Greg Blewett falls prey to avian version of mental disintegration!

Greg Blewett © Getty Images

May 30, 2001. As Greg Blewett took strike against Durham, three ducks conspired to bring about his dismissal. Arunabha Sengupta recalls the day when fate mocked and felled the stylish Australian batsman.

It was as if fate was bent on mocking Greg Blewett, eager to play nasty jokes laced with cruel symbolism.
 
The previous year he had been axed from the Australian side. The man who had started out emulating Bill Ponsford and Doug Walters, with two hundreds in his first two Tests, had failed to go past three figures in the last four years. In the last 29 of his 46 Tests, his average read a miserable 28.75.
 
And as he walked in at No 3 for Nottinghamshire against Durham at the Riverside Ground, the gods of cricket could not have been more impish in their pranks.
 
Blewett had scored three and was waiting for James Brinkley to run in, when the bails were dislodged by the wind. And as he took strike, three ducks appeared from nowhere, waddling purposefully behind the umpire. 
 
As far as birds go, ducks are as ominous for a struggling batsman as the sinister black raven. David Gower recalls the day when he had accompanied Robin Jackman and Allan Lamb to have breast of canard in a French restaurant near St John’s Wood. The next day at Lord’s, all three had been dismissed for blobs.
 
Now in Chester-le-Street vast confusion descended on Blewett — ‘as doth a raven on a sick-fallen beast, the imminent decay of wrested pomp’. Blissfully unaware of the feathery diversions behind him, Brinkley approached the crease and bowled. Blewett missed the line and was leg before wicket. The ducks had struck home in this curious avian version of mental disintegration.
 
The Australian batsman, however, made amends in the second innings. Opening the innings, he hammered 16 fours and a six in a fast-paced 137. But, the hosts rode on two excellent hundreds by skipper Jon Lewis and Martin Love to overhaul the 315 run target losing only two wickets along the way.
 

Brief scores:
 
Nottinghamshire 371 (Usman Afzaal 89, Paul Jonson 109; Steve Harmison 5 for 100) and 219 for 5 dec. (Greg Blewett 139) lost to Durham 276 (Paul Collingwood 91*) and 318 for 2 (Jon Lewis 112, Martin Love 149*) by 8 wickets

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)