Brian Micklethwait's Blog
In which I continue to seek part time employment as the ruler of the world.Home
Brian Micklethwait on Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
Carolyn Mohr on The ups and downs of English
Michael Jennings on Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
priscila on The ups and downs of English
Simon Gibbs on Wedding photography (4): Preparations
6000 on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Darren on Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
Michael Jennings on Wedding photography (2): Signs
MarkR on Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
MNB Achari on Google Nexus 4 photos
Most recent entries
- Pictures from Georgia and Warsaw
- Cats without tails are not scary
- Big Things blocked by the trees of Southwark Park
- Wedding photography (4): Preparations
- Bookshops as Amazon showrooms
- Reflections on a strange coincidence involving an Android app and a malfunctioning bus stop sign
- Feynman Diagrams on the Feynman van
- Rothko Toast
- Wedding photography (3): Technology as sculpture
- And another posting from my smartphone
- Posted from my new smartphone
- Google Nexus 4 photos
- Wedding photography (2): Signs
- Wedding photography (1): The superbness of the weather
- A Fleet Street lunch
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6000 Miles from Civilisation
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Adventures in Capitalism
Alex Ross: The Rest Is Noise
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Category archive: Australasia
Incoming from Michael J:
Amongst other things, 482 was the most runs Australia have scored in a day in a test match since 1910, Michael Clarke scored 120 runs in the final session, Australia scored 202 runs in the final session, and Michael Clarke became the first player to score four double centuries in a calendar year. (He still has another two and a half tests to play). After all that, David Warner’s 119 off 112 balls earlier in the day almost looks an insignificant footnote.
And what’s more, 482-5 after 55-3.
I went to bed when Warner got out (210-4), figuring that at that point the big hitting had ended. Wrong.
Makes a change from this, doesn’t it?
This year, I really (although I promise nothing) want to do one of those “my year in photographs” postings, for Samizdata. The trick with such postings is to start assembling photos early, i.e. around now.
Trawling through the year’s archives today, with the above in mind, I found this fun photo, taken in the part of London where people grumble about how the Olympics haven’t helped them as much as they were promised.
Yes, it’s a pub dwarfed by modernity:
I wondered where exactly this is, and then I saw that three doors away from the Builders Arms is the West Ham Labour Party. So: West Ham. Although googling says it could be Newham, or Stratford. Eastenders land anyway.
The pub itself is not as unmodern as it is trying to look, being built in that Ye Olde Interwar Style with bogus half timbering. As one raised in the suburbs of London, I know the style well. An earlier version of the Builders Arms was demolished to make way for road widening, and that one is its replacement, built in 1937. That being the time when a lot of London’s suburbs got built, with lots of buildings looking just like that.
Osbert Lancaster’s phrase “Stockbroker’s Tudor” has just popped into my mind. While googling for images along those lines, I came across this, about the “Interwar Old English” style, as practised in Australia.
As so often with architecture, form follows fashion.
Having looked for longish periods like they might make quite a few more against Sri Lanka than England did, their last 5.0 overs turned into these 3.5 overs:
W . 1 1 4 . | 1 . 1 1wd . . W | 1 1 . W 1 . | 1 . W . W
Five wickets for thirteen runs in other words. All out 217. Very demoralising. NZ have to get early wickets, and expose Sri Lanka’s unpractised (because so far in the tournament not needed) middle and late order.
Thought. If Sri Lanka walk this like they walked it against England, this will make England’s demolition look less bad, which might just prolong a few England careers. But can NZ do this? Cricinfo:
Difficult to imagine them spooking Sri Lanka like they did South Africa.
And like England did too.
Well, NZ have made a start with the wickets. SL got off to their usual rapid start but Tharanga is now gone, brilliantly caught by Ryder. So my original title - “NZ not doing any better than England so far” - has had to be changed. How many more can they now knock over? (How bad can they make England look by comparison?)
I’m following it here.
It’s now rare for me to find a picture of a stylish new bridge that I haven’t ever seen before. Here is one:
That’s the nicest snap I’ve been able to find of the Seafarers Bridge in Melbourne. Other good pix of it here together with explanatory verbiage.
