NRL 2008 ~ Round 1 Preview (March 14 – 17)

14 03 2008

Rabbitohs vs Roosters

The two remaining foundation clubs go head to head in what should be a great contest.Mason welcomed to the Roosters The Rabbitohs had their most successful year last year in nearly twenty years and the Roosters finished the season with five wins and a draw in their last eight matches.

One of those wins was in the final round against the Rabbitohs 26-12. With the addition of O’Meley and Mason to their forwards I don’t see things going any differently this time round and their forwards should be far too dominant.

Rooster by 10

Titans vs Cowboys

An all QLD affair for the first NRL match at the Titans new stadium. Jonathan Thurston is rumoured to be returning early from injury for this clash to bolster the Cowboys attack. If he does it will really put the icing on the cake of what I am tipping as the match of the round.

This will pit him directly against the guy from whom he took the QLD and Australian no.7 jersey. I can’t the only thing separating the two sides is the outside backs with the Cowboys slightly better off with the experience of Bowen, and Williams. However with the home ground advantage I think the Titans will scrape home.

Titans by 6

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Tendulkar Bats On and On – Australia vs India ~ 4th Test (Day 2 In Play)

25 01 2008

If anyone tells you that that was not one of the best days of cricket they’ve seen, you have my permission to slap them call them an idiot.

The surprises began before a ball had been bowled with India winning the toss and naming Irfan Pathan at opener alongside Virender Sehwag. It turns out though that Pathan has opened on two previous occasions. The first was in 2005 where he scored 93 against Sri Lanka and the second in 2006 against England for a yield of just 6.

Although he ended up making just 9 he did a good job of allowing Sehwag to get settled and actually having some runs on the board when Dravid came out to bat.

Dravid plodded along to 18 off 55 balls before exiting and making way for the “Little Master”, Sachin Tendulkar. At lunch India were in some bother at 2/89 but Tendulkar was at the crease ………………. on naught mind you but at least he was out there, with Sehwag on 56.

India put on 98 runs in the middle session for the loss of just one wicket, Sehwag for 63, who looked as if he was going to bat all day until Brett Lee finally got him to edge a wider delivery to Matthew Hayden at first slip. Ganguly was next in and hung around to score 7 off 29 painful deliveries with Tendulkar not out on 40.

And then ……………………… magic, sheer beauty.

Tendulkar and Laxman put together one of the best partnerships ever seen at the Adelaide Oval. Sure, it wasn’t the biggest but by gee it was great to watch. They struggled and fought and grafted for 31 runs from the 14 overs up until tea time with Tendulkar not out on 55 and Laxman 16.

Tendulkar goes after Hogg.  Adelaide 2008Then all hell broke loose. In 17 overs after tea the pair added another 95 runs at almost 5.6 runs an over. Tendulkar scored freely through every area of the field with Laxman punishing the bowlers square either side of the wicket. Tendulkar took a particular liking to Hogg, belting him for 54 runs from the 53 balls he faced from the left arm wrist spinner. This included a massive six back over Hogg’s head to clear the longest boundary on the field.
When the partnership was finally broken on 126, they had taken India from a respectable, but not great, 4/156 to a commanding 5/282.

The visitors finished day one at 5/309 with more runs on offer on day 2.

How many more runs can Sachin make? That’s anyone guess but if he bats again tomorrow as he did today, with the help of India’s capable tail enders he could get 200 or there abouts and help deliver India a first innings of 450 – 500.


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Cricket ~ Hayden Returns: India vs Australia 4th test Day 1 – Let’s Talk Through It

24 01 2008

First of all I, your intrepid cricket correspondent, wish to apologise for not reviewing the last test. Unfortunately computer problems, work commitments and sick children conspired to hamper all of my efforts.

What a fantastic win to India though in Perth. For too long has the cricket world come to expect Australia to keep winning and winning and finally we lost. Lost to a better side. The Indian side on display in this match was a far cry from the one that lost in Melbourne and Sydney, showing true determination with both bat and ball to make Australia pay for any and every error.

4th Test in Adelaide…The inclusion of Shaun Tait was supposed to help Australia dominate the Indian batsmen but only served to provide fodder for the likes of Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman. Australia will play Brad Hogg this test though in order to not rely on part time spinners Symonds and Clarke so much to break the monotony and hurry the over rate.

Ponting will no doubt feel comfortable using his spearhead, Brett lee, more in this test safe in the knowledge that the over rate should not be as slow.

The other major difference of course is the return of Matthew Hayden. The openers in Perth was vastly inexperienced, Rogers on debut and Jacques in only his 7th test. Matthew Hayden has 93 and is well regarded as the best and most consistent opener in the game.

Over the last five years it would seem Australia always does well when Hayden does well. That’s not to say he needs to score 100 for them to feel comfortable, nor even 50. If either of the young openers (preferably both) had been able to knock out 30 – 40 runs in either innings it would have settled any jitters in the top of the order and allowed Ponting, Hussey & co a little breathing space to get a decent innings established.

So off we go to Adelaide where these teams have met on 8 previous occasions with the home side claiming 5 victories and losing once. That loss to India was on their last tour here in 2003/04. Hayden, Ponting and Gilchrist are the only remaining Australians that played in that match. Returning for India are Laxman, Tendulkar, Ganguly, Pathan and Kumble. This could be another Indian win.

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4 Quicks… Cricket – Australia vs India 3rd Test Preview

15 01 2008

I was planning on writing a highly controversial article in the lead up to the test but given India have dropped all charges against Brad Hogg, Ricky Ponting and Anil Kumble have kissed and made up, and the BCCI have withdrawn their threat to pull out of the rest of the tour, I am severely lacking in ammunition. Sadly, I have had to resort to fact instead of name calling and innuendo.

Tait - wild man…Breaking news though is that Matthew Hayden has been withdrawn from the match with Chris Rogers his replacement. It will be his test debut. Also, Shaun Tait has earned a recall to the side at the expense of Hogg. This will be the first time in 16 years Australia will play four quicks.

Of the players in the Indian side, only Tendulkar has played at the WACA previously.

A quick search shows that, of the players selected for the test, six of them are in the top 20 current test players in batting aggregate at this ground.


Number of Innings /Not Out

Number of Runs


Ricky Ponting




Adam Gilchrist




Mike Hussey




Michael Clarke




Brett Lee




Sachin Tendulkar




Given the lack of experience in the bowling ranks of both sides, it is no surprise that only two of the players on display for this test make it into the top 20 for aggregate wickets taken.



Strike Rate


Brett Lee




Stuart Clark




The WACA ground has played host to 34 tests with the home side winning 58.82%, the visiting side 20.59%, and 20.59 matches ending in draws. Average runs per wicket is 32.64, runs per over averages 3.22.

Interestingly, the highest ever successful run chase to win was 8/342, set by Australia against India in the Summer of 1977/78. The sides have only met here on two previous occasions though with Australia winning both.

In total, India have played 34 tests in Australia for just 4 wins.

Regardless of the history, I am looking forward to what should be a fantastic match. I am salivating at the prospect of the four quicks in the Australian side but they really will need to be right on the money. This Indian side, although under-performing all tour, really does have the batsmen with the ability to take the game away from Australia in a very short space of time.

Now that Ponting and Kumble have insisted this game will be played in the true cricketing spirit, it just remains for the first ball to be sent down to get things under way to see how well they can live up to their promise.

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