For the first time in 86 years, the Ashes has seen a whitewash. And from the moment the cricket became a sideshow to the three retirements, it was always clear that there would be mini battles that would be played out.
And so there were. McGrath vs Warne, Langer vs Hayden and not for who will win it, but who will complete the final rites. As it turned out, McGrath got the last wicket and Hayden scored the winning runs. But the biggest result of this Test would be that Australia have come to the end of an era.
And there is finally hope for a new generation of players to make their mark. And this applies to players from other countries too! Maybe now someone can beat Australia!
Australia’s next Test assignment is an easy one against Zimbabwe (albeit away) in September. But thereafter come 6 Tests against Sri Lanka (2) and India (4). And this would be a real tester for them before their away tours to Pakistan and the West Indies in 2008. So time is on their side for rebuilding.
But a big “thank you” is in order for McGrath and Warne for being the fantastic sportsmen they have been and to Langer for his grit and making opening batting an art. Thanks, guys. You will be missed…
Disclaimer: This has nothing to do with the current Ashes cricket Test.
People are stupid. I am one of them. But after reading this story, I feel smarter! Why? Because even if I did plan a trip online, I normally would not end up 8,000 miles off course!
A twenty-one year old German tourist planned to take a trip to Sydney, Australia, but wound up 8,077 miles off-course — headed instead for the small oil town of Sydney, Montana, after mistyping his destination into a flight booking Web site. The man didn’t notice anything was wrong until he was about to board a flight from Portland to chilly Montana, dressed in summer vacation clothes.
And his mum thinks he’s good with computers. Sure, he must be. He booked the flights and travelled, didn’t he? It’s the thinking part he’s not good with!
It’s indeed very rare that India goes into the final Test of an away series with a chance of winning the series. They do have the chance this time around and would be foolish not to have a go.
But they are also in a peculiar situation because a draw would allow them to come back home without losing the series and that doesn’t happen too often when India travels! But the first thoughts must be to try and win and if not, then draw. Well, d-uh!
But for India to win, there are some things that need to happen:
- Sehwag must not play: Apart from a couple of good catches, he has contributed nothing to the team so far. Sure he picked up Morne Morkel’s wicket in the SA 2nd Innings at Durban, but that cannot be why he is in the team. He is an opening batsman and scores of 4, 33, 0 and 8 (avg: 12.25) are simply not good enough. On the other hand, Gautam Gambhir, who played the makeshift two-day game between the first and second Tests, managed a 79*. So if Irfan Pathan can be sent back on grounds of being ‘not in form’ without even playing a Test, Sehwag can surely be sent back after failing in two.
- Munaf Patel should play: VRV Singh has done a pretty good job of it so far, considering he has played only 4 Tests so far, but if India are serious about winning the series, Munaf Patel simply has to play. And now that he’s fit and Vengsarkar feels he has had enough practice too, it won’t do any harm in fielding him in the final XI.
- Someone needs to talk to Dravid and Tendulkar: VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly have shown signs of a fight. Tendulkar did that only on the third day until he threw his wicket away. Someone needs to tell him that his wicket is the most important in the team and losing that has psychological effects on both sides. Of course he knows it, but reinstating that could not hurt. As for Dravid, maybe one of the touring commentators (like Gavaskar or Shastri) could have a word with him and tell him to just hang around… he is crucial to India’s success and the link between the top order and middle order. His failure is instant pressure on an already underperforming middle order.
- Umpiring needs to be fair and consistent: While neither team can control this, the ‘uncertainty’ from umpiring decisions needs to be taken away. Asad Rauf giving Dravid out both times to bad decisions is unacceptable. So is Sreesanth’s decision in the fourth innings at Durban. Who know what could have happened after that? And while it has been said often, there is a desperate need for more umpires on the ICC Elite panel. Even David Shepherd thinks so. And yes, I think the third umpire too should be neutral.
I sincerely hope India makes it through… not often that the bowling is making the opposition (home) dance to its tunes! And please watch out for Ntini!
