Rubbing salt into the wounds, Australia annihilated England in Melbourne’s Boxing Day Test by an innings and 99 runs, a humiliating defeat for the tourists. The outcome of the series has long been determined. The only question now is will Australia pull off something neither side has managed in more than 80 years, an Ashes sweep. We’ll find out when the final Test is played at the SCG in Sydney. Quite often, there is a let down in the final Test for the victorious side. The Aussies had a chance to pull off the sweep the last time England toured Australia, but managed to give away the final Test. This time, with Warne and McGrath retiring, they will be playing their last Test and I think they’ll want to go out with a victory. Look for another English mauling.
In many ways the 3rd Ashes Test at the WACA in Perth was one of the most remarkable I’ve ever seen, or rather listened to–I was listening over the Net. Australia won by 206 runs giving them an unbeatable margin in the 2006 Ashes series that will see them regain the Ashes after losing them 400 odd days ago in their tour of England. But that only tells a tiny part of the story. Again, I know you don’t care, but I do, so please, bear with me.
Australia were in to bat first, which is normally a recipe for success, but they only managed 244, a minimal total for a team accustomed to putting up 500 for the first innings. The Aussies scored 602 and 513 in the first two Tests respectively on the way to victory. So the paltry 244 gave the tourists hope that they could stave off the inevitable. Hussy top scored with 74 but didn’t get much help from his teammates as Panesar and Harmison took 9 wickets between them. Things were looking up for England. That is, until they went into bat and contrived to give the game away.
England’s response of 215 wouldn’t be remarkable except for the final pair. Pietersen put on a stalwart 70 but when his wicket fell, England were 9 for 175 facing a considerable 1st innings deficit and predictable loss of the Ashes. Then 11th man Monty Panesar strode to the wicket and the unlikely pairing of Monty and Harmison put on 40 runs for the final wicket, easily the largest partnership of the innings, something I don’t believe I have ever seen. So England could have folded up their tent and gone home, but they were putting up a fight and by the time innings finished they found themselves behind by on 29 runs, a virtual tie. Then everything went wrong
Aussies roared back into form in the second innings, putting up a massive 527 for 5 declared, an astonishing 2nd innings total more than doubling the output of the previous innings. Gilchrst, Clarke and Hussy all put centuries while Hatden added 92. The total put England in serious jeopardy. The declaration left England 6+ sessions to score the runs, more than enough time, but England lacks the firepower to muster such a large total. Defending for more than 8 hours to hope for a draw with Shane Warne bearing down on them was always going to be an impossible task.
You have to put Australia’s 2nd innings in context. Of the course of the history of cricket, the natural progression is for innings totals to decrease in the 2nd innings. Why? Well because the wicket, the playing surface tends to deteriorate over the course of the match which gives the bowling side a huge advantage. Plus the pressure of a chase makes it difficult for a trailing team to sustain the concentration needed over a long time to produce the runs while not losing wickets. This is why the record second innings chase is somewhere in the mid 300s. so Australia’s 527, while not in the chase, is still an astounding total.
Part of that total including the rather brisk work of wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist who put up his century for a mere 57 balls, only the second fastest ton in the history of Test cricket, a history that goes back more than 100 years.
Gilchrist barely missed the world record of 56 balls set by scintillating West Indian Viv Richards against England at St. Johns in 1985-86. He also broke the record for the most runs in a six-ball over in an Ashes series when he plundered 24 off Monty Panesar. Simply astounding.
So England were looking up at an almost insurmountable total. The first innings lead of 29 had been augmented with 527 more runs leaving England needing more than 550 runs for victory and to stave of the loss of the Ashes for another Test. Everyone, including me, suspected England would fold quietly. And our thoughts were ratified when Strauss was adjudged out LBW for a duck to Brett Lee in the first over. At stumps on Day 3, they were 1/19 with 6 sessions remaining. But in the morning, Cook and Bell put on 170 for the 2nd wicket and when Bell finally succumbed to Shane Warne, amazingly England were 1/170, still needing a massive total, but not without hope, at least for a draw.
Collingwood was only able to manage 15 for the 3rd wicket, but the arrival of Pieterson brought with it the idea that England could hang on. They managed to put so, putting on runs at a slow but steady rate, frustrating the Aussies until the final handful of overs when Cook and night watchman Hoggard fell in quick succession. England finished day 4 at 5 for 265 which must have been incredibly disheartening since they easily could have been 3 for 265 which would have made all the difference. So needing just under 300 runs, it never was going to be an easy task, but it would have been far more realistic with 7 wickets in hand instead of just 5. A fresh Cook alongside a stalwart Pieterson would have been an imposing force and England, while daring to dream for victory, could easily sniff a draw.
