Cricket Classic: Mike Brearley, Faf Du Plessis, Demis Roussos, Kurt Tippett, Paul Kelly’s ‘Careless’ and Trudy Kelly’s cakes

Second Test – Day 3

Who will win the Second Test?

Will we get a result in this Test or will it peter out to a draw? Should the Federal Government’s Infrastructure Fund hire the curators at Brisbane and the Adelaide Oval to oversee the nation’s key road projects?

Does Michael Clarke regret any of his tattoo choices? Lara Bingle? Will Lara Bingle find credibility1? In terms of credibility is a past relationship with the Australian Test Captain cancelled by a past fling with Brendan Fevola? Should I stop asking questions about sportsmen’s relationships, or do I run the risk of this piece reading like a Nathan Brown monologue on the Sunday Football Show?

How important is ‘spirit’ in leadership? Does history remember John F. Kennedy too fondly? Does it remember Mike Brearley not fondly enough? Do you find it interesting that Michael Slater doesn’t look any more stupid when he has a Vodafone watermelon helmet on his head? If you were a watermelon grower, would you be happy your product is being used for idiotic headwear? Would you be happy the Vodafone cardboard version saved more watermelons for the use in which they were intended?

Do you connect with Peter Siddle? Did you connect with Dennis Lillee when you were a kid and cricketers didn’t have Twitter accounts? Does Dennis Lillee have a Twitter account? Do you follow any cricketers on Facebook? Why do cricketers and baseballers wear more jewellery than any other sportsmen? Will South Africa avoid the follow-on? Would Australia enforce it? Do cricket groupies rate on ability or aesthetics? Where does Nathan Lyon rate on either scale? If Anna Kournikova played cricket, would she be right-hand Eastern Orthodox?

Is there a better name in cricket than Sir I.V.A Richards? Given it’s a name not easy to forget, should I have heard of Faf Du Plessis before now? When did McDonalds stop producing posters featuring Australia and the two touring teams? Friends of the Earth in Smith Street, Collingwood have a poster in their window saying “We Voted No for a McDonalds in Tecoma” – is it right that an inner-suburban vote skews the overall vote of what is essentially a local issue? Bimbo Deluxe in Brunswick Street is ten years old this week – do you miss The Punters Club? If so, what do you miss more, The Punters Club or The Continental? Did you miss Hilfenhaus’ wickets because you were watching the Boston Celtics host the Oklahoma City Thunder on ESPN?

Has the singer-songwriter Paul Kelly been able to answer how many cabs in New York City or how many angels on a pin? Have you ever made gravy using the recipe from a Paul Kelly song?

Was some of the best cake you’ve ever eaten enjoyed during a lunch break at a club cricket game2? When did you stop enjoying Channel Nine’s commentary? Who at Channel Nine decided to place an advertisement for the Heart Foundation in the same break that included a giveaway for a year’s supply of KFC? Is Ian Healy’s knowledge of the wide array of painkilling drugs impressive or concerning? Is the Bupa Distance Tracker instructive or a nothing more than a way of including paid advertising as content? Is there a worse commentator than Brett Lee? How does he maintain the illusion of being a carbon-based life form? Does he encourage you to switch channels? Did you turn over to ESPN and see Jason Terry’s dagger three with 36 seconds to play to win the game for the Celtics?

If you had to choose someone to bat for your life, would you choose a healthy Shane Watson or Jacques Kallis on one leg? If Michael Clarke were bowling at one end and Rob Quiney the other, would it matter who you chose? Who buys Channel Nine’s sporting memorabilia? Does a healthy Shane Watson exist? If you answered Shane Watson to my earlier question, are you feeling happy about your choice? Should Jacques Kallis have walked?

How does Cricket Australia feel that all it’s best stadiums have been, or are being, upgraded on the back of the success of the AFL? Are there more AFL writers working in November than cricket reporters? Do you think Kurt Tippet is at the cricket or is he persona non grata in Adelaide?

If Nathan Lyon plastered his forehead with sunscreen, would it make a sightscreen redundant? Can Imran Tahir bat? If Peter Siddle was bowling nothing but short and wide, would this influence your answer? Why is it that fast bowlers can now bowl yorkers at will in Twenty20 cricket, but still try and bounce out a number 11 in a Test Match?

