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At Adelaide Oval South Australia played New South Wales in the ING Cup (one-day cricket) match. It featured an array of past and present Test players not seen very often nowadays in domestic matches: for SA Darren Lehmann, Jason Gillespie and Damien Fleming; for NSW the captain of Australia, his twin brother who retired from international cricket this week, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Michael Bevan and Stuart MacGill. Surprising, then, that the Oval wasn't packed out to see the sight.SA made 246, of which Lehmann, the man who replaces Junior in the national team, scored 83. Mark Waugh himself made 76 for NSW (who won by 3 wickets in the last over). For almost twenty years people have hailed him as a batting stylist: the "elegant", "graceful", "effortless", "languid", "carefree" strokemaker who makes it all look so easy--and now I know what they mean. At last, for the first time, I've seen it for myself. Earlier this year he and Steve Waugh were dropped from the Australian team for the one-day internationals, and the country seemed to reel in traumatized reaction. Speculation about the Waughs' future and their batting failures added an extra layer of emotion to the Tests in South Africa--listening to the match broadcasts in February and March, it was as if I were an aural witness to a twilight of the gods; even the South African commentators seemed to suffer an attack of nostalgic reverence. That Mark Waugh's return to form today took place in the company of former Test teammates gave his innings an extra frisson. In addition, Tugga made 47. And at last I saw that too: the Ice Man. The cautiousness and tenacity and guts of the most successful captain Australia has ever had. For years the name Waugh flitted around on the edge of my consciousness, in sports bulletins and the sports pages and by chance in the same cities I happened to be in, and I never paid much attention--until now. And now it's almost too late.Why does cricket matter so much? Why do people hang onto every word of the radio commentaries and lose sleep to watch it bleary-eyed in the middle of the night on satellite TV beamed from another hemisphere, or migrate to Australia for the southern summer to watch the Ashes series here every four years? Why are there so many books written about it, so many histories of the game, biographies of players, tour diaries, novels, poems? Why is Wisden some people's favorite book? Why do some countries treat international cricketers as gods and cricket as more important than life? No one really knows. And it doesn't really matter. It's summer here. Roll on Thursday.