Low scoring games can be dangerous for superior teams - see below for example - and this was a particularly low scoring game. Berrington (62) and MacLeod (67) anchored either end of the first innings, and Nehemiah Ohiambo 3/29 and Ngoche 4/58 took wickets did the same to restrict them to 212. The response was underwhelming though as Kenya struggled in the conditions - as they did all tour. Evans taking 6/30. Only Chalmers got going the second time around, making 106, Varaiya taking 5/44; but it was enough to set an improbable target of 342. Collins Obuya (91*) made runs, but was fortunate in doing so, and it ended a fairly miserable tour for the Kenyans, now out of contention in both the WCL and I-Cup. Scotland will need to beat Ireland in the next round to make the final, and hope for results elsewhere. A possibility, given their opposition has qualified, but the winner of Afghanistan and Namibia has much the easier run.
Most tests produce straight-forward narratives, a few key moments lead to an inevitable victory. Close tests offer no straight-forward narratives; it is easy to find 15 runs in five days of cricket. In a match marred by numerous poor decisions, - and (naturally) by many uncertain ones un-resolvable regardless of time and replays - those abound. What matters is that having been in a position of considerable weakness, Bell, with style, and Broad, in a manner that always gives the impression that bowlers are bowling to his plan, put on 138 runs, turning a gettable target into an unlikely one.
Australia's batting was as bad as advertised, falling to poor shots and inadequate techniques. England know they need only keep the ball in the right place and wait. The only time they didn't, two tenth wicket partnerships almost took the game from them. The first, led by Agar's classy 98, beggared belief. He has the necessary tools to be a useful, even very good batsman. His bowling needs work, being prone to putting the ball on the pitch, instead of rising through the crease to take advantage of his height and loop. Agar kept England contained though, which is what he should be judged on. Australia's other bowlers were poor but lucky in the first innings, and better but not in the second. Siddle proved his worth but Australia can't reasonably carry two bowlers with loose lines on slow pitches against quality batting. In the end, wides and no-balls by themselves lost Australia the test, and Harris, and more particularly, Bird (and Faulkner), are better suited to the conditions.
England's bowling burden rested heavily on Anderson, particularly when things got tight. Finn took two wickets but was expensive, and Broad - albeit injured - was worse in the first innings. They won't struggle to bowl Australia out though, assuming they get enough movement at times, but might reconsider tailoring pitches for Swann. England's best chance of winning easily is to make heavy runs and count on being able to prevent Australia doing likewise. Pitches that favour the bowling open them to collapse, and mean a rash of poor shots - as in the first innings - will cede advantage.
Lord's has a recent reputation as being flat, which should suit an English side which, when all is said and done, won a match in which they played badly, had a slight advantage in the umpiring, but the misfortune to face two tenth wicket partnerships of unusual size. This isn't as good an English side as two years ago, and Australia have potential - being young, we may one day look back and wonder how a side with so many good players didn't win - but earlier predictions look more accurate, not less, after the first test.
Shaded teams have played fewer than 2 games per season. Non-test team ratings are not comparable to test ratings as they don't play each other.
ICC Conference with Rory Gribbell; Associate and Affiliate Cricket Podcast
|Expected Margin||Ireland by 118 runs|
|Actual Margin||Ireland by 279 runs|
There isn't that much to say about a below strength Ireland handily defeated an even weaker Dutch side. Anderson scored a century with support from Kevin O'Brien and Mooney, before teenage spinner Doram took over, finishing with 5/82. 332 was well above par though, as Netherland spluttered to 148 with only Cooper (51) making any runs. Ireland's third innings wasn't a whole lot better although White made 62 and the target was a weighty 407 by the time they were out for 222. They could have enforced the follow-on though, in retrospect, as Dockrell took 6/39, with 3/32 in support by Sorensen, who ripped out the top-order. Ireland's victory lifts their rating a little higher, and puts them through to the I-Cup final in December. The Netherlands become officially out of contention, although the second spot remains open, at least for now.
|Expected Margin||England by 103 runs|
Australians living in hope, have had to look back to 1989 for a side seemingly so abject coming to England. But I'd argue 1993 is more apt. Coming off a summer of Ambrose-led maulings and a tame one-all draw in New Zealand, only Boon of Australia's top six of the time, had any great claim to form or a place, and in any case he wanted to move down the order; add in a paper-thin and bowling lineup with an inexperienced spinner and the English press was not-so-quietly confident. That side succeeded, and more, but they did so because the English side they were playing was rubbish. And even then, by the first test only two places in the order were truly up for grabs.
The current bowling line-up is far from paper-thin, albeit inexperienced. But no place in the batting lineup is set, except for Rogers and Watson, and that is an entirely new combination. It is, though, relatively easily to assess the Australian batting, because all the candidates have their flaws and will likely make no more or no less than any alternative (that was also true in 1993 if not almost always). The batting is dire. The only genuinely unlucky candidate missing out is Cosgrove and his record, if better in England than Australia, isn't great. Their flaws are well documented, and legion. Regardless of whether Australia's attack can match England's they still have to bowl to England's batting, so they won't perform nearly as well. If, if Clarke, Rogers and anyone can make some runs, and if conditions break well, Australia can win a test or more. But a series win is very unlikely.
