August 15, 2005

Australia hang on for the draw,: keeping the Ashes level at one match apiece with two still to be played. Heroes were captain Ricky Ponting (consuming almost half of the day's balls in a 150+ stand) and last pairing Lee/McGrath, who survived the final 3 overs 9-down.

posted by silverpie to other at 01:00 PM - 25 comments

sweatiepie, would you please speak English. -:) I couldn't open your link. Maybe it was just me.

posted by tommysands at 01:15 PM on August 15, 2005

okay, now a draw (to follow up the results of the last Ashes test which garnered a "how the heck do they get ties?" question from me that silverpie answered). okay, so now how do you get a draw? does run rate come into it or is that something for one day matches? And so it ends up... Aus: 302 and 366 for 9 England: 444 and 280 for 6 dec So I get that England took 9 wickets off of the Aussies and the Aussies only took 6 off the English (who batted first and declared, I take it), but what are the other numbers? England scored more (?) runs and gave up fewer wickets and it was a draw?

posted by gspm at 01:34 PM on August 15, 2005

tommysands, the server was probably overloaded. OK, here's what happened. The key is that in a Test, each team bats twice. England batted first and scored 444 all out, and in response, Australia scored 302 before losing all of their wickets, the last one early on the 4th day. Thus, England comes up again with a 142-run lead already in hand. They then proceeded to post another 280 before declaring its innings closed, for a grand total of 724 and a target for Australia of 423 (724 less their first-innings total of 302 is 422, plus one because targets are expressed as what's needed to win). The declaration coming just before stumps (end of the day) on day 4, the Aussies (aka the Baggy Green) picked up 24 runs before the end, leaving 399 to score for a win on the final day. Scoring 399 runs in one day's play is a very difficult feat, so Australia instead elected to simply "run out the clock"--regardless of who has the advantage, if a result is not definitively obtained (by the last team to bat reaching its target for a win, or losing all of its wickets for a loss--or, yes, losing its last wicket with the scores level for a tie), the match is drawn. And Australia just barely managed it. (As for run-rate, that's the measure of how fast a team is scoring, runs per over. It's very important in one-days, or in a Test where the last team is actually chasing for the win, but meaningless when the batting side is playing for the draw.)

posted by silverpie at 02:32 PM on August 15, 2005

OK, I was able to open the link when I just now tried it. However, I still don't understand what you or the article is saying. Can you point me to a link that will explain in simple terms the rules of cricket so even someone as thick as me can understand the basics?

posted by tommysands at 02:51 PM on August 15, 2005

Here you go.

posted by silverpie at 03:33 PM on August 15, 2005

So basically, in that situation, being 9 wickets down and with a pile of runs to make up they were in a position where it was late enough in the day (time wise? or overs wise?) where the strategy employed was to bat very defensive to try and use up the overs or time while trying to avoid putting balls in play that would have been caught (while obviously guarding the stumps and avoiding getting run out, if I use the terms correctly). Also, how does a guy in Tennessee elevate himself to being the Spofi cricket guy?

posted by gspm at 03:44 PM on August 15, 2005

Actually, I do the cricket commentary at the Australian Festival in Nashville. Long story as to how I picked up the game... But anyway, the length of a Test is governed basically by time. However, teams are also expected to maintain a reasonable pace (currently defined as 15 overs per hour), and if they don't, the day will be extended. So a day is basically six hours or 90 overs, whichever comes last, minus time lost to rain (which happened on day 3), and a test runs five days (four for the women). And they were in this defensive mode the entire day! While getting 399 in an innings with plenty of time is a reasonable task (by no means an easy one, but doable), getting it in one day was hopeless, so with the draw their best possible result, they went for it. And you used all those terms quite reasonably; although one more usually speaks of guarding the wicket than the stumps, either term is clearly understood.

posted by silverpie at 05:47 PM on August 15, 2005

Here you go. Silver, thanks much for the link. That's why I love this board.

posted by tommysands at 06:16 PM on August 15, 2005

gspm: Part of the reason it's a test is that to win, you must force victory. It's isn't enough, in this instance, for England to build a massive lead, and then sit back and cruise; they must have a bowling lineup which is good enough to knock Australia open twice. The consideration that even a mediocre team can force a draw simply by hanging in there is why, for example, teams declare (quit their innings before they are bowled out), hoping to give themselves long enough to knock over the opposition. It could be argued in this case that England should have declared a little earlier and given themselves longer to bowl the Aussies. But declaring earlier would make for an easier to reach target, which might have made it possible for Australia to win.

