Thursday, March 15, 2007

Ponting is pissed off. Good

Australia opened their campaign yesterday with an easy win against Scotland. Gilchrist and Hayden ticket along at six an over until Gilchrist was out lbw to a messy attempted sweep. Scotland bowled tidily and accurately but without any great menace. (Someday I hope to see Gilchrist bat for a full 50 overs and score a double century. He always gets out in some silly fashion, however). Ponting then came in at three. And the best thing about it was that Ponting looked really annoyed. Annoyed with the criticism of the team going in to the tournament. Annoyed with the losing. Annoyed with Sunil Gavaskar. And the great thing about Ponting is that he likes to get annoyance out of his system by scoring lots and lots of runs. He batted solidly and powerfully, looking in superb form with some cracking hook shots. He was starting to accelerate and hit a few sixes, but unfortunately the players went off due to rain at 3/241 in the 41st over. At that point he was on 91 it looked like he was going to smash the players all over the place and score 150, but he didn't really get into it when the players game back. He got the hundred but got out for 113 not too long after. Australia batted solidly for a bit, and then Brad Hogg hit a quick 40 off 15 balls at the end. (Could someone explain to me why Hogg has been out of the side? He is a key player, and he was always obviously going to be a key player in this potentially low scoring tournament, both with the ball and the bat. He did it in the last World Cup for heaven's sake, and he is just as good a player now). Of the other Australian batsmen, Hayden got a useful 60 and Hodge and Clarke a few runs. (Clarke out bowled to a dreadful rush of blood shot. He still does that a little. He needs a good coach to get him to stop it.

I wish that we had Allan Border in some authority position. The fact that he came back and left again after some ridiculous dispute with the board does not make me happy). Still 6/334 off 50 overs was a good effort. No complaints from me.

Glenn McGrath was too good for the Scottish batsmen, taking 3/14 off six overs and reducing them to 5/42. That was that really. Ponting experimented with his spin attack now, bringing Brad Hodge on for a few overs. While experimenting with the spin attack now is a good idea, what the blazes were the Australians doing messing around with a mediocre all seam attack for the last six month. (Might I ask exactly why Brad Hogg was out of the side?). Hopefully though, some sort of sensible attack will be in place in time for the game against South Africa next Friday. Still, this one was way too good for Scotland, and they were bowled out for 131 off 40.1 overs and Australia won by 203 runs. Australian fams cannot complain about this. It was exactly the right opening to the tournament.

I have two questions though? First, what can we do to keep Ponting pissed off for the entire tournament? If he is really pissed off, he might score seven centuries and win the World Cup single handedly. He is good enough. Perhaps we could pay Sunil Gavaskar to continue making idiotically inflammatory remarks. Second, is Glenn McGrath going to be too good for batsmen from better sides than Scotland. Whether he is still himself or is essentially past it is one of those questions we don't know the answer to, but we probably will in a couple of weeks.

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