Oh, and about the other Test series going on (yes, the Ashes), England may as well forfeit the game, say it’s 0-5 and save themselves some pride for the ODIs coming up. The stage (with three retirees) is simply too big for them to perform on now. Prediction: Australia should win by an innings and plenty!
And we are not just referring to the new year (oh, yes Happy New Year!)… but more retirements are now happening and the latest announcement comes from Justin Langer. This effectively breaks what is arguably Australia’s best opening pair since Boon and Marsh! Any replacements in sight? Maybe Matthew Elliott… he would still be just about 32. Or Greg Blewett… 34?
Over the last few months, I have progressively noticed that Nokia is getting staid in its designs and almost ‘following’ other manufacturers. Where is that robust originality Nokia was known for?
There are plenty of phones being launched by the Finnish manufacturer, but none that excite me anymore. I don’t think my tastes or choices are so strange because what I want is available from other manufacturers.
Nokia has tried their hand at PDA phones and other high-end stuff, but are perhaps finding it difficult to break away from their image of being a ‘junta’ phone. Sony Ericsson, on the other hand have managed to carve a niche for themselves and with their P990i, are actually getting into the PDA market that has some rather loyal followers of models like the Nokia Communicator and even some Palm and Windows Mobile phones.
Up until March this year, I was a die-hard Nokia user. Then I got bored and frustrated that they were not doing anything new. So I went on to O2. And then to Motorola and now I am using a Sony Ericsson. Very happy!
Wake up, Nokia!
I no longer feel ashamed to say that my Hotmail account is still active! Especially after I finally joined the Windows Live Mail Beta. It was a pleasant surprise to finally see hotmail look usable. And the other small changes to it like change of themes and layout at a click (using options drop-down) is awesome.
So that’s now the third Windows Live service I am using after Windows Live Messenger and Windows Live Writer (used to post this too!). What’s next?
Bring it on!
India v South Africa (2nd Test, Durban): Scorecard
Far too much frustration has come around. India has suffered at the hands of tailenders on many occasions. But this particular effort by SA may just hurt badly.
The 10th wicket partnership between debutante Morne Morkel and Makhaya Ntini was worth 32 runs. Prince and Morkel put together 39 for the 9th wicket. So the last two wickets cost India all of 71 runs. When the opposition top 8 have fallen for 257, you expect to wrap up the innings for approx 275. Tsk!
Australia would have!
UPDATE: India has been bundled out for 240. Conceding a lead of 88 runs. As predicted above, the last two partnerships that yielded 71 for SA have proved costly for India. Else the lead would not have been more than say 30 or 40. How costly? Two and a half days to go to find that out!
The Daily News & Analysis reports that China is further censoring information leaving the country. After working their minds over in limiting Google and internet services, they have now proposed to make weather reports inaccesible to ‘foreigners’.
“Illegal meteorological surveys and data collection have infringed China’s sovereignty… and threatened the country’s security,” the paper quoted CMA Vice Minister Zheng Guogang as saying.
Yes Minister, indeed. So those of you travelling to China and looking for weather information, please plan well in advance. You wouldn’t want to land up with a pair of shorts when it’s starting to get chilly, would you? You too need to censor!
No sooner than Microsoft Vista has hit the computers (pun!), have hackers and other experts hit back!
On Dec. 15, a Russian programmer posted a description of a flaw that makes it possible to increase a user’s privileges on all of the company’s recent operating systems, including Vista. And over the weekend a Silicon Valley computer security firm said it had notified Microsoft that it had also found that flaw, as well as five other vulnerabilities, including one serious error in the software code underlying the company’s new Internet Explorer 7 browser.
Right, so let’s get ready for the next round of MS bashing, shall we?
Scribbler on the Net will soon have a new home. And just so I don’t forget, here is a list of things to do before I make the new URL live…
1. Theme changes
- a. Change top banner (immediately)
- b. Create more top banners
- c. Remove the blue stripes from the back
- d. Can fonts (body text) be changed to Tahoma?