posted by rodgerd at 11:40 PM on August 15, 2005

(The downside is, of course, that tests between mediocre teams, or teams more interested in not losing that winning, turn into snoozefests. Australia deserves credit for re-invigorating tests in the last 10 years by bringing a more aggressive, high-run rate style of cricket into modern test cricket.)

posted by rodgerd at 11:42 PM on August 15, 2005

Hey, a cricket thread that got into double figures for comments. Then this must be the posting equivalent of Ricky Ponting.

posted by owlhouse at 02:05 AM on August 16, 2005

The draw is essentially the default position - it's what you get when it rains too much, or what you get when neither team is good enough to bowl the other out twice and score more runs. I'm so glad I learnt all about it when I was a child with a big spongy brain - trying to explain it now is like trying to juggle jelly(o). Every aspect explained raises a question that begins with "But..."

posted by JJ at 06:46 AM on August 16, 2005

Do most sides usually only have two bowlers (who alternate overs, if I understand correctly)? Or maybe four or five guys who all rotate? Does bowling tire out your arm like pitching does in baseball? Is there a battle raging among the cricket statheads and traditionalists about limiting the number of bowls (is that even the word?) for young bowlers?

posted by mbd1 at 07:47 AM on August 16, 2005

Typically a cricket team for a test match would have at least four specialist bowlers. 11 players are selected for a team so a usual balance might be to have 6 specialist batters, 4 specialist bowlers (who do most or all of the bowling) and the wicket keeper. The situation is confused when you have people who can both bat and bowl well, these are called all-rounders and as you might imagine are much prized for the flexibility they bring to the teams. It might be instructive to look at the England and Australia teams for the recently completed match. England had: -5 out and out batters: Tescothick, Strauss, Vaughan, Bell and Pietersen -4 out and out bowlers: Hoggard, S Jones, Harmison and Giles -the wicket keeper: G Jones -1 all rounder: Flintoff Australia had: -6 out and out batters: Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Martin, Katich, Clarke -4 out and out bowlers: McGrath, Gillespie, Warne, Lee -the wicket keeper: Gilchrist (also an excellent specialist batter) You understand correctly about alternating the overs. But, a team needs to have several bowlers to bowl out the opposition. A pair pace bowlers might start the innings. Aggressive pace bowling is very tiring so the bowler might bowl a spell of 5 overs and then be rested. Later on in the innings as the ball gets older and the condition of the pitch changes it may be profitable to use spin bowling. Spin bowling is a specialist art (and very exciting to watch when done well). It is also much less tiring than pace bowling. It can be done for a long time (a spin bowler could bowl for 20 or more overs without being rested) and can be a good way to defend if necessary during long innings. For example, Warne the Australian spinner and Giles the English spinner both bowled more than any other bowlers. Bowling is very physically taxing and I think steps are taken to protect young bowlers, but am not sure of the specifics.

posted by eoghanf at 09:40 AM on August 16, 2005

So Billy Wagner would be a pace bowler, and Tim Wakefield would be a spin bowler? The ball gets older, as in they only use one ball all day long? This assumes that the spectators return the ball to the pitch after it it hit into the stands, yes? Also, when I look at this image of the fielding positions, there are a lot more than 11 red dots. So the fielders don't have positions (in the sense that John Doe is a third basemen and Jim Doe is a center fielder), but the various portions of the pitch have names and the fielders stand in these named territories depending on the tendencies of the batter, etc.

