Australia v New Zealand – WACA Test, Day 3: Hope

Australia 9d/559 (DA Warner 253, UT Khawaja 121)
New Zealand 6/510 (LRPL Taylor 235*, KS Williamson 166)

Start of Day 3: New Zealand 2/140 (KS Williamson 70*, LRPL Taylor 26*)

 

Today Australia took four wickets, New Zealand made 370 runs. And it was a day on which to naturally question the value of these things. What is the value of a run? Of a century? What is the value of a book? Of a four burner barbeque? What is the value of a life? Of freedom?

Today KS Williamson, LRPL Taylor, BB McCullum did some difficult things. In so doing, they played with hope. They faced down MA Starc, MG Johnson, NM Lyon and Australia, in Perth, and a deficit of 559. Records fell, records were re-set. Life was lived.

Today people the world over did other difficult things. In so doing, they lived with hope. They awoke in Paris, they awoke thinking of Paris, and set about their days. They sought to make sense of events defying logic and sense. Painful events. Under strain, people opened minds and opened hearts. Life was lived.

Hope is the currency of life.
Hope and acceptance go a long way.

And for each of us navigating this world, we each of us somehow hold our own values. We value variously: privacy, friends, honour, the truth (whatever that is). Perhaps loyalty, fidelity, honour, our name. Sometimes we use our money to enumerate those values, in arbitrary exchanges for goods and services. “How much are they askin’? Tell ‘im ‘e’s dreamin’.”

In 2008, behavioural economist Dan Ariely wrote a book called “Predictably irrational: the hidden forces that shape our decisions.” The book focuses mainly on financial decisions. But Dan’s journey thinking about irrationality began when he was badly burned and spent time in hospital. 70% of his body was covered in burns.
Nurses ripped bandages from his body for an hour each day. High intensity, relatively short-lived pain. Dan thought there might be a better way, and asked about that. The nurses said no, that their method was right. Patients were to accept the situation.
Three years later he left the hospital and started at university, where he understood the scientific method. He started making behavioural experiments. And he learned that there were better ways to be removing bandages from burns victims. Even though the nurses were acting in what they thought was the patient’s best interests.
It led him to question human behaviour at many levels. And to question market forces and the nature of supply and demand. Fascinating. (A link to one of his TED talks is below).

So how do we value anything?
Dan Ariely says that we seem to base our values in a relative sense (this one is better than that one), and we tend to base our values on memory (which is dubious at best). This leads us into murky financial waters when attempting to value a new car, a house, or any sale item, in fact.

That’s economics. But it’s equally impossible to place values on other scenarios (e.g. sporting: Warner’s innings is less impressive than Taylor’s innings) (e.g. moral: this policy is better than that one). The events in Paris threaten a sense of hope, challenge a sense of acceptance and cannot be easily reconciled. This is partly because we have not much with which to compare them. Instead, they become a new marker of their own. They are now something that just is.

As, indeed, is LRPL Taylor’s double century. To my mind, I value LRPL Taylor’s tongue-poking pose upon reaching one milestone (of many) as the cricketing highlight of the day. I value the fightback and resilience of New Zealand. I value their hope and acceptance.

Sure, there are cricketing questions to answer:
Why does JA Burns still field at short leg?
Does SPD Smith know how to get the best return from NM Lyon?
How good is KM Williamson?
Is Australia any good under pressure?
But today these seem trite.

The values I share here are mine, as they must be. And no doubt I’m predictably irrational in my reasoning. But for those of us lucky enough to face a tomorrow, whatever it looks like, let there be hope.

 

Almanac cricket stories here.

About David Wilson

Hit for a towering 6 by Mike Gatting at the Banyule Cricket Club, December 2002, theatrically attempting to reproduce the SK Warne delivery. The ball is yet to land. @e_regnans

Comments

  1. Mitchell Starc, the fastest recorded ball in test history; that was good. Gee whiz Williamson bat swell, and what can you say about the great knock by Ross Taylor ? Highest score by a New Zealander playing against Australia, the highest ever score by a test cricketer of Samoan origin. Great knock. The last two days will be good.

    Glen1

  2. In a strange sort of way it is the reaction of the people to these horrible events that gives me more hope. It is steadfast (on the whole). People still gather and talk and support each other. Freedom of movement and thought are reinforced as people refuse to stay indoors and refuse the stay quiet. Paris was attacked and the brutes cut down the innocent, but they didn’t win. I refuse to believe that they ever will. We need to confront the problem here without fear. And solve it. It will require a shift in many mindsets.

    When a member of your family is cut down by lunacy, when one of your kin is the victim of indiscriminate madness, it rips your liver out. You feel hollow, gutted like a fish, empty. But it doesn’t rip out your heart. It can’t. There is so much to live for. I believe that most people are decent. At least they try to be.

