A bit of sad news from Thursday
That name may sound obscure, but there’s a reason I wanted to mention Tony.
I love talking about Jason Gillespie’s double century as a nightwatchman because of how hilarious it is to think about, but he wasn’t the first Australian to score a ton as a nightwatchman.
It was none other than Tony, back in 1977 against India at the WACA, during the height of the World Series wars- The only test series that Mann played in, before he resumed his long career for WA.
It was only the 2nd ton by a nightwatchman in test cricket- The first was Nasim ul-Ghani for Pakistan against England at Lord’s in 1962.
The Pakistan Test Squad
Then again, the headline should have been, “Guy who wasn’t going to play in 1st Test gets suspended for 1st Test for being a dickhead.”
So that said, Trevor Hohns, Alfie Langer and the band of Muppets on the selection panel (I think the Swedish Chef recently replaced Greg Chappell) all went to Perth thinking they were going to find someone sticking their hand up to play in the top order, and within 20 overs of Australia’s 1st Innings against Pakistan, it turned into a case of “Just pick the only dickhead with his still above water.”
In the end, despite his golden duck, they said bugger it, and went with Joe Burns based on his past of growing a third leg in Test cricket, which makes him look like Keith Miller when compared to Marcus Harris and Cam Bancroft, who successfully pulled off another last minute Bradbury innings to at least hang around the Australian setup like the customary bad fart.
Funny how Burns didn’t even crack a mention for the Ashes squad when his form was pretty good, and now he gets in to the 14 for Pakistan, when the only way he could score runs at present is by eating a strawberry laxative.
The other major story, was of course Will Pucovski withdrawing himself from contention to deal with a few mental health issues (Which he’s been open about dealing with before), making him the 3rd Australian player to take a break from the game to deal with their mental health this summer, after Glenn Maxwell and Nic Maddinson stood themselves down in the past month.
If you go back through history, players dealing with mental health-related issues aren’t new in cricket at all, but the positive in recent years compared to decades passed, is that players now have the guts to speak up and admit they’re having problems, in spite of the stigma that seems to still exist with mental health.
Sheffield Shield Matches
SA 6/490d & 5/191 drew with Tasmania 5/345d & 8/308 @ The Adelaide Oval
POTM: Alex Doolan (Tassie) – 170* & 116
The Australian guide to authenticity- LED lighting showing a white picket fence…. in front of an actual white picket fence.
South Australia won the toss on a good batting deck at the AO, and the story of Day 1 was Jake Weatherald and Henry Hunt taking the Tasmanian attack to the cleaners.
Henry Hunt and Jake Weatherald had an opening partnership of 293, batting well into the final session, which finally ended when Hunt mistimed Neil-Smith on 132, the ball was skied into the off-side, and McDermott kept his eyes on the prize to claim the long-awaited breakthrough.
It was the best opening partnership in the 21st Century of Shield cricket, and the best in SA’s Shield history, beating the previous best of 281 by Les Favell and John Causby in 1967 against NSW, which coincidentally, was also on Remembrance Day!
Weatherald made it to stumps unbeaten on 195, Ferguson on 20, and South Australia made it to stumps just 1 wicket down for 359, the first time they’ve ever achieved that after Day 1 of a Shield match.
Weatherald would fall for 198 shortly after play resumed on Day 2, and a good knock of 64 from Harry Nielsen pushed the Redbacks on to 490 before they declared just after lunch.
After losing 2 early wickets, the backbone of the Tassie innings came from a 171-run between Alex Doolan and Matty Wade, with Doolan reaching his century on Day 3, and the partnership was brought to an end when Wade was dismissed on 89.
As Doolan pressed on to an unbeaten 170, Wade made the tactical declaration midway into Day 3, with the Tigers still 145 behind, with Tom Cooper taking 3 wickets with his rank offies.
Wade putting his trust in the Tassie bowlers worked well early on, with Weatherald being plucked LBW by Bird for 4, but by the end of the day, the Redbacks had re-established a firm grip on the match, thanks to Henry Hunt and Callum Ferguson going the tonk all the way through to stumps, as the lead headed back up towards 300.
