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Friday, December 16, 2005


Other Sport: Makhaya the Magnificant

The Bulletin by Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
December 16, 2005
South Africa 0 for 38 trail Australia 258 (Ponting 71, Ntini 5-64) by 220 runs

Makhaya Ntini bowled South Africa to a position of strength by taking 5 for 64 as Australia were dismissed for 258 on the first day at Perth. Ricky Ponting made an aggresive 71. At stumps, Graeme Smith (18 not out) and AB de Villiers (14 not out) had whittled the lead down to 220 runs.

A fiery six-over spell from Makhaya Ntini, when he rocked Australia's middle order with darting pace and whizzing bounce, turned the first Test around, putting South Africa on top on the first day at Perth. In a span of 13 deliveries, he prised out Michael Hussey, Brad Hodge and Adam Gilchrist and wrenched away Australia's advantage, set up by a glorious counterattacking half-century from Ricky Ponting. Brett Lee and Shane Warne produced plucky efforts to push the total, but Andre Nel mopped up the tail as Australia were bowled out for 258.

A feisty half-century from Ricky Ponting led Australia's rapid start in the first Test at Perth as they overcame a few setbacks to reach 3 for 175 at tea. South Africa, choking the runs in the second session, inched their way back into contention but a fine partnership between Michael Hussey and Brad Hodge thwarted any hopes of a quick fightback.

However, a Jacques Kallis-less South Africa got off to an almost-ideal start in their first Test at the WACA. Makhaya Ntini struck off his second ball, digging in a short one and Hayden was undone by the bounce as he attempted the pull shot only to see it balloon over gully, where Jacques Rudolph took a juggling catch running back. Ponting's first ball had a sense of déjà vu as Ntini's superb bouncer rattled him on the side of his helmet. He committed himself on the front foot and had nowhere to run, invoking memories of Steve Harmison's snorter to him on the opening morning of this year's Lord's Test.

But a change of guard was enough to get back his terrific judgement as a bustling counterattack began to unfurl. In Ntini's next over he rattled 13 - a glorious pull to midwicket, another pull backward of square, and a drilled boundary in front of square when Ntini pitched it up. Once he had cut through the tension like a hot knife through butter, nothing could stop him. Four more controlled fours flowed from Ponting's bat in the first hour as Langer also began finding his feet. Things got worse for South Africa after the drinks break as the duo clattered a flurry of boundaries - Langer creamed three fours off Ntini and Ponting thundered two more off Charl Langeveldt.

Pollock and Nel provided South Africa with a much-needed pressure valve after lunch and a disciplined spell pulled things slightly back. Bustling in with his characteristic zest, and generating pace close to the 135kph mark, Nel maintained a full length while bowling against an attacking Ponting. He was driven on a couple of occasions, gloriously in fact, but didn't dig it in short, unlike the erratic Langeveldt, and stopped the leak of runs from one end. Pollock's rigorous methods added to the batsmen's frustration and Ponting was trapped in front while trying to turn one to the on side. Ntini had earlier ended Langer's gritty knock - top-edging a pull just like Hayden had done - and South Africa had a small opening.

However, a composed stand between Hussey and Hodge ensured that Australia regained the initiative. Hodge was lucky to be dropped on 3, when Mark Boucher got his gloves to a hard flash, but he cashed in with some fine stroke on the off side. Hussey, it appears, can do little wrong at the moment and a couple of awesome pulls served as appetisers, promising much more after the tea break.

How they were out

Matthew Hayden c Rudolph b Ntini 0 (1 for 0)
Mis-timed a pull; juggling catch running back from gully

Justin Langer c Smith b Ntini 37 (2 for 111)
Top-edged a pull; mid-off takes the skier

Ricky Ponting lbw b Pollock 71 (3 for 117)
Trapped in front while trying to turn one to leg

Michael Hussey c Langeveldt b Ntini 23 (4 for 180)
Top-edged a pull; sensational one-handed catch running in from mid-on

Brad Hodge c Boucher b Ntini 41 (5 for 185)
Nicked a drive on the front foot

Adam Gilchrist c Gibbs b Ntini 6 (6 for 199)
Top-edged a cut to second slip

Shane Warne lbw b Langeveldt 24 (8 for 243)
Shuffled across the stumps and missed a straight one

Nathan Bracken c Boucher b Nel 10 (9 for 258)
Feathered an edge while trying to cut

Glenn McGrath c Boucher b Nel 0 (258 all out)
Caught in the crease, nicked to the keeper

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo
© Cricinfo

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Go Ntini!!!!

Thanks PA for the updates. Great Stuff!

Can I phone you sometime this morning?
sure thing.  
Wie van julle was vanoggend om 04:00 voor die TV vir die begin?
Moet sê ek het net vir 'n uur gehou, toe klink die kooi na 'n beter proposisie...
ek sal so dink - almal het nie vakansie dag soos julle vandag nie - ons werk!!!  

Kandas het nog vier bottels oor vir die naweek.
Ek het gister twee kiste gekoop.
Daar lê harde werk voor...
Great stuff

Hoop ons klap die Chain-gang one-time

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