Two magnificent centuries provided a fitting send-off for Ireland and the Netherlands yesterday. There were four run outs in the last four balls of the Dutch innings before the Irish passed the Netherlands' 306 for the loss of four wickets.
Ryan ten Doeschate made 106 and Paul Stirling hit 101 off 72 balls. Both sides exit with reputations enhanced. This will not cheer Ricky Ponting, who thinks these trundlers have no place in a World Cup. I note, incidentally, that former Australia batsman Doug Walters called yesterday for Ponting to be dropped as captain.
Is Murali finished? Better ask the Kiwis
The manner in which Sri Lanka powered past New Zealand yesterday suggests they're not yet ready for the post-Muttiah Muralitharan world. They bowled the Kiwis out for a paltry 153 after amassing 265 for nine, with Kumar Sangakkara hitting his first century for nearly two years. New Zealand's batsmen had no answer to Muralitharan, who snaffled four for 25. It's noticeable that Muralitharan abandoned the big turning deliveries to bowl with more over-spin and variations of pace. He says his shoulder's had it, but on yesterday's evidence he could go on and on.