England v India at Nottingham, 2nd Test (Day 1)

England, as they say, are in a spot of bother this morning.  India won the toss and elected to have a bowl, taking five early wickets.  Strauss, Cook, Trott, Morgan, and Pieterson: all gone.  It is now down to Prior and Bell to pull it out of the fire.

A 50 over partnership would take them through the rest of the day and would actually make it, maybe, England’s day.  But the way that ball is seaming, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw India’s openers before close of play.

I was unable to watch any of the game this morning.  The alarm went off at 4:45am and my brain was immediately in full defensive mode: that is not happening, it said, we are sleeping for another hour.  And so I did.  There will be plenty of time for cricket viewing over the weekend.

Well, down goes Prior. One run off of a four balls.  England are no longer in a spot of bother, England are in whole heaps of mountains of real trouble.

The replacement Sreesanth has taken three today.  It’s a pitch for the seamers, I guess.

And that’s that from this end.  Hopefully my work day will go better than England’s has. Until Monday.

 

 

Middlesex v Derbyshire at Lord’s, Clydesdale Bank 40

I chose the above match because yesterday I neglected to mention how I was a little bummed that there won’t be another test at Lord’s until May of next year when the West Indies visit.  You have to feel a little sad for the old ground, hallowed as it is.  It gets all gussied up and its rafters are packed for two tests each summer, and then they are over, and then it is just county cricket and MCC exhibition matches.

Don’t get me wrong, I love county cricket, but on Monday there were 28,500 people at Lord’s screaming on their countrymen (be they English or Indian).  Today, at the above match, they will be lucky if they get 10% of that number.  Lord’s, after a big test, is like Home Depot on a Sunday afternoon: quiet, used up, satisfied.

And, yeah, there will be an England v India ODI in September, but it just won’t be the same.

Well, onward to Trent Bridge, I guess.

Yesterday, I promised a proper match preview, which here at LimitedOvers means some talk about the ground, a little bit about my plans for viewing the match, and probably a little chit-chat about the weather.  And, yes, we will get to all that in a minute.

First, though, some team news:  For India, Zaheer and Sehwag are out for sure, and Gambhir is doubtful.  The first two are real blows not just for India, but for the cricket loving world.  The test will be missing that little something it needs to make it magical, and it is really unfortunate for everyone involved, but especially for India, as I really doubt they can win without Zaheer.

For England, Tremlett is out, another huge loss both for England and world cricket.  I guess they bring in Bresnan, but do you pair him with Jimmy Anderson? Or does Broad get the new ball again?  England’s attack was humming at Lord’s, but this changes everything, and really gives India some hope going into the match.

Prediction?  Sachin gets his 100th 100 and the match ends in a draw.

The game is of course at the lovely and incomparable Trent Bridge in Nottinghamshire:

I wrote about the ground already here.

The weather: with the exception of a 40% chance of showers tomorrow, looks, goodness me: DRY.  For Saturday, Sunday, Monday, AND Tuesday. Unbelievable.

Finally: I hope to be able to watch at least small chunks of the match via Willow.tv.  Up early tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday morning with my Stats homework…etc.  I read a great article about test cricket matches’ and their relation to time over on Cricinfo, and this passage stuck with me:

“Test cricket junkies are more than just quantifiable “consumers” of cricket; they are emotional participants in an unscripted drama that becomes days of their lives.

They need not even watch every moment of play, but when a series begins, they switch to Test Match Time (TMT). The day before the game, the more addicted go to bed thinking about what could possibly happen when the players walk out. Every day after that, like the protagonists they too work the calculations of how many should be scored or prevented, who needs to be contemptuously dispatched to dressing room or boundary, who could crack the game open. The Test becomes part of the commute to work, the house to be tidied, the appointments to be kept, the kids’ homework to be soldiered over, the bills to be paid. In a twister of a Test match, the game never leaves us. Naturally, we cannot leave it. “

I may not be a test cricket junkie, I may not be a member of the “more addicted”, but I totally get it:  A test is always with you.

Until tomorrow.

 

Essex v Leicestershire at Southend-on-Sea, County Championship Division Two (Day 1)

Well, I took a few days off, as you can see.  Because, you know, writing a cricket blog for 20 minutes every morning is so bloody difficult that a hiatus is required at least every six weeks.

While I was away, 28,500 people saw England triumph over India at Lord’s, thanks in part to Jimmy Anderson’s 5-fer on the final Monday, which from what I have heard, seen, and read, was just a remarkable day for cricket in St. John’s Wood.  People were queuing up as early as 2am to get a 20 pound fifth day ticket.  The sun came out, Sachin batted, England won.  What a day!

