December 3, 2011 by dixwah
Stumps, day two: Australia are 3/154 in their first innings and trail New Zealand by 141 runs
Test cricket took a step back into the dark ages for the second consecutive day at the Gabba as an evenly poised Test match was put on hold because of an anachronistic light rule.
Cricket has been very resilient in remaining relevant. World Series Cricket, coloured clothes, T20 and the DRS have all been initiatives that have made the game either more entertaining or more professional.
But in the modern sporting context, particularly when most Test grounds across the world have appropriate floodlighting, the continual reliance on natural light to continue play in Test cricket is dinosaur stuff.
The match had just swung Australia’s way. While commentators and the twittersphere were awash Ponting being ‘back to his best’ on the back of a second consecutive half-century, my take is that if you guve a great player like him enough chances, and then get Chris Martin bowling half-trackers, the runs will eventually come.
The Australians had wrestled back the advantage after the home side’s latest opening pair, Warner and Hughes, were both dismissed cheaply.
Usman Khawaja again looked great but was unable to capitalise on a start, but probably avoids fault here as he was left burnt by the ex-skip.
New Zealand had earlier been dismissed for 295 with the sore point being Dan Vettori’s run out on 96. The V-bomber may be the ugliest runscorer in Test cricket (Shiv Chanderpaul may protest) but again proved his effectiveness and deserved three figures against an attack that offered plenty of run-scoring opportunities.
Once Vettori was gone, it was a race to pick up the tail with Siddle removing Young, before Lyon burgled the bottom three (including Martin) to get the chocolates with 4/69.
The Mitchell Johnson-Starc syndrome continued yesterday. The selectors surely know what they’re getting with Starc, he’s gone for 4 an over this Shield season, but if you can’t even put one ball on the pegs when you have a full over at world cricket’s biggest bunny you shouldn’t be playing Test cricket.
Ponting and Clarke will look to turn the knife today and push Australia towards a big first-innings lead. Clarke was given an inexcusable reprieve late in the day when Doug Bracewell dismissed the skipper but was found to have overstepped. It’s the equivalent of being in-front of the kicker in rugby league, an inexcusable and unprofessional error that more often than not comes back to bite.
More than Clarke and Ponting getting runs though, let’s hope this ridiculous rule gets sorted sooner rather than later.