Here at BM.com, we now particularly like Melbourne.
Time for another string of weird symbols that mean everything to cricketophiles, and bugger all to anyone else:
1 W 1 . 2 1|W 1 . W
This Cricket World Cup would be a very poor sort of thing without England playing in it. I take a patriotic pride from the fact that England’s first four games have been just about the best four games of the tournament so far.
The non-English contribution to the tournament reached its nadir yesterday, when Sri Lanka and Australia, having contrived a very promising start, then had to watch this happen:
This fiasco having been preceded by the usual crop of proper-team-minnow annihilations. Like I say, thank goodness for England.
It all comes from England’s splendid habit, from the point of view of the tournament as a whole, of playing good against good sides, but bad against bad sides. Evens things out perfectly. Having damn near lost to the Netherlands and having actually lost to Ireland, and having damn near won against India, today they actually won against South Africa. South Africa are, or were, many people’s (including my) top pick to win this thing. The hyroglifics above are the concluding spasms of the England South Africa game that just ended. Broad: 6.4-0-15-4. Work that out, American women!
To me, there is something deeply admirable about a team which gives weak opponents a chance, but does everything it can to beat stronger ones. This is the definition of being sporting, is it not? After all, the game’s the thing.
Also, this good against good but bad against bad thing, if you think about it, augurs very well for England in the rest of the tournament. As the bad teams go, England will face only good teams, and will just play better and better!
The extreme opposite of England have been New Zealand. New Zealand have been crushing teams worse than them, like they’re going to win the whole thing. But when they have come up against a proper team, they have turned into total crushees. They are bullies, in other words.
TUESDAY: Better. The New Zealanders have finally picked on someone their own size to beat up. They batted first today against Pakistan, and the last six overs of their innings went for: 14, 8, 28, 15, 30, 19. Total 302. That’s within range for the Pakistanis, and it could be a great game.
By lunch on the first day of the fourth test at the MCG, Australia had already lost vital wickets, and also those of Hughes and Ponting.
I slept through the beginning and only awoke and searched out R5LiveSportX (my subconscious wanted to know what the score was) as they were discussing the wicket of Hughes, and right after that Ponting got out. Big news: Watson was already out. And then, just before lunch and just before a shower began, Hussey was out caught behind off Jimmy A.
After England went one up at Adelaide and before the previous test at Perth that Australia won
by an innings, I was a lone voice of sanity telling England fans to calm down and stop assuming that Australia was now a failed state. Now everyone will be wallowing hysterically in sanity, pointing out that Australia were four down by lunch on the first day at Perth and still won that one by several thousand runs. Now, everyone will be saying that England should not be counting their chickens and that four swallows do not make a test match morning.
Yes they do. Let me go out on a limb here and say that England have made a very good start.
. . . W . . | . . . . W . | . W
Australia 77-8. I told you it was a good start by England.
LATER: Australia 98 all out.
LATER: I just want to have this here as a souvenir:
It’s a slice from one of the set of photos at the bottom of this page.
The point being that good moments for your team in this series have a habit of being extreme, but fleeting. I don’t believe this has stopped. Ponting double century in the second innings anyone?
The third test in Perth got under way in the small hours of this morning without anyone getting out in the first over. Since Anderson of England bowled that over, a maiden, that was a definite setback for England. The last ball of this first over did see Watson being given out caught behind off his hip, but he knew he wasn’t out and the review system saved him.
But a wicket did fall in the second over. Hughes bowled Tremlett 2. So, some compensation for that early disappointment for us England supporters.
Tremlett, flagged up in my previous Ashes posting here, has already taken more wickets (1) in this match than the entire total of the wickets he took (0) in the earlier warm-up game against Victoria.
Now Ponting is out, caught Collingwood bowled Anderson 12. 17-2.
A lot can happen during a five day test match, but, on balance, I would say that England are just about shading it, so far.
During the recently concluded second test match between Australia and England at Adelaide, I wrote a Samizdata piece saying, basically: England supporters! Do not count your chickens before they are hatched! Now I say, switching to a different variety of bird: One swallow does not make a summer! Then as now, the fact that the leaders of the England team understand all of this perfectly is cause for England optimism, but only optimism.
