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Monday, 13 July 2003
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Nightwatchman
W.G. Karunasena
11.07.93
 

Ari thinks this is a cowardly tactic. Steve Waugh agrees with him. And for once, I may be on the same side. When a wicket falls at the end of the day, a captain may opt to protect a good batsman by sending out a not-so-good batsman to see the day out. So the good batsman can come in fresh the next morning.

It requires a batsman lousy enough to sacrifice, but good enough to hang around till the next morning. But it also suggests that professional batsmen do not have the capacity to concentrate for two overs at the end of the day.

Mathew played this role frequently for Bloomfield. He once did so for Sri Lanka against Pakistan in the controversial 1986 series. Hanging around the crease for over two hours to score a well compiled 0 not out. The next day, there was an appeal for caught behind off Wasim. Though Mathew had clearly hit it, it was unclear if the umpire would give him out. Mathew walked and Sri Lanka were all out 20 minutes later.

In today’s Daily News, New Zealander Geoff Allot is being praised for occupying the crease for 101 minutes without scoring against South Africa. Wisden proclaims it a world record for stone-walling. I have written to them mentioning Mathew’s feat in 1986. I await a reply.

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