Monday, August 31, 2015

Arbit Stats #46: Opening Low

The ongoing India-Sri Lanka series has been a a bad one for the opening partnerships. After 12 completed opening partnerships, the highest opening stand is 15 - which is the lowest, opening stand in any series featuring three or more Tests ever.

Kudos to Dhammika Prasad, Ishant Sharma and co. for this achievement.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Galle 2015 - The Soon to be Unremembered Classic

Test Match #2176, Sri Lanka vs India, Galle

It had all the ingredients for a Test Match Classic – A match about which reams of newsprint should have been written and thousands of blogs published. One to been remembered for ages. Yet somehow it wasn’t.

Day 1&2: The home side began by winning the toss and getting knocked over for a paltry score on the very first day. The tourists take a huge lead of 192 runs built on the back of a huge third wicket stand which itself surpasses the home side’s tally. And then quickly remove both the home team’s openers for ducks by the close of the second day’s play. They are in the driver’s seat with not many thinking of the match going beyond the third day.

Day 3: The nightwatchman is dismissed off the very first ball. Little partnerships happen but the big wickets keep coming. At lunch with half the side back in pavilion, the home team trails by nearly hundred runs and an early finish to the day is on the cards. But their wicket-keeper has other ideas and produces one of those fearless, nothing-to-lose counter-attacks. The deficit is chipped away rapidly and then the lead starts building up. A small one at first, it soon enters the irritating category and then progresses into the “we have a match on our hands” zone. The home side eventually get dismissed after setting a 176 run target. The visitors lose one of their openers but watch out the rest of the day’s play. They are still very much in driver’s seat. 

Day 4: Its the Independence Day for the tourists. But the runs are very hard to come by as the batsmen are shackled up by the home spinners. The same spinners who had no effect in the first innings. The wickets have start tumbling. One after the other, the visiting batsmen are snared. And the home side manages to secure a big come-from-behind victory. Meanwhile the visitors are left stunned, trying to figure out how this dramatic turnaround came into being.

As if the dramatic action on the field wasn't enough, there were lots of other stories
  • The series is the last for one of the home side legends. The home supporters are taking every opportunity to bid a grand farewell to their hero. 
  • The tourists have a new captain who has been talking a lot about playing aggressively and getting the results after having spent quite some time getting hammered all around the globe.
  • The tourists get a big first innings lead based on one big partnership featuring a man playing with a hairline fracture in his hand. Add the chance that he might not even have played this game if his regular opening partner had not been injured.
  • The home side’s wrecker-in-chief in the second innings is an ageing, rotund spinner who himself is coming back from injury. He picks up seven in the second innings after none in the first. Quite a turnaround in fortunes.
  • In between one of the visiting players sets a new world record for the most catches by a non-wicket-keeper in a Test match.
  • And finally, it was one of the Big Three playing against a (relatively) tiny cricketing nation. The richest team in the world taking on a team whose players sometimes are not paid (One of their ex-captains on being fined by ICC said, first I need to be paid to be fined).
An exciting match, a dramatic turnaround, a potential David vs Goliath battle, a retiring legend, records getting broken, players battling through injury, umpiring errors – in short all the ingredients to be count as an all-time classic.

Except it was another India vs Sri Lanka match – already forgotten.

A lesson for the cricket administrators here - contests need a context. And rivalries are developed with time not frequency

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Jharkhand Domestic Schedule: 2015-16 Season

The home season is around the corner and as is wont with all the cricket boards, some more tinkering has been done by BCCI for the coming season. While the Ranji Format remains the same, the Vijay Hazare & Syed Mustaq Ali Trophies have undergone a revamp. The zonal structure has been dropped and the teams have been divided into four groups. Also the Mustaq Ali Trophy has been brought forward to be played ahead of the IPL Auctions (although there is a question mark on IPL itself, but that's another issue) so that the teams get a better idea of the domestic players. 

Slipstream Cricket will try to continue following the Jharkhand team's fortunes in the new domestic season. Last year wasn't a good one though the team did try some promising youngsters. Lets see what the new season has in store.

Following is the team's schedule

Ranji Trophy - Last season was a bad one, though there was a flourish at the fag end with two outright wins in a row, but the team is still in Group C.
  1. October 1-4, 2015: vs Services (A)
  2. October 8-12, 2015: vs Saurashtra (A)
  3. October 15-18, 2015: vs Kerala (A)
  4. October 30 - November 2, 2015: vs Goa (H)
  5. November 7-10, 2015: vs Jammu & Kashmir (H)
  6. November 15-18, 2015: vs Tripura (A)
  7. November 23-26, 2015: vs Himachal Pradesh (A)
  8. December 1-4, 2015: vs Hyderabad (A)
The knock-out matches will take place after the conclusion of the Vijay Hazare & Mustaq Ali Trophies.

Vijay Hazare Trophy - In the revamped groupings, Jharkhand is in Group B
  1. December 10, 2015: vs Jammu & Kashmir
  2. December 11, 2015: vs Gujarat
  3. December 13, 2015: vs Kerala
  4. December 14, 2015: vs Haryana
  5. December 15, 2015: vs Karnataka
  6. December 17, 2015: vs Railways
All matches in Karnataka
These will be followed by the knock-out stages. The Vijay Hazare Trophy winner also plays in the Deodhar Trophy

Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy - Groupngs have revamped like the Vijay Hazare Trophy. Also a great opportunity for the players to shine and land an IPL contract. And maybe stake claim for a place in the 2016 T20 World Cup squad as well.
  1. January 3, 2016: vs Tripura
  2. January 4, 2016: vs Rajasthan
  3. January 6, 2016: vs Punjab
  4. January 7, 2016: vs Jammu & Kashmir
  5. January 9, 2016: vs Saurashtra
  6. January 10, 2016: vs Kerala
All matches in Kerala. 
These will be followed by the knock-out matches

Jharkhand play Jammmu & Kashmir is all three formats.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Arbit Stats #45: Spinning Ducks

Test Match No. 2176 - India vs Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka 2nd Innings
FDM Karunaratne b R Ashwin 0
JK Silva b A Mishra 0

Thus becoming the first pair of openers to be both dismissed for zero by spinners in the same innings.

Combination of spin-friendly pitches, innovative captaincy, good bowling and scorecard pressure.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Bell Rings in 5 Urns

Slipstream Cricket would like to congratulate its patron saint, Ian Bell on his tremendous achievement of being part of five Ashes winning campaigns - only the second Englishman after Sir Ian Botham to do so since the Second World War.
Says a lot about the longevity of Bell and also the frequency of the Ashes Clashes - he has also been part of 2 losing campaigns including 2 whitewashes Down Under.

Image Source - Cricinfo

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Arbit Stats #44: Surnames

Found this gem from twitter.

England's playing XI for the Trent Bridge Test:


11 names comprising of a total of 53 letters between them - the smallest tally in the 2175 match history of Test cricket.

Just to put a perspective to this figure - Sri Lankan XIs usually have more initials than this.