|Photos||Video & Audio||Blogs||Statistics||Archive||Shop||Mobile|
The art of commentary has changed a good deal in recent decades. Here, for example, is Richie Benaud describing a six in 1981:
"Don't bother looking for that, let alone chasing it. It's gone straight into the confectionery stall and out again."
And here is a commentator describing a six in Mirpur on Thursday:
"Here we go! It's gone to the moon! And it's gone all the way, baby! Ah yes! In some style! Tamim Iqbal! Straight as a die! Got the dancing shoes on! Look at the follow-through. Got the full flourish! With the one-wood. Boom! And it went miles."
Regular cricket watchers will recognise the modus operandi, but for the uninitiated, that was the inexplicable Danny Morrison. Even those who've been on a commentary journey with Danny before can find his style a bit of a jolt, like stepping into a lift in the morning to find the lift attendant shouting at you in between big slurps from a carton of espresso:
"Yeah baby! Look at those doors close! Straight as a metal arrow! Gotta love lift technology! Bang! Press the button! And up she goes! Fifth floor is it, sir? You betcha! This lift is flying! Second floor! Third floor! Fourth floor! This coffee is amazing! Fifth floor! Boom! Open the doors! Ping! See you later, alligator!"
This shout-first-ask-questions-later style, while likely to cause the listener to attempt to pull their own ears off, is quite well-suited to describing the batting of Bangladesh, a collection of batsmen who generally go about their business with the unruffled calm of a boxful of electrified Amazonian tree-frogs in a thunderstorm.
The way of the Tiger is usually straightforward. Take Tamim Iqbal, for example. The method of this particular tiger usually involves rushing headlong into the jungle, roaring, snarling, swinging and swishing. Sometimes it works and he ends up with a mouthful of dinner. Sometimes he bumps into a tree. Yet, for a while on Thursday, he was stealthy tiger Tamim, creeping through the undergrowth in pursuit of a steadily accumulated lunch.
Then something snapped. He charged out to Corey Anderson and managed to play on when such a thing seemed impossible. Soon after, the onset of the batting Powerplay induced more recklessness. Mushfiqur skipped down the pitch as though he had a plan, but it transpired that skipping down the pitch was as far as the plan went. And with that, Bangladesh went down swinging in a flurry of silly.
Yet the game was not done. They may bat like billionaires, but Bangladesh bowl like misers in a recession. If New Zealand could get a good start, they'd be okay. New Zealand did not get a good start, and they weren't okay. When Grant Elliott was out, with the score at 45 for 3, there came a noise from the spectators that is hard to describe, unless you can imagine the sound of a space shuttle crashing into an erupting volcano.
"In this form of game, and in their own backyard in particular, the Bangladeshi Tigers are everything and more."
Even though this was gibberish, we kind of knew what Danny meant. Bangladesh slipped their fingers around the throat of New Zealand's innings with the practised skill of professional stranglers, and like a python's lunch, the tourists found themselves restricted, constricted, and finally asphyxiated. In desperation they lashed at loose deliveries that weren't really loose and chased after phantom singles. Poor Tom Latham's run-out epitomised their struggle. Sent back by Ross Taylor, he executed the manoeuvre with all the sprightly elegance of a giraffe attempting a pirouette in a swamp. When a guilt-ridden Taylor finally holed out, it was all over.
And so is today's blog. I'll be back next Wednesday, and here's Danny Morrison to describe the closing sentences:
"Boom! Yeah baby! A full stop! No, a colon! A double period! He typed that like a donkey headbutting a cabbage on a wet Tuesday in Dunedin! Oh yeah! Gotta love that! Say goodnight, Josephine! Stick a fork in it. This paragraph. Is done!"
Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England. He tweets hereFeeds: Andrew Hughes
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
|Comments have now been closed for this article
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73