India October 8, 2010

Why Laxman's career proves England are better than Australia

Lancashire’s VVS Laxman set England on course to win the Ashes with a match-winning and potentially series-turning innings for India against Australia in Mohali , a performance of classically Lancastrio-English cricketing resolve, fit to set
201

Lancashire’s VVS Laxman set England on course to win the Ashes with a match-winning and potentially series-turning innings for India against Australia in Mohali, a performance of classically Lancastrio-English cricketing resolve, fit to set alongside this nation’s great Ashes-triumphing performances of recent times, such as Pietersen’s 158 at The Oval in 2005, Botham’s 1981 mega-heroics, Australia’s top-order batting in 1985, and Kerry Packer running World Series Cricket at the same time as the 1978-79 series.

Laxman, alongside Ishant Sharma (who must now surely have inked himself into England’s line-up for Brisbane on November 25), saw Indiland home in a breathtaking late rearguard after Australia’s useless, impotent and morally inept seam bowlers had fortuitously scythed through the Englian top order.

The Baggy Greens, despite being only 0-1 down in the seven-match series, have now surely proved that they will never win a relevant cricket match again – any half-decent team would have appealed more convincingly for leg-before against Pragyan Ojha when just six more runs were needed to lose, and only a fracturing side staring into an abyss of imminent nothingness would have allowed their substitute fielder to narrowly miss the subsequent run-out attempt. Ricky Ponting’s best hope now is to avoid a 7-0 whitewash, and attempt to resign with his dignity and batting average still at least partially intact.

From an environmental point of view, it is a deeply regrettable shame that the obvious formality of England retaining the Ashes for the third series in a row after their triumphs in 2005 and 2009 will have to proceed to satisfy advertisers and spectators, at a cost to the planet of innumerable pointless aeroplane flights, when a ceremonial handing over of the Ashes to England captain Mahandrew Singh Strauss on the steps of Buckingham Palace would surely be more appropriate.

I’m confused.

I apologise if I have taken a slightly Anglo-centric view of the Mohali Test, a modern classic that fluctuated mesmerically amidst outstanding individual performances, crucial injuries and curious umpiring, and which featured one of the most dramatic single deliveries in cricket history. It is hard to think of a more incident-packed ball than Johnson’s to Ojha in the final over – if it was possible to score four for two off one ball, India almost did it. Australia should have taken the last wicket, then could have taken the last wicket, but instead gave away four of the required six runs, and lost a couple of balls later.

For those who missed it, Billy Bowden’s magic umpirical sonar apparently detected an edge that eluded the rest of the cricketing universe before Ojha’s pads diverted the ball from catapulting middle stump into the Punjab skies, whilst the batsman, perhaps momentarily deranged by the pressure and excitement of (a) the occasion, (b) there actually being an adequately sized crowd at a Test match in India, and (c) not being 100% lbw, set off for the most non-existent quick single in cricket history, as the Australian 12th man, Smith, hoved in on the ball and hurled it within centimetres of stump-splattering victory, only to see the leg-side fielders, similarly distracted by the heart-befuddling tension of the moment, admiringly watch his hurl scoot to the boundary for four decisive overhurls.

Perhaps the only individual balls that come close to matching it are the last ball of the 1999 World Cup semi-final, when South Africa finally choked harder than Australia in one of the great simultaneous choke-offs in sporting history, and the penultimate ball of the tied Test in 1960-61, when Grout was narrowly run out by Hunte’s sizzling throw from the boundary as he scampered for what would have been the winning third run. But to have two near-wickets and a boundary must be a first.

The finale of the Brisbane tie remains the most dramatic over in Test history – it began with five minutes remaining of the match, and Australia requiring six runs with three wickets remaining. There then followed, in just seven balls: five runs of varying degrees of luck, one catch, one dropped catch, one missed run-out, and two run-outs (both preventing the winning run, the second sealing the tie with a direct hit from midwicket). Plus one dot ball when not much happened. Something for everyone. One can only imagine how the average modern-day commentator would have relayed the action – presumably with a cocktail of window-shattering decibels and spontaneous combustion.

Mohali, a superb Test match throughout, gave the world the latest of Laxman’s sporadic masterpieces, innings of sublime perfection that have punctuated his oddly inconsistent career. English fans have never seen the Hyderabad Hyperstylist at his best. He has a worse Test average against England (34) than, amongst others, Russel Arnold, Boeta Dippenaar and Paul Reiffel (the 1990s version of Garfield Sobers). Against Australia, since 2000, Laxman averages 62, comfortably outperforming, amongst others, Russel Arnold, Boeta Dippenaar, Sachin Tendulkar, and every other batsman in world cricket.

Laxman’s career alone therefore proves, if proof were needed, that England are 82% better at cricket than Australia, and will certainly win the Ashes by approximately 3.22 Tests to 1.78. Unless Hauritz steps up a couple of gears, or Swann gets injured, or Australia’s superior flat-wicket seam-bowling proves decisive, or the innate class and home experience of their ageing batsmen outdoes England’s seldom consistently high-scoring line-up, or it is not uncharacteristically and unbrokenly cloudy for seven weeks, or Peter Siddle develops an unplayable googly, or England’s selectors panic and recall the late Wally Hammond in the vain hope he can repeat his 905 runs of 1928-29, or this happens, or that happens. Tough series to predict.

Meanwhile, as we English and our cricketing media obsess about the forthcoming confrontation in Baggy Greenland, the world’s current and former No. 1 nations bring their irritatingly short two-match series to a conclusion in Bangalore. In the frequently indigestible smorgasbord of an international cricket schedule that is force-rammed down the throats of the world’s fans, this is a rare case of underkill, like Federer playing Nadal over one set, or Usain Bolt taking on Tyson Gay in a 40-metre sprint, or Kiefer Sutherland starring as Jack Bauer in a new series of 9.

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

  • Amit on November 11, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    Great article Andy! But some of the people commenting here beat you at the humor... What had me in splits was the "arguments" put forth by the "serious" people, pointing an "accusing" finger at you! I loved it!

  • indian on November 10, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    Hey how about this...

    Why Kumble's innings proves Australia are better than England....

    Kumble hit a century against england but aussies didn't allow him to....so that proves that aussies > england....

  • sherry on October 20, 2010, 0:19 GMT

    Totally agreed with David. England has always been overrated by their media and ex players. They often claimed that they are the better ones, but often failed to prove against all the big sides in the world. Laxman played well against Aus, didn't do well against Eng, doesn't implies that Eng is better than Aus.

  • The Professor on October 17, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    Dear Mr Zaltsman, congratulations on your hilarious article. However, I am getting a sniff of sour grapes over India's win at Mohali!? The truth of the matter is India received more bad decisions in the match - Gambhir and Ishant were clearly not out. Also, Hussey was not given out initially, only to receive a bad decision later. Furthermore, India 'gifted' Australia more than 200 runs by dropping Watson (several times) and Paine on ducks - easy catches, might I add. What more could Aust possibly want? So, it is PATHETIC to dwell on the last LBW shout. With ALL advantages to Aust they still could not beat India...and that is the FACT. I reside in Aust and even the Aussies are not whinging because they know they were well beaten by a better side. India is clearly the better team - a point that was highlighted in the second test and conceded by Ponting. As for Laxman, he reserves his best for top opponents NOT sub-standard teams like England.

  • Amit Nandwal on October 15, 2010, 19:52 GMT

    Man I have read your article for the first time and am spell bound , gosh you write so well yet so unconventional , loved your style , Kudos.

  • Jaideep on October 15, 2010, 18:02 GMT

    What amazes me is to see Indians criticising fellow countrymen (oh.. you holier than thou souls)and non Indians (presumed Poms and Ozs) presuming "Indians" lack sense of humour. Indians... whao.. thats a billion people.. generalisation at such epic proportion requires either huge courage or plain stupidity. Putting your wager on it being the latter was such a no brainer. Wake up guys, Indian bashing feels good, but it is so cliched. Admittedly some people haven't got the drift, let us tell them off page 2, as some have sensibly done, rather than take up battles with a huge nation ! Courage indeed. Lecont sums it so succintly at the end.

    Ah, just a footnote, Andy as you must surely be aware by now, there maybe a larger populace of Indian fans who adore your articles, however witless and humourless they are presumed to be by some born witty (nitwits, I think they are called - my english keeps failing me, being my fourth language) chaps floating around..

  • shirish on October 15, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    Leconte@ How different are you than the rest who didnt understand the humour. Honestly, the Sydney test changed the Indian cricket decisively and as an indian I love it.

    Andy@ Love ur articles...Wish u could play cricket as well as u write, the game would have been different amd more fun...Keep writing...Love it

  • Lecont on October 15, 2010, 13:55 GMT

    This really is becoming tiresome please I beg of all readers (not just Indians), if you don't understand an article don't comment on it. Sort of similar to the old adage "if you can't spell it don't write it". I mean for the love of cricket there's not even any negativitly towards the Indian team contained in this article!!!

