All Things Cricket: December 31st

  • The Ashes. Yikes. Australia have a 3-0 lead and will spend the next two tests, if they are played, going for the whitewash of a clearly over-matched England. Scott Boland’s amazing 6 wickets/7 runs performance ended any hope of England even getting a chance to bowl again in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG, and gave the hosts an innings and 14 runs victory and the series. The teams await COVID tests to see if they have enough players to play in Sydney starting on January 5th.
  • BBL 11 is having all kinds of COVID issues. Melbourne Stars and Perth Scorchers had to postpone a game in Melbourne, and Sydney Thunder had a few positive tests before managing to beat Adelaide Strikers in Adelaide thanks to 91* from Jason Sangha. It’s not clear that the BBL will be able to continue much longer and may have to shut down like the IPL did earlier in 2021. Perth and Sydney Sixers lead the table with 21 points.
  • The Super Smash in New Zealand, where COVID, thankfully, is not affecting play, ended the year with this amazing catch by Blake Coburn and Mitchell Hay of Canterbury: Earlier in the week, Trent Boult hit the ultimate walk-off six, with his team, Northern Districts, trailing by 5 on the last ball against Canterbury. Northern Districts are ahead by two points over Canterbury on the men’s side, and Wellington is absolutely shredding the women’s side with wins of over 40 runs in all five games they have played.
  • India coasted to a 113-run win over South Africa at the previously impenetrable Centurion ground. KL Rahul had a first innings century and Mohammed Shami took 8 wickets in the match. To add to South Africa’s Test woes, 29-year-old wicketkeeper/batter Quintin de Kock announced his immediate retirement from Test cricket, leaving a huge void in a team that was already struggling. The teams are scheduled for two more Tests and three ODIs.
  • The three USA-Ireland ODIs were called off due to support staff and coaches on the Ireland team testing positive for COVID. They did get in the second T20I, with Ireland evening up the series by clinically shutting off the USA’s chase of a relatively easy 150 total. Curtis Campher took the vital wickets of Gajanand Singh, Sushant Modani and Marty Kain, the three batters who had won the first T20I for the US, and the rest of the US batters didn’t have enough firepower to get over the line. It was a very unfortunate situation for USA Cricket, who was counting on this international series during the holidays to raise the profile of the team and establish it internationally against member nations, especially after the first T20I victory.
  • That’s it for 2021. Happy 2022!