2014 ends and we reclaim the Border-Gavaskar Trophy

My “Floating Life” blog set – that is all but the English/ESL archive – is heading for the quietest month in the past twelve months, possibly for years. Sitemeter is showing page views at the moment of 3,416, compared with 4,351 last December. In May 2014 the blogs hit 5,870.

Yesterday’s post here was generated by WordPress. Yesterday this blog had 117 reads, the best ever here! The top posts and pages here in 2014 have been, after Home Page/Archives at 10,453:

  1. Anzac Girls last night on ABC 664 views in 2014
  2. About 143
  3. Tom Thumb Lagoon 128
  4. Family history–some news on the Whitfield front 128
  5. All my posts 123
  6. Some thoughts on Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl 105
  7. Barry Spurr trending on Facebook 96
  8. Lost Wollongong 90
  9. My former workplace in the news today 86
  10. Barry Spurr is still trending 84
  11. Channel 10, the Commonwealth Games, and Ian Thorpe 81
  12. Kiama in the early 50s, and memories of car sounds… 80
  13. The silence of the trams 70
  14. What a treasury of family history! 70
  15. It was 50 years ago today! The Beatles in Australia 67
  16. Thomas – 2014 teacher of the year 64
  17. Tangible link to the convict ship “Isabella” and the immigrant ship “Thames” 64
  18. Sydney High memories 61
  19. Links 55
  20. Nobel prize winner’s obituary triggers memories 54

Note “Silence of the trams” hit the top 20 in just one day!

Cricket

I like the opening paragraphs of Malcolm Knox in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

A hundred and ten years ago, the Victorian Test all-rounder Frank Laver asked if audiences would bother watching cricket games that ran for five days and finished without a winner. “It must be acknowledged that the length of time cricket takes in this age of progress and bustle is far too great,” wrote Laver, who was also the manager of Australia’s 1905 Ashes tour. “Football, baseball, lacrosse and nearly all national games are decided on two or three hours’ play. These games have a great advantage over cricket for that very reason. Life is too short for long contests.”

Life is thought to be even shorter now, notwithstanding the evidence. But Test cricket’s popularity – nearly 200,000 came to this Boxing Day match, the most ever to an Australia-India contest in this country – suggests that 110 years of progress, while providing ample alternatives to the five-day match, has still not cured the demand (or is it tolerance?) for something long, slow and inconclusive…

I won’t go into detail about this series except to say that I really have enjoyed it. I much prefer the long-form game. I can’t even bring myself to watch T20 or Big Bash!

And back in 2004 I blogged as follows during another India-Australia series:

Sunday, January 04 to Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Sunday: Special for American Readers

Since about 30-40% of my readers are in America, I thought you’d better have some explanation of this strange game I have been talking about lately. It does, I’m afraid, require a longer attention span than baseball 😉 — as you may see:

Each side has two innings (plural same as singular), and when each side has completed its two innings, the side with the most runs wins. This is not as simple as it sounds, because cricket matches almost always have a previously agreed time limit, generally in days, with the hours of play for each day specified in advance. If both sides do not complete their innings within the time specified, the match is a draw, regardless of the score. (In cricket, a draw and a tie are not the same thing. A draw is a match that is not completed; a tie is a match that is completed with the scores even.) Therefore to lose a cricket match you have to have your two complete innings and still not get as many runs as your opponents. If the number of runs needed for a side to win is too many for them to make, they can still play to achieve a draw and deprive their opponents of the win by avoiding being “all out” before “stumps” (the end of the match, when the umpires pull the stumps from the ground).

Match lengths are generally agreed upon in advance as a certain number of days, with the hours of play on each day specified, as well as the breaks to be taken for lunch and tea. The most important international matches (“tests”) between sides supposedly representing the best their countries have to offer are generally scheduled for five days.

That is from Cricket Explained (for novices), an American site…

The current Australia-India Test commences its third day today, with India in a commanding position at 7 for 650. Probably India will declare this morning, that is say they have finished their innings, and send Australia in to chase that total. After that it gets a little complex, but the reason I worried last night that it might rain was that if a game is washed out it is a draw. Today is fine and hot, as it happens.

Lunch update

To my surprise India opted to keep batting this morning, eventually reaching 705.

I, in the meantime, went to Yum Cha at the Marigold with the Empress, Sirdan, Malcolm, James, a new person named Andy (not the sailor) and eventually Antony. Excellent duck. (The picture on my profile was taken at that Yum Cha by Antony.)

The crowd around Central on their way to the Cricket reminded me of the 2000 Olympics. Now I’m off to keep an eye on the game by TV and radio. (I prefer to listen to the ABC radio commentary with the TV on Channel 9 at least some of the time.)

Monday

Today has dawned cloudy, with possible storms later after a very hot and humid night. I was eaten by mosquitoes. But it is of course Day 4 of the Australia-India Final Test at the SCG. As the Sydney Morning Herald front page has it: “India declared for 7-705, with a resurgent Sachin Tendulkar nine runs shy of his 250. But the star Indian’s innings was his highest in his Test career. India’s 705 was also the highest score by a touring side to Australia… Meanwhile, as the Australian cricket captain slipped from view, like the late afternoon sun over the Members’ Stand, the federal Opposition Leader made his Test debut. Mark Latham, who has just embarked on his own leadership role, appeared as a guest commentator on ABC radio’s cricket broadcast.” I heard Latham’s effort and immediately began praying to the radio…

The great moment yesterday which everyone was anticipating was Steve Waugh’s (the Australian Captain) probable last innings: he scored 40. (He may get one more go in the next two days.)

Meanwhile (it’s now 2.30 pm) my grandfather’s favourite saying, “the glorious uncertainty of cricket”, is once again being borne out. What a classic this game has been! I’ll let you know the outcome tomorrow. Australia, however, is just all out and India have chosen to bat.

Tuesday

I went with Sirdan to The Return of the King at Fox Studio (next door to the Sydney Cricket Ground) at 9.30 am. The movie proper started at 10, and finished about 1 pm: a short three hours. You do need to have seen the previous movies, or have a good knowledge of The Lord of the Rings though. David Stratton of the SBS Movie Show now claims the whole set is the greatest epic ever made…

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

A late fish and chip lunch at the Shakespeare Hotel, the first time Sirdan has been there, rounded things off nicely.

Speaking of epics…

India declared slightly early last night after one of their number got a ball in the ear. Ganguly need not have declared; I think he was just giving Australia a sporting chance. And now at 2.53 pm Steve Waugh (the Australian Captain) has just come out to bat — his last innings. So far Australia has been scoring too slowly. What will happen next? Well, I am off to listen. Waugh survived his first ball and Australia are 171 for 3 at this stage, chasing in 46 overs remaining 272 to win… The weather is much more ominous than yesterday too.

Back to the end of 2014: perhaps Smith should have declared sooner yesterday?

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