Thursday, April 07, 2005

Bidsta comments on the cricket...

Into the 4th day of the NZ vs. Sri Lanka test at Napier, and although the flat pitch might have made a high-scoring draw inevitable anyway, one might have expected even a smidgen more imagination from the NZ selectors in the hope of snatching a win while the Sri Lankans are still adjusting to conditions.

But with all the pace bowlers with any kind of variation or penetration (Shane Bond, Jacob Oram, Ian Butler) injured, and Daniel Vettori rested, to whom do the selectors turn to fill out the bowling complement? None other than Kyle Mills, who has taken one test wicket at 99.0 and is notable for delivering at a friendly pace and being hit all over the park in the closing stages of one-day internationals. What was the expectation? That Sri Lanka would be lulled into a false sense of security by the sheer ordinariness of a pace bowling lineup reading James Franklin, Chris Martin, Kyle Mills? Or - Kyle Mills is supposed to be a nice guy - was he intended to gently persuade the Sri Lankans to get out in return for a round of beer?

The inevitable answer is that resources are thin; who else would they turn to? Well, ideas a bit more geared towards the prospect of actually winning would have included someone who tries to bounce the ball, such as Wellington's Mark Gillespie, or a second spinner (not quite sure who).

Now, as Sri Lanka scores rapidly to overtake 561, there's even the prospect that NZ will be left with a tricky day-and-a-bit and will collapse dramatically against uncoventional but pacy SL Malinga the slinger. It will be decribed as an "inspired" spell of fast bowling, such as those that players such as Sami, Ahktar, McGrath, Waqar Younis, etc. always seem to produce specifically against us, causing the entire batting lineup to collapse in a snivelling heap in the 3rd or 4th innings. Call me pessimistic.

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