One down in a two Test series

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Peter Siddle's really keen to draw the series

It’s a generalisation to say that long-term cricket fans gravitate towards the longest format, but it’s not an outrageous generalisation, like saying that all left-handed people are agents of Lucifer.

We’ve twice this year had perfectly civil interaction with someone who has later revealed themselves to be sickeningly wrong-handed, but we haven’t spoken to a single person in that period who has watched cricket for a decade or more and whose favourite format is Twenty20.

Yet here we have a two-Test series between South Africa and Australia. It’s counterintuitive that the whole sport should be geared more towards the fairweather fan than the diehard, but it is understandable. Our loyalty is taken for granted and the assumption is that we will make do with other formats if that is what we are given.

Still, if we were an Australian, we’d be quite pissed off that our side had lost the chance to win a Test series in the space of one hour of hilarious batting during the first Test.

“Fourth day of a series and the best we can hope for is a draw,” we’d say. “Is this what it means to be Australian these days? Is this our lot from now on? Is this why our forefathers renounced sleeves?”


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


Why risk it when it's so easy to sign up?


  1. The worm has turned.

    I hope those drongos amongst you who got all hubristic about this are satisfied.

    I am reliably informed that Glen McGrath is already predicting a 5-0 whitewash when the Aussies next visit England.

    That’s how bad you’ve made the situation through your hubris.

    And what had those poor choking Saffers ever done to hurt you?

    1. The similarities between this test and the 1st Ashes test at Brisbane are dramatic. In both cases a batting collapse led to an under-par first innings performance, followed by the Aussies powering on to a huge first innings lead. So as night follows day, we can now guarantee the following:

      1. SA getting a draw one wicket down.

      2. Such an appalling display of second innings bowling that the confidence of the whole Australian team will be kicked sideways.

      3. This resulting in the next test being an innings victory for the Saffers.

      4. A mini fightback from the Aussies in the next test as their main strike bowler gets a few within reach of the batsmen.

      5. A single day in which all of that newly-earned confidence is kicked right out of them as they are reminded that even in the previous win, they were still pretty poor.

      6. Capitulation in that match and ultimate humiliation in the next.

      Of course, items 3-6 only apply to test series that aren’t a stupid two idiotic matches brainless long (it is nice occasionally to get back to the point KC was making, almost as if we’ve read the article). But on the other hand, as my dear old mother always told me, never let an opportunity for hubris drift past, no matter how contrived.

    2. And besides, the Aussies have lost a wicket, and as they say in Australia – one brings nine. 178 for 1 now, so adding 21 gives 199 all out. And another teeny-tiny hubris opening kicked wide open.

    3. Since when has “reading KC’s original posting” been a prerequisite for sounding off on this site, Bert?

  2. It’s beginning to look as though neither side will be able to win the series by the end of the fifth day.

    That’s quite shit.

    No one is happy with two-test “series”. Those who don’t watch Test cricket, the kids and the like, don’t care. Those who do are pissed off. No-one wants this.

    It is a puzzle to try and get plenty of Test cricket in amongst plenty of tours with multiple formats, all while both sides want to play at home at Christmas. But an answer that no-one wants simply isn’t one.

    1. Howe zat, you were born when Clinton was president, weren’t you? Now don’t use words like “kids” – go back to your history homework and let the elders sort this out.

    2. DC – that was a mistake, caused by me asking my flatmate who was chief in charge at the time rather than wikipedia’ing it like I should have done. I’m 21.

  3. One minute – Australia trail by 92 with ten wickets in hand.

    Next minute – Australia trail be 33 with four wickets in hand.

    There is nothing whatsoever to dislike about this current Australian side.

    1. Can Australia reach The Internationally Accepted Standard of Basic Competence in this innings? 15 needed with one wicket in hand.

    2. Yes, but on the other hand, he was third top scorer AND took a wicket, and the selectors won’t ignore that. “Look”, they’ll say, “He was third top scorer AND he took a wicket. Surely the ability to be third top scorer AND take a wicket makes him a valuable inclusion in any team, especially one as desperate for balance as this one is.”

      It is vital, VITAL, that he tours here in 2013. We all must do whatever we can to make it happen.

    3. Don’t worry facing New Zealand next. We will get him back into form. His position should be safe for a year or 2 after that.

  4. Off topic: did you notice your rising popularity in cricinfo? So much so that you are getting appreciated (“well done Alex”)for page 2 articles by Alan Tyers?

  5. I have a number of theories on how to improve ODI and T20 cricket. Unfortunately they all either involve making these formats more like Tests, or more like baseball, and so I suspect they will not be popular outside my own skull. Therefore, I’ll take the standard grumbly, curmudgeonly stance: there should be more tests and fewer ODIs and almost no Twenty20s. Also, kids these days, eh?

  6. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Bert. Aussies recovered. Saffers choked.

    And Daisy stopped speaking to me for about an hour, because I insisted on watching the last 45 minutes or so of the epic during our day off.

    What are days of for, I ask you?!

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