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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Aussie pride-fade moment ! loses Test by 322 after ball tampering incident


Read  the word ‘Schadenfreude’  meaning the experience of pleasure, joy, or self-satisfaction that comes from learning of or witnessing the troubles, failures, or humiliation of another.

My career started with an Industrial house manufacturing bonded and coated abrasives.   An abrasive is a material, often a mineral, that is used to shape or finish a workpiece through rubbing which leads to part of the workpiece being worn away by friction. In case, the word is not so common to you – sand paper /  Emery paper are types  of abrasives used to abrade (remove material from) surfaces or mechanically finish a surface. We are reading so much of them now !!

Kim Hughes was a compulsive hooker, an attractive player who led a team to India in 1979.  He played at Chepauk when Dilip Doshi debuted.  Hughes started with a century on debut for Western Australia, a poised hundred in his fourth Test, and captained Australia to victory in his 11th – but was later considered a luckless Captain. His tearful resignation at Brisbane in December 1984 after only four victories in 28 matches was one of that office's sorriest spectacles. He ended his international career leading the sanction-busting Australian "rebel" teams to South Africa, a disenchanted, alienated figure  ~ yet he can still feel proud thinking of the current situation.

Afghanistan eased to a seven-wicket win over West Indies in the final of the ICC Cricket World Cup Qualifier competition in Zimbabwe, bringing to completion a comeback that must rank among the greatest in cricket's long history. Virtually written off after their disastrous showing in the group stage, Afghanistan rode on their self-belief - and a little bit of luck - to claim the trophy. Sordid tale for West Indies, though they too have qualified for the World Cup in 2019.  Less than a month after his 17th birthday, Rashid Khan made his ODI debut on Afghanistan's tour of Zimbabwe in 2015. A year and a half later, while back on tour in Zimbabwe in  2017, the precocious legspinner fetched the highest ever bid for an Associate player in the IPL Auction. He was snapped up by Sunrisers Hyderabad for INR 4 crores – he has risen to top becoming the fastest to 100 wickets in ODI.  Rashid’s 100 came in 44 matches; MA Starc did it in 52; Saqlain Mushtaq 53; Shane Bond in 54; Brett Lee in 55 & Trent Boult in 56 – great feat yet the World is grossed in the happenings in South Africa.

After the ball-tampering events of Saturday, nobody outside of the Australian team - and possibly not even they - could have wished for any result other than a huge South African victory. Yet this was too meek a surrender, a 322-run win that even for the South Africans must have felt strange. Australia were the losers in every way: they lost not only the Test, but their captain to suspension, and their credibility.   A stunning collapse of 10-50 in the final session on Sunday at Newlands resigned Australia to a 322-run defeat on another dramatic day. Retiring quick Morne Morkel picked up 5-23 in the evening session to record career-best match figures of 9-110 as Australia were skittled for 107 inside 40 overs.

Australian batting collapse, all out for 107 in a chase of 430; but  this Test will only ever be remembered for the ball-tampering scandal. It is a shame, because Morne Morkel deserves recognition for collecting 5 for 23 to make match figures of 9 for 110, a career-best in what he has already announced is his last series. But in years to come, the defining image of this game will be Cameron Bancroft stuffing tape down his pants, not Morkel walking off with his head held high. Bancroft's concentration is the stuff of legend in Australian domestic cricket, but even he must have had trouble focusing after the ball-tampering drama. He and Warner gamely put on 57 for the opening wicket, but the stand was broken when Warner called Bancroft through for a suicidal single and the younger man was run out. It was a fitting metaphor for the events of the previous day. Paine remained not out on 9, the last man standing in an Australian line-up that had embarrassed itself again. Another fitting metaphor for the man who could soon become the country's 46th Test captain.

Australia captain Steven Smith will not play the fourth Test against South Africa in Johannesburg, after the ICC gave him the maximum penalty for tampering with the ball on the third day of the Newlands Test. Fielder Cameron Bancroft, the player to actually tamper with the ball, was given three demerit points and fined 75% of his match fee after accepting the Level 2 charge. An ICC suspension from the final Test against South Africa may be just the start of sanctions for Australia's captain Steven Smith, who alongside his deputy David Warner faces anything up to a life ban for cheating under Cricket Australia's code of behaviour. The aussie batsmen were roundly booed upon their arrivals at the batting crease, then given still louder rebukes upon their departures, with fans rushing to vantage points either side of the players' race to deliver invective at close range.

As CA's head of integrity Iain Roy and team performance manager Pat Howard travelled to Cape Town to commence an investigation, the CA Board bowed to pressure from the Australian Sports Commission to strip Smith and Warner of their leadership roles for the remainder of the Newlands Test, following their roles in orchestrating the ball tampering attempt that also involved Bancroft. The focus has sharpened on Smith and Warner, after it was clarified that the lunchtime discussion did not involve the full "leadership group," which has also featured Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon, but was instead undertaken by "senior players".

The CA chief executive James Sutherland also issued a public apology to Australian followers of the game, with the Board at a delicate point in the multimillion dollar television rights negotiations for the next five years with the Nine, Ten and Seven networks and the pay television network Fox Sports.  Hours after Cricket Australia said it would investigate the actions of the Australian team's leadership in relation to the ball-tampering confession in the Cape Town Test, the Australian government  asked the board to remove Steven Smith as captain. The country's Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the incident a "shocking disappointment". "We all woke up this morning shocked and bitterly disappointed by the news from South Africa," Turnbull said. "It seemed completely beyond belief that the Australian cricket team had been involved in cheating.

At the other corner, Stuart Broad, who was called and booed with allegations fo ball tampering, poured scorn on Steven Smith's assertion that Cameron Bancroft's use of a foreign object on the match ball during the ongoing Newlands Test was the first time that an Australian team had used such a tactic. Broad, who played in all five Tests of England's recent 4-0 defeat in Australia, openly questioned Smith's defence of his team's actions, after TV footage on the third afternoon of the Test appeared to show Bancroft first rubbing the match ball with the object, then attempting to hide it in his trousers after he realised he had been spotted. "I saw Steve Smith in his press conference say it's the first time they've tried it - which to me, it's surprising why they'd change a method that's been working," Broad said. "Look at the Ashes series we've just played, all those Test matches, and they've reverse-swung the ball sometimes in conditions you wouldn't expect it to. I don't understand why they've changed their method for this one game.

Sad hour for the game ~ yet the Aussies look defiant and may escape with not so stringent penalty.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
25th Mar 2018.

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