Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I Tigiri Kontra I Leon

Hunggan, esta hu tungo' na sina Guahu ha', gi entre todu i Chamoru, ni' ya-na umegga' cricket. I'm pretty sure, and people have backed me up on this, that I am the only Chamorro who likes watching and following cricket.

Ai adai, hunggan makkat este na tinaiga'chong. Lao esta payun yu' nu este na klasin siniente. Estaba, sina Guahu ha' ya-na umegga' Bollywood lokkue'. Fihu masangan yu' na likidu na Chamoru yu'.

So, not belonging to a "cricket culture" I don't have much access to cricket, and I'm not really sure how to get access to it. I'm not sure what channels I could watch it on, what websites you can see matches for free through. If there is radio stations that I can listen to matches online, I don't know which they are, or how to sign on.

Its a little bit frustrating.

When there are games on that I want to follow, my only real option is to follow them through websites such as Cricinfo. Cricinfo is (probably) the best international cricket website out there. Its full of articles, statistics, info on teams, and my sole salvation as a poor equiped cricket fan, live scores and match commentary.

Lives scores and match commentary, are strictly for those with vibrant yan mitkilot imaginations, or for those like me, like to work on other things with a cricket match being livescored in the taskbar. For those unfamiliar with these terms, different cricket websites offer lives scores which are updated regularly and provide info for who is batting, who is bowling, what the scores are, etc. Match commentary is when someone who is watching the match types up the action for you, so you can follow along.

It can actually be a depressing experience, since you get so little of the filler of the action, and must instead settle for the sublime content of the action, no images, none of that visual excitement, but all things which have to be processed as words and numbers.

Here for instance is a snippet of the match commentary that Cricinfo provided for the March 26-30 Test match in Chennai between India and South Africa. This match was exciting, even in just reading the match commentary, because if featured the fastest (and most blistering) Test triple century ever. Virender Sehwag, hit an almost ti hongge'yon 319 off 304 balls, with his 300 coming off only 278 balls. The next fastest triple century in Tests belongs to Matthew Hayden's innings against Zimbabwe in 2003, which took 84 more balls.

While the commentary in Test matches can sometimes drag on, because of their slower pace compared to Twenty20 and ODI matches, but in this regard Sehwag's innings did not disappoint.

51.1
Steyn to Sehwag, FOUR, Steyn bowls the slower ball wide outside off stump, Sehwag spots it and drives the ball through cover to bring up India's 200
51.2
Steyn to Sehwag, FOUR, short and wide outside off stump, Sehwag tries to cut without moving his feet, he edges it through the vacant slip cordon for four more to third man
51.3
Steyn to Sehwag, no run, good length delivery angling into off stump, Sehwag gets behind the line an defends confidently to cover
This is now the highest opening stand for India at the MA Chidambaram Stadium beating Gavaskar's and Srikanth's 200 against Pakistan in 1987.
51.4
Steyn to Sehwag, 1 run, full ball on off stump, Sehwag drives powerfully to mid-off for a single, Smith does the fielding
51.5
Steyn to Jaffer, FOUR, that one swung quite a bit into Jaffer who flicked it in the air past the two fielders at short midwicket, the ball runs through wide mid-on for four
51.6
Steyn to Jaffer, no run, Steyn swings another one into Jaffer from outside off, he defends it towards the off side

End of over 52 (13 runs) - India 210/0
W Jaffer 73* (162b 6x4 1x6)

V Sehwag 131* (150b 20x4 1x6)
DW Steyn 13-1-60-0
PL Harris 13-2-38-0


52.1
Harris to Sehwag, 2 runs, the length is a little shorter on leg stump from Harris, Sehwag moves towards leg and drives off the back foot through cover for two more
52.2
Harris to Sehwag, 1 run, Sehwag charges Harris and drives it straight back to the bowler, along the ground, Harris doesn't stop it cleanly an Sehwag scampers a single
52.3
Harris to Jaffer, no run, tossed up into the right-hander form round the wicket, defended on the front foot to silly point
52.4
Harris to Jaffer, no run, Jaffer leans forward and drives towards mid-on
52.5
Harris to Jaffer, no run, flighted delivery on off stump, Jaffer defends towards cover on the front foot
52.6
Harris to Jaffer, OUT, caught! finally South Africa have the breakthrough! Harris tosses one up outside off stump, Jaffer leans forward and plays a loose drive, the ball takes the outside edge and goes straight to Kallis at first slip who remains alert to take a straightforward catch
W Jaffer c Kallis b Harris 73 (250m 166b 6x4 1x6) SR: 43.97

Jaffer goes for a patient 73, which brings Rahul Dravid to the crease. He would have had the pads on in the dressing room for the longest time.

