Zimbabwe v Bangladesh at Harare, 1st ODI

Holy shit, it’s Friday.

Cook is now at 233 at Edgbaston.  At this point, considering it is only the third day, I think Flowers should just let him bat on and on and on.  Let him “remorselessly accumulate” his first test 300.  Then declare.  Then bowl a lackluster India out and become the number one test nation in the world.

(The match was just, and I mean just, delayed due to bad light. This throws the above into the hamper, so to speak.)

It would be the first triple century for an England batsman since Graham Gooch in 1990, which funnily enough was against India, as well.  England won by 247.  He also knocked a 100 in the 2nd innings.

Stat alert:  there have been 24 test triple centuries, all but one has happened in the first innings.  The only second innings 300 was 1958, at the Oval in Kensington, by Hanif Mohammed for Pakistan against the West Indies.  It was after the West Indies forced the follow-on from Pakistan, and the match was eventually drawn.

He batted for 970 minutes.  Over 16 hours at the crease.  And only 96 of his runs came from boundaries.  24 fours, no sixes.

Photo shamelessly lifted from ESPNCricinfo.com. Love you guys.

Back at Edgbaston, still bad light, but Cricinfo commenter, James, has a theory:  “Maybe England have bored the umpires to death, and they want a cup of tea?”

More 300 notes:

  • 9 of the 24 test triple centuries have happened just since  2000.  13 of the 24 since 1990.
  • There were five in the 1930s, none in the 1940s, two in the 1950s, three in the 1960s, one in the 1970s, none in the 1980s, four in the 1990s, and nine in the 2000s.
  • 7 of the 24 have happened in the West Indies.  3 of those at the Antigua Recreation Ground in St. John’s:
via Wikipedia Commons

And we are back in Birmingham.  Cook is at 237.  There are 50 more overs scheduled to be bowled today.  As long as the light holds out, I don’t see anything stopping him…

Meanwhile, at the Harare Sports Club, Zimbabwe is going to beat Bangladesh by 5 wickets in the first ODI.  Well done, boys.

Until Monday.

Durham v Hampshire at Chester-le-Street, County Championship Division One

Late start to the blog this morning, so nice and quick here.

England, thanks to Strauss and Cook (two openers in dire need of a good opening), are now leading on the second day.  Strauss fell for 87, but Bell is in now in and Dravid is dropping catches and it really is looking more and more like England’s day, England’s test, England’s series.

India’s only hope now might be a draw, which would make for a thrilling conclusion at the Oval.  But despite the fact that it is only the second session of the second day, I think India is already looking ahead to the ODIs.  Or maybe they really are tired, and banged up, and ready for a break?  Hard to tell.   Looking forward not to the ODIs, but instead simply to not playing cricket?

Then again, these are world champions, world class athletes, and a collection of some of the best cricketers to grace the pitch in a generation.  I just cannot imagine them not wanting to play the game.

I need to remind myself: this is only day two.  If they can get Bell and Cook before lunch, and hold England to 400ish….

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Again this morning, I was unable to haul myself out of bed to watch the first 90 minutes of the game.  For the best, probably, as it seems it got off to a late start.  Just like yesterday: maybe tomorrow, maybe this weekend.  In fact, for sure this weekend.  Until tomorrow.

England v India at Birmingham, 3rd Test, 1st Day

“How you gonna win a game from one-twenty-from-eight?” – The Trent Bridge Test, in Song, from Deep Backward Point.

Exactly.

For two reasons.

India have collapsed.  They are 115/7 and it isn’t even tea yet.  Anderson is 14-3-32-1, Broad is 12-4-33-3, and Bresnan is 14-4-40-3.  Sehwag went out for a duck, Sachin for one, Raina for four.

So, yeah, how are you supposed to win a game from one-fifteen-for-seven?

Well, you do it just like England did in Nottingham.  This is test cricket, folks, let’s all keep our eyes on the ball here, so to speak.  Yeah, India are in real trouble this morning in “Burm”, but nothing is set in stone, and as the one skit in “That Mitchell and Webb Look” says:  “This ain’t over until the full number of overs that have been scheduled to be bowled that day – HAVE BEEN BOWLED!!”

India are 130/7 now.  This is it, Dhoni, this is your chance to prove yourself the best captain in test cricket.  Your team is on the brink, you are at the crease…it’s time.