Does it annoy you that the Channel Nine visuals are not in line with the ABC radio commentary? Does it annoy you more when it’s 34o and you’re trying to watch the television at a distance from the patio? Are you keeping the water up to your tomatoes? Do Bunnings sales assistants talk more on the television commercials than they do in store? Would you rather be at the Fitzroy Pool? Do you regret being short with your girlfriend when she interrupted cricket training to borrow your car keys? Do you think things would have been different if you were a more attentive boyfriend?

Is it right to assume that Nine will break into their cricket coverage if Bert Newton doesn’t pull through? When sports television ventures into variety, is this a nod to the great pioneers of Australian variety television, or a slap in the face? Would you know who Demis Roussos was if Bert Newton hadn’t parodied him on The Don Lane Show? Was the 1980s the golden age for cricket as entertainment? Does it try too hard now? Did you hear that Larry Hagman died (again)? Do you remember who shot JR?

Would you rather wear a cricket shirt with Castle Lager on the breast or Vodafone? If you chose the latter, could you care to explain your choice in the comments section below? Does Duncan Fearnley still make cricket bats? Is one of Ricky Ponting’s greatest contributions to the game of cricket the three-quarter sleeve? Or did a West Indian invent that? Are you pleased that both Australian openers use Gray Nicolls bats? When did they stop making the scoop bats? Do you think the scoop served a function or was it purely for aesthetics? Are you the sort of person happy to sacrifice function for fashion? If you were running the ABC Wardrobe Department, would you strike Gideon Haigh from your Christmas card list? Was the brand of bat you used at club cricket influenced by the first branded bat you received for Christmas? Did you leave the ‘cherries’ on your bat or did you clean it regularly? Is there more money to be made buy selling extra batting grips, or from producing premium bats with thicker handles? Is Morne Morkel’s nickname ‘Tuna’ or is that too obvious?

Does Dave Warner’s batting excite you, make you nervous or both? Is Dale Steyn bowling to a leg-side theory that his captain is unaware of? Why is South Africa’s white floppy hat ratio so much higher than Australia’s? Can you still buy a Greg Chappell signature white floppy hat? Do you laugh when you walk into the menswear section at David Jones and see what is in affect simply a fancy-branded cricket sweater retailing for more than $300? Are you the sort of person who can wear white? Did your grandparents have a lawn ornament that consisted of tyre parts shaped to configure a swan, and then like every other ornament in the garden, doused with white paint?

If Michael Holding’s in the country, why is he not commentating? Given that Apple has just released the iPad Mini, why is Channel Nine using a tablet the size of a coffee table? Has Dale Steyn ever bowled a ball at 100 miles an hour? Have you ever faced a bowling machine at 100 miles an hour? Have you heard the story of James Packer refusing to do so, so his father Kerry stepped into the nets in his place and given it was wet, the ball slipped out of the bowling machine and hit him just below the heart, leading James to think for a moment that his father was dead? Had Kerry Packer have been killed in front of his son by a bowling machine, do you think the effect it had on James been enough for him to drop cricket from the network when he was involved at Nine? Did you ever alter your natural bowling action to mimic your favourite cricketer? Would you find it odd if I told you that I once modelled my action around Fanie De Villiers? Is there a better book about pornography and cricket than Malcolm Knox’s A Private Man?

If you were to build a cricket ground west of a church, would you be tempted to change the orientation of the pitch from north-south to east-west so you could have a ‘cathedral end’? Would Imran Tahir more likely get a wicket if the batsman had the sun in his eyes? Could the Vodafone Viewer’s Verdict be put to better use, such as the Israel-Gaza dispute? What is Brett Lee’s first language? When should Australia declare? Should it be based on runs made or the amount of time left in the game?

If you were picking a cricket team in the schoolyard, would you put the last guy you picked in at first drop? Has all the press around Rob Quiney being ‘a good guy’ led you to the assumption that the rest of the Australian cricket team must be a bunch of arseholes? What is the lowest recorded Test batting average? If you were in the Australian dressing room, what would you say to Rob Quiney? Or would you try to avoid eye contact and say nothing? What is Michael Clarke’s batting average since he became the Australian captain? What is Ricky Ponting’s average since he became a Swisse Vitamins Ambassador?

Do you believe that fewer driveways are being used for cricket today than there were twenty years ago? Does a diet of driveway cricket instill the good habit of playing straight or is there more money to be made by learning to slog across your body? Are you a subscriber of the rational behind employing a night watchman? If so, has Peter Siddle given you cause to reflect?

Could South Africa win this Test?

