October 18, 2013

Let's tonk for all our worth

Why pick bowlers, why have fielders, why grow grass on wickets? Let's give people what they want - a welter of runs
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Video games can't match the action we saw in Jaipur © BCCI

And so to the slaughter at Sawai Mansingh Stadium the other night, in which both sets of batsmen flogged the bowlers as if they were unrepentant 18th-century horse thieves. In 93.3 overs of crazy-mad bludgeon, Australia scored 359 and India chased it down for the loss of one wicket. Entertaining? No doubt. A contest? It was not.

For while all this heavy-batted bashing was sort of interesting, and you can admire the timing and skill required to achieve such high-octane hammer, the game itself was not a contest in terms of bat against ball. It was an arms race in which batsmen bullied bowlers and bowlers were powerless to fight back. And one team of bullies were just better bullies than the other. It was a lot of things. But cricket it was not.

Not cricket?

Not cricket. Cricket is meant to be a contest. A contest has two parts. In cricket's case it's a battle between batsman and bowler. And the other night all the various weapons and devices available to bowlers - line, length, seam, swing, pace, spin, bounce, sweat, spit, minty sweets - were rendered redundant because of a pitch friendlier to batsmen than girls were friendly to Elvis.

What could bowlers achieve on that deck? What could they do? Everything from toe-crushing heat to half-tracking "spin" was dispatched by batsmen confident the pill would do nothing untoward. Like, at all. There was nothing doing. The cricket ball was nude. It was an ex-parrot. You'd have more chance against Viv Richards with a tennis ball on a beach.

I mean, had India been allowed to keep batting and had scored at a not-implausible 20 runs per over, they would have got close to 500. That's all well and good. People could have gone home and said, "I was there the night India scored close to 500." That's great. But it's not cricket. And it worries me how little people care that it's not.

Look at the rapture in the stands in Jaipur. Look at the worldwide love of T20. People love big hitting over everything else. Tonking trumps fast bowling, spin bowling, acrobatic fielding, a run-out, a stumping, a tail digging in to save a match. Everything is second to bat smashing ball. People enjoy it more than even winning. They would rather see their team smash 400 and lose than win chasing down 230 on a green top.

So let's not fight it. If the People's lust for the tonk is so prevalent, let's flat out change the rules of cricket. For instance, why not have let India keep going the other night after they had passed Australia's total? Give the people Full Value. Instead of ending the innings once a team has "won", continue as an exhibition of tonking, and so excite the people.

If the Jaipur pitch is the new paradigm, why grow grass on cricket wickets at all? Why call them "turf" wickets? Get the boffins to create a scientific blend of synthetic space-mat to give a perfectly uniform bounce every time, allowing batsmen to confidently tee off unfettered by doubt the ball will do anything "bad".

Why should teams be able to select bowlers who are any good? They may as well save their best bowlers for Test cricket anyway, and throw out any combination of grade hacks and kids and backpacking Fanatics. If Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Shane Watson and James Faulkner can be flogged for 239 runs in 28 overs, it doesn't matter who you throw at them. You may as well pick a pace pack of piss-pots from the press gallery.

Does cricket need bowlers at all? Why not have a bowling machine at each end that shoots out a mixture of slow-medium full tosses, half-volleys and long hops, all relayed to the batsman before the ball is fed in. Or have the type of delivery required designated by the batsman. Instead of Aaron Finch asking for guard from the umpire, he could instruct the ball-feeder guy, "Half-tracker outside leg stump please", and so blaze away.

Why have fielders? Such is the public's ravenous appetite for boundaries, aren't these speed bumps just getting in the way of the fun? And on these wickets are they not largely superfluous anyway? They are there to chase balls thudding into the boundary and going over their heads. People in the crowd have more chance of catching Virat Kohli when he's batting on 192.

Maybe we make cricket like those home-run exhibition things they have in baseball. And have guys like Dave Warner and Chrissy Gayle - who under the new rules of cricket can play for whichever country/franchise they wish - toss balls in the air and flog them high into the crowd for people to catch and then wave like crazy people on big screen.

No bowlers, no fielders, no winners, no losers. Just big tonks soaring over the fence and into the crowd.

Sure, it won't be cricket. But it's not now either.

Matt Cleary writes for several Australian sports and travel magazines. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on October 22, 2013, 18:41 GMT

    @ Matt - So what I understand is that you are saying the Aussie bowling attack is great, but due to the pitch they lost. What about the 3rd ODI? Did Aussie win because of the pitch or bad bowling from Ishant? As others have pointed, what about the 2006 Aussie-SAF match, or 2012 India-Sri Lanka Hobart match??Were they played in the subcontinent? NO. So Australia is preparing bad pitches as well? Would you accept that? I don't think so.The main issue is ICC is making things too easy for the batsmen. If you need to blame, blame the lawmakers. e.g.If they allow more fielders outside the circle. Things would be better.

  • Insult_2_Injury on October 22, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    "Int.Curator" don't let the current series in India affect your view, it's not just happening in India. Some of the highest scoring ODI's have been played in other parts of the world like Sth Africa. It's not about producing wickets for team deficiency or strengths, either. It's hard to believe that an Indian ground could produce a lively wicket with the overuse they get. The benign wickets are being produced world wide in conjunction with rules to ensure six hitting exhibitions. Have a look at the bigger grounds in the world and see how much grass is behind the rope. The unique characteristics of grounds are being shaved away to ensure batsmen can confidently believe they can hit a bouncer or yorker for six at any ground of any size in the world. It's happening because rule makers believe smashing sixes fills the extra seats with spectators, not cricket fans. It'll kill the ODI quicker than a boring middle 20 overs, because the cricket fan wants to come back; the spectator bores easy.

