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Tuesday, December 20, 2005


OTHER SPORT: Quo Vadis SA and Australia at Melbourne?

Ish a mehrvelush day at thee Em Shee Gee and the broight shun is shoining down on a mehrvelush Bokshing day crewd. The teamsh are equally metched efter the draw et the Weka and both hev moid changes following on thee draw. Oi think we in forra crecka. Letsh look at the changesh before we go dewn to Tony with the pitch repoht.

For those not versed in Richie Benaudese this translates to:

It’s a marvellous day at the MCG and the bright sun is shining down on a marvellous Boxing Day crowd. The teams are equally matched after the draw at the WACA and both have made changes following on the draw. I think we are in for a cracker. Let’s look at the changes before we go down to Tony for the pitch report.

We’ve come out of a hard fought draw with the Aussies. It’s probable the Aussies have the psychological advantage with the South African bowlers and fielders having let Australia get away from them on the third and fourth days. Michael Hussy and Brad Hodge viciously punished us to set up a winning position. We escaped with a hard fought draw thanks to stand in 5 Justin Kemp and out of favour Jacques Rudolph. Jacques Kallis is ready to return. So is our so-called spinner Nicky Boje. Now what?

For the Australians there are an additional set of troubles. The decrepit ageing Glen McGrath and Shane Warne failed to bowl out South Africa. All-rounder Andrew Symonds was hardly a success and the openers took turns failing, with Langer injured. There is a 50/50 chance he’ll play according to cricinfo. Not as obviously as Sydney, Melbourne also takes spin. The Aussies have brought Stuart McGill into the squad. This was predictable. Now what about the opening berth? And who makes place for Stuart McGill? Brad Hodge has made his point. Hussy is an opener dropped into the middle order. The Australians have also drafted opener Phil Jacques into their squad.

The key to beating the Australians at Melbourne is to bat once and once only. You do not want to be chasing any score on Day 5 with Warne and McGill operating in tandem on a crumbling pitch. Who has not put their hands up? I for one believe that Prince has shown a marked weakness for spin in India and in Australia, despite the unlucky call in the 2nd Innings at the WACA. The WACA test was our best chance for a win against Australia. It didn’t happen because De Villiers and Kemp and a couple of other players dropped crucial catches. Gibbs has also not exactly set the world alight with his batting for the last two seasons. Strangely his decline has been wrought after he was dropped down the order.

So, where to now for the Aussies? Easy. Well, I think it’s easy. Obviously Brackes has been about as effective a Chihuahua in getting wickets. Drp him and bring in Stuart McGill. The MCG will take prodigious spin on Days 4 and 5. And if the Australians are operating their spin twins in tandem then we’llbe in trouble. The pitch today did not break up on Day 5 as expected. The Australian groundkeepers at the MCG will remedy that. We don’t have Fanie to bowl fast off breaks and we certainly don’t have much variety beyond a steady diet of right arm over to trouble their batsmen if the pitch does start to crack up. Langer has not performed. Jacques has made two consecutive centuries in their domestic competition so expect three Jacques’ in the game.

For us? It’s more problematic. Aside from the steady diet of right arm over we have the fantastic Nicky Boje who can’t turn a scuffed ball on a Day 5 Chennai pitch. Should we go for the variety in bowling by bringing in the toothless spinner who was effective in India in 2000 based on reputation? Not a chance. Not at all. The Australians are used to having some superb spinners in McGill, Warne and Nathan Hauritz that bowl at them in domestic competitions. Nicky Boje would probably not make their equivalent of the Stellenbosch 7th team. Should the bowling approach change? Yes certainly. Pollock should be kept away from the new ball. This test has shown that he has been reduced to a containment bowler. The strikers are Nel and Ntini. If they are the ones taking the sticks they should also be up front trying to wheedle out that powerful Top 3 of the Australians. Langeveldt bowling at a more moist climate, as opposed to the dry air of Western Australia, should elicit some swing and have his main weapon back in his armoury. Hopefully this time the fielders actually also decide to catch some of the chances he sends their way. Also, Rudolph and Smith are better spinners than Boje. There is no reason why the two should not be trundling in and delivering Rudolph’s left arm wrist spin and Smith’s right arm off breaks. Both turn the ball appreciably on assisting wickets. Amazingly, I believe they are both better than Boje.

In the batting line-up? Should Rudolph be dropped after a 200 against Western Australia and a dogged defensive 102 against the main antagonists. Not on your life. Never. So who should make place for Kallis. Unpopularly, Ashwell Prince has shown an inability to cope with the spinners in the last few matches. Against India he was out of sorts. The same could be said of this test, despite the poor decision in the second innings. I would much rather not have someone susceptible to spin playing on a wicket that takes spin. Kallis should replace him. Leave the rest of the team unchanged.

If Andrew Hall were available I would have no hesitation replacing Kemp with Hall.

My squads for the 2nd test:

Australia: Hayden, Jacques, Ponting, Hodge, Hussy, Symonds, Gilchrist, Warne, Lee, McGill, McGrath.

South Africa: Smith, De Villiers, Rudolph, Kallis, Gibbs, Kemp, Boucher, Pollock, Nel, Langeveldt, Ntini
wpw is Shane Warne's special bunny  
Strong words DavidS- but it is backed up by sound reasoning.

Your team will have a running chance in wacking the ozzies at the em see gee
agree 100% - but given the "no quota" law that exists in SA cricket - if i had to choose another player other than prince - it would be gibbs.

keep the rest. hopefully win the toss, bat for 2 days and score 600, and you have 3 days to try and get 20 wickets.
ja PA

The first day will offer some help to the quicks in the first and maybe the second session.

The second and third days are best for batting. On the fourth it starts to crack and on the firth WG Grace (The Good Doctor), Jock Hobbs (Like bowling to God on concrete) and Don Bradman (The Don) batting at 1,2 and 3 wouldn't be able to save you from defeat.... if you're bowling at them with oranges.
damn wpw

found out!!!!!!
I like what you write and your reasoning.
I also expressed the opinion that Prince will have to go on another thread. I didn't even mention Bojé :-)
But if they really want to be brave they can drop Pollock and replace him with Kruger. Sad to see a superb bowler going the route of Donald.
boertjie, we shouldve had Dale Steyn on this tour. I think he will do well and is a real agressive strike bowler... Zondeki not too bad either...
Did you guys see that oke from the Eagles i think? Johan VD Wath, he seems a great player... Can get wickets and bat well too...

agree on van der wath, he seems very capable. how has steyn performed so far in the domestic scene - same for zondeki?
steyn has taken the 2nd highest no of wickets after Kruger. Zondeki not doing too badly. Philander of WP also a good prospect. Took alot of wickets and scored runs too, only 20 yrs old and the right colour too. LMAO  
Zondeki has one fault that keeps him from being f---ing 150 kmh fast.

He bends his damned front leg in the delivery stride and this always takes about 10 kmh off his delivery speed. If he can resolve that he'll be a tearawy in the truest tradition.

I think Steyn still needs to add a couple of yards of pace to his average speed. He can produce a 150 once an over but for the rest he's in the same league as Langeveldt and Ntini. High 130's. Not good enough.

Haven't seen much of Garnett Kruger and given the performance of the shongololos this season I wouldn't wany any more of their players disgracing the national team...
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