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Sunday April 29 2007

Well, my weirdly timed spasm of rage about Murali’s action (see the immediately previous posting) has passed, and now, like everybody, I just want a proper game.  Thank goodness for Gilchrist, because his innings at least means that a truly classy piece of cricket is going to decide this contest.  We are at the stage where the rain, and the bad light - which was entirely predictable, they’re now telling us - is making this match end with a whimper rather than much in the way of a bang.  Sri Lanka are 149-3, and the World Cup Final looks like it’s going to be as big an embarrassment as all the other embarrassments in the rest of this shambolic and sad tournament.

What I want to know is: Why the F***K aren’t they using FLOODLIGHTS?  They’re faffing around, not doing anything.  It’s getting darker and darker, and this is becoming a global advert for the patheticness of cricket.  The commentators are trying to conceal their rage, and not doing it at all well.  “A fitting end to a very badly organised tournament.” I’ll say.

I had to take some videos back to Blockbuster, and after doing that I found a pub where they were showing this.  I stayed long enough to witness the turning point of the Sri Lanka innings, which was when the century stand between Jayasuriya and Sangakkara ended, with the latter being out caught Ponting bowled Hogg for fifty something.  With the ending of the first “power play”, i.e. period of compulsory close fielding, the boundaries dried up, and by the time I had got home again the weather had started doing the opposite.  They’re now saying that there will only be 36 overs allowed, to chase down the same total.  Was Duckworth the twat who decided that?  Or Lewis?  Or was it a joint decision?  Whatever, it’s insane.  They should have used floodlights. Sri Lanka now have to score at about 13 an over, and, well, forget it.

“What’s going on?  Tell us?” The commentators are getting nearer and nearer ballistic.  Bucknor stopped play, for no reason.  Now they’re going to carry on.  Perhaps Bucknor was receiving some kind of message in his ears, from the off-pitch umpire.  “Shilpa has some information.” What a farce.  154-3.  “They want the Duckworth Lewis on the scoreboard.” “That can’t be the reason, it’s always been there.” Commentator Agnew’s contempt is palpable.  “I think the Duckworth Lewis rate was wrong.” “It’s now showing 0.” 155-3.  “It’s all going pear shaped.” “Totally pear shaped.” “Oh dear.”

“Appeal for LBW.  It’s been given out.” Jayawardene.  Another huge nail in what for the last half hour at least has been the Sri Lankan coffin.  “It’s fizzling out.” “269 is the revised target.” “It’s fizzling out.  Horribly.  Embarrassingly.” “It’s all a bit hollow.” “Rain and cricket have never sat well together.” 10 overs to score 112.  “It will be very dark when they finish.”

Didn’t the cretins in charge of this farce realise that it would get dark, at that particular time in the evening when darkness happens in this part of the world?  (This part of the world being Barbados, by the way.)

Silva has just hit a six., but it’s too little too late too dark.

“They’re playing a floodlit match without floodlights.” That from Martin-Jenkins.  192-6.  They now need 14.9 runs per over.  “It would be kinder to call it off.”

Apparently the World Cup of 2007 is ending in a lightning storm of extremely visible flashes from hundreds of Billion Monkey cameras.  So I guess the light is still good, but uneven.  They’re photo-ing McGrath, whose last few moments of international cricket these are.

It’s all over.  “The umpires have said: it’s too dark.  It’s over.” “It’s a sorry end.  To have to abandon a match because it gets too dark.  A shabby end to what should be a showpiece of international cricket.” Australia “to all intents and purposes” have won.  Indeed.

Yes, well they went back on and played in the dark, as you know. The end was an utter and total joke. The best side won, which is something.

The odd thing about their having been no double century in a one day international is that Viv Richards very famously scored 189 not out in a game at Old Trafford in 1984, when nobody else had scored anything like that in a one day match before. Over the years scores have got higher and there have been quite a few scores over 180 and a few over 190, but none over 200. Every now and then somebody (sometimes Hayden, sometimes Ponting, sometimes Lara or Dravid, but in truth usually Gilchrist) gets going at a pace where it is clear that they will be over 200 if they are still there at the end, but then they get out. It will happen someday when a player in such a situation has luck go his way. It strikes me as a four minute mile type thing - once somebody does it others will follow very quickly. What I hope is that it does not happen first in some South Africa v Canada type game where Gibbs smites lesser bowling.

It would have been wonderfully ridiculous if it had finally happened in a World Cup final reduced to 38 overs. Wonderfully brilliant, too. In truth, the fact that the game was 38 overs meant that Gilchrist was taking even more risks than usual, so that he got out was not that surprising. Oh God, was he hitting the ball before that though.

There are suggestions that Gilchrist wants to retire. His captain Ponting clearly does not want this. After losing Langer, Warne, and McGrath he doesn’t want any more senior players to leave right now. I think Hayden will play on for at least a couple more years, but in Gilchrist’s case I am not sure. I think he may play the home series against Sri Lanka and India next Australian summer and then stop. (Or perhaps he might retire from one day internationals and continue playing tests for a little while).

Posted by Michael Jennings on 29 April 2007
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