While much of the Northern hemisphere rugs up for their Christmas feast, here in Australia it’s summer – sun, beach and cricket.
Our Christmas day was spent with the air con on! Following an unusually wet December Christmas day was hot and sunny and a great day spent in the backyard.
But it’s boxing day that is a favourite for many Aussies, not always the Aussie wives though! On boxing day begins the Melbourne cricket test.
The game aptly named test cricket.
I’m not sure how well you know the sport of cricket but a test can go for up to 5 days and still produce no result … and the fans love it!
With 11 players on each side, cricket is played on a large oval. One team bats while the other bowls and fields.
A small baseball sized hard leather ball is hurtled down a pitch at up to 160 km per hour (100 miles) and tries to hit three small wooden pegs (wickets). In a 8 whole day it’s quite feasible not to hit the wickets once.
The batters, one at each end of the pitch, aim to hit the ball to score runs and if it makes it to the boundary it’s 4 runs or 6 if it’s over on the full.
A little like baseball, there are 4 innings. The team bats until 10 batters are out and then changes to bowling. Then once they get there opponents out swap for another turn.
As said, this process can go on for up to 5 days.
Like many sports, it’s the stats that keep it interesting … batting averages, strike rates, fastest, highest, longest, most.
The Boxing Day Test
The boxing day test in Melbourne is one of the pinnacles of Australia’s sporting calendar – coinciding with another major event, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Literally thousands of families throughout Australia are glued to their TV’s for hours watching on boxing day.
This year it’s Australia against India – and it’s been riveting! An on field rivalry between nations has added to the spectacle plus the anticipation of Tendulkar scoring his 100th ton. That’s 100 runs 100 times – a feat never before achieved and he’s one off.
For many the thing that truly makes a test is the commentary – with a choice of TV or radio – and I have to admit the ABC Grandstand commentary is my choice – with Jim Maxwell, Kerry O’Keeffe and many more entertaining us for hours.
With the test kicking off in minutes, I just recommend you check it out – skill, tactics, strategy, patience – a test is aptly named for it tests the endurance of bowlers, the patience of batters, and, of course, the viewers.