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Cameron Rose: The award goes to...

26 January 2012

We often view life through the prism of movies, so let’s see if we can’t do the same for cricket and pay tribute to the 2012 Academy Award nominees announced today.

With Australia resuming on day two at 3/335 and a series victory courtesy of a 3-0 lead already in the bank against a touring outfit which had left hope and passion on the plane, people were daring to ask if Michael Clarke could match or even exceed his feats in Sydney.

Clarke has been The Artist (Best Picture) in this series, so graceful at the crease, so pure in his strokeplay, delivering death by a thousand caresses through cover point.

The Artist is a silent movie, drawing parallels with the way the Australian captain can soundlessly time the ball to the boundary, and he dances like the main characters of the film, except his is done down the wicket to an unsuspecting spinner, instead of on a silver screen.

Once again today he drove crisply from the outset, always a sign of a man in complete control of his game. 

He helped himself to a mere 210, paltry in comparison with his triple century from three weeks ago, but another defining statement in his flourishing captaincy career.

Every great partnership (and I think a 386 run stand can call be considered thus) always contains two opposites, especially in the movies. 

Think Murtaugh and Riggs from Lethal Weapon. 

Doc and Marty from Back to the Future. 

Even Miss Piggy and Kermit from The Muppets (Best Song).

So if Michael Clarke is The Artist, then Ricky Ponting has to be the Steven Spielberg directed War Horse (Best Picture).

It feels like he has been around for as long as the famous director, is certainly just as loved, and no one could deny his impact at the box office over 18 years of international cricket.

This season Punter has worn a tag so foreign to him that it might as well have been in subtitles, that of the belittled underdog. 

His place in the team was under question, his hard earned reputation on the line, his fighting spirit to be called upon like never before.

But if we have learned anything about this mighty champion, we have learned that he is infused with Real Steal (Visual Effects), and like a fairytale in the mould of ET or a hero rising when all seems lost like Indiana Jones, this war horse gave the adoring masses what they came to see. 

Not content with a few fifties and a 100 in the preceding tests, Ponting continued on his merry way, pulling, driving and clipping his way to 221, the sixth double hundred of his career.

So Ponting will not call time on his career just yet, and while he can’t lay claim to being Australia’s best bastman despite a record amount of runs for his country, he can justifiably call himself Australia’s greatest Warrior (Best Supporting Actor – Nick Nolte), and no one would disagree.

But what to make of the Indians that have provided so little resistance over the 13 days of test cricket that we have seen? 

They have been clattered, battered and shattered over the course of a ruinous series. 

They don’t just need to eat from The Tree of Life (Best Picture), they need to engorge, for one helping would not be enough to raise this spiritless rabble from the dead.

Sure, they’ve celebrated wickets with gusto (absence does make the heart grow fonder after all), but too often there has been a lack of intensity, which has been easily dulled by the simplest 50 run stand.

I’m sure hours have been spent on plans to certain batsmen, areas expected to be hit, and their coaching staff may well have given in by now, convinced that this side is beyond The Help (Best Picture).

Would have worked better if it was just ‘Help’, but what could I do?

Eventually the Aussies declared once 600 had been reached, and Australia’s attack was let loose once again. 

While Hilfenhaus, Siddle, Harris and Lyon will not be gracing the covers of the same magazines as George Clooney (Best Actor - The Descendents) or Brad Pitt (Best Actor - Moneyball), they have each been part of a peerless bowling unit this summer.

Cobbled together like the team from Moneyball (Best Picture), each has played the role identified for him. 

Be it swing, hostility, economy, or simply offering a point of difference and some relief for the others, this bowling line-up has refused to offer any respite.

Despite a strip that may as well have had parked cars on its edge, they all ran in with conviction and a couple of wickets were prized out in the final session. 

Peter Siddle in particular had people looking for the special effects behind his wizardry after his screamer of a caught and bowled.

So like the other nine times in this series when ‘stumps’ were called, Australia was in a commanding position. 

India is left feeling like they have been to Hell and Back Again (Best Documentary), while Australia is on target to remain the subject of another nominated documentary - Unbeaten.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
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