Tag Archives: test-match

Friday musing – Test cricket, Jason Day, Marley Williams……..

Chris Barwin HillsWell Australia well and truly got a touch up in the 2nd Test in Port Elizabeth. Losing ten wickets for about 90 runs when the openers have put on 120 is just not good enough, no matter how good the opposition bowling is. Again there has been discussions about the Decision Review System with players being given out on very flimsy evidence and I remain of the view that the decisions should revert
to the central umpires unless they call for a review.

I would also like to make a comment about the umpires allowing the extra thirty minutes of play at the end of Day 4.  Having granted the South African’s the extra thirty minutes, I think the umpires were under extra pressure to see that it was justified.  Ryan Harris was given out LBW by umpire Dharmasena, when that umpire had hardly made decision all test and it was such a marginal decision that the commentators thought on first view that it was too high, but the ball tracker showed it just clipping the stumps so he was on his way.  They had no say in Rogers poor decision to take a run, but then Lyon was given out when he snicked the ball into his pads.  Two LBW decisions that could have gone either way going against the side who didn’t want the extra thirty mins justifies the umpires decision to allow the extra time.

I don’t know if it made any difference as I didn’t hear if the forecast rain arrived the next day.  Either way the South Africans deserved to win and whomever wins the toss in Cape Town will probably take the series.

Well another great performance by Jason Day to take the World Matchplay Championship and go to No 4 in the world.  He could have wrapped it up a lot earlier, but he got there in the end despite the Frenchman executing tww of the best saves you will see in a long time.  It is my prediction that he will win a major this year, more than likely one of the US tournaments.

I lot of discussion this week about Collingwood FC player, Marley Williams and whether he should be playing football given he has been convicted.  Given the hysteria surrounding Andrew Lovett and Stephen Milne who weren’t or haven’t been found guilty perhaps the discussion has been rather muted, but I think he should be able to play until he is sentenced.  He is a young player who needs the distraction of preparing and playing football, if he gets a custodial sentence he is out of the game anyway, but if
he gets a suspended sentence, then he has missed games that he probably didn’t have to.  Any working person in the same position would have the expectation that they could work up until they were sentenced.

It would seem that the wheels of ASADA are now turning and hopefully the conclusion to the Essendon FC supplement scandal is not as drawn out as has been suggested.  As stated last week I don’t think I am alone in saying that it has gone on for too long already.

Have a good weekend!

Friday musing – Test cricket, golf, Karrie Webb, Essendon FC……

Chris Barwin HillsI was intrigued to hear the South African captain, Graham Smith’s comments after his side was beaten last week. He tried to play down the impact of Mitchell Johnson and point to the pitch and then allege that Steyn and Morkel were sick. Well he was the one who chose to insert the opposition and rely on his much touted bowling line up. I think the issue here is, he made a mistake sending Australia in to bat. Like enforcing the follow-on, asking the opposition to bat is a very risky proposition.

Australia are in a reasonable position over night in the second Test with South Africa at 5/214, but A.B. De Villiers is still there and he is pretty close to the best batsman in the world at the moment. If the Aussies can get him out early on the second day with the new ball, it will put Australia in a good position to push for another victory.

Getting on to Ladies Golf, how amazing is Karrie Webb. She starts the last day of the Open five strokes off the pace and gets up and wins it. She doesn’t get the accolades the men do, but she would have to be close to the most successful Australian golfer of all time.

I remarked last week that I was disappointed the Essendon supplements scandal reared its head again and Caroline Wilson has continued the onslaught this week. First with Alistair Clarkson and today it is a story about the AFL’s handling of the issue. Is there still that much interest in this story? I think the horse has just about been flogged to death. Obviously as an Essendon supporter, I just want it over with, but since the AFL handed down it’s penalties last year, I get the impression that most other sports fans have also had enough. Clarkson spoke about it hijacking the season last year, well stop talking about it this year then!

Have a great weekend.

Friday musing – NFL, Super Bowl, NBA, Essendon FC, cricket……

Chris Barwin HillsNot being a big American sports fan I have not seen a lot of sport in my two and a half weeks in Hawaii, but I was there for the Super Bowl. My daughter and I went to a bar on Maui and watched the game from just before half time. While being seated by the manager I enquired as to whom I should be supporting and I was assured I should be on the Seahawks. The bar seemed to be evenly divided between the Denver fans, who were very quiet and the Seattle fans who were a little more excited with plenty of Sea-Hawk chants. I enjoyed the game, however, the advertisements and the entertainment seemed to go for a lot longer than the actual playing time. My daughter also enjoyed the game and the advertisements! I think the game was an endorsement for the maxim that a good defence will usually defeat a good offence.