All of that said: I am sure fucking excited.  England are on the verge of becoming the number one test nation on the planet.

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As is plain to see, the riots did not stop test cricket this morning.

There was a little back and forth between Cricket With Balls and Deep Backward Point last night.  The former thinking that the ECB’s press release detailing the reasons that they were going forward with the test (“people were looking forward to it”) was insulting, considering the volatile nature of riots and rioters.  That if these riots were taking place somewhere else when the English cricket team was visiting, that the ECB would have pulled their players out of the country.  The latter fired back:  maybe, but your riots ain’t nothing like our riots.

The above is neither here nor there, I think the main argument here is that, well, fuck: you can’t let the assholes win.  Cancelling the test would do that.

And that sport heals societal wounds.  Cancelling the test would make the wounds deeper, and leave uglier scars.

As long as the players and the fans the officials and the press are safe: go forward with the game.  You have to.  Forget the hypocrisy, forget the insulting press release, the game has to go on.

India: 157/7.  Dhoni is pulling them out of the fire.  Just like Broad did at Trent Bridge.

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The alarm went off at 4:45am, and I thought about getting up for the first ball long and hard.  But it just…wasn’t…happening.  Maybe tomorrow.  Maybe Friday.  Maybe this weekend.

160/7…

Until tomorrow.

#londonriots

I love London.

And my heart breaks with the pictures flashing across the internet the last few days.

Yesterday, Twitter was a mess of admonishments and fear as the riots spread from Surrey to Hackney to as far north as Birmingham.  Following it all morning and afternoon and evening was an exercise in depression.  It was like listening to Rome burn.

These pointless riots, and yes they are pointless, tend to peter out, especially now with the world watching, I expect the police presence to strangle the remaining rioters over the next day or two.  The city will clean itself off and move on.  It has to.  Heck, the Olympics are coming in 11 months.

But, hopefully, all residents will take the time to ensure that what is happening now will never happen again.  Is the answer more CCTV?  More police?  More laws? More barricades?  No, probably not.

Maybe it is simply finding a manner of perspective.  Finding common ground.   Figuring out that is okay that London is multicultural and poor and rich and sad nowadays.  That is not your city anymore – nor is it their city.  It is the world’s city.

I love London.

Hopefully the fires go out soon.

And, maybe, a little healing can come tomorrow, for as of this morning, the 3rd test at Edgbaston is on, despite the spread of looters to Birmingham.  Five days of cricket, after the truce, as the fires smolder.

Up early for the first day tomorrow, see you then.

Sri Lanka v Australia at Pallekele, 2nd T20I

Coffee’s hot, cricket’s on.  Too bad it is Monday and I am at the office and blah blah blah got those work-a-day blues.

Already this morning, Zimbabwe completed their return to test cricket with a resounding victory over fellow minnows, Bangladesh, down in Harare.

Fellow blogger Deep Backward Point yesterday wrote that Zimbabwe’s return to full test status, as well as their sporting declaration, represented the real spirit of cricket.  Not Dhoni or Flowers or Bell.  And I really do agree.  Sometimes, in cricket, the best stories happen away from Lord’s, from Mumbai, from the IPL, from the bright lights and the big cities.

Zimbabwe head to New Zealand next year, and I hope to able to watch them at least a little via willow.tv.

Over the weekend, I was able to watch the moderately out of shape county cricket players in the Friend’s Life t20 quarterfinals.  A few observations:  Somerset can bat, but they cannot bowl.  Kieron Pollard is a beast of human.  And it was just wonderful to see packed houses at both Trent Bridge and the Rose Bowl for the Sunday games.  Most pundits will tell you that t20 is saving cricking, saving tests.  But I think it is the other way around: the England-India test series is increasing the average fan’s interest in the game, especially the more accessible shorter version.

The game is sick, but I think this summer, we are watching it heal.  Just a little.

Of course, football returned on Sunday with the Community Shield, so by Wednesday it will be sick again.

Today I will be following the second t20 between Sri Lanka and Australia at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Palleleke, Kandy, Sri Lanka:

via Wikipedia Commons

Sri Lanka won the toss and decided to have a bat, but Brett Lee has lbw’d Dilshan in the 3rd over, which means we have a match on our hands.

Unfortunately, for Sri Lanka, Malinga is hurt and is resting up for the ODIs, but I still think they have a good shot at taking the series from the Aussies.