But it wasn’t to be. With only 5 wickets in hand, the English tail didn’t put up the fight of the first innings losing Jones, Harmison, Mahmood and Panesar for the addition of only 5 runs while Pieterson looked on hopelessly from the non-strikers end as the Ashes melted away.
The Aussies celebrated the “Return of the Urn” vigorously, as you would expect and now we’re onto the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne at the MCG. Sadly, it won’t have any meaning as far as the series is concerned, but it’s always a great event for me and brings a flood of memories of my time in Melbourne. I went to the Boxing Day Test in 1993 against South Africa. It was Springboks first post Apartheid tour of Australia, but the Test was a wash and the typically horrendous Melbourne weather pissed down on the MCG and erased the first two days. I went on the 3rd day and saw Mark Waugh hit a 6, which was the highlight of my short-lived cricket watching experience. There might have been a few hundred fans in a stadium that easily holds 95,000. It was eerie.
*A day or two late, hopefully not a dollar short
You know, we live in the digital age. We have so many options, so much media streaming into homes, digital cable, braodband internet, iPods, etc, so there’s no reason ever to see something like this:
Due to rights restrictions, the ABC is only able to offer the audio stream of its Ashes coverage to users within Australia.
If you have come to this page it means you are trying to access the stream from an IP address which suggests you are outside Australia. However, via the Cricket Australia website, you can access the ABC Grandstand Cricket call of the action. But please note, there is a charge for this service.
Please note, it is possible that you have been referred to this page even though you are in Australia. If that is the case, it has occurred because your IP address – that is, your computer’s Internet identity – is not registered as Australia. This could happen, for example, if you work for a company which sources its IT infrastructure from another country.
If this is the case we are unable to offer you access to the stream. We regret any inconvenience this may cause.
What makes it worse is that right now, Australia is chasing a modest total of 100 runs with 8 wickets in hand and 23 overs to be bowled on the 5th day of the 2nd Ashes Test in Adelaide. I think they’re going to make it even though the Aussies are traditionally not great in the chase. With the wickets in hand, the number of overs to be bowled and Ricky Ponting at the crease, I wouldn’t bet against them.
Sadly, with no radio feed to listen to and no TV coverage in the States, I’m reduced to “watching” written ball by ball by commentary. It’s pathetic.
UPDATE I went around the Aussie firewall and found an ABC feed on Penguin Radio. Aussies are finishing strong. Time to kick back, crack open a Cascade, a Carlton or a XXXX and soak up the cricket, a rare pleasure these days.
UPDATE*Ponting out on 49, just short of another half-century. This could put the brakes on the Aussies inevitable march to victory. Damien Matyn coming to crease. Aussies need 52 to win at 116/3. I have a bad feeling. Martyn is fine player, but I can remember him letting the Aussies down back when I lived in Australia in the 93 Test series against South Africa. He couldn’t hold up the tail and Fast Farnie de Villiers(10 for 123) scuttled Australia win 5 runs to spare at the SCG and tied the series — Before I could finish writing this, Martyn is out. Amazing. Simply Amazing, Martyn out for 5 on 4 balls. 4 for 121. Aussies need 47 to win. Fookin’ Amazin’, mate.
UPDATE**Michael Clarke arrives at the crease having made a century in the 1st innings. Still 4 for 121. Are the Aussies about to collapse? The rate is 3.61. Not a hard ask, but the Aussies can’t afford to lose to many more wickets or this is going to be a real nail biter. Who am I kidding? Thiis is a nail biter. It’s rare to have matches this close. Rare for me, anyway. It’s going to come down to the wire. It’s hard to relax with Australian wickets falling all over the place.
UPDATE***Clarke’s arrival has settled the Aussies down. Mike Hussey has brought up his second half-century of the match with 7 off the last over. It’s going to take a monumntal collapse by Australia to not take a 2-0 series lead. 16 runs needs. 6 wickets in hand. 7+ overs remaing. It’s all but over. This has been a very odd Test. England batted first and put up 551/6 declared. That’s a huge 1st innings run total to eventually lose. The worst you’d expect is a draw. But with the Test in it’s death throes, it looks like England’s massive 1st innings (and Collingwood’s double century) are going to be wasted. England started the day at 59 for the loss of one wicket, all but assured of victory, but they imploded and were bowled out for 129, scoring at barely a run an over. Warne was simply briliant, bowling 4 for 29, 12 maidens in 32 overs that included bowling double-centurian Collingwood for 2. The Aussies were set 168 for 37 and seem to on their way to making it. There will lots of disappointed cricket fans in England when they wake up in the morning. Aussies need 10 runs from 5 overs. You do the match. They’ll probably manage it in 2 or 3. Seems inevitable at this point. I’m psyched at the impending Aussie victory, but even more so that I was able to listen to the final overs. I wish nothing more than I could be in Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test. It’s hard to believe that I haven’t been there in over 10 years.
