Pitched Online by Bobby
Watching the highlights of the SA/AUS test on Saturday, I was reminded of what a humbling sport cricket is.
The Australians have always been a bit excessive in their celebrations. Watching Peter Siddle and company display animated expressions of joy when wickets fell in the Proteas first innings, it once again hit me how quickly this game can come back and bite you when you least expect it. Whether you win or lose; always respect the opposition. The Proteas had all the reason to be “over the top” once the winning runs came in this amazing test, yet they simply thanked the opposition for a game well played.
As has become the habit these days, most losing sides state that they have learnt a lot from the game. There just might be a lesson somewhere in there for Clarke and company.
How does one explain what happened? The Australian skipper, Michael Clarke, must have been in a panic to understand and come to terms with their defeat. After all, they did what was required to set up a victory: they survived a seaming wicket and got a respectable 284. Amazingly the Proteas were dismissed for 96, which left Australia with a very useful lead of 188. All that was then required for Australia was to bat for the next 60 or 70 overs and get a lead of 450 plus. That would have left them with more than two days to pressure and squeeze the Proteas into submission and win the 1st test. Fate decreed otherwise!
We often hear commentators and pundits say that a game can change in a session, and boy, did it. Twice in one day!
Watson, for Australia, changed the complexion of the Proteas innings within 21 balls taking 5 wickets– the 2nd fastest ever 5 wicket hall. The Proteas where against the ropes taking an absolute beating from the old foe!
The Proteas simply bounced back in a way no one could have ever predicted by dismissing Australia for an embarrassing 47 runs. Debutant Vernon Philander destroyed the Aussies with a spell of 5 for 15 in 7 overs.
The Proteas’ skipper, Graeme Smith, needs to be singled out for special praise. He once again showed his class, fight and grit to absorb pressure and ensure victory in the run chase. Awesomely supported by Amla, it made the victory that much sweeter for “Lock jaw” (Paul’s nickname for Smith) as he would have silenced many critics! And so on to the Wanderers for the next test.
I am still enjoying this one too much and will comment on Thursday. After all, it’s not often we get to see the Aussies (and their press) in such a panic – no doubt they will come out fighting on Thursday. I hope you enjoyed this one – we will be talking about it for many years to come.
The future of Super Rugby by Paul Kruger
Last week I read an article about the English club side Saracens possibly playing a match in the Green Point stadium in Cape Town. There appears to be a protocol problem as the WP were not aware of the match, and had to give their permission under IRF rules.
At a first glance, there is little sinister about this match being scheduled here. Bobby, who has spent the past eight years in the UK, notes that Saracens never really had a traditional fan base like, for instance, London Irish. A huge part of their supporter base consists of expat South Africans.
What did arouse my curiosity was the mention made towards the end of the article about the possibility of our senior provincial sides joining in the Heineken Cup in the future. The mention of Morné du Plessis as being involved added the same impact as that of Trevor Manuel in implementing his “regruk” plan for the beloved beleaguered country.
The first benefit that comes to mind is that we will not be exposed to the jet lag disadvantage we have in the current format of the “Super” series. Television rights might earn substantially more for the administrators (and players?). The addition of the SA teams will be a most welcome fresh injection to what one can almost regard as an incestuous format spawned from the six nations down to club level.
No doubt there will be negatives as well. Player burn-out, and not playing against what is currently the top two sides in the world come to mind.
Wat dink julle? Ou Manie is van mening dat dit ons wenkanse ‘n hupstoot sal gee. Terloops, daardie woordjie is ook sy vertaling van die Engelse uitdrukking “quickie.”
Sterk staan ou Grote. As jy dan nou moet skink, maak dit dan maar ‘n double.
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