a weekend of comebacks!
south africa jubilant
what a sporting weekend its been! and is there anything better than a sporting comeback!
this weekend, after set-backs in cricket and rugby, both our teams came back fighting and it was a joy to see.
new zealand don’t lose at home. fact (for that matter new zealand very rarely lose at all) up until this weekend new zealand had gone 30 games unbeaten at home, which is a long time if you consider that they only play about 4 matches at home every year. and before that they had a similar long stretches of home dominance.
ricky januarie you beauty!
that home dominance continued last week when they beat south africa 19-8, but this weekend we came back – and how. not only did we come back after losing the previous weekend, we were also a man down and 28-23 down with 5 minutes left of the game. that was before ricky januarie burst through the all black defence, chipped the ball ahead, collected it, and scored for the springboks!
sweet, sweet victory.
south africa have just started their test series of england and, as a south african living in england, you can imagine this is a special series for me – even more so because the when we last played england i had just arrived in england. we drew that series and it was bitterly hard to take after we had dominated for so much of it! this time i want us to win.
i also want jacques kallis to do well. this is a big year for him. this may be his last tour of the three best cricket nations (alongside south africa, of course) and i want him to give them something to remember him by. also, regardless of that, any year in which you play india, england and australia is a very big year indeed and a player who does well in a year like that will earn a huge amount of respect.
he didn’t, by his own standards, have the best tour of india – but he did at least score a century which is the benchmark of success. i want (and i’m sure he does too) him to do better against england. it would also be that little bit more special because i am living in england now.
i’ll be going to one of the games in summer, either the one in edgebaston or the one at the oval and hopefully i’ll get a chance to see him bat!
so – back to the issue of comebacks! thursday was the start of the test series and by saturday our boys were in the deepest and darkest of mires…
the england batsmen smashed our bowlers to all parts of the field
england had posted an immense score of 593 and when we batted on saturday we capitulated to a paltry 247. we were in deep, deep trouble and under huge pressure. in this scenario 99% of the time teams in our position lose. they usually only manage a score of around 330 or so and lose without the other team having to bat again.
our batsmen caved in under the pressure
south africa faced a monumental task. in these conditions there is simply no way they can pass england’s score and gain a lead that england couldn’t reach – the only option is to aim for a draw. and that would mean doing what we couldn’t do on saturday, bat for a day and a half, and this time under far more pressure.
so what did our boys do? they fought back! where on saturday we lost all 10 of our wickets in one day on sunday we lost just 1. just one. it was brilliant.
graeme smith celebrates his century
sambit bal, who writes for cricinfo, described it very well:
Seen in isolation, this was a pitifully dull day, the kind that can be used to illustrate why the longer form is an anachronism in these pacy times. Runs were scarce, wickets scarcer. Fifty-four runs came in the first session, 61 in the second; fours were occasional and there was no hint of a six. But Test cricket is all about context, and in the context of this match, and the series, it was a compelling day: slow, but always simmering; lacking in action, but not plot and intrigue. It was just the kind that makes watching Test cricket a varied, rich and rewarding experience. If South Africa manage to draw this Test, it will be counted among the greatest of escapes in the history of the game, and this seemingly dull day will be regarded as the one that made it possible.
Graeme Smith and Neil McKenzie mounted the most monumental of fightbacks. The wicket remained benign but the pressure was so enormous that it tested the character of these batsmen to the limit. Batting is only half about skills; it was the mental aspect that made the contribution of the opening pair remarkable. All through their vigil, they played with the knowledge that their team was only a mistake away from disaster, and they fashioned their response accordingly.
(go here for the full article)
the job isn’t done yet, but we now have a very good chance of saving this test match. and if we do it’ll be a famous one!
oh, and did i mention jacques kallis may still have a part to play in it all? yessiree… he’s next in to bat and it’d be just brilliant if he can play a part in helping south africa to safety!