The fifth installment of the Big Bash League returns this Thursday evening when the Sydney Thunder take on last year’s runner up the Sydney Sixers. What better way to get ready for another exciting BBL season then looking back at the wild ending to last year’s final. Here’s to more fantastic finishes although we will certainly miss Brett Lee and The Chainsaw.
In history books it is Test match number 1,512, but for cricket-obsessed Bangladesh, it is number one. On November 10th 2000, Bangladesh played their first ever Test match against an India lineup that featured the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid. India did not hold back on the newcomers, cruising to a 9 wicket win that week, but in the years since that day in November 2000 we have seen some exciting and inspiring moments out of the Bangladesh Test side. It’s worth taking a look back at their development and where the future lies for the South Asian country in the game’s most celebrated format.
The West Indies failing to completely embarrass themselves in the first session of the Hobart Test has allowed the authors of this publication to dream—however momentarily—of long gone Caribbean glory. Specifically, Curtly Ambrose mowing down Australians as if they were crabgrass.
He’s no Jomel Warrican, though.
We now resume our regularly scheduled program (Eds. note: A calamitous West Indian collapse.)
In front of a packed Queen’s Park Oval, Trinidad and Tobago fought their way to a 27 run victory over Jamaica in the first semifinal of the 2015 Caribbean Premier League. With each six struck or wicket claimed, the telecast was quick to cut to the partisan Port of Spain crowd in an attempt to capture their rapturous celebration. Yet, of the thousands in attendance, one in particular stood out amongst the rest: Trinidadian off-spinner Sunil Narine.
So with most of the cricketing world focused on The Ashes and Lord’s this weekend, it’s a good reminder that there is another pretty intriguing tour going on between Bangladesh and South Africa. The visitors made easy work of Bangladesh in the opening two T20 series matches, winning by 52 and 31 runs respectively. Three ODIs followed and South Africa got off to a red hot start in the first match when debutant Kagiso Rabada took 6 wickets in 8 overs including a hat-trick. Yet as quickly as South Africa started the series, they fell back to earth with similar speed. Bangladesh took the next two matches and the ODI series with impressive skill and win margins of 7 and 9 wickets.
And so here we are on the eve of the first of two Tests. It is going to be a different Protea side than the one that has been playing on the tour so far, with Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander, and Morne Morkel joining their teammates in Chittagong. It will certainly be interesting to see how those three do having been on a decent break from all forms of cricket for a couple months.
Given that South Africa have been sluggish thus far on the tour, Bangladesh will be confident that their spinners can grab some wickets and put up a good fight against the number one Test team. The hosts are certainly hitting their form and proving to be a challenge for teams in the ODI format. It would be great for not only Bangladesh and their rabid home fans, but cricket as a whole if their good ODI form can transfer over to sustained success in Test matches. The opportunity to prove themselves has arrived with bigger challenge than the Proteas. With a break in the Ashes tomorrow, this should hold over any fan before Australia and England meet again at Edgbaston.
As for a prediction, it seems impossible to bet against the Proteas in this one. They have the depth and the bowling attack to get wickets, but they’ll need better partnerships than they had in the tour’s earlier ODIs. Although a draw in the first Test would not be a shocker to anyone who has watched the impressive Bangladesh side develop over the last 9 months.
Thus far, in this edition of the Ashes, groundskeepers have seemingly gotten more press than any individual batsman or bowler. Much was made of the first pitch in Cardiff—and while it eventually proved to be a surface conducive to entertaining cricket—the claim that England is intentionally preparing slow, flat wickets will only gain steam after Lord’s proved to be even more lifeless than Sophia Gardens.
England, however, were not the beneficiary of the deadened pitch. In a day that saw only a single wicket fall, Australia—who had won the toss and chose to bat first—suffocated any chance of a victory for the home side after a mere three sessions. By evening, the tourists were 337-1, with the loss of David Warner’s wicket attributable to the batsman’s foolish bravado rather than any menace from England’s attack. For Alastair Cook and company, it was, as they say, a bad toss to lose.
In honor of today’s second Test beginning at Lord’s, take a moment to look back at Shane Warne’s delivery to Andrew Strauss during the second Test from the 2005 Ashes series. Part of the beauty of Shane Warne’s wonderball is the build up. Watching him bowl the first ball of the over to Strauss, he seems completely certain he is going to get the wicket on the next delivery. And that he does. An incredible bit of bowling in what is often deemed the greatest Ashes series of all time. Here is to seeing some more great cricket this time around!