Poets on Sports

Test Matches Are Special

By Abigail Cloud

Well, it took me a bloody long time, but I finally figured out how to get radio stream of The Ashes.  Cricket Australia has the rights, and you can pick it up here. Good news: Aggers is in Australia.  He just mentioned butterflies fluttering by, so I’m content.  Today’s play just started at 7 pm EST, 10 am Australia.  You can always catch espncricinfo’s live scoring here.

I won’t mince words.  England is in trouble.  The Test Match is in its fourth day, and England is in its second innings (remember that innings is singular).  Australia batted for 295 runs in their first innings and 401 in their second–they opted to declare after that, with 3 wickets remaining.  (Translation–they were doing so well that they ended their innings before they’d lost all their wickets, counting on England to choke.)  England batted for…136 in their first innings.  In their second, they have 34 runs in 19 overs, with 2 wickets already fallen.

A lot could happen, I admit.  It’s possible to score over 500 runs in an innings.  It’s been done, though less commonly in the Ashes.  Everyone seems to be in agreement that this Test Match is Australia’s.

The announcers just commented thafancydresscrickett someone was performing “Uptown Girl.”  I should also mention that on occasion people also dress up at cricket, not in their normal linens but in fancy dress, largely to get media attention.  If you have a few minutes, go ahead and Google Image cricket fancy dress.  I’ll wait.

I thought it would be fun to interpret a few cricket phrases from espncricinfo, as the match moves forward.  So:

“A short, straight, silly mid-off in place”

This means that the ball was hit and fielded very close to the batsman.  Off means it was in the half of the field that is opposite the side the batsman stands in–if he’s a rightie, it’s the half to his right because he stands in the left.  Mid-off is a place directly diagonal out in front of the batsman and wicket…kind of like a bunt to first base for a rightie.

“short outside leg stump, whipped through short fine leg”

This doesn’t mean the batsman has a peg leg, though that would be interesting.  Short fine leg is a position diagonally behind the batsman, and it’s just outside the 30-yard circle.  On this particular strike, 2 runs were scored–it’s far enough for there to be running.

“Silly point, Warner, comes into place. No gully now.”

It’s okay!  Don’t worry, there hasn’t been any rainforest destruction, and Warner isn’t running around in a floppy hat.  This just means that Warner was fielding a little behind the batsman’s line on the offside, even with the wicket keeper, and is now right next to the batsman on the offside, all up in his grill, if you will.

“Lyon to Cook, 3 runs, finds the gap this time, cuts squarer between the off-side fielders and Pietersen calls him back for a third”

Square is a position on both sides of the field, diagonally back from the batsman, but not as sharp an angle as fine leg.  As you’ve learned, offside is the half of the field opposite to the one the batsman stands in.  Thus, the diagonal Cook hit is kind of behind him but to his right, and Pietersen, his fellow runner (remember there are always two, at opposite ends of the pitch), urged him to cross the pitch a third time to score three runs.  Go England!

Still confused?  Don’t forget Wikipedia’s helpful fielding position schematic!

Well, it’s about an hour and a half into the action tonight, we’re past the first drinks break, and I’m ready to sit back and enjoy the aura of the pitch.  We’re now at 73 runs for 3 wickets for England…which now only needs 488 runs to win!


About Abigail

Poet, dancer, hockey-watcher, cricket-listener, editor-in-chief of Mid-American Review, instructor, quilter, crafter, reader, puzzler, list-maker.

2 comments on “Test Matches Are Special

  1. pscottier
    December 3, 2013

    England lost. That’s quite an important phrase for people to learn before the next Test.

  2. clouda2013
    December 4, 2013

    You’ll find no disagreement here. Australia has been hot, and consistent. England…has not. They can’t keep relying on weather to rescue them…or, given the rain in Adelaide, perhaps they can.

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This entry was posted on November 23, 2013 by .
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