Darren Lehmann was twice the batsman Mike Hussey is. That’s not a fat joke, nor is it meant as a put-down for Hussey, who we rate very highly – it’s just that Darren Lehmann was magic.
Some players have a really good season where they stand head and shoulders above everyone else. A lot of players manage to live off such a season for the rest of their careers. Darren Lehmann stood head and shoulders above everyone else, every season, for about 20 years. He was outrageously superior for an astonishing length of time.
He hit 3,000 one-day international runs, won two World Cups, averaged 45 in a 27 Test career and finishes as the top run-scorer of all time in Australian domestic cricket, but still he didn’t get as much success as he ought to have done.
He was unfortunate to find himself competing with Steve and Mark Waugh for Test batting spots, but we’re not sure they were his betters. Their reputations were largely forged in Test cricket and we suspect Lehmann would have fared just as well give more of a chance, but we’ll never know.
To watch Lehmann bat was to watch someone totally in command of their own game and the confidence that brought allowed him to deal with any match situation. In his final season playing for Yorkshire, he rose to the occasion in all the big games. Or at least he appeared to. In reality he was on top form from first to last – you can’t raise your game when you’re already at the summit.
In three Roses matches against Lancashire, traditionally Yorkshire’s biggest fixtures, Lehmann hit a hundred in each of the first-class games and a mere 92 in a one-day game (off 69 balls). In a match against Kent, Lehmann came to the crease at 34-4 and promptly hit 193. In the return fixture he hit 172 out of Yorkshire’s total of 310. The next highest scorer was Anthony McGrath with 41.
This is all in one season. Oh no, wait – there’s more. In the final match of the season, his final match for Yorkshire, with the whole county desperate for him to get a hundred, he did. In fact once he passed 100, he felt okay, so he got another. And another. His final innings for Yorkshire was 339. He’d hit three sixes and 52 fours.
So when he turns out for South Australia on Friday in the Pura Cup, it might be worth keeping an eye on him. Lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but lightning has nothing to do with scoring runs in first-class cricket. So far Darren Lehmann’s proved that you can score a first-class run 25,628 times.
The man’s a machine. A big, bald, lardy, run-scoring machine.
Darren Lehmann posts from the past – some are quite good. We like the one where we say: “How much more better could he be? The answer, of course, is ‘none’. None more better…”6 Appeals
Sri Lanka have got two really top drawer batsmen, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, and both have scored hundreds in this second Test. That’s more top-drawer batsmen than most teams have, but unfortunately Australia aren’t most teams. Andrew Symonds is making up the numbers a bit, but they’re otherwise pretty handy in their top seven.
This may be just as well, because while they are to all intents and purposes battering Sri Lanka, they’re actually making rather heavy weather of bowling their opponents out in the second innings. Sri Lanka are chasing a ludicrous 507 for victory, but at 247-3, it’s not actually impossible.
They might lose a couple of early wickets tomorrow and be bowled out for 300, but Australia wouldn’t have wanted them to even get this close. That is quite resolutely not the Australian way.
We stand by our view that this Australian side will struggle in tougher matches abroad. The batsmen have had the luxury of setting the tone in both these Tests, but it’s a totally different approach when you come out to bat and you’re miles behind before you’ve even started. Not many Australian batsmen have faced that in Tests.
And that might happen – this Australian bowling attack may well land their batsmen in the odd hole from time to time. It’s all well and good bowling a side out for 300 or 400 when they need 500 to win, but in reality, it’s not good enough, whatever the pitch is like.8 Appeals
We don’t know what’s going on here. There we were idly reading a short piece about New Zealand quick, Mark Gillespie, when suddenly the writer makes the most outrageous claim imaginable.
Will from The Corridor – who knows what he’s on about – describes Jacques Kallis as ‘dazzling’. ‘Dazzling’ is not a word readily associated with the thick-skulled automaton, but we don’t doubt Will’s word. Will writes for a proper, grown-up cricket website where lying’s frowned upon rather than celebrated.
This will be an unwelcome development for The Atheist from Are You A Left-Arm Chinaman who once said: “As a rule, I like the players that everyone else loathes. Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid: champions among younger and more exciting men. Show me a solid forward defence played to a harmless half-volley, and I will show you a happy Atheist. Everything is in its place, and the world is as it should be.”4 Appeals
Australia bat first and all but remove any chance of a Sri Lankan win by the end of the first day. On the second day they drive home their advantage before declaring at about 550 allowing them a few overs at the Sri Lankan openers.
That was the first Test and it’s also been the second Test too. If it ain’t broke…
This is all getting a little bit boring. We don’t blame Australia though. You can’t blame a team for being better than everyone else and making the game too predictable – you blame everyone else for not being as good.