UPDATE****Oh, no, the radio feed gone dead. I’m gone to miss the delerium at the Adeliade Oval. Fuck. Real Player is spitting out a hiigh pitched whine and it’s freaking the cats out. Back to the written commentary, I suppose.
UPDATE****It’s Over. Australia has done it. Here’s the full scorecard, if you care, which I doubt. I know only one person who reads this sitewho gives one shit about cricket. Sorry, Phil. Better luck in Sydney. Here’s how the winning runs were “broadcasts” on Cricinfo:
32.5 Anderson to Hussey, 1 run, that’s it … Hussey drives through extra cover and punches the air and jumps around as well he might. Australia, seemingly down and out after two days, have recorded a remarkable win. Handshakes all round, and the grinning Australians emerge from the pavilion to meet the hangdog English side at the boundary edge …
Aussies by 6 wickets. Andrew to brush teeth, hit sack. G’night
Here’s the final message on the live text scoring at Cricinfo:
Apologies for the confusion on that last dismissal. The excitement of a long, full day’s cricket is getting to all of us!
But what a day it has been …
England over the moon with getting Australia out for just 190, Stephen Harmison kicking in with a superb 5 for 43
Then came Glenn McGrath, the metronome, and picked up his 500th Test wicket, following it up with a brilliant spell that left England reeling at 21 for 5
Geraint Jones and Kevin Pietersen then forged a recovery of sorts, but at the end of the day england are still 98 behind and struggling at 92 for 7
We hope you enjoyed the day’s play as much we enjoyed bringing it to you
That’s it for the moment from us. Join us again tomorrow at 9.30am GMT for all the action from the second day’s play
What does that mean? Well it means at first England thought they were in a great position, bowling England out for 190. Recall that the first time I watched an Ashes Test match at Lord’s (1993) the Aussies put up 632 runs for the loss of only 4 wickets, so 190 is a seriously modest total. But the Aussie bowlers scuttled the top order of the English lineup, dismissing the first 5 batters for a mere 21 runs, which is a desparate position when you’re chasing 190 (imagine if the Aussies put up 600 runs). England recovered with a nice middle order partnership of 58 between Jones and Pietersen, but at the end of the day the POMs are in what they like to call a spot of bother with only 92 runs for the loss of 7 wickets needing the tail to wag like a motherfucker to erase a 98 run the first innings deficit.
Whatever happens, it at least looks like we’re going to get a result. It’s rare that you see 17 wickets fall on a single day in a Test match. That leaves 4 full days for the remaining 23. Should be another fascinating morning tomorrow.
It wasn’t as if I was sleep deprived enough because of the Tour de France, now the 1st titantic Ashes clash at Lord’s between England and Australia starts tomorrow (well in a few hours really). I probably won’t stay up to listen, unless it comes down to a 5th day run chase or something, but I’ll catch a smattering of the BBC coverage here and there. I’d like nothing more than to wake up in London and make my way over to Lord’s, sit in the stands all day while Australia dismatles England. Sadly, I’m in Alameda. But there are 5 tests in the series played this summer and maybe, just maybe, I can make it over for one of them. Old Trafford, perhaps?
To no one’s surprise, all the cricketeers seem to be favoring the Baggie Greens to continue a winning streak that has lasted since 1989. Plus the Aussies haven’t lost at Lord’s in 71 years. SEVENTY ONE FUCKING YEARS AT THE VALHALLA OF CRICKET! And to top off the bad news for England, the five day forecast for London doesn’t see any rain, so it’s unlikely they can rely on the weather to suck out a draw on the World Champs.
All interested parties can find the schedule here at Cricinfo. I presume that will be exactly none of you.
I don’t know what Boxing Day means to you (probably very little), but to me Boxing Day always means cricket in Melbourne, my adopted home town. Back in 1994 when I lived in Australia, I went to the Boxing Day Test against South Africa. Sadly, the match was washed out because of rain and the day I went to the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground, there were less than 1,000 people in the stands. It was an erie feeling. I had been in stadium for Australian Rules Football matches when close to 100,000 people had been jammed in the stands.
Anyway, I try to catch the Test every year no matter where I am, especially when Australia are playing England as they were last year. I couldn’t pick up Radio Australia on my little shortwave from Samoa, (I wanted to smash the damn thing), but I followed the game on the Net as best I could.