How unlikely I have already posted. Arguably Australia are not as bad as the Indian tour made them out to be, but England can improve on recent performances too. Swann and Pietersen are returning, Root is finding his feet, and the Australians seem likely to pick bowlers with X-factor but poor records (Starc) over better alternatives (Faulkner, Bird) which suits cautious players who prey on mistakes like Trott and Cook.
Australia can still make something of this series, and if they selected the perfect side - which they might yet, so uncertain is the team - then they could challenge an English side that hasn't impressed overly in the previous 12 months. But if you are looking to bet, 3-1 or 2-1, the scorelines from most recent series are the ones to choose.
|Rankings at 7th July 2013|
The associate and affiliate cricket podcast is an attempt to expand coverage of associate tournaments by obtaining local knowledge of the relevant nations. If you have or intend to go to a tournament at associate level - men's women's, ICC, unaffiliated - then please get in touch in the comments or by email.
In a special July 4th edition of the podcast,
Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) and I are joined by Jamie Harrison (@JamieUSYCA), president of the United States Youth Cricket Association to look back on a match played 100 years ago at the Germantown Cricket Club between a touring Australian XI and a combined United States and Canadian side; the last first-class game played in the United States for 89 years; a match won by Australia by 409 runs. We discuss the state of cricket in the USA and Philadelphia at the time, and what that can tell us about cricket and its development in the USA today.
News articles about the tour:
17th March 1913 - Mayne's Team for America - Sydney Morning Herald
3rd May 1913 - Cricket - Capricornian (Rockhampton)
4th July 1913 - Australian Cricketers Lead - New York Times
22 August 1913 - Cricket in America; With the Australian Team - Sydney Morning Herald
6th September 1913 - Australians in America - Daily News (Perth)
8th November 1913 - One Long Holiday; ER Mayne Interviewed - Adelaide Advertiser
Another tour was planned for the following season. Canadian organisers even planned an All Canada team to take them on. The Board of Control of Australian Cricket would have none of it:
"Even if an application is received, it will be refused, and no player will be given sanction by the board to accompany such team. If any Australian cricketer proceeds with a team to America without our consent, he will never play cricket in Australia again."
- Mr. W. P. M'Elhone, NSW, chairman of the Board of Control of Australian cricket
Direct Download Running Time 67min. Music from Irving Berlin, "International Rag"
Nicholas Building. Taken June 2013
Another year, another Melbourne International Animation Festival. Hopefully Malcolm will hold to his statement of not making it 11 days next year, although it is invariably the last Saturday that almost kills me - going to bed at 2am and waking up for a 7am podcast probably didn't help. The extra time meant I saw more of this festival than I had in previous years. Indeed, the only bits I'd have liked to see were the CG Symposium - passed on in favour of the Canadian Indie programs, and the Australian program, that is inexplicably the only competition program not repeated, but that was a fault in my scheduling.
I might be getting old and jaded, but until the International Program #5 I hadn't found many of this year's competition programs memorable. But there were a couple of brilliant films in that screening, which rounded it out well. As is traditional - albeit in a sloppily ignored traditional kind-of-way - here are a few of the films I liked, by category (sans links, surprisingly, in this age of YouTube, far fewer films are available online than perhaps they ought, but you, my absent reader, can find them):
Wind Int. 2 - Wore thin after several viewings, but the interaction of animation and wind always works.
Cleo's Boogie Int. 4 - Good song, good mix of techniques, but mostly the song.
Stewpot Rhapsodie Int. 5 - A mother cooking with loads of movement, charming aesthetic, and a fantastic soundtrack.
A La Francaise Kids 2 - Chickens in 18th century Versailles. Hilarious film.
The Technically Superb
Bydlo Int. 1 - An oxen comes to life out of the clay. Didn't like the plot, but beautifully constructed.
MacPherson Int. 5 - One of those languid oil painted films that always look superb.
Here and the Great Elsewhere Int. 5 - Ditto pinscreen animation, although this pushed a rare technique along too. An amazing film.
Jailbreak Abstract - Really well constructed abstract set to a syncopated rhythm.
Illogical Imaginings Next. Aust. - Characters rolling into each other is old hat, but this was well constructed.
The Well Plotted
Linear Int. 1 - Simple concept, a 2-inch man painting a road, but executed well.
Marcel, King of Tervuren Int. 4 - The sort of personal story that animation produces very well. Lovely depth of visuals too.
Junkyard Long - Live diverge then meet. This took a while to get to an obvious conclusion, but it was worth it.
Edmond was A Donkey Long - Long features have an advantage when it comes to plot, but this still kept me interested. An odd little story with a silent title character, much put upon.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mister Lawrence Lessmore Kids 2 - A genuinely touching film, simply and beautifully animated.
The Bizarre But Brilliant
Tram Int. 3 - Was tempted not to mention it, but it is very well paced and funny.
Oh Willy Long - Might have gone under the technical category too, for the texture and light, but the sheer oddity is its most endearing feature.
The Brick Bizarre - The sort of film that should be in Late Night Bizarre instead of the crude poorly animated rubbish. Completely odd-ball.
A final shout-out to the Kevin Schrek documentary The Persistence of Vision. The three decade long failure to produce a feature film of epic proportions, largely because it seemed to be epic mostly for the sake of being epic, was fascinating through-out. That the animators involved also meant that Richard William's film bridged from the golden age of animation to today somehow made it important and valuable in spite of itself.