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Friday, August 7, 2015

Australia in dire straits at Trent Bridge - Millionth delivery in TEsts in England

This is Ben Stokes and this delivery was caressed to the boundary – but is part of history do you know – why ?

Test no. 1907  which was 2nd Test of the Series, played at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua, played on 13th Feb 2009 lasted just 10 balls. Strauss and Cook opened.  Jerome Taylor bowled one, Fidel Edwards bowled 4 balls.  After a lengthy discussion between the captains, Chris Gayle and Andrew Strauss, and the onfield umpires, Daryl Harper and Tony Hill, the ICC match referee, Alan Hurst was left to make the difficult decision. The run-ups were hastily dug up straight after the close, but it was a futile gesture. The only option available to the authorities was an outright abandonment, a situation eerily reminiscent of the Sabina Park farce in 1997-98, when batsman safety was the issue on a dangerously uneven pitch.

In the 2nd Test of this Series at Lords, Australia made 566/8 and 254/2 – and won by a huge margin of 405 runs. Now as they struggle at Trent Bridge, Geoff Boycott was to say - "lack of batting technique leading to collapses".  On day 1, within 35 minutes, they were 29 for 6  and eventually all out for 60.

Now at the time of posting this, they are 178/5 trailing by 153 runs with 5 wickets in hand in Test no. 2175.  After England declared at 391/9, for 24 overs, Australia stood firm as they faced a first-innings deficit of 331 at Trent Bridge. The fortune that favoured England on the opening day when Stuart Broad's dream sequence blew away Australia for 60 was reluctant to bestow its favours once again, it appeared.  In the first innings England employed only 3 bowlers – Broad, Wood and Finn – this time Ben Stokes was waiting for his chance.  He summoned his best spell of the Ashes summer, finding more swing than any member of the England attack, taking three wickets in consecutive overs late in the afternoon session as Australia's opening stand of 113 crumbled before their eyes. At tea, the deficit was still 193, a two-day defeat still a possibility.

Cricket is all about statistics.  Lot was remembered earlier but now  with 2175 tests, it is becoming increasingly difficult to remember statistics and World records !

5 England bowlers have taken 300-plus Test wickets. Broad became the fifth bowler to join the list when he took the wicket of Chris Rogers with his third ball. The other four bowlers are James Anderson (413), Ian Botham (383), Bob Willis (325) and Fred Trueman (307).

Away at Harare,  Zimbabwe lost to New Zealand.  4 Times Kane Williamson has been dismissed in the nineties in his last six ODI innings. His 90 in Harare was also the fifth time this year that he got out in the nineties. Only Sachin Tendulkar, with six such scores in 2007, has had more nineties in one calendar year.

The first innings of Aussies here lasted a mere 18.3 overs -  The  shortest Test, in terms of balls bowled, that had a definite result came in the final Test of the 1931-32 series at Melbourne, when Australia (153) beat South Africa (36 and 45) by an innings and 72 runs. That match lasted only 656 balls, just edging out West Indies v England at Bridgetown in 1934-35, which lasted 16 balls longer.

At the end of 15th over – with Australia at 71/0 – there was a record – the 2nd ball of that over was 10,00,000th legal delivery in Test Cricket in England.  Ben Stokes became part of history delivering it, which however, was despatched to boundary by David Warner.

A web search reveals that in Mar 2009,  the first delivery of the 32nd over of England's first innings - bowled by Brendan Nash - was the four millionth legal delivery bowled in Test history going back to the first Test ever played back in 1877. The  1,000,000th  came in 1959, 20 lakh-th delivery came in 1981 !!     

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
7th Aug 2015.

Courtesy : Sky sports and ESPN Cricinfo.

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