The hard-fought fifty and the quick fifty

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< 1 minute read

Players are always talking about the brand of cricket they’re looking to play, trying to make it sound like there’s some lofty aesthetic ideal with which they should be associated. No-one ever talks about playing a squalid brand of cricket and more’s the pity. Squalid, low-scoring cricket that’s decided by fifties and run-outs and thick edges to third man is marvellous stuff.

Hard-fought fifties used to be a thing. This was because they contributed something valuable. However, in recent years, the hard-fought fifty has been replaced by the ‘missed opportunity’. The numbers are the same, but the perception is different. In many Test matches, 50 or 60 runs feels neither here nor there.

In this Test, 50 or 60 runs from someone could potentially swing the match. This struck us yesterday when Brendon McCullum was batting. People perceive McCullum as being a man well-suited to his time because he’s an attacking batsman (as if that’s a modern phenomenon), but he’s an attacking batsman who tends to make quick fifties rather than whopping great hundreds. Once upon a time, he would have regularly tipped the balance and secured New Zealand Test wins with his scores. In this era, the same contributions tend to be something more akin to light relief. They don’t affect the story. They’re just pleasant distractions for a short period of time.

We rather like the fifty taking centre stage. More of this kind of thing.


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


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  1. Well said. Trott and Root’s respective 50s have swung this game in England’s favour.

    Although I was expecting some sort of “Ian Bell has got the wild shits” post from you today v

  2. By the way, All Out Cricket just tweeted that Root will be disappointed to miss out on a big one and that ‘”in his sort of form, that’s a failure”.

  3. Last 2 days of this test

    6 wickets fall for 45
    Root (71) and Trott (56) put on 123
    18 wickets fall for 122

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