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"Surely that's not possible"!

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mystiroakey
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Post by kingraf Sun 20 Oct 2013, 8:10 pm

Every sport has an element that is unique to it, which can't be found in other sports. Basketball has the buzzer-beating three from beyond the arc. Tennis has the fact that a player can still realistically win a match from any position. Baseball has fat guys hitting the ball a country mile. But cricket, especially Test cricket, is probably capable of the most head-scratching, seemingly impossible occurrences in all of sport.

Its happened to me twice in recent history where I've found myself incapable of coming up with a logical reason which fits in a nice timeline regarding whats happening on my TV-screen.

The first happened in 2011, day 2 of the South Africa vs Australia Newlands Test. Day one was a reasonable enough days cricket. Wickets fell, and Michael Clarke scored one of the great centuries on a very green deck. I had a school examination of sorts to write during day two. Following the exam, went to KFC with a mate, ate some chicken had desert. On our way home, we wondered aloud about the cricket score, what followed was a minute of my life I will never forget - An elderly man, about sixty years or so walks past and remarks - "Terrible the lot of them. Graeme Smith: duck. Kallis: duck. Jacques Rudolph scored a few runs, about four. They aren't ready. They deserve to be dropped every one of them"

With that, I parted ways with my mate and the old man, and made the trek home. The entire way home, I kept trying to come up with a way we could save the Test. "It's only day 2", I thought, "if we can get Australia all out for about 250, we would have seven or eight sessions to chase 400. It's not over". Had I been older I may have had a heart-attack when I saw Smith batting when I got home. The scorecard took a short while to come up, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why the old man had lied to me, as South Africa were quite obviously still in the midst of our first innings. Seeing "Australia 47" on the bottom of the screen remains the most shocking thing I have EVER seen in my life.

The second, was one which I still didn't believe even with the scorecard flashing in front of me. Second Test - South Africa vs Australia, Day 1, Adelaide. Due to the time differences I had only woke up with 15 or so overs to go. Scorecard reads 400, "Okay", I think out loud, "highlights of the Brisbane Test". What followed was possibly the greatest case of denial since Watergate. Debutant Faf du Plessis bowls an over of spin, and I wonder aloud why I didn't see him bowling when I watched the first test. Imran Tahir comes on, I can't understand where he was during Brisbane. They show highlights of Warner smacking Morkel for five straight boundaries (Warner had failed in Brisbane), I tell myself Warner must have flourished before the dismissal. To find out Australia scored nearly 500 runs in a day of cricket remains the greatest moment of awe I have experienced in sports.

Any similarly impossible games you caught late?
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Post by mystiroakey Wed 23 Oct 2013, 3:32 pm

yes Test cricket is the most 'random' game out there.

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Post by dummy_half Thu 24 Oct 2013, 10:50 am

kingraf

for England fans, much of The Ashes 2005 falls into this category, but in particular day 3 of the Edgbaston Test. Remember the context that the Aussies still had their great players available and had (unsurprisingly to most England fans) rather crushed us in the first test, dramatically undermining any pre-Ashes confidence we may have had.

England led by 99 after the first innings (after scoring 400 on day 1) and resumed on 25-1, but slumped to 31-4 before KP and Bell stabilised things somewhat and Flintoff counter-attacked with the tail to give us a modest 182 all out (so 281 lead).

The Aussies started as you would expect, Hayden and Langer playing reasonably to 47/0 before Flintoff dismissed Langer and Ponting in the same over - probably the biggest moment of the entire series, as without this I suspect the Aussies would have cruised to victory and a dominant series win.

Four more Ausses fell before the scheduled close, leaving England needing 3 wickets with the Aussies nearly 150 short of their target. Extra half hour surprisingly saw another slight shift, with Warne and Stuart Clark holding out and scoring some runs until Clark was out last ball of the day.

Position at the end of the day - england only needing two wickets, Aus 107 runs with no specialist batsmen remaining. Of course we all know what happened the next day, with England scraping home by 2 runs.

