Decade review December 19, 2009

Highlights of the decade - Part 1

 
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The duo who made Australia tearfully phone their mummies © AFP
 

Welcome to the official Confectionery Stall year-by-year highlights of the Test Match decade, covering the years 2000, 2001 and 2002. These are my personal selections, and should not be used as unarguable evidence of the greatest cricketing moments of the selected years in any legal cases or political dispute.

Apologies, therefore, if there is an English bias – but not only am I English, most of the cricket I have watched this millennium (especially in the first half of the decade) involved England. And England are, have always been, and will always be, the most exciting cricket side in the universe. I am sure all of you, deep down, would much rather watch Alistair Cook than Brian Lara, Ashley Giles ahead of Shane Warne, and Alan Mullally rather than Wasim Akram.

I am equally sure you all have your own favourite moments of the last 10 years. Maybe some of you are hardcore Boeta Dippenaar fans who insist that the unbeaten 177 against Bangladesh in Chittagong was not merely the highlight of 2003, but also the single greatest achievement in the history of all sport. Maybe there was a particular shot, delivery, catch, umpiring signal, appeal, use of the heavy roller, mispronunciation of player’s name by a stadium announcer, or helmet-kissing, that particularly spoke to your cricketing soul. If so, please share it with us.

2000: England beat West Indies by two wickets at Lord’s In a decade that became notable for mammoth run-scoring on featherbed pitches, sending even the most fanatical cricketing insomniac into a catatonic snooze, this three-day thriller had “19th century” written all over it in gold-plated calligraphy.

Twenty-one wickets fell on the second day, with West Indies skittled for 54 in two hours of maniacal mayhem, with Andy Caddick returning the positively Victorian-era analysis of 13-8-16-5. There followed a nail-nibbling third-day finish as England inched to their first major victory of the Hussain-Fletcher era, against the last remnants of the great West Indian fast bowling dynasty.

Honourable mention: England winning in almost pitch-black darkness in Karachi - Hussain and Thorpe wrapping up victory batting with miner’s lamps strapped to their helmets, wearing glow-in-the-dark safety tabards, and using their innate bat-like sonar to locate the ball. Towards the end, as Moin Khan complained that his fielders could no longer see the ball, and he could no longer see his fielders, Steve Bucknor responded with an admonitory, schoolmasterly look that screamed, “Well, you should have thought of that before you started slowing the over-rate down to 4.3 per hour.”

2001: India’s follow-on victory in the Kolkata Test against Australia This was one of my favourite matches of all time, even though I followed it only by periodically checking the scores on the internet, and had never seen VVS Laxman bat or Harbhajan Singh bowl. This had everything a cricket fan could want in a game – great bowling, great batting, great drama, a historic comeback, and an Australian defeat (for the sake of balance in the world game, of course).

Steve Waugh’s Australians had seemed invincible. Annoyingly invincible. The first Test had resulted in the kind of steamrollering now expected as routine. The second Kolkata Test began as if it would consist of little more than the steamroller reversing back over what it had squished in the first Test, to make sure it was fully flat.

When Laxman walked out to bat after India had followed on, his team were in enormous trouble. When SS Das and Sachin Tendulkar were then out in quick succession, trouble ballooned still further. It seemed a question of whether Australia would have the mercy to wait for a priest to arrive before switching off the Indian life-support machine. A day-and-a-half later, one more wicket had fallen, Laxman, aided by Dravid, had dynamited his name into cricketing immortality, and Australia were tearfully asking the umpires if they could phone their mummies to come and pick them up.

This was perhaps – maybe even probably − the greatest innings ever played. Without question, it was the greatest innings ever played by a batsman who walked to the crease boasting a career average of 27 (it is hard to imagine today’s high-mid-20s averagers such as Dinesh Karthik, Salman Butt, or Daniel Flynn, playing such an innings, even on a computer game, or in their wildest dreams).

