Voges sings happier tune for Australia
Australia have been living the sort of week that country music stars love. Despair, loss and hilarious stupidity. You can almost hear a twangy banjo as you think about Australia getting smashed by England, losing their captain for their next game and then finding out their opening batsman has punched an opposition player in the face.
Only a humiliating loss to New Zealand, with an embarrassing collapse could have made their song of woe any better.
Thankfully Adam Voges was there. Adam Voges has been almost there for years. He announced himself with 62 ball hundred on TV against New South Wales. He became WA captain. He made runs in county cricket. His first three ODIs were on three separate continents. He once gave up the chance to represent Australia because he was getting married.
Voges is safe, reliable and a throwback to the better days when the backups averaged 50, were technically solid and well-rounded cricketers.
Voges also averaged 25 with that bat in Shield Cricket this year. Had it not been for lengthy and respectable career, and finding form just as all the Big Bash cameras were pointed at him, his international career would have been over.
Luckily for Australia, he had been picked. His comeback is only a few games in, but he has been quality in a weak and misfiring line up. Today he took some good work from George Bailey and Matthew Wade, and turned it into the sort of score that was going to be hard to reach. At the very least this bad country song ended without Australia losing a match by being bowled out cheaply and losing before the rain did end it.
While Voges was at the crease, he contributed 71 out of 122 runs. It was effortless compared to how Bailey and Wade had survived. Very much an old style ODI knock, picking up every agreed-upon single, hitting only the worst balls for four, pushing hard to create second runs and generally milking the middle overs as best he could.
It wasn't the innings of a journeyman who was lucky to be back in the side, or a guy who's only played five matches since 2011, and only 20 altogether. It made him look like a 100-game veteran.
In county cricket, Voges is very experienced, and he's probably played on a slowish used Edgbaston wicket before. He seemed to pick early on that Vettori was the player Australia had to fear the most, and simply played him out, knowing that he could score at ease against most of the others.
It seemed like Voges was going to make his second hundred since his comeback, and ensure that Australia had not just a par score, but a score that in the conditions would have been hard to reach. Instead he sliced a full toss straight to short cover. An innings of that quality deserved a slightly better end than it got.
In the end, whether Australia's total was a match winning one, or just a par total that New Zealand might have chased, is the sort of late night conversation that you can't agree on at the Walkabout.
This game will be forgotten as the dreary wash out on the turgid pitch it was. Voges made sure his story kept getting better, and for at least one innings, Australia's song didn't have a depressing end.