  • Thegimp on October 22, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    jb633.......there have always been flat pitches but good bowlers have always got something out of them. Even if they aren't able to get movement off the pitch it was through the air or they just varied length and pace to make it harder to hit. Maybe there is a revolution happening at the moment. T20 has increased scoring rates, but in the end the bowlers will need to adapt. Apart from Anderson and Stein there are no other consistant performers out there and that is kind of weird. Even Australia can throw a rug over 6 slightly above average pace bowlers.

  • on October 21, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    Matt, another couple of suggestions - PowerPlay overs should be overs where the batsmen decide the field placing & get to choose the bowler. ...And, have it for 50 overs. I will go with 3 Longon's, 2 Long-off's, 2 Fine third men & 2 FineLegs. effectively, 5 fielders behind the bowler in a straight line & 4 behind the wicket keeper, again in a straight line. If the batsman touches the ball, in most cases he will get at least 2, if not 4. Maybe one more version of Power-play, where batsmen put a stamp on the pitch, any ball not landing on the stamp is a front-foot noball, wicket not allowed + a free hit next ball.

  • jb633 on October 21, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    @Thegimp, maybe so but I am not too sure. I agree bowlers need to develop the ability to get the yorker in more than they are doing now but those guys I have mentioned also got something out of the pitches. At the end of the day if the pitches are doing nothing and the only ball that won't go for 4 or 6 is the yorker then they will always struggle.

  • Thegimp on October 21, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    @jb633........Any of those bowlers you just mentioned would still do well on these pitches. Donald, Warne, Stein, Murili, Flintoff, McGrath, Wasim, Dev, Lillee, Hadlee, Marshall, Ambrose would still stack up and bowl smart enough to limit batsmen and take wickets. I don't think the pitches, bats and grounds have as much influence as some might think. What happenned to the Steve Waugh slower ball? What happenned to the Malcolm Marshall sandshoe crusher? I am finding it very tough to believe a bowler can get to International standard without the ability to bowl a yorker. How can an International quick bowler turn a yorker into a waist high full toss? I don't think the administrators, bats, grounds, pitches are at fault. We have a distinct lack of real tallent in the international bowling department at the moment.

  • Thegimp on October 21, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Ummmmm isn't this why One Day Cricket was invented? Didn't the aborration that is now 20/20 come from 50 over cricket becoming predictable and slow? Isn't this what we wanted? Didn't we love watching Gilchrist and Sehwag tee off in the first ten, didn't we get off on Sir Viv and Dujon, O'Donnell and Bevan fleying attackes in the last ten overs? 50 over cricket can't win. If it's a slow grinding run chase everybody starts calling it obsolete and boring. If it's a high scoring runfest everyone laments the loss of competition between bat and ball. Yes the bats are bigger and the grounds smaller but the game is evolving. Just like in Test cricket where 350 a day is the norm whereas thirty years ago it was 250. T20 has marked its influence on 50/50 proving 10 runs an over is achievable in the last ten overs. 20 years ago that wasn't the case, as soon as the run rate crept above 6 or 7 per over the game was done and dusted. These days it's never safe to turn off the TV. I love it!!!!!!!!!

  • jb633 on October 20, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    Excellent article and I think your point has been proven once again by the fact Aus chased a 300 score with an average line up. India will never produce a good bowling attack with these wickets as they offer nothing for the seamers. This article is not written out of bitterness but thoughtfulness. I agree @Roshan, that watching a guy make a hundred when times are really tough is how you separate these players from the rest. This is why I respect Sachin and Dravid so much more than people like Dhoni or Yuvraj, they have made runs on green tops against good bowling. There is nothing better than watching a bowler moving the ball around or spinning it both ways and the batsmen trying to find ways to counter. All three of these pitches have been roads IMO. There is no incentive to be a bowler on these decks. Watching things like Donald v Athetron, Warne v Lara, Steyn v Sachin, Murali v Thorpe, Ponting v Flintoff, is what cricket is all about. Watching this stuff is mindless garbage.

  • on October 20, 2013, 16:19 GMT

    Exactly. What is the point of any of the other aspects of cricket if the public just want hitting? It is not cricket, absolutely not. I cannot tell you how much joy I get out of watching Jimmy Anderson steaming in, bowling on a length and nipping the ball away. Seeing the batsman flounder and be totally flabbergasted against quality bowling is much more exciting. And if batsmen play well in this situation, this is equally thrilling.

  • Insult_2_Injury on October 20, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Any of my batsmen mates reading this, will undoubtedly say, for gods sake Matt don't encourage him. My opinion hasn't changed from that ludicrous 1 Dayer where Aus & SA scored a million between them. One among many of the laughable 'conditions' the rule makers have contrived is the rope 10m in on a postage stamp. When you see a one handed swipe from a part time batsman go 30 rows back at Edens or the G, the rope becomes an irrelevance. Don't tell me it's a safety thing, todays pros can slide and glide to save a single, then they can before a fence. It was done to produce more boundaries because the ADHD administrator looked at a sheet and said more balls in the crowd, means more crowd. Add the rope to bowlers having to bowl every ball within 15cm of the stumps and as Matt says, it's an exhibition not a contest. Interestingly when pro baseball games became home runfests grounds were made larger, so the homer became an event again, not a given. Crowds love it. Is cricket that smart?