Harbhajan spun India to an immortal victory, the baggy greens bagged even baggier, the mystique of Waugh’s men was crushed, and Australia have not won another Test series since. The last bit is not factually true, but still. What a game. If this match is not in your list of highlights of the decade, you are clinically dead inside.

Honourable mention: Brian Lara in Sri Lanka. In the 2000s, as in the 1990s, Lara swung between untouchable mastery and perplexing vulnerability, like a champion trapeze artist trying to impress two women sitting on opposite sides of a circus tent, a career pendulum that made him the most fascinating, compelling cricketer of the modern age.

In Sri Lanka late in 2001, against Murali and Vaas at their peak, he swung the right way. As his team sank to a 0-3 whitewash, Lara scored 688 runs at 114.66, in one of the greatest displays of sustained excellence in defeat that cricket has witnessed. The rest of the West Indies between them managed 852 at 15.77. Take out Sarwan, and that average drops to 11.12. Seldom can the margins of defeats have been reduced with such individual, defiant brilliance.

2002 I have already outlined my 2002 highlight in my latest podcast, involving a very silly crowd at Lord’s and the numbers on the jackets of two stewards. It was what cricket is all about.

Clearly, no actual cricket could match the splendour of that sun-smooched afternoon at Headquarters, but the on-field highlight of the year was:

Nathan Astle’s H-bomb of a double-hundred against England in Christchurch. Two hundred and twenty-two off 168 balls sounds spectacular enough. But Astle had pootled to his hundred off a relatively pedestrian 114 balls. Then, with the match all but lost, kaboom. 121 more runs off 54 more balls, including 12 fours and nine sixes. All this from a man who a year previously had scored 141 off 408 in nine hours. Against Zimbabwe. This was an innings that redefined what was possible in a Test match. England’s bowlers wore the expressions of scared teenagers in a low-budget horror film, as the prospect of the most spectacular defeat in Test history loomed.

As a curious footnote, having hit those nine sixes in 54 balls (and 11 in total in the innings), Astle faced another 3107 balls in four more years of Test cricket, of which he sent only four over the ropes, and none of the last 2736 balls spread over his last 26-and-a-half Tests. But, in mitigation, Neil Armstrong did not reach any particularly impressive altitudes post-1969, and no one complains about how his career tailed off. “Oh well done, Neil, you’ve climbed a tree. You’ve lost your edge.”

Honourable mentions to: Shoaib Akhtar’s spell in the Colombo Test when he demolished Ponting, two Waughs, Gilchrist and Warne in 15 balls, all without having to resort to fielders: three bowled, two leg before wicket. Not even Shoaib’s most ardent fans would claim he has consistently made the most of his prodigious natural gifts. But if he’d bowled those 15 balls at Bradman, he would have got him out at least three times. That is not a fact, but it must be close to being a fact.

Michael Vaughan’s batting. For six glorious months he batted as if Hobbs, Hammond and Hutton had been reincarnated in one player. For the rest of his injury-blotched batting career, there were flashes of majesty, interspersed with periods of striking mediocrity, like a Mozart reduced to writing advertising jingles. Melodious advertising jingles, admittedly.

Next time: 2003 up to however far I get up to. I’m nipping off to France with the family for a couple of days, where I would imagine the potentially gripping denouement to the South Africa v England first Test is headline news, and crowds of feverishly excitable cricket fans are gathered in bars, drinking absinthe, smoking Gitanes, and arguing in an agitatedly gesticulative manner about whether or not Paul Harris is an unheralded genius trapped in the bowling action of a village trundler.

Finally, here’s a stat for you: the highest Test innings played by Virender Sehwag in which he has scored at slower than a run every other ball is... wait for it... 13. Only 19 times in his 123 Test innings has Sehwag scored at less than 50 runs per 100 balls – 10 ducks, eight single-figure scores, and that mind-numbingly tedious 13 off 29 against South Africa in his second Test, in 2001-02. I used to be quite satisfied if I reached double figures in the first 10 overs of a village match. I am honoured to be a member of the same species.

