After the 1st day of the 1st test few of us would have been so brave as to predict the current situation in the test at the Oval. In my previous post, I mentioned that I thought the difference would be in the batting and so it proved to be, with Kallis and Smith getting tons and then, of course, Hashim Amla, who was just sublime! The silent bearded warrior just kept going, showing immense powers of concentration and converting an opportunity into a South African record best, which he thoroughly deserves.
The wicket, due to its slowness, never really allowed fast scoring and the discipline the above-mentioned players displayed, deserves the admiration of every cricket lover.
I was very impressed with Smith’s declaration; I think he has allowed enough time to create the opportunities to force a win.
The pleasing fact of our bowling performance thus far is that everyone is contributing and all of them seem threatening. Unlike the England attack, which relied heavily on Anderson and Swann – but once they were replaced the pressure was relieved.
It’s important to note that one does not often get a side like the current England one on the ropes and I am sure Smith & co will be working very hard to deliver the knockout punch by being clinical en ruthless in their approach today. If ever Imran Tahir has wanted to instil some fear into a side, today will be his opportunity as the wicket will be ragging*.
Most of the players took to twitter last night to congratulate Amla and Ernie Els on their momentous achievements: Well done gents #ProudlySouthAfrican
AB de Villiers: “Just got the news about Ernie winning the Open! Icing on the cake after a phenomenal day for us. Congrats @amlahash and @jacqueskallis75 !”
Graeme Smith: “guess good place to start is with @amlahash incredible achievement and something so great to be apart of.#oneextremelyproudteammate”
“and to the big easy that news we received walking off the field today was magic. and the champion golfer of the year ERNIE ELS!!!!!!!!!!!”
Albie Morkel : “What a day for SA sport!! First @amlahash and @jacqueskallis75, and then Ernie.. Very proud! Let’s hope for a SA win 2mo!!”
*Ragging is cricket slang to describe if a pitch is taking to spin bowling in a massive way.
Bed of Roses by Paul Kruger
Daar is twee redes waarom ek bostaande liedjie van Bon Jovi vir die titel van vandag gekies het. Eerstens, omdat so baie soet geure van die Engelse kus af hierheen gewaai het die afgelope naweek, en tweedens omdat ek die dag se gebeure so baldadig gevier het dat ek die volgende deel van die lied vandag beleef: “…some marching band keeps it’s own beat in my head while we’re talking…”
Wat ’n voorreg om twee naweke na mekaar sulke wonderlike sportuitslae te ervaar. Verlede week se Super 15 uitslae, wat verseker het dat die helfte van die spanne in die laaste ses van Suid-Afrika is, is dié naweek nog verder gesout en peper met die krieket en gholf vertonings van ons top sportlui.
Die Bulls se ondersteuners is waarskynlik meer teleurgesteld oor die manier waarop hulle oordonder is, as die feit dat hulle verloor het. Die media sonder graag vir Morné Steyn uit as die groot sondebok en, ja, ek stem saam hy het swak gespeel, maar hoekom? Ons almal weet hoe groot sy hart is, maar hy is duidelik verby sy optimum aangewend waar selfs sy moedigste pogings net nie meer kan byhou by die fisieke eise wat aan hom gestel is nie.
Tweedens is hierdie wedstryd ook hopelik ’n wekroep vir Frans Ludeke, maar nog meer vir Heyneke Meyer, dat hierdie resep van die Bulls uitgedien is. Agter ’n verloor pak was daar bloedweinig inisiatief en die massa foute, strafskoppe en omkeer besit teen hulle was meestal as gevolg van druk deur die Crusaders.
In contrast, the Sharks showed us how the game should be played. This was 15 man rugby at its best, with even the Beast emulating Sonny-Bill in passing the ball in the tackle. Their blitzkrieg tactic worked, and by the time the Reds got their breath back, it was all over, bar the whinging: firstly by those one-eyed jocks who call themselves commentators, and after the game by Genia about the disallowed try. I was reminded of an old joke: what is the difference between a jet engine and a losing Aussie? Eventually the jet engine stops whining.
On a number of occasions during the competition I was critical about the defense of the Sharks, but on Saturday they excelled in this regard. While there were a host of good performances, I particularly liked what Charl McLeod did on the attack and defense. His Springbok jersey is not far off.
And so to the semi-finals.
This weekend, a columnist questioned the fact that the Kiwi semi-final is played on a Friday, and ours on a Saturday. This gives them an extra day to recover and/or travel. Is this fair comment?
On Thursday, we discuss the coming weekend’s games. Let’s hope the Hoarse Whisperer announces his team a little sooner than usual.
I have a confession to make.
I felt sorry for an Aussie on Sunday. Adam Scott must still be wondering how the pressure got to him when he was leading the field by four shots, with four holes to play,
But this remorse was quickly replaced by elation for Ernie Els who achieved the seemingly impossible. While all else faltered in the conditions, he played his game shot by shot and won the Open. I can recall at least one game where Tiger hauled in Ernie in similar fashion to how the latter turned a four shot deficit into a one shot victory.
In this case the old cliché really applies: it could not have happened to a nicer guy, and few in the whole wide world would dispute this.
Elke naweek maak ek tyd om in my tuisdorp die bergpad te gaan stap om bietjie oefening te kry en sommer net die wonderskone natuur te geniet. Sondag bly die reën dreig en kom ek nie weg nie.
Op Facebook skryf ek vir my vriende dat ek maar solank ’n bottel rooiwyn gaan oopmaak dat dié kan asemhaal vir wanneer ek die Beesstert wat ek oornag laat prut het, gaan aantree. Dit is mos darem ook ’n tipe oefening, nie waar nie?
Binne sekondes reageer een ou: “As die wyn nie wil asemhaal nie, probeer mond tot mond.”
Wat ek toe maar noodgedwonge moes doen en dis waarom ek en Bon Jovi vanoggend soos doopouers langs mekaar staan.
Vrede, ou Grote.