  • on October 22, 2013, 18:41 GMT

    @ Matt - So what I understand is that you are saying the Aussie bowling attack is great, but due to the pitch they lost. What about the 3rd ODI? Did Aussie win because of the pitch or bad bowling from Ishant? As others have pointed, what about the 2006 Aussie-SAF match, or 2012 India-Sri Lanka Hobart match??Were they played in the subcontinent? NO. So Australia is preparing bad pitches as well? Would you accept that? I don't think so.The main issue is ICC is making things too easy for the batsmen. If you need to blame, blame the lawmakers. e.g.If they allow more fielders outside the circle. Things would be better.

  • Insult_2_Injury on October 22, 2013, 2:34 GMT

    "Int.Curator" don't let the current series in India affect your view, it's not just happening in India. Some of the highest scoring ODI's have been played in other parts of the world like Sth Africa. It's not about producing wickets for team deficiency or strengths, either. It's hard to believe that an Indian ground could produce a lively wicket with the overuse they get. The benign wickets are being produced world wide in conjunction with rules to ensure six hitting exhibitions. Have a look at the bigger grounds in the world and see how much grass is behind the rope. The unique characteristics of grounds are being shaved away to ensure batsmen can confidently believe they can hit a bouncer or yorker for six at any ground of any size in the world. It's happening because rule makers believe smashing sixes fills the extra seats with spectators, not cricket fans. It'll kill the ODI quicker than a boring middle 20 overs, because the cricket fan wants to come back; the spectator bores easy.

  • Thegimp on October 22, 2013, 2:24 GMT

    jb633.......there have always been flat pitches but good bowlers have always got something out of them. Even if they aren't able to get movement off the pitch it was through the air or they just varied length and pace to make it harder to hit. Maybe there is a revolution happening at the moment. T20 has increased scoring rates, but in the end the bowlers will need to adapt. Apart from Anderson and Stein there are no other consistant performers out there and that is kind of weird. Even Australia can throw a rug over 6 slightly above average pace bowlers.

  • on October 21, 2013, 19:12 GMT

    Matt, another couple of suggestions - PowerPlay overs should be overs where the batsmen decide the field placing & get to choose the bowler. ...And, have it for 50 overs. I will go with 3 Longon's, 2 Long-off's, 2 Fine third men & 2 FineLegs. effectively, 5 fielders behind the bowler in a straight line & 4 behind the wicket keeper, again in a straight line. If the batsman touches the ball, in most cases he will get at least 2, if not 4. Maybe one more version of Power-play, where batsmen put a stamp on the pitch, any ball not landing on the stamp is a front-foot noball, wicket not allowed + a free hit next ball.

  • jb633 on October 21, 2013, 13:36 GMT

    @Thegimp, maybe so but I am not too sure. I agree bowlers need to develop the ability to get the yorker in more than they are doing now but those guys I have mentioned also got something out of the pitches. At the end of the day if the pitches are doing nothing and the only ball that won't go for 4 or 6 is the yorker then they will always struggle.

  • Thegimp on October 21, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    @jb633........Any of those bowlers you just mentioned would still do well on these pitches. Donald, Warne, Stein, Murili, Flintoff, McGrath, Wasim, Dev, Lillee, Hadlee, Marshall, Ambrose would still stack up and bowl smart enough to limit batsmen and take wickets. I don't think the pitches, bats and grounds have as much influence as some might think. What happenned to the Steve Waugh slower ball? What happenned to the Malcolm Marshall sandshoe crusher? I am finding it very tough to believe a bowler can get to International standard without the ability to bowl a yorker. How can an International quick bowler turn a yorker into a waist high full toss? I don't think the administrators, bats, grounds, pitches are at fault. We have a distinct lack of real tallent in the international bowling department at the moment.

  • Thegimp on October 21, 2013, 9:13 GMT

    Ummmmm isn't this why One Day Cricket was invented? Didn't the aborration that is now 20/20 come from 50 over cricket becoming predictable and slow? Isn't this what we wanted? Didn't we love watching Gilchrist and Sehwag tee off in the first ten, didn't we get off on Sir Viv and Dujon, O'Donnell and Bevan fleying attackes in the last ten overs? 50 over cricket can't win. If it's a slow grinding run chase everybody starts calling it obsolete and boring. If it's a high scoring runfest everyone laments the loss of competition between bat and ball. Yes the bats are bigger and the grounds smaller but the game is evolving. Just like in Test cricket where 350 a day is the norm whereas thirty years ago it was 250. T20 has marked its influence on 50/50 proving 10 runs an over is achievable in the last ten overs. 20 years ago that wasn't the case, as soon as the run rate crept above 6 or 7 per over the game was done and dusted. These days it's never safe to turn off the TV. I love it!!!!!!!!!

  • jb633 on October 20, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    Excellent article and I think your point has been proven once again by the fact Aus chased a 300 score with an average line up. India will never produce a good bowling attack with these wickets as they offer nothing for the seamers. This article is not written out of bitterness but thoughtfulness. I agree @Roshan, that watching a guy make a hundred when times are really tough is how you separate these players from the rest. This is why I respect Sachin and Dravid so much more than people like Dhoni or Yuvraj, they have made runs on green tops against good bowling. There is nothing better than watching a bowler moving the ball around or spinning it both ways and the batsmen trying to find ways to counter. All three of these pitches have been roads IMO. There is no incentive to be a bowler on these decks. Watching things like Donald v Athetron, Warne v Lara, Steyn v Sachin, Murali v Thorpe, Ponting v Flintoff, is what cricket is all about. Watching this stuff is mindless garbage.

