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Cricket 38: Ashes Openers Crash and Burns

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England's tour of Sri Lanka is off by the way if anybody hasn't already seen.

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I'm surprised Australia and NZ are still playing - apparently players on both sides are being tested (Lockie Ferguson and Kane Richardson).

Given the ODIs are already being played behind closed doors, it's not exactly as if the cricket boards are going to be losing much more from this - although I suppose the broadcast rights are still valuable enough.

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Yeah that series is gone now given the Ardern decision.

This thread will sadly be very quiet from now on! Let’s hope we are back for the English summer, but I have a bad feeling about its prospects.

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Yep, cancellation of the NZ/Aus series was always likely to happen.

We're going to be starved of cricket for a while now.

On the tiny plus side, I guess it does allow players a rest from the relentless touring lifestyle which does take a toll on family.

Hopefully things can resume in a few months' time.

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Yes, no one can complain about too much cricket! Bangladesh v Australia series must be cursed - this will be the second series cancelled between the two sides in recent years.

Unfortunately the current situation may also impede the Test Championship, which I was kind of intrigued by as a way to increase the importance of bilateral test matches.

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In the absence of any actual cricket here's a collection of cricketers and cricket fans with too much time on their hands slowly losing it like the rest of us.

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I'm finding the absence of cricket, and any prospect of cricket, really hard. In my youth, rain delays meant old Test matches were shown on the BBC, I would kill for that, now. I know Sky are showing some old matches, but most of them are 20/20 or ODIs, in which I have little interest, The rest are just reshowings of highlight packages. The great thing about the old BBC rain delay matches was that some great commentator, like Arlott, West or Laker, actually told you a story about the match, and its changing fortunes, rather than just showing a succession of boundaries and wickets, and the contemporaneous commentary, ending with a celebration. The world is getting worse in every respect!

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On 4/4/2020 at 4:12 PM, Hereward said:

I'm finding the absence of cricket, and any prospect of cricket, really hard. In my youth, rain delays meant old Test matches were shown on the BBC, I would kill for that, now. I know Sky are showing some old matches, but most of them are 20/20 or ODIs, in which I have little interest, The rest are just reshowings of highlight packages. The great thing about the old BBC rain delay matches was that some great commentator, like Arlott, West or Laker, actually told you a story about the match, and its changing fortunes, rather than just showing a succession of boundaries and wickets, and the contemporaneous commentary, ending with a celebration. The world is getting worse in every respect!

I recommend getting on eBay and finding some good highlight DVDs! Bit old school, but there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching VVS on-drive Warnie through the rough in Kolkata, or Harmison nearly knocking Punter’s block off. YouTube also works pretty well!

Maybe we should start a top test cricket moments thread? Hehe.

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6 hours ago, Paxter said:

I recommend getting on eBay and finding some good highlight DVDs! Bit old school, but there’s nothing I enjoy more than watching VVS on-drive Warnie through the rough in Kolkata, or Harmison nearly knocking Punter’s block off. YouTube also works pretty well!

Maybe we should start a top test cricket moments thread? Hehe.

Thanks!

 

And great idea on the top cricket moments. You go first!

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On 4/4/2020 at 9:12 PM, Hereward said:

In my youth, rain delays meant old Test matches were shown on the BBC, I would kill for that, now.

It's not on tv, or from that long ago, but the BBC are replaying the TMS coverage of the Headingley test from the Ashes last year. I've only just noticed so it's Day 3 today.

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I've spent a bit of time lately doing Youtube runs...there are some good highlight packages out there.

I just amused myself by watching half an hour of the infamous abandoned Test. Atherton, Stewart and the lot were lucky they didn't get killed and at least walked away without any broken bones.

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8 hours ago, Jeor said:

I've spent a bit of time lately doing Youtube runs...there are some good highlight packages out there.

I just amused myself by watching half an hour of the infamous abandoned Test. Atherton, Stewart and the lot were lucky they didn't get killed and at least walked away without any broken bones.

I was at that game!  The England Team were amazing and came out to meet the fans and sign autographs.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Mosi Mynn said:

I was at that game!  The England Team were amazing and came out to meet the fans and sign autographs.

Wow! You were a part of history.