1. The feature story in today’s Good Weekend magazine: “The Number-One Thing I Want is Credibility” Lara Bingle talks to Jane Cadzow about her longing to be taken seriously.
2. A big shout-out to Trudy Kelly, wife of CBC-South Warrnambool opening bowler Andrew Kelly, whose cakes were among the Western District’s finest.


For more original cricket reporting CLICK HERE

Facing Michael Kasprowicz: John Harms has faced a Test bowler at a Test venue, and lived to tell the tale. Just. (This was written some time ago, when he felt he had done enough to realise the dream theme he established in Confessions of a Thirteenth Man)

AFL Grand Final – The Pride of the North London Lions: It is AFL Grand Final eve and Peter Flynn arrives at the North London Lions presentation night.

About The People's Elbow

I'm just trying to make a difference in people's lives - get off my sack.


  1. Litza: Australia, yes, yes, yes, no, no, yes…

    (Brilliant stuff.)

  2. I read this with wry amusement but laughed out loud at this excellent question:

    “Has all the press around Rob Quiney being ‘a good guy’ led you to the assumption that the rest of the Australian cricket team must be a bunch of arseholes? ”

    And, yes. South Africa can definitely win. It’s always about the last session in Adelaide. This year, that last session may come earlier.

  3. If you had to choose someone to bat for your life, would you choose a healthy Shane Watson or Jacques Kallis on one leg?

    If Nathan Lyon plastered his forehead with sunscreen, would it make a sightscreen redundant?

    Is there a worse commentator than Brett Lee? How does he maintain the illusion of being a carbon-based life form?

    …some of cricket’s – nay, life’s – biggest questions. Superb.

  4. Jeff Dowsing says:

    E) All of the above

  5. Skip of Skipton says:

    Amphetamines? Manic episode? Happy getting Menzel in the draft?

    Michael Holding is a big Yes! Some suit in the ch9 management backroom would have deduced his Caribbean accent is too thick for the cretinous audience they are targeting to cope with. ABC should snap him up.

  6. Brilliant, Litza.
    It scares me that I had immediate answers to most of your questions.
    Words cannot describe my loathing of B Lee.
    I hated “A Private Man”, really battled to get through it.
    I reckon S Africa can win, unless Clarke gets amongst the runs in the first session.

  7. nonshedders says:

    If Socrates hadn’t drunk the hemlock, would we have seen more of this style of cricket writing?

  8. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Litza, this is the literary equivalent of a Jason Gillespie double hundred. Rare, memorable and intriguing. Great stuff.

  9. John Harms says:

    Too much in it to even begin to pick out the classic lines. Thanks.

  10. Andrew Else says:

    Why do Blues fans think they got the pick of the draft at #11?

    Super read Litza

  11. Exactly what Harmsy said. Although this early pearler had me chuckling

    Should I stop asking questions about sportsmen’s relationships, or do I run the risk of this piece reading like a Nathan Brown monologue on the Sunday Football Show?

    Great read

  12. Litza, you talk about Bimbo Deluxe, and the Punters Club on Brunswick Street. How can you not mention the Moonee Valley Hotel, whish predates those venues on that site ?!?


  13. Well played sir, enjoyed greatly.

  14. John Butler says:

    I hear a train a comin’
    it’s rollin’ round the bend
    and I ain’t seen the sunshine
    since I don’t know when…


  15. Andrew Starkie says:

    Great stuff Craig. You spent the day at home didn’t you?

    Trudy Sinnott was smoking hot at school. Smiled at me once, have never forgotten it. Actually, maybe she was laughing at me.

    I don’t know why but I watched the ch 9 lunch time show yesterday. Slats and Bing appeared (looking embarrassed) wearing cardboard watermelons. They were sitting beside Sir Viv. I almost cried for them. And cricket.

    They also had a segment when the Austn players were asked some meaningless question and when each face passed the across the screen giving their answer, I didn’t know who half of them were. This shocked me. Whose fault is this? Have I stopped watching or is cricket simply slipping away? Am I getting old?

    Cricket is lost, lost its way, mojo, disappearing up its own bum. As Dips said the other day it needs saving from itself. But it still gripped me in yestys final session. It was superb. This is a great test that can go either way due to the SA figthback before stumps. So, like the AFL, the product can still win out over the bullshit sometimes. but for how long? Are people paying attention?

    Have we lost faith in cricket? In cricketers? Do they still convince us that it’s about the baggy green and not some 20/20 comp in Asia?

