Cricket

I was struggling to sleep again last night so I got up at 5am to have a warm drink. Sometimes I can sleep in the armchair.

I decided to turn the radio on for something to sooth my nerves. There was a programme called Test Match Special on. It was a cricket match between England and Australia. Australia were ahead three games in a five game series. This was the fourth test match.

The match was likely to go Australia’s way because they were well ahead on runs (in cricket you run between two sets of wickets with bales on top called stumps) . The bowler throws a ball at the stumps and tries to knock the bales off. The batsman has to defend the stumps. They try and hit the ball with a cricket bat. If they hit it they try and get runs. There are two batsmen (or women) at a time. They run between the stumps. You get four runs if you get the ball to run over the boundary line and six if you hit it over the boundary in the air.

Anyway, Australia was well in the lead. England had lost six men out of eleven and were batting. The commentators said that the last four of England’s batsmen had either suffered injuries or not done well in previous test matches. It looked very bleak!

I listened and was enthralled. There were missed catches and the Australians were trying hard, bouncing the ball high and hurting the batsmen (cricket balls are very hard). Lots of calls for leg before wicket (the batsman has his leg in the way and stops the bales being knocked off). Slowly the score crept up, three batsmen were caught or given LBW. (leg before wicket). I couldn’t sleep, this was too exciting! There were two batsmen left. Each round of bowling is called an over (where six balls are bowled) the last two overs came up. The first batsman tried to hit some runs so he could get to the other end and take the strike for the last over, if he did the last batsman would not have to play. But the Australians managed to stop him and the final over started with England’s last batsman waiting to be bowled at or bowled out! They couldn’t win but if he didn’t get knocked out they would have a draw.

Six balls. One after the other. It was radio so I couldn’t see what was going on, I could only listen to the commentary. Five balls to go, the daylight was going, the floodlights were on. Four balls, my heart was thumping. The batsman (Anderson) calmly prodded the ball away. Three balls. If the batsman tried to hit the ball the fielders (the rest of the Australian team) might catch the ball and get England out. Two more chances, the batsmen again stopped the ball. This was the last ball coming up. Australia had to dismiss the batsman to win. The bowler ran up, pitched the ball at the batsman and…. The batsman carefully pushed the ball away (I didn’t actually listen to what he did, I was too busy jumping up and down!) He ended the match safely not out. England drew the fourth test! Not a win, but a hell of a lot better than the previous three tests. The next text match is starting in Hobart, Australia on Friday. I’m expecting at least another sleepless night.

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