Archive for the Cricket Category

D.G. Bradman b Hollies 0

Posted in Cricket, History with tags , , on August 14, 2018 by telescoper

It was on this day 70 years ago (i.e. on 14th August 1948) that the great Australian batsman Sir Donald Bradman played his last Test innings, against England at the Oval. He didn’t know it would be his last knock but Australia won the match by an innings so he never got to bat again in the match, which was the last in the five-match Ashes series that Australia won 4-0.

Bradman needed only to score four runs to finish with a Test batting average of 100, but he was out second ball to the legspinner Eric Hollies, for a duck, and his average was stuck on 99.94.

Here’s a short video of Bradman’s last Test innings, featuring commentary by John Arlott:

Two things struck me when I watched this just now. One is that Norman Yardley’s decision to give Bradman three cheers at the start of his innings may have seemed very sporting at the time, but I’m sure it put the batsman off and I wonder if that was Yardley’s calculated intent?

The second striking thing is the poor state of the pitch, with huge footmarks clearly visible. Although Hollies was bowling round the wicket presumably to exploit them, it’s not clear these played a role in Bradman’s dismissal. It looks to me that he played a loose shot at a full delivery, probably a googly that turned a little. Nevertheless it is worth remembering that batsmen of Bradman’s era had to play on uncovered wickets. I won’t dwell on this point for fear of starting to sound like Geoffrey Boycott, but it does reinforce just how remarkable Bradman’s average really was. Add to that the fact that England had been bowled out on that strip in their first innings for just 52!

Eric Hollies may have been a good bowler, but his record with the bat was at the opposite extreme to Bradman, scoring a total of 37 runs in 13 Test matches, at an average of 5.28. His total of 1,673 runs in first-class matches was 650 fewer than his haul of wickets, and only once (in 1954) did he reach 30 in an innings. In fact, he did not reach 20 in any innings between 1946 and 1953, and equalled an all-time first-class record, between July 1948 and August 1950, of seventy-one consecutive innings without reaching double figures.

Although Australia won the Ashes convincingly in 1948, the Australian camp was not entirely harmonious. The tension therein largely originated in the fact that Bradman was a Protestant and there was a Catholic faction in the touring party that didn’t like him for essentially tribal reasons. Indeed, I’m told that some former Australian players in the Press Box burst out laughing when `The Don’ was out for a duck that day.

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Glamorgan versus Hampshire: Vitality Blast Twenty20

Posted in Cricket with tags , , , , on August 10, 2018 by telescoper

After indifferent weather all day it turned out nice for this evening’s Twenty20 match at Sophia Gardens between Glamorgan and Hampshire. It was a good night for Glamorgan too, as they won by 8 wickets, making it a run of five victories in a row.

Glamorgan won the toss asked Hampshire to bat. Openers Vince and Roussow got the visitors off to a flying start, putting on 58 in less than five overs, before Vince was well caught by David Lloyd (returning to the side after injury) off Hogan.

Glamorgan’s quicker bowlers were expensive but spinners Salter (2 for 16 off 4) and Ingram (1-10 off 2) and medium-pacer Meschede (3 for 21 off 4) established control after the power play, and wickets fell as the Hampshire batsmen struggled to accelerate from their good base and frustration set in. From 90 for 1 in the 8th over they could only manage 151 off their 20. Graham Wagg bowled the last three overs from the Cathedral Road end for just 16. When everyone had expected Hampshire to accelerate, they slowed down dramatically thanks to fine bowling and fielding. The catching, in particular, was outstanding: wickets resulted from mistimed slogs, some of which went very high indeed. No chances went down.

With a target of 152 to win, Glamorgan were favourites, the only real worry being complacency. Donald fell early, run out by a direct hit while clearly not paying attention. That brought Colin Ingram to the crease and he immediately started to play his shots. There were one or two near misses early on, lofted shots just clearing the infield, but when he got into his stride the match was never in doubt. He finished on 71 not out, including four huge sixes and six fours.

Meschede fell with the score on 101, but Kieran Carlson played confidently to finish unbeaten on 31.

Needing a miracle with the score on 146 for 2, Hampshire brought Dale Steyn back on the 16th over. After a single from Carlson, Ingram clouted one to the fine leg boundary for four. The scores were level. Two dot balls followed, then Steyn bowled a bouncer that took off, Ingram ducked and the ball went through the wicketkeepers gloves for four byes. Game over.

Glamorgan versus Essex: Vitality Blast Twenty20

Posted in Cricket with tags , , , , , on August 7, 2018 by telescoper

I’m back in Cardiff for a few days sorting out some logistics, and also to make the most of what remains on my season ticket for Glamorgan cricket club, where I spent this evening.

While my late supper warms in the oven I just have time to post a quick item about this evening’s events at Sophia Gardens.

