Devon Malcolm v South Africa, 9-57 – ten great bowling performances

The story goes that while batting against South Africa at the Oval in 1994, Devon Malcolm was hit on the head by a bouncer. “Right,” he said. “You guys are history”.

This story came about because somebody asked Devon something like: “So, Devon, you took 9-57. It was an amazing performance. Did it have anything to do with being hit on the head while batting? Did you say: ‘You guys are history’?”

Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it’s certainly one of those romantic stories where a player’s spurred into great deeds by some specific incident that probably isn’t true. Whatever the case, Devon Malcolm knocked seven shades of something out of South Africa’s long batting line-up in a series of high-paced three over bursts. It was proper fast bowling.

10 Great Bowling Performances.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

We missed some hundreds - Mark Ramprakash's primarily

That crept up on us. We try on top of things, but a whole load of stuff happened while we weren't looking. Mostly Mark Ramprakash happened.

We were checking the Surrey score quite frequently because we were monitoring Mark Butcher's score. That sounds a bit pompous - we were evading work and staring at scorecards. Anyway, Mark Ramprakash is on 276 not out. We could tell you all about Mark Ramprakash but we'll agree some shared knowledge here: gifted, under-performing at Test level, maybe a bit highly-strung. We don't like highly-strung people. They start to make us feel edgy. They must be overly-worried and panicking for a reason right?

Secondly, Andrew Strauss is on an unbeaten hundred after failing in the first innings and Ian Bell's on 72 not out while we're basking in England batsmen's good form.

Finally, Matt Prior hit 124. Matt Prior's one of our all-too-frequently appearing Ones To Watch. We can't be bothered copying the link in again. It's in the sidebar on the left if you've never been here before. He was batting at seven though. We're not sure about that. He makes a great number seven, don't get us wrong. He's quick-scoring and he WILL bat there for England one day. But seven for England is a world of difference from seven for Sussex. Maybe he kept getting caught in the toilet every time it was his turn to bat. That's what it must have been.

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Friday, July 06, 2012

Mark Ramprakash was never going to be a great Test cricketer. Steve Waugh was.

Mark Ramprakash eventually fell short of a triple century last week, but it was still a whopping innings and journalists up and down the land dusted off their ‘Ramprakash could have been an England Great’ stories. Well we’ve had it. Mark Ramprakash couldn’t have been one of England’s Greats. How do we know that? Because he wasn’t one. It stands to reason.

That’s simplistic (not for the first time). Given better support by selectors and management Mark Ramprakash could have been a better Test player, but not a great one. It’s indicative of an ‘if only’ mentality which has no place in top level sport. The ingredients of a Test class batsmen aren’t just technique and timing. More than either of those it’s mentality and determination.

Take Steve and Mark Waugh. Mark had all the shots (and then some). On his day he made batting look easier than sighing at your own worthlessness. Steve on the other hand looked borderline ugly at the crease. Who was the better batsman? It was Steve, unquestionably. He scored more runs at a greater average and inevitably scored them when they were most needed. He made no excuses and he made sure he made the most of every opportunity.

Steve didn’t need the support of anyone because he made bloody certain that everyone else needed him. People say that he made the most of what he had, which is tantamount to patronising him. In reality, making the most of what you have is an absolute necessity as an international batsman.

To say: ‘If only Ramprakash had made more of what he had, because he had the talent,’ is akin to saying: ‘If only Matthew Hoggard had more natural batting talent, because he makes the most of what he has’. Mark Ramprakash made the least of what he had. He wasn’t an underachiever. What happened in Mark Ramprakash’s Test career happened for a reason.

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We're sorry Mark Ramprakash

Mark Ramprakash yesterday hit is thirty-third hundred of the week. We bad-mouthed Mark Ramprakash in the post that's linked through his name. We were a little unfair. He's a really good batsman.

Sorry Mark. We were probably just having a bad day. Probably our boss threatened to break our kneecaps again and we impotently took it out on you.

We didn't 'impotently take it out' in the sense that some of you are thinking. Sure, Mark's a looker. But no - we don't do that sort of thing.


What's with Mark Ramprakash?

When did Mark Ramprakash become Don Bradman exactly? He's always been one of the very best county players, but this season he's pushing the Envelope of Batsmanship.

We first started paying special attention to the boy when he got behind the Envelope of Batsmanship and gave it a hefty shove with what eventually became 292. In response to this mammoth innings of unparalleled perfection, we slagged him off a bit. Then we apologised. Now the stupid bugger's only making a second triple hundred attempt. He's 279 not out as we write. What drives him?

We just don't know what to think. We're resolutely against his getting selected for England: He's old and had his chance. But just look what he keeps doing. He was averaging 94.81 in the county championship before this match, so he's clearly going to top 100. This is his seventh hundred. It's just... just...

Do we wish we were Mark Ramprakash? Is that what this is? Are we besotted with Mark Ramprakash as a result of his magnificent form, while simultaneously kidding ourself that we hold him in no regard whatsoever. We are a bit mental, so it could be that.

Update: He made it. He reached 301 not out and then Surrey declared.


Mark Ramprakash Bradmans it up again

Mark Ramprakash has aided his pushing of the Envelope of Batsmanship by affixing wheels to the Envelope of Batsmanship. He's also found a hill down which to push it.

In short, he's scored yet another hundred. How about we start telling you all when Mark Ramprakash DOESN'T hit a hundred?

Hope you all appreciate the coining of the verb 'to Bradman' which means to score hundred after hundred after hundred after hundred... A while ago we coined the phrase 'innocuoso' - it's really not caught on.


Mark Ramprakash passes 2,000 runs

Mark Ramprakash yesterday passed 2,000 runs. That's 2,000 first-class runs. And that's this season alone. Some players barely make that in a career. We're increasingly sceptical that we're going to make it, if we're honest.

Cricket writers always cite instances where a batsman has passed 1,000 runs for the season or whatever. Most of us don't have a clue what that means or how significant that is. We can put Mark Ramprakash's achievement into context to a degree.

Mark Ramprakash has, at the time of writing, hit 2,044 runs at 113.55. That's a big average for one thing, but we're concentrating on runs scored. The second highest run-scorer in first-class cricket is South African, H D Ackerman, who's hit 1,490 runs at 70.95. Then it's John Crawley, 1,411 at 67.19; then Murray Goodwin, 1,376 at 62.54; Andy Flower, 1,361 at 75.61 and Darren Lehmann, 1,272 at 70.66.

Basically, there's a fairly steady stream of run totals until you get to second place and then there's a gigantic jump to Mark Ramprakash. That's how well he's played this season: About a third better than anyone else.

Maybe he really wanted Galvatron (pictured) and his dad said he'd get him Galvatron if Mark could make 2,000 first-class runs this season. Mark's dad would have said this deliberately being certain that Mark would never manage to hit 2,000 first-class runs this season. Well the joke's on you, Mr Ramprakash. You're going to have to fork out for a sweet Transformer now. Well done Mark. Next year you should try for Grimlock.

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