Sunday, June 22, 2003


Two games to report on. Firstly, the third one day game between England and Pakistan. Pakistan batted first, and some really good bowling from Andrew Flintoff reduced Pakistan to 5/117 off 33.5 overs. Pakistan put up a good rear guard action after that, with 63 from Younis Khan and 64 from Abdul Razzaq getting them to 7/229 off 50 overs. A good recovery but probably not enough runs to win the match. At 2/129 off 26.4 overs, England appeared to be romping home, but they then lost wickets, dropping to 6/154 off 35.5 overs, but with opener Marcus Trescothick still not out. This could have meant trouble for England, but Trescothick batted superbly, pacing the innings perfectly, and bringing up a much deserved century with three or four overs to go. England got the runs when Trescothick hit a six with nine balls to go. Although they had a hassle or two along the way, England managed an excellent win in the end. Trescothick won his second match in the row with the bat, and was awarded man of the match and man of the series. That said, Flintoff's 4/32 off ten overs was perhaps as important.

A very good effort by England in this series. They batted badly in the first match, but after that they really got their act together. Later this week they start a triangular series with South Africa and Zimbabwe. I expect them to win this, too.

Several years ago, the ICC declared that member countries were not allowed to host one day tournaments with more than three teams, and that the ICC's own tournaments (the Champions Trophy and the World Cup) were the only such tournaments allowed. This seems to have been intended to increase that value of the TV rights to the ICC tournaments, but sometimes it seems a little problematic. Having a separate one day series with Pakistan seems a little silly. To be quite honest, a four way tournament between England, Pakistan, Zimbabwe and South Africa would be more fun.

Meanwhile, former South African captain Kepler Wessels has declared that England have no hope in the forthcoming test series with South Africa. I think the precise opposite. South Africa are in complete disarray, and England look pretty good. I am expecting England to defeat South Africa, and by a heavy margin. (3-0 would not surprise me at all). South Africans seem to have a tremendous sense of entitlement with respect to winning at cricket. This has often led to overconfidence and bad misjudgement of the opposition in important matches, and incomprehension at South Africa's repeated inability to win afterwards. Wessels is the only man to have captained South Africa since their return to international cricket that I actually respect, but even he seems to fall for this occasionally. (I shall write a longer post on this point some time).

Finally, we have had three days of the 1st test between the West Indies and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka got off to a great start with the bat, getting the score to 4/266 thanks to a century from Atapattu and good support from Sangakkara and Jayawardene. However, good bowling from Collywood saw them slump to 8/288. A good rearguard 38 from Chaminda Vaas got them to an adequate but not exciting 354 not out.

113 from Hinds and 93 not out from Lara saw the West Indies to 4/272 when rain stopped play today. 51 overs were lost to rain, although 30 of those can be made up on the last two days if the weather is fine. A draw not looks the most likely result, particularly if there is more rail. The most likely way an actual result can be achieved is if Lara can bscore a big hundred tomorrow, the West Indies can get a first innings lead of 200 or so, and Sri Lanka can be bowled out relatively cheaply in their second innings. This is not that likely, but possible. Sri Lanka will have more trouble finding a way to win.

Update: This post contained an incorrect link to the article about Kepler Wessels. This is now fixed.

Further Update: It looks like day 4 of the Sri Lanka v West Indies match is going to be completely lost to rain. That makes the game dead as a contest. The only item of interest is whether they will get enough play on day five for Lara to complete his century.

Even Further Update: Yes, day 4 was entirely washed out. I will post another update reporting on any play that happens tomorrow, but it will likely be dull. It's a shame that a match between two well matched sides like this has been ruined. When the rain came yesterday, Muttiah Muralitharan was bowling to Brian Lara. Both were playing well, and fans of high class cricket were really enjoying it. Hopefully we will get an uninterrupted match in Kingston next weekend.

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