Tag Archives: South Africa

England save the World Cup

At least, it seems like they’re doing this on their own.  No match involving Group Captain Strauss and co. has ended up being a damp squib, not even the matches with the cricketing minnows.

So what if that’s meant they managed to lose to Ireland when defending 300+, limited over cricket’s meant to be about these nerve-jangling affairs, not teams fielding seven batsmen and batting away the contest before the other team begins their chase.


South Africa – India: table topping clash of titans

With all the Ashes fever making everyone a bit giddy, it’s quite easy to forget that South Africa are hosting a series against India at the same time.  None of those daft Gladiator style adverts for this series, which can only be a good thing.  It’s a meeting of the #1 and #2 ranked Test nations, so it should hopefully provide us with an interesting contest, as opposed to the Ashes where one side is doing a fair bit of soul searching while the other is coming to terms with actually being quite alright.

South Africa can’t overtake India if they win the series, so they’ll simply have to go about showing why they should be top of the rankings.  India meanwhile, will have to use this series to prove what the #1 side in Test cricket should be able to do, win abroad consistently.

Or is it just a bit unfair to expect that, given how good former #1 team Australia used to be?

A few words of gratitude from Mental Disintegration

I would like to thank the other Test cricketing nation’s boards for managing to have three other Test series arranged to take place just before the 2010-11 Ashes series started.

With matches like India – New Zealand, Sri Lanka – West Indies and Pakistan – South Africa all going on during the early hours, I was able to formulate a mock conditioning program for Ashes viewing.  By sitting through infuriatingly painful moments such as Harbhajan Singh’s centuries, it’s going to take something extraordinary to send me to sleep now.

Nice going, lads.

Graeme Smith’s breadstick digits

For such a great big hulking piece of South African beef, Graeme Smith hasn’t half got brittle fingers.  They’ve now been in the news on five separate occasions, having been broken that many times in roughly two years.

Just imagine what it would be like if Smith had a thumb war or a game of slapsies with Brad Haddin.  I have no doubt that the outcome would be horrific for at least one of them.

Smith’s participation in South Africa’s first Test match of their home series against India, which starts December 16, is now in doubt.

Kallis tucks in, de Villiers digs in

The first day of  the second Test in Pakistan’s ‘home’ series against South Africa threatened to cause a bit of a stir, but ultimately failed to deliver by stumps following an explosive first ten overs in the morning.  Unless you get your cricketing kicks from watching Jacques Kallis or AB de Villiers bat, in which case, you must have had a whale of a time today.

Hit by Wahab Riaz’s injury in the first Test, Pakistan drafted in newbie seam bowler Tanvier Ahmed, who proceeded to remove Alviro Petersen, Hashim Amla and Graeme Smith in his first six overs.  Particularly memorable was the removal of Amla, with Tanvir’s delivery convincing Asoka De Silva that the bearded wonder’s ribs sound the same as a nick off the inside edge.

But if there was one man you wanted to stop the rot in a batting line up, it would most likely be Jacques Kallis.  Together with AB de Villiers, it was over 40 overs later until Pakistan made a further breakthrough, putting on a 4th wicket partnership of 179 run.

The most striking feature of this partnership, in my mind, was the distinct case of mistaken identity.  Kallis is a batsman widely regarded as a stodgy character out in the middle, putting the value of his wicket ahead of everything else, whereas de Villiers has a reputation for entertaining knocks, probably stemming from his boyish charm.  Kallis’ first scoring stroke certainly seemed out of character for the big man from Cape Town, a hook shot for six.  The tone for his innings set, he quite frankly raced to his century, twatting Abdur Rehman back over his head for two sixes along the way.  de Villiers, on the other had, batted watchfully, dispatching the ball to the boundary only when he felt the opportunity had been offered to him.

With the spot-fixing scandal surrounding Mohammads Asif and Aamer, Pakistan must be wondering when their next great fast bowling prodigy will surface.  For the time being, they’ve had to go to the other end of the talent pool which refuses to cease with surprises.  Tanvir, 31, looks every bit a journeymen club cricket pro, complete with lumbering run up and body language which suggested he couldn’t wait for a breather at tea.  Nonetheless, he was their only bowler to maintain an element of control in his bowling, as Umar Gul disappointed, and Mohammad Sami managed to condense the story of his career into his first four overs.  He showcased both his ability to move the ball round corners, but also his penchant for loose balls, which Kallis ruthless gobbled up at the start of his innings, prompting Misbah -Ul-Haq to take him off for Younus Khan’s wily medium pace.

Younus’ return in the first Test certainly provided a lift, but it will take more than one batsman with the temperament for this format to get Pakistan back on the right path.

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