  • on October 20, 2013, 16:19 GMT

    Exactly. What is the point of any of the other aspects of cricket if the public just want hitting? It is not cricket, absolutely not. I cannot tell you how much joy I get out of watching Jimmy Anderson steaming in, bowling on a length and nipping the ball away. Seeing the batsman flounder and be totally flabbergasted against quality bowling is much more exciting. And if batsmen play well in this situation, this is equally thrilling.

  • Insult_2_Injury on October 20, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Any of my batsmen mates reading this, will undoubtedly say, for gods sake Matt don't encourage him. My opinion hasn't changed from that ludicrous 1 Dayer where Aus & SA scored a million between them. One among many of the laughable 'conditions' the rule makers have contrived is the rope 10m in on a postage stamp. When you see a one handed swipe from a part time batsman go 30 rows back at Edens or the G, the rope becomes an irrelevance. Don't tell me it's a safety thing, todays pros can slide and glide to save a single, then they can before a fence. It was done to produce more boundaries because the ADHD administrator looked at a sheet and said more balls in the crowd, means more crowd. Add the rope to bowlers having to bowl every ball within 15cm of the stumps and as Matt says, it's an exhibition not a contest. Interestingly when pro baseball games became home runfests grounds were made larger, so the homer became an event again, not a given. Crowds love it. Is cricket that smart?

  • Int.Curator on October 20, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    Indian Cricket Architects.

    The only real skill in cricket that requires constant exceptional athleticism is +145km bowling.

    The present Indian team do not have +145km bowlers.

    Indian cricket architects realise this and designed pitches to suit their batting strength.

    The contest of bat and bat is now the new Indian cricket.

    +320 is par on these pitches.

    So when India and MS fail to get +320 it can only be the batsmen fault.

    Only in India is the game and pitches manipulated this much.

    It will be interesting to see what questionable direction Indian cricket go since this strategy is proving unreliable.

  • Bonehead_maz on October 19, 2013, 22:23 GMT

    @ Ian Jennings on (October 19, 2013, 16:44 GMT) Well said ! When George Bailey (I like the guy...... but ?) foe example, can score 2 a ball with ease, something's wrong ! Same at Hobart, anywhere...... when batting paradises are made it's a different game, whether or not that different game is beneficial/superior or not.

  • wakaPAK on October 19, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    Home advantage..... India neutralizes opposition's bowling superiority with those flat pitches so that Johnson's 150 kph has equal effect as Ishant's 130kph... Are Indians right in doing so?? I'm gonna ask you this... Are countries who prepare flat pitches for practice matches for visitors and then fast pitches for real matches right in doing so? In my view the later is worse in spite of the fact that India prepares the same pitches for neutralizing Pakistani attack (me being Pak)....

  • on October 19, 2013, 16:44 GMT

    I'm with Matt here, despite not being an Australian, and despite the fact that Oz has in fact just taken the lead in the series by dint of some stupendous hitting by an essentially mediocre player. (Full disclosure - I'm a Saffer, and I most definitely don't think the massive Wanderers run chase was "the greatest game ever.")

    My feeling is that subcontinental roads diminish the roles of bowling skill, courage, and athleticism. I'm not suggesting that this is deliberate, but I am suggesting that it makes cricket a good deal less interesting.

    And, further, I'm suggesting also that it's part of the reason why a country of one billion people can't produce a single bowler anyone outside India wants to watch. Because what kid wants to be cannon-fodder. You guys really want to keep it that way?

  • aschisch on October 19, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    dear matt, the blog probably belongs to page 2 in cricinfo. that is why my patriotic countrymen couldn't understand the sarcasm and took it for ausie whining, its better that they don't visit page 2.

  • RyanStephen on October 19, 2013, 16:08 GMT

    There shouldn't be much of a problem with flat pitches,, all it does is change the numbers, while the contest between bat and ball remains. For example, bowlers can now see it as an achievement of bowling skill to limit batsmen to under 6 runs an over in these conditions. In fact, I think bowling becomes more interesting to watch in the IPL compared to Tests, because bowlers are forced to be more creative and think out of the box. Even the traditional style strike bowlers can achieve; For example a comment here mentions : "The public have equally enjoyed Dale Steyn bowling a hostile 4 overs for 10 runs in an IPL" I actually find this more enjoyable than watching Steyn bowl on Test match green tops as in flat IPL pitches he has to use his wits to outsmart the batsmen with changes of pace/length etc. and he still can get great success in the form of economy rates when he bowls well. So the contest between bat and ball remains, only the numbers are different.

  • ramesh_sound on October 19, 2013, 14:10 GMT

    South Africa, won the 437 match, by one wicket. That is why, it was a classic. Even at Rajkot, India's 414 won by 5 runs over Srilanka. This is the first match, where 360 was crossed with 9 wickets to spare. Fantastic, by one yardstick; but I agree with Matt. Such matches kill the spirit of cricket. Like in 1997, India's 540 was met by Sri lanka's 952 for 6.

