everything in their power to make our assessment of them the day before yesterday seem almost criminally inaccurate.
We called them insipid. They recovered from being five wickets down in their second innings and still near enough 100 behind to set India 176 to win. The turnaround began at almost exactly the moment we accused them of ’embarking on a second round of divdom’.
We said that Rangana Herath appeared to have lost the ability to take wickets and lead the attack. He has just taken 7-48 to bowl India out for 112 to win the Test.
The murderous capybara is back and we can again comfort ourselves with the thought that Planet Earth wouldn’t have to consider selecting Nathan Lyon – which is just as well as with his misshapen Mekon head, he’s clearly a Treen sleeper agent.
For those who don’t know what Sri Lanka v India is, it’s kind of like the Ashes, only they don’t make the losing team play a fifth Test. Or a fourth one.
Sri Lanka seem to have turned a little bit insipid. They coped with Muttiah Muralitharan’s retirement surprisingly well considering their entire gameplan hinged on him for a decade, but now some cracks are appearing. Mahela Jayawardene has gone and Kumar Sangakkara will follow him shortly, on top of which the surprisingly effective Rangana Herath appears to be becoming less effective just as his wickets were ceasing to be a surprise.
Last year Pakistan toured Sri Lanka. In two Tests Herath took 23 wickets. All that was missing was some boggle-eyed grinning and it would have been just like Murali was still around. This year Pakistan again toured Sri Lanka. Herath took two wickets in two Tests and was dropped for the third. That’s a pretty marked contrast.
Against India, Sri Lanka batted like divs to make 183, conceded 375 and now appear to be embarking on a second round of divdom. It isn’t glorious.
Remember The Magic Numbers? Are they still going? Wikipedia says they are. Chart positions say they aren’t really.
But this post isn’t about The Magic Numbers. It’s about Kumar Sangakkara’s magic numbers. Scorecards never tell you the full story, but when a batsman’s made 203 out of 356 in response to the home team’s 221, you have a pretty comprehensive synopsis. How could that be anything other than an exceptional innings?
Without wishing to sound like we’re announcing the National Lottery results, here’s another magic number for you as a bonus. In the 82 Tests in which he hasn’t kept wicket, Kumar Sangakkara’s batting average is 69.85.
That number again: 69.85.