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Subject: A Six Test Series ... Austraila v England ... Introduction rss

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Darren Edwards
United Kingdom
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The following report is part of a new series of matches being played using Minden Playing Card Cricket - 5th Edition. I will keep these up to date on BGG, Delphi and on the official site.

The game is being played to demonstrate to readers the features of the Minden Cricket game system, as well as some of the new Advanced Player card sets - oh, and I'm also playing it just for fun because I like playing the game :-)

The sets being used are the Australian and England Decade Set - the 2000s. This contains players who played four or more Test matches for each side and ended their career during the 2000s. In addition, cards from annual set, 2009/10 which comes with the Core Game, are also being used.

The series is a six match Test Series with the first three matches being played in Australia (Melbourne, Sydney and Perth) with the second set of three being played in England (Lord's, Trent Bridge and the Oval). If the series is tied after six Tests a decider will be played in England at Lord's, the home of cricket.

The games will be played using all Basic, Advanced and Optional rules. Key optional rules include Batting and Bowling form (which enable the ratings of player's to change over the course of the series depending on their performance) and the injury rules (including a new supplement to help provide more detail than the current rules). The form rules will only come into effect after each game, rather than each Innings as stated in the official rules.

In addition, Random Pitch charts will be developed for each ground and game. I may even develop some new Pitch Cards, but will see how I go as I go along. Any new pitch cards or rules will remain "unofficial". Finally, weather will be determined using the Minden Weather system, with initial weather being set at the start of the Test based on typical weather patterns, and then made random from the first morning using the existing system.

There will be probably be other tweaks here and there, but for now, it's time to get on with the series…
The First Test
December 26, 20xx
Melbourne Cricket Ground

It's been a scorcher of a summer so far in Melbourne, so clear days and extreme heat look to be the order of the day. Day one starts off Hot with a forecast for it being Very Hot later. This means I will draw a card using the Weather Table to see if it gets Very Hot from session two on day one, and will roll a 2d6 on the "Warmer Waether" column of the Subsequent Day's Weather Chart.

Pitch Condition
The following Random Pitch Chart is in play, utilising various Pitch cards supplied with the core game. I will roll 2d6 to record any increases in the Pitch Deterioration number, which is the game mechanism that sees the pitch behaviour change over the course of the game.

PDN Pitch Card to Use
0 - 2 Dry Pitch
3 - 4 Hard & Bouncy
5 Good Batting
6 Flat Track
7 - 9 Fair Wicket
10 - 15 Taking Spin
16+ Crazy Wicket

There's something in it for the bowler's early, especially the quicks. By late on day one or early day two the pitch should settle and be a decent batting track for a few days before starting to dry out and take spin. There's a chance by day five the wicket will be a spinner's paradise, so winning the toss will be a decision as to weather to bat first and weather the early storm so your spinner's can have a crack at the opposition should the game go to day five, or bowl first and see if you can't decimate the opposition in the first two sessions of the game.

The teams are:

Australia: Hayden, Langer, Ponting, S Waugh, M Clarke, Gilchrist, Lee, Warne, Gillespie, SR Clarke and McGrath. 12th Man: MacGill.
England: Strauss, Cook, Vaughan, Bell, Pietersen, Flintoff, Swann, Gough, Harmison and Jones. 12th Man: Thorpe.

Selection notes:

The Australian side spans the great teams of the 2000s, with SR Clarke really the only johnny come lately. The most unlucky spinner of modern times, MacGill, gets the 12th man gig, but short of injury and a super spin friendly pitch, I can't see him getting a game. England is very much of the 2005 and after variety, with just Darren Gough thrown in as a nod to the others who made up the numbers during the 2000s. Perhaps only Nassar Hussain is the only one who should have been there and isn't (although Stewart, Trescothick and others might have made the grade …. oh well, the pain of cricket teams made up of just 11 players!).

Onto the first test …

Day 1

Australia win the toss and choose to bat. Hayden and Langer make short work of the new ball, racing to 0-89 in a chanceless 17 overs. By the time Jones and Harmison are replaced by Gough and Flintoff both batsmen are well settled. Gough's first over is a maiden with one or two chances, followed by Flintoff who takes a wicket first ball! It's Langer and he heads back to the sheds with a disappointing 38 to his name. Flintoff's wicket sets off a mini collapse as Gough picks up both Ponting and Waugh cheaply. At lunch the Aussies are 3-117 with Hayden on an unbeaten 71 and looking very solid, and 'Pup' Clarke yet to get off the mark.

Lunch - Day 1 - Australia is 3-117.

After lunch Harmison comes on to see if he can get anything out of the Kookaburra. After a few overs of toil he strikes with an excellent ball, bowling Hayden for 82 (just one short of the dreaded 83!). Swann comes on for a short spell but is spanked around the park before Harmison picks up the wicket of Clarke. Around the 40 over mark Flintoff and Jones come back on to see if they can get some reverse swing from the ball.