  • hhillbumper on October 19, 2013, 11:28 GMT

    It is an interesting premise.It is very difficult to be a bowler these days and I admit most shortened matches leave me bored to tears.The best Innings I have seen was at Headingly in 91 played by Gooch s the West Indies in their pomp.It was a challenge and exciting to watch. Whereas his 333 vs India was dull and flat.I have enjoyed watching batsmen go on the attack but where is the skill given some of the bats? There should be a range of wickets to test people 20 20 is okay but it is a dumbed down version to the real thing.It has as much relevance as 5 a side does or Rugby 7s.They both involve their own skills but they are not the real thing.If you like this then all good for you but it is not a true challenge and flat piches do not prepare people for challenging pitches. Place this Indian line up on a fast pitch they wilt,same for Aussies on spinners and England any time they are low and slow.

  • PSK_analyst on October 19, 2013, 9:03 GMT

    The standard of ODI cricket has really dropped over the years, more so marginally in India, its on longer a contest between bat and ball in a lot of matches. Great bowlers like great batsmen can take wickets anywhere, but if the game of cricket accommodated only the greats to perform , cricket would long have been dead. The new rule in fielding restrictions makes the already skewed balance even more so. Its injustice to the bowlers that they have been rendered near useless in a lot of games recently.

  • AjitRaje on October 19, 2013, 8:23 GMT

    The impression that public enjoys only big hits over the boundary is wrong. The public have equally enjoyed Dale Steyn bowling a hostile 4 overs for 10 runs in an IPL or a spell by Naraine where no batsman had any clue to what the ball was doing. I take the example of IPL matches because that's where the tonking is maximum. So if curators deliberately make flat pitches for the sake of the public, they need to rethink. On another level, we hear so much about improvements in bats - how about getting some improvements in balls? A ball which can do tricks when handled by a skilled operator, irrespective of the flat pitch. I for one would like Harry Potter to give a "Quidditch-type" cricket ball which has a mind of its own :)

  • on October 19, 2013, 8:00 GMT

    thats harsh. If there is so much criticism for jaipur pitch, then what happened in hobart when 320 was chased in less than 40 overs. And what about SA chasing down 434 in SA. These are once in a blue moon matches and shouldn't be criticised this harsh. India has never chased 300+ against Australia and when done indian pitches are said to be flat. Poor comments.

  • on October 19, 2013, 6:35 GMT

    To paraphrase what Wasim Akram said in an interview a few years ago - Flat decks may actually motivate bowlers to increase their speed and think of new solutions to dismiss the batsmen ( This was said when the interviewer asked him if flat decks were the reason why india cannot produce world class fast bowlers ). Mr Matt ,you have taken an extreme stand which may not be always logical. In India,mainly because of the weather, pitches are either dry(helping spin) or flat. But that does not mean the bowlers are dead as swing and seam are not the only options of getting a batsman out. With specific regard to this series ,can you answer these questions : 1. How many 4wds did Aus give in Jpr? 2. How many yorkers were bowled by the 2 teams together? 3. Were all the balls 'tonked' by India good balls? 4.Pune was also flat. Why did India get out for 230? (Maybe the Aus bowlers applied brains there?) To put it simply , the bowlers from both sides were AWFUL.

  • on October 19, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    @Matt - i can understand ur heartburn on losing so badly, i mean it was not a loss, it was brutal massacre of aussie 3rd grade bowling attack which is no better than india's. all the shots played by indian Batsmen were proper cricketing shots - beautiful cover drives, powerful pulls. It was cricket - cricket at its best - where poor bowling was shown its place. It has nothing to do with pitch mate.

    Aussies need to come to terms with reality - they are a poor cricket team right now - their days are gone, at least for the time being. The more you crib at your losses (there are too many now a days), sweeter is the win for teams winning against you.

    There were days when beating aus required gifted talents, special performances & divine intervention. Nowadays, I am pretty convinced - even Ireland will give your team a tough time.

    Whenever you win - consider it as your lucky day Matt - till the time you find replacements - real replacements of the former greats, not these part timers

  • its.rachit on October 19, 2013, 5:00 GMT

    The writer's punchline says "Perhas the greatest cricket column in the world ever" ... he should change it to "definitely the most sore loser writing a cricket column in the world ever"

  • Un_Citoyen_Indien on October 19, 2013, 4:42 GMT

    And would this article have been written had Australia won the game in question by say, dismissing India for 230 odd AFTER they had first scored 359? Somehow, I doubt it. Double standards and hypocrisy? It would seem that way now wouldn't it?

    I wonder where the author was circa 2006, when Australia and South Africa scored over 430 runs each in a single ODI. I didn't see any such articles back then and as per the author's logic, THAT game surely must have done even greater harm to cricket than this one, simply because it was even less of a contest between bat and ball.

    Test cricket belongs to the Victorian age and let's stop pretending that it has a place in the 21st century. Humanity shouldn't have to waste 5 days of it's existence each time it wishes to obtain a sporting result.

  • on October 19, 2013, 3:31 GMT

    I agree to the extent that I cannot completely relate to the enthusiasm around such 'skyscraper' chases. When India chases 272 at Sharjah in 1998, it felt like climbing a mountain (likewise the chase of 313 at Dhaka against Pakistan in the same year).

    But I disagree with you in diagnosing it as a pitch problem. I think it's more to do with the bats. There was a slower delivery that Rohit Sharma faced, which he initially went after but dropped his right hand at the last minute while attempting a lofted cover drive. The ball still went for six. With one of the heaviest bats in the circuit in 98, Tendulkar still couldn't do that in Sharjah. The pitch at Sharjah was flat too, but the bats not nearly as good as this. This is not the first time...we saw Kohli smash SL at Hobart to chase what 321 in 36 and a half overs.

