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Sight Screen

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Urn -- Independent

1. Nick Townsend's mood piece on the penultimate day of the Test; Stephen Brenkley celebrates the player at the center of England's remarkable win; another Brenkley piece on Flintoff (Guys, some of this stuff might be old hat to you -- I am in the process of catching up after a few days off with fever); James Lawton celebrates -- who else? -- Flintoff (Damn, I should have made a Flintoff blog entry); and Jon Culley capsules the final day's drama.
2. Mark Butcher looks at Fred Flintoff, a prodigious talent who, he says, is only now beginning to understand the limitlessness of his abilities; Stephen Fey puts Flintoff's performance in context of the deeds of Ian Botham 24 years earlier. (While on that, I recall reading Flintoff being labelled the next Botham almost as soon as he came into the national side; this game (... pause here will I kick myself for missing it...) has to be the first that both invites, and merits, that comparison)
3. John Benaud, without mincing words, suggests that it is hubris at work for the Aussies.
It's a fine line between carelessness and arrogance and Ricky Ponting's Australians have been stumbling along it. Discipline, such a potent ingredient in the kingdoms of Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh, has taken a holiday, however temporarily.
(Benaud has a point -- I thought, for instance, that the England batting on day one, however hugely entertaining, had given the Aussies one heck of a chance to nail the Test with their own reply, only to see Team Oz go out there and bat like they were trying to match England hit for hit, swipe for swipe; the focus shifted from winning the war, to vying for bragging rights).
4. Stephen Brenkley pulls off the hardest job of all -- questioning... gently questioning... the personal form of a winning captain; it's a hurdle many in the Indian media have stumbled over, sometimes to their cost.
It is important to observe that you do not become a bad player overnight. In Michael Vaughan's case the decline has been steady for almost two years, and it is now starting to gain a worrying momentum.
And there is also this passage, which is worth keeping as a little clip hard-wired into a hot-key for use when writing about, um, other international captains we know:
Certainly, his figures since the beginning of the winter tour have been fairly unprepossessing. Apart from the two half-centuries at the Wanderers and a gimme hundred against Bangladesh at the start of this season he has had 13 other innings. In 11 of them he has failed to get beyond 24.
He has often looked tired and careworn. But it is a testimony to him that he has always managed to sound relaxed. His side are clearly devoted to him. In the field, he thinks quickly and astutely. He is not allowing his own form to affect his decision-making.

5. Angus Fraser chips in with his own match report.
6. And finally, Peter Roebuck rhapsodizes on a match that deserves every superlative in the book, and pretty much nails it when he says
Australia's performance was not without merit. That they had a chance in the fourth innings was due to superb stints from Brett Lee and the tireless and artful Shane Warne. Immensely to their credit, too, the Australians fought to the very last. But no one played a substantial innings on a good pitch and too much was given away on the formative first day.
Ponting and his players will realise that they made a hundred mistakes and still only lost by two runs.

Phew! Much more of this stuff to read, and throw up on here, but it needs to wait while work gets done. A bit later, guys... cheerio for now


  • This was truly a great match to watch. This match wasn't so much won by England - it was gifted away by the Aussie top order, who could and should have added at least another 100 runs over 2 innings. Among all the mistakes Australia made, this surely must be the costliest. And as Roebuck said, they lost by only 2 runs (thanks to Lee & Kasper).

    I watched the replay of the last day earlier today & found the tension building up still - a day after I knew the result. I can imagine what the emotions were like in the crowd - the cameras gave us a good look.

    By Blogger Jeetu, at 15:15  

  • BTW, it is interesting to hypothesize what the effect of another 50-100 runs by the Aussie top order would have been. Assuming that England would still have been spun out by Warne, and that Aus had a target of 180-220, would wickets have gone down so cheaply as to leave them at 178/8?

    I don't think so, since the biggest factor here is pyschological. Defending this score is a real dilemma for the fielding captain (Vaughan), who could afford to set attacking fields in what really happenned. It also really saps the fielding team to see runs whittled away from a small target, rather than one that is further away. A look at England's body language for the last 30-40 runs suggested a certain amount of desparation & panic. And Vaughan almost started setting defensive fields. Imagine their plight if Aus had 4-5 wickets in hand....

    By Blogger Jeetu, at 15:21  

  • Hi Prem,,

    looks like u r in hurry today.dishing out every possible link.we used to answer like this in exams when cheating,usually they seek 2-line ans and we copies whole page.*L***
    Did u check this?? all done then ICC reviewing it??

    By Blogger MAHER, at 15:32  

  • i wonder what the reaction would have been if england lost the test match !!!

    moreover there is very little being written about how england allowed the aussie lower order to score so many runs. Its amazing how many facts get hidden by sheer enthusiasm.

    I yet think the Aussie team should be lauded, they took the fight to the enemy camp and never gave up. England may have won the battle but the war will belong to Aussies !!!

    By Blogger Shams, at 15:35  

  • While Australia can be chastised for gifting away while batting, how about england? They could as well have batted better on day 1 and preserved their wickets and made 550 in the first innings, no? The question is hypothetical.. What matters is what happened on the field.. With more runs on the board, England could have put more pressure on Australia and beat them comprehensively, if there was no way they could lose... and other possibilities.. It wouldnt be appropriate to say that Aus lost rather than Eng won. Just as it wasnt just Aus losing in Kolkata. The opposition has to play well to beat Australia. They dont just give gifts in charity.

    By Blogger Tiger, at 15:37  

  • guys interesting link.....


    By Blogger MAHER, at 15:39  

  • I wonder if Aussie papers had debated whether Maninder Singh was out or not in that famous tied Test match.. bunch of sore losers, that all they are!

    By Blogger Tiger, at 15:44  

  • tiger,,,,,,,

    proper match for this one is SRT (that thunderous innings) in sharjah caught(donno) bowl flemming.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 15:47  

  • WHERE IS PREM.........?????????

    By Blogger MAHER, at 15:55  

  • Frankly can't understand all this Euphoria over Englands win in the second test.

    I admit they played out of their skins to win it but the words here is' out of their skins' and still they could have lost it.

    Is it a rule that if and when Australia does lose a match there is so much written about it. Doesn't it actually say a lot about how good the team actually is and how we take their victories for granted that one defeat gets blown out of proportion.

    It was highly grating to hear the likes of Willis and Hussain gloat when Aus were crumbling in their second innings and when the Aussie tailenders got them closer to the target these very guys who were praising England to the skies were now doubting them! What a sore bunch of guys!

    In the match like Roebuck said - it took Aus to make countless mistakes for England to win and when Aus does tighten up, it definitely would be bye bye England and Ashes??

    By Blogger tifosiguy, at 16:12  

  • Is there anywhere in the web I can watch some highlights of the Ashes Test match......anything.:-)


    By Blogger Sunny, at 16:16  

  • Goto http://foxsports.news.com.au/
    and click on the Videos section...u can get to see the match news report...

    By Blogger Jammy, at 16:35  

  • thanks Jammy

    By Blogger Sunny, at 16:59  

  • jammy:
    U da man!! thanks mate.
    Those are fantastic highlights.
    Still giving me the woozies in the tummy.
    Freddies comment " we deserves to win"..classic!!
    See u during the old trafford test on the chat and commentary.

    By Blogger losing now, at 21:34  

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