A few more overs of the tonk on Day 4, and the Redbacks declared with a lead of 336, giving Tassie the entire day to chase what seemed like a very achievable target.
Led by another century to Doolan, with solid support from the top order, Tassie made it to 3/240, needing only 97 to win from 23 overs, but their chase took a hammer blow when Wes Agar eventually got the breakthrough, claiming Doolan for 116.
Still, that had nothing on Callum Ferguson’s superb overhead reflex work to get rid of Matty Wade.
Until he was dismissed in that 2nd Innings, Doolan had been on the field for every single delivery of the match, and he also became the 7th Tasmanian player to score centuries in both innings of a Shield match, alongside mythical creatures like Ricky Ponting and David Boon.
Bravo Alex, hopefully you celebrated like Boony, and enjoyed a beer or 52.
With an hour to play, Tassie needed 74 runs from the last 15 overs, with 5 wickets in hand, with George Bailey and Paine at the crease.
And then the Australian captain was clean bowled by Nick Winter, Jackson Bird went for single figures when Agar struck again, and once again, the match once again swung the way of the hosts.
Alex Pyecroft fell with 7 overs to go after getting trapped LBW, leaving Bailey and Neil-Smith to face reality and attempt to bat out a draw, with Bailey once again adopting the open shitpost stance that he used with success against Victoria, in defiance of the Redbacks bowling attack.
You’d swear the next thing he was going to do was drop his strides and show the Croweaters it was going to be a full moon on Thursday evening.
As it ticked past 6pm local, with 2 wickets remaining and Tassie only 28 behind, time ultimately ran out, and after 4 days, a somewhat entertaining match would end in an anti-climatic draw, with Doolan’s 2 centuries earning him Player Of The Match honours, as South Australia’s winless run in Shield cricket goes on to 17.
In amongst the many performances, a week after finishing with 14 wickets against New South Wales, Chadd Sayers didn’t take a wicket.
He wasn’t Chad Chadd this week, he was Virgin Chadd.
QLD 183 & 306 defeated Victoria 9/300d & 130 by 59 runs @ The MCG
When I checked the score without noticing where the match was, and that Melbourne was still suffering the effects of an arctic blast, I assumed Queensland must be really crap to not even reach 200 at the Junction Oval.
Then I realised it was the first game at the MCG all season, and that conditions were massively favouring the bowlers.
A very rare thing to say about the Melbourne Cricket Ground, after the piss-up of a pitch they produced for Boxing Day 2017.
With Pucovski off with Australia A (Before he withdrew), and Nic Maddinson off dealing with his personal issues, Will Sutherland made his Shield debut, but all eyes were on the other Mexican debutant, a 17-year-old Jake Fraser-McGurk, the 3rd youngest player in Victoria’s history, and the youngest since Cameron White in 2001.
He would perform better than 10 out off 11 Queenslanders…. even Marnus DankeSchoen, who could only conjure up a 28-ball duck, as the Bulls were skittled for 183, with Charlie Hemphrey’s 64 the only reason they were able to pass 150, as the glorious Melbourne weather played a big role on Day 1.
When the Vics came out to bat, Two Dads McGurk more than exceeded expectations, contributing a debut half-century in a 104 run stand with his skipper Peter Handscomb to put the Vics ahead, until he departed for 51 a few balls later.
It all makes sense as to how Jake could bat so well in the concrete canyon, because of course, you can’t spell MCG without Fraser-McGurk.
Handscomb top scored with 92, Jimmy Pattinson contributed a solid 42, but the highlight of the innings ended up coming from Shane Warne’s lovechild Mitchell Swepson, who finished the innings with an LBW hat-trick of Will Sutherland, Pattinson and Peter Siddle!
It does feel quite ironic that Peter Siddle would be the last victim in someone’s hat-trick.
With time in mind, Handscomb declared once Victoria reached 300, and the Queenslanders did eventually gain an outright lead 3 down, as most of the top order (Except Bryce Street) made a start before departing for between 28 and 42.
With the Bulls in a big hole at 7/206, looked like they’d have to be damn good to get the lead anywhere near 130-140, but the tail wagged big time thanks to an 64-run partnership between Jimmy Peirson and Mark Steketee to make it to stumps on Day 3 leading by 153 runs.