    The other thing is the bowling. Pace bowlers in general need to bowl yorkers better. Or did their physios tell them that yorkers are injurious to health?

  • kabe_ag7 on October 19, 2013, 2:09 GMT

    Alright. So SAvsAus 432 match is among the best ODIs ever played. And this one was not cricket.

  • McGorium on October 18, 2013, 21:51 GMT

    Few points: 1) Would the outcome have been any different had there been a Kumble, McGrath, Warne, Akram, or Murali? In other words, is the outcome a reflection on the bowlers of both sides rather than the pitch itself? The latter,methinks. 2)There are many who enjoy a contest that is 75-25 in favour of batsmen. Although I prefer to watch more bowler-friendly games, there's nothing wrong per-se with the current state of affairs. If the *paying* public wish to see a tonk-spectacle, then a tonk-spectacle it shall be. If cricket has to be a viable career option for the players, somebody has to pay for it. In return, one hopes for an occasional balanced test subsidised by tonk-fests. Unless test lovers are willing to pay exorbitant amounts for watching tests on TV and/or in person. 3) The assertion that this isn't cricket is the author's opinion, and is supercilious: "this is what they ought to like". It's like arguing that realism is the only form of painting, and impressionism isn't.

  • Bonehead_maz on October 18, 2013, 21:13 GMT

    When I was young you could not win a cricket game without taking at least 10 wickets. Sure in U14's etc we only played 24 (8 ball) overs per side, yet a draw was still a common and acceptable result. Cricket and Golf were the only games we could play where you had to win to win. In every other sport simply restricting opposition was enough to win. Why we made the greatest game on earth the same as every other game is just mind boggling. Sadder still the schoolkids today can't have draws..... the cancer has spread from the top to the grass roots :(

  • Mr.PotatoesTomatoes on October 18, 2013, 20:41 GMT

    @timbojimbo-I believe they have another point of view mate-you view the contest as one between bat and ball,they consider it to be between two teams-whether the batters dominate or the bowlers take the honors or its shared may not matter a great deal to these fans.And surely both viewpoints are valid in their own right.But since there's a definite numeric advantage that fans of limited overs format enjoy there's bound to be more hoopla surrounding t20s and odis.So you have packed stadiums and worldwide viewership of these seven games.You are welcome to stay away and watch some test cricket in Dhaka and Dubai.I am doing that.

  • on October 18, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    Well written Matt. 100% agreed.

  • timbojimbo23 on October 18, 2013, 20:08 GMT

    Why do these Indian fans suggest the writer is just bitter about Aus losing the match? No one in Aus cares who wins this completely pointless series and am sure Matt Cleary is exactly the same. The thing that makes sport interesting is when there is a contest that actually means something(a good example is that many people that don't watch any soccer or rugby will still watch the world cup final). This series fails that test absolutely

  • fguy on October 18, 2013, 19:28 GMT

    boo hoo.. "this is not cricket" & hamburgers arent food, only broccoli is.. bet ya if Aus had chased down the score this blog & many other articles & comments on cricinfo would've been singing paeans to Aussie batsmanship/"fighting spirit"/some other cliche, with no mention of the pitch or poor bowling etc.

    @Herbet yes, i, and plenty of others, look forward to such a day too for then we'll finally be spared of the supercilious attitude of your kind

  • Mr.PotatoesTomatoes on October 18, 2013, 19:26 GMT

    Matt,the more cricket reaches out to wider audiences the more will be the clamor for T20s and ODIs- the entertaining formats of the game- which treat bowlers as second-class citizens.This is how cricket has evolved and there's no wishing it away.For a century and a half test cricket plugged on but wasn't able to win over the imagination of people who just don't have the time for it.With cricket giving up its parochial image,the game now stands a chance of widening its reach.I love test cricket,absolutely do,to the extent that I would rather watch Pak vs SA and Bang vs NZ than be caught up in the hubris of tonking and I am from India,but the fact remains that cricket has been given a new lease of life by cricket that's finger-licking good.Let's be happy with test cricket and the occasional tinge of green on the track left there by a forgetful curator for ODIs.

  • Sundararajan on October 18, 2013, 18:52 GMT

    When you write - "Why not have a bowling machine at each end that shoots out a mixture of slow-medium full tosses, half-volleys and long hops,... ", you have answered your own question. If your are going to bowl slow-medium full tosses, half-volleys and long hops, then the pitch is not at fault at all. It is the bowler who is at fault for dishing out such crap. And it is the same 4 bowlers that bowled such drivel,the ones that you referred to as "If Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Shane Watson and James Faulkner can be flogged " as if they were some world beating super geniuses. They are crappy bowlers that I would compare with Ishant Sharma. How come Ashwin was able to bowl at 6 an over. Was he not bowling on the same pitch? You have to have a modicum of competence which none of the 4 bowlers you have mentioned, have. So stop wailing like a sore loser and accept that India were simply better than you on the day.

  • KUTEPRASAD on October 18, 2013, 18:45 GMT

    Oh! oh! oh! how does MALINGA succeed here?how does STEYN-GUN fires here without getting jammed?how did james anderson won england a test series here? the point is Mr.....umm.... um.. whatever....ur bowling iz just not GOOD ENOUGH!!

  • Lets_Bash_Indians on October 18, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    @Sportius- WIth DUE RESPECT,,, They are not One of the BEST,, THEY ARE The BEST. Thank you & #NAMaSKAR

  • Night-Watchman on October 18, 2013, 18:42 GMT

    Where was the highest run chase ever registered? It was not in sub-continental pitch. What happened to the likes of Brett Lee, Stuart Clark, Nathen Bracken, Andrew Symmonds in that match? They got clobbered.