This year Australia is playing India in the fight for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The first match in Brisbane was drawn. India won the 2nd match at the Oval in Adelaide by 4 wickets. With only one more match to be played early next year in Sydney, the Aussies really need to win in Melbourne to stay in the hunt. India are a quality team. Their Sachin Tendulkar is one of the best players in the history of the game. Then again, the Aussies are the world champs.
I wish nothing more than I can sit on the couch with six pack of Victoria Bitter and watch the thing. But there is no appreciation for the fine sport of cricket in this country, so there’s no TV coverage, but I can listen on the Nine Network simulcast over the web. I’d be shocked if any of you had any interest in this, but if you want to listen, there’s the link. Myself, I’m going to be taking in the ducet tones of Richie Benaud and the gang from Nine.
COME ON, AUSSIE, COME ON!!!!!
It could last forever. What a run by the Baggy Green!
Australia’s Winning Streak Comes to an End
Andrew Miller – 25 May 2003
Australia’s 21-match unbeaten run has come to an end, the very
day after they took an unassailable 4-0 lead in the seven-match
series. West Indies won the toss and made an imposing 290 for 5,
thanks to an enterprising second-wicket partnership of 178
between Brian Lara and Wavell Hinds, and some restrictive spells
of bowling from an assortment of part-time spinners. Australia
lost early wickets in reply and never came close, despite a
classy 77 from Andrew Symonds. As Steve Waugh found out last
month, clean sweeps in the Caribbean are notoriously hard to
Test appearances record a worthy milestone for durable Waugh
by David Wiseman, cricinfo
When Steve Waugh takes the field in Guyana for the first Test match of the Australia-West Indies series, he will eclipse Allan Border and become the most capped player in the history of the game.
It is a remarkable achievement and testimony to Waugh’s endurance and durability.
To play international cricket for 17 years means not only that you are incredibly talented over a vast stretch of time but that you are also very lucky regarding injuries.
Waugh made his debut against India aged 19 years and six months scoring 13 and five. It was not until his 27th Test, against England, that he posted his first century.
After beginning his career as a bit of a dasher, Waugh restrained himself and became a run accumulator. Many a time he was the backbone of the Australian innings, especially when they were in trouble.
One of Waugh’s most memorable knocks was quite apt as it was Brad Hogg’s one and only Test match, to date. After making a duck in the first innings, Waugh wanted to make amends in the second. Australia faced a 179-run deficit on the first innings and were four for 78 in the second when he strode to the crease.
In four and a half hours, he fought and scrapped his way to an unbeaten 67 from 221 balls with just five fours. He watched six partners fall at the other end as he dug in tooth and nail for Australia. In the oppressive heat and stifling humidity, Waugh had to single-handedly take on an Anil Kumble who was on top of his game.
Waugh has been repeatedly knocked down but he has got to his feet and risen every time. For 19 months; from April 1991 to November 1992 he was out of the Test team. Sounds like a long time but in reality it was just nine Tests.
He has also missed Tests through injury but for the better part of the last 12 years, Waugh has been the heart and soul of the team, inspiring his team mates, wanting them to be better cricketers.
With the bat, Waugh sits in the lower middle-order and is often the link between the top and bottom halves of the batting line-up. Waugh has scored a record 5997 runs batting at No 5 at 54.52 whilst he has compiled an equally impressive 3034 runs at 49.74 in the No 6 spot.
His fielding in the gully-point-cover region is superb. Sadly, he has not done as much bowling in recent times but he has compensated for that by being captain.
Waugh cares about the heritage of the game. The culture and tradition of it. Under him, players are made to appreciate what number Test cricketer they are for their country. They’re made to acknowledge the deeds of those who have gone before them.
For Waugh, this may be an incredible milestone and one which he will reflect on once he finally hangs up his whites but for the moment he will be treating it like every one of his 156 other Test matches – doing his darnedest to win it for Australia.
Ok, I’ll just come out and say it. Ricky Ponting is a god. There.
When I was living in Melbourne back in 94, Ponting was still playing for Tasmania, but every week during the Sheffield Shield he was compiling massive totals. It was only a matter of time that was called up. It was only a matter of time that he wear the captain’s badge.
Today, Ricky Pointing and the Australians have made everything right in the world by absolutely crushing India in the finals of the World Cup. The only way this could have been sweeter for me would have been if I could have watched it or even picked it up on my shortwave. (can’t pick shit up on my shortwave, by the way).
Ponting’s swashbuckeld his way to a majestic unbeaten 140 off 121 balls (the highest score in a World Cup final, BTW) and Australia’s 359 for two was a record total for a title match.
The Indians must have been shellshocked. The Aussie bowlers, led by Glenn McGrath, scuttled the Indian lineup without much effort and Australia is now the only 3 time holder of the World Cup. Well done, Aussies.
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