Hands up everyone who thought Lasith Malinga would have made a big difference in the first Test as well. We certainly did. You can’t say for definite, but it really doesn’t look like it would have mattered a great deal.4 Appeals
What? You didn’t think we’d come up with something like that and only use it the once. No way. Statistically aberrant and statistically abhorrent – it’s got a rhythm to it AND it makes sense. At least it does so far. When you’ve read it for the 500th time, all meaning will have long since evaporated.
Mike Hussey’s on 101 not out against Sri Lanka, which means he’s currently averaging 87.19 in Test cricket. Incidentally, that average isn’t ‘Bradmanesque’ as so many people seem to be saying, because it’s 12 runs below The Don’s mark. In terms of batting average, 12 runs can be the difference between being an all-time great and getting dropped.
We’re thinking of the difference between 38 and 50 there, obviously, but it’s still a mark of just how good The Don was, as if we need it spelling out any clearer.
Anyway, Mike Hussey’s in no danger of getting dropped. There’s a few not outs and the majority of matches have been at home, but the fact is that he’s scored 1,831 runs in 28 innings, hitting seven hundreds and eight fifties. Could you do that?
Will anyone ever start a Test career as successfully as Mike Hussey has? Er, well maybe Phil Jaques will. He hit 150 to keep his Brisbane hundred company.9 Appeals
Well we’re onto you, young Sachin Tendulkar. Just because some young tyro hasn’t learned to turn fifties into hundreds, doesn’t mean we won’t spot real talent when it stares us in the face. This lad’s one to watch.
India beat Pakistan in the fourth one-day international and in so doing took the series with one match left to play. Sachin Tendulkar hit 97, which is now the sixth time he’s been out in the nineties in 20 innings. Here’s the fifth.
This two digit habit partially obscures the fact that Sachin ‘not the batsman he was’ Tendulkar has scored over a thousand runs at an average of 50 since the end of the World Cup. Now only Michael Bevan – who just about never got out – and his statistically aberrant and statistically abhorrent successor, Mike Hussey, have ever averaged more than that in one-day cricket.
Obviously, Sachin Tendulkar would expect to keep up with the top batsmen, if not outstrip them, but the point is that he’s playing just about as well as ever. Cautious and muted in Test cricket – put Tendulkar in the one-day game and all his strokes are still there.
He’s not even 35 yet. Australia would only just be giving him his debut. That’s today’s link that’s actually worth clicking, by the way. We know we put a lot in. We like to give you options.3 Appeals
Instead of selling ‘Spitfires geometry sets’ and Kent clipboards, phone-chargers and ‘golf towels’, why not stock a few Rob Key mugs? Eh? Maybe make a bob or two.
We’ve even come up with a new motto for you all as you busy yourselves putting non-resilient transfers of Rob onto three-for-a-pound white mugs from the indoor market:
Make a Bob or two to make a bob or two.10 Appeals
Not news exactly, more the reporting of the status quo, but if you’re the kind of website that publishes pictures of Rob Key as a pie in the sky, then you’re the kind of website that reports on the status quo – insofar as it relates to Rob Key.
Kent’s website says that Rob is pretty much exactly the same height and weight as we are. We resolutely do not look like Rob Key. There’s always the chance that we’re a full stone out with our own weight – we have trouble remembering self-measurements such as height, weight and age – but we’re pretty confident.
Rob really is quite trim these days. His former self still looms large in people’s memories though. This is probably because websites like this continue to publish ancient photos of him.
Well, enough. If we have even the slightest impact on the nation’s view of the man, then we must do more to support him. We genuinely want him back playing for England because winter is really really rubbish and if he were playing for England, he’d be on tour and every day would feel like our birthday.Appeal
There are some things you just have to do and making a ‘pink balls’ joke is one of those things.
Pink balls are going to be tested in second XI matches next year with a view to using them in Twenty20 cricket the following summer and in one-day internationals after that.
The MCC’s head of cricket John Stephenson said: “Paint tends to flake off white balls. The challenge is to produce a ball which retains its colour.
“If the white ball is not working, let’s look at another colour – and pink was a pretty good compromise.”
If white paint flakes off a cricket ball, it’s not the colour that’s at fault, but the paint, surely. Or is pink a fundamentally more resilient colour?3 Appeals
The Count Of Montetwisto writes:
“One merry summer’s day I was out walking m’ whippets, as one does, and happened across a field of golden crop. I drew a hearty toke upon my pipe and took in the halcyon vista and thought to document it for you all.”
What relevance is this, you ask? Well if we enlarge the pie, we can clearly see the face of Our Lord:
The Count continues: “All shall cower before his image, unless it’s a match day when all shall cower yet cheer – at the good bits.”2 Appeals