    Gravy still makes me cry. One day I’ll use the recipe.

  16. Pamela Sherpa says:

    Q:Why does Litza ask so many questions ?
    A: a) Because he can
    b) Because he thinks too much
    c)Because he thinks more than others
    d)Because he thinks some people don’t think enough
    e)Because there are more questions than answers in life
    f) Because no -one will answer his questions
    g) Because asking questions about other things distracts him from answering what others are asking about Chris Judd
    h) All of the above

  17. Anthony Leach says:

    Why is James Reyne’s version of How To Make Gravy better than Paul Kelly’s? And why is Paul Kelly’s version of Reckless better than James Reyne’s?

  18. Andrew Starkie says:

    have never heard JR’s version of gravy. can’t imagine it being better

  19. The Age has even less relevance to me when I can get reports of a day’s play like this. God bless you, Litza. And God bless the Almanac!

  20. Andrew Fithall says:

    I think all these questions need to be put to Julia Gillard and she needs to answer them.

  21. steve duffy says:

    Probably Australia. Result. No. Probably. Probably. No. Not even close. No. Very. Yes. No. Yes. No. No. Yes. Yes. I have no idea. No. Not sure. Yes. Probably. Aesthetics (unless you’re Gideon Haigh) lowly. Yes and grunting. No. No. Some time in the 80’s. No. Yes. Punters but just. No. Apparently his website use to have the answer to the first but not to the second. No, but I do add tomato sauce for the sweetness and the extra tang. No. Some time in the 80’s. No idea but they should be sacked. Both. Both. Yes. Only barely. No. No. Jacque Kallis on one leg. Yes. No idea. No. No. Yes. Smug they are getting it done for nothing. AFL. Persona non grata. Yes. Maybe. No. They are stupid. Yes. Yes. No. It seems so. No. No. No. Yes. Slap in the face. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. No. Neither. No. Don’t know. Maybe. Not sure. Yes. Don’t know. Aesthetics. Function is preferable. Yes. Yes. Cherries. Batting grips. Too obvious. Both. Seems to be. Didn’t realize it was. I don’t know. Yes. No. Luckily not. Don’t know, he should be. They are stupid. Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes. Yes. I haven’t read it. Absolutely. Yes. Yes. I think it might be English. After lunch day four. Both. No. No. Don’t know. Quack quack. Say nothing. Heaps. Not so much. Yes. More money across the body. No. No. Yes.

  22. Litza – We should be asking more questions of cricket administrators.

  23. Astonishing Litza. Brilliant.
    The Avenging Eagle asked me why I was laughing so much. So I read some out to her. She is still none the wiser.
    I reckon the ABC should sack the Wardrobe Department and have Gideon pass his hand me downs onto the newsreaders. The savings would keep the Hobart studios open and have enough left over for 2 more Jack Irish dramas next year.
    You have given me much to ponder as I plough up the Terry Tyack pool tomorrow (I believe he was an esteemed former Mayor).

  24. Thank you all.

    And yes, I was stoked to get Menzel at #11.

    Massive thanks to The Almanac for providing an outlet (and an audience) from my ramblings…

  25. Rob Harris says:

    I’ve read this six times now and it gets better each time. So many brilliant lines. I’m not sure which one is the best. Just brilliant.

  26. Peter Schumacher says:

    Contributions of this calibre can be read twenty times probably with new nuances being found each time. “I loved it”, (after a sound grab extolling the virtues of “Macca” of early Sunday morning ABC radio) Talking about which, which you didn’t, who lsn’t driven insane by his inanities. Suggestion, anyone who wants to listen to decent “country radio” ought to try Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”.

  27. Litza,

    This is the best thing I reckon you’ve written this year (and you’ve done some great stuff).

    I played cricket with several Sinnotts for several years at the Yambuk Cricket Club. Great fellas. I think Andrew Kelly might have rolled the arm over there for a year to two as well?

    There was, from memory, a big problem faced by the YCC a few years ago when a Sinnott wedding was on. I think the A grade side was reduced to about six players.



  28. This is fantastic. Perhaps John can ensure that Gideon gets a read of this.


  29. Keiran Croker says:

    I can recommend Paul Kelly’s recipe for gravy …. Red wine and a dollop of tomatoe sauce. HP works as well.

  30. Great laugh out loud stuff. I’m introducing driveway cricket to the kids in my street this week and claiming I invented it.