It was a real shocker for the West Indies and I can imagine all the England travelling fans must have been incredibly angry. I'm guessing people probably got given tickets to the makeup Test after that but not everyone would have been able to change their travel plans. Obviously not the England team's fault so glad they did what they could.

It was amazing to see the half-volley flying over the keeper's head and then next ball a back-of-a-length grubber that bounced three times before it got to him.

Reminds me of my club cricket days when we played on a pitch that was pretty normal except for a huge divot well wide of off stump for the left-hander. We batted, thinking there was no chance it would come into play, but then once during the match one of their medium-pacers came around the wicket to our left-handed captain in a mischievous attempt to make use of it. He bowled a crapload of wides, but once in the match he actually hit the divot and our man chopped onto his stumps as it viciously changed direction so sharply that Murali or SK Warne would have been proud.

Edited by Jeor

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I think they offered re-funds for our tickets, but I kept mine - because, as you say, it was a historical match!  We were in Jamaica, so it was no real hardship :cheers: (that's rum in those glasses!).  I remember the tennis-ball sized bruises on Stewie and I think Thorpe's arms.

Sky are showing Stokes' heroics from last year's Headingley Test again.  It just gets more extraordinary every time I watch it.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/7/2020 at 3:03 PM, Hereward said:

Thanks!

And great idea on the top cricket moments. You go first!

Ok here we go. It won't surprise anyone that Australia is on the receiving end of the majority! Plus they are more skewed to batting than perhaps I'd like. But these are the moments that have stood the test of time in my memory. 

  1. India v Australia 2001, Chennai, The winning runs: In what is probably the greatest three-test series of all-time (and my personal favourite series ever), it all came down to Day Five in Chennai. India needed just 155 runs for victory, but some superb catching from Mark Waugh reduced India to a dicey 7-135. Zaheer Khan batted manfully for around half an hour to get India within a few runs of victory, but when he was dismissed India still needed five runs. In walked the man-of-the-hour: Harbhajan Singh. He and Dighe got India within two runs of an unlikely series win. McGrath was steaming in against Singh. Everyone in India was on the edge of their seat. I was on the edge of my couch yelling at the screen. And somehow Singh squeezed out the most awkward offside shot in history (at 54:40) to score the winning runs . I'll always cherish that moment. 
  2. Australia v England 2001, Headingley, Mark Butcher's 173: This is my favourite test innings of all time. Butch's innings truly defied the odds: he was up against the nearly invincible attack of McGrath, Gillespie, Lee and Warne, with English test cricket at a (very) low ebb after drubbings in the first three tests. Many would say that the recent Stokes innings was better, but in my view Stokes was dealing with a far inferior opposition. A good illustration of how good Butch's innings was comes in one particular Gillespie over (at 13:40), when England was within striking distance of an unlikely win. Butch climbed into a glorious square cut and held the pose, right leg coming off the pitch like a dancer. Smashing shot that. 
  3. Australia v England 2005, Trent Bridge, Giles' winning runs: Of course this series had to be in the mix, but I'm going for Giles' winning runs at Trent Bridge as my favourite moment (at 5:42). I know a lot of people remember Edgbaston as the best test of that series, but I preferred Trent Bridge. It was at the pointy end of the series and Australia had bounced back so well to save the Old Trafford test (another epic test match), that I thought Australia would hold on to the Ashes (again) in the later tests. The climax at Trent Bridge match was incredibly tense, with Warne and Lee blasting through England's top order. But the plucky Giles held his nerve and made a crucial 7* to see England home. 
  4. New Zealand v England 2002, Christchurch, Astle's bonkers 222: This is the only knock on the list that I didn't watch live, but I've watched the highlights reel so many times over the years and I never get tired of it. Nathan Astle: you little beauty. Just watch this clip! The expression on Nasser's face throughout is worth it. And so is the sound of leather on willow as Astle flays Caddick and co. all over the park. 
  5. Pakistan v Australia 2002, Colombo, Akhtar ripping through the Aussies. I remember being so excited about this series. Australia was of course very strong in the early 2000s, but I was really (foolishly) bullish on this particular Pakistan side. I thought the attack of Akhtar, Younis and Saqlain might cause trouble on tracks that spin and reverse. As it turned out, it was an extremely forgettable series with Pakistan's batting falling into a heap against Warne in every test match. But. There were a couple of spells from Akhtar late in the first match that redeemed everything. Against some of the best batsman of the modern era, on a relatively dead track, Akthar bagged Ponting, both Waughs and Gilchrist. Oh and Gilchrist was clean bowled off a searing shoe-crushing yorker (at 5:13) (one of the only times I ever saw Gilchrist completely beaten for pace in his career). It was an amazing, exhilirating couple of spells from the man that personified Pakistani cricket. 
Edited by Paxter