Jones manages to extract some reverse swing and picks up two quick wickets, with Lee and Warne out in the same over. Lee was starting to settle playing careful, defensive cricket and was unlucky to be caught behind by a smart ball from Jones who is looking dangerous indeed. Warne came out with a swagger but was never a chance against an aggressive Jones as he edged one to the single slip and Flintoff took a safe catch.

As the ball begins to get scuffed up Swann comes on but Gilchrist and Gillespie manage to steer Australia safely to tea with the score at 7-206. The pitch is starting to flatten out a little which is good for the batsman, but its behaviour looks to be the same throughout the day. And while the weather has been hot the bowlers will be happy is hasn't gone any higher than the low 30s as much hotter weather was forecast.

Tea - Day 1 - Australia 7-206

The final session of the day is enlivened by a brutal Gilchrist innings, where he puts on a very lively 60 to reach his century with Gillespie holding up the other end for a solid 10 before being bowled by Harmison the over before England take the new ball.

The new ball is taken and Flintoff and Harmison have a crack. Harmison however is wayward, and his place is soon taken by Gough.

While it would be generous to say the tail wagged, it did manage to stay waggle long enough for Gilchrist to add another 30 runs for the last three wickets. However the new ball took its toll with Flintoff wrapping up proceedings neatly before the end of the first day with Australia all out for 309 on a pitch not overly friendly for batsmen. At 7-176 at just after three in the afternoon Australia can thank Gilchrist for a powerful, quick scoring 128 to give them a good first innings total.

Day 2, England prepare to bat.

Day two is as hot as the day before, and the first two sessions are two that England would prefer to forget. If this is any indication of what's to come over the next five Tests, then they are in for a torid time indeed.

With the pitch becoming more batting friendly, the first 40 minutes see Strauss and Cook eek out a slow, careful, defensive 18 runs before disaster strikes. McGrath picks up ihis first wicket, as Strauss nicks one to Gilchrist for a meager 10. Vaughan follows soon after with a paltry two, Bell goes for a duck, and Pietersen starts his campaign with just one run, bowled by the energetic Lee.

England limp to lunch with Australia bowling at a slow but deadly rate with only 23 overs in the morning session.

Lunch - Day 2 - England 4-22

As the weather heads towards 40 degrees, the heat starts to take its toll on the bowlers. Australia keep their pace men on in short bursts of six overs each, and the quick first spells seem to work wonders as wickets continue to fall. Warne steps in with a cameo to get the prize wicket of Flintoff (again, a duck) and England at 7 for 39 have all the makings of a monumental disaster on their hands.

Enter Graham Swann.

While he could do nothing with the ball, Swann saves England's blushes with the bat and manages to protect the tail long enough to nurdle England to just enough runs to avoid the follow on.

The ball before tea sees the innings wrapped up with Swann cruelly caught behind by Gilchrist off Lee's bowling for 49.

England trundle off the ground for tea and the prospect of trying to keep Australia to a reasonably low total. The chances of them being able to win or draw are slim, but with over three days still to play, who knows. Cricket, as they say, is a funny old game!
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Darren Edwards
United Kingdom
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When we last met England was all out for 109 at tea on Day Two, having just made enough runs to avoid the follow on. During the afternoon the weather had gotten Very Hot and the pitch had stabilised enough to be a fairly good batting track.

The Australians lost an early wicket with Hayden out for 4 to a corker from Jones, with Ponting following a few runs later for just 20, a score marginally better than his first Innings score.

Day 3 - Australia is 2-62. 262 runs ahead of England. Forecast is showers.

A grim day indeed for England. Australia were a batting tour de force, with everyone getting a start and some building substantial scores. While England got some hope early on by picking up Langer for 38 (the same as his first innings score!), they were disappointed Waugh didn't give a pair, instead following up his first innings duck to end the day not out on 74.

The real revelation of the day was Adam Gilchrist, who came in to bat around 2.40 following Clarke's dismissal from a Swann ball just after making his half century. With Australia already 379 runs ahead Gilchrist was obviously given license to play a Free Swining innings.

Despite a few light showers holding up play for 30 minutes Gilchrist was poised at 98 before bad light stopped play due to overhead clouds at around 5.30.

So day three ended with Australia in a commanding position at 4-307 with two days to play and no hope for England.

Day 4 - Austrlaia is 4-307. England are 507 runs behind. It's grim. Forecast showers.

Gilchrist started the day as he left off on day 3 ... hitting out with an aggression that has characterised his career. Despite the best efforts of Gough and Swann, he quickly turned his 98 into a commanding 136 before finally falling caught behind to Swann. All this in just 16 minutes of play.

And with that, Ponting declared, leaving Waugh not out on 88 and Australia 554 runs ahead.

The bowlers all took a pasting, with Harmison the workhorse with figures of 28-8-109, and Swann the best of the bowlers with three wickets for 70 runs.

For England, the task looks hopeless as they head back to the sheds to get ready for some batting.
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Bosco Szeto
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that's the end of it?
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