    The next stat I'd like to see from Andy is how many times a day the 2008 Aus v Ind test in Sydney is dredged up in cricinfo feedback. Give it rest pleeease.

  • Anand Bhat on October 15, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    Good one as always Big Z !!

  • Phil on October 15, 2010, 0:29 GMT

    Andy, I had been wondering for years about Laxman's accent. As an Australian I find some hard to pick. I can't believe how blind I have been. His broad Lancastrian drawl is now patently obvious to me. But how come you haven't claimed that scowser Hauritz?

  • Amit on November 11, 2010, 6:12 GMT

    Great article Andy! But some of the people commenting here beat you at the humor... What had me in splits was the "arguments" put forth by the "serious" people, pointing an "accusing" finger at you! I loved it!

  • indian on November 10, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    Hey how about this...

    Why Kumble's innings proves Australia are better than England....

    Kumble hit a century against england but aussies didn't allow him to....so that proves that aussies > england....

  • sherry on October 20, 2010, 0:19 GMT

    Totally agreed with David. England has always been overrated by their media and ex players. They often claimed that they are the better ones, but often failed to prove against all the big sides in the world. Laxman played well against Aus, didn't do well against Eng, doesn't implies that Eng is better than Aus.

  • The Professor on October 17, 2010, 13:43 GMT

    Dear Mr Zaltsman, congratulations on your hilarious article. However, I am getting a sniff of sour grapes over India's win at Mohali!? The truth of the matter is India received more bad decisions in the match - Gambhir and Ishant were clearly not out. Also, Hussey was not given out initially, only to receive a bad decision later. Furthermore, India 'gifted' Australia more than 200 runs by dropping Watson (several times) and Paine on ducks - easy catches, might I add. What more could Aust possibly want? So, it is PATHETIC to dwell on the last LBW shout. With ALL advantages to Aust they still could not beat India...and that is the FACT. I reside in Aust and even the Aussies are not whinging because they know they were well beaten by a better side. India is clearly the better team - a point that was highlighted in the second test and conceded by Ponting. As for Laxman, he reserves his best for top opponents NOT sub-standard teams like England.

  • Amit Nandwal on October 15, 2010, 19:52 GMT

    Man I have read your article for the first time and am spell bound , gosh you write so well yet so unconventional , loved your style , Kudos.

  • Jaideep on October 15, 2010, 18:02 GMT

    What amazes me is to see Indians criticising fellow countrymen (oh.. you holier than thou souls)and non Indians (presumed Poms and Ozs) presuming "Indians" lack sense of humour. Indians... whao.. thats a billion people.. generalisation at such epic proportion requires either huge courage or plain stupidity. Putting your wager on it being the latter was such a no brainer. Wake up guys, Indian bashing feels good, but it is so cliched. Admittedly some people haven't got the drift, let us tell them off page 2, as some have sensibly done, rather than take up battles with a huge nation ! Courage indeed. Lecont sums it so succintly at the end.

    Ah, just a footnote, Andy as you must surely be aware by now, there maybe a larger populace of Indian fans who adore your articles, however witless and humourless they are presumed to be by some born witty (nitwits, I think they are called - my english keeps failing me, being my fourth language) chaps floating around..

  • shirish on October 15, 2010, 16:56 GMT

    Leconte@ How different are you than the rest who didnt understand the humour. Honestly, the Sydney test changed the Indian cricket decisively and as an indian I love it.

    Andy@ Love ur articles...Wish u could play cricket as well as u write, the game would have been different amd more fun...Keep writing...Love it

  • Lecont on October 15, 2010, 13:55 GMT

    This really is becoming tiresome please I beg of all readers (not just Indians), if you don't understand an article don't comment on it. Sort of similar to the old adage "if you can't spell it don't write it". I mean for the love of cricket there's not even any negativitly towards the Indian team contained in this article!!!

    The next stat I'd like to see from Andy is how many times a day the 2008 Aus v Ind test in Sydney is dredged up in cricinfo feedback. Give it rest pleeease.

  • Anand Bhat on October 15, 2010, 9:11 GMT

    Good one as always Big Z !!

  • Phil on October 15, 2010, 0:29 GMT

    Andy, I had been wondering for years about Laxman's accent. As an Australian I find some hard to pick. I can't believe how blind I have been. His broad Lancastrian drawl is now patently obvious to me. But how come you haven't claimed that scowser Hauritz?

  • da_lowrider on October 14, 2010, 22:08 GMT

    Aaarrggh!!! you guys need to lighten up! is it just the few of us in India who came with a sense of humor pre-installed? i mean c'mon it wasn't even subtle humor - it's on 'page 2' for crying out loud! is it that hard?

    P.S. Great article though

  • singh on October 13, 2010, 11:37 GMT

    well andy if england is a better side than australia then england would have have all the world cups won by australia. Or you mean to say england is better than australia and worst than other teams( including holland, kenya, scotland, etc)

  • Chris on October 13, 2010, 6:46 GMT

    what is more funny than this article is the comments, so many people dont get the 0-7 series and are all upset over not mentioning the 5 or 6 other wrong decisions. May be for the Indian fans you need to start of with. Why did Sachin cross the road?

  • themaster on October 11, 2010, 17:46 GMT

    very enjoyable n hilarious!!

  • testmatchfan on October 10, 2010, 12:28 GMT

    Andy, I think you should issue this statement with your posts - 'reader should have a basic sense of humour prior to reading the following article'.

    You are just too subtle for some of my fellow Indians.

  • trey on October 10, 2010, 10:42 GMT

    though the article is indeed funny oz will beat england with their world eleven 5-0

  • Chapelau on October 10, 2010, 9:14 GMT

    @Jeet - good job that you are not a betting man - you would lose a huge amount of money if you think this poor Aus side will beat anyone anytime soon - never mind regain the ashes. Hats off to Ram and Santanu - you have it right.... strange how it seems that the humour gene (note humour with a "u") is missing from so many people !!

  • Pavanan on October 10, 2010, 8:43 GMT

    Hey, dropping the same batsman in the same position three times in 15 minutes! Makes me wonder whether spot fixing is a recent phenomenon!! Great article with the right touch of wit and humor. As always, my fellow countrymen don't seem to find the lighter side of life and spend their miserable time trying to hammer an author who speaks ill of their team(as they see it). Things might improve only when Andy improves his fielding skills(fat chance of either happening)!!!

  • Vivekananda on October 10, 2010, 7:47 GMT

    OH MY GOD!! I'll be in England for the next couple of months and I'm sweating over being recognised as an Indian there by any English cricket fan who has come across these inane and childish comments by my country'men'!! Laugh at a joke and move on, people. We are not going to be the best by shouting about it from the rooftops. And an Indian fan's wished for Australia to thrash England are simply hilarious and embarrassing, too. Get some objectivity from your nearest grocer, please!

  • dariuscorny on October 10, 2010, 4:50 GMT

    i think it has become a normal habit of the English men to overrate their team.from where these thoughts come i dont understand.i personally feel the 20-20 win in carribean was a fluke for the English.they hv never done well in cricket neither will in near future one thing they are best at is just to overrate themselves.if u compare man to man even The second string Australian side will appear overpowering to the English side.they are surely going to lose in Australia n the trend will continue in the subcontinent in the World Cup.Anderson,Broad etc all r swing bowlers and will not be the major threat in Oz.post Aus tour they will be introduced to the reality that they r selfpromoters not the performers.the writer seems to me as a comedian n this not the right place for these hillarius jokes of his

  • vedagiri on October 10, 2010, 4:15 GMT

    hilarious article. sad to read the comments written by my fellow indians.

  • ThugbyFan on October 10, 2010, 3:53 GMT

    ha ha ha, yes, the Laxman innings was a much needed ripper which saved India. His back was buggered. he slogged a bit and was good enough to get away with it. It was a great test match and i wish all were like that (with different result though!) lol.

    However to compare the indian team which has 11 indians playing with the composite england team of a couple of Poms, 3-4 south africans, an irishman and gawd knows where the others were found and signed up, is an insult to this really good indian team.

    However i do agree that the "English" fast bowlers and the aussie "pensioner middle order" should win england the series. Sad that only Calum Ferguson is the only young gun on the horizon.

  • Bido on October 10, 2010, 2:32 GMT

    Andy seems to be struggling to bring out the humor. Sorry Andy! You are far from what you feel you should be.

  • Karthick.S on October 10, 2010, 2:04 GMT

    Mahandrew Singh Strauss??? I liked it .

  • Meety on October 10, 2010, 1:45 GMT

    Poms will get thrashed 5nil by Oz because VVS won't be able to get a British passport in time. The other reason is there are still too many Poms in the English team! The English team should be 1. Strauss (SA - capt), 2.Kieswetter(SA), 3. Trott (SA), 4. KP (SA), 5. Morgan(Ire), 6. R Ten Doetche(Neth), 7. R Watson(Scot), 8. J Nel (Ire), 9. T Johnstone (Ire), 10. Hamid (Afghan/MCC), 11. B Rankin (Ire). This side will do well except with the amount of Saffers in the top order their would be a batting collapse chasing 100 to win & Oz will win 3-2.

