I don't know what to say, yet there is so much to say! How many people outside Australia, New Zealand and Barack Obama's press office know who John Howard is anyway?
Nevertheless at 6.10am in the morning, espresso not yet made, my interest was piqued to investigate. Apparently the man is alive and well, and on track to go down in history as [yet another] Prime Minister who should have resigned while he was ahead. But we'll see ... Little Johnny Howard has pulled out an election win before from down in the polls.
What was making the news was not John Howard's heart attack, but something that—given the man's love and ardor for 13 sweaty, brawny men, I speak of the Australian cricket team—should have given John Howard a heart attack: Australia's 3-0 series loss to New Zealand in a one-day cricket series.
And what a series. After being bowled out for 148 in the first match and losing by 10 wickets, Australia then could not defend totals of 337 and 347. Wow. Major wow. Wish I'd been there. It's like the Twins sweeping the Yankees in a series, there's your upper Midwestern baseball analogy in the interests of cultural exchange.
The Sydney Morning Herald's headline was "blackwash," (New Zealand wear black uniforms), while the New Zealand Herald went with "whitewash." Great victory. But what I saw nowhere in any report on the 3rd match (a dead rubber that actually produced entertainment!) was that New Zealand conceded 5 extras, and Australia 27. It's lovely to say that batting won the day for New Zealand, but in the end extras won the day.
For the baseball fans (if any are still reading) an extra is like a walk. The most common "extra" is if the delivery (pitch) goes too wide for the batsman to reasonably hit, then the opposing team gets one run, and an extra delivery. So whereas you can and do walk an opposing batter in baseball as a matter of good tactics you can't do that in cricket. You're giving away a run for sure, plus the extra delivery, the expected value of which is typically about one run (but might be higher or lower).
Now the cricket purists might object that sometimes you might chance a wide delivery to soften a batter up, and surprise him by coming back in with the next ball, but that's "Advanced Cricket."
27 extras in a match should give John Howard a heart attack.Posted by eroberts at February 22, 2007 6:42 AM