  31. Excellent, loved it. The cricket itself is arguably better than it was in my childhood, but the peripherals like the gimmicky coverage and cricketers tweeting and Billy Bowden and branded watermelon hats – you just have to block them out. Some things are getting better – seems to me K O’K is telling less jokes this season.

    Cricketers are basically the same as they have always been. But now they have the opportunity/responsibility to talk to us, ALL THE TIME.

  32. The swiss vitamins line on Ponting had me keeling over (and so much for krill oil enhancing hand eye coordination (assuming that’s what it is supposed to do.))

    Marvellous gimmickry in this piece … a trailblazing tour de force

  33. Andrew Starkie says:

    I connected with Sidds yesty. That’s what we need more of – players pushing themselves to the edge, showing they really care.

  34. Tony Roberts says:

    As Andrew Peacock’s election ad jingle of 1990 put it: ‘There are questions… that just have to be answered…’. Julie Bishop, too.

    But I prefer Craig Little’s.

  35. Punters Club vs The Continental? No question, Punters Club it is and not just because it’s on our side of the mighty Yarra.

    Very funny, insightful and considered as usual. Not bitter. That I couldn’t get me head around.

  36. bernard whimpress says:

    Top notch Tony
    Missed you at the match and even more at our Baggy Green dinner at the Royal Hotel, Kent Town on Saturday night when my final quiz question was ‘Which Australian batsman played more Tests than Rob Quiney with a lower average?’ You’ll know it, of course but for the rest of your readers the ANSWER is Walter Giffen – 11 runs from 6 innings average 1.83.

  37. Neil Belford says:

    Punters was not unique. Nothing will ever replace the Continental. Or Litza.

  38. bernard whimpress says:

    Two rieslings and a derailed sushi train later I’m prepared to say what I should’ve said before. This is one of the most brilliant essays on cricket I’ve ever read and certainly the funniest.

  39. The Black Prince says:

    I once did face a bowling machine at one hundred and sixty clicks…dumbest thing I ever did…won the bet however! Funniest thing is though, I did it using my Gray Nic’s scoop I got for Christmas when I was sixteen! Maybe…just maybe that is where the ‘Packer Whacker’ really did originate?

  40. It’s very telling that Gillard has failed to answer these quetions.

    May The Age rest in peace.

  41. Peter Flynn says:

    A masterpiece C Little.

    You just have to ask the right questions.

    Thanks for keeping me engaged until the end.

    P Flynn

  42. Derek Mitchell says:

    Can I please have a dollar a time from every alleged commentator who says “all of a sudden”, or “little cameo”, or “game on”, or “down to the wire”.
    This would have the joint benefits of making me rich, and bankrupting Bill Lawry, Allan Border and Brendon Julian.

  43. Just read this again for the 4th time. Brilliant. Better than the 3rd time. Both sets of my grandparents had the tyre swan in their garden. Painted white. Maybe it’s why I like black swans better. And James Reyne’s How to Make Gravy is far superior than Paul Kelly’s. As is JR’s Reckless.

  44. Yes Heart Foundation ads, coinciding with KFC ads, during the coverage of a major sporting event . It’s like seeing the Golden Arches symbol during the Olympics. Why is there such little debate re unhealthy products, being so closely associated with sport?


  45. Tony Roberts says:

    To Bernard Whimpress
    Re your two posts on Tuesday 27 November, Bernard: I gratefully accept your effusive praise of my match report, but as previously clarified on the phone, you had to wait another nine days before I actually punched one out (on Perth, day 3).

    Hope that you were able to dig Litza’s report out of the Almanac website’s archive for the befit of a reading to the Adelaide chapter of ASSH. On his behalf, I accept your apologies for the misunderstanding – and claim Craig’s copyright for his piece as commission.

  46. Equal to anything I’ve read in shouts and murmurs. Brilliant writing.

  47. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Just amazing quality writing buggered how you could have such a vivid imagination brilliant Litza

  48. ned_wilson says:

    Just stumbled across this today. Amazing!

  49. Nick Raschella says:

    As Rampaging Roy Slaven would say –

    So many questions, but so few answers.

  50. Worst thing is almost every question is still relevant and unanswered. (I’m looking at you Bingle, Fevola and Brown, N..)

  51. Mickey Randall says:

    Litza- Yes, what happened to the scoop bat?

  52. Tony Wilson says:

    Very funny stuff. Can’t believe I missed it when it came out. Brilliant.

Leave a Comment