Monday, 14 December 2009

Pointless warm-up matches, part 1

A good friend of mine is confused. He knows his cricket, yet he, like me, is struggling to understand what's going on in England's warm-up games in South Africa.

Of course, a two-day match is ridiculous. That's obvious. Number one, unless you're playing on a pitch teleported from 1892, the simple truth is that two days isn't long enough for four innings. Number two, a two-day match cannot have first-class status.

But then, during the first match against a South African Invitational XI, it dawned on me - these matches will be one innings per side! Maybe this isn't as ridiculous as it seems. It even got quite exciting at the end, as Swann took six wickets and England finished three wickets short of an excellent victory.

And then what happens? In the second match, England bowl out the South African Invitational XI for 263, 54 runs short of England's total, and yet the game finishes early as a draw, by "captains' agreement". So it was two innings a side, after all.

I feel cheated. Have I and my friend missed something here?

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