  • Gautam on October 9, 2010, 21:59 GMT

    Haha, hilarious article, really enjoyed it. :-)

    Also hilarious are all the prickly comments by my Indian compatriots -- "You did not mention Ishant etc etc". Holy crap, talk about not understanding humor...

  • weera on October 9, 2010, 20:53 GMT

    Honestly, these comments drive me nuts! Andy is one of the funniest *and* best informed cricket writers out there. It helps if you understand British humour.

    As for the tied test: the second last ball of the match was a run out, the throw coming from Conrad Hunte (it was not a direct hit, but the run out was successful). This is what Andy is referring to. Then, as a couple of people have said, was the famous last ball run out, a direct hit by Joe Solomon from square of the stumps.

  • Kool Kat on October 9, 2010, 16:06 GMT

    So many Indians have read the entire article without understanding a word - weird...

  • Kool Kat on October 9, 2010, 16:04 GMT

    Fellow Indians : This is satire...a type of humour we hardly get in Bollywood or in our mainstream media. Don't go with daggers at Andy.

  • arnav on October 9, 2010, 14:36 GMT

    I think England are weak opponents to play cricket other than England.They only rely on swing but when its come to Australian conditions,seam comes to picture.May be Ashes will be one side when its going to take place in Aus. Good Luck Eng.U need it bcoz you are going to face the mighty Aussies at home..

  • sixnout on October 9, 2010, 13:21 GMT

    Are there so many Indians out there who cant understand a joke when its staring at you in your face....I still dont understand why there are so many like them out there in my country...But think of it ... reading the comments makes Andy's Blog funnier..

  • santanu on October 9, 2010, 10:17 GMT

    its hilarious....no not ur article but the way some ppl r reacting to it.Andy u were not serious r u......hahaha some ppl think so n they seem to be hitting the ceiling

  • Jeet on October 9, 2010, 10:10 GMT

    I just hope England makes it a close contest. Looking at their record in Australia for more than 2 decades now, anything less than a 4-1 drubbing by the Australians should come as a surprise, except of course some eternally optmistic and self-delluding English fans, commnetators and writers/Andys!

  • The Legspinner on October 9, 2010, 9:51 GMT

    Someone has had a sense of humour malfunction, seriously,this is supposed to be satire, chaps!

  • Shahwali on October 9, 2010, 6:50 GMT

    good funny article. I hope Australians(specially Punther) likes it. :P

  • santosh on October 9, 2010, 6:49 GMT

    now now let us not focus on what will happen in ashes or worldcup or summerslam.lets just enjoy the moment that india has won .aussies are a good team unit and i hope dey will do everything to come back to level the series.dhoni should improve his wicketkeeping skills and also his batting .or else let him give the gloves to some other player.

  • it'sajokeJoyce on October 9, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    I guess the legions of overly-pedantic India fans won't be satisfied until there isn't a single word typed in jest anywhere on the planet about cricket.

    I'm just surprised there isn't the usual slew of comments debating who was the best Peshawar left-handed wicketkeeper between the wars etc.

  • saisanthosh on October 9, 2010, 6:22 GMT

    If there was ever a stupid column i ve read this surely has to be the one,i request cricinfo to stop publishing this guys columns....

  • av on October 9, 2010, 6:02 GMT

    As always, comments from people who don't get Page 2 articles are funnier than the articles themselves. Though this one was pretty good by itself -- I like the idea of Mahandrew Signh Strauss.

  • swaroop on October 9, 2010, 5:24 GMT

    english players are lions at home and kittens outside

  • VARUN on October 9, 2010, 5:10 GMT

    Funniest man on the planet!!!!

  • sooRyaa on October 9, 2010, 4:54 GMT

    Like my mates said, you were not too bothered nor considered about the decisions went against Ishant (you could have mentioned Hussey and Gambhir's name in the list too). And it was not the game of Laxman but Ishant who did a perfect job than Laxman (someone who faced 71% of deliveries to be appreciated, to be noted he is a tailender; never recognized as a batsman).

    Gould was not at his best but worst.

    There were a few decisions went against Australia but I consider India are more unluckier than their opponents when Billy (Nz) and Gould (Eng) were doing their job.

    And the comparison, that was pretty interesting. I wonder why you have not consider Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. Appreciate if you would consider both sides when writing a a elite post in a most reputed sites of Cricket.

  • Mohan on October 9, 2010, 4:50 GMT

    great simultaneous choke-offs in sporting history :::: ROFL

  • soumya on October 9, 2010, 4:46 GMT

    i think you English people are playing cricket,only for the ashes. but the reality is that i have to check the spelling of the ashes from your nonsense blog.i would like to say one thing here, how cricinfo is posting these blogs from these cartoon characters.

  • George on October 9, 2010, 3:19 GMT

    Critics are taking the article too seriously! There is no attempt to represent this as a balanced, logical summary of the match nor of the forthcoming ashes series. Just a series of irreverent thoughts and observations. Some of which is silly and some funny and some both. And before Gambhir's decision there was Hussey's. No-one knows how the reversal of each incorrect decision would have altered the result - but that does not lessen the significance of THAT ball to Ojha in isolation.

  • Santanu on October 9, 2010, 3:01 GMT

    Absolutely hopeless article!! I am just waiting for England to face India in tests very soon...england's false sense of deja-vu will be thrashed and they will be dusted and brought to ground by Sehwag and co.

  • Nataraj on October 9, 2010, 2:59 GMT

    Let us see. S Ganguly - avg of 35 against Australia and 57 against England. Worse, he has a even better average in England. Hmmmm.

  • Sandy on October 9, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    There is no way you can make a comparison as above. It might work in a lot of disciplines but not cricket as there are a lot of things that affect a loss or a win depending upon things like mindset, playing against a rival like England vs Australia etc.

    In my mind, this is a stupid article.

  • Jay S on October 9, 2010, 2:50 GMT

    Funny how the writer's 'anglo-centric' view conveniently ignores the umpiring howler that declared Ishant out just 11 runs adrift. But there are no qualms about cribbing over Ojha's decision - who shouldn't have been at the crease in the first place. You'll just have to suck it in and face up to the fact that the better team won.

  • dessi-munda on October 9, 2010, 2:44 GMT

    pietersen don't want to play for england no more.oh well.let him out.he wants to play for south africa.good luck pietersen.i don't think south africa needs him now.

  • rainman on October 9, 2010, 2:38 GMT

    Your triangular theory is quite fun and I wish the very best for the English team for an Ashes win :)

  • Vineet on October 9, 2010, 2:35 GMT

    @ Ravi, Aditya, Mahesh......God!!!! don't u guys have sense of humor....if u don't i advise you guys to not stray to the articles in Page 2..

  • Bunty on October 9, 2010, 2:08 GMT

    Tongue-in-cheek stuff. What England has to show is whether they have batsmen skilled and temperamentally sound enough to bat 6 sessions.In England's last season a partnership of one session was usually enough to win a game. That will not be enough in flat batting conditions of Australia. If the bastmen are not greedy enough to score 150+ then consistent scores of 450+ will not be there .Anything less will not be good enough to win a series in Australia - I think.

  • Jocks Trap on October 9, 2010, 2:08 GMT

    Wonderful and irreverant. Anyone who writes an accurate/yet funny article that gets up the noses of everyone (especially chip-on-the-shoulder fans of the winning team) must be doing a lot more right than wrong. Keep it up Andy lad and you might even flush out a few disgruntled Kiwis. We can but hope!

  • Me on October 9, 2010, 1:49 GMT

    That was utter crap

  • Ramana on October 9, 2010, 1:17 GMT

    You dont do justice to Ricky Ponting or the Aussie team. They lost but they were great sportsmen and played the game in the true spirit (though everyone accuses them of the opposite). I cannot see an English team trying as hard or taking the punch on the chin and being as sportive as the Aussies and their captain Ponting

  • Ramesh on October 9, 2010, 0:51 GMT

    The author has glosses over Ishant being handed a wrong decision and simply highlighted Ojha's case. ANd India is not Laxman alone.If Laxman has a good record against Australia than ENgland there are so many other Indian batsmen like Sachin, Dravid, Sehwag who have done well against England. So I dont agree England stands a better chance agains Australia cos Laxman plays better against Australia than England.England should come thankful if they dont lose 4-0 or 5-0 against Australia!! England's record against Australa in Australia is abysmal of late.

  • Josh on October 9, 2010, 0:49 GMT

    Geez some of these guys just don't 'get it'. Yes Ravi & Mahesh he is 'more engrossed in praising England than praising VVS', thats THE JOKE.

