Something From The Weekend: Alastair Cook; David Haye's broken toe; legal handball
The Good, the Bad and the Odd
Monday 04 July 2011
The Good: Alastair Cook
It may not have been enough for victory, but Alastair Cook's second one-day hundred, his first for four years, suggested he might be making the necessary gear change for his new one-day captaincy. A knock of 119 from 143 deliveries is not quite Chris Gayle batting but it is not Chris Tavare either; which is progress on Cook's part. And it is his best response yet to the barb from Mike Atherton that he was a "plodder at the top of the order", a death of irony akin to Henry Kissinger's winning the Nobel Peace prize. Of course, Cook's rhythm guitar work is of most use if those below him play with freedom and imagination, something they failed to do. But the captain did look like a man growing into his new role.
The Bad: David Haye's broken toe
After failing to place his performance within even swinging distance of his words on Saturday night, David Haye had the opportunity to make a quick concession to sportsmanship. He had failed to lay a finger on Wladimir Klitschko over 12 rounds; he was utterly outboxed by the man he had promised to "literally decapitate". It would not have levelled the accounts but, like Paolo Di Canio's charitable catch, it would have pointed to a rare triumph for his better angels. But it was not to be: Haye blamed a broken toe for his inability to break the forcefield created by Klitschko's jab. His one chance to admit his shortfall, to speak the truth, and he blamed a foot injury. What a perfect substitute for the English football team this summer.
The Odd: legal handball
There are ways in which women's football will never be as good as men's. There can never be a player with the strength of Didier Drogba. But there is no reason for the refereeing to debase the game as much as it did yesterday at the Women's World Cup. Australia were playing Equatorial Guinea, and Bruna, for the latter, caught the ball in her own penalty area and held it for three seconds before dropping it and resuming play. Referee Gyoengyi Gaal did nothing. The Australian players protested, to no avail. As a flagrant, unpunished handball, it was worse than Nani's against Spurs last year – this was two-handed and lasted for longer. As a surrender of credibility in the women's game, it may be mortal.
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