28th December Cricket

West Indies resume on 91/6 and look absolutely doomed, trailing Australia by the width of the Pacific Ocean

South Africa resume on 137/6, 166 runs behind England with Dean Elgar on 67* and the tail tantalisingly close

Two contrasting tests, but worrying noises coming from each of them. The action in Melbourne is sadly predicatable. Australia’s top order made hay, compiling four centuries, and then routed the top order. I’ve seen a lot of comparisons to Bangladesh here, but this is more worrying than that. The decline is precipitous. There are good players here, playing incredibly badly. Samuels is no muppet but is playing like one. The bowling isn’t great, but it isn’t these record partnership or appalling scores bad. What is going on here? I’d be dead surprised if, on waking up tomorrow morning, this game isn’t over. It would take a resistance not seen thus far. Here’s hoping, but this lot look shot. That’s shot.

Meanwhile in Durban there are worrying noises about AB and Steyn packing it in after this series. AB is 32 in February. He’s brought so much joy to us in the past couple of years in particular. He’s the little guy who can do unbelievable things. If he is to retire to the circus of T20 and ODI, I fear for tests. The story reportedly is being denied, but would you think it is outside the bounds of possibility?

TLG has done his thing below – if you haven’t read his round-up, please do – but I’d add a little comment on Dean Elgar. His innings has been incredibly important, and looks even mores so given the travails of two of the home team’s rocks – Amla looks a pale shadow of the colossus of three years ago, and Du Plessis is so far adrift, he could be disappearing over the horizon. Elgar, unheralded, largely unloved and certainly not one for the purists has grafted, had some luck, but is still there. He’s scored at a pacier clip than Compton who has come under some stick from many quarters, but is doing much the same job.

This test is a slow burner, but you must praise the way Stuart Broad has bowled. Now the brains of the outfit has little time for us bloggers, but we aren’t all bad, and his dismissal of AB was a work of beauty. I could almost hear Glenn Gregory’s most famous concentration as the leg cutter induced AB to poke his bat out to it, and the nick might have sealed South Africa’s fate. Elgar and Bavuma resume tomorrow with the hopes of the Proteas on their shoulders. After these two, there’s Duminy and the bowlers. This could get ugly, this could get decent. As TLG says, that’s why we watch test match cricket.

The next Dmitri Award post will be up on the blog during the day (I have two more on the stocks), and TLG will be on day review duty. Keep the comments coming.

Almost forgot, there’s an ODI too in New Zealand. Sri Lanka have won the toss and are batting.

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26 thoughts on “28th December Cricket

  1. SimonH December 27, 2015 / 10:48 pm

    Any links/sources for the ABDV/Steyn retirement rumours?

    Like

    • d'Arthez December 27, 2015 / 11:28 pm

      Apparently it was in the Afrikaans news.

      http://www.netwerk24.com/Sport/Krieket/ab-dale-verlore-20151226

      The article mainly focuses on de Villiers, who apparently was unhappy with the selection of Philander for the WC semi among other things. If you need a full translation. Also the Test series in India seems to have contributed to the possible retirement plans for AB from Test cricket.

      Also mentioned is that Philander may opt to play county cricket in 2016. Whether that means international retirement or not is left unsaid, but since it is mentioned that Philander’s international future is in doubt, it could well be.

      Like

    • d'Arthez December 27, 2015 / 11:29 pm

      I meant to say, that if you need a full translation, just give a shout on the thread, and I’ll see what I can do. The article is not that informative to be honest.

      Like

  2. Mark December 27, 2015 / 10:54 pm

    ABDV, Steyn, McCullum, all maybe packing it in? Giles Clarkes master plan to make cricket all about the big 3 is working perfectly.

    Not sure world cricket can carry such losses at the moment. But who cares? Just as long as there are back to back Ashes, and India every other year.

    Like

  3. d'Arthez December 27, 2015 / 11:37 pm

    Sri Lanka won the toss, but 81/6 suggests that they’re really not that well settled. Top 5 dismissed cheaply again (Mathews and Gunathilaka topscored with 17).

    Dave Richardson must be cursing every word he utters, since the complete opposite of whatever he says seems to come to pass.

    Like

  4. Escort December 28, 2015 / 1:02 am

    Sri Lanka getting a worse hammering than even England got from NewZealand in an ODI

    Like

  5. pktroll (@pktroll) December 28, 2015 / 9:13 am

    It seems as though Windies put in a bit of fight on the 3rd day but only really delaying an inevitable comfortable win possibly by tomorrow.

    As for the SA v England game. It has been a fine performance from England but a top century from Elgar has kept SA going for the time being. They have now brought the 200 up so perhaps there could be a few more late innings runs that keep down the lead?

    Like

  6. Grenville December 28, 2015 / 10:09 am

    It is a cracking game. I’m going to try to forget the horror. Well done Elgar, but what a performance in the field by England.

    Like

  7. Rohan December 28, 2015 / 10:25 am

    Great to check the scores this morning and see that the Windies made a fight back of sorts, better than rolling over for just over a hundred! We need competitive test teams from countries such as the WI, SL, NZ etc. let’s just hope the big 3 work this out sooner rather than later…….

    Elgar’s century has kept SA in the game; it really was a great knock.