    This is not the place for serious comment about who is better and why India won or whatever, Andy writes funny articles with sarcastic undertones that provide dry light relief. I honestly think there is a cultural barrier here and some people cannot relate to this form of humour.

    Good work Andy, really enjoyed this one.

  • anjireddy on October 9, 2010, 0:11 GMT

    why limit the article to only the last over? before that, the blunder committed on ishant is nowhere mentioned .... by anybody, just not you.

  • Abhishek Lahiri on October 9, 2010, 0:10 GMT

    I cannot agree with you. Australia lost the match but I still believe that they are much better team than England in India. I hope u remember the about the last visit 5-0 defeat in onedays matches. Yes, India got lucky one in form of Ojha but no one talks about the one before. U have to accept these as a part of the game. Sometimes it comes in favor of u and sometimes not. But, still think Australia is better than England in NEUTRAL conditions !!

  • Mukund on October 8, 2010, 23:23 GMT

    Hahaha brilliant, mate! This article had me crying with laughter, very clever. :)

  • Amit on October 8, 2010, 23:16 GMT

    Andy, we give credit to the England for India's win. If it were not Aussies's obsessiveness about Ashes, they would be focussed on winning the game at Mohali. I bet Johnson was thinking about a 5-0 whitewash and holding the Ashes, when he delivered that 4 for 2 ball :-)

  • Anonymous on October 8, 2010, 23:13 GMT

    That is a hilarous discription of that 4 for 2 of 1 ball! Lax is not available for Ashes, but we could loan you Harbhajan and Sreesanth to get under the Aussie skin - mostly with their motor mouth. what say?

  • Pramod on October 8, 2010, 23:04 GMT

    Andy it looks like our friend Vijay Ramchandran is not aware of the words "Satire /Spoofs etc"! Pl update him

    BTW Vijay what Andy writes is really the funny side of the situations only he can write about.

  • Alias on October 8, 2010, 22:55 GMT

    What has this guy been smoking?? Every team has bad days, it's part of cricket. Quite often, things just dont happen for you. Thats the nature of cricket. Statistics do not tell you who is a better team, statistics are past results and have little impact on the future. Australia are still rebuilding their side after losing many great players in a short space of time. (Hayden, Gilchrest, McGrath, Warne, Lee ...) Umpires can't get everything right, everyone has different opinions they just umpire as best and as fairly as they can. Unless your out their doing a better job you shouldnt rubbish them. "Ricky Ponting’s best hope now is to avoid a 7-0 whitewash, and attempt to resign with his dignity and batting average still at least partially intact." this is all opinion and no fact, this series will be great to watch, going by how close this test was. and speaking of players choking... Didn't Tendulker fall LBW to the part time Marcus North for 98...?

  • Harry on October 8, 2010, 22:43 GMT

    Its like saying, I love you, you love your daughter and by logic I love your daughter.

    Ha Ha Ha

  • Ankit on October 8, 2010, 22:35 GMT

    Guys this is just a comic piece....This in no way is an analysis of Laxman's effort or the herculean indian victory... So calm down..Nobody is deriding the indian victory and nobody can...Just njoy the article for what it is. a brilliant comic piece..

  • sdheer on October 8, 2010, 22:28 GMT

    Srilanka struggled against Laxman, England struggles against Srilanka, so England will struggle against Laxman now :)

  • Akbar on October 8, 2010, 22:21 GMT

    Still Australia is Australia. They have the guts to bounce back at Bangalore.

  • Mailman on October 8, 2010, 22:21 GMT

    Andy,

    Dont forget that useless, impotent and morally inept bowling attack nearly took all 10 wickets in the second innings...and in fact if it wasnt for a poor call by my fellow countryman, that useless, impotent and morally inept bowling attack would have won the game for Australia.

    Mailman

  • Khader abdul on October 8, 2010, 22:19 GMT

    I mean some on. Why dint you mention the decision that went against Ishant sharma.

  • wael hussain on October 8, 2010, 22:09 GMT

    Hilarious it is but all false.I think he should be given a taste of his own medicine.Andy? When exactly England got better then Australia when whole world knows who is where. Its just because Australia is the one team who have beaten everyone hands down in their own den it doesn't mean that you should start blaming Australia and count the rarest of rare performances that u r one or two good players perform once in a while.Laxman is a good player but how many times did he won matches for India, compared to the players of Australia like Gilchrist .I wont even take the names of other great Australians. Its said that When god does great things no when cares because it seems to be his job but when mere human does something little . It is exaggerated.It seems like that to me. I am really proud the way Australians fought against India on their home soil with such a young team.Lets see how India or for that matter England do, even with their best ones. Such a joke.

  • Thirdman3 on October 8, 2010, 21:34 GMT

    You can also compare both teams by comparing their performance against Pakistan. England played well against Pakistan as compare to Austarlia in the last series of both teams.

  • Anonymous on October 8, 2010, 21:15 GMT

    Simple fact...England's Skipper Andrew Strauss is against players using runners ( remember he didn't give greame Smith a runner in a one day match)and ponting was huge hearted in providing laxman a runner

  • sharmeen on October 8, 2010, 21:11 GMT

    What 7 games is Andy talking about? Do you not know that this is a 2 test series?

  • naveen on October 8, 2010, 20:58 GMT

    Thanks andy for free smiles... will wait for ur next venture...

  • bishal on October 8, 2010, 20:50 GMT

    the funniest thing on cricinfo are the comments posted by guys like vijay ramachandran...dude the post is supposed to be ajoke..the long handle,andy zaltman and the guy from newfoundland will be also-rans compared to champs like you!!!

  • fantasy on October 8, 2010, 20:48 GMT

    lol....

    You forgot to mention that Laxman gives the best against the best team... and going by this rule - Australia is better than England.. lol

    try harder next time to convince.... :)

  • kumar bhaskar on October 8, 2010, 20:37 GMT

    Is this article written by any illiterate person? Any body who have little bit of knowledge about cricket can't write like this. Yes its your legal rights to praise your country but not in the above way. It is like using other's bread to satisfy your hunger. prove any thing what you want in the coming Ashes series in proper manner. And about the comment made against VVS , wait for your turn, you are also going to taste the same medicine which Australian cricket team(not AUSTRALIA ) is getting.

  • Dionne on October 8, 2010, 20:30 GMT

    Mahandrew Singh Strauss. Priceless ;)

  • Tarun on October 8, 2010, 20:30 GMT

    Also Do not forget to poor decision to make Gambir out.....If that was not wrong decision then india could have in better position by the end of day 4.

  • Anil on October 8, 2010, 20:24 GMT

    This comment is for those who find absurdity in Andy's writing (if A plays B better but plays C worse, B must be worse than C) or drag his writing into statistical/factual analysis. Guys, first thing you need to note is, this page is meant for satire. By draging it into the rigors of realistic/factual/numerical analysis you are killing its very heart/soul/brain/spine: that is, satire. If you are interested more in factual/numerical analysis, stick to S. Rajesh or Andrew Miller or... in stead. If you love the beauty, just love it; dont analyse it.

  • Guru on October 8, 2010, 20:20 GMT

    Few thoughts which have seen their days. 1) Elvis's illness 2) World wars 3) England is the center of the universe.

  • Dr Dona on October 8, 2010, 20:13 GMT

    If india is that good team then they should accecpt very honest system(UDRS) in cricket and then we would love to see how many matches india wins. All indian fans, their board and their team are scared to use the UDRS and we all know why they all are scared. With this joke bowling i don't think so they can't take 10 wickets in the match forget about taking 20 wickets, yes they can take 20 wickets with they buy the umpires.

  • Sudeep on October 8, 2010, 20:07 GMT

    Dear Andy, As ever you were great, please don't ever listen to people who have no sense of humour because your way is not at all gross or insulting it is just good fun.(unlike some NZ TV hosts) I wouldn't mind if you make fun of my team in the same style it is just funny like a cartoon Thanks for the article. Keep it up

  • Abhinav on October 8, 2010, 18:58 GMT

    Mr. Vijay Ramachandran, I must say you have a poor sense of humor. Its a funny article.

  • nachiketa joshi on October 8, 2010, 18:48 GMT

    Dry English humor (or humour?)- love it! :-)

  • uzzi on October 8, 2010, 18:23 GMT

    zaltzman is king :D

  • CricketFan on October 8, 2010, 17:50 GMT

    Crazy article :) seems pointless ...

  • Senthil on October 8, 2010, 17:39 GMT

    Varied level of idiotic conclusions. If Laxman's batting against Australia and England is an indicator of how Australia would fair against England then England would be the ICC Test Championship since 1998.

  • abhishek on October 8, 2010, 17:18 GMT

    awesome article man, u really mixed it up well to perfection. it will really confuse an average cricket fan but was a pleasure reading....