2. Ad code (?)
3. Move posts
Finalise list of Blogroll
5. Stylesheet finalisation
6. Copyright Notices
- Creative Commons
There has often been research that defies logic and longstanding beliefs or theories. Drunk driving is one such theory. It is rightly assumed (supported with enough proof) that drunk driving is generally not the smartest thing to do. And while that theory still holds good, there is new research that suggests it may not be an entirely lost situation…
The University of Toronto team found head injury patients who had drunk low amounts were 24% less likely to die than those who had not had any alcohol.
This, from an article on the BBC.com site. Whatever the research may suggest, the text between the lines says that there is a 24% “less” chance of death. No “24% less deaths”… In any case, I would like to know how and why such half-ready research gets published. Half knowledge is a dangerous thing. And when one’s drunk, it’s even tougher to read between the proverbial lines, eh?
Have a safe Christmas and New Year’s!
First it was Martyn. Then went Warnie. Then it will be McGrath. That leaves the current Australian team with only a few seasoned campaigners, all of who are well into their 30s. Let’s face it, Ponting’s not exactly young at 32. Neither are Gilchrist, Hayden or even Hussey for that matter. Maybe Hussey has the most time left.
But 12 months down the line, the Australian line-up could well look dramatically different…
- Matthew Hayden (35 yrs)
- Justin Langer (36 yrs)
- Ricky Ponting (32 yrs)
- Michael Hussey (31 yrs)
- Michael Clarke (25 yrs)
- Andrew Symonds (31 yrs)
- Adam Gilchrist (35 yrs)
- Shane Warne (37 yrs; retiring for sure)
- Brett Lee (30 yrs)
- Stuart Clark (31 yrs)
- Glenn McGrath (36 yrs; retiring for sure)
This would remain largely unchanged (perhaps with the exception of Andrew Symonds) till the final Ashes Test, but the next Test Australia will play after that would see a very different side indeed…
Matthew HaydenAny takers? Justin LangerAny takers?
- Ricky Ponting
- Michael Hussey
- Michael Clarke
Andrew SymondsHe may HAVE to play!
- Adam Gilchrist (?) How long?
Shane WarneStuart MacGill?
- Brett Lee
- Stuart Clark
Glenn McGrathShane Watson?
This makes only 5 of the current 11 certain starters (subject to fitness, form and selection). Not a nice situation to be in. What’s worse, is that none of the new crop would get a chance to be groomed alongside the two great bowlers. And let’s face it… Brett Lee isn’t exactly mentoring material yet. He himself has a long way to go before he can be considered someone who can groom upcoming bowlers.
The average age of the current Australian side is 32 and a half years! And if they keep blooding players at 31, that will always remain the case. But so long as they are winning, what’s wrong with that?
The trouble is that at some point, they would run out of experienced quality players who can be called up from domestic cricket to face the vagaries of the international scene. Just take a look at the differences of the careers of Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke. Both bat in the middle order and both have had some good times. But after a rousing start, Clarke fell away and was on the sidelines for a short while. Which is when Hussey came in. To be honest, they are both captain material as well and Australia would do well by appointing the younger one as the next captain. Ponting should perhaps start the ‘grooming’ process immediately, if he already hasn’t.
One generation of Australian cricketers has perhaps already missed the boat. People like Hussey and Clark (Stuart) are lucky that they got a chance so late. Clark owes it to the burned out Gillespie while Hussey owes it in part to Steve Waugh, Andrew Symonds and maybe even Michael Clarke!
But to be fair, the future doesn’t look too promising and while the larder may not exactly be bare, it appears rather thinly populated at this point. For most names that are often discussed or recommended are in the ‘late bloomers’ category.
In some way, this is following the trend that the great West Indian side of the ’80s faced. The last two of that legacy, Walsh and Ambrose, had to struggle to keep it going. Australia may well be headed down the same path unless they take some risks in the short term and set things right for the long term. A crop of players like they have had over the last 20 years is rare and even by their standards, it will become rarer again.
