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.