I don’t normally do selfies unless they’re of other people but I’m posting the above one because it made it via Twitter onto the big screen during the match. Fame at last!

Essex won the toss and out Glamorgan into bat. Glamorgan got off to a poor start, losing both openers cheaply. That brought Colin Ingram to the crease and the scoring accelerated, especially when he took apart the hapless Quinn for 30 off one over.

Glamorgan reached 110 for 3 off 11 overs, of which Ingram had scored 85, but they then faltered against good bowling. Ingram fell with the score on 135 for 7, at the start of the 17th over. Essex were on top.

Graham Wagg and Ruaidhri Smith then launched a stunning counter-attack and in the blink of an eye and a flurry of boundaries, Glamorgan were suddenly 198 for 7 off their 20 overs.

It was a good score in the end, but Essex started well with the bat and Glamorgan’s bowlers at first struggled to contain them. Gradually however Glamorgan began to exert some control. Wagg was outstanding in the crucial middle overs.

Pressure built, some wickets fell, but Essex didn’t collapse and kept more or less in touch with wickets in hand and the experienced Bopara at the crease and looking in good form.

The crowd waited anxiously for the climax. Essex needed 48 off the last 3 overs. Then 32 off 2. Then, after an excellent penultimate over from Wagg, 24 from the last. With Ravi Bopara on strike.

Michael Hogan ran into bowl. His first two balls conceded two fours, one a very difficult dropped catch that might have gone for six if the fielder hadn’t got a hand to it. Now it was 16 off 4 balls. The next ball was skied but fell safe for 2 runs. That meant 14 from 3; at least one six needed. Hogan bowled and Bopara obliged, slogging one into the Grandstand.

Eight now needed off two balls. Possible. Nerves jangling around the ground, Hogan bowled again, a very good one. Bopara was beaten and the ball went through to the keeper. A dot ball. A huge cheer went up from the crowd. That was effectively that. An inconsequential single off the last ball meant that Glamorgan won by six runs.

That makes it four wins out of four for Glamorgan, who go 3rd in the table. They now have a good chance of a semifinal place that looked beyond their reach four games ago. Poor old Essex are bottom of the table, with only one win from ten matches.

Walking home just know it occurred to me that as well as ones for fours and sixes they should give out cards to wave when a dot ball is bowled. It’s often those that win matches!

Glamorgan versus Somerset: Vitality Blast Twenty20

Posted in Cardiff, Cricket, Uncategorized on July 20, 2018 by telescoper

After a little drinks reception in the School of Physics and Astronomy (at which I was given a very nice gift of wine) I joined the staff outing to Sophia Gardens to watch this evening’s Twenty20 cruise cricket between Glamorgan and Somerset.

The start was delayed by rain so we lingered in a pub on the way only to be caught on the hop when play actually started and missing the first few overs. Somerset batted well to reach 190 off their 20 overs, with Anderson hitting four big sixes in his 59.

Without Shaun Marsh, who will miss the rest of the season, the Glamorgan batting lineup seemed to have a very long tail and a lot rested on Khawaja and Ingram. Both scored runs quickly while they were in but neither could build a big score. Once those two were out, the Glamorgan innings faltered and they never looked like reaching Somerset’s total. The finished on 160 for 9, losing by 30 runs.

Glamorgan v Northants: Day 4

Posted in Cricket with tags , , on June 28, 2018 by telescoper

This morning I made my way again to Sophia Gardens for the final day of the County Championship Division 2 match between Glamorgan and Northamptonshire. I wasn’t exactly brimming with enthusiasm, so didn’t get to the ground for the start of today’s play, but I thought I’d observe the last rites.

When I got to the ground, night watchman Tim van der Gugten had already been dismissed, but there was some reasonably bright batting by Chris Cooke and Kieran Carlson. Coincidentally, I took the above picture just as Brett Hutton was about to bowl the delivery that accounted for Carlson, who nicked it into the slips for 32. Hutton also accounted for Cooke, who got one that seemed to keep low and knocked his leg stump out of the ground. Glamorgan reached 199 for 8 when Smith was lbw to Nathan Buck for 4. In came the youngster Prem Sisodiya who survived the rest of Buck’s over. Salter got off the legspinner Prasanna at the other end to bring up the 200 and bring Sisodiya on strike. A few balls later he pushed too hard at a good length ball and it went straight into the midriff of silly mid-off, who held on. That was a bit unfortunate for Sisodiya, who thereby bagged a pair in this match.

Prem Sisodiya’s dismissal made it 200 for 9 and, with Mike Hogan being unable to bat owing to injury, that was the innings closed and the end of the match. As I predicted, it was all over before lunch. Northamptonshire won by 233 runs. Congratulations to them on a well-deserved victory: they were clearly the stronger team.

I always thought Glamorgan would struggle with the bat on the last day on this pitch. The variable bounce that has been there throughout the match seemed to get worse. The wrist spinner Prasanna extracted appreciable bounce and turn throughout the morning, to the extent of making life very difficult for his own wicket-keeper. One delivery from Prasanna leapt up so alarmingly that it went over the keeper’s head for four byes. I must admit, though, that I enjoyed watching the legspinner in action with fielders around the bat. As someone who tried to bowl wrist-spin when I was younger, I always enjoy seeing it done properly.

Other amusement was provided by a seagull who took it upon himself to patrol the area around mid on while the rest of the fielders were in attacking positions…

I think it is important to look on the bright side of disappointments like this. After all, in an uncertain and at times frightening world one can take comfort in the reassuring familiarity of a defeat for Glamorgan. Moreover, having already finished bottom of the table in the Royal London One-Day Cup, and looking likely to do the same in Division 2 of the County Championship, there will be a lot riding on this year’s Twenty20 competition: can Glamorgan pull off the treble?

Glamorgan v Northants: Day 3

Posted in Cardiff, Cricket with tags , , , on June 27, 2018 by telescoper

For the record, I thought I’d post a short update on today’s play at Sophia Gardens.

I only attended the morning session today. I forgot to take my phone so there’s no picture. It was a good morning’s play actually, with Glamorgan’s bowlers doing better. The huge opening partnership of 208 was eventually broken when Procter fell, soon followed by Duckett. How often it happens that both batsmen involved in a big stand get out in quick succession. Another three wickets fell for the addition of 90 runs. However at 259 for 5, with the Northants lead at 289, at lunch I reckoned the game was already beyond Glamorgan, and instead of returning to the ground after lunch I took a stroll around sunny Bute Park and went into the Data Innovation Research Institute office to attend to a few things.

Northamptonshire progressed to a total of 406 and declared when their 9th wicket fell. Tea was taken at that point. In the last session, Glamorgan slumped to 121 for 4, the first innings hero Khawaja among the fallen.

Glamorgan need to score 313 tomorrow to win. More relevantly, Northants need to take 6 wickets. I wouldn’t bet against the game finishing before lunch, actually.

Glamorgan v Northants: Day 2

Posted in Cricket on June 26, 2018 by telescoper

As I settled into my seat, checked the scorecard, and applied yet more sun lotion before today’s play I was as struck by the weakness of Glamorgan’s batting order, especially the very long tail, as I was by the lack of a quality third seamer in the bowling attack yesterday. A lot would depend on Khawaja, Carlson and Cooke, I thought. As it turned out, only one of those three made a decent contribution, Usman Khawaja, who was last man out, for 103, with the Glamorgan total 254. He had got Glamorgan within 27 runs of Northamptonshire when that looked very unlikely. He also became the first player ever to score hundreds in each of his first three County games for Glamorgan.

Earlier on, Glamorgan’s top three batsmen got into the twenties and then got out, taking them to lunch at 115 for 3. I went home for lunch again and, as it was so hot, I had a siesta. Returning to the ground, I found Carlson, Cooke and Salter had all fallen, and saw Smith and Sisodiya follow them. At this point Khawaja was on 67 and, sensing he was about to run out of partners he decided to go up a gear. A flurry of sixes and fours followed to take him to his hundred. He was out the next ball.

Still, with a deficit of only 27, some quick wickets would swing the balance in Glamorgan’s favour. Sadly for them, that emphatically did not happen. Northants openers Procter and Duckett had started the first innings very cautiously but, with the wicket still offering quite a lot to the bowlers they decided to be more aggressive and try put the pressure on the bowlers. It worked.

Glamorgan’s bowling attack became ragged as Duckett in particular took the bull by the horns. The lack of a decent third seamer was again exposed. Marchant De Lange is missing with a hamstring injury and Lucas Carey wasn’t picked, leaving Ruaidhri Smith to do the honours as first change. He bowled poorly, as did the more experienced off-spinner Andrew Salter.

As the runs piled on, the body language of the fielding team showed they knew the game was slipping away.

At stumps, Northamptonshire were 169 without loss, a lead of 196, with Duckett not out on 111 and Procter not out 50. I have to say that Glamorgan bowled too many bad balls at this pair, but you still have to take advantage of your opportunitues as a batsman, and they did so very well indeed.

Northants are well ahead with two days remaining. The likeliest scenario now is that they will amass a huge total tomorrow, bat Glamorgan out of the game, and wrap up victory on the last day.

It’s hard to tell if the pitch is getting easier or harder. After two full days under the grill you might expect it to wear, but there was no sign of that in the batting this evening. On the other hand, the umpires did have a look at the pitch a couple of times, as if they were worried by its state. Whatever happens to the pitch, it certainly doesn’t look like the weather will save Glamorgan!

Now, I need a drink.