Tag Archives: South Africa

An Un-Australian Day

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Sky’s inspired decision to use Australia Day as an opportunity to revisit some of Australia’s sporting low-points was neatly overshadowed by their once-mightiest team continuing its freefall. This just days after Andrew Symonds called NSW’s decision to play McCullum in their state Twenty20 final “Un-Australian” – what, then would he make of his team’s play yesterday?

Having won the toss on a placid Adelaide pitch, in front of a packed house with the opportunity to put a bit of a shine on a thoroughly depressing summer, Australia played its worst game of cricket in recent memory.

After Warner and Marsh perished swiftly, Hussey and Ponting did the typical Australian thing and batted as if nothing were amiss. And while they were both in, nothing was. Ponting looked particularly venomous, at one stage flaying four consecutive fours off Ntini and then Steyn. For a moment you allowed yourself to believe that perhaps we were going to witness something enormous, the routed remnants of a great army finding it in themselves to forge a final, defiant victory.

But there was something else in Ponting’s batting, a deep, malign frustration, with his teammates and the hand he’d been dealt. His demeanour seemed to angrily ask why he was fated to lead this particular side. When he and Hussey – who is unrecognisable as the imperious Mr Cricket of a few short seasons ago – both departed within a few balls of each other Australia’s swift start and nascent recovery was in the balance. Into the breach strode David Hussey and Brad Haddin, with the latter perishing to a shot of such breathtaking arrogance it seemed to sum up Australia’s entire summer. Continue reading

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A Tour For the Ages

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You have to give credit to Australia. This afternoon’s victory, with a ragtag team of passable cricketers, a couple of debutants and only Ponting as an all-time great was testament to the sheer willpower that resides in the Australian cricket team. They really had no right to win that game, with only the sublime Bracken threatening as a bowler, but they scrambled and grafted and never let their quarry get away, and got a well-deserved victory out of it.

It was a fascinating game of cricket, with each side cruising to unassailable dominance at various stages, only for the other to mount an improbable fight back. When Australia were 1/150 inside of 30 overs, with Ponting batting near a run a ball, 350 was a fair target, so for South Africa to pull them back to 249, thanks to another fine spell from Steyn, and brilliant discipline during the power plays should have set the game. Likewise Kallis and De Villiers had the game in the bag at 2/140, but couldn’t take it home.

That South Africa lost was, in my opinion largely due to Duminy, until today the young hero of the South African side, inexplicably getting stuck in the middle of an otherwise perfectly weighted innings. How do you blame a guy who got 35 at better than a run a ball? Continue reading

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Guest Post: Cometh The Hour

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Yesterday’s fifth day of the third and final test between Australia and South Africa tells us a thing or two about the state of world cricket. It also provides a useful yardstick for comparison with the current NZ team.

First, on the cricket. The state of Australian cricket is not quite as bad as some commentators have made it out to be. Yes it’s true that Australian teams of the last 15 years probably would have put the Jaapies away more quickly and efficiently than was done yesterday, but let’s not forget that you’ve essentially got a completely brand new bowling attack. Any player, even future greats, requires time to find their feet in international cricket. Having said that, there does appear to be one major difference between the current team, and those of the past. Spin. Continue reading

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Boxing On?

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Today 15 men will walk out on to the Melbourne Cricket Ground in front of 90,000 baying fans and decide whether now is Australia’s time. After nearly two decades of unparalelled dominance, and of fighting back from the brink before, this looks like their last hope to stave off the inevitable march back to the land of cricketing mortality.

Since the end of the domestic season earlier this year against India, when batsmen from both sides put together fairly handsome scores, typical of high summer in Australia, the baggy green has started to look a little faded. In series against the West Indies, India, New Zealand and the first test against South Africa the top six are split cleanly into two even packs: those who’ve improved or maintained their averages, and those who’ve done the reverse.

Ponting 40.7 (vs  his career average of 56.7), Hussey 35.8 (vs. 61.5) and particularly Hayden 23.5 (vs 51.3) have all slid backwards while Clarke 48.2 (vs 46.9,) Symonds 44.9 (vs 42.2) and most notably Katich 59.5 (43.5) have improved. Unfortunately the three missing out aren’t nearly making up for those cashing in, with the difference being 49.5. This means Australia’s top six, until recently the most formidible run machine in test cricket, is effectively playing one (extremely good) batter down. Continue reading

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Channel 9 In Full Flight

The Channel 9 guys have some of the best callers of all time, in Benaud and Chappell, but to hear Lawry, Slater, Taylor, Healy and Greig all summer when Australia is at the height of their powers is to behold truly breathtaking sycophancy. 

Here though, with history mere minutes away they sat in stony silence,  uncharacteristically struck dumb as South Africa closed in on a most momentous victory. Anyone wondering how voluble they’d be here if it was Australia chasing down the second highest fourth innings score OF ALL TIME?! It’s terrifying to imagine the cackles and wheedling praise. Continue reading

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7 Things To Love About Yesterday's Cricket

1. [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EK-BavdWb84%5D

2. Tim McIntosh using that let-off to carry his bat for one of the most dour, but necessary half centuries we’ve seen from a New Zealander in some time. Maybe since another un-flashy opener named Mark Richardson retired. His 62 off 210 balls won’t have given Sehwag any nightmares, but here finally it looks like we might’ve found an opener who values his wicket as highly as he should.

3. Iain O’Brien’s six wicket bag, including Gayle with his first ball and first-test trouble-maker Taylor for a worryingly quick 17. He doesn’t look like a test cricketer, O’Brien, but the way he charges in any surface makes your heart sing. This was a 400-500 pitch, so we’ve got a good shake here if a few of our heavyweights can come off.

4. Also – and this speaks to what David was complaining about a few days backIain O’Brien’s blog is a pretty fascinating read, and one clearly not subject to any interference. As a New Zealand sports fan it’s rather bewildering to read one of our representatives thoughts in this context. Aren’t those things supposed to be on the NZC website, about three lines long and written by some intern from Takapuna who gets it approved by three different PR people (but not O’Brien, obviously) before it goes live? Mind you, with New Zealand Cricket’s current administrative woes maybe they just don’t know about it… Continue reading

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7 Things To Love About Yesterday’s Cricket

1.

2. Tim McIntosh using that let-off to carry his bat for one of the most dour, but necessary half centuries we’ve seen from a New Zealander in some time. Maybe since another un-flashy opener named Mark Richardson retired. His 62 off 210 balls won’t have given Sehwag any nightmares, but here finally it looks like we might’ve found an opener who values his wicket as highly as he should.

3. Iain O’Brien’s six wicket bag, including Gayle with his first ball and first-test trouble-maker Taylor for a worryingly quick 17. He doesn’t look like a test cricketer, O’Brien, but the way he charges in any surface makes your heart sing. This was a 400-500 pitch, so we’ve got a good shake here if a few of our heavyweights can come off.

4. Also – and this speaks to what David was complaining about a few days backIain O’Brien’s blog is a pretty fascinating read, and one clearly not subject to any interference. As a New Zealand sports fan it’s rather bewildering to read one of our representatives thoughts in this context. Aren’t those things supposed to be on the NZC website, about three lines long and written by some intern from Takapuna who gets it approved by three different PR people (but not O’Brien, obviously) before it goes live? Mind you, with New Zealand Cricket’s current administrative woes maybe they just don’t know about it… Continue reading

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