  • anil on October 8, 2010, 17:01 GMT

    @"Laxman wouldnot be allowed a runner" - I guess that is fair of Ponting. On a related matter I and every body cricket lover should urge BCCI to compensate the Australian Cricket Board Only a fraction of what they committed to them. Frankly I am sick of they blah blah about their competetion for Ashes w/England and as a consequences either do not take competetion with India seriously (All top Ozs players instructed to rest for 1Day series against India) or play only fill-in-gap matches with India. Whom do they think they are - Not even ranked 3rd or 4th? We should strike the iron where it hot. Take away their renumeration. Period. Let tehm enjoy little urn full of ashes. And please stop wasting money for all the top security arrangements for worthless people.

  • Amit Sood on October 8, 2010, 17:00 GMT

    Guys am i the only one who is confused what this guy wants to say or should i take it as a joke?

  • Pratik Rana on October 8, 2010, 16:58 GMT

    That's what I think Aditya, it will be a draw..

  • Daham Koralege on October 8, 2010, 16:53 GMT

    Typical chippy Indians don't get the joke.

  • Rajinder Bajwa on October 8, 2010, 16:48 GMT

    Absolutely hillarious article with great language. I loved the," when a ceremonial handing over of the Ashes to England captain Mahandrew Singh Strauss on the steps of Buckingham Palace would surely be more appropriate", line.

    NICE

  • Vivek on October 8, 2010, 16:42 GMT

    @vijay ramachandran

    you are being the characteristic no-funny-bone-in-the-body Indian here. the england-laxman-australia analogy was supposed to be in a self-spoofing vein. Frankly, I'm surprised why so many of us Indians even read page2 wen we cant see a joke wen it stares at us in face! please do look up satire, parody, spoof in the dictionary wen before you post.

  • Venkat on October 8, 2010, 16:34 GMT

    Good one Andy! Confectionery Stall - that was a good Candy! Oops!

    Loved the piece about the totally absurd 2-match series. It's like a 5 second leak or like a 1 mile marathon.

    Well, Ravi & Vijay - learn humor. This was not an analytical piece intended to shower praise on Laxman. This is Page 2 and Confectionery Stall - place for fun and some candy! So, cool it and dont bring your technical analysis to here and enjoy the humor :)

  • Aritro Bhattacharya on October 8, 2010, 16:33 GMT

    The laughs aside, me, albeit my latent Indialandity, feel pretty sorry for the likes of Ricky and Clarke. And sorrier for the likes of Mahendrew and Gambhir. If the conspicuous absence of Warne-Mcgrath-Hayden-Gilchrist (and then again, Warne was always found inadequate on Indian soil) can do THIS to Australia, I shudder to even imagine what would happen to India sans Tendulkar-Dravid-Laxman.

    Ominous, indeed.

  • AJ on October 8, 2010, 16:30 GMT

    "or Kiefer Sutherland starring as Jack Bauer in a new series of 9."

    ROFL!

  • njr1330 on October 8, 2010, 16:29 GMT

    Andy, What happened in Edinburgh? Your blogs before then...particularly the one about Shaoib Akhtar being upset because other players were behaving worse than him!...had me literally shaking with laughter. Since Edinburgh, they've just been mildly humorous.....the public have a right to know!

  • njr1330 on October 8, 2010, 16:25 GMT

    Clearly the readers of this column don't do post-modern irony...that must mean they're all Americans!

  • GB on October 8, 2010, 16:00 GMT

    My Indian compatriots fail to understand that this is comedy, that is what Andy writes....duh.....

  • Rahul on October 8, 2010, 15:58 GMT

    When do you moderate and publish rest of the commments. Cannot wait to read more epic criticism of this hilarious piece by a humour writer in the humour section.

    I bow before you, commentors.

  • Naveen on October 8, 2010, 15:58 GMT

    Afta reading this i SERIOUSLY wish Australia THRASHES england by a comfortable margin in alll tests!!! What crappy equations and assumptions Andy!!! Shocking!!! WOnder if alll English THINK this way :P

  • hercules on October 8, 2010, 15:55 GMT

    The third ashes series in a row comment was hilarious.

  • koushik podder on October 8, 2010, 15:50 GMT

    this shows that english cricket team are arrogant, hypocrites & are the biggest disgrace in the world of cricket & almost every sport

  • Muralidaran Ramesh Somasunderam on October 8, 2010, 15:35 GMT

    Dear Sir, This factor of one player having a distinctively better batting or bowling average to one country compared to the other, does happen every often in Test Match cricket. This does not mean England or Australia is better than the other, based on the performances of V. V. S. Laxman as an individual player. In act I will mention that Laxman does like the ball to come to him, as he plays stokes both on the front and back foot, but he does not play the moving ball or delivery off the deck and in the air that well, because he does not move his feet that well, especially outside the off stump, where he plays away from his body. This is why I sincerely believe his tack record in England against England is poor, but in Australia and South Africa where the ball does come on to the bat does suit his style of play extremely well, including the lower bouncing wickets in India where his hands and wrist work comes into play very much. But, again this does not mean England or Australia is better than each other, just because a single player has a distinctively better record against Australia than England. I hope my comments, views, or interpretation does make sense. Yours Faithfully, Muralidaran Ramesh Somasunderam.

  • Dr Anurag on October 8, 2010, 15:32 GMT

    Awesome...........you are crazy.......performance of classically Lancastrio-English cricketing resolve, fit to set alongside this nation’s great Ashes-triumphing performances of recent times......only Andy can come up with that...........

  • Hema Adhikari on October 8, 2010, 15:30 GMT

    Vijay Ramchandran,

    It is satire. Please try harder to educate yourself. And meanwhile, would you mind not embarrassing your countrymen and women.

  • Krishna on October 8, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    Vintage Zaltzman for a change - welcome back !!

    still think VVS classifies England in the same league as the other exalted compatriots from Bangladesh and Zimbabwe - to be graced not governed

    As far as England's chances of retaining the Ashes in Aus are concerned - only if they have ensure the redoubtable Monty Panesar and James Anderson are batting together - the most fearsome Ashes pair since Hobbs and Sutcliffe ruled the rrost

  • Prasad Nishant C on October 8, 2010, 15:23 GMT

    I think aussies are still a very very formidable team and England hardly stand a chance if they show any complacence. England should not forget the 20 yrs post their 2005 victory against aussies. What Aussies have achieve at a strech is still a fact to reckon. And yes without Pieterson, they look a lesser team no doubt. Laxman - England -Aussie paradox will be at test when the englishmen truely face chin music !!!

  • nishant on October 8, 2010, 15:11 GMT

    superb. as always worth more than a few laughs.

    frustrarting why some people see page 2 as serious and take offence to what is abviously sattire

  • Ramesh Ahuja on October 8, 2010, 15:08 GMT

    Amazed at sheer brilliance of folks trying to tell andy how he is drawing incorrect conclusions. Guys - there is a thing called satire and relax with the knowledge that there is no conspiracy theory here against laxman or india.

  • Rahul on October 8, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    Lighten up, people !! Can't believe some of the comments.

    Excellent article, as usual!

  • upamanyu on October 8, 2010, 15:04 GMT

    Funny article, but the fact of the matter remains that Ind, SA, Aus (in no particluar order) are the best 3 test teams at the moment. England will come to their senses after the routine walloping that they will receive down under this winter (or summer if you're aussie, kiwi or south african). Remember the 2005 ashes. Of course you do. Remember the next ashes down under. And this was after the Geraint Jones declared Eng to be the best test side in the world :)

  • Dong on October 8, 2010, 15:03 GMT

    It's unfortunate some of the dimwits here cannot get the fact that this is a fun write up. And that's a bigger joke than all you could conjure up so far, Andy.

  • Chris on October 8, 2010, 14:48 GMT

    I think some of you might have got the wrong end of the stick here...

  • Donald on October 8, 2010, 14:41 GMT

    People here cannot differentiate between satire and facts.

  • Umamahesh on October 8, 2010, 14:41 GMT

    hahaha... hilarious. ROFL. "Australia struggle against Laxman. Laxman struggles against England. Therefore, Australia will struggle against England" - loll... that's a masterpiece.

  • dina on October 8, 2010, 14:23 GMT

    Sir Andy Zaltzman, You suck!!!! you don't know cricket to a good extent as you are fool enough to underestimate Aussies(mighty)

  • John on October 8, 2010, 14:18 GMT

    Try harder.... you might start being funny!

  • Rocky Bahadur on October 8, 2010, 14:08 GMT

    Sometimes you sir... talk and talk tilll you just have nothing more to say... Sometimes i wonder why they let you even talk about stuff pertaining to cricket... You should be comedian not a write... My view is you really are bias and one sided... Have you ever even played cricket in your life???

  • Arun on October 8, 2010, 14:07 GMT

    Guys lay off Sir Andy. This blog is meant to be a satire. Please take your self righteous indignation to other articles. We won a great match and can be sporting enough to take a joke specially since its mostly on England and Australia

  • Atticus Finch on October 8, 2010, 13:57 GMT

    Was it Conrad Hunte or Joe Solomon who hit the stumps in that dramatic tie?

