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Monday, November 22, 2004

Ha ha glad I went away for the weekend 

Because I didn't see the losses in the cricket, the league, and the netball, and the near-loss in the union, not that I would have watched it anyway. The Black Craps' defeat was so utterly comprehensive, and Glen McGrath's starring role with the bat so unlikely, that it's impossible not to laugh and take the result with a broad smile. It's hard to know whether Cricinfo is being ironic or not in writing:

A track flat good enough for two tailenders to share a record for the 10th wicket against New Zealand had become unplayable.

I guess the umpires didn't do New Zealand any favours in the 3rd innings, but nor did NZ's selection policy, which included the hopeless McMillan. It doesn't help that Astle is a class player badly out of form and Fleming frequently fails to front up. In terms of players who can't share too much of the blame ... (and bear in mind I didn't see Australia's first innings or New Zealand's second), it seems that McCullum got 2 terrible decisions, Oram played very well in the first innings and was dismissed under freak circumstances in the second, and that Martin and Vettori at least made some impact at the bowling crease. Still, I guess they also contributed to that handy 114-run last wicket partnership featuring Glen "my average used to be 2.1" McGrath.

Still, it's nice to know that our cricketers aren't the only crap team out there. And hey, in the second innings we were on two of my favourite all-time New Zealand batting scores, 33/3 and 44/4. If I had a dime for every time the Crappers were on those scores (and I note the 5th wicket also fell on 44).

The Braces must go brigade will be gathering momentum now.

It was Braces's decision to play McMillan over Marshall.

Macca (and Astle) have let us down badly against England and did again in this test. How Sinclair missed selection for the England tour (and initially Bangladesh) still astounds me; if he had been sheltered in the middle order throughout his career as Astle and McMillan have I believe his test record would be outstanding. I'm still not convinced he is really an opener but he is doing a great job at present.

Last year Sinclair scored 851 runs in first class cricket and an average of 57. He scored two hundreds at a high average in the A tour to SA. His last five test scores have been 74, 21 (SA), 76, 23 (Bangladesh) and 69 (Aus)before getting a dodgy decision yesterday. He scored 62 and 66 from two bats in the ODI's against Bangladesh and 88 and 79 against NSW. He has a first class average of 47 and test average of 39 point something having been exposed to the new ball in virtually all of his test innings.

Sinclair's technique and footwork may not be flawless but the same can be said for most in the NZ side but he scores runs and is too good to have been ignored for as long as he has been. It is clearly a personality issue but who gives a f*ck if he is a great guy or not if he gets runs.

McMillan's record in the same period is awful. 202 runs at 25.25 in first class cricket last year. He scored 17.66 at home against Pakistan.

101 at 50.50 against SA (with an 86 not out). 36 runs at 9 against England. 17, 7, and 39 in the ODI's against Bangladesh. 14 and 17 against NSW and 23 and 7 against Australia. His other ODI performances in that period have not been too flash either. What more does he have to do?

And what about Mills/Butler? Butler has never had a chance to play test cricket on a hard bouncy pitch and should have been given a go.

One wonders then how on earth Kyle "Sideshow Bob" Mills came into contention, having too been an A player very recently, and only having played one test as well. Shades of Griz and Rita Philpott. And what did Butler do wrong? Say to Bracewell that his mystery ball when he played was the one that spun?
Braces was on the record this morning as saying something along the lines of "What difference would Butler have made - bounced the ball a bit more?"

But the point is that there's dangerous, awkward, likely-to-take-a-wicket bounce, and then there's short and wide outside off stump crashed to the point boundary (end of day 2 rubbish bowled by Styris & Oram) and short and wide on middle and leg and pulled to the square leg boundary (day 3 rubbish).

Can anyone comment on the bowlers who did take wickets - Martin and Vettori? Were they any good? Who dropped the catches in the field for us - someone told me Glenn "61" McGrath was dropped thrice.
Martin and Vettori were good, but basically ran out of steam by the time McGrath came in. Mills is not at the level required, and Styris and Oram were very disappointing.

And as is so often the case, our lack ov variety cost us. It was such negative thinking not to play Butler, which is ironic given Braces's legendary positiveness.
Yep. Agree with you guys.

i think the only way to ever beat the Aussies is to knock them over with the ball. Taking 20 wickets against them is a bloody hard task so you better be ready to go in there all guns blazing with the best you've got.

And then hope the batsmen do their job for us. Which they should theoretically be doing fairly often.

McGrath 61
NZ 76

At least we teamed up to pip him.

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