World of Cricket: Superstar stumper Marsh no more

Rod Marsh suffered a heart attack in Queensland and spent the last few days in an induced coma at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Australian cricketer Rodney Marsh held the record for the most dismissals (355) by a stumper in Test cricket for 14 years since his retirement in 1984.   -  Getty Images

Caught Marsh, bowled Lillee — the phrase sums up the career of Australian great Rod Marsh, who passed away at 74.

He suffered a heart attack in Queensland and spent the last few days in an induced coma at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The wicketkeeper-batter, who kept to lethal fast bowlers such as Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson, held the record for the most dismissals (355) by a stumper in Test cricket for 14 years since his retirement in 1984; Ian Healy (395) surpassed him in 1998. Later, Adam Gilchrist (416) and South African Mark Boucher (555) created new records.

Marsh flew behind the stumps to pluck catches from the slip cordon. He batted with a lot of intensity and had even hammered Lance Cairns for 22 runs in an over.

He would sledge from behind his walrus-moustache, drink plenty of beer and keep wickets with aplomb. But he was a fair cricketer. He was the one who did not support Trevor Chappell bowling an underarm delivery to ensure victory in an ODI against New Zealand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in 1981.

Tame draw on a dead pitch

Australia’s return to Pakistan for a Test series after 24 years began with a lifeless draw in Rawalpindi. The International Cricket Council rated the surface as “below average”.

The match saw 1,187 runs with the loss of only 14 wickets. Imam-u-Haq scored two centuries (157 and 111 not out) in two innings. Azhar Ali (185) and Abdullah Shafique (136), too, piled centuries as Pakistan recorded 476/4 and 252/0 in its two essays.

David Warner (68), Usman Khawaja (97), Marnus Labuschagne (90) and Steve Smith (78) hit vital fifties to lift Australia to 459.

Pakistan’s left-arm spinner Nauman Ali was the only bowler who returned handsome figures of 6/107.

Pakistan's Imam-ul-Haq walks back to pavilion after his dismissal for 157 runs during the second day of play of the first Test cricket match between Pakistan and Australia.   -  AFP

 

The venue received one demerit point for the pitch.

“The character of the pitch hardly changed over the course of five days. There has been no deterioration apart from the bounce getting slightly lower. In my view, this does not represent an even contest between bat and ball. In keeping with the ICC guidelines I rate this pitch as below average,” match referee Ranjan Madugalle said in his report.

Australia interested to host India, Pakistan

It has been a while since the last triangular series in ODI cricket. Cricket Australia is mulling over the revival of the tri-series format that hibernated in the age of T20 cricket.

Pakistan Cricket Board chief Ramiz Raja had proposed an annual four-nation T20 series with India, Australia and England. Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley said the board had not discussed that proposal but were open to hosting a tri-series.

Pakistan and India meet only in ICC-sanctioned events due to strained relations between the countries. The last bilateral fixture was in 2012 when India hosted Pakistan for white-ball games.

“I like the tri-series concept. It’s worked well in the past,” he told reporters in Rawalpindi, where Australia and Pakistan drew the first Test in their three-match series.

“We’d be very open to hosting... matches. There are big communities of both India and Pakistan living in Australia. It’s a contest that everyone wants to see in world cricket, and if we can help support further opportunities we would love to do that,” he said.

Zak Crawley turns the tide in Antigua

The English cricket team would not like to remember 2021. In eight of the 15 Tests that year, the top five had collapsed for 67 runs or fewer.

The script went according to West Indies’ plan in the first Test against England at North Sound, Antigua this fortnight. It had a healthy lead of 64 after the first two innings ; West Indies 375, England 311.

When Kemar Roach trapped opener Alex Lees in front of his stumps at 24/1 in the third innings there was no expectation of an England fightback, but Zak Crawley had plans. The right-handed batter reached the three-figure mark ever since the 267 against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl in 2020.

Crawley pushed his average above 30 and hit 16 boundaries for an unbeaten 117 off 200 balls. He stitched an unbroken partnership of 193 off 324 balls with skipper Joe Root (84 not out) as the tourist ended the day with a lead of 82.

The Test ended in a draw.

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