Saturday, 1 March 2008

A game of two halves

They say in cricket that you never know what the next ball will bring and that even when a side is in total control, batting with the gods, a lapse of concentration or an inspired bowling spell can completely change that. This has been vividly demonstrated twice in two days.

Firstly Australia faced Sri Lanka at the MCG. This was Adam Gilchrist’s last appearance at the ‘G’ and what a performance he put on. Chasing 222 for victory Gilchrist struck 83 from 50 balls and demonstrated exactly what we will be missing when he retires – class. At 113-2 from 15.4 overs when he was dismissed it all looked a formality and Sri Lanka were in the process of being crushed (again). This was not to be as the Sri Lankans reduced Australia to 123-6, then 158-8 bowling them out for 208. Ponting, Clarke, Symonds, Hussey and Haddin managed twelve between them! A remarkable turn-around.

Secondly South Africa started their second Test Match against Bangladesh. The first was a surprisingly close affair and so Smith and McKenzie must have gone out to bat on the first morning with a few nerves. If they did, it didn’t show. By stumps on day one, South Africa had amassed 405/0 with Smith on 223 and McKenzie 169 – a record highest first day score without losing a wicket. The highest first wicket stand ever (413) looked a formality and given the way Smith in particular played, all sorts of records looked like being broken. Smith and McKenzie broke the first wicket record and then, relatively at least, collapsed -- slowly. Smith went at 415 having make 232 from 277 balls, a truly commanding innings. From that point only Amla 38 from 87, Boucher 21 from 83 and Kallis 39 from 120 made double figures and South Africa made very heavy weather of getting to 583/7 dec. 583/7 is still clearly a commanding position but I expected to wake up to hear Lara’s 400* had been broken...

No comments: