It's one thing for us armchair nincompoops to take the piss whenever a bowler concedes his hundred runs for the innings. For the bowlers themselves to make light of the occasion with the full complicity of the captain, as we saw at the Gerddi Soffia on Saturday, was ridiculous.
Two days left, Australia will not lose at the Gerddi Soffia. They might win. I'm backing the Welsh weather gods (if they have any).
It was a day that saw Simon Katich become the first player to score a Test hundred in Cymru. Ricky Ponting notched his 38th Test hundred, and inflatable kangaroos were held aloft everywhere when he passed 11,000 Test career runs. (Except, of course, that exactly 100 of those runs were scored against the ICC World XI in that ghastly Super Series aberration of October 2005.)
Your team is 241 for 4, twenty overs till stumps on the first day. You are one of the senior players in your team. You are 69 not out. The opposition bowler pitches a slow ball short and about two metres wide of off stump. Do you:
- Leave it alone?
- Take two steps down to the pitch of the ball and smash it to the cover fence for four?
- Keep your feet still, stretch as far as you can to pull the ball off the cue-end of the bat lofting it to the on-side?
It's about to start. The cricketing rivalry that matters more than any other. Do we call the First Test England versus Australia or Australia versus England? How can the Poms claim a match staged in the neighbouring country of Cymru as a home game?
Michael Jackson is dead, long live the Ashes! With eight hours till the start of the first-ever England v Australia Test to be played on neutral soil, allow me to be pessimistic as well as distasteful:
He is the shock selection in England's First Test squad to face the West Indies next week. Durham quickie Graham Onions has been named in the twelve, and is almost certain to make his England debut after a false start on the 2006 ODI tour of Pakistan. Today's Newcastle Herald (New South Wales, not Northumberland) is right on the ball in giving credit where it's due for Onions' success.
Congratulations to England on their victory in the Women's Cricket World Cup final today. They were, without doubt, the best team in the tournament, and probably have the best organisation behind them. It's a far cry from their nadir in 2000.
The disappointments of the tournament? Australia, who finished fourth, are in a rebuilding phase. South Africa's seventh placing was a big shock.
New Zealand flogged England in the First Test on Sunday. England were set 300 for victory, but just couldn't quite get there, all out for 110. Ryan Sidebottom's hat-trick was in vain, as was Aussie Tim Ambrose's debut first innings half-century.
But hang on a tic? Wasn't New Zealand cricket supposed to be on its way down the tubes having lost all its best talent to the Icicle?