Cricket: The Aussies consolidate.
Australia’s first innings: 308 all out
Matthew Hayden: 94
Andre Nel: 22.2-6-45-3 (Overs, Maiden, Runs, Wickets)
Australia consolidates their grip on this test match by taking a good lead in the first innings. They were bowl out for 308 and took a good lead of 105 runs. This means that in two days of cricket we have had two complete innings. The seamers have contributed 20 wickets out of all the 23 wickets that have fell until time. The result is now just the matter of time.
Nicky Boje managed a couple of them. Andre Nel bowled with some exception. He may not be the fastest but his ability to get bounce makes the tall fast bowler to stand out in the crowd. Ambrose the lanky West Indian bowler could bowl on the same spot and get disconcerting amount of bounce. He troubled many a good batsman during his times. Matthew Hayden showed some class and to register 94 runs. It was sad that he was so close to a century but could not get there. Ponting I think was missing his bat. He was edging the balls with some consistency and looked bemused each time he edged the deliveries. He some how managed to reach 74 and then played an uppish drive to Andrew Hall. There was a middle order collapsing highlighting the importance of an Adam Gilchrist. His dismissal cost Aussies at least 70 runs if not more.
Nicky Boje managed to get a few wickets. I say whatever wickets he takes is a bonus and he looks far from threatening. The Aussies should kick themselves if they were to get out to Nicky Boje. Pollock was missed, that the least that can be said. Kallis getting in with the ball was good to see. May be he could take the confidence of good bowling into his batting and make some runs. The fact that the Aussies managed a hundred and lead covers up the fact they should have got more. The door is still not shut on South Africa. A couple of seasons ago I might have seen the same Aussie team take a lead of over 250.
South Africa’s second innings.
Second Innings: 70 for 3
Lee: 6-1-22-2 (Overs, Maiden, Runs, Wickets)
The South Africans are in distraught. Bret Lee punched life out of S.A. top order. The Protease was reduced to 20 for 2. Why is DeVillers opening the batting is still confusing. Jacques Rudolph down the order is shear waste. He will be better off being a 12 man. Warne will be actually looking forward to bowling to Ashwell Prince. I back Warne to get his wicket anywhere. Graeme Smith is now Warne’s bunny after Cullinan. Graeme Smith learning algorithm has a built in function to make mistake or else he won’t learn. Gibbs has opened in past and the best batsmen should be in the forefront if the matches have to be won. The Aussies will look to wrap up this tomorrow itself and they might win this on the fourth day itself.
This match was a poor follow up to the game at Wanderer’s, Johannesburg. I see Warne weaving his magic tomorrow. I hope South African bowlers can do a face saving exercise for them. I think winning a test a big ask from South Africans. The Proteas have to look to play the second new ball or else their will be a review of first test on this post as early as tomorrow night (I.S.T. +05:30 GMT).
The Wall has now faced a hundred tests.
I am very happy for Rahul Dravid. He has missed making a test century on nine occasions. Dravid cannot miss this one century. It has been a journey, which had many ups and downs. It is a metaphor of facing troughs of failures and peaks of success in search of perfection. The perfection is not a destination for Rahul Dravid it is a journey. There were many batsmen before him and their will be man more who will come after him but there will be none like him. In the great pantheon of batsmen, he has made his own space with determination only.
There is a great meritocracy in his game. He is a true figure, which represents the conquest to learn and imply. The hallmark of his batting has been consistency and elegance. His strokes are sheer visual delight. The balance while playing the cover drive, the punch in the pulls and the poise of the trademark on drive stamp class. His contemporary and Australian counterpart also has had a similar career in many ways. However, Rahul Dravid has a better-shot selection and balance. The level of patience in Dravid is paramount. Ponting is more of attacking batsmen. The both started their careers by scoring nineties on their debut. Ponting can only imagine a century in India. He has an awful record here. Dravid on the other hand has left a mark behind where ever he has played. He has stood for what he thinks is correct and prospered in adverse conditions. His records are enviable and will be marvelled for times to come. The time will come then the wall will be a wall but a celebrated monument.