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VB Series, Year XXVII, Games VIII, IX, X, XI and XII: blip

That annual ritual of playing twelve games to eliminate one team from a three-team competition is over for another year. Graeme "The Mouth" Smith takes the South Africans home after Sri Lanka took the bonus points that mattered. Australia hasn't lost a BH/CUB/VB finals series since 1993. Fingers crossed for the Moody one.

A Twenty20 blowout, but do we care?

And at the end of the fourth over, South Africa are nine for two. Yes folks, Twenty20 cricket explodes onto the Gabba!

To take the words of Bill Woodfull seriously out of context, there were two teams out on the field on Monday night, and only one of them was playing Twenty20 cricket. Australia, having lost their last Twenty20 international by a margin of 100 runs (in England last June), beat South Africa by 95 runs in front of the largest crowd to pack into the Brisbane Cricket Ground in modern times. And here's one big advantage 20-20 has over ODIs - you don't have to hang around for ages waiting for a badly-trailing side batting second to lose the game.

And again Ricky!

Have we just witnessed Ricky Ponting's finest hour (to date)?

That was a bold declaration by Graeme Smith this morning, but full credit to him for doing it and keeping the match alive. South African captains and sporting declarations usually come in the same breath as leather jackets and personal cash bonuses, so infrequently have they occurred.

Ponting's 100 in his 100th Test

Never let the facts get in the way of a good statistic. It's Ricky Ponting's 99th Test against teams not called the "ICC World XI", but that doesn't devalue a great century that looks as if it will save Australia from a tricky situation against South Africa.

Currently 4/206 needing another 46 to avoid the follow-on, with the real Dickie Knee lookalike Andrew Symonds at the other end.

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Dickie Knees

It all makes sense, you know...

  • Makhaya Ntini injured his knee during the Second Test at Melbourne
  • An injured knee is known as a "dicky knee"
  • Dickie Knee was a puppet on the 1990s Channel Nine variety program "Hey Hey It's Saturday"
  • The voice of Dickie Knee was played by prominent Melbourne radio identity John Blackman
  • Shane Warne called Makhaya Ntini "John Blackman" because he was batting with a dicky knee.

Shane, you may be, as you told the world in 1998, "naive and stupid", but we're not. Even if that is all there is to the remark, how utterly dopey was it to use the word "Blackman" to a black South African opponent in any context?

Warne should have been disciplined for disrepute for the sheer insensivity of the remark, and it reflects poorly on all those in the Australian camp who condoned it.

Anyway, take a look at this article in the Sunday Herald Sun for a startling revelation about the real Dickie Knee.

Sponsor stunts

Time to catch up on a few items over the past couple of weeks that I haven't mentioned previously over the next three posts:

Firstly, the annual Australia versus the Bombers six-a-side cricket match at Windy Hill on December 22. For two years running we have seen the Australian cricket team play the Essendon Football Club (that's Australian Rules to all you association football pedants) at cricket, and guess what, the Australian team is yet to win!

Some day my Ashwell will come

It was great to see Ashwell Prince bring up that century at the SCG yesterday, if only to see a South African with personality do so well...

The partnership of 219 for the fourth wicket between Prince and Kallis, though a little slow by contemporary Test standards, has put South Africa in the box seat for this game, and let's face it, it's healthy for the sport any time Australia is made to struggle these days.

Watching Shane Warne bowl to Prince yesterday gave me this perverse image of the same bowler with a slightly plumper girth and longer blond hair being smashed around by Ravi Shastri on this same ground fourteen years ago, almost to the day.

On the morning of Day Three, the start of play (at the absurdly early TV-driven hour of 10am) has been delayed. It's gloomy and overcast in Sydney and barely drizzling. Goodness, if this were Old Trafford or Headingley they'd be saying conditions are ideal for cricket!


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