Here we go …. 1 v 3

Sorry that I have left this for so long, but seriously guys, living over in the uk “cricket” has become a bad word.

The South African’s made the English boys look like they didn’t know how the game should be played, and they revelled in it.

In all fairness the Springboks were pretty dam good, in fact are pretty dam good.

In the lead up to this series I read a lot, I read that we had a dosier (and then that we didn’t), that Punter and Hussey were the ones to steer us through, that we had the bowling line up to do the business, that we didn’t.

Over here, there is an absolute disbelief that Australia could beat the South Africans … I may have take advantage of those odds (or not – mum) … 

And yet …

One hour in, what can you say … Two things jump out – Why the F&*k did Clarke waste that first review?  The keeper was about four minutes behind the appeal, surely he was the first person to ask?

Why did Sids bowl first change? The bloke looked like he would leak wickets when he came on.

Otherwise – I pray that those watching don’t have to listen to my childhood keeping hero speak .. he make me wish I was a leg spinner!

Enjoy all … I’m back – the cricket is on!


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Sleepy ..

So, I was falling asleep last night and listening to TalkSport (the equivalent to SEN for the Australian readers), and I was feeling a little melancholic about the world of sport.

People were talking down the Olympics, because Bolt might be challenged and the roads were a nightmare, our Sally lost her first race in a while, there’s no football (soccer) going on – so 90% of the chat is about transfers (trading except with money and arguments), the English are the pre-emptive number one in all forms of the game in cricket, Mark Webber is about to be screwed over by Red Bull Racing again … it was horrible, a nightmare  …

Then I fell asleep … and woke up … and couldn’t for the life of me remember what the problem was.

In two short weeks the Olympics start … Morgan Stanley are completely over the top in their assessments of Australia’s medal prospects … for the record I am predicting 32 in total, with 9 golds (I hope I’m wrong) … but at the end of the day, who cares.  Can Phelps take another 7?  Seriously, 6, 8, then 7 would be amazing.  Will Bolt be the first bloke to ever hold onto the 100m title?  Will his buddy, his training partner, the kid he pulled from obscurity, be the one to stop him?  I don’t know, and frankly don’t care, I’m just looking forward to watching it play out.

Also been paying attention to the F1 a bit lately … Alonso looks the goods (again), and to be honest, until recently I have never liked the guy, but there is something about him this year that I am warming to.  And how good has Webber been?  If Red Bull stuff him like they did in 2010 again, I think I will have to give up Yeager!  I also feel a little sorry for Hamilton this year, he has been doing everything right, and been hit hard by errors by his team and other drivers – or more specifically Maldenado.  What the hell is his story.  If he wasn’t bringing the oil state money of his home country, I really can’t see how he could keep his “super licence” … but enough of that.

Walcott to Man U … you heard it hear first – okay the transfer talk is starting to infect me …

Talking about some real sports, how good were the Pies on Saturday, an absolute cruise fest after the first quarter.  Can’t wait for the Hawks this weekend!  The Swans look pretty good, and it is a weird ladder this late into the season.  

In terms of cricket, I feel really sorry for Mark Boucher, what a horrific crazy injury.  He deserved to finish on his own terms, but that’s not life or cricket is it?  Surprisingly, as was pointed out by my dad, this injury will possibly help SA by allowing them to play an extra batsman.  Because, given the conditions over here this year, it is an absolute bowlers paradise … and the SA bowlers will give the English boys a run for their money.  I feel that England will win the series, but can also see a 2-2 result.

The test rankings came out this week … Australia in second place?  Now I can’t wait to see the boys move back to the glory days of the 90s, but we are certainly not the second best side just now.  At a push I would accept third, but realistically we are a fair way behind England, SA … then there is Sri Lanka, Pakistan (who we actually haven’t beaten in a while) and India at home … fair hurdle if you ask me.  I’ll take second, but at the same time am really hopeful that the recent ridiculous ODI series and the Australia A tour to England will help us to be able to properly prepare for next year … otherwise, it could be a repeat of the summer of Ponting (‘s demise).

Well that’s my ramblings based on a pre-sleep dream.  Will try to write more frequently and on different topics …



PS – MLB is getting interesting again … got to love a 162 game season!

