Cricket- Australia versus NZ

After NZ gave Australia a right royal hammering in the first game, Australia leveled the series today after coming from a very bad position.

The fans are ecstatic.

These are the same fans who wanted the team castrated after the last loss.

It is a one day international that no one will remember in 12 months time.

I enjoy watching the game in this format- well I did before it was so heavily tilted in favour of the batsmen but why get so emotional?

Are you asking for logical reasons to explain some sports fans emotional reponses? Good luck with that. The very term fan acknowledges the irrationality of it all.

Australia vs New Zealand in virtually any sport is well worth watching and this series is between the top 2 finishers in the most recent world cup to add to the ever-present fraternal rivalry. Two teams capable of playing really good cricket makes for a great contest. And we get a couple of tests as well. I just hope the weather holds.

As a denizen of the West Island, it’s good to seee our little cousins getting some excitement out of winning a meaningless warm-up for the test matches that start later this week. Shame about that World-Cup final thingy last year - when it mattered.

To be honest, the Aus-NZ rivalry is pretty good fun. All the old jokes get a run, the All-Blacks regularly slaughter us at Union, we generally have their measure at cricket, the Netball is always fantastic, we are both reasonable at various Olympic sports (and we do recognise and applaud each other’s victories in international sport - just not when we’re playing each other).

I’d cheerfully trade ten Chappell-Hadlee’s for one world cup…

Weather in Wellington not looking great for Friday and Saturday, with rain coming in from Tuesday onwards.

Luckily neither team looks capable of batting for days on end so we should still get a result.

Just do what we did last summer (i.e. Prepare green seamers with loads of sideways movement) and watch the Aussies nick off. As NZ pitches are probably closest in the world to English pitches, you could wrap games up by tea on Day 3.

They weren’t that much of green seamers decks … though way more than enough.

The current line-up is full of flat track bullies with unconventional techniques. And only Watto has credentials with getting the ball to swing even when conditions are condusive.

After binging on 3rd day flat decks in BBL T20s since Christmas this could be one of recent histories great sporting ambushes in favour of the Kiwis. Probably a bloody good thing in the longer term to.

They Aussies may be on the cusp of being rated Test world #1 but they are a long way from convincing me they are even on the podium.

So who is ‘On the Podium’? Just looking at last 2 years results…

India? Beat SA at Home and Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Beaten by England, Australia and NZ away. Currently Rated No 1 - just.
SA? Cant win away from home, and recently beaten by both England and Aus at home.
Australia? Unbeatable at home - lost away to England and Pakistan in UAE. Beat SA.
England? Won away in SA - lost at home to Sri Lanka and drew with NZ. Lost away to Pakistan (UAE).
NZ? Unbeatable at home - Drew to Pakistan (UAE). Drew in England. Lost last month in Australia.
Pakistan? - Beat Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Lost to Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka. Haven’t lost in the UAE (NZ got a draw).

You pick it. Good arguments for all teams. They all have recent good and not-so-good form. Great time for Test cricket. Sri Lanka aren’t that far away, either.

No side is dominating. And, really, until we get a true Test Championship Tournament, it’s just pub (and internet forum) talk. I don’t put much weight onto some anonymous nerd’s mathematical wizardry to produce points in a table.

Australia won the toss and will field. Hopefully McCullum has a good one in his 100th consecutive test.

Uggh, that was ugly. New Zealand 84/5 at lunch, with McCullum out for a duck.

Now, I could be all condescending and encouraging to the Kiwis, but I’m far too polite for that.

Besides, we still have to bat.

I’m currently praying for a Hobart likeresult.

I would say Australia is getting close to being top of the class in Test cricket- without being a dominating side. They have some good, if not great, batsmen, a good spinner in Lyon and a decent pace attack- especially given they are missing arguably their best in Starc. I also expect Smith to be a better captain than Clarke and Ponting. He is not as divisive as Clarke and my cat is a better tactician than Ponting.

And totally off this topic, will Shane Warne ever mature? Carrying on about Steve Waugh being “selfish” for dropping Warne 17 years ago (when Warne was not bowling well) is just puerile. Steve Waugh may be selfish for a few things but that decision is not one of them.

The Aussies are looking pretty bloody dominant from down here at the moment. I honestly thought the Black Caps were slight favourites going into this one. Now I’m just hoping we don’t lose by an innings.

As for Shane Warne, you can’t fix stupid. Great bowler, but a bit thick. And the stories about his dodgy charity are much more of a shock to me than his petulant whining about Waugh.

That charity going tits up did not surprise me given Indian bookmakers, his mothers diet pills and the beat goes on. Actually, I had never heard of the charity before it was revealed how little was being handed out with his brother controlling it. Meanwhile Waugh supports charities for lepers in India and that is in the background as well. (Steve Waugh has to be one of the most reclusive of Australian captains).

With Warne, I can separate the great bowler for a rather self absorbed individual.

Stumps Day 4
New Zealand Australia
1st Innings 370/10 (65.4) 505/10 (153.1)
2nd Innings 335/10 (111.1) 70/1 (20)

Australia need a 131 with 9 wickets in hand to win the series 2-0.
Should be comfortable enough but those whose memories are still badly scarred from the 3rd test at Leeds in 1981 will not rest easily.

The capricious cricket gods have ordained no good deed goes unpunished.
NZ, having scored over 700 in their innings are good. I need to check StatsGuru but that can’t have happened many times in Test history.
So if Australia win and become ranked at #1 in Tests it will have been largely enabled because McCullum and Anderson scored their runs so quickly in their scintillating partnership on the 1st day.