I feel so far removed from it, that it almost pains me.  Last Thursday, when I woke up early to catch the first few balls of the test, it was the first time I had ever really felt a part of the sport.  And even still, I feel separated from it, like I am unable to simply reach out and touch it, like I am with sport here in the states, and heck even like I am with Premiere League Football, as at least with the latter I am able to watch 90% of the matches.  But watching it on a computer 5,000 miles away in a dark room in a small house in a quiet suburb, well….removed is the best word.

I think I feel a strong connection to Arsenal because I have been to Emirates for a match.  I guess I simply need to get over and take in a world cricket match, at some point.

In the meantime, I am stuck with Willow-dot-tv.  Which, unfortunately, is all of a sudden lacking.  Their is a strange black bar on the bottom of the viewing box whenever the score bar is on (which is all the time, unless it is a replay or a wide shot), this shrinks the picture even more.  And just looking through the FTP tells me I will not be able to watch the following series: Zimbabwe v Bangladesh, Sri Lanka v Australia, and India v England (in India), as the channel only has the rights to the HOME matches for South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and England.

A friend of mine likes to talk about the fact that Americans are in a true golden age of football/soccer viewing.  Thousands of games a year from tournaments around the globe:  all live, all in HD, all on easily accessible and inexpensive networks.   This is a 100 times better than it was just 10 years ago, and is even better than people in England have it NOW.  So, considering the rebirth of cricket (test match fever is real and happening right now), I am hoping a similar renaissance will happen with world cricket.  At the very least, I would like to be able to watch live matches from India. In HD.

Anyway, lots to shake out of the first test before Trent Bridge starts on Friday.  The quick turnaround, the white-washed DRS demanded by the BCCI, India’s injuries, and England’s brilliance.  A proper preview tomorrow. No recap of the first test, as everything that can be said has been said already.  But to sum up the general feeling:  2,000 more just like that one, boys.

Until tomorrow.

 

England v India at Lord’s, 1st Test

And we are off at Lord’s this morning.  The ball is swinging everywhere, but Cook and Strauss have stood strong and built a low-scoring but safe partnership through 11 overs.  Just wonderful to watch live.  It is unfortunate that in 25 minutes, I will be in the shower, getting ready for a day at the office.  (And just as I say that: OUT!!  Khan lbws the in form Cook and this test match is well and truly on!)

Re: willow.tv:  so far, it is okay.  I had to Ad-Block their “live comments” to avoid having to read 12 year olds say “motherfucker wilow scks india fuc shit” three thousand times before breakfast.  Hey, YouTube, make this easier.  There shouldn’t be a work around, there should be an OFF button.  Sometimes people just want to watch a live event, not everything has to involve the entire Internet community.  I am not a privacy nut, I love the inclusive nature of online events, but there still needs to be a readily available off switch.

Other than the above, the video isn’t choppy and there have been no outages.  A couple audio problems, but I bet those are satellite feed issues (I blame the Space Shuttle).

Re: short hiatus: Despite the fact that the biggest test match in months is happening this weekend, I will be out of town, and not blogging, tweeting, or probably even watching.  Look for me on Monday.

Now, to enjoy some cricket while the coffee is hot.

Surrey v Middlesex at Guildford, County Championship Division Two

I picked the above match to title this post with because one of the bands my wife and I saw while we were in London in March (The Stanley Blacks, check them out) are from Guildford – and play often at the Boiler Room which, it seems, is only a few short blocks away from the Guildford Cricket Ground (aka Woodbridge Road), where the above match is taking place:

Also, funny enough, I have a good friend that used to work at a coffeeshop in Minneapolis called, of course, the Boiler Room.

And speaking of my trip to London, as I mentioned either in my first post or in the “About Me” section of this blog, I was able to visit Lord’s (briefly), and of course Lord’s is where the first test between India and England will take place – starting tomorrow at 05:00am CDT.

As I mentioned over on twitter, the Internet is truly starting to salivate over this series.  Andrew Miller, however, says that it is a contest worthy of the hype – and I could not agree more.  The two best test nations in the world; Summer in England; Lord’s; Tendulkar’s 100th hundred; Tendulkar (full stop); Anderson and Tremlett poised to become world beaters for England; Broad’s “redemption”; Bell, Morgen; Laxman, Dravid.  Fletcher v Flowers.  Strauss, Petersen, Singh.  The list goes on and on.  Being a novice, I will say nothing that has not been said a million times already.

