It sounds like a sherry-related incident, but it’s really just a faintly festive version of our Mop-up of the Day not-quite-sure-what-to-write-about-today feature.
Boxing Day Eve Eve
The most important of the coming days is of course Boxing Day. Few people know that Boxing Day was actually named after the Boxing Day Test, which this year will be contested by Australia and India.
Scoreline-wise, it’s a typical India Test tour – they’re two-nil down after two – but it’s been rather better than that. They had a stab at chasing down 364 in the first Test and then by no means disgraced themselves in attempting to defend 128 in the second. They’ve got some batsmen; they’ve got some fast bowlers. What will Melbourne bring?
The main things it’ll bring are Ryan Harris and Mitchell Johnson. Harris is back from his latest bodily knackage, while Johnson is back from some sort of holiday to ineffectiveness. If he’s left anything behind, perhaps his travelling companion can post it back to him, for Peter Siddle appears to have emigrated there.
Joe Burns will also make his debut (for Australia, we should add, if you’re confused by the fact that he isn’t called Mitch Burns). We know next to nothing about him. He has one of those ‘shouldn’t he have played more first-class cricket by now’ records that Australians seem to specialise in (45 matches, seven hundreds).
It’s also worth noting that this Boxing Day marks the fourth anniversary of one of the greatest days of Test cricket there’s ever been. Let’s embrace mistiness of the eye and think about that for a bit…
Earlier in the year, writing about the Windies’ one-day strategy, we said that a six-seven-eight of Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell and Darren Sammy gave them three shots at death-over carnage. Make that one shot. Pollard and Sammy have been dropped from the one-day side.
With Dwayne Bravo also omitted, the Windies are three all-rounders down. That’s quite a knock when your approach relies on having plenty of batsmen and a surfeit of bowling options.
Glistening Christmas spam
It’s traditional at this time of year for things to go steadily downhill, so it seems right to end on a sour note.
You may have had problems leaving comments on this site recently. After two weeks of investigation, our hosting company finally admitted that they were ‘rate-limiting’ WordPress comments in a bid to combat spam. It seems an oddly callous approach to consider genuine comments mere collateral damage, but we’re not a hosting company, so what do we know? Clearly, if they were in charge of English cricket at the start of the year, they would have sacked absolutely everybody to ensure they definitely got their man and who’s to say that would have worked out any worse?
Anyway, after much to-ing and fro-ing, we have managed to persuade them to rate-limit comments slightly less. This means that comments should at least always go through now, if slightly slower than before. Sorry about that.
In October, the site received over 180,000 spam comments and there have been over a million left this year. While some websites get plenty more, the volume has grown significantly and we do think it needs addressing. The hosting company suggested we add a captcha to the comments form, but we thought that would be annoying. We have therefore decided to close comments on all posts more than a couple of weeks old, considering this the lesser of two evils.
We’d estimate that 99 per cent of comments are left on recent posts, so the change shouldn’t have a big impact, whereas a captcha would be a constant pain in the arse. Closing comments on older pages has already had a big impact and we’d like to think we could get the rate-limiter completely removed – although we doubt we’ll be successful as they say it’s a new thing for everyone and not something targeted at us specifically.
On the plus side, various bits of back-end tidying (oo-er) have hopefully speeded the site up a bit. You probably haven’t noticed.
Is that it?
We doubt we’ll have anything to say tomorrow, so we’ll wish you a happy Festivus now.