November 20, 2004


Glenn McGrath is closing in on a Test 50.

UPDATE. He's done it: 52 not out off 63 balls, five fours, one six. First Test 50 in 102 matches. Partnership with Jason Gillespie (43 not out) worth 90 runs.

UPDATE II. Michael Clarke: "To see Glenn McGrath make his first Test 50, that's close to the best thing I've ever seen in cricket."

UPDATE III. Alex Brown: "The Australian players stood as one when McGrath passed 40 for the first time in his 102-Test career."

UPDATE IV. Chloe Saltau: "Earlier, their mouths had dropped open with disbelief when McGrath leaned down on one knee and cleanly whacked the best left-arm spinner in the world, Daniel Vettori, for six over mid-wicket."

UPDATE V. Michael Crutcher: "He was greeted like a double-century maker by disbelieving teammates who formed a guard of honour while the Kiwis walked off stone-faced and wondering what had happened to the Test. Incredibly, the moment wasn't seen in McGrath's home town of Sydney as Channel Nine left the cricket to go to its news coverage."

UPDATE VI. Century partnership; Gillespie reaches his first Test 50; McGrath moves on to 61, and the third-highest score by a number 11.

UPDATE VII. It's all over -- McGrath caught on 64.

UPDATE VIII. Australia's greatest all-rounder takes a wicket in his first over. Can nothing stop this Narromine juggernaut?

UPDATE IX. McGrath has removed the second NZ opener, Mathew Sinclair, in his second over.

UPDATE X. Stephen Fleming, caught Langer, bowled McGrath: 11. McGrath has 3 for 8 off 4.2 overs.

Posted by Tim Blair at November 20, 2004 04:36 PM

Mark Waugh owes Warnie fifty bucks!

Posted by: wooza at November 20, 2004 at 05:17 PM

To put this in context for US readers, this is about as probable as Chirac apologising to the US or something...

I never seen the big fella so happy.

Posted by: Scott at November 20, 2004 at 05:47 PM

What if he matches Harold Larwood and makes 98!?

Posted by: Rafe Champion at November 20, 2004 at 06:31 PM

Watched this eagerly until Channel Nein pulled the plug - at least they didn't dump it for "The Price Is Right" this time. You could see the blood drain from the Kiwis' faces during this partnership.

Hoo Hah!

Posted by: Craig Mc at November 20, 2004 at 07:26 PM


I think Junior owes Warney 5 large. As I understand it, it was for a grand AT 5 to 1.

I hope the Pidgeon gets a cut.

It was the best last hour I've seen however ch9 want fucking for cutting it short, they should have shortened the news particularly as they wasted a couple of minutes on the village idiot Mulhearn.

I couldn't give a flying fuck that shes off to Iraq and its got me fucked how it is newsworthy. I wanted to see the great man carving up the hapless Kiwis.

Posted by: Nuffy at November 20, 2004 at 08:25 PM

Blair you bastard. I've just woken up after watching the first hour of the Test before I went to bed and am now waiting until 2 pm to watch the very good three-hour highlights package on Sky Sports, and have been assiduously avoiding the sports news (and sporty blogs like After Grog Blogs) so I don't hear any mention of the current score.

(But perhaps this is all just wind-up. McGrath getting a 50? Tell him he's dreamin').

Posted by: Scott Campbell at Blithering Bunny at November 20, 2004 at 09:05 PM

I do believe that Glenn McGrath has about 90 big white teeth in his head.

I'd need Hawkeye to confirm that though.

Great effort, and it wasn't a "slog and hope" innings either, there were some exceptionally well played shots.

Posted by: Pedro the Ignorant at November 20, 2004 at 09:31 PM

ref: "Tell him he's dreamin'"

"This is going straight to the pool room"

Posted by: Trojan at November 21, 2004 at 01:35 AM

So he really did it. And he's in the batting history books for the record tenth wicket partnership against NZ! The Pigeon can die happy now.

Posted by: Scott Campbell at Blithering Bunny at November 21, 2004 at 02:59 AM

I'm sorry, forgive me for having to ask this, but... why is this big news? Is Glenn McGrath the Best Player Never To Have Gone For 50? A long-lasting player, about to retire, and this just puts a topper on the career? A important match against a long-hated rival?