  • Prashant on October 8, 2010, 13:54 GMT

    On behalf of the Aussies, I would like to offer the following excuses. Although it had been decided on Mount Olympus that India would win the match, the Gods themselves were divided. The Goddesses Hera and Athena supported the home team, while Aphrodite and Apollo supported the visitors. This, of course, was an about-turn from the Trojan War. Anyway, as Ishant strode in to bat, Hera instructed Athena to cast a veil over the minds of the Aussies. 81 runs later, Aphrodite cast a similar veil over umpire Bowden's eyes which led to him being distracted by a female member of the audience or a stray dog that was sleeping close to the boundary area--no one knows which. As a result, the umpire gave one of the worst LBW decisions in the history of the game. Infuriated, Athena cast a counter-veil over the eyes of the umpires, and the Aussies which led to another bad decision, and Smith's overthrows. The rest, as we all know, is a legendary win for India.

  • Dont fool yourselves on October 8, 2010, 13:53 GMT

    how convenient to forget the 5-0 loss suffered the last time you were there, after winning it at home. i'm not an English nor Aussie Fan, but I would pick Aussies to beat the English on any day. Its called psychological advantage

  • Abhi on October 8, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    U cn say anythin , bt d biter truth is only one team can beat australia consistently :answr lies in eden garden's test ,perth test n nw u cn watch mohali test., So mate mk urself mently strng-eng. Wil surely loose

  • Singhe on October 8, 2010, 13:52 GMT

    I am not too fond of you Zaltman....but it is good to see you show some respect for Laxman. Regardless, it was Soloman, and not Hunte, that ran-out the last batsman in the first tied-test. Soloman was probably the most underated all-rounder to play for WI.

  • Jim on October 8, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Australians are clueless on how to get the wicket of VVS Laxman. It's simple, they just need to play mediocre cricket like English and VVS would gift his wicket. Only as they play aggressively, VVS plays at his best and make Aussies look like English. It's upto the Baggy greens to decide if they are going to play like English against VVS and come out looking like Australians or they are going to play like Aussies and get defeated like English!

  • Rupayan on October 8, 2010, 13:51 GMT

    Laxmans sporadic success??? Get your stats organised Andy....Laxman has won and saved more tests than Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly and the entire English team combined. As regards his poor average against England, he saves his best for Australia. Ishant, Zaheer and a few more bowlers of average batting repute is enough for the English team. Am sure you would concur.

  • Mark Pattenden on October 8, 2010, 13:47 GMT

    You forgot to mention the typical English batting collapse :-)

  • arnav on October 8, 2010, 13:45 GMT

    VVS Laxman is simply a magnificient player.If he dont have better performance against England doesn't mean that england play are better cricket than aussies.Even ponting dont have better average in india compared with his own record.but it dont mean that ponting is not a good player.Anyways Good luck Eng and Australia in Ashes test series.

  • Harry on October 8, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    OMG!! Apologising for "Anglo-centric view of the Mohali Test" - Please dont, the Anglo team or the English team has to rely on RSA and Irish players to win matches.... England might win against the deprived Aussie team - but they never thought of winning against a team which had McGrath, Shane Warne, Gillespie, Hayden and Gilly. Aussie team is under the process of rebuilding their team. Varying combinations, fixing top order and lower middle order problems. And, England will win a match against them and say we have beaten the mighty aussies?? With no-offence to the English Cricket team, can media assess what they say before they can say something ridiculous....

  • Revi on October 8, 2010, 13:09 GMT

    this is noting more than Aussie bashing, the india won by a small margin but it is only a game that could have gone either way, but I do believe that Pointing has lost the toughness of other aussie captains revi

  • Vladimir Lem on October 8, 2010, 13:03 GMT

    "Australia struggle against Laxman. Laxman struggles against England. Therefore, Australia will struggle against England"

    Lollz but still the Poms are gonna lose the ashes

  • Ninad on October 8, 2010, 12:54 GMT

    Andy, yet another made-my-day posting from you. Critical yet hilarious, analytical yet entertaining. You have, once again, managed to mix the sweet with the meat in a tasty way.

    Laxman is an artist like no other I have seen in my life as a viewer, but very sporadic as you rightly say. Yet, his randomness is the attractive part about him. In between the truckloads of rigorous accumulation from the Tendulkars and Pontings and Kallis' and Dravids of the world, Laxman's magic show, although occasional, stands out. A bat can be a club, or a wand depending on who is at the crease. Laxman is one of the few who haven't made the art of batting an industry.

  • Chris Sobolowski on October 8, 2010, 12:49 GMT

    Alas, Andy, it seems that the Leg Stump of Satire has gone whizzing past the Tailenders of Comment once again. When will your subcontinental readers, as learned about he game as they are, stop grassing your humorous snicks and missing your rib-tickling stumps?

    Well bowled, Mister Funny Bowler. Well bowled.

  • MAHENDRA.K on October 8, 2010, 12:30 GMT

    Laxman is vrry good Batsman.

  • LALIT on October 8, 2010, 12:28 GMT

    INCREDIBLY HILARIOUS, WHERE DO YOU GET ALL THESE IDEAS FROM MATE..???

  • kPollard on October 8, 2010, 12:28 GMT

    @ ravi, Please check the man who is writing this post this is Andy Zaltzman Man!!!!.Always Hilariuos,amusing, comical, convivial, entertaining, exhilarated, frolicsome, gay, gleeful, gut-busting, happy, humorous, jocular, jolly, jovial, joyful, joyous, laughable, lively, merry, mirthful, noisy, priceless, rioty, rollicking, scream, side-splitting, uproarious, and witty.I found only these in my Thesaurus though!!!!!!

  • Suresh on October 8, 2010, 12:24 GMT

    Amazing, Andy. A pleasure to read - as always. Indiland, Englian, Mahendrew Strauss - how do you come up with these?!

    Your 7th paragraph in this write-up (all 7.3 lines of it) is a single sentence - awesome. You don't like full stops that much, I assume.

    Also, feels good for some odd reason to know that you are a Jack Bauer fan - aren't you? Finally, don't expect Christmas cards from Russel Arnold, Boeta Dippenaar and Paul Reiffel.

    Can Cricinfo hire you full time so that you can write a daily column?

  • bhagyanath menon on October 8, 2010, 12:16 GMT

    a good equation - let us now recalculate the test rankings on this basis. probably we can even crown England champs for a change!!!!!!

  • Saravanakumar on October 8, 2010, 12:15 GMT

    These are words of a man who had been let down and frustrated by the poor cricket played by England all these years. Comparing the Aussie cricket with England's, if it were England at Mohali instead of Australia, India would have won that match atleast by 8 wickets. Remember who won the last series between India and England.

  • rk on October 8, 2010, 12:14 GMT

    Let there be a match between India and England. This Indian team would definitely bash English cricketers to pulp. Then my dear Andy you can write whatever you want.

  • Neutral factfinder on October 8, 2010, 12:11 GMT

    The Indians won a hard fought battle and both Gamhir and Ishant got poor umpiring decisions as well. Your view completely tries to bring down the magnitude of this win and further instead of appreciating Laxman's skill and fighting spirit you have made a mockery with ill-homoured comments on his game. He is one of rare species and a traditional styled batsman with touch of genius who plays test matches as they should be played. If he does not play well against England then why should England employ him for Country cricket. It is because he is highly successful in English conditions and English bowlers. Thats the truth. I see this the other way... that is English bowlers fighting spirit is not as good as Australians and Laxman is disinterested in playing a fighting innings against them. Maybe thats one of the factor why Laxman's average is less against them. Andy, I expect a sportingly humoured essay from you next time. Better luck next time.

  • Sahil on October 8, 2010, 12:09 GMT

    Haha you guys are hilarious. This post is NOT really England-obsessed. I think it's as much of a swipe at them, as it is an acknowledgment of an awesome Test match. Seriously, give him some credit!

  • docshy on October 8, 2010, 12:06 GMT

    Mr Zaltzman,

    Good article, almost Wodehousian in character, the old master himself would have been proud to see some of your descriptions in his village cricket stories. I could not stop laughing. I guess your humour eluded some of the posters in the comments section. Not your fault and not their fault,either, for that is what is known as 'concrete thinking' in the parlance of psychiatrists.

  • ramanujam sridhar on October 8, 2010, 11:59 GMT

    Is this even remotely funny? Andy at one point of time , I remember you being funny. I am sure you have not watched Lakshman bat , sitting as you must have been in some pub in London where some fourth division league football match was being played. If England wins 5-0 then they should knight not only the entire team but also you for your unerrring prophesies. I dont mind your English bias, after all that sad team too needs a few supporters, but you need to work on your humour and pick on a lesser mortal than VVS. Why not pick on Kevin Pietersen who is already claiming that his team are the underdogs? I wonder if a South African will be worthy of your sarcasm, given the fact that he is trying to get back into the English team. sridhar

  • Lol on October 8, 2010, 11:53 GMT

    Some of the Indians here just do not get it. It's comedy! it's not meant to be the truth! this is PAGE 2.