(And as a footnote, regarding some feedback comments on when the decade ends, I am aware that, technically, the millennium began in 2001 and the decade ends at the conclusion of 2010, but no one would claim that the year 1990 was in the 1980s. Would they?)

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • xxxxxx on February 16, 2010, 13:02 GMT

    "I used to be quite satisfied if I reached double figures in the first 10 overs of a village match. I am honoured to be a member of the same species" :) nice one andy

  • Prabhu on February 1, 2010, 22:14 GMT

    Andy, how about an etude of The World's Most Injured XI? You'd have a Bond, a Flintoff, for certain. A spinner would be tricky to identify. Jesse Ryder should be a shoo-in. Any supporting statistics on specific players, once selected, missing the entire 5 Test match series would be a special bonus.

  • MartinAmber on December 28, 2009, 14:58 GMT

    Can't argue with your selections for 2000 and 2001. Kolkata is made even better for what followed in Chennai: a two-wicket win for India in the decider.

    I think it must be English bias that prohibited you from mentioning the NatWest final for 2002. Even though we lost, this remains one of the best ODIs I've ever seen.

    Guesses for subsequent years:

    2003: The Oval Test v SA: Thorpe's return, Tres's 219 and Fred's 95. Perhaps you won't mention the Bevan/Bichel World Cup match... 2004: So much to choose from for an England fan, but hard not to settle on Harmison at Sabina Park. 2005: rather obviously, Edgbaston. Though I'd pick day 3 over day 4: the best day's Test cricket in England since 1981. 2006: SA v Aus ODI at Johannesburg, surely. 2007: Gilchrist at the World Cup? 2008: Australia losing at home to SA. Or maybe the Chennai Test 2 weeks after Mumbai (even though we lost). 2009: Anything you like as long as it doesn't involve Flintoff.

  • Said Chaudhry on December 26, 2009, 7:46 GMT

    Hey Andy, this was a superb read, really funny. Agreed with you on everything you wrote. Would've liked to see the inclusion of Pakistan vs India test match played in National Stadium, Karachi. Where Irfan Pathan took a hatrick of the first three bowls of the first over of the test, a counter attack 100 from Akmal and India ended up losing, some brilliant spells from Asif and Shoaib Akhtar in that match.

  • Kartik on December 24, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    My only regret regarding Laxman is that he only added 6 to his overnight score of 275. Had he gone on to a triple, that would have been even better.

  • Arasu, Dubai on December 23, 2009, 14:16 GMT

    Andy,

    Phenomenal stuff man! I am in stiches. So many "Laughed my guts out" stuff - Moin Khan, Neil Armstrong et al..But behind all the loads of comic writing at its zenith, there shines an astute analysis.

    Waiting for more stuff Andy!!!

  • D.V.C. on December 22, 2009, 21:00 GMT

    @Siriam: Except there was no year 0, So the beginning of 2001 actually marked the end of the 2000th year!

  • VK on December 22, 2009, 18:45 GMT

    Bravo Andy! Bravo! nice piece...

    I remember the Kolkata test very fondly. I listened to every ball on ABC 702am. India were dead and burried but VVS put his hand up and what an innings...that was EPIC...i will never forget that innings.

  • arun on December 22, 2009, 7:22 GMT

    Cheers Andy,

    Man are u related to a certain 'Bill Bryson' ?! When was the last time we read any humour in sports journalism, it is usually all about acerbic criticism or eulagatory. That spell of fast bowling by Akhtar, pure and raw, on a sub-continental surface, must be treasured bcoz it is a dying art and fast bowlers and their ilk are declared endangered species. But the big defining moment in world cricket, not just Indian cricket, is the test win by India at Kolkata. It had not only put a stop to the rampaging Aussies, but has opened up the No.1 position eer since. While Nathan Astle innings was a burst of inspired savagery, what VVS did was sublime, calculated, spread over two days, in the true spirit and tradiion of batsmanship . I remember , while watching the match,had difficulty going to the loo, had all my meals in front of the TV. Mr. Kailasham got it wrong. It wasnt Dravid, but Laxman battin at No.3. He dint get too many chances after that still scored @51!