My other sporting observation from my time in Hawaii was the saturation coverage of basketball. It did not seem to matter what time of the day it was, if you went into a bar or restaurant and they had sport on the television, it was usually the NBA or college basketball and that included the time leading up to the Super Bowl.

Since being back in Australia I have been disappointed to see the Essendon supplements saga rear its head again. I guess it is not going to go away until such time as ASADA have closed their file. This could go on for years!

A good start to the Test series in South Africa, but I am starting to get a little concerned about Michael Clarke’s ongoing form lapse. Having scored 100’s in the first two Ashes tests he has not passed fifty since. I have been happy with the continued good form of Steve Smith, who in the same period has made three centuries. With Shane Watson missing from the line-up I hope we won’t be found to be a bowler short.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Friday musing – ashes cricket, Mitchell Johnson, Jacques Kallis……

Chris Barwin HillsAt this time of the year cricket is the most dominant sport with tennis just kicking off with a build up to the Aussie Open.

The Poms have finally won a toss and sent Australia in to bat. I remember the old ABC cricket books used to have a section devoted to captains who invited the opposition to bat. It is not all that unusual these days, with Michael Clark getting away with it in the Melbourne test. I went along on the first two days and up until the second session on day three, the Poms held the whip hand. From there Australia wrapped up the match over the next three sessions, a big surprise. The prevailing philosophy is still to win the toss and bat and I think that Alistair Cook should have done so in Sydney, but time will tell.

Mitchell Johnson was again awarded the Man of the Match award and that makes it three out of four tests this series, but Chris Rogers & Nathan Lyon must have been very close as well with Brad Haddin again performing well. I understand Johnson has the best percentage of Man of the Match awards to tests played of any Australian test player. Not a bad achievement for a sometimes maligned figure in Australian cricket. I think in the past he has produced herculean performances dispersed with poor performances, but in this series he has been very consistent and does not seem to be spraying the ball around as much.

Speaking of Man of the Match awards, the news that Jacques Kallis was retiring did not come as a great surprise, but you would have thought he would have seen out the summer with Australia due to tour there next month. Kallis is certainly one of the best all-rounders of all time and compares favourably with Sir Garfield Sobers who is regarded as the benchmark for all-rounders. Kallis has the record for the most Man of the Match awards in test cricket with 23 from 166 matches. A true great of the game.

I always thought that Shane Watson had the attributes to be a very good all-rounder and at times he has shown us what he is capable of, but a fragile physique has mitigated against him. Test wise I think his bowling and catching ability are up there with Kallis, but unfortunately his batting falls a long way short.

Fingers crossed for the 5-0 whitewash of the series.

Have a good weekend and happy New Year!

Friday musing – cricket, the Ashes, soccer, Arsenal……..

Chris Barwin HillsWell what good timing for a Musing with the Aussies securing the Ashes on Tuesday! I thought Australia were a good chance in the series on the back of some pretty encouraging performances in England earlier in the year, but I did not think we would win the first three Tests in good style.

I mentioned last week about the toss playing a big part in teams winning and the last six results in Ashes test matches have seen the team winning the toss and batting coming out on top. You would think that the team batting second should have the best of the batting conditions, but England have not capitalised at all and have trailed in each of the first three tests. So much so that Australia have declared four of their six innings to date.

Mitchell Johnson seems to be most pundits pick for man of the series so far, but Warner, Haddin and Clarke are not far behind and when you factor in the performances of Siddle, Harris, Lyon and Smith, you can see why Australia are winning. That is not to down play the performances of Rogers and Watson who have also been solid contributors. Bailey has saved his spot because the team is winning and they can afford to give him time to settle. He certainly did his job on Monday morning.

I think the performance of Nathan Lyon needs a special mention. He has been much maligned and I have been guilty in that regard, however, you look at his scalps so far in the series and he has picked up crucial wickets. In the last test he got Cook in the first innings and Stokes in the second who were their teams highest scorers. He has earned his spot.

I can now go to the Boxing Day test and enjoy the cricket. Some would say it would be better to still have the series alive, but it is like being 10 goals up on Collingwood going into the last quarter just knowing you can enjoy the game.

Last week I lauded the Gunners for making the knockout phase of the Champions League for the 14th straight year and then they go out and lose to Manchester City 6-3. That is a tennis score isn’t it? Man City have been irrepressible at home this year and I suppose you could look on the positive side and say “well at least Arsenal got 3 goals”. I think the fixturing so close to the away game in Italy may have had an impact, but for the top team to concede 6 goals it is a bit of a worry.