The partnership grew to 88 on the last morning, as Steketee reached a well-earned half century before being caught behind off Pattinson for 52, and, after Peirson reached his half-century as well, the Bulls were finally dismissed for 306, Pattinson finished with 4 wickets, and Victoria had to chase a slightly awkward total of 189 in just over 2 sessions.
Apparently this was also the time where James Pattinson made the informed decision to abuse one of the Banana Benders to such a degree that he triggered another code of conduct breach, earning him a 1 game suspension, and rubbing him out of a test match that he probably wasn’t going to play in anyway.
Based on the 4th Innings, I suppose the Karma Bus wasn’t done running his arse over.
Matt Short and Eamonn Vines pushed the score along to 0/41 just after the lunch break, then both fell in consecutive overs, with Vines contentiously given out caught behind down the leg side, when the ball came off his armpit with his gloves above his head, before another short rain delay hit, Handscomb was clean bowled by Edwards for 3, and just like that, the Vics were in flux at 3/52.
Fraser-McGurk and Finch brought the deficit closer to 100, before Two Dads was dismissed for 19, and then Finch was gone for 17, and the advantage was now firmly with the Queenslanders with the Vics at 5/85 with a good 35 overs still remaining, but the light was diminishing late in the afternoon.
It got even worse for Victoria, when Harper and Pattinson went for single figures to leave the hosts at 7/95, and the umpires started to get very jumpy about the light, with the light towers effectively taking over to such a degree that a test match would be halted.
Coinciding with the thrilling finish, there was either a Debutante’s Ball or a Wedding going on in the Members Stand.
If it was a wedding, what a time for it- On one level of the MCG, a father giving away his daughter to some lucky bastard, and a few levels down, 11 Victorians were giving away a crucial victory to 11 Queenslanders.
Sutherland was caught in the slips by Renshaw for 5, leaving the Queenslanders just 2 wickets from victory with 24 overs left, but Peter Siddle and Tremain somehow ate out 15 overs, as the win was now firmly out of Victoria’s reach, after being on top for pretty much the entire match.
As the clock ticked past 6, Swepson cli with just 10 overs to go, although he debated that it was going down leg side, leaving Jon ‘Dutchy’ Holland and Chris Tremain to navigate 59 deliveries
With 8 overs to go, the Queenslanders thought they’d won, when it appeared Tremain had sent a flying edge to second slip, although umpire Ward stood his ground and said not out, thinking it had hit the top of the pad- The replay showed he’d produced a massive edge, which, because of the speed, ended up looking like an optical illusion for Ward.
Then again, how in crap’s name could a ball travelling to the slips at that speed and angle have possibly come off the pad or knee?
Chris Tremain became Chris Remain.
After surviving another half-a-dozen overs, with just 8 balls to go, Swepson conjured up the winning delivery, a fast and straight one that trapped Holland dead in front, the umpire was up straight away to give him LBW, and the Queenslanders shot their collective load in celebration, after pulling off a win that after Day 1, looked less likely than an Englishman taking a shower more than once every 2 months.
Quite fittingly it was Sweppo who got the job done, after his hat-trick heroics to end the 1st Innings, and thus, after 4 Shield matches, Queensland move into outright 2nd, and Victoria have a mere 1 draw and 3 losses.
They’ve dug their own grave, and I imagine the other 5 states will be sticking them in the casket and shovelling the dirt in 2020.
Have to say as well, big tick to the curator Matty Page for that wicket- He’s now supposedly got something in common with Christ, in that they’ve both brought the dead back to life.
NSW 8/444d & 0/98d defeated WA 191 & 128 by 223 runs @ The SCG
POTM: Moises Henriques (NSW) –
In the space of a week, Steve Smith has gone from smacking 80 off about 40 balls against Pakistan, to adopting the corpse with pads on persona, and pushing along to 18 off 105 balls, and only scoring his 50 off about 170.
He’s some kind of cricketing chameleon that changes his appearance based on format.