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Thanks for nothing Sri Lanka …

I woke up this morning with the completely unoriginal idea of discussing England’s 4 losses on the trot (excuse the pun).  I was going to talk about the garbage that was heaped on India when last English summer, as the number one test team in the world, lost 4 matches in a row in England.  There was rampant triumphantism and a hell of a lot talk about the fact that they were an undeserving number one team.  It was unfortunate behaviour by the press and supporters alike, and unfair.  India have since continued the losing streak and fallen down the table.  It happens when your best players are mid-to-late 30-somethings.

In the meantime, this English team, the current number one ranked test cricket side have lost 4 matches in a row overseas.  And not to the next best thing, but to Pakistan.  Pakistan always have the ability to pull the mercurial effort out of the bag, but 3-0 over England, on a neutral territory it must be added, was a very long way from an possibility before the first test, let alone expected.

Then they lost to a rebuilding young Sri Lanka.

Was anyone piling on the pressure to anywhere near the same degree as India suffered last year?  Are they ****!  This is the best team on the planet, playing on unfriendly sub-continental pitches.  It’s really not their fault, they are pretty dam good, the conditions were against them, the umpires, the pitches, did I mention the conditions?

I was really hoping that they would be on the way to a fifth straight loss, and Strauss would be facing some of the criticisms thrown at Ponting.  Unfortunately they played pretty well today.  And if they get through the match and steal a win (which is highly likely), all will be forgiven.

I realise that my test watching memory only goes back to the late 80’s … 1988/89 to be exact.  I do remember being interested in the odd match before that, but that series against the Windies was when a young boy’s love affair with the national game really too root.

That said, in all that time, I really don’t recall Australia ever losing 4 test matches in a row.  3 once, I think, definitely 2, but never 4.  When they were the number one team in the world a single victory – even on the subcontinent – was usually greeted with surprise, or a least bitter disappointment.  When Ponting was leading a bunch of under performing blokes in a team rapidly descending to the depths of the abysmal, they still didn’t capitulate as often and as embarrassingly (the 52 against South Africa and loss to New Zealand notwithstanding).  But hey, what are you going to say?

Looking forward to a weekend of the “retribution” Masters tournament, test cricket, a bit of AFL and even some English Premier League, plus some chocolate.

Who could ask for more?

All I need now is for some kind of political scandal and the week would be perfect!


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Selectors vindicated, Clarke’s position in doubt for Sydney

Headlines I would have liked to have seen this morning.

It really is about time that some questions are asked about the skipper’s performance – which apart from 3 or 4 innings in the past couple of years has been below par, never stood up when Australia really needed it, and not the type of performances that are required of the captain on a regular basis.

This won’t happen.

Instead, we will continue to focus on the missed umpiring decisions.

Going to be an interesting day today – I have a feeling that the day will finish up with India one up in the series, but hopefully Sids and Patterson get the rewards they deserved in the first innings, and no stupid catches go down again.

Short and sweet!


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First, don’t bowl no-balls.  It can’t be out if you bowl a no-ball.  It used to really annoy me when Lee kept doing that, so it annoys me when my boy Siddle does it as well.  But props for hitting 150+ kph late in the day!

Second, although it does seem a little hypocritical for a review of a decision, albeit one referred by the umpire, to save an India wicket given their resolute position on DRS.  That said, they similarly referred the ball that got Haddin (although this was deemed to be a legitimate ball) so there can’t be any complaints of bias in that respect.

What I will say about that kind of referral though, is that if a bowler is creeping close to the line, or potentially over it, it would be better for the umpire to mention this to the bowler when it happens, not to wait for a wicket and then get video double-check.  I don’t have access to the nine footage, but if Siddle had been close or just over the line for a few balls, but the only one checked by the umpire was the wicket ball without having said anything to Siddle beforehand, that would be pretty poor.  It’s what happened to Michael Beer last year, he was bowling no-balls for about 3 overs, but was only called on it, by referral by the umpire, on the ball that would have given him his first test wicket.