Yes, England won that second game and won it well. But ever since then, the cricket commentariat has been ablaze with explanations of why England are now so unstoppably good and why Australia are now so incurably bad. Yet the very first day of this series saw England bowled out for 260 odd and, by the third day, way behind on first innings. Who is to say that something similar might not happen again, in a later test match? Yes, England recovered in that game. That doesn’t mean that a similar reverse in a later game will be so easily corrected.
I agree that England are now the favourites, as they were as soon as they had got ahead of the game in Adelaide. But all that this means is that England-to-win is a good bet. It doesn’t mean that England-to-win is now an inevitability.
I refuse to wallow in analysing why England are now better than Australia until the clear evidence is in that they really are. Australia without Warne and McGrath are clearly not the force they were. But have they declined enough, or have England improved enough, for England (thrashed 5-0 last time they visited) now to be definitely superior? Not yet settled.
Imagine the eating of words there would be if Australia won the next game. And imagine the disappointment in the England camp if that happened, and imagine what would then happen to the odds. Yet all it might take for such an outcome to come out is for Mitchell Johnson to find his length and direction.
I expect Tremlett to replace Broad in the England side. As one who closely followed Tremlett’s bowling for his new county (and my county always), Surrey, last summer, I believe that he might do quite well, and maybe very well indeed.
More Ashes thoughts from me, just before the fourth day got under way, here.
The way the cricket commentariat has been talking (including a certain commenter here), England are a shoe-in. Yet, just after lunch, Australia were 84-0 and looking good. At which point, I noted this comment at Cricinfo:
“At this point in the series, the teams are equal. Both have been bowled out cheaply in the first innings then fought back for draws (this Test will be a draw). The only difference is that England have looked better, and probably have less room for improvement.”
England are at a disadvantage, because they have “less room for improvement”. I like it! Seriously, it’s a shrewd comment.
But no sooner had I clocked it than Australia lost their first wicket, to what sounds like a wicked ball from England spinster Swann:
Swann to Katich, OUT, 53.0 mph, gone! Caught behind! That probing off-stump line and sharp spin has done for Katich. England went up in unison as soon as the ball exploded past the bat ... there’s a short pause and the umpire raises the finger.
“Exploded”? Suddenly England’s chances seem a whole lot better.
Last few overs:
. . . . . . | . W . . . . | . . . . . . | . . . . . . | . . . . 1 . |
Australia were rattling along until Katich got out. Now look at them.
Ponting out! 98-2. Caught Collingwood bowled ... Swann:
Ponting falls! Pushing with no great certainty and a delivery that didn’t turn nearly as much as the last one, the ball takes a healthy edge and loops gently to slip. Ponting stands at the wicket for several moments, he’s bitterly disappointed and can barely drag himself off.
As I’m pretty sure I noted here, the two final, wicket-taking deliveries bowled at the finishes of the last two England Ashes wins, at Lord’s and at the Oval, were both bowled by Swann. Will that be the story again? Could well be.
The town is the capital of the Riverina area, is New South Wales’ largest inland city and is known as the food bowl of Australia.
It means there have been some devastating crop losses with wheat and barley particularly affected.
There have also been floods in Queensland and Victoria with the added problem in Victoria of swarms of locusts.
Swarms stretching 16 miles have been reported - which make them the worst locust plague for 75 years.
Definitely not cricket. But that from, of all people, the cricket correspondent of the Sun. I’d blogroll this guy, but it’s not a blog, because you can’t link to individual pieces, unless I am much mistaken as I could well be. The above, I must therefore tell you, was dated today, Sunday Dec 5th.
That was pretty sensational. But how about this!?!?:
. . . W W 1 | . . . 1 . . | W
So, 2 for 3 (as we say in these parts) after thirteen balls.
It could have been even worse. A close LBW that the technology said was going over. A catchable caught-and-bowled chance. A couple of near played-ons.
But runs are now starting to flow. Australia could yet get a very decent score. Australia are now 36 for 3, after eleven overs. Latest score here.
