Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pakistan win: Humble Pie Time

Ok time to eat an humble pie (whatever it is). My prediction for the second test got wrong. Pakistan managed to win by 4 wickets against Australia, though it was far narrower than it sounds. Since the time I made the prediction, the match swung wildly from one team to another. Aamer destroyed the Aussie middle order. Then Paine & Smith consolidated, before Smith went ballistic enhancing my belief in an Australian victory (Aside: Does Steven Smith have the highest batting average for someone making his debut as no. 8 batsman). Pakistan were set a target of 180. Farhat dropped by Watson and then Butt got out. Farhat and Azhar Ali consolidated. And Pakistan seemed to be coasting to victory before Bollinger took out 2 wickets.
When play resumed 4 more Pakistani wickets fell before Gul scored the winning runs. There was acontroversial moment as well wtih Hussey claiming Kamran Akmal's catch. In the end Paksitan just about won.

Ricky Ponting is now ofiicially Australia's worst captain in England.Has lost 2 Ashes series, got knocked out in the 1st round of the T20 World Cup, lost to England in ODI series this year and has now lost a test to Pakistan (first in 15 years). Not that he is a bad player or captain. Its just a statistical anamoly.

P.S. This deserved a 3 test series. They should have dropped those 2 mindless T20s at the start of the tour and made it a 3 test series. But will the ICC listen?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Prediction Time: Pakistan-Australia, Headingley Test

MCC Spirit of Cricket Series
(At stumps Day 2, Aus 88/10, Pak 258/10, Aus 136/2)
As I write this, Australia are trailing by 34 runs at the end of Day 2 with 8 2nd innings wickets in hand. After their terrible performance in the first innings (shot out for 88), not many would have given them a chance to win. But at the end of Day 2, they are the ones who will call the shots. Pakistan are seemingly ahead at the moment. But memories of Sydney earlier this year are too fresh for anyone to make a heavy bet on them winning. After all the team currently down is Australia who have made a habit of making comebacks from seemingly hopeless situations (which is why they are a champion side). And they are facing Pakistan who define unpredictability (And Australia haven't lost a test to Pakistan in a long long time). Given the match situation, Ponting and Clarke looking in good touch and Hussey yet to come and Pakistan's self-destructing batsmen (as evident in all 3 previous innings on this tour, losing wickets in a heaps to Watson & North, Australia's 5th & 6th bowlers), I can safely predict an Australia win for this match.

P.S. I like the name of the series, far better than the other test series going on (Micromax series)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

800 and Gone

India vs Sri Lanka, 2010, 1st Test, Galle.
Muttiah Muralitharan had announced that he would be retiring after this match. The all time highest wicket taker was 8 short of 800 wickets. And as I had predicted in my previous post, he did take those 8 wickets. Pragyan Ojha, whatever he may go on to do in his cricketing career will always be remembered as Murali's 800th and last test victim. The landmark was reached in almost perfect manner possible. Ojha was the last Indian batsman dismissed. India had a very small lead which the Lankan openers reached without any trouble.
Murali's fairytale retirement marks the end of a legendary test career. No other bowler may probably even come close to his tally of wickets. (There was a column in cricinfo which showed how much better he was over other bowlers). He was one of the major reasons in making Sri Lanka the force they are now in world cricket. He had his controversial moments. The chucking allegations never went away since he was no-balled in Australia. He was labelled a chucker though tests proved otherwise. In fact his bowling probably improved after the allegations. But off the field there was never any single controversy. 
Muralitharan will not bowl in Tests ever again. The unorthodox action will not be seen nor will those bulging eyes. Time to bid adieu to a true legend of the game. That there was more interest in whether he would reach the 800 mark than if India could save the match shows the level of respect for him. In fact many Indians (yours truly included) wished for rain to help save India the Test but only after Murali had got the 2 wickets to reach to 800.
Goodbye Muralitharan.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Here We Go Again

After having spent a month watching, mostly unknown footballers in action in the World Cup, its time now to move on to a bit more familiar territory. India - Sri Lanka cricket matches. :P
So its a 3 match series between 2 teams who must be really bored of playing each other.
The first match is also going to be Muttiah Muralitharan's last test for his country. 792 wickets.Will he get to the 800 mark? I think so. Its time to salute one of the greats of the game (forget the controversial action, he is a a true LEGEND).
Series forecast - Given the state of India's bowling line-up, Sri Lanka to win 2-0.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cricket is back

The World Cup football is finally getting over tonight. It was fun while it lasted. And unlike cricket it is a pretty simple game. So simple, in fact that an octopus has been correctly predicting the match results. 
And now for the cricketing action. There is an Australian tour of Pakistan going on in England right now. There is Bangladesh tour of England also going on simultaneously. And India A and West Indies A were also playing there. So England is the place to be if you are a cricket fan. 
Bangladesh finally managed to beat England at senior international level yesterday with a 5 run victory in the 2nd ODI. Now they have victories against all the test playing countries in some format of the game. It was a bit surprising though England should have been the final frontier for them. 
In the World Cricket League Ireland continue to prove that they are currently the best Associate team.
And my team India is going to play again (:)). And they are playing a 3 match test series (:D). They are going to play Sri Lanka (again :( wtf ). Can India-Sri Lanka matches be banned?

P.S. this is the 50th post in this blog.