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Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Other Sport: Resolute Rudolph thwarts Australia

The Bulletin by Siddhartha Vaidyanathan from cricinfo, for live text commentary log onto

December 20, 2005

A back-to-the-wall classic from Jacques Rudolph, battling for more than seven hours, defied Australia through the day as South Africa, losing just three wickets on the final day, escaped with a draw in the first Test at Perth. Thwarting Shane Warne's mesmeric wiles and countering the variations from the faster men, Rudolph constructed an all-important 102 not out and left the series wide open with two games to play.

For most of the day, Rudolph was ably assisted by Justin Kemp, whose uncharacteristic obduracy ate up valuable time. The indefatigable Warne, who wheeled away for a 35-over marathon today, troubled all the batsmen with his prodigious turn but, with the pitch playing true, even he couldn't break the brick wall that Rudolph resembled.

South Africa were handicapped by the loss of Jacques Kallis before the game, but it was another Jacques, his replacement, who pulled them out of the fire. Leading the way with a rock-solid effort, adept while handling both spin and pace, and unfurling gorgeous cover-drives with a pendulum-smooth follow-through, Rudolph displayed the sort of application that has become the hallmark of his namesake, who watched from the dressing-room and beamed when the game was saved. He wasn't lured by the wide teasers from the faster men, and he was impressive in the way he used his bat, and not pad, to nullify Warne's guile.

Resuming on 18, Rudolph was particularly impressive while handling Nathan Bracken's swing, waiting for the last moment before committing himself to any stroke. Glenn McGrath's yorkers were duly kept out and Brett Lee, who had a few erratic spells, was driven when the opportunity arose. By not withdrawing into a shell, and trying to score when the loose deliveries presented itself, Rudolph gave himself the best chance to bat through till the end.

Support arrived in the form of Herschelle Gibbs, and both sacrificed run-scoring, while concentrating on preserving their wickets. Just 10 runs came in the first 10 overs with only the occasional hint of reverse-swing that created flutters. Lee was rewarded for his persistence, nailing a flat-footed Gibbs pushing away from his body and celebrating after Warne pulled off a smart low catch at first slip. Rudolph, though, waded through the bowling with a fine mix of attack and defence. Warne, coming on to bowl after a tidy opening spell from the faster bowlers, weaved his web and worked his way around Ashwell Prince's pad-away policy - pushing him back and finally beating him with a big legbreak - before delivering the killer blow.

From then on, though, Rudolph's immovable presence was matched by Kemp's resolute methods at the other end. Kemp often used his pad to smother the big turn that Warne extracted from the rough and showed that he could adapt to a situation that required him to buckle down and bat with restraint. He had his share of nervy moments - nudges eluded fielders, a run-out chance was botched and a couple of perilous lbw appeals were turned down, mainly because of Warne's spinners pitching outside leg stump. Lee tried to set him up with a leg trap while McGrath probed in the corridor outside off. But he overcame all with a steely resolve, battling 166 balls for his maiden Test fifty, arguably his most important innings in his short career.

He finally fell, inevitably to Warne, when he pushed hesitantly at a legbreak and watched Ricky Ponting complete a superb reflex catch at silly point. But all the faint hopes that the dismissal ignited were snuffed out as Mark Boucher assisted Rudolph in batting out till stumps. Rudolph brought up his fifth Test century towards the end of the piece and as Warne and Ponting congratulated him on reaching the landmark, both might have been reminded of that tense August evening at Old Trafford when another classic hundred kept Australia alive in the Ashes.

How they were out

Herschelle Gibbs c Warne b Lee 33 (3 for 109)
Pushed at a good-length delivery; good low catch at first slip

Ashwell Prince lbw b Warne 8 (4 for 138)
Played back to a big legspinner

Justin Kemp c Ponting b Warne 55 (5 for 250)
Lunged hesitantly; superb one-handed reflex catch at silly point

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is staff writer of Cricinfo

© Cricinfo

well done young man!

if they leave you out for melbourne i will personally ignore that test and hope they (proteas) loose.
davidS is a boere thug who loves to hate the Bulls!!!  
wpw is a closet Sharks supporter

Absolutely agree PA

If he gets dropped after this it'd be a travesty. He's now scored a 200 against WA and a 100 against Australia in successive matches.

He's making the name Rudolph a proud one in SA sports again...
Hey, but i was telling the truth. You are a borer thug and you do love to hate the Bulls... Not?  
i meant boere thug...
i always support the SA teams in the S12 when they play vs the sheepshaggers...
Who do you guys think will be replaced by Kallis?  
Great to see Rudolf and AB getting some form back. And Kemp proofed to be more than a usefull testplayer.

PS. How did the article read? "even he couldn't break the brick wall that Rudolph resembled"
Ja, who will make way for Kallis?
Can't be Ashwell Prince, 'cos that will upset the "demographics" of the team.
Not so worried about the batters, it's our lack of bowling strength that worries me. Maybe Garnett Kruger for Nel, then you can drop Prince and still have the "demographics" correct?

BTW I heard Donald make an impassionate plea for the selectors to stick with Dale Steyn before this side was announced.
And I rate Donald's evaluation much higher than that of the selectors.
If we keep Kemp, then we'll have 6 bowlers.  
Oh, I thought there was a darkie stuck inside me somewhere trying desperately to get out and say

Yo honky motherf**kers. I'll kick yo lilly asses! Word to your muthah!
That tail seems awfully long though.....

Kruger for Nel is a mistake. Ntini and Nel are our only effective bowlers so far...
agreed davidS. i would like to see Pollock dropped but theres no chance of that happening... Gibbs or Price will go. DAMN!
Always pick on the black man. lmao
wpw wouldn't you agree that pollock is a quota player?????

we should be okay then!

Do you rate Ashwell?

How would you see the squad?
Well you know the sticker on the back of taxis in Gauteng at the moment don't you?

"A black man is always a suspect"

Dunno boet, I reckon Gibbs is too good to keep failing, and he'll come blazing out.

Ash hasn't proven himself to me yet. Sorry but that's the way I see it. Gibbs has dropped in form since going into the middle order.

If you want to be radical right?

Try this

Smith (c)
AB De Villiers (w/k)
Kemp (prefer Hall)
Pollock (hate myself for this)

And in a year's time, Pollock out and Johan Botha in.

Another Titans export to the Jumbos.

Damn them for contracting him....

Check the Eagles thread!

It wil be foolish to drop Boucher and Pollock. Valuable, valuable experience. I refer to them batting together on day 2. Polly helps Ntini way more than people think. Ntini is a great bowler he is easier to score from though. Teams target him and bad out Pollock. They are do good a combo to break up IMHO.  
Ashwill has the talent but he really needs to have a good series. He currently averages 37 or so in tests and 44 in ODI's. i think there are no other replacements and he should be given a chance just like McKenzie and Dippenaar got.(which is only fair)

Brick, Pollock is a strike bowler, he should be able to get wickets. No other international team will pick a player just cos he has experience and cos he is economical. We need wickets, guys who can get wickets in each innings. Steyn, Zondeki and Kruger should get their chance now...
i see bricks point but wpw is right, to win a test you need 20 wickets  
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