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Posted (edited)

1. England v West Indies, 1976, Old Trafford. Cricket's greatest commentator trying to kill the world's toughest OAP,  This was the first series I remember watching live. There were some great moments in this series, but this is the one I remember most vividly.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60GAhXvU90k

2. England v Australia, 1981, Headingley. Not Botham, but R,G.D. Willis, RIP.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtPw_Ztlm_Q

3. England v Australia, 2010. Melbourne. What a first day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWN_aVZ0hQU

4. England v Australia, 2013, Durham. Broad in one of his unplayable moods. I watched this at the ground with the always lovely Xray and Misunderstruck. Great day out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6t8HVj9yLU

5. England v Australia, 2019, Headingley. Superman doing his Superman thing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wamtTEVFDiA

 

 

 

Edited by Hereward

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For me:

1. England v Australia 2005, Edgebaston. It's probably the most obvious choice ever but as an England fan brought up on relentless crushing defeats to Australia in the 90s and early 2000s nothing else in cricket really comes close to the 'holy shit, I can't believe this is happening' euphoria of the 2005 Ashes. Edgebaston turned it up to 11 after coming into the series with a bit of hope only to have it cruelly snatched away in the first test, then it felt like it was happening again until England snatched the win instead.

2. South Africa v England 2010, Newlands. Specifically Grahams Onions and Swann holding on to deny a rampant Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel and retain England's lead in the series. A really good test series overall between two very good teams probably at or near their peaks but that felt like the key moment. There was an excellent partnership between Bell and Collingwood that looked like it was going to take England through far more comfortably only for a little mini collapse to make it look like all was lost.

3. England v Australia 2019, Headingley. I don't think it really requires any explanation.

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3 hours ago, ljkeane said:

For me:

1. England v Australia 2005, Edgebaston

I’m with Paxter on this series, the Trent Bridge match was the more memorable moment for me.

Another Ashes moment that no one’s mentioned yet - Cardiff 2009, Jimmy and Monty holding out for over an hour to get the draw.

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Posted (edited)

My recollections are too rambly to go into a list, but just thought I would put one out there that people wouldn't necessarily remember: Lara's 153* to guide the Windies to a win by 1 wicket over Australia (Scorecard here) at Bridgetown.

Funnily enough this one might be nostalgia more than anything else. I think I had just started secondary school, it wasn't shown on TV so I was listening to this over the radio, and this four-Test series between Australia and the West Indies was probably the first one where I really followed the whole series through and read every scrap of news article and commentary all about it (previously I'd watched matches, of course, but they were never really connected up in my mind). The Internet wasn't really around in a big way so I was reading Dad's newspaper every day and listening on the radio in the early Australian morning to the last session of each day's play.

The 1998/1999 Australian tour of the West Indies was probably one of the greatest ever series for an individual batsman. It really was Brian Lara vs the Australians, they still had Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose but the West Indies were definitely on the decline and for one brief series Lara managed to single-handedly resurrect the team, in the seven innings he played he scored 213, 153*, 100 and 62. The course of the series was also a classic comeback tale:

In the First Test, the Aussies thumped the Windies by 312 runs, in the last innings chasing 364 the West Indies were infamously bowled out for 51. Ridley Jacobs was the only batsman to get to double figures. It looked like the tour was going to be a complete walkover and that the power of the West Indies was completely gone.

In the Second Test, Australia scored a not-too-imposing first innings total of 256, but the West Indies were soon effectively 5/56 in reply (Pedro Collins retired hurt). It looked like El Collapso was going to happen again with the 51 still fresh from the last match. Into the breach stepped Lara with an imperious 213, but he was only able to do this because he was ably supported by the last recognised batsman, Jimmy Adams, with a painstaking 94 off 252 balls to hold up an end while Lara did his thing. In the third innings, the West Indian offspinner Perry took a surprising five-wicket haul and the Windies were off to their first win of the series to tie it up at 1-1.

