y2k_rambo >> y2k_rambo's Blogs >> Unpredictable is watchable

Posted by y2k_rambo at 3/12/2021 7:25:02 PM       
    Lately when he bats, Mike Hussey's hands squeeze his bat handle so tight you expect to see toothpaste spurting out the top. In the great lake of sweat on his forehead you can almost make out the bowler's reflection. Watching Hussey concentrate - concentrate so hard that sometimes he forgets to blink - is one of the many little fascinations of witnessing Australia's cricketers right now. They are all having to concentrate. It has been this way not long, five months according to the calendar, but in modern cricketing parlance that's an age. A golden age.

    Golden ages were proclaimed loudly and often during the Taylor-Waugh-Ponting years of conquest. Really that was a green-and-golden age. The fun lay in Australia smashing all comers to smithereens, then watching those same wretched opponents bend over to pick up the pieces and get kicked in the head again. And fun it was when Adam Gilchrist was swinging or Shane Warne fizzing. But fun and fulfilment are two different things. To feel truly fulfilled by all those three-day obliterations of the other team's dignity, you had to be a bronzed loyalist if you were Australian or a masochist if you came from elsewhere. All the rest of us wanted was a contest.

    Annihilation is never as good as exhilaration, the feeling that comes from watching a cricket match bend and zigzag for the best part of a week until the team that is least knackered staggers to glory on the fifth afternoon. Australian cricket followers have known the feeling for five months and 11 consecutive Tests now. They have seen their team outwitted in India and stretched by New Zealand. Against South Africa they have bounced between despair and redemption. They have lost unforeseeably and triumphed unexpectedly. Matches have been conducted at rollercoaster and snail's pace, and sometimes both. Leave your TV set and you risk missing another twist. For ten and a half Tests - for in truth the Kiwis were lunchmeat once the ball ceased swinging in Adelaide - it has been like this.

    After ten and a half Tests in the furnace, Hussey is not the only one to have found the going sweaty. Matthew Hayden loped into not entirely happy retirement. Bing went bung. Ricky Ponting's trademark hard hands and early-innings shakiness have looked harder and shakier than ever. He flounders or he flourishes, but seldom is there any satisfactory middle ground; only six times in his past 20 outings has Ponting scored between 10 and 79. The absence of grinding certainty renders him all the more watchable.

    Others - newish faces, especially - have made their opponents sweat. Commonly fast bowlers explode on the scene and then the smoke clears, as rival batsmen decipher their tricks and the bowler trails off in search of new ones. Mitchell Johnson is an exception. Overnight he has learnt, as if by magic, how to swing the red ball whatever its age, and how to whistle up 150kph zingers whenever required. The Durban Test was Johnson's 20th, and between Tests 11 and 20 he has prised out 51 wickets - more than Ray Lindwall, Dennis Lillee or Glenn McGrath, more than any Australian quick in all Test history.

    Any English cricket followers who saw Ben Hilfenhaus and Phillip Hughes might rightly be feeling a twinge of pre-Ashes collywobbles. Hilfenhaus and Hughes, sources of considerable Australian exhilaration, could soon prove the causes of England's annihilation. Mark that down as yet another of cricket's little fascinations.

Reader Comments
Posted by thirdump at 3/13/2009 11:12:28 AM         

    Yes Australia have progressed whilst England has regressed with the only exceptions being the emergence of Swann and the amazing batting of Strauss. Australian supporters must hope that Strauss has peaked too early. One of the greatest features of this has been the fact that it has been so watchable unlike previous contests which have been horribly onesided as opposing teams played not only the Australian team but their reputation as well.thirdump

Posted by y2k_rambo at 3/15/2009 4:35:17 PM         

    Australia is a living example of how to rise from the Ashes.

Posted by ambujrox at 3/17/2009 3:39:00 PM         

    rambo m quite satsfe with u!!!!!!!!!!1

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