Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

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Sports Natter

It's a good week to be a fan of sports in Australia, although not necessarily of Australians in sport.

In Perth, Australia take the field today on day four of the third Test against India, needing to score 348 more runs to win the match and break the record for continuous test victories by earning their 17th straight win. (As Cheryl pointed out a few days ago, this is an even more impressive sporting achievement than an NFL team running the table.) They have two full days left in the match to do it, and eight wickets in hand. (In American, that would mean there are eight outs left.) If they manage it, it will apparently be the second biggest run chase in Test history. I don't think they can manage it, but then, what do I actually know about cricket?

Meanwhile, across the country in Melbourne, there is some really great tennis being played. By dint of recording the replay of the last hour of the match so I could go get a walk after lunch, I got to see the end of the amazing Australian Open match between Andy Roddick and Philipp Kohlschreiber. I've never played tennis, and I almost never follow it except for the grand slams, and even then only if the timing works out for me to watch them as it does the Australian Open, but this was an incredible match. There were only three breaks of service in the entire match, and it went the distance. The Australian Open, like all of the grand slams except the US Open, doesn't play a tie-breaker in a decisive set, so eventually someone had to lose their serve in order to get a result.

And speaking of the US Open, I had noticed from the first I tuned in to Australia that something was different. The courts had changed color. Australia's courts had always been green, and now they were blue like the US Open. I see that Australia tore out the Rebound Ace surface they'd been using for many years and replaced it with Plexicushion. Apparently the old surface was relatively disliked by players, and the new one is perceived as an improvement, from what little I've read about it. On the other hand, as stated in the Plexicusion article on Wikipedia, the new surface is reported very similar to that used at the US Open, and it means that the Australian Open has discarded an Australian-made surface for an American one. I really don't know much about tennis, but I rather liked the fact that all four grand slams had different types of surfaces, joining the clay courts of the French Open and the grass courts of Wimbledon.

Anyway, my sports overload continues into the weekend, with the NFL conference championships as well as more tennis and -- assuming Australia stays alive in Perth -- the final day of the third Test.

Watching all of the Australian sports coverage makes me wish I was Down Under myself, but I'm not sure whether I'd rather be in Perth or Melbourne. Maybe Perth this week for the cricket and then Melbourne for the rest of the tennis.

Edit, 20:45: Corrected the number of runs they need to score. The total chase is 413, but they scored 65 runs yesterday afternoon.
Tags: cricket, tennis

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