Scorecards sometimes disguise the truth.
Lillee c Willey b Dilley is among cricket’s most famous scorebook entries yet it’s a wholly unremarkable wicket, a mere 1970’s transaction at the WACA.
In the same group as the Indian spelling bee-worthy Chamundeshwarnath c Balasubramaniam b Ananthapadmanabhan at Visakhapatnam, perhaps.
Match 35 of BBL07 was likely to be remembered, if at all, for the Strikers’ import Colin Ingram swatting a handful of crisp sixes at the Docklands stadium in front of a languid Monday night crowd, the spectator numbers down like a late season MBL assignment with the Arizona Diamondbacks hosting the San Diego Padres on an airless August evening.
This scorecard is essentially innocuous:
Bravo c Weatherald b Khan
Cricket might be a team game played by individuals but Bravo’s dismissal was a masterpiece of collaboration, a triumph of imagination that reminds us of sport’s capacity to thrill and surprise.
Among the Bucketheads and the Bruno Mars song grabs and the confected entertainment this catch, although probably insignificant in the broader context of the night’s result and the lengthened summer, was a moment to rival John Dyson on the SCG boundary and Glen McGrath at horizontal stretch in front of the members at Adelaide Oval.
Dwayne Bravo, the Trinidadian cricketer, lofted a Khan delivery high towards the Docklands’ angular roofing architecture and it began its descent at extra cover with journeyman carpenter Ben Laughlin cleverly netting the ball close to the rope, too close as is often the way, and as cruel momentum pulled him like iron filings at a magnet he somehow saw the blue flash of a team mate.
Jake Weatherald was inboard, but at a full pitch distance from the immediacy of the heroics. With Laughlin airborne and scorching at the line he flicked the Kookaburra towards his bluish colleague with the authority of a Federer backhand before diving into the turf, the first act of this drama complete.
Weatherald has had a modest campaign which has threatened, but not fired. He now became the Jagger to Laughlin’s Keef, producing an equally athletic manoeuvre to take the catch with a diving effort that, in this often-singular enterprise, demanded cooperation of balletic beauty as well as Zen-presence and advanced physical literacy.
It was a remarkable relay catch that even the most visionary fans of the last century could have scarcely conceived.
Football and cricket continue to evolve, and watching old grand final and Ashes footage are sometimes acts of almost ridiculous nostalgia so as to make these games often seem beyond the child-like in their structure and execution.
I can’t wait to see what happens next.