One hopes that in the rarified air of high success, they don’t lose sight of the crowd at the bottom that is perhaps ready to be given a chance.
Waddle they think of next? Maybe a browser that can make me coffee and bring me someone elses money. Wait! They already have that. It’s called keylogging!
One drawback: I cannot upload a photo. Something that the Windows Live Writer allows me to do. Sad!
Just had to post this one. Sure it’s available all over, but this shows my support of his actions! So, enjoy the Sreesanth Tango!
Without making a religious statement, I would like to point readers to this article: Haj pilgrims can now buy animals through Internet.
The real killer in the implementation of being able to “buy animals for slaugher on the Internet”, is this:
The bank would send an email or SMS messages to pilgrims who have purchased coupons confirming that the slaughter of their animal has been carried out.
But there is a obviously a reason for this e-commerce model. And for the bank running this (the Islamic Development Bank): “This will enable the IDB to build up a central data base that will help in planning for the best utilisation of slaughterhouses,” bank President Dr Ahmed Mohammad Ali has said.
The Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) further reports:
Islamabad, Dec 18 (IANS) After Eid greetings and marriages through the Internet, Pakistanis can now turn to websites for Qurbani – the sacrifice of animals on Eid-ul-Azha.
Several websites have on offer traditional sacrificial animals – goat, sheep, camel and cow – and the billing is done through credit card. Customers can either donate the animal directly to the poor or take home the meat from the trust office, the Daily Times reported.
‘The online booking is for people who are busy and do not have enough time to visit offices or markets,’ said Shakeel Dehlawi, public relations director of the Karachi-based Alamgir Welfare Trust International.
‘We started the service two years ago but few people were aware of it. Now we have a good response from Internet users.’
Sahara, the life trust of singer Abrarul Haq, also sells animals online. US-based group Islamicity and Life for Relief and Development offer this service to Muslims around the world.
And the Ulema have approved of the practice.
‘I see no problem in it, even if the payment is through credit cards,’ said Mufti Sarfraz Naeemi, head of Jamia Naeemia.
‘But it is important the credit card user pay the qurbani amount instantly so he saves himself from interest,’ he added.
Interesting times we live in, surely!
The first Test between India and South Africa had its share of controversy even before the first ball was bowled. There was Graeme Smith (and coach Mickey Arthur) doing the mandatory lip service about how India would face the pace music and how he had plans for India’s batting with his pacers. Well, they worked to some extent. Then there was the delay on day 1 because of too much sweating due to an over-enthusiastic groundsman getting the pitch wetter than necessary. But then, the games began. And SA seemed to be on top!
Until the SA bowling ran into a man making a comeback with much to prove. Sourav Ganguly was the only man to cross 50 in both first innings and remained unbeaten on 51 when the last Indian wicket fell for 249. Not the best score when you have won the toss and elected to bat, but given the pitch (and how it was doctored to suit pace), this looked competitive.
Little would the curator or either team or the fans have guessed that this score would be big enough to afford India a 165 run lead! Thanks partly to Allan Donald who put some sense into the Indian bowling advising them to stick to line and length! S Sreesanth who has always been hyperactive and shown great promise, made good this time and came up with figures of 5/40; his best ever. And as all commentators repeatedly said, it was the upright seam that made the difference.
India’s second innings tottered for a while until M/s Ganguly and Laxman steadied the ship.
India already have a lead in excess of 311 but half the team is out and on this pitch which is easing up marginally, chasing 350 may still be possible. Having said that, the Indian bowling attack does have more variety than the SA team does and with Anil Kumble already having tasted blood, the odds are heavily in favour of India.
A special note about Andre Nel: I like the man for his energy but I find him extremely anal when it concerns his behaviour. He needs to grow up and quickly considering he is already 29! No matter how much you can outtalk the batsmen, it’s finally the wickets you can pick that will make the difference. And he doesn’t seem too smart either. All his short stuff was dealt with pretty easily by the Indian batters and the couple of wickets he did pick up were off good-length or just short of a good length deliveries. Line means nada to him and I am talking of the lines he would bowl with the ball not his mouth!