  • Gaurav on December 22, 2009, 6:12 GMT

    The Eden Test...aah, stuff dreams are made of! I WAS THERE AT THE EDEN ON ALL FIVE DAYS...and i never get tired of letting people know!! :D

  • xxxxxx on February 16, 2010, 13:02 GMT

    "I used to be quite satisfied if I reached double figures in the first 10 overs of a village match. I am honoured to be a member of the same species" :) nice one andy

  • Prabhu on February 1, 2010, 22:14 GMT

    Andy, how about an etude of The World's Most Injured XI? You'd have a Bond, a Flintoff, for certain. A spinner would be tricky to identify. Jesse Ryder should be a shoo-in. Any supporting statistics on specific players, once selected, missing the entire 5 Test match series would be a special bonus.

  • MartinAmber on December 28, 2009, 14:58 GMT

    Can't argue with your selections for 2000 and 2001. Kolkata is made even better for what followed in Chennai: a two-wicket win for India in the decider.

    I think it must be English bias that prohibited you from mentioning the NatWest final for 2002. Even though we lost, this remains one of the best ODIs I've ever seen.

    Guesses for subsequent years:

    2003: The Oval Test v SA: Thorpe's return, Tres's 219 and Fred's 95. Perhaps you won't mention the Bevan/Bichel World Cup match... 2004: So much to choose from for an England fan, but hard not to settle on Harmison at Sabina Park. 2005: rather obviously, Edgbaston. Though I'd pick day 3 over day 4: the best day's Test cricket in England since 1981. 2006: SA v Aus ODI at Johannesburg, surely. 2007: Gilchrist at the World Cup? 2008: Australia losing at home to SA. Or maybe the Chennai Test 2 weeks after Mumbai (even though we lost). 2009: Anything you like as long as it doesn't involve Flintoff.

  • Said Chaudhry on December 26, 2009, 7:46 GMT

    Hey Andy, this was a superb read, really funny. Agreed with you on everything you wrote. Would've liked to see the inclusion of Pakistan vs India test match played in National Stadium, Karachi. Where Irfan Pathan took a hatrick of the first three bowls of the first over of the test, a counter attack 100 from Akmal and India ended up losing, some brilliant spells from Asif and Shoaib Akhtar in that match.

  • Kartik on December 24, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    My only regret regarding Laxman is that he only added 6 to his overnight score of 275. Had he gone on to a triple, that would have been even better.

  • Arasu, Dubai on December 23, 2009, 14:16 GMT

    Andy,

    Phenomenal stuff man! I am in stiches. So many "Laughed my guts out" stuff - Moin Khan, Neil Armstrong et al..But behind all the loads of comic writing at its zenith, there shines an astute analysis.

    Waiting for more stuff Andy!!!

  • D.V.C. on December 22, 2009, 21:00 GMT

    @Siriam: Except there was no year 0, So the beginning of 2001 actually marked the end of the 2000th year!

  • VK on December 22, 2009, 18:45 GMT

    Bravo Andy! Bravo! nice piece...

    I remember the Kolkata test very fondly. I listened to every ball on ABC 702am. India were dead and burried but VVS put his hand up and what an innings...that was EPIC...i will never forget that innings.

  • arun on December 22, 2009, 7:22 GMT

    Cheers Andy,

    Man are u related to a certain 'Bill Bryson' ?! When was the last time we read any humour in sports journalism, it is usually all about acerbic criticism or eulagatory. That spell of fast bowling by Akhtar, pure and raw, on a sub-continental surface, must be treasured bcoz it is a dying art and fast bowlers and their ilk are declared endangered species. But the big defining moment in world cricket, not just Indian cricket, is the test win by India at Kolkata. It had not only put a stop to the rampaging Aussies, but has opened up the No.1 position eer since. While Nathan Astle innings was a burst of inspired savagery, what VVS did was sublime, calculated, spread over two days, in the true spirit and tradiion of batsmanship . I remember , while watching the match,had difficulty going to the loo, had all my meals in front of the TV. Mr. Kailasham got it wrong. It wasnt Dravid, but Laxman battin at No.3. He dint get too many chances after that still scored @51!