Us Northies need to know!

Posted by: Wonderduck at November 21, 2004 at 04:16 AM

Laugh it up while you can Aussies! Lets see if McGrath can repeat this in his second innings because he will need to.

Posted by: J. F Kerry at November 21, 2004 at 07:03 AM

The way he's going Kerry we wont need a second innings

Posted by: abdul at November 21, 2004 at 07:27 AM

You know, I'd probably really excited if I had even the slightest clue What-The-Hell you were talking about. Next time, try using English.


Posted by: JorgXMcKie at November 21, 2004 at 07:38 AM

JorgXMcKie - I know, it's like some sort of elaborate code. Didn't they used to do that in WWII - broadcast seemingly random sentences which actually had some military/spy-related meaning? Maybe "52 not out off 63 balls, five fours, one six" actually means "52 of 63 terrorist corpses in local mosque are trip-wired, do not approach, fire at will."

Posted by: Sonetka at November 21, 2004 at 08:01 AM

Wonderduck, here's the explanation: in cricket, unlike baseball, you can't have one team of pitchers and another team of batters. You have 11 men on your team, and that's all you have, no substitutions allowed (except to field, but that's another story). So you include some players who are very good at batting and not much good at bowling (~= pitching), and some who are very good at bowling but not much good at batting, as well as some who are good at both (but usually not spectacular at either). You send out your good batsmen to score the runs you need, and when they're all gone you start send out the bowlers, in decreasing order of batting skill. The guy who bats at #11, meaning that you don't send him out to bat until there's literally nobody else available, is the guy who you hope will at least survive for a little while, and if he actually scores a few runs then you're happy for him. These players are known as 'tail enders', or 'bunnies'.

McGrath bats at #11; for him to make 64 runs is practically unheard of, which is why it's such a big deal.

Posted by: Zev Sero at November 21, 2004 at 01:04 PM

Aha! Kinda like a "good glove, no bat" shortstop hitting three home runs and stealing a couple of bases to boot. Miracles do occur!

Very cool indeed, then. Thanks, Zev Sero, much appreciated!

Posted by: Wonderduck at November 21, 2004 at 03:05 PM


Weird, ain't it?

Years ago I dated a wonderful woman from Adelaide.

She hated cricket, but her brother and father were fanatics.

I tried, I really tried, to understand cricket by listening to the BBC reports, reading about it on-line, and even read some cricket fan-mags.

What I learned is that even if you get to understand the lingo and how cricket is played, there is no way to appreciate the game unless you grow up with it, watch it, live it.

Cricket is a cult. Cricket is History. Cricket it Life. Cricket is a total Mystery.


Posted by: MeTooThen at November 21, 2004 at 03:34 PM

"Earlier, their mouths had dropped open with disbelief when McGrath leaned down on one knee and cleanly whacked the best left-arm spinner in the world, Daniel Vettori, for six over mid-wicket."

To those of us in Dumbfuckistan, this kind of activity is best left behind closed doors among consenting adults.

Posted by: equitus at November 21, 2004 at 03:42 PM

If you're hitting three home runs, when are you going to be on base to steal, much less twice?

Posted by: Vexorg at November 21, 2004 at 06:12 PM

Vexorg - maybe it's one of those games where one team blows it wide open and everyone ends up with six at-bats for the day.

Posted by: Sonetka at November 22, 2004 at 06:37 AM

I understand Rollerball better than I understand cricket.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at November 22, 2004 at 03:27 PM

Attn Wonderduck et al...

To put Glen Mcgrath's innings into contect you need to look at what he has done so far.

In 115 innings (completed at-bats if you like) he had scored 477 runs, so to score a 61 means that he has added more than 12% to his run totals in one dig. That by any measurement is very impressive.

By comparing that to a recognised batsman, I guess it seems pretty lame, but he most definitely not one of those. Having said that, he has spent a long time in the practice nets, so this achievements surely rates up there for someone playing out of their skin.

Posted by: Fat_Pat at November 22, 2004 at 05:55 PM