Have a great weekend and a very Merry Christmas and we will muse up again in the New Year!

Friday musing – the Ashes, Champions League, Arsenal……..

Chris Barwin HillsWith the result of the test in Adelaide and the results of the other tests recently it became very obvious that winning the toss goes a long way to winning a test match. This has always been the case, but it does seem more so now with the way pitches are prepared. Captains have always been preferred to bat first, but usually the pitch offered a fair bit of assistance to the quicks, particularly in the first session. The side batting second usually had the better of the conditions so you could still set up a win batting second.

It all seems to have changed with the “drop-in” pitches as they don’t seem to offer as much bounce early nor spin later. There has been some suggestion that there be a toss for the first test of a series and then it be rotated after that, but I would not agree with that suggestion. I think the better idea is for a return to the old style of pitch preparation which gives both sides an even chance.

Good to see the Gunners make it through to their 14th Champions League knock out phase in a row. Interesting how Napoli miss out with 12 points and yet St Petersburg get in with 6.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Essendon, James Hird, the Ashes….

Chris Barwin HillsI was disappointed to see the Essendon saga rear its head again this week, although it would seem that the major spotlight is on the AFL and not my club.  There is still a bit more to play out on this matter obviously and if the Herald-Sun sees fit to put it on the front page and then devote 4 pages at the front of the paper instead of the sports pages, then it still must sell papers.  I just want to put it all behind me and concentrate on football.

One of the issues seems to be James Hird getting paid.  From what I understand him not being paid was part of the original sanctions, but not part of the final deal.  Certainly not a Hird/Essendon problem, but certainly a problem for the AFL.  I know it is quite a different set of circumstances, but police that have been charged with serious criminal charges are suspended on full pay.  Hird has not been found guilty of any criminal charges and it is only governance issues so good luck to him.  Given that it appears the AFL fed most of the leaks to the papers perhaps they have been hoist by their own petard.

With regard to the cricket what a good toss for Australia to win, but the first day produced 4 players getting a start and not going on and getting a century.  At the time of writing Michael Clarke has made his second century of the series and Brad Haddin has just got his 3rd half century of the series and Australia look like batting their way into a position where they really could not lose the test.  It is amazing when you on the back foot in a series that the catches don’t stick  with the Poms dropping three on day one.

Great to see the Gunners season rolling on, their defence seems to be holding up pretty well this year and they haven’t forgotten how to score.

Friday musing – Ashes, sledging, Jason Day & more

Chris Barwin HillsWell I don’t think we can let an Aussie win in a Test match go without a bit of commentary, particularly as the Aussies were closing in on a record number of tests without a win.

Mitchell Johnson produced one of the great all-round performances in a test match in my time
following cricket. 103 runs for once out and 9/103 with the ball, so by my reckoning he is leading the averages with bat and ball at this stage. We all know one test doesn’t make a summer and in the last Ashes series in Australia he only produced one good performance, so I am not getting carried away, but it was a damn good start for a player that thrives on confidence.

Cricket is often identified as a ‘team sport for individuals’, but the contrary view to that is
that batting partnerships are intrinsic to winning matches. Australia produced three of the best partnerships of the test and won the game with Haddin/Johnson in the first innings and Warner/Clarke & Haddin/Johnson again in the second innings.

Speaking of Warner, we all like sportsmen that break the mould and speak their mind, however, I think he went a bit too far with his comments about Jonathan Trott.  He should’ve just left it as “a few of their batsmen looked a bit scared out there”.  Clearly Trott was showing signs of stress and perhaps Warner’s comments helped polarise his position and in turn prompted him to return to England and seek help.  It was interesting to read Greg Baum’s article in the Age during the week about cricketing suicides. It is clearly an issue and while we don’t like to see them make runs, I don’t think anyone gets any joy from the cricketers, or any sportsmen for that matter suffering mental
breakdowns.

Away from the cricket it was also good to see Jason Day salute in the Golf World Cup. I thought
given what happened in the Philippines he performed very well and it was a fine gesture to donate a portion of his winnings to the victims of the typhoon. Hopefully the headlines from that will raise the profile of the plight of the people from his mother’s homeland.  I have waxed about his performances before in the Majors and I don’t think it will be long before he finally snares one.

You also have to acknowledge the performance of Adam Scott. He wins the Aussie PGA,
Masters and shares the team result in the World Cup with Jason Day as well as finishing 3rd overall and is the overnight leader in the Aussie Open. I hope he becomes the 2nd golfer to take home the triple crown as he seems to be a very humble and likeable fellow.

Have a great weekend!