For once, India
has a chance to go has gone 1-up after the first Test on an overseas tour and I would hazard the prediction that India would win. A caveat: India needs to ensure that SA are chasing more than 400 (ideally, more than 450). This means Laxman, Dhoni, Kumble and Zaheer (and now VRV Singh) need to ensure another 90-odd runs are scored among them. Not too tough one would think, but stranger things have happened in this Test. Remember, all 10 SA wickets have fallen for 84 in the first innings! (Told ya!)
Update: Well, my prediction came through (whew!). India did manage to set SA more than 400 (402, to be precise!) and are now 1-0 up in the series. Not a normal situation for India to be in. The interesting part here would be how they handle the pressure of being the favourites to win a series. For the South Africans will come back hard at them. The next Test is at Durban, not the most favourite of India’s venues, but they should hold on based on the performance in the first Test. The only missing link really now is the opening batsmen’s forms…
What was also really good to see was that Sreesanth delivered in the second innings too. This goes to prove that he is not flash in the pan and can become one of the strike bowlers if he can stay fit, focussed and add to his repertoire without losing what he already has: a natural flair for the game.
And, oh… the lips seem to have gone a little numb now:
“The wicket played quite slow on day one but it quickened up quite a lot on day two. But for us to get bowled out for what we did was obviously not good enough. Credit to them, they got the ball in the right areas and created chances consistently. They were a lot more precise than us the whole Test match. We did get the highest total of the game in the fourth innings but all credit to India. They have got their first win and congratulations to them.”
Yes, Graeme, the pitch was slowed down with extra water before the game and then quickened by drying on day 2. Way to go, Einstein.
Well, I definitely didn’t! And if you are telling me that you know what an Aglet is, then sir/madam, you are a more learned person than I. Not that you otherwise won’t be, but just! So here’s an interesting list.
And no, I have not done the research. This has come via Canongate and the link was from a good old friend Gautam D.
… is the Hyundai Verna Xi. First day report: I love it!
Check it out on its site. More info as more driving happens!
So is it good news? Certainly! I am no longer a resident Mumbaikar, but I will start trying for those tickets right away. Never mind that there’s a World Cup to go before that!
My previous experience at the Wankhede was quite unforgettable! India vs England in 2003, I think. And more recently at the Brabourne, it was even better sitting in the press box watching Sri Lanka hammer the West Indies in the ICC Champions Trophy 2006 qualifiers. Ah! What a view that was!
The point here is I don’t care which stadium hosts the final, it’s an unforgettable experience. But I seriously hope it happens at the Wankhede. Knowing the ICC’s commercial requirements of a “clean stadium” (i.e. sans any advertising committments), it could well happen at the CCI (Brabourne). That was the reason the Champions Trophy matches for Mumbai were not played at Wankhede!
So this is the story of Goliath and Goliath Jr. No room for any Davids in this story. Not at least according to Steve Berkowitz, head of Microsoft’s online services group! He says:
“…Yahoo! is likely to end up becoming a smaller player relying upon third party services.”
And then he goes on to deliver the knock-out punch. Why MS and Google will rule the world:
“You have to be able to invest at a level that only right now two companies in the world can invest at and that’s Google and Microsoft.”
Hm. Maybe what he says is true. But so far, it’s only true on the money in the pockets part. Let’s see what Vista does. Then maybe Google’s online Office suite may change the dynamics!
Indiatimes.com homepage at approx 6pm (Dec 11, 2006)
The above headline implies that the Sensex fell to below 500 points. While the fact is that it fell BY about 500 points. And the story is correct. This is some editor messing up on the prepositions. Or a brain!
Story page image: [Link to story]
Do you know a right-arm fast bowler by the name Morne Morkel? I did not. But now you will. For he has crushed the Indian top order in their tour game. As India tottered at 69/5 (Lunch, Day 1), Morkel was responsible for 4 of those wickets including those of Sehwag (0), Laxman (23), Tendulkar (10) and Dhoni (6). Was he bowling hand grenades?