But whatever else materialises, definitely first blood, this time, to England.
Well, that was one weird weekend.
If you dislike blog postings which ramble on and off in all directions at excessive length, then you had perhaps better stop reading this one now, because as I start writing this, I have a lot of things in my head that I now want to ramble on about.
For starters, I’m back being ill. A sort of permanent throat distortion, that makes coughing a constant thought. It never accomplishes anything, but I keep wanting to do it. More troublingly, I am starting to have mild stomach pains and headaches. A combination of the flue bug that is doing the rounds, and mild hypochondria, probably. (Although, a friend has now suggested that Lemsip might also be the culprit.)
Next up: my sleep patterns are shot to hell. Despite not having left London for about a year, I am now jet-lagged. The recent see-saw cricket match between England and Australia in Australia put the tin lid on that tin, but the tin was already there and filled with nocturnal wakefulness, put there by the extreme difficulty of getting to sleep when in bed, hugely exacerbated by that throat thing. Sleeping in my armchair early in the evening, with the television as likely as not blaring away, easy. Getting into bed, switching off the light, and then sleeping, not so easy. Hence the temptation of not even trying to go to bed until I really am very, very tired, and confident of getting quickly to sleep once the light is switched off, in other words very, very late. And once you do that a few times you’re stuck.
In the small and getting bigger small hours of Saturday morning, I decided to (a) attack the problem of non-productivity during the wide-awake dead-of-night and (b) thereby stay awake so long that I could solve the jet lag problem by adding another huge gob of it and cancelling it out, instead of vainly trying to subtract from it. Sleep all day Saturday, starting as late as possible, and get to bed at a proper time Sunday evening. That was the plan.
So, at about 5 am on Saturday morning, instead of going to bed, I wrote a (though I say it myself) ripsnorter of a posting for Samizdata called They are not liberals and they are not progressives, and then added what seemed to me to be a pertinent SQotD for good measure. In an early comment on the liberals/progressives posting, I expressed the hope that I might get lucky with linkage in the USA.
Meanwhile England had been taken apart in the cricket. This was the night (i.e. Australian day) when Hussey and Haddin were making their 300 stand. The blogging was partly an attempt to take my mind off that horror.
Finally, at about 9 am, I went to bed, the video set to capture all the rugby during the day on the telly, ...
To be awakened at about 10 fucking am by fucking banging in one of the very nearby, probably right next door flats. Someone was getting rid of a bookshelf or hacking away some plaster or some pipes or some damn thing. For two hours I lay awake, hoping it would stop. I gave up and got up. At which point, of fucking course, Sod’s Law cut in and it stopped and never resumed. But I did not know about that, did I? By the time I realised that the banging was over, I was wide awake again. This is the absolute only time that there has been such banging in the morning in the last three months. None before. None since. Bastards. Total, total, bastards. And yes, since you ask, I was very tempted to use full stops there.
Further albeit metaphorical hammering followed when England then got hammered at rugger by South Africa, despite having promised so much against Australia. In retrospect, what the rugby pros always say about how if you play behind a winning scrum attacking with your backs becomes massively easier ... well, that’s true. Australia have a weak pack. Genius backs but a weak pack. South Africa have a very strong pack, and very decent backs. I videoed the highlights of this game but have yet to watch them. So, England hammered at rugby and in the process of being hammered at cricket. The only two sports I really care about.
But, while I was sleeping or perhaps while I was later lying awake in bed cursing the universe, Instapundit had linked to They are not liberals and they are not progressives, adding extra punch to the title by calling it They Are Not Liberals And They Are Not Progressives, quoting the key paragraph, and adding, getting the point totally: “So what do we call them?” I could tell that something like this had probably happened even before I looked at Instapundit, because in my email inbox was a flood of emails resulting from a flood of comments on the posting, including many from people with totally unfamiliar names, and almost all of them intelligent and getting the point of it all. I had hoped that Instapundit would oblige, what with my point being about what American politico-obsessives of my persuasion call their local enemies (which is his kind of topic), if only with a one line posting, but of course you can never assume you’ll be Instalaunched. A posting with the money quote quoted was ideal. So, England are crap at rugger and cricket. These are mere games. This is the future of mankind, and my contribution to that future. My opinions are now echoing around the USA, and I haven’t even been there!
