Thursday, June 17, 2010


Ireland looked like beating Australia for a while last night. They bowled incredibly professionally and tight making the Australian batting look really rather rusty apart from Tim Paine's well made 81 and Cameron White's neat cameo of 42. The aggregate of 231 was nothing revolutionary but certainly one felt as if it would be very odd should Ireland run it down.

What a surprise then when the team's openers thrashed the bowling attack with a flurry of boundaries. They advanced to 80 without loss with a strike rate nearly double that of Australia. This was a brave and unexpected delight from the unheralded batsmen but truly it was as much the result of some very loose bowling. The steady Clint McKay was ordinary. Despite taking a couple of wickets Ryan Harris was awful. Doug Bollinger took no wickets and wasn't great but was better than these two. James Hopes took home the glory with a haul of five but as most of these were tail-enders or fools and there was little excellence in this. Ireland looked very likely to win the game at two points, the man who undid them both times is the superb and so often unheralded Nathan Hauritz.

Hauritz stemmed the flow of initial runs and lured Porterfeld to waltz onto the on-side only to defeat him with a delivery coming back into the stumps. Fatty Stirling then bludgeoned at Ryan Harris with a series of coarse shots that eventuated with a ball coming straight to the wicket. Wilson fell for no particularly good reason immediately after. Niall O'Brien and Alex Cusack made a decent stand and seemed to suggest what should have been an easily executed recovery. Hopes removed Cusack with a perhaps lucky LBW. Hauritz's removal of N. O'Brien was a wonderful trap that ended up with the wicket keeper. With him went his brother and more or less any chance of what for a while looked like a rather lovely upset. Gosh I would have loved to see Ponting's tantrum in such circumstances.

My dull reading pays little justice to the true charm of the game though. This was more than a disengaged Australian warm up and a brave attempt at usurpation by a nation who might question the value of such an English institution in their land. The game was played at a school cricket pitch in suburban Dublin. Spectators sat about the boundary rope and hooted at the Australian fielders while with good will fetching the ball for them. There was something of the beauty of village cricket in the game. A young daughter of one of the comentators was discovered by the camermen stalking about in search of autographs. While given an interview she was far more interested in staking a greater haul than in hearing from her papa. Such a golden wonder of a day as well, I imagine it must have been heavenly to be one of the several hundered in attendance there. There ephemeral nature of the Northern Summer gives a rare pitch of beauty on such occasions.


Probably the best thing about Youtube are the user comments. They read rather like toilet graffiti. Some young turk makes an incedinary remark and then a bunch of fools take the bait and blow a lot of hot air around. Sometimes though they are simply charming. After chatting about how much I love Mitchell Marsh last time I found a video of him giving a very complimentary but in truth somewhat dull interview at the IPL. Far more exciting than the video though were the comments left upon it. My particular favourite is this one from MsEnriquelover-
I toh live in india . i cnt evn go wtch him play . But u know we r a cricket crazy nation.. n i m crazier bout d hot cricketers!! his hair . his dressing sense. he is so sexyy!! spclly in d ipl panties.
I agree with your sentiments madam. Aside from being a young chap of charisma and unassuming grace I believe there are signs of a truly magnificent nature in young Mitchell. During the IPL some of the Tibetan refugess living in exile in Dharamsala were asked their thoughts on cricket. Most were totally disinterested but one young fellow, a sort of juggling-dancer from the sounds of it, spoke of his friend Mitchell Marsh who came to see a cultural display of Tibetan refugees in Perth and befriended the performers afterwards. How magnificent is this young man, friend of the fallen and champion of the ladies. Let us marvel, let us revel.


Finally I am worried about this new breed of blonde haired fellows playing for Australia now. This is stereotyping but these young champions of the Australian idyll seem all alike. Unflappable, dull, slightly if not entirely bogan, tiresome.


I hope that I am wrong. Cameron White is a good solid chap. Steve Smith should be okay. When I saw Tim Paine's hair my heart sank a little though. I am sure he is a good enough chap, i'm probably just sore about the demise of Luke Ronchi.


Thursday, June 10, 2010


At times justice is meted. I ragged on in an earlier post about the ludicrous tattoo that Mitchell Johnson had stenciled on to his non-bowling right arm. Well the blasted thing has gotten infected. Dear reader have you ever seen an infected tattoo? They result in an awful, festy abscess that is both repugnant and dreadfully painful. It has booted him from the upcoming limited over series in England leaving Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger, the incidental additions of the summer, to cement their places along with young Josh Hazlewood.


With the first match due to start in just over a week there is a good possibility that no-one will care because there is a World Cup on. The comeuppance does not end here though! Craig Kieswetter, the charming young, slightly South African, but well mannered Somerset wicketkeeper who graced in the Carribean Twenty 20 competition has booted Matt Prior from the England ODI squad. Essentially this is one South African for another but such is the beauty of modern multicultural England, just look at the abundance of Eastern names in the current county Twenty 20 tournament. I do not like Matt Prior. He is bald and ugly but further has a rotten character. He proved himself such an absolute louse in the last Ashes series, a braggart and bully and nasty individual. The chap can bat awfully well though so this is quite a serious step. He's in form as well and made a neat near century in the recent test against Bangladesh. Kieswetter in contrast, barring a memorable performance in the final, rarely converted his promising starts in the Twenty 20 World Championship . The young one has exemplary footwork though and magnificent timing so lets hope he delivers and good triumphs over evil. If Andy Flower made this change then one can only imagine the coach has great expectations of this young protege.


Prior is the sort of chap one comes upon in short stories about village cricket. The bullying blacksmith behind the stumps who blows the bails off and denigrates the sport. I remember in the last ODI tournament in Australia our Southern nation wanted to make the ugly old replacement keeper Paul Nixon into the same sort of a villain. Suprisingly though given his face and rampant motor mouth he is actually a very affable sort of a fellow.


In sadder news Mitchell Marsh has sprained his ankle and so won't be able to play with the Australia A side against Sri Lanka. Trumper wishes its young gallant hero a speedy recovery and a happy convalescence with whatever he might be up to in the Perth winter.