Saturday, October 12, 2002

Finally, living up to my promise

I am going to talk about cricket. My beloved Australian cricket team today managed an extraordinary win over Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. (They are playing in the United Arab Emirates because the Australians presently consider Pakistan too dangerous to visit. There is a world class cricket stadium in the UAE because one of the local Emirs developed a liking for the game while at Oxford). Pakistan have been playing international cricket for more than 50 years, and have played a total of 287 test matches in that time.

In test cricket, each team plays two innings, so each of the eleven men on each side bats twice. Yesterday, on the first day of this present match, Pakistan scored their lowest ever score in those 287 matches: their eleven players scored 59 runs between them. Today, in their second innings of the same match, they broke the same record again, scoring only 53. Normally, five days are scheduled for a test match, but a match can take fewer if a side is beaten in a shorter period. Australia beat Pakistan in two days: only the second time this has happened in well over 1000 matches played since 1946, and only the 17th time it has happened since international cricket started in 1877. This was truly a monstrous thrashing.

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