How do you preview a series with no matches since their last meeting? Barely had the previous series ended than the marketing for the next kicked into gear; the bowlers licked their wounds, some of whom are now fit; and both sides rejigged for the different conditions prevailing in Australia. England with tall quicks; Australia by choosing players based on their form in an otherwise meaningless slogfest in India.
The latter is a bad sign. In theory, home advantage indicates this will be a very tight series, and the English edition was that, despite the 3-0 scoreline. But the last Ashes in Australia indicated that England were better prepared than Australia for batting endlessly on flat bouncy pitches, and bowling in the channel searching for mistakes. England ground out their home victory by scoring just enough and taking advantage of Australia's inability to consistently do the same. Australia's bowling was strong, but lacked the killer edge and was blunted by Bell in particular. Their batting lurched from feeble to competent and back again from session to session. Despite this, the same side, more or less, will line up in Brisbane. Partly for lack of options, mostly for lack of reliable data to indicate who might succeed (if any) where others have not.
With Brisbane likely to rain, and Adelaide likely to play dead, we might enter the back half of the series before any advantage is gained. Australia's selection of Warner and Johnson indicates they are willing to take risks to try and force an unlikely win. The smart money though is on them having little impact when it matters and England to continue the pattern of the last 5 years: play to stay in the game, and take advantage of collapses. Australia are sure to offer them ample opportunity.
A short end to a short and unmemorable series. Designed as a virtual exhibition, the West Inds played their secondary part a little too enthusiastically, neither particularly invested nor seemingly interested in the end result. Chanderpaul deserved better in his 150th test, but apart from Shillingford, there wasn't much to illuminate the match at his end. Tendulkar briefly rolled back the clock before giving way to Pujara, Kohli and Sharma. Ojha and Ashwin took the wickets, and India ran up another huge win at home.
For mine, I said almost everything I had to say about Tendulkar in my piece on Ponting. He combined all the qualities of good batsmanship without being peerless in any of them, being neither as strong a technician as Dravid, nor as flamboyant as Lara, nor as intense as Ponting. His bowling was under-rated; his longevity and influence best marked by a single closing note. If you check Tendulkar's record, Cricinfo has no figure for his strike-rate, almost unique amongst modern batsmen. This is because the balls are missing from this test vs Sri Lanka, in Chandigarh in 1990. Such was the span of his career, that he first played for India in the days when Doordarshan would tape over old matches and scorecards could be lost; and left with a 24-7 media cycle trying to record his every movement and gesture noting everything for posterity. A career so long its end isn't even era-defining, because it crossed so many; encompassing a period both as a prodigy and the old-man of cricket; a superstar and a player whose best years were limited by injury; and as both the lone hand on which everything depended and as one part of a quadrumvirate. It is a singularly incredible and inscrutable career arc; and as it has been throughout, its meaning is sure to be interpreted and re-interpreted for a long time to come.
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.
Monday Melbourne: CCLXXXVIII, November 2013
|Group A||Rating||Form||Weight||Qual.||1st Grp||Top-3 Grp||Top-5 Grp|
|Group B||Rating||Form||Weight||Qual.||1st Grp||Top-3 Grp||Top-5 Grp|
2 Raglan Street, South Melbourne
(Corner Raglan Street & Eastern Road)
The most local of all the pubs that share that distinction; The Rising Sun Hotel lacks the comforts other pubs provide. The front bar is an extensive open-plan bistro with room for a full big band on Tuesday nights, and poker and trivia on others. It lacks both character and comfort, though the food makes up for it if your aim is merely a meal. By contrast, the rear bar is small and cozey, with a couple of tvs with the sport on, high chairs and bar tables. The walls throughout are adorned with South Melbourne sporting stars of the old cricket and football clubs, now moved to Casey and Sydney respectively. Match days in football season bring out local fans, sporting scarves, and there is a solid group of bar-flies if one is looking for a chat.
If you aren't inclined to cook the bar meals are a very attractive option. Most are $15 or less, and don't tend towards the giganticism that afflicts many pubs, mistaking quantity for quality. They can be a little light on the salad - ie. many have none - though if asked, I'd imagine chips could be substituted out. I plumped for the rissoles - a touch dry - and mash - perfect- with vegies. It was overall, a solid, but not spectacular dish, in keeping with the surroundings. As usual when I eat there, I wonder why I cook at home like a sucker instead of walking 20 metres. Consider that an endorsement.
The Short: For swans fans, jazz fans, and regulars
Next Week: The Baden Powell (Corner Cambridge Street and Victoria Parade)
With the World T20 Qualifiers starting in the UAE, Andrew Nixon (@andrewnixon79) and Russell Degnan (@idlesummers) discuss the tournament format, preview all sixteen teams across both groups and offer their predictions for who will make the playoffs. Three players kindly take the time to give us their thoughts, Andrew interviews Niall O'Brien of Ireland and Frederik Klokker of Denmark, and Jack Sheldon (@jacksheldon93) discusses Italy's chances with Gareth Berg.
Direct Download Running Time 58min. Music from Martin Solveig, "Big in Japan"
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.
|1st Test||India||v||West Indies|
|Expected Margin||India by 116 runs|
|Actual Margin||India by an innings and 51 runs|
Nothing like a series of home matches to boost one's ranking and blood new players. India showed the same ruthlessness with which they dispatched Australia in working over the West Indies. But in a sign that their rebuild is coming to fruition even as the last of their old guard takes his final bow, the debutants provided the firepower. Shami took 4/71, with only Samuels (65) providing any real resistance. For a brief period, Shillingford 6/167 raised the possibility of a stiff fight, but Rohit Sharma (177) and Ashwin (124) took the game away with an outstanding partnership. The latter's upright stance and wristy strokes so reminiscent of VVS Laxman that the opportunity to replace Tendulkar with a bowler must be firmly in the Indian selector's minds.
Chanderpaul, about to reach his own milestone in a cap so battered it seems to have felt every loss he's played in, was not out 31 at the end of the second innings. He isnt batting too low. He just has nothing behind him. Sammy is a very admirable cricketer, but he is no number 7, until you consider just how bad those following him are. Shami's 5/47 proved the first dig was no fluke, though it was Ashwin (3/46) who got the ball rolling; and it is hard to see the West Indies batting turning around this result. India are a very inexperienced side nowadays, but they've already shown the skills - at home at least - to pile on huge runs and defend it with ease. They move up to third in the rankings, though it is partly illusory, because of a run of form. The real test was only ever postponed.
|Rankings at 11th November 2013|
South Melbourne Town Hall. Taken November 2013