Unsurprisingly, chameleons also live in warm habitats, and Day Two on Tuesday was absolutely brutal, given the temperatures in Sydney went well past 40 degrees, due to the effects of the bushfires.
Smith eventually reached his ton off a mere 290 balls, by far the slowest of his 42 First Class centuries, but his dismissal for 103 became a talking point, not because Steve Smith was dismissed for a mere 103, but because he was fined for dissent towards the umpire, when he was given out trying to loft Marcus Stoinis for an easy boundary, only for Josh Inglis to show good reflexes from point blank range and hold the catch.
At first, I thought Smith had been fined for making the conscious decision of trying to loft Marcus Stoinis.
Still, thanks to Smithy’s ton, combined with Moises Henriques scoring 91 in a 144-run partnership, plus Hughes, Solway, and even noted top order batsman Pat Cummins scoring half-centuries, the Blues had this game in such a firm grasp that it turned purple by the morning of Day 2, declaring on 444.
Shaun Marsh and D’Arcy Short (Making a rare Shield appearance) made it to stumps 1 down for 85, at a time when most of Australia A was being ripped to shreds by Pakistan in Perth, and then when Marsh fell for 43 on the morning of Day 3, all hell broke loose.
Short made his half century and was trapped LBW by Steve O’Keefe, and then Ashton Turner, Inglis and Cam Green all went for single figures, and just like that, WA had lost 5/17 to slump to 6/133.
Stoinis somehow survived it all and made a small partnership with Ashton Agar, but that was pretty much it- WA were bowled out for 191, trailing by 253.
Despite the option of enforcing the follow-on, Peter Nevill went for the better option of giving the bowlers a rest, and letting Henriques and Dan Hughes off the leash until around an hour before stumps, and then giving Pat Cummins and Mitch Starc some bowling practice.
It went to script, with Hughes and Henriques tacking on 95 in 17 overs, before Nevill declared once again, leaving WA to chase 348.
Needing to either go after a difficult chase, or bat out 4 sessions against one of the best Shield bowling attacks this century, WA promptly went to shit again, bumbling to 3/28 at stumps, as the last vestiges of hope that Shaun Marsh had of a Test recall left his body, and after a morning massacre on Day 4, the Sandgropers were left reeling at 7/72 at Lunch, and they were lucky to even last that long.
Look at that- Nothing but tragedy, misery and sadness.
Agar, Inglis and Liam Guthrie did at least make sure WA reached triple figures, but eventually, the innings came to it’s inevitable end on 123, the Blues winning in what was nothing short of a rout.
Starc took 4 wickets, Hazelwood only bowled 7 overs in what was clearly load management, but he still took 3 wickets, Cummins took 1, and Smith got rid of a ridiculously unlucky Inglis, who belted Smithy straight into the leg of the silly-mid off fielder, and the ball popped up straight to Nick Larkin, who walked from short-leg to complete the catch.
There’s just something about WA getting torn a new one by NSW.
Last year it was Starc’s two hat-tricks and that loss by an innings… this season the Sandgropers managed to run in to the entire Australian bowling attack in the same bloody team.
WBBL Highlights: Round 5
The ‘Most Obscure Way To Be Injured’ Award Winner- Rachel Haynes
The Thunder skipper missed the first of her team’s two defeats to the Scorchers this week…. after getting bitten on the foot by her cat while it was fighting a stray.
As any reasonable Australian athlete would do, Rachael should have just claimed she’d been bitten fighting a feral at the pub.
Sophie Devine’s last over theatrics versus the Stars last Sunday
Apparently teenage bullying isn’t confined to the schoolyard anymore.
Prior to that over, Maddie Penna had taken 3/19 off her 3 overs, and the Kiwi sensation Devine was only on 55 off 51 balls.
By the end of it, She was 85 off 56, and young Maddie had also reached her half-century.
With the ball.
That over pretty much single-handedly proved the difference after the Stars came out to bat, considering they fell 17 runs short of the Strikers’ 164.
Ellyse Perry destroying the Hurricanes… and the St John’s Ambulance windscreen.
I tell you, these unprovoked attacks on our Ambos are really getting out of hand.
She finished on an unbeaten 70, and the Sixers defeated the Hurricanes with ease.