Six of the Best: 25 Years of Australian One Day Cricket (2003)
Featurette-25 Classic Catches
Featurette-Top Six Classic Catches
Featurette-The Big Hitters
Notes-For The Record
|Year Of Production||2003|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (89:28)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||None Given|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Please permit me to start this review with a moment of brief self-indulgence, since I don't get to gloat very often.
I've been a big fan of any DVD about cricket and have in fact reviewed just about all of them available in Region 4. Nearly a year ago, back on 23 February 2003 I stated in the summary of my review for Cricket - The Streak, the following:
"Now if the producers of this disc need some ideas for what to include in another disc in the series, then how about this for an idea - a collection of all the great Classic Catches footage from the Channel Nine archives collected over the years would make an outstanding compilation."
Well somebody was listening and I am happy to say this is precisely what is included in this disc, as an extra to highlights of some of the best one day games seen in this country. You could say I'm rather rapt and I'll happily let the boffins from Roadshow Home Entertainment where they can send my royalty cheque!
So on with the review. What we have here is more than two hours of highlights from many of the best one-day international cricket games ever played in this country since the very first 'official' game back in 1979. This of course doesn't include any of the rebel games from the break away World Series Cricket era of 1977 and 1978. The disc is labelled Six Of The Best, so naturally enough we get comprehensive highlights of six of the best games of one day cricket that have been played in this country during the annual summer triangular one-day series (known for many years as The Benson and Hedges Cup and now The VB Series).
Strangely enough, five of the six games shown are between Australia and The West Indies, such was the intense one-day rivalry between the teams throughout most of the 80s. Introduced by Channel 9 commentary team stalwart Tony Greig, the program opens with a rather hilarious look at the lead up to the first ever 'official' one-day game and the debate that raged over the uniforms the players would be wearing. Apparently, ever the sticklers for trying anything new, the English refused to wear the uniforms, citing they hadn't had a chance to practice in them. No wonder they still suck at cricket if they're worried about things like this.
It's then on to the actual highlights of the first ever match between Australia and the West Indies, which took place on 27 November 1979 at the SCG. From here we see a tied match between the same teams in Melbourne on 11 February 1984, and another close game labelled The Cliffhanger at the MCG on 14 January 1989. This is followed by my personal favourite and one of the most dramatic games ever played. In damp and difficult conditions in Sydney on 8 December 1992, Australia made just 101 in a rain shortened match. It looked like a foregone conclusion that The West Indies would win, but they collapsed to be all out for just 87. Rounding out the selection are highlights of the famous last ball heroics from Michael Bevan against the West Indies in 1996 when he hit a four off the last ball of the game to win, and another match featuring Michael Bevan again when he and Andy Bichel led a fightback against New Zealand at the MCG in January 2002.
All up this collection runs for just over two hours, and while there is no detailed analysis or interviews with the players it still makes for fascinating viewing.
A decent selection of extras rounds out what I consider to be a quality cricket highlights compilation disc.
The video here is mostly presented in the old full screen ratio of 1.33:1 and this transfer is also 16x9 enhanced. Hang on a second - 1.33:1 and 16x9 enhanced are two specifications that don't go together very often. Well, this transfer is a rare exception. Since the newly filmed introductory segments and the highlights of the most recent game (2002) were filmed for widescreen TVs, the rest of the footage (probably 95 per cent of the content) is letterboxed in the 1.78:1 frame and appears with black bars on the left and right hand sides. Naturally enough what we get here is television broadcast quality source material ranging from the late 1970s analogue based footage, through to very recent digital based footage. As it gets newer it gets sharper, clearer, and more impressive.
While the footage is of mixed vintages, it is all of reasonable quality. The late 70s and early 80s moments are far fuzzier and not as sharp as the recent material, but the technological advances in broadcast camera equipment makes this perfectly understandable.
The colours are well rendered and there are no problems to contend with.
No MPEG artefacts are evident and despite the age of some of the other source material, it is in surprisingly good shape. A few instances of low level noise pop up but the bright outdoor footage never lets it cause a problem.
There are no subtitles.
This is a dual layered disc that features the layer change at 89:28, which is on a break between games and is virtually invisible.
Seeing as the disc is comprised of television highlights, we get television quality audio. This is not to say it is bad. It does its job and that's all that can be expected.
There is only one audio track available, this being an English Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack.
Dialogue is clear and concise at all times.
Apart from the Wide World of Sports introductory theme, there is only a little music to introduce each of the segments and some of the extras.
There is no surround or subwoofer use.
|Surround Channel Use|
This is the bit I claim the credit for. 25 memorable catches from over the last 25 years. My only quibble is that they are played far too quickly and only a few have replays, so blink and you might miss some of the better ones.
What is considered the greatest catch of all time is open to lots of debate, but these are the top six as voted by the Channel 9 commentary team. There are one or two missing that I would have probably had in this list, but you must remember these catches are taken from the one day games only. There have been some rippers in test matches as well, such as John Dyson's dramatic goal keeper style dive in the early 1980s, and these are missing. There isn't too much debate about the number one catch though - Steve Waugh's dramatic backwards lunging effort in the late 80s in Melbourne when he nearly collided with the sight-screen and big Merv Hughes (I don't know which is worse!). In anyone's words - it's a gem.
Six classic bowling performances from over the years, featuring some of the finest bowlers ever, including Richard Hadlee from New Zealand. He took 5 for 36 on 29 January 1981 at the SCG. Hadlee was virtually unplayable on this day when the Kiwi's claimed victory. Incidentally, it was just three days before the infamous underarm bowling controversy. (2:50). We also have Joel Garner's 5 for 31 on 12 February 1984 at the MCG. 'Big-bird' Joel Garner delivered the ball from such an amazing height it caused an awful lot of pain and damage to most batsmen. Watch here as he rips through the Australian line-up with a devastating spell (3:03). Rounding out the bowling destroyers are Curtly Ambrose (2:35), Wasim Akram (1:49), Glenn McGrath (2:55) and the most recent effort, Brett Lee's 5 for 30 against England at the MCG in 2003 (6:28).
There is nothing better than seeing a batsman in full flight launching an all-out attack on a bowler. There have been many rapid fire assaults over the years from all manner of players and these are some of the best (though weighted a little in Australia's favour I feel - there are none of Ian Botham's many efforts featured).
We get to see big Kiwi Lance Cairns bludgeon an amazing 52 from just 21 balls (still the fastest half-century ever recorded in this country). He hit an amazing six sixes in this total (3:22). Also included are Viv Richards smashing his way to a ton off 122 balls (4:10), Dean Jones' epic 145 against England at the 'Gabba in 1990 (5:32), Adam Gilchrist's 154 from 129 balls (6:09), Mark Waugh's Australian record of 173 off 148 balls (7:11), and Ricky Ponting's 119 off 123 balls (5:37).
Detailed score cards (both batting and bowling) for all the six games shown as part of the main feature.
Various records and stats are shown here. Things like the fastest 50s and centuries, the best bowling and the like.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
As one would expect, this disc is not available in Region 1 and is most likely to not ever appear there.
Cricket lovers will enjoy every minute of this disc. Many fond memories of some truly dramatic moments in one-day cricket in this country will come flooding back as you watch the comprehensive highlights package. The inclusion of the classic catches and standout bowling and batting performances rounds out the package quite nicely.
I'll go away now and try and come up with another good idea for the next disc.
|DVD||Loewe Xemix 5106DO, using RGB output|
|Display||Loewe Calida (84cm). Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Speakers||Front - B&W 602S2, Centre - B&W CC6S2, Rear - B&W 601S2, Sub - Energy E:xl S10|