Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Twist & turns

As has been the trend for the series the last day of the last test twisted and turned. Amla gave the Springboks a sniff of victory then it was snatched away. Australia dominated for the next hour but could not deliver the death blow. It has developed into a real concernt that our frontline bowlers have been unable to dismiss the tail enders. For the life of me I cannot understand why in the absence of any real threat of a run chase Australia's bowlers didn't target the stumps and only the stumps. How hard is it? They hit. And they missed a hell of a lot. The problem was the ball was outside off stump, or too short. I don't care who the team is, the last two batsmen in the line up SHOULD NOT be able to face that many balls. Hayden dropped one, so too did Ronald McDonald. Australia must go away now and practice their catching until their hands bleed or risk a head long slide down the rankings. Without the freakish talents of Warne and McGrath to make chances they must make the most of the ones that come their way. It was the difference in the first two tests. In the third it cost South Africa dearly. How Ponting must lament his drop on day three now having taken the last test. In the end it may have cost us the series.
On a more positive note I thought Bollinger was incredibly unlucky, toiled really hard. Siddle was great in bursts but the standout is Johnson. Any bowler that can bowl as fast in the last hour of day five as his first ball is a hero in my book.
I can't help but think Smith as man of the series was because he batted injured in the last overs. He missed the whole test. Clarke for mine.


  1. Can we stop talking about Warne & McGrath again until we have a crack at the dream team again. Did not see nor hear any of today's play, except from when Smith came out to bat. Nice effort best batsmen of the series for me, he is what Tubby Taylor was to Australia all those years ago.

    Yes too many dropped catches from both sides but it did cost Australia more. Siddle's efforts was to find a descent spinner and opening batsmen.

  2. the pool for openers is expansive!

    for a front-line turner...not so much.

    Clarke topped the runs for the series... but i think the Smith thing was a combination of Leading, great knocks and yes the sympathy thing for batting as a gimp!

    I know this sounds parochial but for a losing side; i would toss up between Clarke and Johnson for man of series; here's why:

    Clarke- most runs, 383. av 76.60, highest score 138. he beat Smith in all facets except strike rate (47.87-65.72) but had to steady the ship (unlike Smith opening) so had to bat more conservatively.

    now for Johnson (and for these stats he [just]pips Clarke for mine)- 17 wickets (one less than Steyn) 29 maidens to Steyns 22, 440 runs to Steyn 471. slightly better average and economy to Steyn... and he bowled 28 more overs! his strike rate and 5 wicket innings were the only thing not as good as Steyn [who did impress me by the way(in Melbourne)].
    also Johnson scored 146 runs at 36.50! as a comparison (only because Steyn has proved he is not a total bunny- i actually think HE won the MCG test with his bat!) Steyn scored 118 at 29.50- very commendable for a strike bowler!

    Lastly Johnson has proved himself an exceptional athlete in the field- who would run on his arm? He still needs to move the ball through the air though!

    stoph verismo

  3. i totally agree LM with the line bowled to the tail enders... especially given in the last session, runs were not part of the game!

    i think the line was a bit out too but the odd bouncer is good if the next ball spears in at the feet or JUST outside off. there were so many wasted balls; maybe they were just building the suspense! as Nelson would say "What a showman!"

  4. 2nd paragraph read "length" a bit out too. D'OH!

  5. Hard to give a bloke man of the series when he hardly batted in the last test. What about Duminy making runs when his side needed it the most? I don't think there was any one player above all others - a tie between Clarke, Johnson, Steyn, Duminy and Smith (I hope I pronounced that correctly).

    Maybe Hayden should get man of the series for holding his spot when he did absolutely nothing! Speaking of losers, I half expected Hayden to announce his retirement after the test. When he dropped that catch I thought about Gilchrist in Adelaide when something similar happened and he knew that it was time to go. I know we're talking about a keeper vs a (so called) batsman but surely something's up when you drop a catch you'd normally swallow and you're getting yourself out to stupid shots. What annoys me is the talk about how he's smashing them in the nets. You've got to be kidding me. Who cares? They don't count there! You don't have fielders! I've been batting well in the nets but haven't made many on Saturday - therefore my position is in jeopardy. That's sport.

  6. great point LRO, for holding on in the face of absolute reality, Hayden should get MOTS!

    i too have been SMASHING them in the nets, even though it is only me tossing em up to knock-in the bat... maybe i'm good at #1 for Aus- NOT!

    stoph verismo

  7. Smashing them in the nets?? Why would a professional cricketer even mention that? There are gaps everywhere in the nets. Hayden is striking them OK, they are just going straight to fielders. Hayden telegraphed his dismissal in Melbourne. He can't bat any other way and I think his eye is gone. I wonder if the selectors warned him a faiure in Sydney would end it for him and he took the risk of not having a swan song?
    Sorry for talking about those whom should not be mentioned but I was trying to illustrate a point. Australia simply cannot afford to drop chances anymore. Steyn batted well in Melbourne but was obsenely lucky. Dropped, edges through the gaps, beaten edges how many times? Our batters through that match away with their cavalier approach to saving the test in the 2nd dig. And that is what we should have been doing. Bat til lunch on day 5, game over, win in Sydney. Series drawn and we keep the silverware.