Bobby discusses the second test starting tomorrow, and Paul looks at the period leading up to when the official number one side in test cricket is crowned.
We came across a wonderful website called Ou Grote (not mine, I promise) where you can find links to download most of the popular sports to your Outlook or ICal diaries. This will help prevent you making an appointment, then having to cancel it at the last minute when you realise the rugby is about to start.
Going in for the kill…
– by Bobby Londt
Port Elizabeth hosts the second and final test against a New Zealand side that has, to date, had a disastrous tour of South Africa. The St George’s pitch shouldn’t provide as much lateral movement off the wicket for the seamers as the Newlands wicket did. This pitch is expected to be a bit dryer and slower than our other test grounds. This should have the Black Caps’ top order sleeping a bit easier, but St “Gorgeous” should never the less provide a platform for a good contest between bat and ball. We should see more of Dean Elgar with the ball, as he is a more than useful spinner and should provide Robbie Petersen with solid back up. Petersen, playing his first test in front of his home town, will be keen to impress.
Expectations are still that the test should be well over within the 5 days with a win for the Proteas. Key for the home side will be to continue their ruthless demeanour and go for the kill when the opportunity presents itself. Another win will also firmly establish their position as the world best test side. This test should also be used as preparation for Pakistan, who will present a different challenge in a month’s time – one that could upset us in our own back yard if we are not on top of our game!
Test Cricket – The long and the short of it
News that the Proteas will coin about R3.4 if they play their cards right between now and April, will certainly help them to stay focused in the short term. Despite their poor record at home, it seems highly unlikely that England, the closest contenders for the number one spot in test cricket, will be able to haul them in, despite a reasonably easy passage between now and then for the Poms.
After the final test against the Black Caps, Pakistan might prove to be a tougher nut to crack in March. My prediction is that our superior mental toughness, and form players, will give us the edge.
As for the English, their chances hinge a lot more on what the Proteas do not achieve, rather than their ability to beat all and sundry they play between now and the end of April. As for the rest of the year, and retaining the number one spot, I suspect that Gary Kirsten will keep the focus on the next series, rather than making the top spot a longer term goal, although it is there in the minds of the players. They want to emulate the golden decade that Australia set as the benchmark.
Lekker kyk, Ou Grote!