We have, once again, been royally entertained over the past seven days in international cricket. It can only be hoped that the rest of 2014 proves to be just as exciting.
Australia wrapped up the 5-0 Ashes series whitewash over England in Sydney, while Sri Lanka fought back admirably to earn a draw against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, and New Zealand’s batsmen exploded in the third One-Day International against the West Indies in Queenstown.
In most weeks, Angelo Mathews’ scores of 91 and a battling 157 not out for Sri Lanka in Abu Dhabi would be enough to earn him the Cricket World Player of the Week award. However, most weeks don’t see someone smash the fastest ever century in the 3452-match history of ODI cricket.
Corey Anderson beat Shahid Afridi’s 1996 record by a single delivery in reaching three figures off just 36 balls on New Year’s Day in Queenstown as New Zealand re-established parity in the five-match series against an injury-depleted West Indies. He also equalled Graham Rose’s effort in List A cricket for Somerset in 1990.
Anderson, 23, has slowly secured himself a position in the Blacks Caps’ playing eleven in all three forms of the game since making an uninspiring international debut (he scored five and conceded 11 runs from his single over) in a Twenty20 International against South Africa in December 2012. He scored a century in only his second Test match at the end of last year and is now a key member of the ODI side after just eight games.
He wasn’t the only New Zealander to prosper in Queenstown, as Jesse Ryder hit his first international century since being placed in a coma as a result of an assault outside a Christchurch bar in March. It wasn’t just any old century either; taking just 46 balls to become the seventh fastest ODI century of all-time. Records truly did tumble that day as New Zealand’s batsman averaged more than one six every over of the reduced 21-overs aside game and Ravi Rampaul conceded 64 runs off three overs.
Angelo Mathews, as already mentioned, deserves plenty of credit for helping Sri Lanka escape with their heads held high against Pakistan. He hit 91 as they were routed for only 204 thanks to Junaid Khan’s five for 58. He, along with half-centuries from Kaushal Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Kumar Sangakkara and Prasanna Jayawardene, then helped Sri Lanka overturn their 179-run first innings deficit by ending on 157 as they declared their second innings on 480 for five. Younus Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq both hit centuries in Pakistan’s first innings 383.
And, a wrap of the week wouldn’t be complete without mentioning some Ashes performances. Steve Smith hit a crucial century for Australia to, along with Brad Haddin’s 75, help them recover from 97 for five. Ben Stokes, meanwhile, capped a fine series by taking six for 99 for England. That was as good as it got for the tourists as Ryan Harris took eight wickets, Mitchell Johnson six and Peter Siddle three as they were humbled for 155 and 166 either side of a Chris Rogers century.
© Cricket World 2014