  • CB on October 8, 2010, 11:06 GMT

    Sublime effort at disparaging the efforts of the Indians. :)

  • suresh shukla on October 8, 2010, 11:03 GMT

    @ Anand Ramchandran, Mate, can't you differentiate between humour and serious article.

    "Australia struggle against Laxman. Laxman struggles against England. Therefore, Australia will struggle against England" . This statement is hilarious and its meant to be hilarious. If you cant understand it and if you are unable to lough after reading it then you need to develop some sense of humour.......and till then keep away from page 2

  • CricketPissek on October 8, 2010, 11:01 GMT

    @Vijay Ramachandran - Humour is something that other people have, as far as you're concerned.....right?

  • Graeme on October 8, 2010, 10:58 GMT

    The comments made are as funny as the article. Do you guys not get that these articles are meant to be funny with outlandish statements and distorted and very one eyed perspective of things. He is a comedian, learn to laugh and enjoy the jokes.

  • agm on October 8, 2010, 10:43 GMT

    Nice, but the "there actually being an adequately sized crowd at a Test match in India" was a little harsh. Some cities - Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata - love test cricket; most don't. BCCI needs to abandon its stupid rotation policy and restrict test matches to select venues.

  • Babbu Dobhal on October 8, 2010, 10:29 GMT

    Got it ! The writer wishes Laxman was in the England team. However, we are not sending him to England because his average might go down.

    Was very puzzling to read at the start, but thereafter, it is a wonderfully written article.

    Aussies are scared of a few good performers from India - Laxman, Dravid (after Adelaide in 2003), Tendulkar, Harbhajan, Ishant (2008 - remember who was his bunny in 2008..thereafter forgotten ..2010 back to winning ways with Mohali)

    Humour is very good - Peter Siddle's googly, leg-side fielders, similarly distracted by the heart-befuddling tension of the moment, admiringly watch his hurl scoot to the boundary for four decisive overhurls.

    Regards, Babbu

  • Strautometer on October 8, 2010, 10:28 GMT

    Andy, thanks for giving the English fans and the cricketrs some confidence. I hope the English does NOT lose 5-0 even to a side that is ranked no. 4 in the world. England have lost to Australia with ease on every single tour in the last two decades, and have just about managed to win a couple of close series on their home soil. It's ridiculous to see how every time the English come to Australia for a series, the English fans and cricket commentators such as Tom, Dick, Harry and Andy Zaltzman start hallucinating about a possible English victory. And why not? Sometimes, reality is too damn stressful!

  • coops on October 8, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    Message to Cricket Australia: If you want to win the Ashes, just play every Test in Brisbane. It wont matter who England or Indialand select, the mighty Australians simply don't lose in Brisbane.

  • Anonymous on October 8, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    forget the jabs at laxman :-) and his poor record verus england one serious question though was it joke that you forgot the 2006-07 ashes i.e 5-0 when you meant england winning third ashes in a row ?? :-)

  • saurabh somani on October 8, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    I guess this article officially proves that satire works only 50% of the time on the internet! As always, laugh-out-loud, rolling-on-the-floor funny article by Andy Zaltzmann. I've yet to see a single article by Andy that didn't have my sides splitting! Super stuff!

  • Nick on October 8, 2010, 10:15 GMT

    Dammit Zaltzman, you are so damn brilliant. If you are not commentating next to Benaud this summer for the ashes, i will immigrate to England. Pack your bugle and head south!

  • Srikanth on October 8, 2010, 10:01 GMT

    I dont know what COOKINg at Cook's or ringing at the BELL's or trotting at the TROTT's. But I think that the Australian S(i)addle is ready and is rearing to run amok. The Pup will bark against the spinners and the swann will suspend flying operations. The spittoon will be full this time in a tense series - but I expect Spitty Ponting to win the Ashes

  • Gsidhug on October 8, 2010, 9:58 GMT

    If it wasn't for the first wicket of Gambhir in India's Second inning, we wouldn't have seen such an exciting Test Match, an LBW given despite big inside edge. If the first wicket hadn''t fallen, the next wouldn't have fallen and so the rest. And India might have won by 10 wickets rather than 1 wicket. and Eglish fans would have gathered more confidence from it.

  • cricfan on October 8, 2010, 9:52 GMT

    This is a 2 test series and not a 7 one day series. Hence, India are 1 up and if they will it will be 2 - 0 instead of 7 - 0 as per your article. Please do your homework before you post an article

  • Alex on October 8, 2010, 9:49 GMT

    somewhere I read ponting said that, it review system was there then they must have some benefits. But I saw that Gautam Gambhir was given out poorly, it was on the bat first & then Isanth, the ball is going down the leg side. He didn't talk about these only the Ojha's lbw is looking odd to many people.

  • Russel on October 8, 2010, 9:48 GMT

    Superb as always! And love the way you continue to ignore the 2006-07 Ashes as though it never happened! "England retaining the Ashes for the third series in a row after their triumphs in 2005 and 2009..."

  • Oliver on October 8, 2010, 9:45 GMT

    Er, Ravi, Mahesh, Vijay - it's *meant* to be a joke! And very funny, too, thanks, Andy. PS totally awesome Test match. Congrats to both teams for giving us such a fantastic game, and of course especially to India for pulling off such a thrilling win.

  • Pankaj on October 8, 2010, 9:35 GMT

    @Aditya

    have you seen wickets of Gautam and Ishant?

    For Gautam, it was thick inside edge and for Ishant ball did not pitched in line and was going to off to leg side.

    when India wins in India people have always some points against India.

    last time a few people said, Indian pitches (wickets) are good for spinners so India won. but forget that other countries r having better pacers and having pitches good for them.

    Anyway, bunch of nuts keep pointing at wrong decision, India is Nr. 1 and deserve to be there.

  • RB on October 8, 2010, 9:24 GMT

    Umpires will stop making mistakes the same day Andy Zaltzman writes something ill-judged and facile.

    Sir, you are a genius.

  • slax on October 8, 2010, 9:22 GMT

    Riot!

  • munkeymomo on October 8, 2010, 9:19 GMT

    very good article andy, even if the humour is lost on some readers ^^ . Though I have to say personally I would welcome Jack Bauers new season of 9, sounds more like a british show, shorter and cheaper.

  • dhoomketu on October 8, 2010, 9:17 GMT

    Since when has everyone lost their sense of irony. Oh, since the British left, I think.

  • prasan on October 8, 2010, 9:15 GMT

    Sunil Gavaskar had the best average against WestIndies during their dominance. His average was much better than that against England. That would mean that England had a better team than the West Indies in the 70s and 80s. Not a bad inference. The article is not even comic.... its illogical. Better luck next time.

  • David on October 8, 2010, 9:05 GMT

    I hope Australia thrash England 5-0!!! This is the problem with english supporters! they always think that they are the best at every sport! cricket,football (golden generation) rugby, tennis (Murray) etc etc... THE TRUTH IS YOUR NOT! same thing happened after the 2005 ashes! every1 said that they would thrash the aussies and we all know what happened! They played and beat Bangladesh (home & away) and Pakistan!with all the respect to both nations at the present time they are the2 worst cricket teams around! England cricket team still hasnt proved anything against the big 4 teams (India, South Afria, Srilanka, Australia). until then i think the English supporters shouldnt be overconfident and look down on Australia! At the end of the day young guns did put up a good fight against probably the best batting in the world.

  • Murli on October 8, 2010, 8:57 GMT

    While many in India are busy pondering WHERE Ram was born... The Australians are wondering WHY Laxman was born....!!!!

  • P.V.SRIRAM on October 8, 2010, 8:50 GMT

    Ojha would not have been there if ishant was not given out. VVS and ishnat would not have been there if Gambir was not given out.Anyway the article is hilarious one.

  • Ck Pr on October 8, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    Being a good writer and being an expert writer are two different things Mr. Andy. Get to know the great sport first. Your blind support for England and trying to ridicule their opponents kills the contest two teams put in.

  • krrish on October 8, 2010, 8:47 GMT

    he dropped the same batsman three times in fifteen minutes, and has not been selected by England before or since - lol

  • Paul on October 8, 2010, 8:41 GMT

    It's always the same Andy - you'll always get people lining up to bag you when you don't precede any mention of the Indian cricket team with the written equivalent of a carpet of flower petals and foot massages.

    Never mind. And I maintain Indian fans have no right to complain about umpiring decisions when their own players and board will not accept UDRS.

  • Wes on October 8, 2010, 8:33 GMT

    I loved this post, but mentioning only Ojha's LbW call as the defining moment in the game doesnt make much sense, as there were plenty of incorrect calls made by the umpires to scupper both sides' chances of winning the test.

