90s XI v Now XI, day 4: They’ll try and chase down any target nowadays

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We’re playing a Sim Series between a 1990s World Test XI and a Current World Test XI using Cricket Captain’s ‘All-Time Greats’ mode.

Here’s what happened on day three.

Here’s the match situation.

The 90s XI leads by 264 runs with nine second innings wickets in hand.

We’re not a million miles away from declaration batting.

Morning session

Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc open the bowling under slate grey skies. Jason Holder has got a couple of slips in.

Gooch is enjoying himself until he’s beaten for pace by Starc.

Sachin Tendulkar walks to the crease.

These are tough conditions and after a number of chances, The Wall edges Starc behind for 40.

Brian Lara walks to the crease.

It’s Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara, batting together. This kind of scenario is precisely what this match is about.

Lara is caught and bowled by Holder for one.

Jacques Kallis – who, despite his first innings hundred, really isn’t what this match is about – walks to the crease.

Holder is unplayable here. He’s beating the batsmen again and again and not conceding a run.

Tendulkar is pretty good at cricket though. He sees off the West Indian and sticks it out until lunch.

We had visions of batting carnage, but Test cricket is rarely easy.

The 90s XI lead by 347.

Afternoon session

What do you reckon? 100-and-odd runs and then a declaration at tea? Maybe just before? That’s perhaps easier said than done in these conditions.

Not long after the break, Nathan Lyon has Kallis stumped for 19.

Andy Flower walks to the crease.

Tendulkar is LBW to Starc for 48.

This might not be a declaration situation after all.

Wasim Akram walks to the crease.

Clearly of a mind that he’s going to be out soon no matter what he does, Wasim starts swinging.

When he’s caught and bowled by Cummins for 24 off 27 balls, the lead is 400.

Anil Kumble walks to the crease.

Irritated by Lyon’s success, he hits the finger spinner for successive fours.

Seemingly incapable of having bad things happen to him, Lyon then bowls Kumble.

Curtly Ambrose walks to the crease and immediately asks Flower why he’s on 13 off 53 balls when they’re supposed to be setting up a declaration.

Rattled, Flower unfurls a booming on-drive and edges behind.

Waqar Younis inside-edges a delightful four past his stumps and then Ambrose is bowled by Starc for three.

The Now XI need 421 to win in a smidge over four sessions.

Change of innings

David Warner and Rohit Sharma brace themselves to face Curtly Ambrose and Wasim Akram.

It is still cloudy. Ambrose goes past Warner’s outside edge in his opening over. Wasim has an LBW shout against Rohit in his.

Gooch throws in another close catcher.

Ambrose again beats Warner in his second over.


The tea break is largely devoted to Shane Warne moaning that Gooch isn’t being aggressive enough with his fields. The Australian seems disproportionately agitated, like he’s personally offended somehow.

Rohit edges Ambose to Flower for a flukey five.

Kane Williamson walks to the crease and just crushes Curtly’s first ball to the fence.

Wasim twice beats Warner. A maiden.

Slowly but surely, the chances start to dry up, at which point Warner miscues Wasim straight to mid-off. Slower ball maybe? Let’s be generous and say that it was.

Virat Kohli walks to the crease.

Waqar Younis comes on to bowl at toes.

Anil Kumble comes on to make amends for a pretty dire first innings performance.

Williamson is picking Kumble, but the leg-spinner traps Kohli for 22.

Steve Smith skitters to the crease and starts tapping at his clothing like a mad person.

Jacques Kallis reluctantly comes on for an over or two.

Kumble continues to have a not good time against Williamson.


The Now XI need 318 to win. The 90s XI need seven wickets remaining.

Join us tomorrow for day five.

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  1. It’s in the bag for the 90s XI. The chances of the other side winning are miniscule, and fading, but still a nagging sense of doubt lingers on. Why? Why is there a lingering sense of doubt nagging on? The evidence is all there, right in front of us. The betting companies, who actually have their own money riding on it, are (probably) offering 6 to 1 against the other side winning. SIX TO ONE, in a two-horse race! So why does it still seem possible that this could happen?

    I’m going back to bed.

  2. The Now XI should simply state that they are the winners. They are, after all, comprised of many guardians of “The Line” and everyone knows that “The Line” is drawn at the end of Day Four. The other thing that everyone knows is that test cricket is about taking twenty wickets.

    The score, at the end of day four, put simply in terms of wickets taken, is:

    Nineties XI 13 , Now XI 20.

    Game over. No further play. Nothing to discuss. Law suits aplenty if the Nineties XI tries to steal the match (as it very well might) by continuing to rack up wickets beyond Day Four and claiming some sort of fraudulent win on a spurious basis such as having scored more runs.

  3. For Ged – I looked up the Bastar news articles, and here you go:
    1. The New India headline says ‘Bastar weather is great for cricket’. The article mentions you saying that Bastar has conducive weather for cricket. I’m assuming you were simply commenting on the weather that day.
    2. Article goes on to say that you and Jenny (they get your names right for the most part, except you are Iaan) are foreign tourists, that you are cricket fans, that you encouraged players, and that you did commentary on the game ‘in English’.
    3. The Bastar Sun is where things get more interesting. The bold black font headline says ‘London’s John Harik does commentary’. The smaller red blurb says ‘Foreign player does commentary’.
    4. You are John Harik and your ‘associate’ is Revis Harik. No mention of marriage or professional commentary anywhere.
    5. The article says you (cricket lover from London) and your associate were enjoying the match when the organisers spotted you and requested you to do commentary. You proceeded to ‘enjoy the responsibility’ for about an hour, and also chatted with and encouraged some senior players.
    6. As for the match itself, Konta Chhattisgarh won the toss and chose to bat. After making 172/8 in their 25 overs, their seam bowlers were taken to the cleaners by Bhavanipatanam Orissa’s openers. While the spinners did apply some brakes, the match was over within 22.2 overs. Rinku top scored with 77(71). The writer was puzzled as to why Konta chose to bat first, to which one of their officials said that they didn’t want the pressure of a chase and wanted to set a high score.

    There you go!

    1. That’s wonderful, Ameya, thank you very much.

      With your permission, I’ll lift most of your translation and insert it into my write up.


      Apologies, the Bastar Sun didn’t mention state that we were married but did assume that we had the same surname, I think we gave several journalists cards with our names on, but perhaps the Bastar Sun dude did not take cards. We did have a laugh about that the next day and I do now recall the notion that Daisy was my “associate”, so they weren’t quite sure about us. Daisy has an assertive manner which might not have fitted that journalist’s image of a wife or consort.

      I don’t remember encouraging players, other than perhaps (in commentary) talking up their skills, which seemed only polite. I’m quite sure I didn’t commentate for anything like as long as an hour. We weren’t spotted in the crowd; the truth of the matter is as reported.

      But to be fair, I’m sure the journalist was merely trying to big up a cuddly story and no harm was done by any of the truth-stretching. Indeed, by the standards of a Trump tweet, that Bastar Sun report was an exercise in radical honesty.

      Thanks again, Ameya.

  4. The most obviously accurate part of this whole match is that Nathan Lyon is somehow the most annoying person on a team also featuring David Warner.

    Congrats to the software developers for being so careful to properly emulate reality.

  5. I knew the 90s Lads were gonna walk this.

    Also, I enjoy these a genuinely disproportionate amount.

  6. Following the US election this evening…again…on CNN.

    Wolf Blitzer told us that today, Day Three of the count, could be pivotal.

    This is so like a test match and so reassuring that the third day is expected to be pivotal.

    He didn’t say that the first hour was crucial though…quite rightly…it wasn’t.

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