Actual cricket being played in Perth

What a great cricket match we have. A real clash here. No controversies (yet), good game play, and great cricket. I don’t care what anyone says, this match has been the best display for some time. Of skill especially. Australia blew hard in the batting for the first innings, and now they are backing it up with excellent bowling. It’s not as good bowling as, say, Glen McGrath and Shane Warne being back in the team, but it still is effective.

And As I was writing that, Mitchell Johnson (who has been bowling very average this match) has scored the wicket of Sourav Ganguly. All the Australians need to do now is get V.V.S. Laxman out and there is a serious chance of Australia having dug themselves out of a hole. It will be tight if we can’t get them out for 350 or less, what with two full days plus whatever else is left of today to bat.

Brett Lee has blown me away with his performance in this series. The past year in fact. He’s really stepped up and taken the mantle that McGrath left him. They have been talking about his stats of late, and how his economy rate has come down something like four full points in the past two years. That’s quite an effort, especially when you have a bowler of his type – really fast.

I guess that the Indian second inning curse still stands. Even Sachin Tendulkar didn’t have the skill to beat it. When your nightwatchman is watching some of the world’s best batters come and go, you have a problem. What has been interesting is that none of the batters have stuck around long enough to force a change in the bowling. There’s only been four people to bowl this innings, and of them, Shaun Tait has only bowled two overs. You would think that some of these ‘great’ batters would dig in to force Ricky Ponting to give Michael Clarke or Andrew Symonds a go to mix things up – and then take them to task. But no Indians have dug in, and our two best bowlers (Lee and Stuart Clark) get to rotate around, stay fresh, and take wickets.

And now Shaun Tait has been thrown the ball. Big risk here – because he has taken up the opposite end to Johnson. They can both be loose and expensive, and you don’t want both ends being like that. I suspect Johnson will come off now, and Clark will come on from the other end. Probably to mix things up with his bowling and the breeze. If Johnson keeps going though, it’s either going to be the best gamble or the worst. There’s no in between with these rookies and styles.

Andrew Symonds just chased down a ball that should have been a boundary. He really is a quality cricketer. I expect there will be burning effigies now, such is a certain country’s hate for this guy who, really, just plays cricket. He might not be the greatest all-rounder this country has ever seen, but he certainly is the best we’ve had for many years.

Chris Rogers was a good inclusion to the team. He is the next man to enter the team, once Matthew Hayden retires. I expect that he will be the next, followed by Brad Haddin. After that it’s anyone’s guess. Stuart Clark is no spring-chicken, and I would really hope that Ben Hilfenhaus replaces him. The problem is that there’s no room for Hilfenhaus now to get experience, and thus, we have another rookie problem. I wouldn’t seriously expect the selectors to change a winning team now for a future investment however.

Anyway, it was very disappointing to see Rogers get out cheap in the first innings. I really like how he plays, and he does look stylish when his eye is in (colour blind though it may be). I want him to make a mark in the second innings so that no one is able to hop ahead of him in the list of ‘to be selected’. Also, it would keep Hayden on his toes. Not that he needs it – he is all class and skill. And his experience has proved to be vital – a few dropped catches, and some in slip, in places Hayden regularly fields.

Anyway, a good match ahead. Looking forward to it immensely.

Thomas.

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