The much anticipated test series in South Africa started overnight and all the Australian batsman bar Cameron Bancroft got a start and did not go on to get a century. I have always said that 350 runs in the first innings of a test match is par and at the time of writing the Aussies need another 125 runs with 5 wickets in hand. Our bowlers can bat a bit so hopefully one of Mitch Marsh or Tim Paine go on to make a ton and this would place Australia in a good position to win the test match. Cameron Bancroft must be one of the luckiest players in world cricket at the moment, he has had nine innings at the top of the order and if you take out his 82 not out in the second innings of the first Ashes test he is averaging less than 13 runs. Peter Hanscombe had three failures at the start of the Ashes with one of those innings being a 32 in difficult conditions in Adelaide and he lost his place in the team with an average of 47. He must wonder why someone who hasn’t proved themselves gets more chances than he got. I certainly do!
Earlier this week Robbie Gray from Port Adelaide chose to challenge a suspension for a head high hit on Jeremy McGovern. The AFL has changed the process this year and Michael Christian is the sole arbiter on penalties so in my opinion the tribunal was never going to overturn the first challenge to one of his decisions. To my mind this was a complete waste of $10,000 by Port Adelaide.
Winx, the biggest name in Australian horse racing, makes her return to the track this weekend and again it is hard to see her getting beaten. The only real chance could be the VRC Derby winner Prized Icon who may have an edge in fitness.
Have a great weekend!!
I didn’t see a 3-0 start to this Ashes series on the cards but after watching the first three test matches, it appears Australia’s bowling
is a cut above the English and the Aussie batsmen seem to have been able to make runs at important times in each match. With the Ashes firmly in our grasp, all the carping at the selector’s decisions prior to the first test seem like so much hot air now. Just stuff to fill tabloids and the internet. I think we over analyse things at times.
Before the Perth test I didn’t think Peter Handscomb deserved to get dropped and when Mitch Marsh bowled only nine overs without taking a wicket I thought the selectors had pulled the wrong rein. How wrong was I? Marsh came out and made 181 and his partnership with Steve Smith probably won the test match for Australia. Perplexingly, at the start of the English second innings he only bowled three overs and that was it for him for the match. I thought he was brought in by the selectors to support the bowlers but he only bowled a total of twelve overs across two innings. I am perplexed, but on his batting alone, it is hard to say the selectors got it wrong.
I was a supporter of Tim Paine from the start of the series and now people are starting to sing his praises. As I mentioned at the time he
was always considered to be the heir apparent to Brad Haddin, but finger injuries cruelled his chances and now he is getting his opportunity and taking it with both hands, literally!
The Melbourne test is now a dead rubber, but day one is sold out and last time the English were here it was also a dead rubber with over 90,000 people attending that game. Seemes everyone loves a winner.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year and we will muse again in the New Year!
It was announced this week that Kevin Sheedy was returning to Essendon in an ambassadorial role on something like $250,000 a year over 4-5 years. To me this is waste of money and it also smacks of desperation. Perhaps the club have been given an indication of the likely findings of the AFL tribunal and feel they need to muster some public and corporate support by a past club great not tainted by the current situation. However, in my opinion, to have Sheedy in that role is somewhat misguided. As the coach of the club he did a wonderful job promoting the club and building up the profile of the club whereby at some stage in the 1990s the Essendon Football Club were considered to have most number of supporters of any club in Australia. I think as the coach of the club he had a voice and because he was often quotable he got a lot of press, but I doubt he will carry the same degree of weight in the media in the role of a club ambassador. I am happy to be proved wrong.
Michael Clarke has been criticised for not batting against Afghanistan the other night and it was probably the same people who laud him as an astute captain. I think he made the right call. Clarke is not an explosive batsman who can pummel an attack to all parts of the field. He is a technically correct batsman who has to build an innings. With the state of play in that game he was better off allowing the likes of Glenn Maxwell, Mitch Marsh, James Faulkner & Brad Haddin to increase the run rate. Clarke has as ODI strike rate of less than 80 and the others are all around 100 or more so he made the correct decision in the interests of the team where the run rate may influence the ultimate position in the group stage.
Have a great long weekend!