I've got my tickets for the new Trumper stand at the SCG for Sunday and am prepared for an unusually hostile audience. Kiwis are usually merely gently mocked at the SCG, or any cricket ground in Australia for that matter. Few expect the Kiwis to win, even if they look a chance for 20 overs. Aussies expect to win against every opposition, Kiwis particularly. But no more.
Four ODI defeats in a row. This, after two series lost at home and a third away (I'm counting the tests and ODIs against South Africa as separate series. The prized number one status gone just like heros of the past, Warne, McGrath, Gilly and now Hayden. The new boys, initially promising, dismissed by brave fields - when was the last time you saw a silly mid off in an ODI? Cricket's pop-blogger, McDouall is himself is astounded:
The openers were both dismissed at silly mid off. This was a field placing of enormous chutzpah by Dan Vettori, and the fact that it was the giant Peter Fulton who was standing there, like a surly bouncer at a nightclub, shows intellectual finesse. I remember years ago the All Black lock Murray Pierce standing as close as he was allowed to an Irishman about to kick a penalty. The elongated Pierce raised his arms, challenging the man in green to successfully kick over an eight foot human barrier, let alone the goalposts beyond. The placing of Peter Fulton, as massive as Pierce, was similarly disruptive.Last time I went to see the Blackcaps in Sydney, Chris Cairns will still playing. Flem too. That side, the 2004/05 side, actually looked the goods. Particularly when they restricted Australia to 261. But even then, even when Mills was in knocking boundaries all over the ground, we still lost. We lost just like the Aussie's did at the WACA; unable to play out our 50 overs.
Bloody hell, how'll we keep a lid on expectations aye? A win in Australia. Rare as! But then when was the last time Australia lost five ODIs in a row? 2005. England won two and we won the next three... but that was the Hussey side sans a number of the big guns and in NZ. Losing five at home? You have to go back to January 2002 and the last triangular tournament involving South Africa and us. I like that omen!
Update: the Australian squad for the two remaining games in the series has been announced. Two new players, one uncapped, and Ponting is rested. Contempt? Panic? Focusing on bigger goals? I don't care if we win in Sydney and take out the series.
Update 2: Controversial former umpire Darrell Hair thinks Haddin was at fault also. He stops short of calling Haddin a cheat but makes clear the dismissal was wrong and that Haddin was best placed to know. A replay is here (hat tip: Vibenna via Deborah)