  • Lets_Bash_Indians on October 18, 2013, 18:40 GMT

    ALL my aussie friends,,, Lets take some time out & meet tomorrow,,, after another Aus loss with u'r More Harsh comments ,,,till then CIAO

  • Rebel_Who_Follows_All_The_Rules on October 18, 2013, 18:38 GMT

    Oh come on!! No one was complaining about the pitch when OZ won the first game scoring 300+, nor was anyone complaining when they scored 350+ in the first place.But India manage to chase it down and suddenly its WHOA!!WHAT THE HELL!! and to be honest, this hypocrisy is sickening.I don't think this would have been the reaction had IND batted first and gotten 350 and OZ had chased it down.

  • Lets_Bash_Indians on October 18, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    No NO,, guys,, this is nothing,,---- The Real fun was during CHAMPIONS TROPHY,, when India had beaten teams,,, & People Were Like,,, DAMN how could they prepare Flat tracks for India?? & so ON. It was very hard for them to see india on the TOP.

  • Sportius on October 18, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    I think Matt has a point. While it is true that it may not be the best aussie bowling attack to have toured india most will agree that they are a decent one. We keep wondering why india will not produce good fast bowlers. I think this precisely is the reason. I do enjoy the batting but unfortunately i too believe it is a contest between bat and ball and when the balance tilts too much on one side's favour it will take off the beauty of the game. Honestly there were nothing bowlers (both indian and aussie) could have done to reduce the run flow. contest was more about who is better at hitting boundaries on a flat track. India's batting is one of the best in the world and on these flat tracks there is no one who could stop them. Make no mistake i do admire batsmen's talents just that i would admire it more if the game is played on a level field

  • gsingh7 on October 18, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    "If Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Shane Watson and James Faulkner can be flogged..." . i literally rofl when i re read it. what is this quartet of bowlers famous for? oh yeah, they were present on ground when indians chased 360 runs in 43.3 overs.faulkner must be second coming of wasim akram and johnson must be dennis lillee in disguise. was that kapil dev in disguise of shane watson? the facts are that these bowlers are not fit to mentioned alongside past greats( sorry i did it) . there only place is chasing balls hit by indian batsmen in coming 5 matches.

  • Herbet on October 18, 2013, 18:02 GMT

    One of the best things about Cricinfo, and its appeal other to check scores, is to come and read comments to see how spectacularly indians miss the point of any given article. This blog is not about India's batsmen, or their bowlers, or Sachin Tendulkar. It is about how cricket is dying due to the thirst for watching batsmen slog balls into the upper reaches of the stands. Particularly in India where the pitches allow it and the fans enjoy it the most. I agree, it aint cricket, and it aint for me entertaining. Give me a proper 4/5 day game on a grassy pitch any day. limited overs cricket has long since sold itself to commercialism. It wont be long before first class cricket is a seperate game, played only in England and by die hards in Australia. I look forward to that day.

  • on October 18, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    I actually liked the article until the line "If Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Shane Watson and James Faulkner can be flogged..." at which point it became an australian venting his heartburn trying to back his low quality team

  • gsingh7 on October 18, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    what a misleading article.no one complained when aus scored 300 plus in first odi.that was flat track as well. only when indian batsmen hit other teams bowlers to every nook and corner of ground we see articles like this one . where is the unbiased journalism these days. more such run chases by indian batsmen will be seen in next few days. hope u all enjoy them.

  • dhiraj_korada on October 18, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Would the same teams playing on a green top perth pitch or a Dusty spinning track in delhi produced the same results . Maybe Aus would have won on Perth and India on the Delhi slow track.

    So dont read too much into the pitch. Both teams had the Same Pitch . Its the quality of good batting and how bad both the teams bowled contributed to the result we had in Jaipur.

    Please dont vent your frustration out in such useless blogs

  • SRAM20 on October 18, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Mighty ridiculous article! Whenever Indian batsmen achieve such amazing things, articles like this crop up everywhere. When will you start accepting that Indian batsmen are capable of this atleast once in a while? And if you want those kinds of pitches, make it back home in Australia, England, etc. In India, a different set of skill is required for the bowlers. You need containers. A good yorker in the blockhole is still the most effective tool for a bowler irrespective of the pitch and the conditions.The truth is, the bowlers are bad these days and are just not learning at the pace that the batsmen are learning. The moment bowlers catch up, it will all balance out.

  • Cricketfreak18 on October 18, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    Australia beat India 4-0 in Aus, on the green pitches prepared by them.. Everybody said India were useless on green pitches.. When Aus came to India.. India beat Australia 4-0 on turning tracks and everybody said Indians are Tigers only at home.. Nobody pointed out the INABILITY of Aus batsmen (if you can call them that) to play against spin!! Wake up Aussies!! Bradman is gone!! And you now have only Cowans, Warners, khwajas et al.. Real cricket power has moved to India.. Try to digest.. Dont write such Bile-filled useless Blogs..

  • on October 18, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    Aussies are sore losers, this article would have been very different had Australia won the match with the heaps of praises on Australian batting, mentle strength etc etc.

    Face the reality, Indian batsmen crushed the Australian bowling and made a mockery of the 360 target by completing in 43.3 overs with 9 remaining wickets.