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Post by kingraf Thu 24 Oct 2013, 11:22 am

That was a remarkable 24 hours of cricket, DH.

I wouldn't say "random", Mystir, but the nature of the game allows for violent swings in really short passages, it's down to ridiculously poor marketing, and the ICC sacrificing test cricket for more immediate profits that Test cricket's future looked bleak
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Post by mystiroakey Thu 24 Oct 2013, 11:24 am

That is my definition of random!

and its the beauty of the game not a negative.

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Post by Mike Selig Thu 24 Oct 2013, 11:32 am

I echo the 47 all out. I remember leaving the house to go to work just after Australia had wrapped up the South African innings. By the time I got to work, South Africa were batting again! Much like you in your second instance, when I first turned on my stream, I thought we were seeing highlights from earlier in the game, and was bemused by the number of leaves and defensive shots making the highlights package!!

Another one from me would be the Warne-inspired Adelaide victory in 2006. Woke up, switched on the radio to find England had just been bowled out.

I agree that part of the beauty of test cricket is these astonishing momentum swings, and constant twists and turns. I would add that IMO test cricket would benefit from games played with more context. A test cricket championship, and a meaningful (and fair) ranking system, possibly several divisions with promotion and relegation, would be obvious ways. I guess this is somewhat covered by the "ridiculously poor marketing" (I agree entirely). But that is another discussion.

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Post by dummy_half Thu 24 Oct 2013, 11:48 am

Of course another more recent case was Stuart Broad's spell to destroy the Aussies in the 4th test this summer. Set just under 300 to win on a wicket that appeared to improve during the match, the Aussies looked well in contro with Warner and Rogers rapidly putting on over 100 for the first wicket, and them reaching 168 for 2 - 130 runs needed with 8 wickets left and England not looking to be causing many problems with the ball.

Suddenly it was all change, with Bresnan producing a good ball to dismiss Warner and Broad an absolute peach to bowl Clarke. 168-2 became 174-4, followed rapidly by failures of the other top order batsmen, reducing Aus to 181-7. 9 overs yielded 5 wickets for just 13 runs. A slight counter form the tail, but not enough to do more than delay the inevitable.

I was driving home from work with the cricket on the radio, and just couldn't believe what happened. 1 hour to go from looking like losing the match to a very comfortable-looking victory.

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Post by VTR Fri 25 Oct 2013, 8:26 am

One that springs to mind for me is waking up on Boxing Day 2010 and hearing that the Aussies were 90-ish all out and England were ahead for no wickets. This was after losing the previous Test. A fantastic late Christmas present!

A non-England one was hearing that Australia had made the highest ever ODI score. Incredible in itself but then to hear later it had been chased down!

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Post by kingraf Fri 25 Oct 2013, 2:43 pm

That 438 game is a great example, VTR. I remember it very well. Until 2009, my mother was a function coordinator at the Wanderers, so consequentially my family had season tickets. In that five match series, Australia had clawed back from 2-0 down, to level it at 2-2 with the decider to come. Due to the fact that the Decider was a day match (Sunday), my mother had to go in early. Waking me up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday, I reasoned that there was absolutely no reason for me to go watch South Africa chuck away the series. The first innings seemingly confirmed my theory, couldn't believe what would happen in the second innings. At least I got a silver memorabilia medallion as a reminder!
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Post by VTR Fri 25 Oct 2013, 3:05 pm

That's excellent - the context with it being a decider after throwing away a 2-0 series lead makes it even better!

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Post by alfie Sat 26 Oct 2013, 10:02 am

That Newlands Test was a classic example of fast turnaround ...hardly unique though.
Lords Test England v WI 2000 was almost a carbon copy. Without looking up the exact scores I think West Indies were out on the Friday morning for about 260 , bowled England out for 135 and then got skittled for 54...four innings in one day...and England went on to win by a couple of wickets in a tight finish.
Both fine examples of the beauty of Test Cricket.

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