Michael Hussey considering his double-mortgage after betting all his money on a West Indian victory
This was Test Match number 2016. In the previous 2015 test matches, Cricket remained largely a gentleman’s game. At the most, you’d see a South African collapse here and a Pakistani self-detonation act there, and that was it. But still, even that eventful morning on a pleasant Karachi bus ride to the stadium was nothing less than a rude act from ungainly gentlemen. Sri Lanka, after all, are a boring test side to watch. They’re probably the only team capable of drawing a one-day game, too. Why, even I had planned to pelt their bus with Vada Pavs once they exited the stadium after an unbelievably inept performance at Brabourne two years ago. Using bullets could be taking it too far, but Pakistan is a passionate country. Figuratively speaking.
While Mahendra Singh Dhoni was busy deciding how much he’d resemble Ra.One if he ever worse a metal suit on the field, and Rohit Sharma ticked off yet another day from his 25-year plan to make the Indian Test team- a delightfully eventful day of Test Cricket ensured at Cape Town. It was the least you’d expect, to be honest, with the South African team taking the field after 300 days of absence from the test arena (go figure). Australia, in the meantime, were fresh from another all-night session of watching the Warnie-Lizzie reality show that followed the largely unsignificant 3-match ODI series. The 2-match test series, in fact, seemed like an outrageously ingenious plan to win back Test pursists- considering the quality of the two-evenly matched sides. For sure, there would be a result, right, ICC? Even 1-1 is a whitewash, all things considered. No?
Never mind, that. Jacques Rudolph was making a comeback to Test Cricket after 5 long years. The last time he took the field, Brian Lara was playing his last game, Saurav Ganguly was making his 4th exit from the side, Greg Chappell was sulking outside Tendulkar’s luxurious restroom and Rohit Sharma was plotting his entry into International cricket. Not much has changed, admittedly, but 5 years is still a long time.
Clarke doing his best ‘Talk to the hand’ impression to a dull-looking Morkel
Last heard, Rudolph is still wondering how he’d manage to pull out a full paycheck after playing only half a test match. The Australian team members are still conducting individual consolatory house-to-house visits of all ticket-holders, hoping desperately to make up for their spiritual pullout midway through the battle of equals. Maybe, just maybe, the Australians may have decided to be merciful towards their long-suffering opponents- and in a gracious show of respect, may have gone on to show the South Africans that their patented choke is indeed cricket’s most entertaining spectacle. Not always do teams lose a game after being slaughtered for less than 100 in the first innings, says Clarke and co. on cricket’s latest public service announcement- played exclusively in the safe backlanes of Natal and the ghettos of Johannesburg.
Here are a few half-lies and full-truths that have surfaced from the very bottom of the perfect little spots on the pitch that infested the Newlands’ ground:
-A little known side known as Satellite Plaza (village-level in Ahmedabad, India) were the last team to lose 9 wickets for a score lesser than 21. They were 16/9 on the Satellite Apartments’ garden-ground in the summer of 1996, only to be rescued by a last wicket partnership of 15. Their highest scorer, AGAIN a number 11 (Jignesh Patel), still managed to score a run more than Nathan Lyon did at Newlands.
-Approximately 87% of the test-cricket-watching world has conveniently forgotten the figure 47 in favour of the figure 21. One assumes that 99.76% of Indian test fans are part of that figure, most of them Gandhians, happily banishing the number 47 from their memories.
-Philipp Hughes, Australia’s opener replacing journeyman Simon Katich, has established the new record of losing local cricket polls that had him competing against a little-known Haynes and an ex-Ranji player named Gavaskar. The previous record was held by Ravindra Jadeja.
-Ricky Ponting has established a record for outlasting Steve Waugh in an unusual competition that has both Australian ex-captains sitting on a burner in the restroom of the Australian National committee. Sourav Ganguly is the referee.
-Graeme Smith is on the verge of being the only player-captain to be dropped in the history of Test Cricket- for the sole reason of managing to look continuously unattractive while chopping onions in his kitchen and balls onto his stumps. No pun intended.
-Australia 2010, as many ex-players call this current squad of electrifying climbers, has accomplished what Australia 1980-2010 couldn’t do in their 30 years of existence. In fact, they have tripled their achievement: 3 sub-100 scores in the last 1 year, as compared to 1 sub-100 score in the last 30 years of Australian Test Cricket. And you thought Ra.One was the only one breaking records.
-Philander, the new 5-wicket-taking debutant in Test Cricket, is being tried by the Karnataka National Court for ‘stealing the thunder’ of their newest son R. Ashwin. Philander, in response, is trying the court for continuously misspelling his name. Philanderer is a tough word to spell, says Anil Kumble.
-Michael Clarke has renewed ties with ex-girlfriend Lara Bingle inspite of the fact that she adorns many a South-Indian Techie’s computer-screen wallpaper. Last heard, he was helping her secure outright ownership and copyright to ‘Scarlett Johannsonning’ of private pictures- apart from using the entire South African team’s salary to soothe his own emptiness.
(Clue: Clarke’s first innings score of 151 is 7 runs more than the combined scores of the South African and Australian innings following him. He has now newly adopted grandchildren so that he can tell this story)
-Nathan Lyon and Imran Tahir have been caught urinating on the doors of the family homes of every medium-pacer and fast bowler playing in the test. Last seen, their own families disowned them for not figuring in a day where 23 wickets fell, and even Michael Clarke hit the stumps more than they did.
Australia’s new poster boy reacts to the image of G.One wearing a baggy-green cap
-Many Indian film critics have sued the Newlands’ pitch curator for averting their gaze from Nargis Fakhri’s long hair and Ranbir Kapoor’s long hair during the ill-timed press show of the film ‘Rockstar’. They cite ‘mental torture’ and ‘frequent bouts of ADD’ caused by the shocking events that transpired in the other time zone- unable to concentrate on their world-famous film reviewing abilities.
-Film reviewers in the same hall, (notably above the age of 60, and mostly women) have sued the poor curator for being subjected to repeated carnal groans and audible whispers of all sorts of F-words from their male counterparts during the screening.
Finally, the curator might have the last laugh. He has sued the entire Indian Film Critic Association for actually deeming their films worthy of reviewing. Somewhere, cricketer-actor Ajay Jadeja is having the last laugh.