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Sight Screen

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Urn - July 21 edition

Ashes reports are yet to materialize in the Guardian, and the Independent. Derek Pringle in the Telegraph has his take in, and if you wanted to sum up his thoughts on the day's game, it would be in two words he uses early on: "Australian ambush". McGrath's heroics predictably lead the report:
His riposte sent the match into free-fall, as new plots were developed, canned and then rewritten by the hour. Who needs Twenty20 for a quick fix when the drama has as many twists and turns as it did here? England will continue today with Pietersen on 28 and just the tail to come, a situation that has often brought the best from him in one-day cricket.

McGrath also moves Paul Howard to lyrical extremes, in an accompanying piece.
How to measure the distance between England's superbly destructive bowling and their collapse with the bat? Though English cricket has been here before, countless times, there is still no manual, no helpline, to assist with the process of lunging between such highs and lows.
As McGrath sent English stumps tumbling across the pitch, Lord's returned to the familiar business of expectation-lowering. The wicket took its share of mumbled blame, inevitably, but a more important truth is that McGrath was simply rampant: an express train of anti-English intent. The wiser heads in the Long Room probably expected this counter-assault.

More McGrath, this time in Simon Hughes' end of day analysis.
But if Glenn McGrath could choose a pitch to bowl on for his life, it would be Lord's. He exploits the famous slope better than anyone in history. His height, his model wrist action and his metronomic accuracy are perfect for a surface which induces the ball into the right handers and away from the left. If Harmison was Mr Clonk, McGrath was Mr Cool, bowling with almost inhuman control. He makes monkeys out of star batsmen. And of anyone who assumes that when England have knocked over the Australians for under 200 in the first innings they are home and hosed.

The Aussie papers have half-cooked reports up, so I'll get back to this a bit later in the day when, hopefully, the papers on both sides will have more complete takes. In passing, though, pause to celebrate a good headline: Warne gets good look at himself in Mirror.
Earlier, while we were desultorily discussing the action on the open thread, I remember someone asking why the play was being curtailed with overs still to be bowled. Martin Johnson has the answer, delivered with characteristic humor.
After 20 years of coming to heel whenever Australia snap their fingers, it would have been more appropriate for England to emerge from a dog kennel than a pavilion, so no wonder that the most competitive-looking series in two decades has given rise to abnormal behaviour. Not least from the people who decided that the official cut-off point for yesterday's play revolved not around the number of overs remaining, darkness, pestilence, or flood, but Channel 4's 6pm screening of The Simpsons.
Officially, Test cricket is run by the International Cricket Council. In practice, however, it is run by television, which is why the players left the field last night with 10 of the 90-over allocation remaining. Those 10 will never be made up, and if one of these sides ends up a few overs short of claiming victory, it could be the first Test in history to be decided by an American cartoon show.


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