  • Gaurav on December 22, 2009, 6:12 GMT

    The Eden Test...aah, stuff dreams are made of! I WAS THERE AT THE EDEN ON ALL FIVE DAYS...and i never get tired of letting people know!! :D

  • Andy on December 22, 2009, 4:59 GMT

    there are too many good, amazing and interesting innings and matches in the past but indian performance is always getting more attention every where. the performace of australian, english, south african, pakistanis and srilankans doesnt get much attention on the scene.

  • VS on December 21, 2009, 21:27 GMT

    "I love watching Sangakkara and Mahela .. but their 624 was shameless record hunt on a tarmac."

    That's not the complete story -- remember, South Africa were bundled out for 169 in the first innings, and Sri Lanka were 14 for 2 when Mahela and Sangakkara began their partnership. So you have the first twelve wickets of the match falling for 183 runs and the thirteenth wicket producing 624. That's quite a contrast.

    Moreover, it wasn't just a shameless record hunt; Sri Lanka won the match (whereas neither of Lara's giant innings led to a West Indies victory).

  • Gunjan on December 21, 2009, 16:36 GMT

    I am back from office and happen to read your article (link forwarded to me by my friend)... I can't stop thanking him... your article is compulsorily healthy. It has refreshed me. It's a joy all the way... superb, bone tickeling, funny and must read. I hope, you write many more such stuff. Take a bow!

  • Sundar on December 21, 2009, 6:41 GMT

    Hi Andy, I appreciate that you are ardent fan of English cricket. That doesn't mean you have leave out Kaif and yuvraj match winning partnership in Natwest trophy 2002 finals. Be fair man. Cheers

  • Saleem on December 21, 2009, 6:05 GMT

    I would like to add Pakistan's Manchester Test of 2001, when on last day the umpires missed lots of no-balls and England collapsed after the tea break.

    Also, Inzamam-ul-Haq's 327 at Lahore and New Zealand collapsing to 72.

  • Deepanjan Datta on December 21, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    Nice one Andy .. some nice humor there :). And good stats too. Amazing how such a fun laden article still stokes national bias. Laxman and Dravid partnership in the context of the match, series and overall Indian test match performance, against a far superior and in-form team was remarkable. I love watching Sangakkara and Mahela .. but their 624 was shameless record hunt on a tarmac. Similarly Lara's brilliance against Murali & co. in their backyard would anyday win the cake than his 400* where there was no demons. Shoaib's furious spell or Astle's brutality.. each of these stand out while they livened up the matches with their individual brilliance, in the larger context of the match they were outstanding.

  • Bill on December 21, 2009, 5:01 GMT

    Brilliant stuff!! Paul Harris' action! So true... keep it coming

  • Arun P on December 21, 2009, 4:53 GMT

    VVS Laxman is really an all time great test batsman.he is the only batsman other than sachin tendulkar and brian lara who had been giving constant night mares for one of the greatest teams and bowling line ups ever in the history of the game.well personally i rate his 281 against the all conquering australia as the greatest knock of all time along with don bradman's 299,coming at 97/5.(well i haven't seen bradman bat,but it's hard to imagine anyone can be better than him,from the folklore)

  • Ziyad on December 21, 2009, 3:07 GMT

    Very entertaining article. Funny though how the article seems to be limited to a few lines only for the Indians and Pakistanis i.e. the lines refering to Kolkata test and Shoaib Akhtar.

