Monday, February 11, 2019

Give it up for the Windies. A stellar effort, it must be said. Over such lengths of time they achieve. Two Tests and one session, there is no let up. Quite what one would expect, surely. Potentially thirty-one sessions and no drop off in intensity. There you go, give it up for the Windies. And no sign of their Captain, Jason Holder, in sight. At least not in this third encounter. For suspension intervened. Slow overrates intruded. Excessively slow, the top of the pile was demonised - Quite rightly – by match officials. Stood down for the Third Test in St Lucia, Holder has been replaced by Kraigg Brathwaite as skipper. And yet, here, on Day One, we once again see the Windies deliver another tedious effort of slowly frothing drudgery. So, give it up for the Windies. Such a stellar effort. Sure, the elements played their part. Thirty minutes off the park for rain. No fault of the bowlers, that one. Though, one hour after the scheduled finish of play, play was halted for bad light . . . With seven overs still undelivered. Wow. Nothing changes. Indeed. Okay, no bowler, nor Captain, can control bad light, or any light for that matter. Had they bowled those seven overs the home side would have finished the day ninety minutes over time. New Captain, same old, same old. Even allowing for the thirty minutes lost due to precipitation, The Windies are still going over time by one hour if the full allotment of overs had arrived at one batsman’s abode, let alone all eleven. So maybe sending the Captain into purgatory isn’t the answer. Maybe it’s time the ICC began to send not only the leader, but every playing member of the team up queer street. Yep, fine the lot. Just view the velocity of thought process between skipper and bowler between overs - and during overs - take on never seen before speed. Those pale of speed will soon turn green at the sight of such speed. Because, as we all know, money can talk faster than any 150kph bumper, and it can certainly tête-à-tête quicker than even the most cerebral of Cricketers. Then this blasphemy of the senses being forced upon the paying public may cease to exist. You watch, sending the lot up queer street will straighten them out with haste. Then the rest of us can witness a decent day’s Cricket and have an hour extra after play to inhale vivacity's delicacies. That’s the best of both worlds and value for money will have been garnered. Seems fair.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

You get the feeling, sometimes, that if Colin Munroe was cast in Dumb and Dumber, he could play both roles! A silly, unnecessary dismissal. At two wickets down and going at six runs an over, all that was required was some sensible batting.

Friday, January 25, 2019

If you wish to see a changing of the guard anytime soon, may I suggest The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Because you're sure not going to see a changing of the guard in Men's Tennis in the foreseeable future. Not with Rafael Nadal playing like this, at least. 6-2,6-4,6-0 and Stefanos Tsitsipas must have wondered why he bothered beating Roger Federer in the fourth round. And the great Federer, wherever in the World he was watching this demolition, must have been secretly relieved at missing being on the end of this wanton brutality. This wasn’t some first round bunny, ranked 132 in the World, Nadal was suffocating the life from. This was a Greek, a Greek ranked number fifteen and a Greek who conquered Federer not so long ago. Yes, Federer, one of the greatest to have played the game. And, allegedly, this made Tsitipas one of the next big things. This may well be but, if that is to be the case, it’s several years down the road. The Spanish great has just proved that Tsitsipas is not yet a Greek God. And after this semi-final eradication, Nadal will now enter his twenty-sixth Grand Slam Final against the winner of Tomorrow’s Semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Lucas Pouille. Legend. That seventeen of those have served his bank balance exceedingly well in the form of victory will mean zip to the thirty-two-year-old if he were not to replicate this performance and clinch an eighteenth title. For this lefty with hefty groundstroke’s appears as focused as ever. Revered he is by many, and rightly so, for the relentless efficiency off either wing – And those wings, particularly the forehand, with one around the net post winner grasping the gasps of illusionists the World over, could do more damage to a foe’s health than anything you could purchase at your local KFC – was joined by an unusually suave service game. Not once was it broken. Not once did it look like being broken. Only once in three sets was this insanely secure point ice-breaker taken to deuce. Once. Unbelievable. Anyone perusing the World number Two’s form over the previous decade would have noticed on many an occasion the one-time Australian Open victor struggling to hold serve. Not here, not now. A serve as hot and as invincible as a comet’s fiery tail, it sped the angles out wide at clicks beyond a twenty-year old’s comprehension. Such swerve crushing with verve a foe’s delicate psyche. By the time the third set had arrived, with Nadal breaking the Greek in the first game, the rising star was fading as fast. He was lost, forlorn of hope, deep down knowing, surely, that he was staring indomitability in the face. Such was the shame. For Tsitsipas put forth a sterling account of himself in the central set. Having lost the first – after having to wait for eight minutes in the corridors of apprehension for Nadal to join his acquaintance upon entering the arena beforehand – comfortably, the lad set about attacking greatness with a clobbering forehand. Ably backed by a serve of inherent mischief, usually down the centre line, the postulant seeked to douse the comet’s conflagration. Marinate, he couldn’t. But at least he held his own. Until, at four apiece, Nadal’s instincts of visceral paunch grinding winners came to the fore. Now a break down and at the mercy of the Carlos Moya coached ace, the wannabe ace couldn’t withstand yet another domineering service game from Nadal. Two sets to nil down, it was over. Over before it was over, but over. The spice of a Spanish Patatas Bravas had, in the end, destroyed the Greek salad. A performance for the ages, and surely we’re in for an epic on Sunday. Over to you, Novak Djokovic.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