    Sorry but the cricket just can’t break through at the moment.

  3. John Butler says:

    E Reg, given the blanket coverage some of the other issues you raise are getting, I’ll confine myself to the cricket.

    The Kiwis have shown enormous character over the last couple of days. The sort of character and willingness to fight we aren’t seeing from many teams at present. Taylor and Williamson had the knowledge they carried their team’s hopes, yet didn’t let it phase them. Williamson looks as good as any visiting batsman in the last 20 years. Considering his recent injury, Taylor’s knock was/is a triumph of dedication to a cause. These are the sort of feats that have sustained and enriched test cricket for a 140 years. If you want to talk worth, performances like these are worth a thousand T20 games in any sense other than monetary.

    The Kiwi efforts were all the better because Australia was a worthy opponent. Starc was exhilarating with the 2nd new ball. The commitment to the cause was there the whole day from the Aussies as well. But the some of Australia’s individual bowling parts aren’t adding up to a whole presently. Hazelwood is chasing wickets when he’s needed to contain. Johnson looks half inclined to contain when he’s never really known how. And the use of Lyon was perplexing.

    I think we’re missing Clarke’s leadership more than has been admitted. Smith is still feeling his way, which is fair enough.

    Will the pitch allow the game to develop from here, or will it ultimately stifle the best of intentions?

  4. You capture the tone of these things perfectly David. So much of the last few days have just been numbing. I can’t recall anything similar since 9/11. Two months ago my golf buddy Ken and I walked and had lunch 100 metres from Le Carillon and Cambodge restaurants. The next day we celebrated his wife’s 60th birthday just off Place Republique’. Small linkages that I am sure many Almanackers share.
    Holy Wars? Attacks on Enlightenment? The end game of the obsessive self, technology and social media? My mind goes round in circles thinking how we should want our governments to respond. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.
    My only response was to hold things precious closer to me. Small acts of kindness to strangers. Help a lady struggling with her bag up the train station steps. Walk my dog. Work in the garden to the comforting burble of cricket. Visit someone stuggling in hospital.
    Make something beautiful out of something ugly. And hope it spreads. Faith, hope and love – but the greatest of these is love. Grateful.

  5. G’day all.
    Glen, JB: well played in your sticking to the cricket. There’s a bit going on there. And a bit not going on, too, which is interesting.
    I wonder how we will view this match/ series and their events in the months and years ahead.

    Dips, PB: well played on the wider lens. We can’t un-know these things, but we can seek to make sense of them. To find a spot for them. and to go on, as the song says, “with hope in our hearts.”

    All the pretty horses, Cormac McCarthy.
    ““He said that those who have endured some misfortune will always be set apart but that it is just that misfortune which is their gift and which is their strength and that they must make their way back into the common enterprise of man for without they do so it cannot go forward and they themselves will wither in bitterness.”

  6. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Well player ER,
    Can relate to CM quote and PB ‘Make something beautiful out of something ugly’ is a gem. 2015 hasn’t been a banner year for humanity. Hope some good comes out of the last 6 weeks of this year, starting with the Footy Almanac launch on Thursday in Melbourne!

  7. Phil – the ‘something beautiful” saying is not mine. As part of my work I took a bloke we had placed in temporary housing to AA meetings for several weeks. We subsequently found he had permanent brain damage from the drink, but he was very shy and withdrawn when dried out. For several weeks he said nothing in the meetings, but eventually there was a really raw engaging meeting that must have got to him.
    (AA meetings are the best source of stories and plots I have ever come across).
    In brief, his story was that a FIFO mate let him stay at his place when he was away. There was a great pile of empty bottles in the middle of the lounge room when his mate was due back. He did not want the neighbours to see him walking them to a bin in the park, so he buried them all in his mate’s garden beds in the back yard. We all thought that the punch line was going to be his mate discovering them, when digging, but he said that every time he went around there he was amazed at how well the flowers were doing in those garden beds.
    “Something beautiful out of something ugly” he marvelled.

  8. Phillip Dimitriadis says:

    Peter,
    That’s beautiful mate. The Serenity Prayer in action there. That story ought to be shared widely.
    Got me thinking about this quote from Kafka: “Truth, which is one of the few really precious things in life, cannot be bought (consumed). People receive it as a gift, like love or beauty.”

  9. Loved this, e.r.

    Well played, mate.

  10. Phil D – thanks.
    I kept that Cormac McCarthy quote stuck on my clipboard during uni years.
    Thursday will be great.

    PB: that’s a wonderful story of the everyday and of hope. Thanks very much.

    Smokie: cheers.
    go well.

  11. Thanks ER.

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