  • waterbuffalo on December 21, 2009, 2:57 GMT

    I can't remember the years because I always watch cricket slightly inebriated, it is the only way to concentrate while the bowler stands like a tea pot (McGrath) and half an hour later walks back to his mark. But two matches stand out--Irfan Pathan getting a hat-trick with the first three balls he bowled-Pakistan 0-3-then 26-6 and still managing to win. If ever an Indian person bothers me that is the statistic I will bring up, they will never live it down, Sachin, Dravid and all. The other match is 2005 when Harmison clonked Langer and Hayden and Ponting on their heads at Lords. Of course McGrath had to ruin it by reducing England to 21-5. 15 wickets on the first day, beautiful, bring back uncovered wickets, that is the only way to save Test Cricket.

  • Sriram on December 21, 2009, 2:10 GMT

    Awesome Andy!!! This piece is hilarious - "...and Australia were tearfully asking the umpires if they could phone their mummies to come and pick them up." Too good... :-)

  • shane on December 21, 2009, 1:28 GMT

    There was no year 0 between 1 BC and 1 AD - so yes, 2010 is still in the 'Oughties' (which by the name is a terrible shortening)

  • Andy Kris on December 20, 2009, 16:01 GMT

    Nice!!

  • acrazycricketfan on December 20, 2009, 15:53 GMT

    Yes Laxman's was one of the greatest test innings ever played .Dravid's innings cant also be left far behind in the same test.

    Thx for the nice info.

  • Aizaz on December 20, 2009, 9:34 GMT

    agreed shoaib akhtar spell was the greatest spell of fast bowling for me

  • Kartik on December 20, 2009, 7:09 GMT

    Before Kolkata 2001, VVS Laxman averaged 27.

    From that point onwards, he has averaged 51. Also, from that point onwards, India's win-loss record in Tests is superb, and they even lead 7-5 in Tests against Australia.

    That was the day that Indian cricket turned around.

  • Kartik on December 20, 2009, 6:59 GMT

    Kolkata 2001 still makes me giddy - I cannot believe that if happened. It is the greatest Test Match of the modern era. Not just for Laxman/Dravid, but Harbhajan took a hat-trick, and even Tendulkar, who failed with the bat, had a crucial role to play in taking 3 Aussie wickets, Hayden, Gilchrist, and.....Warne!

    The two greatest moments ever in Indian cricket were Lords 1983 and Kolkata 2001. Nothing else comes close.

  • Moin on December 20, 2009, 3:54 GMT

    Great one Andy!

  • Hari on December 20, 2009, 0:47 GMT

    Ha ha... I liked that computer game stuff about Dinesh Kartik, Salman Butt and all... I used to think the same when they kicked out Laxman from Team India, because (1) He cannot drop catches as Dinesh Mongia can (2) He cannot hit sixes after getting out as Manoj Tiwari can (3) He cannot ball yorkers six times every over even after getting pounded by some team mate as Santhakumaran Sreesanth can (4)He cannot write long emails or drive Harley Davidson or date Deepika-Padukone-likes bunking net practice sessions like most of his other team maters can.

  • ram on December 19, 2009, 21:04 GMT

    awesome stuff here andy... u rock

  • Gerrard on December 19, 2009, 19:02 GMT

    I liked the article very much. Adding fun to serious business is an art you have learnt well. The innings and tests mentioned are absolutely of no comparison. It could have included more instances, but there is no point discussing the same things repeatedly. Very well written.

  • sriram on December 19, 2009, 16:05 GMT

    I used to, and still do, think that the current millennium began in 2000. 2000 marked the completion of 2000th year & the beginning of 2001st year (the 3rd millennium).

  • Bernie on December 19, 2009, 15:27 GMT

    Off to France you say? Best hope the local burgulars don't access the t'interweb, Andy. Happy Crimbo to y'all.

  • Padhu, Cary, North Carolina, USA on December 19, 2009, 13:26 GMT

    Funny.. Very Funny.. I got up this morning and first thing I did was start to read this column of yours.. Right from the first line till the last line.. i have been laughing non stop. Amazing talent ..you have. Thanks for thought process you put into.