Thirdly, I am troubled by many of the comments I am reading on the news sites – admittedly it is the Herald-Sun, but still.  “You Aussies” this, “payback” that, DRS didn’t work last time, “typical Australian whingers wanting to take their bat and ball and go home …”  There area  plethora of these types of comments, some quite disturbing.

I am troubled because a lot of these comments are originating from Australia, so why the huge anti-Australian feeling?

I am troubled because there was patently no DRS system in place the last time India toured (and if it had been the BCCI probably would have vetoed it anyway), so these idiotic comments are both ill informed, wrong and often get dangerously close to going down that woeful path orchestrated by Singh and Tendulkar.

I am troubled because the last time India copped a couple of poor decisions, there was such an uproar, and so much pressure placed on the ICC by the BCCI that an umpire was stood down for the next test, and his long and distinguished career ended in a whimper soon after.

I am troubled because the only team (in my lifetime) that has thrown away their toys, and wanted to take their bat and ball home, is India.

I am going to stop reading comments on the Herald-Sun!

On another note – how about that Ed Cowan, getting so excitable and “into” the fielding drills and warm ups before the days play, he ends up spending half the day on the physio’s table rather than on the field because he threw out his back!!

In terms of the cricket, surely that drop will finally be the end for Hads – it was a real easy take, which he tried to make look much harder than it was (mainly through a complete lack of footwork) and still drop it.

Sehwag was great as usual – how good was that over when he seemed to just get bored of Lyon so he smashed two amazing straight drive/slog boundaries, then almost broke David Warner going for a third!  Great stuff.

I went to bed at tea, so missed the majority of Tendulkar – all I saw was that he almost got out to Hussey just before tea – from the reports, that wasn’t a fair reflection of another great innings from … him.

I thought Hilf looked real good early, but pretty average later on.

India have a pretty long batting line-up, so it is going to take a big effort from the bowlers today to keep the match on an even keel – India in front at the moment – but not by too much.


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Ed Cowan, welcome …

Unfortunately I didn’t make it through to the most controversial part of the game yesterday.  I made it through the rain delays, the determined slow scoring, the hard running and exciting post-lunch partnership.  But by 4am, with Ponting on 60 and Cowan on 52, I was spent.  It had been a long Christmas day (a very good one) and I needed some shut eye.  I was happy that Ponting was moving his feet and was working the ball nicely and Cowan  looked solid.

When I fell asleep I thought I was going to write something about Marsh potentially being the next Marcus North.  An all or nothing journeyman, starting his test career a little later with a good, but not great, first-class record, whose start to his test career was quite spectacular, but ultimately wasn’t what the team needed (early call I know, but it was what I was thinking at 4 in the morning).

Instead, I woke up to a text from a mate at the game  – “D.R.S! You only don’t want it if you’re a cheating *&^%.”


A quick check of the scores showed 6/277, which I thought would have been pretty acceptable at the start of the day.  I was disappointed to see that Punter and Cowan had succumbed soon after I fell asleep but no hint of controversy in the scorecard.

One thing I had noticed when I was watching was that there had been some pretty ridiculous appeals, the kind of which had been reducing in number over the past few years – probably due to DRS .

The kind of appeal that in the past Australia had been criticised for by many, particularly Indian cricket fans/writers.

I mentioned during the Hobart test that I had some concerns with the Hawkeye tracking technology, as it appeared to not track the ball completely accurately – so I can’t get too sanctimonious about the refusal by the BCCI to agree to it use it now – although I do think that they have made the wrong decision.

Ed Cowan and Mike Hussey probably think it was at the very least.

I feel for Hussey, it’s a bad decision that could cause the end of his test career, or possibly not.  I hope it isn’t, but if it is, it will not be the first time that a poor decision has led to a batsman being in trouble, and not the first time that the “rub of the green” has gone against someone who needs a little luck the most (I would argue that Ponting has received his fair share of bad luck over the past couple of years).  It’s also not just this innings that has caused the pressure on the Huss.

Ed Cowan will undoubtedly be bitterly disappointed that his gutsy, determined and at times gorgeous first innings in test cricket wasn’t rewarded with a ton.  Again he is not the first bloke to have been struck down by a bad decision.  I remember having a teenage hissy fit when Ponting was given out LBW in his debut test for 96 in Perth to a ball that was going to go abotu 3 foot over the stumps.

