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Test Cricket Is The Ultimate Test

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

He stood at the top of his mark, barely able to hold himself upright. A deep breath was taken and he came charging down, an in-swinging yorker upended middle stump and suddenly the crowd was brought to its feet. There was a sense that he had got something out of nothing.

On the other end a man stood on his own fighting off cramps and back pains, he had been a wall blocking everything that was thrown at him. He too felt a sense that the improbable was now within his grasp.

As with all sports there had to be a loser, and on this occasion for Peter Siddle, Australia being unable to draw the match would have felt like one.

Australia-South Africa encounters have always produced nail-biting matches (a clash of the titans if you would). It was around this time last year that these two teams were locked in another struggle, on that occasion Australia walked away victorious (with only two wickets in hand and time not on their side). In Adelaide, once again it was not until the last ball of the match that a result was confirmed.

Australia dominated the first day of the test match, South Africa fought back on the second day before the hosts wrestled the initiative back on the third. The forth was a see-saw affair before the fifth was a display of test cricket at its best.

The cricket audience around the world have been “treated” to an overdose of twenty-twenty cricket, so much so that even the players have found it hard to readjust. Over in Bangladesh, last week, Chris Gayle decided to start a test match by hitting a six, on Thursday in Adelaide David Warner and Michael Clarke chose to rack up nearly 500 runs in the first day.

By the fifth day of this match all of that was forgotten, the big shots had been shelved and a solid defense was being employed by those in the middle. The bowlers knew wickets would not be easy to come by, they stuck to their plans and ran in every ball until they had none left. To add a little more spice to the game, both sides were a player down (South Africa without their star batsman Jaques Kallis and Australia without their key bowler James Pattinson). It was a game of attrition, both sides looked to etch away at the other’s mental make up.

Australia knew a win would go a long way in regaining the number one position, South Africa was out to show they deserved to hold on to that label.

As the day went on the weariness of both sides showed on their players’ faces, but ever so once in awhile a a deep breath was taken and they plunged back into battle. Faf du Plessis showed immense concentration, something that has abandoned most modern day players, while Peter Siddle brought out that trademark Aussie grit as he never gave up.

Fittingly it was these two who would see off the end of the day (and match). Siddle looked a spent force, yet he found the energy to produce two more probing and fiery overs. Du Plessis was close to collapsing from exhaustion, but, as he had done all day he continued to fight through the pain to ensure the Proteas walked away with a hard fought draw.

In four days’ time these two teams will be back out on the park in Perth ready to battle once more for the mantle of the number one team. Their clothes will be be clean, their energy back and possibly a few new faces in the lineups. Yet they will know that five days are before them, five days for them to suck in deep breaths, five days to run in hard and ignore the pain and at the end of those five days the number one side will be crowned.

Twenty-twenty cricket has the glitz and glamour, but for all of its dazzle it lacks the heart and fight which is shown in test cricket.

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The Indian Grand Prix; A less than satisfactory debut

October 30, 2011 1 comment

The Indian Grand Prix was held today, and as an F1 fan I can promise you it was the last race I would want to see on my calender. For those who do not I am biased when it comes to India and their sporting events. This grand prix lived up to its expectations, and those expectations were pretty low.

When India was finally given the go ahead for the race a few years back, it was not an announcement that had been welcomed in the highly selective world of Formula 1 racing. Looking at the tradition and European influence on the sport, you can understand why the followers were not all too impressed.

In the recent years, the sport of racing has seen a greater emphasis placed on money ahead of tradition, this was seen through the increased races in the Middle East and Singapore. It has now moved to what is being described as the largest market possible, India.

After controversy and problems existing in the construction of the track, the race weekend was finally upon us. For most people, the interest in the season has dropped with Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull securing the driver championship and the constructor championship. The only real interest in the race stood with how India will handle this glamour filled sporting event.

So what did India have planned for the race weekend? They were certainly going all out, similar to Singapore they were going to have a concert including the performance of rock legends Metallica. The event was being built up all over the city with vendors getting in to the mood.

Unfortunately the race did not go according to plan, the first big incident was the cancellation of the Metallica concert, which enraged thousands of fans. True to Indian tradition, disappointment was followed by vandalism as the fans ransacked the stadium. A sad showing for Indians, the world’s attention was on them and they certainly slipped up.

The situation only got worse when the first practice session was delayed due to non-other than a stray dog running on to the track. A situation that is common in cricket matches seems to have transferred to the racing track. Apart from the funny side, the dangers of such an incident seems to have been missed.

We’re only lucky know drivers were on that stretch of the track. For all you animal lovers the dog was safe, probably the biggest relief for me this whole weekend.

The track itself was a state of the art affair, certainly India can be complimented on that. Just make sure you do not look outside of the stadium, a barren wasteland lies in view. The dust and sand was so intense that on TV the race was at times difficult to see. Of course, to maintain the tradition Indian ticket prices were on the slightly higher side, but that was too be expected. Whether or not that will keep the standards remain to be seen. India ended the weekend in a fashion that was both embarrassing and sums up their mentality. Sachin Tendulkar was given the opportunity to wave the chequered flag, I mean why would he be given it? Yes he is a sporting god in that country, but he has no connection with the sport nor is he from New Delhi. Its a shame such a emphasis was placed on this man in a sport where few will know his name.

So the race is over, and the event was not as exciting as many of the other tracks. I guess now it waits to be seen how its following seasons go. Of course one thing we are assured of is that money rules all things sporting.

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