And these are the Big Guns of the Indian batting. God save India in the Tests! Incidentally, Ganguly (who has just flown in and has not had a chance to acclimatise, etc., etc.) was on 20* at last check. That’s twice as many as Tendulkar and well, more than 20 times as Sehwag! Go figure!
Live Scorecard [Cricinfo]
He’s a “peaceable” man, as Dileep Premchandran says on Cricinfo, but is VVS Laxman the next Indian captain? I doubt it. But he does have the unenviable task of leading India against the Rest of South Africa in the only tour match before the Tests begin. Of course, that’s because Virender Sehwag was releived of his responsibilites as vice-captain during the ODIs.
But the thing to remember here would be that Rahul Dravid [Captaincy Record] is still injured. And while everyone wants to believe that he will be back by the time the first Test begins, what if he doesn’t? VVS Laxman would have to lead India in the Test (s).
He has been praised for his captaincy in domestic cricket, but this is a different ballgame altogether! The pressure of a Test, the world watching… not easy. To top it all, there are three former captains: Sourav Ganguly [Captaincy Record], Sachin Tendulkar [Captaincy Record] and Virender Sehwag [Captaincy Record]. This, of course, not counting Anil Kumble who has been vice-captain and stand-in captain on random occassions!
So VVS won’t really have any problem in getting advise, but the true test of a captain is what he stands for. And that, I think, is where Rahul Dravid went wrong. But VVS has had a good time with the bat in SA averaging in the high 40s. So in terms of confidence, he must be ok…
In effect, the tour game against a second string SA team has just become more important than it should have been. Thanks to some poor performances and injuries, India sees (once again) too many changes when on tour.
My $0.02 worth: Don’t expect too much. Even if VVS can score 50+, that’ll be a bonus. A drawn game would be a huge fillip to confidence. (What have expectations come to!)
Shane Warne ia back and he’s doing what he does best: terrorising English batsmen! The latest installment in this 12-year payment programme came at Adeleide.
And some have likened his terror to that wreaked by hands running amok in an English castle. The story ‘The Beast With Five Fingers’ could well be Warne’s autobiography title except that it has already been taken by W F Harvey!
Anyways, Warnie’s more of a myth to the Indian fan having not had to see their team suffer at his hands. That, of course, is speaking relatively. But it sounds better when said absolutely!
Come on, Pommies! Stand up to him. At least once!
[Via: The Telegraph]
Australia snatched victory from certain draw and have almost regained the Ashes. Heroic performances by Mike Hussey, Ricky Ponting and that wizard of spin Shane Warne saw Australia snatch an incredible 6-wicket win in the 2nd Test.
Here are some interesting reactions from around the world:
Six & Out: And again please
24×7 Cricket: Pommie bashing!
24×7 Cricket: Nice record to have
The Burnt Bail: Hussey guides the Aussies!
Cricinfo: The greatest win, say Ponting and Warne
Cricinfo: Flintoff shocked!
In other developments, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohd. Asif find that they are now ban-less. Meaning, the doping ban on them has been lifted [News]. And how did this happen?
An appeals tribunal appointed by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) has exonerated fast bowlers, Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Asif of doping offences and lifted their long-term bans.
So what this tells me is that the entire exercise was a bit of a sham. The ban lasted all of 5 weeks. I smell a rat here and some fabulous planning. The PCB was rather proactive in banning the two players. This manouevering ensured that the ICC did not do any banning of their own.
And once the issue seemed to have cooled off, the PCB goes and lifts the ban. Especially on a day when England lost the “unlosable Test”, who would notice? We’ll know soon! More importantly, though, why was the ban lifted?
“The tribunal, after looking at every aspect of the case and hearing the arguments of the players, has decided to lift the bans and cancel the earlier decision of the drugs inquiry tribunal,” Hasib Ahsan, an appeals tribunal member, said on Tuesday.
What about the proof based on which the ban was imposed? Or is that unnecessary?