Darren Bravo in Barbados. Photo Credit: YouTube
Bar English supporters, no one wanted to see Joe Root step into the crease in Barbados. Throughout the series, Root had terrorized the West Indies bowling attack—the most impressive performance being a masterful innings of 182 not out in the second Test. For nearly six hours, Root had been nothing less than omnipotent, swatting 21 boundaries, including four sixes. As England’s tenth wicket fell, Root stood alone—the architect of a 464 first-innings total that would ultimately undo the West Indies.
As Root strode out of the English dressing room a week later in Bridgetown, the outlook of a West Indian victory looked no less promising. Yet, with the third Test on a precipice, it would be Root who would fall. With Jason Holder bowling, Root attempted a defensive stroke: The ball caught an edge and carried into the open palms of the man at first slip. After facing just 13 balls and with a solitary run to his name, Root was dismissed. The Kensington Oval roared. Holder leaped into the air, his fist clenched, howling emphatically. Smiles stretched across the faces of the West Indian fielders. They realized how momentous this catch was. Root was gone. England had managed just 28 runs at the cost of four wickets in their second innings. Victory seemed within reach.
Yesterday, former Australian Test captain and unparalleled commentator Richie Benaud passed away at the age of 84. There will innumerous words offered on behalf of Benaud in the coming weeks, rightfully celebrating the legend’s life. However, perhaps the greatest eulogy of all has already been delivered by the Benaud himself.
Enjoy—and rest in peace, Richie.
A final of New Zealand and Australia feels a bit inevitable, doesn’t it? South Africa was always going to find a way to lose—painfully. India had the air of a paper tiger throughout the tournament. At no point during the competition did Pakistan seem convincing. And that’s to say nothing of a West Indian side that seemed to take glee in tiptoeing on the edge of a precipice; a Bangladeshi squad punching above its weight; and a team of Sri Lankans that have already taken to blaming their woes on a lack of cardio. The less we discuss Zimbabwe, the better.
(Are there any member nations I’m forgetting? No? Alright then.)
Only 100 overs remain in the 11th Cricket World Cup and for a second straight tournament the hosts square off; New Zealand versus Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground for the title of World Cup Champions.
Much has been made over the course of the 2015 ICC World Cup about the performances by AB de Villiers, Martin Guptill, and Kumar Sangakarra. And rightfully so, all three have been spectacular to watch as they’ve lifted their teams with magic at the crease. Another player worth heaping praise on has been Steve Smith of Australia. Don’t remind anyone on the subcontinent, though they aren’t likely to soon forget, Smith has 5 centuries in 7 matches against India this summer, including 105 in last night’s semi-final win over MS Dhoni’s men. Steve Smith has knocked in 921 runs, an average of 115 versus India in those matches. And to think, the Aussie wasn’t even in the ODI first XI when the summer began.