    All this Anderson is the ‘leader of the attack’ rubbish, how will Broad go now Anderson is injured rubbish, in the MSM really irks me. As LCL, TLG and others on here have pointed out on numerous occasions, Broad has probably been the ‘leader of the attack’, since, and including, the ashes whitewash of 2013/14. His stats over the past 2 years have been brilliant. Why are the MSM so blind to this………again, yesterday, he proved his worth.

    Sad to hear the rumours about Steyn, ABDV and maybe even Philander, hope it’s not true. The cynic in me would guess it’s because of the big 3 carve up and the fact they don’t get prestige 5 test match series anymore and play the supposed best 3 teams (Eng, Aus and Ind) less now. As well as all the other stuff surrounding the changes made by the big 3.

    Like

    • Escort December 28, 2015 / 11:13 am

      Nothing really to do with the big three carve up, it’s the packed schedule he has and that he now has to keep wicket which is something he doesn’t want to do

      Like

    • d'Arthez December 28, 2015 / 1:22 pm

      It seems it has something to do with the big three stitch up.

      By which meritocratic measure do the West Indies deserve a four Test series in the Caribbean against India, while South Africa barely can get two Tests in South Africa? If you want to compete against the best, you know, it would help you get the opportunity to play against the best. South Africa are hardly getting the chances. The test series against India was the first since England’s last tour (2009/2010) of 4 Tests. That is nearly 6 years. And obviously, milking the Ashes is a higher priority for the ECB than playing against South Africa, as the schedule shows.

      England – South Africa series are comfortably the longest (in terms of fixtures) that South Africa get, by a long shot. All other teams average less than 3 Tests / series, with the exception of the West Indies (always 3 Test series in the recent past, and when the West Indies were better, the series were longer). Australia less than 3 Tests / series, India the same story. Pakistan same story. New Zealand, same story. Sri Lanka, same story.

      Little known fact, but it was in 1970(!) that South Africa last played a Test series of 4 or more Tests against Australia. All the talk of SA – Australia Test series being a supreme battle of fast bowling and batsmen playing fast bowling, is just that. The moneymen veto long series.

      It takes two boards to tango, but given that the promised payments for the ICC stitch up were less than promised by Giles Clarke, Srini, and Edwards, that just means CSA will be forced to schedule more ODIs / T20Is instead of Tests, to get the money in. Which of course means, less point in playing Tests, if you can hardly get a series of a decent length.

      The other issue is the politics of South Africa. To say that all is not going well in the country, seems to be quite the understatement. As the forced selection of the WC semi shows, political interference seems to be creeping in in selection matters, and those may well have played a role in handing AB the gloves

      Remember, in the immediate aftermath of the horrific injury Boucher suffered, AB said that it was a temporary solution. 3.5 years down the line, he is again the wicketkeeper. And it is not like de Kock, Vilas, and all the other wicketkeepers are lost in an expedition in the Amazon jungle.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. SimonH December 28, 2015 / 10:33 am

    First innings lead of 89 on a turning and uneven pitch. Very little chance of weather interruptions.

    Game over.

    Like

    • d'Arthez December 28, 2015 / 11:35 am

      Not game over yet. 9 out of 11 batsmen can’t bat as badly again as they did first up, can they?

      Cook gone for next to nothing. Undoubtedly that means the English MSM will have to belittle Steven Smith’s runs against the West Indies, painfully oblivious of how average Cook’s record is against quality attacks.

      Like

  9. Arron Wright December 28, 2015 / 11:17 am

    That colossal bellend was on at 10:35, switched off; just switched on and he’s STILL summarising! WHY?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. d'Arthez December 28, 2015 / 11:36 am

    Another injury for Steyn.

    Like

    • SimonH December 28, 2015 / 11:53 am

      Shoulder muscle injury – TV had some footage of him obviously feeling it before play started.

      With only two days break before the second test he has to be out of that as well. Whether we’ll see him again in the series (and, if one wants to be really apocalyptic, in test cricket) looks doubtful.

      Like

  11. greyblazer December 28, 2015 / 12:31 pm

    Graeme Smith really sledging Compton from the comm box. Slow scoring is not allowed. Didn’t someone say the English radio were doing the same?

    Like

    • Escort December 28, 2015 / 12:45 pm

      Only Swann on TMS as far as I’ve heard or have been told. Compton could very easily have the last laugh in this game especially as he’s just been dropped at slip. Great game at the moment

      Like

    • d'Arthez December 28, 2015 / 12:56 pm

      The thing is of course, that Graeme Smith is a South African. So he is (probably) hired to give a South African perspective.

      The likes of Swann, who basically tell us to get behind the team, no matter who plays, doing it to their own team, are being a tad hypocritical.

      Like

  12. Escort December 28, 2015 / 1:03 pm

    Has any comment been made as to why the ball was changed by the umpires?

    Like

  13. Tuffers86 December 28, 2015 / 2:16 pm

    Gower is on air apologising for an errant feck again.

    Like

  14. paulewart December 28, 2015 / 4:06 pm

    Will be interesting to see how the ABDV saga plays out. You’d like to think that the SACB would be smarter/less cynical than the ECB the last time a cricketing superstar requested a lessening of his workload…..

    Like

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