Sri Lanka Makes Eight

Welcome, Sri Lanka, the eighth test side,
Let’s see what you bring to the the game,
A team of De Silvas, of Mendis, de Mel,
Of soon to be world renowned names.

An early stumble, and fight back too,
Day one ended pretty much level,
But England looked brighter the following day
(Until De Mel took three off just seven)

Collapses kept coming, or mini collapses,
The spinners had only to wait,
Emburey, Underwood, slicing Sri Lanka,
Taking seven wickets for eight.

Needing 171, and soon Cook was gone,
Tavare and Gooch built an innings,
Then Gower took over and guided them home,
They were playing, Sri Lanka, not winning.

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Test 920 – Botham and Dev

Ian Botham, as you know, can bat as well as bowl,
Approaches those two differently, with freedom or control,
Made 142 off 214, and ace from in the hole,
As England posted 378, a decent looking goal.

By contrast came, then, Kapil Dev, who was anything but dour,
His hundred came off eighty-three, a swinging, stinging power,
He might have made a hundred more, if he’d stayed another hour,
Instead he picked out Dilley’s hands, a first test scalp for Gower.

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Test 919 – Day Five at Adelaide

236 at Adelaide, it can be quite a lot,
West Indies needed that to win (eventually they got),
The lost one early, Thomson struck, and were seven for one at lunch,
But Richards and Greenidge are two that you want to be there when it comes to the crunch.

Both made fifty, both got out, the battle then half won,
The Clive Lloyd smashed it round a bit, Australia were done.

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Test 918 – Viswanath and Sharma

Viswanath and Sharma,
The second day,
A flow of runs, a river of shots,
Of guides, of dabs, of pushes, of flicks,
All beautifully middled or flown off the wrist,

And the total grows, as it does,
Pulling India away,
A pitch with nothing, though Willis found bounce,
And both sides found it easy to score,
The fourth time in a row they had played out a draw.

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Test 917 – Yardley’s Seven

179 for three and Gomes and Lloyd both set,
Then nobody is banking on Bruce Yardley quite yet.

He gets Gomes, Lloyd, Murray, Holding, Clarking, Dujon and Garner,
All out for only two five five, West Indies had no armour.

Seven wickets! Seven down off thirty seven balls,
Off breaks of the highest standard, beating one and all.

Australia batted long and well, and finished 200 for four,
A memorable match for Dyson, instrumental in the draw.

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Test 916 – Drawing a Line Under Geoff

A new year brings a new start. Instead of the formal heading of test information at the top of the poem, everything will be in the header image, and just the poem in the text. I’ll see how that goes, but it shouldn’t be a huge change.

In India, you need to bat,
And bat for hours to win,
With dust and heat and fog to test
You, every single thing.

You need a temperament to suit,
A patient self-control,
A will to make the ball your own,
Whoever deigns to bowl.

In short you need Geoff Boycott’s
singular burning drive,
To score runs and not lose wickets,
Amass and stay alive.

That came to a head in Kolkata,
In another stifled draw,
With Gooch and then Keith Fletcher –
Not Boycott to the fore.

He may have said ‘fore’ on the golf course,
In the round to regather his health,
But he flew home to England unwanted,
Though no doubt still sure of himself.

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Dennis Lillee on Boxing Day

Test 915 – Australia v. West Indies at Melbourne, December 26-30th, 1981.
Australia win by 58 runs.

“Lillee! Lillee! Lillee! Kill! Kill! Kill!”
Give Dennis a lively Melbourne track,
And Lillee bloody will.

He’ll take down that Viv Richards,
He’ll take down Colin Croft,
He’ll take the Windies half apart,
And make their batting soft.

They still outscore Australia,
For whom Kim Hughes had starred,
But getting up to 2-0-1,
Had left West Indies scarred.

Holding’s always brilliant,
His fearsome seaming sprayed,
But for once the team of superstars,
Were just about out-played.

There was a fitting ending,
As Windies fell away,
An apt, as he was record holder,
Period of play.

Roberts, Garner, Holding,
Three batsmen (if you will),
By Lillee! Lillee! Lillee!
Killed, killed, killed.

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