I will say, unorginally, that I truly amped up over this series, and am even more excited that I will be able to watch it LIVE on willow dot tee…errr….YouTube…?

That’s right, 36 hours before the first ball of the first test of the biggest series at cricket’s most hallowed ground…Willow TV makes a monumental change in the manner in which it presents live cricket.

All live matches will now be shown on their YouTube channel, instead of the player on their own site.

Now, I get while the change was made.  YouTube means more access, more viewers, more money.  Which hopefully means a better service for users like myself.  But to change so close to such a big match, and to do it straight out of left field deep mid wicket just seemed so haphazard.

Plus, the e-mail announcement I received supposedly linked to “instructions” on how to “seamlessly” move my viewing from willow.tv to their YouTube channel.  Unfortunately, that was not the case.

After spending 20 minutes hunting, I was able to figure out that I needed to link my willow.tv subscription up with my YouTube profile.  Which I did…and ZING….!! live cricket.  Phew.

The big “test” (haha) will come tomorrow morning.

And since I am a Minnesotan, let’s talk about the weather in London for a second: There is a 20% chance of showers for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  Sunday looks perfect, but there is a 40% chance for Monday.  Which means, England, get the job done early, boys.  Just like in Adelaide.  And Perth.  And Sydney.

That’s right, despite my supreme affection for the Indian players, I am supporting England this summer.

Until tomorrow.  See you at Lord’s.

 

United States of America v Suriname at Lauderhill, ICC Americas Region Division One Twenty20

USA!! USA!! USA!!

Okay, not really.

But I will be curious to see if the sporting powerhouse, and my home country, can defeat Suriname today down in Florida.  Suriname, for those curious, is the smallest sovereign state in South America, and has a population just shy of 500,000.  But I still think they have a shot at giving the red, white, and blue a run for their money.

There are two other matches at the Central Broward Regional Park Stadium Turf Ground today: Argentina v Bermuda and Canada v the Cayman Islands.  Nice looking stadium, too.

Now, this stadium is breaking news to me.  It was built in 2007 and has hosted several international matches.  I seriously do not know how I missed it.  In fact, Sri Lanka and New Zealand played two t20s there just last year – I had no idea!  Glad to see the US is gaining some cricket infrastructure, at the very least.

I hope to live tweet some coverage of the USA match today.  Gotta support the hometown team, eh.

More later.  Enough for now.  Until tomorrow.

Warwickshire v Leicestershire at Birmingham, Friends Life t20, North Group

In the evenings, I make every real attempt to read at least the majority of the new posts on Cricinfo.  There is always a lot worth reading, and it is all fascinating and well written.  I really do think I need to branch out however.  Read other, non-ESPN, blogs; maybe read updates from the Wisden Cricketer…etc.  I feel like all of my views on cricket have been shaped by the same small pool of writers.  Smart, well informed and entertaining writers, mind you, but the same writers nonetheless.

For now, however, I will continue to read and think about and discuss on this blog the articles I read over on Cricinfo.  With the exception of Cricket with Balls.  (Though Jarrod is an ESPN employee…so whatever).

All of the above said, my intention today was to comment on several articles I have read on Cricinfo over the last couple of days: but then this morning I read this article about how Cricket clothing was better, you know, in the author’s time. And I seriously cannot stop thinking about how the author is waxing poetic over her father’s…protective cup.  Or “box” in the parlance of the land.  Or, as I have read over on Twitter: “willy box“.

I know, I know, it is one very quick reference in what is otherwise a nice little fluff piece about the history of clothing in the game, but I seriously cannot get over the image of a little girl ogling her father’s “grotesquely pink box”.

Although, it is a little tiresome, a little grumpy old man-ish (or in this case, woman-ish): “in MY day, we wore kits made of starched concrete that smelled of whiskey and determination – and WE LIKED IT!  No easy breezy self cooling kits for us!  No sir!”  Yes, that’s true, but also the cricket was dour and the players all died of lung cancer.

Back on the pitch: India is playing a warmup match against Somerset this morning at Taunton – day one of the India tour, and it is already raining…

Uganda won the ICC’s Africa Division Twenty20 championship this morning with a six wicket win over Namibia, which I believe means they get an invite to the next qualifying round – good on them.   Kenya, however, finished third.  Another poor showing for an Associate nation in the short form of the game.

Oh, and today is the final day of the FLt20’s regular season.   It is going to be quite the day as several quarterfinal spots are still up for grabs, I need to find a playoff scenario article…hmmmm…I wonder where I could find one…?

Until Monday, Namibia!

via Wikipedia Commons