A bed, a fridge, a few acres, twenty-six hundred dollars in bills and a life of retirement . . . Nope. For the privacy of swing dried the stock of abhorrent blockers, deceiving with straightness for half its life before creatively arcing sparkily two thirds a pitch away. So late, said swing allayed the fears of extravagance, resisting the small units of degrees to bend angles, taking willow to their legs only to snake to off stump and going to town on a first wicket and new beginning. Such a stride to take toward that first fifer only ninety minutes to the future.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Australia, since the Lunch break, have lost four wickets for six runs. Now that’s some bowling by India. Or some dud batting by the home side. Nah, not really. This pitch has taken over the persona of a 1930’s sticky wicket. You know the ones, back in the day, whereby said pitch was left uncovered for the duration of an inclement weather’s temper tantrum. Upon the resumption of play this rabble-rousing rectangle spewed forth unseemly amounts of mud. Even batting’s one true God, Don Bradman, could average not more than twenty-one on sticky wickets. Which means the South Australian was going at well over one hundred for his innings on ordinary pitches. Not the worst around, was he. Now the modern day athletes know what the old timers were going through. One moment Pat Cummins is bowled by an ankle knocker that knocked on middle stump’s welcoming door. The next you’ll see Usman Khawaja being molested by leather’s sharpness 1.7 metres or so from Terra Firma. Talk about mood swings. This pitch has it all. One minute Australia are sauntering through to 192 for 4, then, suddenly, they find themselves in a rather perilous state at 198 for 8. Mind you, they still possess a two hundred and sixty-one run lead which is currently climbing. . . Just. And India have to chase this over the last day and a half. Good luck to them on that front. They’re going to require all they can get. They could also do with Bradman. They do have Kohli. But then, as good as the Indian Captain may be, and is, he’s no Bradman. They could do with the greatest of all time right now. Because this is a rather sticky situation for the Indian batsmen.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Colin de Grandhomme’s pace is as threatening as the National Party’s poll ratings during a Jamie Lee Ross text flurry. Yes, he may recover somewhat in the aftermath yet during the storm lightening and thunder strike the demented soul of his plodding one hundred and twenty-five kilometre per hour arm warmers. And warm is being kind. They could barely friction air’s pulse let alone explode it into a riposte of respiration profoundly voicing its velocity. So why, why O why, does he feel the urge to bowl no-balls? How difficult could it possibly be for he to propel forth his unwieldly vista of untamed bulk toward the popping crease without overstepping the mark? Sure, accepted the Zimbabwean born allrounder does not overstep on purpose. But, really, a no ball at the clicks of lead, not warp Sci-fi. Then it happens. As only it could on a no ball. Dimuth Karunaratne hits a full toss – Yes, a full toss and a no ball, De Grandhomme has mediocrity’s market cornered – straight to extra cover for the simplest of snares. The New Zealander’s, having Sri Lanka already in trouble at three for thirty-one and now not much more than sixty, with the Opener looking untroubled in his early thirty’s, miss an opportunity to stab the heart of one of their foe’s top practitioners. Survives he does. And then proceeds to pile on a further forty-five runs until finally dismissed for seventy-nine and the visitor’s now 142 for 4. Not 60 for four. Possibly a match defining moment. Only time will tell. But all so avoidable for New Zealand. I guess they’ll just have to suck it up.

Monday, December 10, 2018

The fifth day of this first Test Match of the series, a session and a half to game's end, Australia require sixty-four runs to win, India desire two wickets. This, folks, is why we have a fifth day in Tests. And this folks is why we must keep a fifth day in Test Matches.