In the Third Test at Bridgetown (my nomination for one of the greatest Test matches ever), the Aussies scored 490 in the first innings (Steve Waugh 199, Ponting 104) and yet still managed to lose. A Sherwin Campbell century led the West Indian response, but with Lara crucially out for 8 this time, they still conceded a first innings lead of 150+. But Courtney Walsh then struck with a crucial five-for to roll Australia for 146, leaving the Windies a tantalising 308 to chase on a fifth day pitch.

The top order fell over again and it was looking gone at 5/105, until Lara (153*), up until then playing a lone hand, was joined by a familiar face - Jimmy Adams again (another dogged 38 off 125 balls) holding up an end to get them within striking distance and looking like winners. But suddenly Glenn McGrath ripped out three wickets within the space of 10 runs, bowling Adams and dismissing the wicketkeeper Jacobs and offspinner Perry LBW first-ball. Both sides then headed for a very nerve-wracking tea break!

It left the Windies with 60 runs to get with only two wickets in hand, those old warhorses Ambrose and Walsh, but with Lara still at one end and the obviously key batsman. With the series tied up at 1-1 this was a crucial match and it was right down to the wire. Ambrose hung in for a while, until with 6 runs to go he was dismissed fending at a ball and screaming at himself as he walked off the pitch, Lara having taken the dangerous decision to expose him with 4 balls left to go in the over.

Joining Lara at the crease was Courtney Walsh, the 36 year-old former captain, a genuine bunny at No. 11 with the then-record number of ducks in Test cricket, who was coming in after tea with McGrath and Gillespie steaming in and Warne ripping them on a fifth day pitch. He survived five balls in the end, Lara inching them closer until the scores were tied to bring up his 150, with Walsh needing to survive the final ball of the over. He did, and in the next over it was appropriately the captain Lara who thumped the winning runs to win by 1 wicket. I've just watched the Youtube highlights of the fifth day here.

After all that, the Fourth Test was a bit of an anticlimax. Lara hit a brilliant 100 off only 84 balls, but Australia won handily by 176 runs to draw the series at 2-2. In the end, I guess three out of the four matches were actually not very close, but through the course of the series there were so many momentum changes that it still sticks in my mind as one of the greatest series I've ever followed.

It was a real changing of the guard; the Australians were now becoming the top Test team in the world and the West Indies, so dominant through the 80s and early 90s, was really fading. But Brian Lara was raging against the dying of the light and his batting genius, along with one of the longest-lived and legendary opening bowling partnerships at the end of their careers (Ambrose, 35 and Walsh, 36 had one final hurrah) and the fighting spirit of a future captain Jimmy Adams revived the West Indies for one brief glorious moment, possibly their final stand before spending the next 20 years in the wilderness. And that Bridgetown Third Test was, I think, one of the greatest matches ever. Steve Waugh says it was the greatest match he played in, and he played in 150-odd.

EDIT: So it seems I rambled on much longer than I thought.

Edited by Jeor

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It’s easy to get carried away, isn’t it?  Too many amazing cricket moments.

The whole of the 2005 Ashes: the two best teams in the world at the time; it was the first time I saw England win the Ashes; the culmination of England dragging themselves up from the bottom; beating McGrath and Warne just once; one of the best bowling attacks England ever had; Harmison’s savagery (and smile); Freddie; England’s fearlessness; Vaughan’s calm leadership; Ponting losing it; the Aussies celebrating a draw; everyone in the country being totally in to it … I could go on …

England v West Indies 1995 – when I fell in love with cricket

Any last wicket escape, of which England have had many – Leach and Stokes definitely top this pile!

Any of Broad’s Hulking out moments.  Also enjoyed his one and only Test century.

England’s World Cup wins – we can do it!

 

Actual “moments”:

Athers’ 185* - I didn’t know sport could do that.

Freddie’s last bowling spell at Lord’s: he was injured; he was determined to get his name on the board; it was his last chance.  Only Test cricket can do this.

England v Australia T20 2005 – the only time I have been there when England beat Australia!  T20 was still new and frivolous at the time.  It was the first cricket played between the two sides after all the talk, and all of the players and fans were totally up for it.

England deciding not to play the World Cup match in Zimbabwe in 2003.  It should never have been up to them – but they did the right thing.

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