  • on October 18, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    Sour Grapes???? Well Well Well..... I know excuses are excuses but this one from You Matt, Takes the cake... Please take a Bow... Love your passion but find a better way to express frustration/Jelaousy or whatever.. Cheers Pal

  • sanrt on October 18, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    well done buddy. well articulated ironical article but you have to give indian batters a bit of credit as such deeds doesn't happens the other day.

  • Lets_Bash_Indians on October 18, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    LOL, Another Ignorant Aussie. Dear Matt,, I Can Swear If India Didn't Have Scored 362 & only got Bullied At 235-240, Though Pitch Was the same, This blog of yours wouldn't into existence right now, no offence Buddy, But Take the instance of last One day where pitch was a Batting paradise & out of Nowhere India get plundered at 232, i am amazed there was no mention of flat pitch in the blogs next day & everywhere is, How Oz brutal attack tore down the mammoths, But in the next ODI , that Brutal attack Just got kidnapped & every other Specialist Goes nuts on PITCH,,,, im not accusing , but isn't it a bit partial.

  • py0alb on October 18, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    It doesn't really matter, because no-one was watching. No-one has cared about ODIs since the mid 90s, possibly earlier.

    They could bring the boundaries inside the circle and make scores of 1000+ commonplace, but still no-one would notice.

    As such, I'm not particularly bothered what cricketers like to do in their spare time. They can play golf, they can go to nightclubs, they can get together and play these funny ODI games, it doesn't really matter, and to some extent I don't think its really any of our business.

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  • py0alb on October 18, 2013, 15:43 GMT

    It doesn't really matter, because no-one was watching. No-one has cared about ODIs since the mid 90s, possibly earlier.

    They could bring the boundaries inside the circle and make scores of 1000+ commonplace, but still no-one would notice.

    As such, I'm not particularly bothered what cricketers like to do in their spare time. They can play golf, they can go to nightclubs, they can get together and play these funny ODI games, it doesn't really matter, and to some extent I don't think its really any of our business.

  • Lets_Bash_Indians on October 18, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    LOL, Another Ignorant Aussie. Dear Matt,, I Can Swear If India Didn't Have Scored 362 & only got Bullied At 235-240, Though Pitch Was the same, This blog of yours wouldn't into existence right now, no offence Buddy, But Take the instance of last One day where pitch was a Batting paradise & out of Nowhere India get plundered at 232, i am amazed there was no mention of flat pitch in the blogs next day & everywhere is, How Oz brutal attack tore down the mammoths, But in the next ODI , that Brutal attack Just got kidnapped & every other Specialist Goes nuts on PITCH,,,, im not accusing , but isn't it a bit partial.

  • sanrt on October 18, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    well done buddy. well articulated ironical article but you have to give indian batters a bit of credit as such deeds doesn't happens the other day.

  • on October 18, 2013, 17:25 GMT

    Sour Grapes???? Well Well Well..... I know excuses are excuses but this one from You Matt, Takes the cake... Please take a Bow... Love your passion but find a better way to express frustration/Jelaousy or whatever.. Cheers Pal

  • on October 18, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    Aussies are sore losers, this article would have been very different had Australia won the match with the heaps of praises on Australian batting, mentle strength etc etc.

    Face the reality, Indian batsmen crushed the Australian bowling and made a mockery of the 360 target by completing in 43.3 overs with 9 remaining wickets.

  • Cricketfreak18 on October 18, 2013, 17:26 GMT

    Australia beat India 4-0 in Aus, on the green pitches prepared by them.. Everybody said India were useless on green pitches.. When Aus came to India.. India beat Australia 4-0 on turning tracks and everybody said Indians are Tigers only at home.. Nobody pointed out the INABILITY of Aus batsmen (if you can call them that) to play against spin!! Wake up Aussies!! Bradman is gone!! And you now have only Cowans, Warners, khwajas et al.. Real cricket power has moved to India.. Try to digest.. Dont write such Bile-filled useless Blogs..

  • SRAM20 on October 18, 2013, 17:32 GMT

    Mighty ridiculous article! Whenever Indian batsmen achieve such amazing things, articles like this crop up everywhere. When will you start accepting that Indian batsmen are capable of this atleast once in a while? And if you want those kinds of pitches, make it back home in Australia, England, etc. In India, a different set of skill is required for the bowlers. You need containers. A good yorker in the blockhole is still the most effective tool for a bowler irrespective of the pitch and the conditions.The truth is, the bowlers are bad these days and are just not learning at the pace that the batsmen are learning. The moment bowlers catch up, it will all balance out.

  • dhiraj_korada on October 18, 2013, 17:36 GMT

    Would the same teams playing on a green top perth pitch or a Dusty spinning track in delhi produced the same results . Maybe Aus would have won on Perth and India on the Delhi slow track.

    So dont read too much into the pitch. Both teams had the Same Pitch . Its the quality of good batting and how bad both the teams bowled contributed to the result we had in Jaipur.

    Please dont vent your frustration out in such useless blogs

  • gsingh7 on October 18, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    what a misleading article.no one complained when aus scored 300 plus in first odi.that was flat track as well. only when indian batsmen hit other teams bowlers to every nook and corner of ground we see articles like this one . where is the unbiased journalism these days. more such run chases by indian batsmen will be seen in next few days. hope u all enjoy them.

  • on October 18, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    I actually liked the article until the line "If Mitchell Johnson, Clint McKay, Shane Watson and James Faulkner can be flogged..." at which point it became an australian venting his heartburn trying to back his low quality team