  • kundan on October 8, 2010, 8:29 GMT

    guys!!! this is a "only pun intended" kinda article...dont go judging the remarks...also Andy has written it from English fan's perspective...hence the English twist...plz do try to undrstand a joke.... nice one Andy!!!

  • Jose Thomas on October 8, 2010, 8:28 GMT

    I really do not understand the obsession with Bowden's decision regarding Ojha and the total loss of memory of these writers regarding decisions against Gambhir and Sharma.Hat's off to Ponting and his men for not whining and being gentlemanly in defeat.We are fed up with this sort of patronizing attitude.I think Zaltzman should stick to humour without squeezing in left handed handshakes paraded as truths.

  • Ram on October 8, 2010, 8:25 GMT

    Wow..Cannot believe that people are totally missing the humor here.. The point(humor) here was the exaggerated praise of the England cricket team while demeaning the Australian team before the Ashes series (joys of life).

    And why am i explaining all this?

  • donovan stiata on October 8, 2010, 8:21 GMT

    Kiefer Sutherland starring as Jack Bauer in a new series of 9. Aweosme...

    as for the people who have comented on the article on umpiring decisions etc show a clear lack of humor. wake up guys this is not a match report. its humor.

  • Sudhindra GS on October 8, 2010, 8:18 GMT

    Not having UDRS did not make any difference in the first test.

    1. Hussy was given out wrongly. <=> Gambhir also was given out wrongly

    2. Ishant was given LBW wrongly <=> Ojha was not given out, when he was plumb

    Only thing that made difference is, Dhoni's out in first innings => Even the third umpire made the wrong decision. From the reply, it was clearly visible that ball bounced before going to Watson's hand!!! What anyone can say for this? Even UDRS wouldn't have helped!!

  • ajith on October 8, 2010, 8:15 GMT

    hahaha

  • Zozo on October 8, 2010, 8:08 GMT

    Andy, while I was reading this article I was preparing myself for the inane comments that would surely follow. Comments that would surely include (but not be limited to):

    A) India getting the wrong end of the stick with the umpires. B) How great Laxman is C) Lynching you for saying that Laxman averages more against Aus than Tendulkar (despite it being a fact)

    The last point is yet to happen but the article is still young.

    Maybe some of the Indian followers should look up satire....or at least become a little more thick-skinned

  • Dev on October 8, 2010, 8:04 GMT

    Well said ravi, England players can only dream, I am also pretty sure Australians will learn a good lesson from this series, by playing against the top side in the world, so they can adapt and predict what kind of the line up they can have for the ashes tour, but this England team is a dreamer who will sit and dream and when comes to execution nothing will work for them. Now I could remember of great proverb " EMPTY VESSELS MAKE MORE NOISE".

  • Siva on October 8, 2010, 7:59 GMT

    I would like to apologise for the comments of my fellow Indians who seem to never understand that your articles are about looking at the funny side of things and also how statistics can prove anything :-)

    grow up guys..plz

  • tj on October 8, 2010, 7:48 GMT

    adiyta funny that what about mike hussey given out lbw and clearly it wasn't aus would on went on to win that if not for umpire gould and that clear lbw of ohja?

  • elegantstroke on October 8, 2010, 7:44 GMT

    Your logic is solid Andy. My prediction for this Ashes series down under is 3-1 England best case, 2-1 England if Australia fix their brittle middle order.

  • sanu on October 8, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    Is it just me or what..? i didnt find any humor here...also as writer forgot to mention or overlook that england is probably worst test side..they can't play murali..kumble in india crumbled them..last time they went to australia they were washed 5-0....england who..??

  • Pavan on October 8, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    Very poor. For such a funny test match, you should have had a funnier article. You guys just forgot how India (stunningly) collapsed in the first innings. And Dhoni running himself out.. with Raina feeling" Here goes my chance to play in the second test"!!. Come on Andy.. Buck up.

  • sudhir on October 8, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    I think you are supersticious to say aus bowling is weak remember those are indian pitches.lets see how england pitches help visitors.and by the way laxman comes at no.6 so don't go for records?

  • ravi on October 8, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    I think you are more engrossed in praising England than congratulating the herculean efforts of VVS And Ishant .I guess the Aussie team also did well after a meagre 228 for 5 on the first day and went on to score 400+.I guess never count down any opposition and I still believe that England still are not better than Australia if they do not recall Kevin Pietersen bcoz he has the charisma to overhaul the Aussie pace attack better than strauss or cook or even trott.It will be interesting to see the outcome of the ashes and it would be no surprise if England lose due to overconfidence or arrogance by keeping out Pietersen....

  • Mahesh on October 8, 2010, 7:33 GMT

    Rightly said Adithya, people are convincingly forgetting the numerous decisions which went against Indians that Innings(Gambhir and Ishant ) That too 1 down in first over the 4th Innings was a big pressure for the remaining players.. Lets hope either India finally accepts the UDRS or more technology comes in place to convince them.. Andy , well this is not your best article though... Better luck next time Andy Laxman Zaltman

  • Vijay Ramachandran on October 8, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    Hilarious indeed. :D

  • Ozmond on October 8, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    Your first few paragraphs are an astonishingly accurate synthesis of the comments typically appended to any Cricinfo report of any story involving India and Australia.

  • Vijay Ramachandran on October 8, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    Ha ha. The above thing expressing ridicule for me. Mr.Andy Zaltzman is a stand up comedian earlier in his carrier now he's planning to get back to that profession it seems. He's making good jokes. "Australia struggle against Laxman. Laxman struggles against England. Therefore, Australia will struggle against England" this ridicule statement is unbelievable if Laxman does well with only Aus then why he played with England. If indian captain knows about his poor form against England he wouldn't had got chance to play. Your post is simply absurd.

  • chetan, 4m Lancashire :) on October 8, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    as always hilarious !!

  • Aditya on October 8, 2010, 7:07 GMT

    Hilarious! But you forgot to mention the poor umpiring decision that brought Ojha to the crease in the first place. As an Indian fan, I want India to win the next game, but I think it'll probably be a draw.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Aditya on October 8, 2010, 7:07 GMT

    Hilarious! But you forgot to mention the poor umpiring decision that brought Ojha to the crease in the first place. As an Indian fan, I want India to win the next game, but I think it'll probably be a draw.

  • chetan, 4m Lancashire :) on October 8, 2010, 7:23 GMT

    as always hilarious !!

  • Vijay Ramachandran on October 8, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    Ha ha. The above thing expressing ridicule for me. Mr.Andy Zaltzman is a stand up comedian earlier in his carrier now he's planning to get back to that profession it seems. He's making good jokes. "Australia struggle against Laxman. Laxman struggles against England. Therefore, Australia will struggle against England" this ridicule statement is unbelievable if Laxman does well with only Aus then why he played with England. If indian captain knows about his poor form against England he wouldn't had got chance to play. Your post is simply absurd.

  • Ozmond on October 8, 2010, 7:31 GMT

    Your first few paragraphs are an astonishingly accurate synthesis of the comments typically appended to any Cricinfo report of any story involving India and Australia.

  • Vijay Ramachandran on October 8, 2010, 7:32 GMT

    Hilarious indeed. :D

  • Mahesh on October 8, 2010, 7:33 GMT

    Rightly said Adithya, people are convincingly forgetting the numerous decisions which went against Indians that Innings(Gambhir and Ishant ) That too 1 down in first over the 4th Innings was a big pressure for the remaining players.. Lets hope either India finally accepts the UDRS or more technology comes in place to convince them.. Andy , well this is not your best article though... Better luck next time Andy Laxman Zaltman

  • ravi on October 8, 2010, 7:34 GMT

    I think you are more engrossed in praising England than congratulating the herculean efforts of VVS And Ishant .I guess the Aussie team also did well after a meagre 228 for 5 on the first day and went on to score 400+.I guess never count down any opposition and I still believe that England still are not better than Australia if they do not recall Kevin Pietersen bcoz he has the charisma to overhaul the Aussie pace attack better than strauss or cook or even trott.It will be interesting to see the outcome of the ashes and it would be no surprise if England lose due to overconfidence or arrogance by keeping out Pietersen....

  • sudhir on October 8, 2010, 7:41 GMT

    I think you are supersticious to say aus bowling is weak remember those are indian pitches.lets see how england pitches help visitors.and by the way laxman comes at no.6 so don't go for records?

  • Pavan on October 8, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    Very poor. For such a funny test match, you should have had a funnier article. You guys just forgot how India (stunningly) collapsed in the first innings. And Dhoni running himself out.. with Raina feeling" Here goes my chance to play in the second test"!!. Come on Andy.. Buck up.

  • sanu on October 8, 2010, 7:42 GMT

    Is it just me or what..? i didnt find any humor here...also as writer forgot to mention or overlook that england is probably worst test side..they can't play murali..kumble in india crumbled them..last time they went to australia they were washed 5-0....england who..??