Saturday, 22 December 2012

The cricket writer's-block

It took me four days to decide what to write after Sri Lanka lost the first test in Hobart by a matter of minutes and some runs. It wasn't a devastating loss, nor was it a really close finish. But it had Sri Lankan fans like me hoping. And when hope comes in to play, it really takes a toll on you as a fan when that hope is destroyed. Emotional and unprofessional. Then again, that's exactly what fans are.

Sri Lanka fought. They were ruled out before the game. "Worst pace attack to land in our shores" and such. Australia 450/5 declared and SL 87/4 at the end of the 2nd day. Then Dilshan and Mathews revived hope. Put up a real street fight. Sri Lanka still conceded a lead of 121 and were behind the 8-ball again. Then after exchanging punches in the 2nd innings and keeping the target to 393, Sri Lanka set off a chase, for 4 sessions and 393 runs.

For 3 sessions, it seemed Sri Lanka would draw it. Aussies seemed diminished, the weather gods seemed to be on our side and the three musketeers; Sanga/Mahela/Samare seemed set in stone at the wicket. Then one by one fell. Tripped over the unevenness of the track, booby-trapped, tricked and deceived. It wasn't a mine field like a 5th day Galle pitch, but it wasn't a complete belter either. But all this was as expected.

Sri Lanka was expected to lose. Was expected to concede a 1st innings lead. Was expected to be behind the 8-ball in the 3rd innings and was expected to be bowled out before the end of days play on the 5th. It all happened. But it created doubt in the minds of the aussies. There were times they felt the match could not be won. Nathan Lyon seemed to only manage a whimper from an end where Herath took 5 on the 4th day. Starc seemed all over the place and with Hilfenhaus gone, Siddle was the only who looked like he could deliver a victory.

In the end he did. Starc found his length, Siddle found his rhythm and all was well for Australia. In the end, they had finally beaten Sri Lanka and put the predictions straight. But it was that VERY fact that excited me as a fan.

When Australia celebrate like this, for a test win against Sri Lanka at home,
you know that's something you can be happy about, as a Sri Lankan Fan.

Australia celebrated in the end with sighs of relief. The joy was as per to say, "Goddamnit son, imagine what we'd have to go through if we didn't win!". Hobart was supposed to be an easy win for Australia. Sri Lanka was supposed to be an easy side to beat. But they weren't. And come boxing-day, Sri Lanka might well be "an easy side to lose to".

Oh darn it, I am back to this hoping business again. We fans never learn, do we. No matter how many times hope come and bites us in the backside.

More on the Boxing-Day test on tomorrow's post. Until then;


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