PJ Hughes c Guptill b Martin

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Maybe if you’re very lucky this Christmas, you’ll get a gift that is so good, you simply don’t know what to do with it. That’s how we feel about Phil Hughes being caught by Martin Guptill off the bowling of Chris Martin for the fourth time in four innings. It’s so perfect, there’s really nothing to add.

We’ve heard of bowlers having a bunny before, but not fielders.

Picture the scene:

New Australia coach, Mickey Arthur, is wearing a Chris Martin mask. Phil Hughes is padded up with bat in hand and he’s standing in front of some stumps. Behind him, at an angle, is a life-size cut-out of Martin Guptill.

“Okay,” says Arthur. “In this drill, what you have to do is avoid being caught out by Martin Guptill. You can hit the ball in the air through 350 degrees, but if it goes in that sliver towards Guptill, you’re out. If you keep the ball on the floor, you can hit it anywhere. You can also leave it – and for the purposes of this drill, if the ball hits the stumps, you will not be considered out. All you have to do is not hit the ball in the air at Martin Guptill.”

Phil Hughes nods, with a slightly frightened look in his eye and gets into his stance. Mickey Arthur then gently underarms the ball to him, aiming at his legs. Hughes backs away and slices it into the middle of the Guptill cut-out. “Keep working at it,” cries Michael Clarke from somewhere nearby.

By the way, regarding Australia’s batting collapses, we were wrong to blame the top order. If you lose eight wickets for 74 runs, you can’t blame the opener who finishes with 123 not out.


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  1. Seems that outdoor meat grilling and throwing ones cobbers in the pool (with Zen-like calm) is not adequate preparation for test cricket in the 21st Century.

  2. One of the advantages of being in India is that you can watch the end of an Australian test match over breakfast, which is what I did this morning. A cheese omlette and some rosti, accompanied by an Aussie batting collapse of spectacular order, and coffee. Super.

    The interview with David Warner was interesting, though. He couldn’t keep a smile off his face. There was utterly no disappointment in how the day had gone. He had his ton – he was a happy chap. Now I realise that this is true for plenty of players around the world, but it felt very not-Australian. Ponting reputedly wouldn’t speak to anyone after getting out for 150-odd with four overs to go at Old Trafford in 2005, because despite his personal success, the job hadn’t been done. None of that here, though. Another sign of the times, perhaps?

    But anyway, no more fun with PJ, I fear. As soon as the blond buffoon is back he’ll be out (c. Guptill b. Martin).

    1. Mmm. Compare that to Clarke’s description of his actually quite outstanding 151 at Cape Town, at the end of the game:

      “I can tell you right now it was useless, a waste of time. A hundred is useful only if you help your team win. I’ll forget about that pretty quickly.”

  3. I don’t blame Warner, he knows he’s queue jumped massively – what’s a loss compared to that? I’ve seen Ian Bell do the same thing… and over a 50 goddammit.

    Besides if I was stood down the other end watching Phil Hughes do that four times in a row, I’m sure I’d be guffawing, not just smiling.

  4. Warner may well have been laughing because he was made man of the match, and not the fella with six wickets to his name, one of them the game-clincher, and nine for the match. In the land of the willfully blind, the one-eyed man is king.

    1. MOM is awarded based on public voting. And is not avaialble to NZ viewers. Good system that. I doubt Dougie B cases though… in his post match interview he mentioned about 17 times that they’ll be celebrating hard tonight.

    2. Which makes it worse, really. Even the local press (yup, I looked) think it was perverse:

      THERE were two things that David Warner didn’t deserve to get caught up in yesterday at Bellerive Oval. The second was the messy controversy that flowed from him being named player of the match ahead of the man who bowled New Zealand to victory, Doug Bracewell. The first, of course, was the limp Australian capitulation.

    1. “Quality”, “Organisation”, “Can’t wait… English conditions”.

      Just some of the things wrong with that statement.

  5. The minute Hughes got out, I thought of this blog. Of course you lead off with the most beautiful sentence published in the English language this month: “PJ Hughes c Guptill b Martin.” Could we nominate this for some sort of literary award? If that isn’t poetry, I’d like to know what is.

  6. This is just terrible. I was hoping for a career-saving century from Hughes so he can be retained for the India series. Instead he gave us another c-Guptill-b-Martin. First Mitch breaks his toe*, and now this.

    Now the Indian new ball bowlers have to contend with Shane “The Mane” Watson** and David can’t-see-his-bat-move Warner. Just great.

    * By “Mitch breaks his toe” I mean he breaks his own toe, not PJ’s. Mitch is incapable of directing a yorker close enough to the stumps to accomplish the latter.

    ** Watson appears in the cheesiest, most sexually suggestive hair gel advert on Indian television. Thought you should know.

  7. Phil Hughes looked like a million dollars when he played a few games for Middlesex in 2009.

    And that was on the lack of looking like a million dollars against a pretty formidable Saffer bowling attack 2008/2009.

    What happened to him. Still, can’t wait to see him at Lord’s again in May. c Dexter, b Murtagh.

    Ritesh, your Shane Watson hair gel observation has put me right off my breakfast. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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