End of over 53 (3 runs) - India 213/1

PL Harris 14-2-41-1
DW Steyn 13-1-60-0

V Sehwag 134* (152b 20x4 1x6)

53.1
Steyn to Sehwag, FOUR, shot! That was on a good length but the room outside off stump allowed him to wait on the back foot and cut the ball wide of the fielder at third man
Steyn goes round the wicket to Sehwag.
53.2
Steyn to Sehwag, no run, good length delivery on middle and off, Sehwag moves back and plays the ball towards point
53.3
Steyn to Sehwag, no run, a sharp short ball at 140 kmh, Sehwag drops his wrists and lets it pass
53.4
Steyn to Sehwag, 1 run, a fuller ball on off stump, it was a bit slower as well, Sehwag adjusts and opens the face to play it late towards third man
Dravid prepares to face his first ball. Steyn goes over the wicket to him, there's a slip in place too, just one though.
53.5
Steyn to Dravid, no run, excellent first delivery, Steyn swings it into the blockhole, Dravid digs it out on the off side
53.6
Steyn to Dravid, no run, short of a length outside off stump, Dravid waits on the back foot and lets it go


With this triple century, Sehwag became one of only three people who have ever hit two triple centuries in their career. The other two being Brian Lara of the West Indies and Don Bradman of Australia.

Right now, as I type I'm waiting on another potentially explosive match to start, between my two favorite teams Sri Lanka and India. Over the next few weeks, they'll be playing a three test series and five ODIs in Sri Lanka.

Right now, the rain is delaying the start of the match, so let me tell you some of the reasons that I'm excited.

First off, this will be the Test debut of Ajantha Mendis, who kahnayi the Indian team last month in the Asia Cup final, when he went 6 for 13, propelling his team to victory.



Muttiah Muralitharan recently made his way to the apex of Test cricket with his passing of Shane Warne to become the record holder for most wickets taken. Both him and Warne are the only two to have reached this summit. Murali has claimed his going to be around for a while longer (he joked he's going to try and reach 1000 wickets before he retires), but people are already discussing that because of Mendis' similar status as a freak-genius for bowling, that Mendis is here to take the reigns. Only time, and how both fare in this Test series will tell.

Another exciting development is the return of Sachin Tendulkar, who has for the past few months been beset with injury and illness, and has played unevenly, poorly at some time and spectacular at others. He was the lead run scorer last year in the 4 Tests for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, scoring in the 2nd test a 154 not out, and in the last test a 153. In the Commonwealth Bank Series that followed, he was largely absent in the tournament itself, but redeemed himself marvelously in the finals versus Australia, where his 117 not out in the first game helped successful chase down the Australians, and his 91 in the second final helped push India to victory.
Sachin Tendulkar is one of my favorite players and so I'm excited to see him back.
One more thing to watch out for it how Sri Lanka fare against India with their most explosive all-rounder, Sanath Jayasuriya. While India's lineup features an array of tried, tested and reliable batsmen, Sri Lanka's lineup with two notable exceptions seems full of competent players who have yet though to carve out their niches. It will be interesting to see which one of Sri Lanka's players are able to step up to the task. I'm also hoping that Kumar Sangakkara, my favorite on the Sri Lankan team is on fire. I remember watching the livescore and reading the commentary for his incredible 192 against Australia last year, which almost saved the match for Sri Lanka. He also set a record last year by making scores of 150 an innings in four consecutive Test matches.

So with plenty of exciting cricket on the horizon, its time again for Fantasy Cricket!!! Pick your best 11 players from the Sri Lankan and Indian teams and get points based on their performances in the matches. If you want to play too, head to this link: Cricinfo - Fantasy Cricket

Team Guam this time around is:

TT Samaraweera
DPMD Jayawardene
TM Dilshan
R Dravid
SR Tendulkar
V Sehwag
KC Sangakkara
Harbhajan Singh
T Thushara
Z Khan
BAW Mendis

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