  • R.Kailasham on December 19, 2009, 13:21 GMT

    Yeeeeeeeeees Andy.The Kolkata Test.It's a once-in-a-lifetime-kind of innings.Hard to imagine such a gripping innings in the current scenario where an extra inch of grass is pardonable but a dustbowl favouring spinners is substandard.

    Dravid yet again proving why h's the best No.3 alive in the world today.In one of your earlier articles abt England's middle-order selection problems,you'd rightly mentioned N0.3's are not created..they're born for the job!!

  • aRA on December 19, 2009, 12:50 GMT

    Where is Mahela and Sangakara's partnership?

  • Arun on December 19, 2009, 12:38 GMT

    Andy - you rock!

    Although the article is written in a zest, sure you have done your analysis....lara scores and average and the bit about Shewag's batting.

    I enjoy the bits where you stretch facts - Aussies never won after that series or Shaoib getting Bradman 3 time. Nicely put!

    Cheers Arun

  • gaurav on December 19, 2009, 12:19 GMT

    u are a unique piece zaltzy. great stuff!

  • Arvind on December 19, 2009, 11:31 GMT

    Awesome. I especially liked this one. "“Oh well done, Neil, you’ve climbed a tree. You’ve lost your edge.”"

  • Ajay H R on December 19, 2009, 9:35 GMT

    Absolutely hilarious zaltsy! - "whether or not Paul Harris is an unheralded genius trapped in the bowling action of a village trundler" Ha ha!!

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Ajay H R on December 19, 2009, 9:35 GMT

    Absolutely hilarious zaltsy! - "whether or not Paul Harris is an unheralded genius trapped in the bowling action of a village trundler" Ha ha!!

  • Arvind on December 19, 2009, 11:31 GMT

    Awesome. I especially liked this one. "“Oh well done, Neil, you’ve climbed a tree. You’ve lost your edge.”"

  • gaurav on December 19, 2009, 12:19 GMT

    u are a unique piece zaltzy. great stuff!

  • Arun on December 19, 2009, 12:38 GMT

    Andy - you rock!

    Although the article is written in a zest, sure you have done your analysis....lara scores and average and the bit about Shewag's batting.

    I enjoy the bits where you stretch facts - Aussies never won after that series or Shaoib getting Bradman 3 time. Nicely put!

    Cheers Arun

  • aRA on December 19, 2009, 12:50 GMT

    Where is Mahela and Sangakara's partnership?

  • R.Kailasham on December 19, 2009, 13:21 GMT

    Yeeeeeeeeees Andy.The Kolkata Test.It's a once-in-a-lifetime-kind of innings.Hard to imagine such a gripping innings in the current scenario where an extra inch of grass is pardonable but a dustbowl favouring spinners is substandard.

    Dravid yet again proving why h's the best No.3 alive in the world today.In one of your earlier articles abt England's middle-order selection problems,you'd rightly mentioned N0.3's are not created..they're born for the job!!

  • Padhu, Cary, North Carolina, USA on December 19, 2009, 13:26 GMT

    Funny.. Very Funny.. I got up this morning and first thing I did was start to read this column of yours.. Right from the first line till the last line.. i have been laughing non stop. Amazing talent ..you have. Thanks for thought process you put into.

  • Bernie on December 19, 2009, 15:27 GMT

    Off to France you say? Best hope the local burgulars don't access the t'interweb, Andy. Happy Crimbo to y'all.

  • sriram on December 19, 2009, 16:05 GMT

    I used to, and still do, think that the current millennium began in 2000. 2000 marked the completion of 2000th year & the beginning of 2001st year (the 3rd millennium).

  • Gerrard on December 19, 2009, 19:02 GMT

    I liked the article very much. Adding fun to serious business is an art you have learnt well. The innings and tests mentioned are absolutely of no comparison. It could have included more instances, but there is no point discussing the same things repeatedly. Very well written.