Here’s the predictable state of play after a rain-interrupted first day in the third Test between Australia and the West Indies at the SCG.
The West Indies stumbled and bumbled along to 6 for 207 leaving Australia well on top. The poor batting performance was so in-character, it was exactly the same as the day two score in the first Test of this series when the West Indies were, yep, 6 for 207 as well.
In other not in the least surprising news, flags fluttered, seagulls flew, kids on the fence sought autographs and the crowd booed the SCG members who refused to take part in the Mexican wave.
Oh, and just for a change, Marlon Samuels got out in a really lame way, this time by running himself out.
The West Indies had first crack with the bat for the first time in a series which they’re losing 2-0. Apart from the men in maroon caps batting first, pretty much everything felt the same as last time and the time before that.
One West Indian batsman held up a flailing innings while his team-mates held up their chins with their hands in the dressing room.
In this case, the innings holder-upper was the human typo Kraigg Brathwaite. The young Barbadian opener looked good at the crease all day -- well, better than he looked to spellchecker, anyway -- before he fell to Nathan Lyon late for 85.
That was Lyon’s 100th Test wicket in Australia, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer balding off-spinner from a town famous for cherries.
First selected because he was pretty much the next bloke in the draw marked “Anyone Please After Warney,” Lyon has become a real weapon. The 28-year-old is no mere tradesman anymore. He’s starting to take really pretty wickets nowadays.
Today’s pick was a ball which Jermaine Blackwood should never have left -- but which he did leave because he’s a West Indian Test cricketer circa 2016 -- which spun back sharply from well outside the line to clip the top of off stump.
It wasn’t quite Shane Warne, but then, is Shane Warne even Shane Warne these days?
The biggest threat to an Australian clean sweep in this series remains the weather. Rain, rain and more rain is forecast for the next two days, with showers for the two days thereafter.
It’s an unappetising prospect for fans thinking of buying tickets, as it is for TV viewers. Saturday night’s Big Bash Twenty20 match at the MCG attracted 80,000 fans and a massive TV audience in excess of 1.2 million at the peak.
32,000 made it to the SCG on Sunday, but it’s unlikely we’ll see half that on any single day for the rest of this match. Given the weather forecast and the weakness of the West Indies, many are now saying that Twenty20 cricket has become the main show, not the sideshow, this week.
That’s a fair point but there’s clearly still an appetite for Test cricket among the general public. It’s not quite as voracious as a certain young boy’s appetite for watermelon, but it’s there.
There’s something to be said for coming to the cricket just for coming to the cricket’s sake. No fireballs, no dancers, no greasy chicken hats, no team names that sound like they were sourced from a random name generator, no manufactured ground nicknames like “The Furnace,” no forced fun.
Yeah, it was a bit of a nothing day of Test cricket at the SCG. But it was good just to watch a little cricket without the hype. Nothing can be really something in a world full of something. That’s the Seinfeld lesson and it’s one of the best lessons there is.Suggest a correction