posted by mbd1 at 10:27 AM on August 16, 2005

From a look at the web these guys would be baseball pitchers, right? I think it might be an interesting analogy to explore... I will try but please bear in mind that I don't know a huge amount about the intricacies of bowling and know much less about baseball pitching. This article on Tim Wakefield tells me that his stock ball is the knuckleball. According to this article on knuckleball physics a knuckleball gets unexpected movement in the air by the pitcher imparting spin on the ball either holding up in the air or dropping away rapidly. It relies on the movement of the stitches on the baseball interacting with the air flow as the ball moves through the air. In cricket the art of generating movement in the air is called swing bowling. A cricket ball is different to a baseball having two "sides" separated by a prominent seam. But similarly to baseball the unexpected movement in the air is caused by the interaction of the surface of the ball with the air flow. So I think the knuckleball might be considered as equivalent to swinging the ball. Someone please help out if I've got this wrong. I don't think there is an equivalent in baseball to the spinner because of the role of the bounce in cricket. Spin bowlers attempt to deceive the batters by spinning the ball through the air so that it deviates sharply at the point where it bounces. The ball ages during the play and becomes softer and less bouncy. The bouncincess of the new ball is an advantage to the fast bowlers because it helps to generate pace from the pitch when they bowl. A fielding team is allowed replace the old ball with a new ball after a certain time (80 overs in test cricket I think). Finally, your question about fielding. Clearly you can't cover the whole of the cricket field with only 11 fielders. The captain is responsible for placing the fielders and will do this depending on the match situation, the bowler, the batter, etc. They can set attacking fields to try to pressure the batter by placing fielders close in to the batter to try to take close catches. They can set more defensive fields away from the boundary to cut down on run scoring. This can be changed after each delivery, for example if a right handed batter is replaced by a left handed batter.

posted by eoghanf at 02:37 PM on August 16, 2005

Thanks for your answers. Knuckle ball pitchers can throw lots of pitches without becoming tired or less effective because the act of throwing a knuckler isn't as strenuous as a regular pitch. So I made the analogy of Wakefield to a spinner in that sense; it wasn't necessarily about the way the ball behaved after it left the pitchers/bowlers hand. Billy Wagner, on the other hand, is a reliever who depends mainly on the speed of his fastball. He typically only pitches 1 inning (much different from one innings!) and basically tries to throw the ball so fast that the batter can't react quickly enough to hit it. It sounds like the closest baseball equivalent to a spinner would be a curveball.

posted by mbd1 at 03:24 PM on August 16, 2005

For the background information on baseball: A curve is a ball that moves laterally because of its rotation. (Fastballs may rise or drop for the same reason, and it's also why curling stones curl.) A knuckler, on the other hand, is thrown to rotate very little, allowing tiny air effects to cause it to move randomly. The real trick to baseball pitching (for most pitchers--knuckleballers and pure-heat closers are exceptions) is to be able to disguise the delivery so that the batter can't tell whether it's going to be a fastball, a changeup (slower straight ball, designed purely to fool the hitter who's expecting a fastball), a curve, or even a screwball (a curve that breaks the other way: cf. googly). They need this ability because they don't have the advantage of using the bounce.

posted by silverpie at 03:41 PM on August 16, 2005

...So the fielders don't have positions ... on the contrary, they have quite a bewildering number of names for every possible fielding position on the cricket pitch examples: silly mid-off, long-off, square-leg, fine gully, point, and a whole host of others that confuse anyone who isn't versed in cricket-lore.

posted by BigCalm at 05:57 PM on August 16, 2005

Well yeah - they have names for the fielding positions. But fielders themselves aren't assigned one specific position that they play the entire match. And neither are they identified by the position they play. In baseball it's perfectly normal to say something like "Mike Schmidt was the best third baseman of the 70's." But in cricket you wouldn't say something like "William Hornblower and James Longfellow were the worst silly mid-offs England have ever had." Right?

posted by mbd1 at 07:47 AM on August 17, 2005

With the one exception of the wicket-keeper (who handles duties similar to a baseball catcher), that is pretty much correct.

posted by silverpie at 03:28 PM on August 17, 2005

Some of the other close positions are also fairly specialised - first slip, for example, and tend to have the same players in them game after game. New Zealand's Stephen Fleming is one of the best slip fielders around, for example.

posted by rodgerd at 08:42 PM on August 17, 2005

I'm reading "Cricket for Novices" on the link provided by silver and find it fasinating. My question: does anyone know of any cricket that's played in southern California? I'd love to see a match.

posted by tommysands at 04:45 PM on August 18, 2005

There are two leagues in Southern California. Unfortunately, one has not updated its website for 2005, and the other seems to be lost in the ether outright. is the URL for the basic data. In the alternative, contact your local Indian, Caribbean, or Australian cultural group.

posted by silverpie at 07:25 PM on August 18, 2005

silverpie, thanks much for the info.

posted by tommysands at 08:37 PM on August 18, 2005

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