Special mention and congratulations must be conveyed to our fearless leader, Graeme Smith – well played Sir, on a 100 tests as Captain! We have been privileged as supporters to grow with Biff, from his early days as twenty something, through all his double hundreds, mistakes and bullish approaches to the mature and self-assured man that he is today. It is fair to call him nothing short of a great leader who has done his country proud.
Test cricket makes a welcome return to the Bullring at the Wanderers.with tenacious batters, 7ft bowlers and grassy wickets. Boy, are we in for a treat! Playing hosts to Pakistan will be our last taste of test cricket before the rugby starts. The Proteas, being the number one ranked team in the world, playing at home and enjoying an impressive run of form, will find themselves as favourites at the bookies.
Pakistan, however, will be no walkover and will offer a much bigger challenge than the Black Caps did. Under the leadership of Misbah, this side has developed into a competitive unit. Their bowling attack, in my view, is their strongest weapon. The spinner, Saeed Ajmal, is possibly the world’s most dangerous spinner at present along with Mohammed Irfan, a 7ft tall bowler who will pose a difficult challenge for our batsmen. His height will assist him to generate substantial bounce which will prove to be challenging to our batsmen.
I favour the Protea bowlers to bully the Pakistan batsmen. Reports indicate that there is a lot of grass left on one of the liveliest surfaces in the country, two days before the match. We should not underestimate the tenacity of the experienced campaigners, Younis Khan and skipper Misbah. They know how to bat for a long time and how to construct a big innings. No doubt, plans will be made to attempt early dismissals when they find themselves at the wicket.
Expect sparks when these two sides meet. In my experience, there is always controversy where Pakistan is involved.
I think Graeme Smith is going to have a massive series – and would tip him to be the top run getter! His approach in the recent ODI’s showed the hunger and determination of a man on a mission. On the bowling front I tip Dale Steyn to be the top wicket taker. The last test match suggested that the world’s premier fast bowler might have rediscovered his “mojo”.
Who do you tip?
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