What I was really impressed with was Ed’s attitude when asked about it by the press.  “You’ve seen the replays, you’ve seen my reaction, you can draw your own conclusions.”  I’m not sure if this will cause him to be hauled up for “dissing” an umpires decision or something like that, but it was blunt and honest and without cliché or unnecessary platitudes – I liked it.

I also liked that he went on to say that there were swings and roundabouts an it would even itself out – good attitude that bloke!  It looks like  his book which comes out next week will be worth a look too – the preview is interesting.

On the other side of the coin, by all accounts, DRS could have saved another Aussie player who has been looking shaky – Haddin.  Perhaps a review might have led to his LBW being overturned and have left Australia with 7 (or 8 or 9) in the shed.

Incorrect decisions happen.

They can change careers, matches and series (’05 Ashes?).  They are part of the game.

But the umpires are also mostly correct and do a good job.

It will be interesting to see what happens when the Aussies bowl – but the most disappointing thing for me over the lack of DRS has been the increase in appeals when it is clearly not out.

Oh, and how about my boy Siddle? 🙂

And a shout out to Paul Rifle for making it to the international umpires panel.

Still plenty in this match, I would like to see the Australians get to 350+, before Sehwag and the others (try to) cut loose.


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Christmas, a time of giving but not humour apparently …

Tonight in the UK, Jonathan Ross’s Christmas Special TV programme airs on ITV.  I’m not a huge fan of Ross, or his TV shows – but something that is not being shown tonight has caught my interest.

Tim Minchin, the weird clever singing comedy guy (no not Bill Bailey, the Australian one) was asked to write and sing a song for the show.  The song was put through all the proper procedures – you know the legals, production, editing etc.  And then, for reasons only publically described as “editorial”, ITV’s Director of Television, Peter Fincham decided to pull it.

Thankfully, in the day of youtube and the internet, the recording is available anyway – and presumably now will receive a much greater  audience that it would have if it had remained in the show.  I for one, am unlikely to have seen it!

One can only assume it is because it would be offensive to “Christians”.

I would love for someone, anyone, to explain to me how this hilarious spoof song is offensive.  I have watched it twice now, and am still  laughing, and have the tune stuck in my head.

Tim Minchin has said in his blog that the song was cut from the shpw because “[Fincham] did this because he’s scared of the ranty, shit-stirring, right-wing press, and of the small minority of Brits who believe they have a right to go through life protected from anything that challenges them in any way.”

Seems about right to me!

Please watch it here and let me know why this would be cut.

Also, feel free to let ITV know what a bunch of simpletons and imbeciles they are being for having pulled this by emailing them at

To me at least, something much more offensive than this clever song was watching my son’s primary school Christmas production this week.  I was only mildly offended, but offended nonetheless by the non-stop barrage of the “baby Jesus, King and saviour” Christian mythology, along with the “devote yourself to him” guff that was being rammed down the audiences throat (and therefore presumably the kids’ throats at school – no wonder I’ve been getting so many theological questions of late).

Each to their own and all that, but I was very disappointed with the force-feeding of an imaginary friend to the kids – it’s just plain dishonest, and somewhat disingenuous considering the number of children with other faiths at the school (as well as the agnostics and atheists).  I guess my point is that I left the performance having endured an hour of preachy rubbish, feeling mildly pissed off and disappointed.

Minchin probably covered this best when he said “It’s 2011. The appropriate reaction to people who think Jesus is a supernatural being is mild embarrassment, sighing tolerance and patient education.”  Something I will take on board!

I am not anti-Christmas, I think it is a great time to appreciate family and friends, to have a few days off, to over-indulge and enjoy life and your relationships.  I also really love the gift giving thing too (cliché I know, but there is something really cool about giving someone you care about something that they really like and making them smile).  I think we can all appreciate this kind of thing without needing to get too precious about the religious side of things.

Best to all for a fantastic Christmas/Chunukah/Festive/Holiday period (and here’s to a great Boxing Day – bring on the sun Melbourne!!).


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