Some time Real Soon Now, I want to do another Samizdata posting about Instapundit and the difference he has made to life, the universe and everything, both a personal thank you and a thank you on behalf of the universe. People often do thank him, as here, for noticing this posting or (as here) a previous posting. People often digress about what a fine fellow he is, before getting stuck into some particular thing he likes to say, and how very true that is of how things are here in London or Toronto or Phoenix or Timbuktu or wherever. Not so often does anyone focus directly on the man himself and the man’s considerable achievement, with that being the point of the piece. But, has anyone - anyone - had more impact on the current political landscape of the USA, and hence the entire world, than Glenn Instapundit Reynolds? Name someone else. Seriously, think about that. And if you have any thoughts about this (I think) fascinating individual, please write them down as comments here. This even (in fact especially) applies if you do not share my very high opinion of Instapundit. Boring plonker, is he? Tell me why. You won’t convince me, but your inability to understand this person will flesh out my understanding of him, just a little. Because he is a bit boring, but only in the same kind of way that a quite complex machine, that is fantastically productive and which never, ever breaks down, is also boring.
A good global financial system would be boring too. But also, like Instapundit, it would be a very good thing.
Okay so on Saturday night and then Sunday morning, and having had pretty much no sleep the “night” before, I had a chance to clobber that jet lag by going to bed at a proper time. And I did, but then I wake up far too early, to have a piss basically, and I clock into Cricinfo just to get the bad news that will confirm how totally cricket is only a game, and England are ... 238 for 1 at tea on the fourth day. 238 for 1. Nearly level. This is too good to ignore. Cricket, after all, is an important matter. More than just a mere sport. It’s central to the way of life of two great nations at opposite ends of the earth, Britain and Australia, especially Australia. By the time England (as Britain’s cricket team is known (it has twice been captained by Scotsmen (most notably Douglas Jardine))) had reached 309 for 1 - 309 for 1 - at the close of play, I was wide awake again, and jet lag remained horribly undefeated.
And the next night was just as bad. When once again I should have been attempting an early night and many hours of slumber, England proceeded until near to tea time, reaching an unprecedented score of 517 for 1 wicket, which rather put Australia’s second innings of 481 (for 10 wickets) in its place, didn’t it? Would there then be a clatter of Australian wickets, perhaps even a sensational England win? Well, as it turned out, not. But how was I supposed to know that beforehand?
It is now Monday evening, and tomorrow I face the self-imposed obligation to be at the British Library at 1pm, to attend a lecture by Alex Ross, which will no doubt plunge my throat into a state of even worse ... worseness. Also, no chance of spending tomorrow in bed either. Also, I will have to venture out for food.
At least tonight there will be no cricket in Australia to postpone sleep. On Thursday night, it starts again, but tonight, and tomorrow night and the night after, there will only be darkness.
Even more depressing for England than the start made in the Ashes by Andrew Strauss was the start made by (until now) ace England spinner Graeme Swann, whose first ball got clobbered to the boundary, which set the tone for his entire effort so far from what I have heard. Hussey and Haddin took their stand to over 300 on day three, and England are now facing a first innings deficit of over 200.
Basically, England must now try to bat for two days, in other words for over twice as long as they batted in the first innings. England might manage to save this game. If they do, it will feel like a win, just as it did for them at Cardiff in game one of the last Ashes series in England. But you have to fancy Australia now.
Michael J’s pessimism is, however, undimmed. Incoming:
I am not convinced the Australian lead in the cricket means much. Three outstandingly good individual performances by Australians in the test so far, but otherwise they have been outplayed, I think.
On day four, another outstandingly good individual performance from another Australian would give them an innings victory, despite basically continuing to be outplayed.
Although, I remember reading about another Ashes tour, way back when, when England were beaten by an innings in the first test, and the writer of the book said (at the time) that they still looked the better team, and England then won the series 3-1, thanks to Frank Tyson.