(Note:  it is 19:21 in Sri Lanka.  Where does that extra half hour disappear to?  I have always wondered that.)

Either way, I am just happy to have a match to follow.  And with the third England-India test starting Wednesday, it should be a fine week.

Until tomorrow.

Hampshire v Yorkshire at Southampton, County Championship Division One (Day 4)

The lull between England-India tests has created something of a lull here at Limited Overs, as well. Which doesn’t make a great deal of sense, as I used to write plenty every day long before India landed at Heathrow. I would talk Associates and Affiliates and County Cricket, but now: I am bowling on a flat deck.

And there is so much happening!

I mean, there is cricket, international cricket, happening not a two hour plane ride from my house, as Afghanistan and Canada play out a four day match in Toronto. Canada was unable to avoid the follow-on, but are leading by just 13 runs with only 3 wickets in hand going into the final day which does not bode well for their chances.

Which, honestly, blows my mind. Afghanistan has been, to put it lightly, war torn for its entire existence, give or take a decade here and there. And yet, here they are, putting the hammer down on Canada, a first world, oil rich, and multicultural nation. It’s interesting about cricket, about how certain nations are just better at the game. There are very, very, very few sports in the world where Afghanistan or Namibia or Bangladesh could give big first world nations like the USA and Canada and most of continental Europe a run for their money. Cricket is one of those games. And I think that really gives the sport an edge over football going forward. Cricket: the sport for the third world.  And the 21st century will be the century for the third world.

And, honestly, it is really amazing and awesome that the Afghani players are in North America this morning for a spot of cricket. It is a sport of truces and peace. When India and Pakistan sign an accord, for instance, the first thing they do is get together for a cricket match.

Zimbabwe has had its share of problems, but now after five years their cricketers are back playing tests again. It is a sport of forgiveness. Here’s hoping one of the big nations makes an effort to tour down there. There are giving Bangladesh quite a lashing in Harare this morning.

In Sri Lanka, too, Sangakaara in his famous speech at Lord’s gave cricket all the credit for helping his country rebuild after 30 years (THIRTY YEARS!) of civil war.

It is a sport of truces, and peace. Walk out, flip a coin, play cricket.

You could say that football is the world’s game, but is also a game of nationalism, and racism, and fanaticism, and hooliganism. (Speaking of which, did you see that FIFA put Croatia, Serbia, and Macedonia in the same qualifying group – what the fuck were they thinking!?)

Football is what you play as the war rages, cricket is what you play when the war is over.

(Yes, I know, there is still war in Afghanistan, whilst there is peace in the Balkans. I never claimed this thesis to be bulletproof).

Back on the pitch: Zaheer and Sehwag are playing a practice game against Northamptonshire, which will give Indian fans some hope for the final two tests; something something Big Bash something something; and Paddy Upton blames “mental exhaustion” for India’s failures in the first two tests. Or, maybe, Paddy, England played better and three of India’s best players were injured.

This weekend is the knockout stage of the Friends Life t20 (remember County Cricket?) – most of the matches are on Willow.tv. I hope to be able to watch a couple, before football and the Arsenal swallow my weekends whole.

Until Monday.

Zimbabwe v Bangladesh at Harare, Only Test (Day 1)

As mentioned yesterday, via Google Reader, I have been subscribing to every cricket blog I can get my hands on.  And holy cow there are a quadrillion of them.  A blog for every one of Sachin’s runs, pretty much.  And a great many of them are well written and slick and humorous and awesome.  It is a bit overwhelming, a little daunting, and a whole lot disheartening.  I mean, how is my stupid little cricket blog written by a guy in Minneapolis who freely admits that he knows very, very, very little about the sport supposed to get noticed, get read, get picked up by Cricinfo Page 2 for a million dollars?

One way, and one way only: write every day.

The above match is being played at the Harare Sports Club in Harae, Zimbabwe.  It has floodlights and seats 10,000:

Oh, and here is your geography lesson of the day:

Right now, it is drinks on day one of the last session of the day.  Zimbabwe is 237/2 and Cricinfo has ball by ball coverage.  Huzzah!

Also, just up the road in Toronto, Canada is playing Afghanistan in an ICC Intercontinental Cup test match.  Day 2 was a complete wash out, I am hoping for some play today, as again, Cricinfo has ball by coverage of this one, as well.

All right, that’s all I have today, not a great deal going on.  Until tomorrow!