Groundhog Days

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“Leaving the ball outside off stump is a waste of time.”

The above quote kinda summed up a Twenty20 which more-or-less rehashed the first of the series, with the same outcome – albeit via a slightly more nervewracking methodology. So why was it such a fantastically compelling game of cricket?

Firstly, the quote’s author is Virender Sehwag, whose innings of 24 off 11 versus his first game returns of 26 from 10 should have tipped us to the Punxsutawney Phil-indebted nature of the match from the start. Gambhir mirrored his first match ineffectuality, Yuvraj took over Raina’s role as the respectability provider, and Dhoni mirrored Harbhajan’s I-ate-all-the-balls knock from the Christchurch game. Final analysis: a score about 30 short of defendable again, notwithstanding the dog’s breakfast we made of chasing it down. At least the crowd was different:

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The massive Indian presence at the cake tin (the more ‘Mystery’ Morrison tells the nation to stop calling it that, the more attached I become to that thoroughly innocuous piece of nicknamery) gave the game a real atmosphere, and may well have played a part in its extension to the ultimate ball of the match. The way the second string Indian bowlers scrapped their way back into the match after Sharma’s unfortunate pants-falling-down injury* was truly heroic, particularly Pathan’s ruthless 3rd over.

But McCullum completed the whole very-recent-history-repeats thing by carrying his bat (an expression I’ve now had to use three times this year as a New Zealand cricket fan, after it lay musty and neglected for eons prior) for a match winning half century. I was sure we’d tooled it when it came down to nine from three, but those fours, then that marvellously ungainly shoulda-been-a-catch stroke to seal the victory… If they keep turning out so wildly entertaining as this I’m going to have to remove most of my objections to Twenty20.

So far, then, this series is going according to a weird alternate-reality script, one in which the Indians again succumb to hubris, and the New Zealanders find out something new about one another in every match. Maybe one day we’ll make DeadBall’s first TV movie out of this series? I hope so. I could definitely play Neil Broom, pictured here shelling a catch he really should have taken.

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Before I go, here’s some more of my famously rubbish sports photography, and couple of burning questions:

Is Iain O'Brien 33 (as his cricinfo page states) or 12 (as his haircut and face STRONGLY suggest? Seriously, look at him.

Is Iain O'Brien 33 (as his cricinfo page states) or 12 (as his haircut and face STRONGLY suggest?). Seriously, look at him.

I'm annoyed I couldn't get a shot of this whole banner, one I believe to be maybe the stinkest of all time. The thing that gets me is, they had it professionally printed. Looked at it on-screen and went 'yep, that's gonna be MEAN' and hit print. How does that happen?

I'm annoyed I couldn't get a shot of this whole banner, one I believe to be maybe the stinkest of all time. I think it finished with 'Come on de India' or something. The thing that gets me is, they had it professionally made. Looked at it on-screen and went 'yep, that's gonna be MEAN' and hit print. Damn.

Just in case any of you are doubting my ability to pick a good cricket banner, here's a favourite from the England series last year. Concise, aggressive, elegant. And homophobic. What else is there?

Just in case any of you are doubting my ability to pick a good cricket banner, here's a favourite from the England series last year. Aggressive, to-the-point and elegantly phrased. Self-consciously homophobic too! What else is there?

This image dedicated to Short Of A Length, in the fervent hope it's not the last time I get to photograph some brutally deflated Indian supporters on this tour.

This image dedicated to Short Of A Length, in the fervent hope it's not the last time I get to photograph some brutally deflated Indian supporters on this tour.

– Duncan

* That actually happened right? An international cricketer named Ishant Sharma fell over fielding a regulation ball, pulling his pants down in the process to reveal either some mega-weird 18th century gentleman’s underwear, or, more prosaically, some Skins. Then got up wiggling his shoulder round like a maniac and left the field soon after, never to return. Fantastic sport, cricket.

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8 Comments

Filed under Cricket, News

8 responses to “Groundhog Days

  1. Technically, ‘carrying his bat’ only refers to an opener who has remained unbeaten as the other 10 wickets have fallen. What McCullum did was simply remain not out. I am a pedant.

  2. Duncan

    I hear that in a test sense, but there was a discussion on the TV during the ODI when Guptil got his century and they were pretty clear that it’s come to mean batting through an innings in the One Day arena.
    You are a pedant, no doubt, but I feel that it works logically too. IE in a test an opener needs to remain not out at the innings conclusion to have carried their bat, but in an ODI/Twenty20 they can do that without the rest of the team having been bowled out. Not such an impressive achievement, but there you go. I’m going to keep using it this way anyway, I reckon.

  3. “There’s too many red dots in the Indian innings”
    Ian Smith
    27/2/09

    Outrageous.

  4. Duncan

    Smithy is some kind of genius alright. We were all thinking it, but only he had the courage to speak his mind on this issue.

  5. my favourite line has to be martin crowe during the first T20, when he said “yusuf is not so yusuf anymore…”
    went to the wgtn game.
    loved it.

  6. Duncan

    Looks like it’s Yuvraj who’s not so Yuvraj now. Game’ll be decided in the next 10 overs.

  7. Pingback: Announcing The Cricket Blogger’s Wars « Short of a Length

  8. Pingback: DeadBall » Blog Archive » The Phony War Is Over

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